Top Ten Moments of 2018 - Number 2 & The Honorable Mentions

Top 10 Honorable Mentions

The best of the rest.  Each of the following moments, in descending order, were the next ones to make the overall list.  Sometimes, the strength of a Top 10 can be judged by who isn't on it, rather than who is.  In that case, these 10 Moments, which could probably outweigh many from other States, prove New York is one of the strongest states in the Nation for Track/Field and Cross Country.

A brief look at Moment #1 (we're limited to 2mins of video footage per State Meet)

1. Steeplechase Madness At Spring States

No doubt, the Steeplechase can always be an unpredictable race.  And at CNS, with the barrier right before the finish line, it can become even moreso.  Just ask John McCarthy (Corning), who shot out to the lead with 50m to go in 2014, but fell over the final hurdle (video). Back at CNS two years later, and Eion Nohilly (John Jay-Cross River) made the decisive pass over that final hurdle to overtake Noah Affolder (Carthage) for the win (video).  And then, two more years pass, and again there is drama over the final hurdle.

Brooke Rauber (Tully) had just overtook race leader Aziza Chigatayeva (Brooklyn Tech) on the second to last barrier.  Trying to pad her lead, she accelerated to the line.  One final hurdle, there was a misstep on the approach.  She went down with 15m to go, and was passed up for the win.  However, she got back up, and cross the line for a new Freshman Class National Record, and the D2 State Title. After a precautionary trip to the doctor soon after, where she was treated for dehydration, Rauber was given the all-clear. She was back on the line a week later in Greensboro, where she would end her season with an All-American finish.  It would be that resolve to get right back up when knocked down, that would lead her to be the #1 Honorable Mention.

2. Jason Robinson Opens Up The Doors For Para-Athletics In NYS

After petitioning to do so in Middle School, wheelchair athlete Jason Robinson (Westmoreland) became the first ever athlete to contest the Wheelchair 1600m and 3200m at the New York State Meet.  Racing to US Top 5 marks, Robinson opened the door for wheelchair athletes to compete at the State Level.  With the precedent set, it's just a matter of time before more athletes take up the option.  And as only freshman, Robinson has three more years of racing to go, to drop down those National Caliber marks.  Read More.

3. Vanessa Watson Crushes Section Record In Front Of Former Record Holder

Just missing the Top 10, Vanessa Watson (Spencerport) is the top ranked athlete on the HM list.  At US #3 in the 400H, she became the second fastest NY Hurdler of All-Time at the USATF Junior Champs.  But it was back at the Section 5 Champs where her true moment would come.  There, she would first run 58.57, breaking the Section Record, and foreshadowing the great races to come. It capped off the beginning of the end to a great Junior Year, that held Indoor and Outdoor Federation State Titles, and numerous Nationally Ranked performances.  Read More.

4. Elijah Jones Blows The Doors Off The CHSAA Spring Title Sprints

Although there may have been some wind-aided marks, Elijah Jones (Cardinal Hayes) still put up one of the best Sprint Meets of the year at the CHSAA Champs. A member of the top ranked 4x200m relay Indoors, Jones came out swinging at Icahn, dropping a legal 10.60 in the 100m, and then a smoking 21.18 (+2.5m/s) in the 200m to sweep the Sprints. Read more.

5. Monique Hardy Hits Soph State Records

If there was one name to know in the throws, it would be Sophomore Monique Hardy (Webster Thomas). She took home the Sophomore Weight Throw State Record Indoors (read more), after chasing all season, and then put the National Sophomore Record in threat. Not to be outdone, she broke the Sophomore Hammer Throw State Record Outdoors (read more), proving she had a knack for the technique.  With two more years to go, the sky is the limit.

6. Pole Vault

No other event got more attention this year than the Pole Vault, and the boys did their fair share to add to the conversation.  There was Kegan Mancabelli (Orchard Park) repeatedly breaking the 8th Grade State Record outdoors (read more). Then, there was Gates-Chili throwing the strongest 1-2 punch in the event Indoors that the State has seen in recent years (read more).  Next, the Outdoor State Title going to a Section 3 athlete in Joe Weaver (Central Square) may be the first time in history (read more).  Then, there was the story of Connor Burke (Pearl River), the near-blind Pole Vaulter who qualified for the State Meet (read more).  Also, the story of Iona Prep Pole Vault Coach Jerry Cahill, whose lung transplant saved his life (read more).  There were plenty more stories to go around, like the rise of Charles Crispi (Monsignor Farrell) to the Staten Island record (read more), and the increasing level of competition at the State Level.  There was good reason the event got so much attention, and we're thrilled to see where it goes from here.

7. Katherine Lee Grabs Record Run At Foot Locker

In a season where Katherine Lee (Shoreham-Wading River) never finished a race worse than 2nd, she capped off her final Cross Country season with a fourth place finish at Foot Locker Nationals.  It was a much better finish than some predictions were calling for, but there was no surprise to her fans from her home state, when she began to kick for the line at Nationals, passing many in the field.  Her performance out there made her the best combined finisher for New York when looking at Foot Locker and NXN, as her fourth place at Foot Locker combined with her tenth place at NXN the year before. Read more.

8. Hurdling History

It seemed like the times were dropping around the State this Spring, and the competition was heating up. Upstate, Joe Williams (CNS) dropped a 14.06, then a 13.97 to headline the event.  Down state, Michael Mullally (Sullivan West) put up a 14.03 of his own. It was set to be a heck of a hurdle final at States, with Tai Brown (Midwood) added in, but it didn't end without drama.  Brown would go down in the final, and Mullally and Williams would both end up with slight injury after the race.  But Williams would take 3rd to repeat his performance from Indoor States, while Mullally would grab the win.

9. Sophia Myers Controls The Sprint Hurdle Rankings

The boys weren't the only ones dominating the hurdles.  Sophia Myers (Queens HS of Teaching) was the reigning State Champ, and would go on to defend both her Indoor and Outdoor State Titles.  In the process, she would dip under both "magic marks" in her events, hitting 7.78 in the 55H and 13.86 in the 100H.

10. Shea Weilbaker 3200m State Meet Double

Other than Tuohy, he was the only distance runner to defend his Indoor State Title in the Spring.  Both times, Shea Weilbaker (Saratoga) waited patiently in the 3200m for his time to strike, then made a decisive move to open up the gap.  He ended up the State Leader Indoors with his 9:13.72, then ran to a tactical win Outdoors at 9:07.26, having run 8:59.46 at Loucks.