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Relay team, Stokoe qualify for state meet

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Homer’s Grant Stokoe, shown here at last week’s Section 3 Class B1 meet, is headed to the Division II state meet in both the 800-meter run and the 4x400m relay.

CICERO — Both Homer Central and Cortland High had athletes competing in the Section 3 State Qualifier at Cicero-North Syracuse High School Thursday afternoon.

The winner of each event in each division qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships next weekend back at C-NS while second- place athletes could qualify by hitting the state meet standard.

The Trojans’ 4×800-meter relay team was seeded third overall, first in Division II, had already met the state championship standard and needed a top-two finish to move on. The quartet of Kollin Van-Wagenen (2:08.4), Andrew Swenson (2:05.3, personal best), Teddy Mercer (1:59.9, PB) and Grant Stokoe (1:55.7, PB and new school record split) took first place in Division II and third overall with a school record time of 8:09.24 to advance to the state meet. They will compete next Saturday (June 9) at 2 p.m.

Stokoe’s second race of the day was the open 800m run, where he was seeded first overall. He set the pace over the first 400 meters to string out the rest of the field and cruised to first place overall with a time of 1:57.49. Stokoe was over three-and-a-half seconds faster than the runner-up in the event. He will compete in the open 800 in the state meet (his fourth between indoor and outdoor track) a week from today at 3 p.m.

Mercer returned to the track for the 1,600m run, where he lead the Division II runners for over two laps. In the end, his time of 4:34.16 took second place in Division II and fourth overall.

The only other Homer qualifier was Maddy Cole from the girls’ team. She hit the standard in the 200m dash and was seeded 15th. Cole finished 11th in Division II with a time of 27.96 seconds.

None of the Cortland High athletes who competed Thursday qualified for the state meet. The top finish was turned in by the girls’ 4x400m relay team, which was seeded eighth overall and took third out of seven Division II teams in a season-best 4:18.19. Team members were Neve’ O’Connell, Nevaeh Amo, Lauren Phetteplace and Kaitlyn Pratt. Pratt also finished fifth in the D2 400m in 1:02.12 (seeded seventh) and 12th in the 200m in 27.97 (seeded 14th). Phetteplace, the 21st seed in he 1,500m, finished 11th in 5:13.54.

“The 4×400 relay team chopped more than three seconds off their personal best,” Purple Tigers coach John Busch said. “Neve’ and Nevaeh have discovered that the 400 is a sprint and, as they are also 4×100 members, elected to stick with their practiced blind exchange, which worked so well I’m considering a break with tradition and using it exclusively with all the exchanges in the 4x400s.”

Alex Ryan was fifth in D2 and sixth overall (seeded 12th/10th) in the boys’ 800m in 2:07.74. Andy Ryan was seventh off a 12th seed in the 3,000m steeplechase in 10:26.46 and Tyler Stevens was 12th (seeded 15th) in 10:57.32.

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