Grant Stokoe capped off a great indoor track and field season at St. John
The Cardinal sophomore and Homer High alumnus picked up a pair of wins during the Empire 8 Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Houghton College Feb. 28-29.
Stokoe won the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.46 which earned him First Team All-Conference honors. He was also part of the winning 1,600m relay team with freshman Jonah Dean, senior Zach Kennedy and senior Eddie Mahana who posted a top time of 3:25.13.
Stokoe ran the third leg of the relay as the quartet earned First Team All-Conference honors.
Stokoe picked up Second Team All-Conference honors as he ran to a runner-up finish in the one mile run after a time of 4:28.88. He added a fifth place finish in the 400m dash with a time of 51.80 seconds.
The St. John Fisher men won conference championship with 220 points with Utica College a distant second by nearly 100 points.
Stokoe and his teammates were looking to carry that momentum outdoors, but COVID-19 cuts those plans short.
“I feel pretty bad for the seniors,” Stokoe said. “We had one guy who really had a chance to go to nationals in the hurdles, plus we have some distance guys who may have done very well.”
Stokoe is in his second season with the Cardinals’ cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. The later being canceled. Prior to heading to St. John Fisher, he had an outstanding career at Homer Central School.
“I like it,” Stokoe said of competing at the next level. “I’m running much faster, but a lot of guys are running at the same level so the competition is tougher. I’m training longer and harder too, but I like the transition from high school to college.”
Running against Division III or Division I athletes, it doesn’t matter in his opinion.
“We competed in a meet in Boston and schools like Florida State and Georgetown were there,” Stokoe said.
“It doesn’t matter what division a person is, you can compete against them.”
As for his 800m win and running the third leg of the 1,600m relay team, Stokoe offered some thoughts on each race.
“In the 800, I really never led until the very end,” he said. “I just tried to run with everyone else and use my kick at the end. It was a very intense run and fun at the same time. It helped the team win and that was most important.
“In the relay, we all ran a good race. I don’t think we ever trailed in the race. The first two leg were good and I ran a good third leg. I just wanted to make a good hand-off for our great anchor man.”
Two more Homer graduates were part of the St. John Fisher College Women’s Indoor Track and Field team that won their Empire 8 Conference championship.
Cardinal senior McKayla Crawford took second place in a part of the distance medley relay team that posted a time of 13:23.20. That finish earned Crawford Second Team All-Conference honors.
Crawford earned points with her fifth place effort in the one mile run after clocking 5:38.55. She also placed 17th in in the 800m run with a time of 2:41.80.
St. John Fisher freshman Alyson Witt finished 15th in the 400m dash by clocking 1:07.76.
The Cardinal women totaled 165.5 points with Utica College in second place with 133.5 points.
“McKayla did run much last year,”Stokoe said of his former Trojan teammate. “I think she was hurt her junior season. It’s nice to see faces from home with both her and Alyson.”
Stokoe had a good cross country season, but made a small mistake.
“This season was going well, but I sprained my ankle late in the season playing basketball,” he explained.
“Coach was a little mad at me. It was a bad mistake by me.”
While the spring season will be a missed opportunity for the entire team, there are future goals to aim for.
“I would like to reach nationals either as an individual or as part of a relay team,” Stokoe said. “I want us to keep winning the conference because we have a lot of good talent on this team.”