Kristina Sumfleth | Democrat
Sullivan West junior Mitch Paciga elevates over the bar as he cleared 6 feet 3 inches and tied for first in the high jump.
Monti relay team makes State-ment
Story by Kristina Sumfleth
MIDDLETOWN June 4, 2013 Track and field athletes from all over Section IX flocked to Middletown High School last Thursday and Friday for, potentially, their last races of the season at the State Qualifier Meet.
They pushed through the hot, humid weather to try and earn a place at the New York State High School Championship Meet, which will also be held at the Middletown track, on June 7 and 8. Both Division 1 and 2 sends the winner of each event to the state meet unless another athlete has met the state standard over the course of the season. In that case, both competitors continue on to the states.
A total of nine Sullivan County athletes advanced to the state championship, including the Monticello boys’ 4 x 100 relay team which finished first and also ran the fastest time of any relay team in the state this season to that point. (Over the weekend, two teams bettered Monticello’s mark, so they now have the third fastest time in the state this season.)
Terry Duncan, Mistah Ali, Rahzel Smith and Shane Jackson excitedly ran from the corners of the track into the center to celebrate their victory after claiming the Division 1 race in the lightning fast time of 42.69. Many of the Division 1 teams had very close times in the relay and the Monticello team had just enough kick to edge out the competition in the last 150 meters of the race.
“It was an outstanding performance on a very, very hot day and under the pressure to perform at their best on the biggest stage!” said Monticello assistant coach Matt Buddenhagen. “These guys stood up to the challenge and keep getting better and better each week.”
Should they be the best next week, they will be the first Monticello track and field athlete(s) to ever win a state title.
Both Mitchel Paciga and senior Reed Scott of Sullivan West made states by winning the high jump and 3,200 meter race, respectively. Paciga, a junior, not only met the state standard of 6’0” but exceeded that height with a jump of 6’03.” He also finished third in a second event, the 110 meter hurdles, though he didn’t meet the state standard.
Another standout performance came from Fallsburg sophomore Candhace Forrest, who won the Division 2 100 meter dash in 12.71 seconds, a time which rivaled that of Kalissa Caesar of Port Jervis who was first in the Division 1 race with a time of 12.69.
“I didn’t have time to warm up, I had to fight for it,” said Forrest. “ The meet went by so quickly and I thought I had more time.”
Even without the time to warm up, she seemed to cross the finish line with ease as well as a .3 second lead.
“She rises to the occasion” said Fallsburg coach Mike St. Lawrence. “She just competes and doesn’t worry about the time. We hope to make it to the finals at States.”
After earning her place at the state championship, Forrest was grinning from ear to ear as she watched from the stands as other runners competed.
Both the Tri-Valley girls and boys teams will also be sending two senior athletes to the state meet for shot put; Aric Boyes with a throw of 50-06 and Mareena DiMilia with a throw of 34-01.50 both met the state standard and were tops among Division 2 competitors.
DiMilia also participated in the 100 hurdles (where she finished third) and 4 x 100 meter relay (Tri-Valley finished second, Division 2) in her final state qualifying track meet.
In that 4 x 100 relay, DiMilia was joined by Kate Greffrath, Sara Dertinger and Caroline Martin in setting a school record with a time of 51.7 seconds.
Track & Field State Qualifier
Sullivan County qualifiers advancing to the state championship meet June 7 and 8 @ Middletown High School
BOYS’ DIVISION 1
400 relay - Monticello
(Terry Duncan, Mistah Ali,
Rahzel Smith, Shane Jackson)*
BOYS’ DIVISION 2
High jump - Mitch Paciga (SW)*
3,200 meter - Reed Scott (SW)*
Shot put - Aric Boyes (TV)#
GIRLS’ DIVISION 2
100 meter - Candhace Forrest (Falls)*
Shot put - Mareena DiMilia (TV)#
* - won state qualifier
# - met state standard