Marco, Feil, and Bickmore compete at States indoor track for Guilderland

GUILDERLAND — Practice for the outdoor track season has already begun, and, after competing at the state level for indoor track two weeks ago, Abby Marco, Jon Feil, and Harrison Bickmore feel good about the spring season for Guilderland.

Most track athletes use the indoor season as a catalyst for the outdoor spring season. Dutch indoor coach Dave Kosier said this week that qualifying for States indoors is actually harder than outdoors because indoor track isn’t broken up into two divisions.

“Everyone is competing for those two state spots no matter the size of the school,” Kosier said of qualifying for state indoor track competition. “It had been a long time since Guilderland had three athletes at States, so it was a great accomplishment. It was nice, and we had pretty good results.”

After breaking Guilderland’s 55-meter hurdles record with a time of 8.78 at state qualifiers, Abby Marco had a mark of 9.09 at States at Cornell University on March 1. A senior, she has been given a Division I scholarship for track at Lafayette College, and her state time was good enough for 19th place.

Picked to finish last in his 600-meter heat at state qualifiers, Jon Feil pushed for second place, and got a state bid. He came in 13th place at States with a time of 1:25.16.

Harrison Bickmore, who stands at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, improved his high-jump technique this season, and cleared six feet at States for 12th place. Kosier said that Bickmore had dealt with knee pain in the past, but he’s mostly carefree this year.

“Section 2 is so strong for track, and one of the best in the country,” said Kosier. “The indoor season is a tremendous help for our athletes.”

Marco said that she joined the track team in eighth grade to stay in shape for soccer; the Guilderland girls’ soccer team won a sectional title in 2012. During her sophomore outdoor track season, Marco set the Guilderland record for the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 64.56.

“I have a desire to perform,” Marco said on Monday. “After I found success in track, I felt like it was something that I should keep doing.”

Marco had the goal of breaking Dejana Harris’s 55-meter hurdle record (8.88) this winter, but Kosier says that Marco would prefer the 400-meter hurdles if she had to choose. “She did indoor to stay in shape for outdoor,” Kosier said. “Everything fell into place nicely.”

Unsure of her hurdling prowess, Marco just wanted to hurdle as much as she could. “It ended up working out,” she said. “I wasn’t sure of how I would break the record, but I gave it a shot.”

Marco, who also runs in relays for Guilderland, said she struggled to better her mark in the 400-hurdles last spring, getting times in the low 65-second range. She said she doesn’t feel pressure from being attached to a Division I scholarship.

And, coincidentally, Harris, Marco’s old training partner, attends Lafayette College.

“I visited the school, loved it, and then found out that Harris was there, too,” Marco said. “We’re friends, so we’ll be training together, again.”

Feil, a junior, went above and beyond to make the state competition for indoor track. He set a personal record in the 600-meter by two seconds at state qualifiers, and was in sixth place with one lap to go.

“My plan was to keep pace with the other runners, and then kick them at the end,” said Feil on Monday. “I got an adrenaline rush, and just kicked that last lap. I could barely stand after the race.”

With prayers and drive to make States, Feil focused for the entire week leading up to the state-qualifying meet. “That last bend, I was real close, so I put it all in,” he said. “Then, I was smiling for five minutes.”

Kosier told The Enterprise that people look at leader boards coming into a track meet, and try to guess where schools will put their runners. Not too many people were worried about Feil, he said.

“He ran a heck of a race,” Kosier said of Feil.

Feil was hoping for another 600-meter personal record at States because Cornell had a nicer track, but he came up short. He says he’s naturally competitive.

“Some of the coaches tell me to hold back sometimes,” said Feil, “but I can’t do that.”

Bickmore, a junior, said he watched in amazement while Alexander’s D.J. Ohlson cleared 6 feet, 9 inches in the high jump at States.

“It was exciting to watch all those guys,” said Bickmore on Monday. “It’s all about your technique.”

Clearing 6 feet at States was a personal record for Bickmore, who has jumped 6 feet, 2 inches at practice. He thinks his long legs give him more power, and working on the arch of his back during a jump has given him more height.

“He’s still figuring it out,” Kosier said of Bickmore, who is still growing. “He’s only going to improve, so I expect his outdoor season to go well.”

The state meet was the first time Bickmore’s parents had watched him compete. “I had a better day,” he said. “I wanted to impress them.”

Bickmore enjoys the fun that comes with high jumping, and he’s hoping to clear 6 feet, 4 inches this spring. He also competes in the hurdles and the 400-meter run.

Bickmore thinks that he eventually should be able to jump his six-and-a-half-foot height, if he practices hard enough and does more conditioning on his legs. In the past, he had to ice his knees often, but not this season.

Kosier said that there’s no rhythm or reason for high jump.

“Some kids have springs, and some don’t,” he said. “When you’re tall, there’s a lot more of you to get over the bar.”

Overall, the indoor track season was a success for Guilderland, Kosier said. The Dutch won most of its league meets, and went into big meets, like one at Dartmouth College, knowing it could score points.

Kosier said that the indoor track season has a “mixed bag of importance” for athletes who also compete outdoors in the spring. However, the boys’ and girls’ teams are split up in the spring.

Marco, Feil, and Bickmore agreed that the outside air is easier to breath.

“Most of the athletes prefer outdoor, but indoor has a tight, close-knit feel,” Kosier said. “It’s special.”

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