By Rob Potter
SYRACUSE March 12, 2002 It was a day of non-stop competition Saturday at the New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships inside the Carrier Dome on the campus of Syracuse University.
Among the Section IX representatives were a trio of Sullivan County athletes. They were Steve Creek of Tri-Valley, Heather Iatauro of T-V and Katy Schlichtman of Monticello, each of whom had won their respective qualifying races at West Point the week before.
Creek competed in the 3200-meter run, Iatauro in the 1500-meter run and Schlichtman in the 55-meter hurdles.
At states each athlete has the chance to let the strength of the field help propel the others to new levels of personal excellence. But goals for an entire seasons worth of effort can be measured in fractions of seconds. A shoe spike a few millimeters too long or a slight movement from the set postition to start a race can mean a long disappointing ride home due to disqualification.
Following her first qualifying heat, Schlichtman, a junior, was not sure if she had placed fourth or fifth. And she was concerned that she might not make the cut to the semifinals, as she felt she had been slow.
But Schlichtman recorded a time of 8.86 seconds, good enough to move to the next round. She then put up a time of 8.76, which put her in 11th place in the final standings.
Creek, a senior, completed his high school indoor track career by posting his second sub-10 minute time in a 3200-meter event this year. He completed the course in a time of 9:59.62, which was good enough to place 17th overall. (Going into the race, Creek was seeded 23rd among the competitors. During the season, he had a case of the flu and two weeks ago he wasnt sure if he could post the necessary times to make it to the Carrier Dome.)
I think Im finally learning how to run this race, Creek said. I used to have nothing left going into the second 1600, and now Im running more relaxed. I feel so much stronger for the second half.
Iatauro made it to the winners podium for the second straight year. She placed fifth in the 1600 with a time of 4:45.18.
She started from the second position and got crowded in the middle of the pack in the early going. The runners stayed tightly bunched for much of the race, making easy running difficult and draining energy.
Her time was just three seconds off her personal best in the event.
Was she disappointed that she couldnt improve her personal record time?
Sure, Iatauro replied. But I have another race tomorrow.
She was referring to Sundays National Scholastic Championships that were held at the Armory in New York City.