MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. — Isaac Chandler placed in the top three in one event and qualified for the finals in another to lead the Waverly effort at the NYSPHSAA Track & Field Championships here Friday.
Chandler cleared 14-6 in the pole vault and just missed on his final attempt at 15 feet. He cleared the bar height-wise relatively easily, but grazed it just enough on his way up to knock it to the mat. He would end up third in Division II and fifth in the Federation competition.
“I wasn’t necessarily happy, but I do have another meet, so that’s kind of riding on my shoulders that I have another chance to go up higher,” Chandler said, “but it definitely would have been a confidence booster if I had made it.
“I kicked it on the way up, but my standards were too close, so if I push them back, hopefully I can go over it a lot easier.”
He was also involved in the 110-meter hurdles, where he placed eighth following the heat races. His time of 15.03 seconds was good enough to earn a spot in today’s finals, beating out 10 other competitors.
“I wasn’t expecting to make finals,” said Chandler. “I saw all the kids in my heat were pretty fast and I was just excited to race. I’m just excited to be here for two events.”
Chandler is hoping to beat the Section IV record (14.6) in the finals. He ran a 14.87 at class sectionals.
“We’re all really excited about to see what he can do tomorrow, and I know his head is in the right place,” said Waverly boys coach Dave Hogan. “He’ll come to perform tomorrow for sure.
Hogan said he looked “excellent” in the pole vault.
“He was clean through the bar,” Hogan said. “He was clean at 13-6, he was clean at 14. I was very proud of that last jump at 15.”
Teammate Dylan Ward competed in the 800. He posted a time of 2:03.44 in a tough heat and did not reach the podium.
“It was a different look for him in the 800,” Hogan said. “They were doing lane starts and it’s a little misleading. You’ve got lane eight shooting out and he’s in lane one. We had to try to tell him you have to beat him on around the curve, so when they cut it he could be at the from of the pack with them. We think the pack got away from him a little too much and he couldn’t really feel when to respond, so maybe he didn’t run his best race, but we’re still very proud of him.”
In the girls meet, Melina Ortiz placed eighth in the 400 with a time of 1:00.48 while Cora Smith finished 10th in the 3,000 in 10:25.45.
Ortiz ran her race during the most humid part of the meet while Smith had to endure delays that lasted more well over an hour.
“I don’t think it was my best meet, per say, but it was my first time here,” Ortiz said. “There was a lot of nerves. I think I expected a lot different, so it’s not really something I can put my head down about. I wanted to do a little better, but at the ned of the day, you run what you run and that’s it. I put it all out there, was dead at the end, so it means I used everything.”
Waverly girls coach Scott Baird was pleased with the efforts of both girls.
“I think it was awesome,” he said of Smith’s effort. “She waited a long time today. This meet got so far pushed back. She waited a long time. This was a long day. I wan’t sure how she was going to respond, but she did what I think she needed to do. I am so proud of her.
Assistant coach Nate Culver has been working with the Waverly distance runners and he too liked Smith’s performance.
“This was her first experience here, and being new to it, I would say she did very smart,” he said. “She ran to the pace of the race and that’s what we asked her to do and she did it. I’m very proud of it.”
“It’s a tough one,” Baird said of Ortiz and her effort. “Even though she’s been to a number of state meets indoors, this being her first one outdoors, it’s completely different. I know she ran hard. I know that’s not what she wanted to end up. The effort was definitely there. I’m so proud. She got here. So many girls didn’t get here and on paper she wasn’t supposed to get here.”
Notre Dame’s Alyssa Walker finished 27th overall in the 800 meters with a time of 2:21.05, finishing 10th in Division II.