The Daily Star
---- — STAFF REPORT
Oneonta High’s boys and girls cruised to victories in the Don Howard Invitational on Saturday at Cooperstown.
Led by Athlete of the Meet Ben Gollin, the Yellowjackets’ boys compiled a 191 points to beat runner-up Coopersown by 67 points in the nine-team meet.
Gollin won the 800- and 1,600-meter races in 2 minutes, 2.68 seconds and 4:35.45, respectively.
Teammate James Longo earned Runner of the Meet honors. He won the 400 hurdles in 1:01.57, barely beating teammate Mat Robinson, who crossed in 1:01.87. Longo also joined Ryan Minerosa, Tim Bemis and Scott Conrade on a winning 1,600 relay that finished in 3:37.69.
The Yellowjackets’ Mitchel Couch won the discus with a personal-best throw of 141 feet, 7 inches. He also placed second in the shot put at 43-0. Cobleskill’s Don Thorington won at 50-2.
Oneonta also received victories from Skylar Thompson in the 100 (11.67), Logan Mancuso in the 3,200 (10:43.98) and Tim Bemis in the long jump (18-4).
Robinson cleared 5-10 to place second in the high jump, the same height as winner Zach Haskin of Cobleskill. Haskin won on fewer misses.
The host school received wins from Jacob Miller in the 200 (23.98), Johnny Zhang in the triple jump (37-5) and Sean Mebust in the pole vault (10-6).
Oneonta’s girls finished with 177 points to beat runner-up Cobleskill by 78.
The highlight no doubt came in the high jump, where Cooperstown’s Lucy Ford, and Oneonta High’s Brittney Herrick and Natalie Vanderlaan-Meyering all turned in personal-bests.
Ford won at 5-4 ¼. Herrick cleared 5-4 and Vanderlaan-Meyering made it over 5-1.
Cooperstown girls coach Connie Herzig said Ford thought she was attempting a meet-tying record of 5-5, but after she cleared the bar on her first attempt, an official measured the bar. Because there’s a sag in the bar, Herzig said, the height was revised to 5-4 ¼.
Herzig said Ford said her left foot “felt funny” after clearing 5-4 ¼, so she decided to stop there. Herrick cleared 5-3 and 5-4 on her final attempt.
“This is the best high jumping that we’ve seen,” Herzig said. “They are absolutely two of the premier jumpers in the state. In any other era, Natalie (Vanderlaan-Meyering) would be the star. That poor girl, I went over to her and she said, ‘I’m the other high jumper.’ Her comment was so telling.”
At last spring’s state meet, the top Division II performer cleared 5-4.
Ford was named the Field Event Athlete of the Meet.
Herrick also won the 100 hurdles in 17.63.
Teammate Jennifer Jelic, the Athlete of the Meet, won the 400 hurdles (1:09.42), and helped the Yellowjackets’ 400 and 1,600 relay teams to victory. Jelic joined Mary Buzzanca, Abby Picinich and Alexandra Sakoulas on the 400 relay that crossed in a season-best 52.62. Jelic teamed with Buzzanca, Picinich and Missy Emilio on the 1,600 relay that finished in a season-best 4:11.12 – about 2 seconds off the school record set in 1988.
Taylor Hitchcock earned wins in the 1,500 (5:13.71) and the 3,000 (11:53.16) for the Yellowjackets, who also received a win from Michelle Lee St. Marthe in the discus with a personal-best 102-6 and from Sarah Brackett in the pole vault (6-6).
“I think the key to the Cooperstown meet was balance,” OHS girls coach Dave Forbes said. “We managed to place kids in almost all of the events.”
Other local winners included Franklin’s Haley Downin in the 100 (13.60); Richfield Springs’ Tessa Buck in the long jump (14-5 ¼) and the triple jump (31-3); and Schenevus/Worcester’s Bethany Gorsch in the shot put (32-0).
Oneonta will travel to Norwich on Tuesday. The boys and girls teams can clinch Southern Tier Athletic Conference East Division titles with wins.