Sarah Crockett of Rome Free Academy will head into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association outdoor track and field state championship meet today as the top ranked competitor in the shot put, as well as eighth in the discus throw.
Fellow RFA senior Devon McClendon will compete in the 800.
Crockett’s shot put rank is based on a throw of 45 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Her discus distance is 129-8. She hit her personal best in the shot put last Friday at the state qualifiers.
“The field for the state championships is loaded with great competitive throwers, so she will have to be on her game to come out on top,” noted RFA coach Brett Couchman.
As the Division 1 defending champion in the shot, her goal is to defend the title and to take aim at the Section III and RFA record of 46 feet, 4.25 inches set by Mariah Mays in 2015.
“In the discus, Sarah is much improved and with a good day could challenge for a place high on the podium,” Couchman said. Her best is “well within striking range for a medal, as six of the top seven are less than five feet ahead of her. But it will take a lot of focus to be solid in both events and I believe she has the ability and most of all the maturity to handle both events extremely well, something she has much improved upon this year.”
Couchman noted that Crockett and throwing coach Ted Swavely have been fine tuning this week.
Crockett said her focus this week has been speed, throwing a lighter shot put to work on a quick delivery for explosiveness. She said her goal is to set a new personal record in the shot and throw at least 130 feet in discus.
Crockett said her season went “really well” in the shot but, “I had a really hard time” with the discus. So she’s focused on technique and rhythm. “I’m excited. It’s my senior year,” and her mother will get to see her in states for a second time, she noted.
Couchman said: “She is unfazed by this level of competition as she has been to the states many times and competed at nationals as well. She is not attending nationals this spring, so this will be her final competition for Rome Free Academy.” After that she will head to SUNY Brockport to study geology and compete on the track team. “Myself and Coach Swavely and the entire track staff will miss her work ethic, wit, humor and her competitive spirit so much. You can only wish for great things for such an awesome person,” Couchman said.
McClendon, said RFA coach Timothy Hoffman, came into the spring track season off “a tremendous indoor track season with Coach Mays.” He built off that momentum to reach the goal he had set for himself at the beginning of the season: make states in the 800.
McClendon said he spent more time during outdoor season on endurance training, and running the 100 helped him with finishing the 800 strong. “I was thinking I’d go sub two (minutes) at the beginning of the season but I didn’t until Sectionals, which was a bit worrisome.” During indoor season, he noted, there are many Syracuse runners to push him but in outdoor, amongst Tri-Valley League runners, “no one’s really up there with me.”
“He gave 100% during the workouts and on race day no matter what,” Hoffman said. He was TVL champion in the 800 and placed second at Sectionals with a time of 1:58.82, which was the state qualifying standard. “After that everything kind of fell into place for Devon to go to states. I’m just looking for him to give his best and lower his existing 800 time to set a new (personal record). A top 10 finish would be tremendous and he has the ability to do it.”
The goal, said McClendon, is to run a 1:56, which would smash his personal record of 1:58.82. “I think I have to get out good and on the second lap I have to push at the 600 mark.”
McClendon is likely headed to SUNY Poly in the fall and plans to run cross country there.
The meet will take place today and Saturday in Middletown.
Along with the RFA athletes, there are several other area athletes who will participate in the state meet:
• Cory Couture of Vernon-Verona-Sherril will run in the 200 and the 400 in Division 2. He will also be a part of the school’s 1600 relay team in Division 2 along with Spencer Walker, Terrell Rainwater, Dion Putaski, Ian Drummand and Robert Merrill.
Sara Brown of VVS will be in the Division 2 long jump. Teammate LeeAnne Lowery will be in the Division 2 discus and Delaney Brewer will be in the steeplechase.
• Josh Mayden of Camden will be in the pentathlon. Clinton’s Louis Pinto is in the high jump. Luke Lombardi of Oneida will compete in the pole vault.
• Jason Robinson of Westmoreland is the lone competitor in the boys 800, 1,600 and 3,200 wheelchair races.
• MacKenzie Mix of Camden will run in the 100 in Division 2. Teammate Elizabeth Lucason is in the 1,500.
• Roxee Hughes of Clinton will be in the 100 in Division 2., and teammate Eva Borton will be competing in the 3,000.
• South Lewis teammates Hannah Iefield and Lexi Bernard have qualified for the 3,000.