Seeds sprout for Guilderland in summer sun of States

The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia

Ebb and flow: Guilderland’s Noah Carey runs forward while looking backward to take a baton and start the third leg amid the rush of a 3200-meter relay for state championships Saturday.

GUILDERLAND — All of the Guilderland runners at the state championships did better than expected.

The 4 x 800 boys’ relay team, seeded fourth out of 29 teams, came in second; Noah Carey, seeded seventh of 25 in the 3,200-meter run, came in fifth; and Emily Burns, seeded third out of 29 in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, finished in second.

A baton falls between rivalry

Guilderland’s relay team ended its race Saturday afternoon almost five seconds behind Section 2 rival Shenendehowa.

As runners from Shen and Arlington raced to the finish, leaning in, nearly diving to get an indistinguishable lead, Arlington runner James Asselmeyer’s baton tumbled to the ground, disqualifying his team, and he followed.

Asselmeyer lay on the ground with his hands covering his face as Collin Rowe from Shen blitzed through and dropped to the track, as well, once he and his baton were safely past the finish line.

“Twenty meters out, I told myself, ‘I’m going to dive,’” Rowe said. “Then, 10 meters out, I told myself, ‘I don’t know how to dive.’”

Guilderland’s Andrew Burns came up behind, finishing at 7:45.24, while Shen had finished with 7:40.55.

“This was our main focus for the last four or five months,” Guilderland senior Andrew Burns said after the race.

Senior Jon Feil started the relay for the Dutch, but he was boxed in, unable to get out of the pack without risking tripping someone, and ran a slightly shorter leg than Shen. After him, eighth-grader Noah Tindale got a one-second lead over Shen.

“When I got the baton, I wanted to have a bigger lead over Mitch,” sophomore Noah Carey said of Shen’s Mitchell Halpern, who ran the same third leg as Carey.

“Mitch had a great kick,” he added. “He fired ahead and he just got me.”

In the final leg, Burns said he saw Shen’s Collin Rowe was head of him and knew he had to focus on keeping behind him, as Rowe has a faster leg.


Splitting seconds, the close battle for the finish between Collin Rowe of Shen, right, and James Asselmeyer of Arlington is decided as Asselmeyer stumbles with empty hands. The Enterprise — Marcello Iaia


For the four Shen runners, their race was motivated by redemption, both from poor performance in indoor Nationals, and in a previous meet, when Guilderland got out ahead.

“They said something to us that we kind of took to heart,” said Jack Vite of Shen. “They said, ‘Suck it, Shen,’” adding that the Guilderland runners are “good friends.”

Guilderland’s runners will compete again in North Carolina this weekend, at the New Balance Nationals for outdoor track under the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation.

“They’re a young team,” Rowe said of Guilderland. “It’ll be interesting to see what they do.”

Noah Carey

Carey, a Guilderland sophomore, was seeded seventh out of 25 boys in the 3200-meter run, with a seed time of 9:19.84. Most of the season, he had run ahead of the pack, way out in front, where he’d rather not be.

That was true when he qualified for the state championships on June 5.  “I’m not the kind of guy to really lead the race and get a good time,” Carey said after the qualifier.

He came in first, with a time of 9:19:84.

“He did have to do a lot of work on his own,” said the boys’ long-distance coach, Bill

Tindale, after the qualifier. “Next week,” said Tindale of the state competition, “we’ll get a race with a big pack.” He said Carey’s goal was to come in ninth or 10th place or under to qualify for Nationals.

Carey did better than that. He came in fifth in his Section 2 heat with a time of  9:20:70, placing him fifth in the finals as well. He will be competing at Nationals this weekend.

The Section 1 heat in Friday evening’s 3200-meter race had a small, tight cluster of runners at the front, with the other runners spread out around the track as the laps progressed.

However, in the Section 2 heat, which included Carey, all of the runners raced in a pack for the entire 3,200 meters.

For the first four laps, Carey was in fourth or fifth position. Then he dropped back to eighth in the fifth and sixth laps — with all the runners still in a tight cluster.

Finally, in the seventh lap, he surged up to fifth place and held it through the final lap to the finish line.

Emily Burns

Burns’s run in the 2000-meeter steeplechase on Saturday was bittersweet.

She was pleased to have run so well — second for Section 2, putting her second in the finals — but sad to run the last time in Section 2 for Guilderland. She started on the team six years ago as a seventh-grader. “I’ve loved running in Section 2,” she said.

New challenges await. She and her twin brother, Andrew, who also ran well on Saturday, in the relay, will both be running for Marist College in the fall. “My dad ran in college,” she said, explaining the family bent for running. “He didn’t want to push us, though,” she added. Burns had played soccer before she took up running.

Burns said she was “pretty nervous” before the race.  “I’m going to stay with the pack and see what happens,” she said.

She was seeded third out of 29 girls with a seed time of 6:54:62. On the fifth and final lap of Saturday’s race, she pulled up in the thinning pack after clearing the last hurdle with grace, landing in the water without missing a beat.


Head down and hell-bent: Emily Burns, in front, clears the hurdle during her last Section 2 race for Guilderland High School. The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer


Burns finished with a time of 6:56.516, about four seconds behind Beatrice Boylan of Cornwall.

After the race, Burns said, “I stayed relaxed. I had a lot of energy.”

She noted the weather was “perfect” — sunny and crisp — and said she felt comfortable on her “home course” at the University at Albany. “I live five minutes from here.”

Standing past the finish line, Burns reflected on her passion for the sport. “I just love running,” she said. “You’re giving all you have. You know all your hard work pays off.”

She concluded, “I’m happy I finished second.”

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