ENDICOTT, N.Y. — Mike Sokolofsky was beaming with pride following the New York State Track Championships at Union-Endicott High School near Binghamton last weekend.
After all, Somers’ boys track coach saw four of his athletes medal by placing in the top six in their respective competitions at the state meet, which took place June 9-10.
“It feels great to have all four of these guys finish where they did,” Sokolofsky said. “Every one of them performed well and came through. Having four all-state athletes is an amazing accomplishment and it is a testament to their hard work and dedication.”
Junior Greg Fusco was second overall and third in the Federation in the 3,200 meters in a clocking of 9:13.97. He had the lead with 600 meters to go but was passed by Corning’s Kevin Moshier and Briarcliff’s Ryan Gallagher, who took first and second, respectively.
“I was very happy to place as high up as I did in such a stacked field with so many of the best runners in the state and nation,” Fusco said. “Other times I’ve been to the state meet I haven’t done nearly as well as I’ve hoped to. I was just trying to break that streak and get ready for a good race. When I saw everyone was in it with a lap to go I was surprised but also ready to move, and when the kid in front of me went to try and break the field, I tried as hard as I could to get around him and to hang on.”
His twin brother Matt Fusco placed sixth overall and seventh in Federations, with a time of 9:20.67 in the 3,200 meters.
“Matt and Greg are tough runners who work hard all year without much rest and were able to come up with a huge performance in the state meet,” Sokolofsky said. “Both were within one second of their personal best.”
Greg was happy that the two juniors performed as well as they did on such a big stage.
“Crossing the line, I was in complete shock of what had just happened and was very grateful that my brother and I were both able to run such a great race at the right time of season,” Greg said. “It means so much to represent Somers in such a big way and I know none of it could have been possible without the hard work and determination our parents and coaches have put into making us the best runners and people we can be.”
Michael Panzarino, who was ranked No. 1 in the state in the pentathlon heading into the competition, finished third while compiling a total score of 3,112 points. In the 1,500 meters, the senior shined with a 4:17.66.
“Mike Panzarino completed his fifth pentathlon in the last five weeks,” Sokolofsky said. “He is a warrior in track and will be a huge gain for (SUNY) Brockport next year and definitely our loss.”
Numan Maloney, a junior, was fourth in the high jump with a 6-4, which is the Tusker program record.
“Going into states, coach (Jesse) Arnett told me that all I had to focus on was clearing 6-4 on my first attempt if I wanted to medal,” Maloney said. “He was exactly right. I was able to keep the mindset and do just that when it came down to competition day. Although I had a very close miss at 6-6, which is a height that would’ve been the school record, I am very happy with my performance. I am thankful to my coaches and teammates for helping me improve as much as I did this year, and winning fourth place at states is something that I never saw coming when I was a freshman entering the program.”
Sokolofsky said that Maloney really hit his stride toward the end of the spring track campaign.
“Numan works so hard in practice and loves the high jump,” Sokolofsky said. “He has become an elite jumper in the last month of this season and has his eyes set on jumping in college. He is consistently over 6-4 and has been so close to 6-6 a few times now. His second attempt at 6-6 was so close. The bar wobbled and almost stayed up, just nicking it with his lower leg.”
Maloney was also proud of the quartet’s success.
“The fact that we had all four of our athletes medal goes to show how great our staff and team really is,” Maloney said. “The Fuscos, Panzarino and I all worked extremely hard for this weekend, and there is definitely a strong sense of accomplishment.”
Sokolofsky is already looking forward to next season with a talented group of Tuskers returning.
“I am so proud of all four of these athletes,” he said, “and am excited to have three back next year with their sights set even higher.”