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Dr. J. on Running

New York State High School Indoor Championship

Meet Comes to Carrier Dome

Published February 28, 2000 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Another weekend brings another track championship to Central New York. This time, it is the New York State scholastic indoor track and field championship, to be held in Syracuse University's Carrier Dome next Saturday.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) organizes this championship, which feature several championships in one. NYSPHSAA divides the State into 11 geographic sections, and conducts a championship among the sections' athletes. In addition, New York City maintains a Catholic High Schools Athletic Association (CHSAA) and a Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) which hold their championships in conjunction with NYSPHSAA's.

To complicate matters further, the New York State Federation of Secondary Athletic Associations, of which NYSPHSAA, CHSAA and PSAL are members, conducts its championship at the same time. Take for example the 600-meter race. If the seed times translate into race times, Robson's Damion Drummond will win the race, the PSAL title and the Federation title. St Anthony's Paul Moser will finish second and win the CHSAA title. In sixth seed, Paul Ciurlys of Section 11 will finish last in the race and still win the NYSPHSAA title.

The saving grace of these indoor championships is that the athletes are not divided any further into classes bases on school size. Unlike the cross country and outdoor track championships, which award State titles in three classes, the indoor track championship remains the only State championship that provides only one class of competition.

With the politics out of the way, competition follows the rich traditions of our sport. The festivities begin at 9am with an Olympic style parade of athletes, sporting sectional colors. Baldwinsville's Oscar Jensen, the State Chair for boys' indoor track, graces the crowd with an accapela rendition of the our National Anthem, leading to brief comments by dignitaries and the official opening of the meet.

On the track, girls compete for State titles in the 55-meter dash and hurdles, 300, 600, 1,000, 1,500 and 3,000 meters, as well as 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800-meter relays. The boys compete at the same events, except that the 1,600 and 3,200 meters replace the girls 1,500 and 3,000 meters.

According to the New York Sports Writers Association, few local athletes from Section 3 expect to place in the Championships. They include Doug Brown of Utica Proctor, Chris Caver of Nottingham High School and Jerome Mitchell of Henninger High School in the 55-meter dash. Oswego's Jon Frechette is ranked in the 55-meter hurdles. In the long sprints, Nottingham's Donald Singleton and Sabir Sykes are also ranked.

The distance events favor Henninger's Kirk Dorton, Cicero-North Syracuse's Rick Streeter, Whitesboro's Matt Taverna, and Fayetteville-Manlius' Mike Roller and Aaron Dausman.

On the girls' side, Heather Stevens of Fayetteville-Manlius and Jamila Johnson of Nottingham are ranked in the sprints. Cicero North Syracuse's Fetina Fields and Corcoran's Precious Killings are ranked in the hurdles. Jamesville Dewitt's Colleen Eccles and Homer's Tracey Brauckstock are ranked in the distance events.

Several New York athletes come into the Carrier Dome with strong national credentials. Paul Joyce of Clarkstown South, Damion Drummond of Robeson and Paul Ciurlys of Walt Whitman have the three fastest times in the country in the 1,000 meters.

Among the girls, Colonie's Jen Kramer and Kate Twarog ran the fastest times in the country in the 1,500 meters. In the 3,000 meters, New York runners hold six of the top seven times in the country, led by Sayville's Jillian Mastrioni and Clarke's Danielle Jelley.

Unlike the recent BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championship that left the Carrier Dome eerily empty, the New York State scholastic championships traditionally bring thousands of parents and grandparents to cheer on the young athletes. Besides competition for individual State titles, athletes also compete for the sectional team titles. So, come on out Central New York, and enjoy track and field at its best.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains TrackMeets.com, the world leader in live track webcasting, and receives email at jabbour@syr.edu.


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