ENDICOTT, N.Y. — It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions this track and field season for Waverly’s Dylan Ward.
When the season began he had high hopes for the year.
Then, he suffered and injury and thought it might hurt any chances of him posting a good times in the 800 meters.
On Wednesday that roller coaster hit it’s peak as Ward shattered his own school-record, running a 1:57.34 to qualify for states in the 800.
“The beginning of the year I thought maybe I had a chance,” Ward said. “Then, I fractured my ankle kind of midway through the season and I just crawled back up and worked hard the last weeks I had it, it feels good that it paid off.”
For Ward, the idea of a 1:57 never crossed his mind.
“Heck no, I was just hoping to get 2:00,” Ward said.
A little before the midway point in the race Ward went out in front of the pack. The Waverly standout thought he might have gone out too fast.
“I thought I went out way too quick,” he said. “They started catching up to me and I just had to battle them.”
Ward and Ithaca’s Alexander Simpson leaned at the finish with Simpson winning Division I in 1:57.34 and Ward winning Division II.
Ward wasn’t sure if it was Simpson or Cameron Szabo of Owego, who was third in 1:57.68, second in Division II, at the finish and he knew if he wanted to go to states he had to beat Szabo.
“I thought it was the kid from Owego behind me,” Ward said. “I thought it was either me or him going to states so I pushed even harder.”
Ward’s teammate Isaac Chandler knew he was going to states just by showing up on Wednesday.
This year there is a new super standard for athletes, and if you hit that you go to states automatically if you compete at the state qualifier.
Chandler hit that for both the 110 hurdles and the pole vault, clinching his spot in states for both.
“It made it a lot easier to jump with the super standard,” Chandler said. “But, mainly it was going out to jump like I usually jump.”
The day started out with Chandler winning his heat in the 110 hurdles, and taking second overall in the prelims, in 15.46. Chandler grabbed his leg at the end of the race, but was ok for the pole vault.
“I stumbled in the hurdles and I hit my calf on the last one,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let that stop me from vaulting.”
Knowing that no matter what he was going to states took some nerves off, but Chandler isn’t the type to stop working hard.
“It is easier, but I am just trying to beat my own records and get higher and faster,” he said.
Vaulting the way he is right now gives Chandler some confidence for states, next week at Middletown.
“It is a good feeling to actually get those heights this year, because I didn’t get them last year,” he said.
The way he’s competing in the pole vault, and hurdles, gives him a lot of optimism before states.
“I am very confident for states in the hurdles and the pole vault,” he said. “I’m just excited.”
And, Waverly having four state qualifiers on day one, Melina Ortiz and Cora Smith for the girls and Ward and Chandler for the boys, makes things even more fun for Chandler.
“I am definitely a lot happier knowing they are going with me,” he said.
Collin Wright was eighth overall in the 3200 for Waverly in 10:03.64 and Caden Wheeler was sixth in the long jump at 20-feet, 5 1/4-inches.