The Buffalo-area has seen a major breakthrough this year. For possibly the first time in State History, three of the top five girls in the shortest sprint all hail from Section 6. All three have had a legitimate claim to be in line to capture the Section 6 Record, set by Jenna Crean (Orchard Park) at 7.09 in 2018. And almost as if on a rotating basis throughout the season, the favorite for the final record-holder at the end of year keeps changing.
The Section 6 Record got it's first scare in early January. Jada Kenner (Tapestry) made her first run at the mark on the first weekend in January. She ran 7.12 to win the Houghton Holiday Celebration. One week later at the Jack Reed Showcase, Kenner lowered that to 7.09, tying the Section 6 Record. However, as is typical for middle-school athletes, Kenner was hitting a growth spurt. After some time off mending a hamstring, Kenner would call it a season (at least in-season) after Millrose, where her hamstring began to tighten again.
Meanwhile, Kahniya James (Lockport) was answering Kenner's new found marks. Ten days after Kenner's Section Record, James would record a 7.10 to win the Trent Jackson Invite in Rochester, putting a scare back into the Record. A week later, she would come back with a 7.17, preparing herself for the Team Championships. There, James would once again match her best, running 7.10. This time, it was good for second. Thwarted by another Junior from Buffalo.
Then NY #2 Markira Garner (McKinley Vocational) had been having a strong return season. As a Freshman, she had made the Spring State Meet, running a personal best of 12.06 for the 100m. However, Garner would miss her Outdoor Season the following year (according to our database). She's made a grand return as a Junior this year, and has been running better than ever. After clocking a best of 7.20 in early February, she had a breakout run at the Section 6 Team Champs, running 7.16 in the prelims, and then passing both Kenner and James to take the Section Record in 7.07 in the finals.
The State Qualifier was set to be a rematch.
Garner took the first prelim heat in a time of 7.22. James followed right back with a 7.24.
In the finals, the two matched up side-by-side. The gun went off, and the pair got off well. Garner had the lead through 30m, but James began to close, pushing past at the line. Kahniya James crossed in a new personal best of 7.02, Garner taking second in 7.15. Another Section 6 Record, with both athletes moving on to the State Meet. The mark also ties that of Mia D'Ambrosio (Schalmont) for NY #1 this year.
James is now NY #21 All-Time for the event. For reference, only 16 girls from New York have ever broken 7.00 in the 55m. No Section other than the PSAL has had more than 2 do so in their entire history. Section 6 could become the first NYSPHSAA Section to do so.
Girls 55 Meter Dash Finals ============================================================================== Athlete Yr Team Mark ============================================================================== 1 Kahniya James 11 Lockport 7.02 2 Markira Garner 11 Mckinley 7.15 3 Leah Pasqualetti 12 Orchard Park 7.25 4 Deborah Borysewicz 9 Hamburg Central 7.45 5 Sarina Hanger 12 Lancaster Central 7.59 6 Sara Puskar 12 Orchard Park 7.61 7 Nyrelle Simpson 10 Tapestry Charter 7.67 8 Madison LaPenta 11 Lancaster Central 7.75