West Point - There will be plenty of blue and gold being sported at this Saturday’s New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships. Eight Goldback indoor track athletes will be donning those colors, as they head up to Cornell University in Ithaca to represent the best of Section IX.
Last Saturday those eight State dreams were fulfilled at the State Qualifier meet inside of Gillis Field House at West Point. The stakes were high, as participants needed to either secure first or second place or meet a state standard with a third place showing to punch their ticket to the prestigious upstate venue this Saturday.
Three Lady Goldbacks responded, turning in impressive showings. Leading the way was sophomore standout distance runner, Gianna Frontera, who managed to qualify in both the 3000 meters with a winning split of 10:07.40, as well as her third place 1500 meters clocking of 4:46.17, qualifying on time. For Frontera, Saturday’s feats were double sweet, as they marked her first berth in the Indoor State Championships in her Varsity running tenure. Last year, she was sick during the 3000 qualifier and unable to earn a state appearance.
"This feels rally good, especially since I wasn’t able to do it last year," said Frontera following her commanding 3000 victory. "I was a little tired going into the race today, but always push myself no matter what the competition is because I know it will make me a better runner and pay off."
Frontera continued that extra effort, just one hour later, as she doubled her State feat, finishing third in the 1500, registering the state standard required time.
Also joining Frontera in Ithaca will be another sophomore, Aliyah Matta, who cruised to a first place finish in the 55 meter hurdles, turning in a 8.65 second split. Junior Lady Goldback, D’ Yanna Mccaskill, rounded out the qualifiers, finishing second in the 300 meters in 42.28 seconds.
On the boys’ side, one relay and one individual earned spots. The 4 x 400 meter contingent of junior Daniel Beliard, senior Shaqiule Wiberly, senior Terrel Moore, and freshman Kinard Gaynor were victorious with their 3:30.05 clocking. Meanwhile, teammate, senior Xaiver McAllister, tied for first place honors in the high jump, leaping 6-0’ 2."
Their coach, Malcolm Burks, proud of each of the boys’ qualifications, realizes now is no time to get too content.
"We are going to have our work cut out for us next week in the relay; one of the teams (Boys and Girls School) we go against is ranked top in the country," said Burks. "We just really need to continue to work hard and run our very best at States to do well; in the meantime, these kids can really be proud of themselves today because they earned it."