NEW YORK, N.Y.— To qualify for states in winter track and field, an athlete has to finish in the top two at the state qualifiers or meet the qualifying standard if they take third.
Three Somers Tuskers were able to accomplish that feat on Feb. 24 at the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.
Greg Fusco (1,600 meters), Numan Maloney (high jump) and Katie Melly (pole vault) all finished in the top three and will compete at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Facility on March 4 on Staten Island.
Fusco flew around the track in the 1,600 meters in a clocking of 4:15.52 to place second at the state qualifiers.
“Heading into the race I really wanted to run a fast time and place in the top three so I could qualify,” Fusco said. “Knowing so many people had run so fast heading into the race I knew that if I stuck to the plan my coaches and I came up with, I’d be able to run a fast time and advance to states.”
This will be the second-straight season the junior will compete at states in the 1,600 meters.
“It means a lot to qualify for the state meet,” Fusco said. “I think that being on the smaller side of schools in Section 1 track it’s always been a little harder for our school to place well at state quals, but I’ve been extremely fortunate to have great coaching and to have run well when I needed to. Last year making states in the 1, 600 meters indoor was like a dream come true and being able to do it in back-to-back years makes this experience a lot sweeter.”
Maloney tied his personal best of 6-1 in the high jump to take second.
“It’s a really big deal for me to get this far in the season, especially since states has been a goal of mine since I first started the sport,” Maloney said. “Going to states comes with a lot of recognition for my hard work and I take that as motivation to do even better.”
The junior said that he was just concentrating on his own efforts and not on how the other competitors were doing.
“Since the performances of the other athletes were out of my control, I knew I had to focus on my jumps with a sense of urgency,” Maloney said.
Melly, who is making her second trip to states in the pole vault, recorded a 9-6 for a second-place finish.
“I was really excited to qualify for the state meet because it’s my senior year and it will be my last winter states meet,” Melly said. “This season I have worked hard to switch to a bigger pole with more bend which was an adjustment. The state qualifier meet was a good day, and I had hope to carry this confidence through to the state meet.”
Melly said she’s maintaing a positive attitude heading into states by visualizing her plan to perform to the best of her ability.
“My goal is to clear 10-feet or above,” she said.
Teammate Maya Watt finished fourth in the pole vault (9-3) to just miss states. Caitlyn Van Tassell was fifth (8-6).
Also for the girls, the 4x200-meter relay team set an indoor school record in the preliminaries with a 1:48.38. They ran to a 1:48.68, which was good for fifth in the finals with a team of Michelle Rosenblum, Emma Kittredge, Jane Kaufman and Andrea Polvere. Polvere set a school record with a 25.9 split time.
Anjali Kapur was ninth in the 3,000 meters (11:11.01). Kittredge took eighth in the high jump with a leap of 4-8.
Matt Fusco had a strong performance in the 3,200 meters, just missing states with a fourth-place finish in a time of 9:28.46.
Michael Panzarino was fifth in the 55-meter hurdles in 8.22 seconds.
The 4x800-meter relay team took fifth with a clocking of 8:13.96. The team was comprised of Matt Fusco, Greg Fusco, Panzarino and Nico Ferro. Panzarino (2:01.669) and Matt Fusco (2:01.775) had the two best splits.
Joe Luciano was 11th in the weight throw (43-11 3/4). Michael Somoza clocked a 6.78 in the 55-meter dash.
Somers’ talented trio of Greg Fusco, Maloney and Melly are looking forward to competing against the finest the state has to offer this weekend.
“I always enjoy jumping with the best of the best because I can learn from them as well as try to make my own mark at a high-level meet,” Maloney said. “My goal is the same at every meet and that is to try my best and enjoy the experience.”