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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 10, 2011

Harris, Turek, Diamente get first place
Guilderland indoor track does well at championships

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Twelve track teams all packed inside the SEFCU Arena at the University at Albany for the Suburban Council Championships, made for a chaotic scene on Monday evening.

Athletes were warming up in every possible open space and crossing the track after or before groups of runners passed by during a race.

Lea Cure and Anna Pickett had just finished running the 4 x 800 meter relay for Guilderland, coming in eighth place with a time of 10:30.69. Both girls agreed that all the chaos can be distracting at times, especially when they’re waiting for the baton.

“Someone might run you off course, but you can’t worry about that,” said Cure, who ran the fourth leg of the race. “Just block everything out and focus and don’t let all the chaos bother you,” she advised.

“Everyone is running by and it builds up your nerves,” said Pickett, who ran the second leg. “It can be difficult when you have a group that’s so close in speed, along with all the other competition.”

Pickett, a junior, told The Enterprise that every leg of the relay race has equal importance. “There’s a lot of debate over the beginning, middle, and end,” she said. “I think the pressure falls equally on everyone.”

The Dutch brought 17 athletes to the SEFCU Arena and seven of them placed in the top six. Juniors Catalena Diamente, Nico Turek, and Dejana Harris each got first place in their respective events –– triple jump, 1600 meter run, and 55 meter hurdles.

“I’m proud of these athletes,” Head Coach Dave Kosier said. “They keep bringing the best.”

Diamente, who broke Guilderland’s previous triple-jump record with a distance of 36 feet, 6 inches at an earlier meet at Union College, broke the record again by jumping 37 feet, 2 inches on Monday. Guilderland’s triple-jump record was 34 feet, but Diamente has completely shattered the mark.

“I didn’t really know about the record,” Diamente said before her jump on Monday. She also placed fifth in the long jump at 15 feet, 9 inches. “I was really excited after I found out.”

Diamente used to compete on the gymnastics team for Guilderland in the winter, but decided to try indoor track for the first time this season. She’s made an immediate impact.

“I was injured too much in gymnastics,” said Diamente as she warmed up her legs. “I made a change and I think it will help me a lot for outdoor in the spring.”

Harris set a school record in the 55-meter hurdles a few weeks ago at a Yale University meet for elite high-school athletes, and her time of 8.95 was good enough for first place on Monday. Turek ran a time of 4:35.7 in the 1600-meter to place first ahead of 23 other runners.

Senior Liz Tapler cleared five feet in the high jump for second place, and Andrew Coy finished the 100-meter in 2:47.89 for sixth place. Michelle Fish was sixth in the 1500-meter and Sara Buckley also came in sixth in the 300-meter run.

“This gets tougher and tougher each time,” Kosier said. “The results have been phenomenal.”

The 10 girls from Guilderland combined for 32 points on Monday, good enough for fifth place overall. Kosier said that the girls’ team he has right now might be the “best ever” for the Dutch.

“We thought about winning sectionals at one point,” said Kosier. Division I sectionals take place tomorrow at the SEFCU Arena. “I don’t know if we can win it all, but we’re a strong team.”

Kosier went on to explain some differences between indoor and outdoor track, but he was concerned about the future of indoor track at Guilderland. Last year, indoor track was cut from the school budget as a repeat sport, but funds were raised from the community to restore it for this school year, although supporters feel it is vulnerable again.

“The energy might not be there to raise money next time,” Kosier said. “It’s unfortunate because we have some real athletes that can win in a great region of track.”

Some Dutch athletes prefer indoor to outdoor, or see it as a lead-up to outdoor track in the spring. Either way, it’s a way for the athletes to stay in shape over the cold winter months.

“It’s very difficult to stay in shape over the winter, unless you are severely self-motivated,” said Kosier. “These kids have a safe indoor environment to come to and a team to be involved with. It’s a successful situation, besides the danger of nothing. They learn lessons, sportsmanship, and have great opportunities. I’d hate to see it go.”

“My whole training regime would change,” Pickett said. “Adapt your plans accordingly.”

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