CICERO — If the definition of a job well done is leaving a situation in better condition than you found it, the three area seniors who competed on the final day of the state track meet were unquestioned success stories.
The high school athletic tenures ended for Cooperstown’s Lucy Ford, Downsville’s Antonio Gomes and Oneonta High’s Brittney Herrick on a beautiful Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High.
To be clear, the aforementioned athletes didn’t have their best days Saturday.
Ford and Herrick failed to clear their seed heights in the high jump, and Gomes ran faster Friday in the 200-meter preliminaries than he did in Saturday’s final in Division II (school enrollments of 600 or fewer).
Still, their schools will no doubt miss them.
“She’s somebody I respect, somebody I cherish and treasure,” Cooperstown girls track coach Connie Herzig said of Ford, who cleared 5-foot-2 and finished tied for fifth in D-II and tied for 17th overall. “She left the program in better shape than she found it and that’s the best thing you can say about a senior.”
Gomes chuckled upon hearing that probably nine out of 10 people in attendance Saturday wouldn’t have any idea how to get to Downsville. But if you ran the 200 the past two years in this event, you knew about Gomes.
He placed fourth in the state last season and bettered that position by one spot Saturday.
“I’m glad I did better than last year,” said Gomes, who finished in 22.46 seconds to place third in the D-II final — the best finish by an area athlete in the two-day competition. “I’m glad I moved up a place. I was looking for second, but I’m happy to see third.”
Herrick cleared 5-0 in the high jump, placing 28th overall and ninth in D-II. Looking at the overall body of athletic work Herrick completed as a senior, it’s easy to be impressed. She led the volleyball and basketball teams to sectional titles, earning all-state honors in both sports, and then qualified for states in track for the third straight year. She’ll continue playing volleyball at Division I Siena next season.