BY RYAN COBB Sports writer
OFF TO THE STATES — RFA track and field athletes Dana Husband, left, and Mariah Mays will compete during the state meet on Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The freshmen Mays will compete in both the discus throw and shot put events, while the junior Husband will participate in the high jump. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
UP AND OVER — RFA junior Dana Husband works on her high jump technique during a practice session at the high school earlier this week in preparation for the state meet. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)
Several boys and girls outdoor track and field athletes from area schools will head to Cicero-North Syracuse High School today looking to put themselves in position to get on the medal stand at the state championship meet.
Among those seeking strong finishes will be two Section III champions from Rome Free Academy, Mariah Mays and Dana Husband.
The freshman Mays will compete in both the discus throw and the shot put events, and the junior Husband is entered in the high jump. Both girls are competing in the Division I portion of the meet.
The two-day state championship meet began today will resume on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
RFA girls track and field head coach Brett Couchman said the main goals for both girls is to improve on their best scores, but added that they are both more than capable of getting on the podium, especially Husband.
"The biggest thing for them has been practice and trying to pay attention to the details," he said.
"Right now, I think Dana is really primed to make it. She needs to be in the 5-5 to 5-6 area, but it all comes down to misses. She made 5-4 at the qualifiers but there were two or three misses that could’ve been. It’s a matter of being mentally ready because competition will bring out the best jumps.
We’ve had a couple of good practices and are working on a few technical things. Hopefully, she will get a spot on the podium," he added.
Husband is seeded sixth for the state high jump while ranking eighth in Division I and 14th overall in the state.
Couchman said though not to count out Mays either as she goes for a high standing in her two events.
Mays comes in ranked eighth among Division I discus throwers and 28th in the shot put. She is seeded at seventh for the meet in the discus after claiming the qualifier on a heave of 113 feet, 11 inches and is the 13th seed in the shot put after qualifying on a season-best throw of 36-2.75.
"She’s got the idea of that she can perform well and raise her expectations of what she is capable of," Couchman said. "If we can get consistent throws in the shot put that would be a successful day for her, but states is very competitive so she’ll have to get a significant amount. In the discus, she’s right in the thick of things. She’s been consistent from 117-118, so she’ll be prying to make that jump to the next level and hoping for 122 to 125. She’s working extremely hard with (assistant) coach (Ted) Swavely and really hasn’t really been happy that she didn’t throw great in her last meet, but she’s gaining."
Mays’ best throw in the discus this season was at 120-11 during the Rome Invitational.
What has amazed Couchman though is that Mays has picked up on the discus so quickly since the event is still relatively new to her.
"Mariah has thrown disc since last year, and she’s still new at it, which is remarkable for where she is at after throwing for only four months," he said. "To pick up a technical event that quick is amazing. She pays attention to detail and listens. She’s developed a natural feeling for the position she has to be in for the throw.
Earlier, she rushed her throws, but now she is learning to throw across the circle.
We have some long-term goals to be where she will be in her senior year," he added.
If Mays puts on a strong showing in both events during today’s action, she will return on Saturday for the discus championship at 1:45 p.m. and for the shot put title at 2:45.
Other area girls who will compete at the state meet in Division II are Adirondack’s Sierra Laveck in the discus throw, Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s Alexis Kavanaugh in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, Westmoreland’s Skyler Zawko in the triple and long jumps, as well as the South Lewis pairing of Victoria Campanian in the 2,000 steeplechase and Sara Young in the pole vault.
Remsen has Megan Will competing in the shot put, as well as the squad of Makenna Cooley, Erin O’Connor, Anna Roberts and Ashley O’Connor in the 3,200 relay.
On the boys side, Holland Patent’s Noah Roberts is entered in the 110 and 400 hurdles and teammate Elliot Connors is entered in the pole vault.
The Camden 400 relay of Kevin Jones, Justin Lewis, Joe Muller and Ward Seymour will also be in action.