By Rob Potter
WARWICK Liberty Central School senior Jessica Dunnigan won the girls’ 100-meter dash and 200-meter run to lead a host of Sullivan County athletes who had outstanding performances at the 2011 Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Track and Field championships.
The meet began on Friday afternoon with several events and resumed Saturday morning at C. Ashley Morgan Field at Warwick High School.
Dunnigan won the 100-yard dash in 12.51 seconds, edging Kalissa Caesar of Port Jervis, who was second in a time of 12.64 seconds.
In the 200-meter run, Dunnigan’s winning time was 25.51 seconds, which was two-tenths of a second ahead of Monroe-Woodbury’s Sharise Walker.
Other athletes from Sullivan County high schools who won their events included: Tri-Valley’s Heidi Furman, girls’ javelin throw (93 feet, 3 inches), T-V’s Dominique Darby, girls’ shot put (34 feet, 5 3/4 inches), Liberty’s Christopher Lockwood, boys’ javelin throw (140 feet, 9 inches) and T-V’s Brian Edwards, boys’ discus throw (141 feet, 5 inches).
However, because the javelin is not recognized as an event by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, those results did not count in the team scores.
Monroe-Woodbury won the boys’ team competition by earning 97 points. T-V placed ninth (18 points), Sullivan West was 10th (12 points), Eldred was 11th (10 points) and Monticello was 15th (four points).
Cornwall won the girls’ team competition with 127 points. T-V placed sixth (32 points), Liberty was ninth (25 points) and Eldred was 12th (nine points).
Dunnigan noted that a change in the way she starts her running events has really helped her.
“I have been working with Mrs. Simpson on the starts, tweaking a couple of things and I have gotten better,” said the 17-year-old Dunnigan, referring to Liberty Coach Debbie Simpson, who guides the team along with Coach Ralph Bressler and Coach Hazel Yaun. “I’m trying to keep my hips up at the start and get out of the blocks faster. I want to be ahead at the beginning of the race, it’s easier than trying to catch up at the end of the race.”
Dunnigan also placed fifth in the girls’ long jump (16 feet, 2 3/4 inches) on Saturday.
“It was a good day,” she said, noting that she was very tired after running the preliminaries, semifinals and finals in the 100 and 200 and competing in the long jump.
Dunnigan will be attending Northeastern University, an NCAA Division I school in Boston and competing for the Huskies’ women’s track and field team. She said she will be roommates with her friend Victoria Alexander, a member of the girls’ track and field team at Beacon High School.
Northeastern University and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. were Dunnigan’s two final choices for college. She chose Northeastern because her brother, Michael Dunnigan, a member of the Liberty Central School Class of 2008, attends Northeastern.
“It’s good to have family there,” Jessica Dunnigan said.
Naturally, she would like to repeat as the New York State Division II champion in the 200-meter run.
“If I do, that would be great,” she said. “But if not, that’s OK, because I know have been working very hard all season.”
First up for Dunnigan and dozens of the athletes who competed in the OCIAA championships will be the Section IX track and field championship meets. The Class A and D meet is scheduled to be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Faller Field Complex in Middletown. The Class B and C meet is slated for 1 p.m. Thursday at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
Athletes from Sullivan County schools who placed in the top six in their respective events included: Hunter Proscia of Eldred, third in the boys’ steeplechase (9:54.24) and fifth in the boys’ 3200 meter run (9:37.25), Alex Campanella of Eldred, sixth in the boys’ 3200 meter run (9:45.84), Brian Edwards of T-V, second in the boys’ shot put (45-7 1/2), Brandon Corley of Monticello, fourth in the boys’ shot put (43-7 3/4), Todd Roeder of SW, second in the boys’ discus (138-3), Brandon Wagner of SW, fourth in the boys’ discus (125-0), Katelynn Greffrath of T-V, tied for second in the girls’ high jump (5-0), Nikole Snyder of Liberty, sixth in the girls’ triple jump (32-8 1/2), Mareena DiMilia of T-V, fifth in the girls’ shot put (31-8), Diana Schombs of Eldred, sixth in the girls’ shot put (30-6 1/4), Dominique Darby of T-V, second in the girls’ discus (107-9), Kristen Offringa of T-V, third in the girls’ pentathlon (2,042 points) and Stefani Davidson of Liberty, sixth in the girls’ pentathlon (1,822 points).