Well folks, that's it for the 2013-2014 seasons for Cross Country and Track and Field. With the conclusion of the World Junior Championships next week, the majority of our athletes are home for the season, and building towards either college or those cross country courses in the fall. We here at MileSplit NY have just finished our second year under new management, and have made strides in bringing you the best coverage around. We've had new innovations such as Live Streaming and the incorporation of the NYS Archives, as well as nearly 14 million page views since September. In terms of athletes, we've had unparalleled performances, new breakout stars, and countless new state records. To keep it succinct, it has been another great year for the Empire State. To commemorate the end of the season, we'd like to look back at our top 10 moments from the past year. These may not be the fastest times or best performances, but they were moments that were aided by the stories behind them, the rivalries established, and the accomplishments achieved. We'll be releasing two a day, with the top pick being released on Saturday night. While they are ranked numerically, their order is only slightly important. Each moment proved thrilling for the track fan, and we look forward to even more in 2015. And be sure to sound off in our comments for moments you think we missed, as cutting this down to a list of ten was not easy.
No. 2 - New Kids On The Block
It's the problem with being a girls' coach. While on the boys side, its easy to predict where your athletes will be next year based on who in the state graduates, sometimes the talent on the girls side hasn't even hit High School yet. It's hard to predict who next year's top female runner will be. Especially if she was home-schooled throughout middle school. Such is the tale of Jessica Lawson, the freshman phenom from Section 4. Looking up to Kennedy Weisner as she raced the club circuit her formative years, it was high school where she would break onto the distance running scene, in arguably one of the hardest states to do so.
And breakthrough she did. She took second overall in her first major competition of the year, at the States Preview meet at Queensbury. After that, she would take 5th at McQuaid, racing some of the best teams in the country, repeating that performance by taking 7th in the Easterns Division at Manhattan. All the makings of a star. She would return home, winning both her county and Sectional title, coming in as the top seed to states. And that's where it began. Jess Lawson is undefeated at the State level for the 2013-2014 season. She won the Class B state meet in strong fashion, returning the following week to win the Federation title. She went on to qualify for Foot Locker to cap off XC.
Indoors, she took an alternate route to success. She raced sparingly, never exerting more energy than was needed to win. Like most athletes in the colder climates, Winter Season is meant to be trained through. But even the relaxed workouts and eased tactics couldn't stop Moment #2. At the indoor state meet, for the championship 3000m, the lead had ebbed and flowed between a multitude of athletes. However, with a lap to go, Lawson began sprinting away from the field to solidify her title. Not bad for a training season. Continuing on that success, Lawson would head to nationals, breaking the national record for the freshman 5000m. Outdoors, the titles came again, winning the 3000m, while adding a 4x800m win as well. She heads into the XC season as the top ranked harrier, and many can't wait to see how she follows up with her sophomore season.
The Top 10 Moments of 2013 Honorable Mention List
1. The Purdy/Asselmyer Battle Over 1000m
At State Quals in Section 1, two athletes had established themselves as the top dogs over 1000m. Arlington's Jimmy Asselmyer and North Rockland's Liam Purdy. Both could win the state meet had the other not been there. But with both entered, the race was on. Pushing each other, Asselmyer would take second overall in a Junior Class State Record, while Purdy would win in a time that would break up the Yale Trio atop the NYS All-Time list from 1983. Impressive
2. The Point Heard Around The World: Mickey Burke Takes 4th at Foot Locker
After a disappointing finish at the State Meet, Mickey Burke took the extra rest needed to prepare for Foot Locker. He made his name known by taking the overall title at the qualifier. Out at Balboa, Burke would battle getting boxed in early, before a late surge to the finish line taking fourth. Except not before dedicating his performance to one of the cheerleaders at the finish line.
3. The Depth of the Warwick Boys Squad
Not many teams can field all three outdoor relays (4x100, 4x400, 4x800) with all unique legs, and still be competitive at the state level. Warwick proved they could do that and more. Without reusing runners, they pulled off a 43.10, a 3:17.42, and a 7:42.50. Not only that, but they had the best 1-2 punch the state has ever seen in the Pole Vault, including the Junior State Record Holder.
4. A Flower Blooms at Eddy
While she had made the state meet indoors, it was the outdoor season where Julia Flower shined. She had made an impact early on the state rankings, leading in the 1500m. At the Eddy Meet, she blew away the field fast, posting a time that put her on everyone's watchlist. She walked away with the D2 State title outdoors, and a lot of good expectations for next year.
5. Clearing Barriers In The Horizontal Jumps
It seemed like field events were excellent as a whole in 2014. Darrel Jones and Kaylyn Gordon both cleared the magic barriers of 50' and 40' in the triple jump, respectively. For the boys, Dayshaun Taylor and Jordan Hackworth both made it over 24'. A banner year in the sand.
6. Close Finishes at Major Championships
Whether it was the Class A XC State Meet, the boys 3000m Outdoors, or the girls 1000m Indoors, it seemed like no race was given up easily in 2014. Many of the major titles came down to milliseconds, a treat for the fans of the sport, and nerve-wracking for the athletes.