While there might not be much
track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore
through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State
Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their
marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be
releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it
takes, to be put your mark on history. Tune in!
We look here at the tenth-oldest record still on the books for the girls. Enjoy!
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It's halfway through the 4x800m Championship race at New Balance Nationals Outdoors on June 18th, 2010, and the Fayetteville-Manlius 4x800m squad has some catch-up to do. As Mackenzie Carter takes the stick from second-leg Katie Sischo, the Hornets are trailing not only NY States champ Garden City by two seconds, but a team from Harvard-Westlake of Los Angeles has busted in among the NY teams into 2nd and a team from Bronxville is lurking in 5th with an 8th-grade phenom named Mary Cain on this third leg.
FM senior Carter is eating up ground on the back straightaway of her first lap, and things are going crazy as the PA system whips up the excitement. Part of the craziness is because though the field announcer has a total grasp on the action, the commentary team for the video being filmed are totally clueless about who the top teams are and will soon admit, "We totally butchered this." Part of the confusion may be that FM is no longer FM. Here at Nationals because of state sports rules, they are Stotan.
Garden City is coming off a record-shattering performance at States and it has opened up a big lead on the first two legs. The Trojans top duo of 7th-grader Emma Gallagher and senior Emily Menges are on the last two legs. FM Stotan has fought back from a 6th-place position and 5 1/2 seconds behind Garden City after the first leg, as Katie Sischo got the exchange from Hannah Luber and narrowed the gap to 2 seconds.
But 2 seconds is also the difference between Carter's season's best and Gallagher's better one, so she's taking a chance of having a second-lap collapse as she moves up to sit on Gallagher's heels as they head for their last 400m. Indeed, on the back stretch Gallagher has a moment when she appears ready to break away, but Carter hangs on around the turn and then stretches out down the home stretch to snatch a one-step lead going into the final exchange.
The anchor legs feature both team's best, both seniors. FM Stotan's Molly Malone has NY's 10th best 800m time on the season entering Nationals, but Garden City's Emily Menges is ranked 2nd and has a season's best 2:09.11 from a 2nd at States that is two seconds better than Malone's. This one is a dogfight end to end as Menges grabs the lead early and tries to pull away from Malone. The Stotan anchor is content to hang two steps back as they dig through the first lap and around towards the final turn. Bronxville's Henrietta Miers has tried to close the gap on the leaders, but it's just Garden City versus Stotan as they enter the last straightaway.
Fighting towards the finish off the turn, Malone pulls back the shoulders and unleashes a kick that Menges matches for about 50 meters. But at the end, Malone and Stotan power to the finish and the win by almost a full second. Bronxville pulls in for 3rd and a 1-2-3 NY sweep. This Nationals will also see many other huge performances by NY teams, but nothing quite like this one.
The time of 8:46.98 is an NBNO and NY state record. Ten years later, the mark still stands for both.
The 2010 track seasons started for Fayetteville-Manlius with a lot of promise coming in the wake of the Hornets' astounding fourth NXN title in a row in December 2009. And of course the streak would grow even more astounding in the following years, but XC success does not always translate to huge track success. Being a great 5K runner on the hills does not necessarily mean you have the speed to bang out a 2:12 in the 800m.
The previous year had been all about XC for FM, and the track seasons functioned more as a way to stay in shape. The Hornets finished 5th in the 2009 States 4x800m at 9:30.88, and only junior Molly Malone ran at Nationals, taking 18th in the 1 Mile at a meet where no NY team was among the top 4 in the girls 4x800m.
So though FM had a wealth of long distance talent on tap entering 2010, there was no reason to think the Hornets would be stretching for a 4x800m Nationals title come June. Much of the previous year's top runners were back however on a veteran squad that included Malone, Hannah Luber, Kathryn Fanning, and Mackenzie Carter as seniors and Katie Sischo and Heather Martin as juniors. Two very promising distance runners also included sophomore Courtney Chapman and freshman Jillian Fanning. Only four runners can be part of a team's 4x800m squad for a championship, but with eight top runners to fill in relay slots, FM was well set also in the 4x400m and distance medley relay along with the 4x800m.
The indoor season had a quiet opening for FM, starting in December with a rust-buster meet two weeks after the Hornets won at NXN. Most of the Hornets got in some race at a CNYITA Relays meet that actually had no relays. The first 4x800m time came in early January at the Fred Kirschenheiter meet with FM on top in a time of 10:04.55 behind Luber, Martin, Kathryn Fanning, and Malone. The 4x800m was run with various combinations of foursomes leading up to States, all in winning efforts. At the Section 3 Classes meet it was Sischo, Carter, Chapman, and Kathryn Fanning bringing the time down to 9:28.82, and at Section 3 State Qualifiers just five days before States, Kathryn Fanning, Martin, Sischo, and Chapman chopped the time down to 9:11.63. Perhaps the short turnaround hurt the Hornets at States as the same squad from SQ's finished back in 3rd behind Shenendehowa and Bronxville at 9:22.07. Garden City finished 4th, but did win the 4x400m race.
Something clearly happened between States and Nationals one week later, and likely it involved some rest and nutrition along with good workouts. While Bronxville headed to the National Scholastic Indoor Nationals to finish 2nd behind Speed City of Long Beach Poly CA who won in 9:08.77, the rest of the top 4 teams from States went to Boston to run in the Nike Indoor Nationals meet. Rebounding from States, the same FM squad from the previous meet ran 9:02.80 to beat Garden City and Shenendehowa by more than 14 seconds. With the top time from the two Nationals meets and the US #1 time on the season, the Hornets would head to outdoors as the nation's leader.
FM's outdoor season leading up to States was fairly light. The first recorded time to be found for the 4x800m came at the Oneida meet in early May when Martin, Luber, Sischo, and Chapman got together to post a 9:18.93. A little later at the CNYCL, sophomore Mary Bucklin and Malone's 8th grade sister Maggie were pulled in to run a 9:32.82 with Carter and Kathryn Fanning. FM won the S3 Class AA 4x800m in a relaxed 9:27.45 behind Martin, Sischo, Carter, and Luber, but in the 800m race Malone posted a 2:13.13 to win, while Carter at 2:14.60 and Kathryn Fanning at 2:15.42 were close behind. At S3 State Qualifiers, all of the Hornets' attention was on the 4x8, and Chapman, Carter, Luber, and Malone ran a superb 9:02.13 to set themselves up for States.
The mark to beat for the NY state record was 8:50.41, and though the Hornets ran an 8:50.66, they didn't win. In one of the all-time classic relay duels at States, Garden City broke the record that Boys and Girls had set in 2002 with a time of 8:49.88. Saratoga had a huge lead after the first leg and was well in front still at the halfway point, but Garden City edged ahead going into the anchor with all three teams exchanging around 6:42. Malone was able to push the Hornets into 2nd at the line but couldn't catch the Trojans' Menges. Saratoga stayed strong but got nipped by FM by .04. Bronxville was well back in 7th.
But, as in the indoors season, there's always Nationals. A week later FM used the same order as at States and this time ran 3.68 seconds faster with a 8:46.98 to edge Garden City, which ran almost 2 seconds faster than it did at States. FM's big gain from States came mainly from Carter's 2:10.39 third leg, more than 3 seconds better, and with Sischo also knocking more than a half second off her split with a 2:11.48. Incredibly Luber clocked the exact same opening split at both meets. Malone's 2:08.08 anchor split at Nationals was the tops of all runners in the race though it was slightly behind her States leg of 2:07.93.
The weekend was not over for FM after their big win on Friday night. Early on Saturday morning, Malone, Carter, Fanning, and Chapman competed in the DMR and placed 4th at 11:44.19, one place ahead of Shen. The girls also got to cheer on FM star Alex Hatz late in the afternoon as he ran a 4:08.09 to win the 1 Mile. It was also a big Nationals for other NY girls as Benjamin Cardozo won the 4x400m with Garden City in 3rd, Saratoga won the 4xMile, and Ward Melville's Mary Kate Anselmini won the 2K steeplechase one year before she would set a national record in the event.
First Garden City and then Fayetteville-Manlius set NY 4x800m records a week apart in June of 2010. Before they did so, the record was owned by a Boys & Girls team of Akilah Francis, Keziah Fernandez, Meisve Francis, and Stacey Ann Livingston. They had a time of 8:50.41 while winning the Championship of America race at the 2002 Penn Relays.