Chiefs take sectional title over SL

Saranac Lake’s Lea Kidd clears a hurdle during the second heat of the 100-meter hurdles race of the Section VII championships Thursday at Plattsburgh High School. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

PLATTSBURGH — The Saranac Lake boys track and field team finished the regular season with an undefeated dual meet record, but Saranac Central turn the tables Thursday in the Section VII championship meet at Plattsburgh High School.

The Chiefs won the meet with 194 points and Saranac Lake had to settle for second with 183. The Lake Placid boys scored 24 points to finish eighth out of 11 teams.

On the girls’ side, Saranac again claimed the title with 158 points while Saranac Lake finished third with 90 and Lake Placid placed eighth with 28 points.

Although the Red Storm boys fell short of their goal, several athletes recorded personal bests, or close to it. Patrick Alberga won the shot put with a throw of 52 feet, 1.5 inches, which was enough for him to automatically qualify for the NYSPHSAA state championships at Middletown High School in two weeks. Jon Hewitt won Thursday’s discus with a throw of 125-6, which was almost eight feet farther than second place.

Saranac Lake boys also won the 4×800, while Nick Kelting (51.95 seconds) and Patrick Wamsganz (52.06) went one-two in the 400-meter dash. Local runners took four of the top-10 slots in the 800, with Micah McCulley (2:06.54) taking second, followed by Peter Fogarty (2:07.28) in third. Lake Placid’s Mike Skutt (2:12.24) placed sixth and was followed by Saranac Lake’s Adam Hesseltine (2:13.04)

Keene senior Noah Fine, left, runs for Lake Placid during the Section VII championships Thursday at Plattsburgh High School. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Results were similar in the 1,600, as Keene Central School senior Noah Fine, competing for Lake Placid, placed second with a 4:35.62. Fogarty was third in 4:39.68, James Catania (4:43.79) was fourth and Andrew Fogarty (4:47.74) was sixth.

Local boys also took several of the top-10 spots in the 3,200, with Catania winning with a time of 10:13.81. Peter Fogarty (10:30.01) took third and Anderson Gray (10:34.8) was fourth.

Saranac Lake head coach Cy Ellsworth said his team performed well, but a Division I college prospect from Saranac Central was just too much for the Red Storm.

“I thought we had some outstanding performances today. We’re super proud of all the kids,” Ellsworth said. “We really came to play today, and Saranac did as well. It’s pretty noticeable — as a former student-athlete that played at the D-I level — you can really pick out those guys, especially in the North Country sports world.

“Cameron Duffield is an outstanding track and field athlete, and he single-handedly got 40 points. He was a key player for Saranac. We struggled in a few of our events, but I just feel our kids had an outstanding day. This is a really good track and field team and it was a lot of fun. I’m real proud of our kids.”

Lake Placid’s Hali Cook, left, gets ready to hand off the baton to Maddie Cohen during the 4x100 race in Plattsburgh on Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

On the girls’ side of things, Lake Placid came up with a huge win in the 4×400 as senior Sara Rose-McCandlish pulled out a gutsy, come-from-behind win in the final lap of the race.

Saranac Lake’s Edina Cecunjanin placed second in the 100 with a time of 13.3 seconds, while Grace Clark (16.65) placed second in the 100 hurdles while her younger sister Bethany (18.06) earned a fifth-place spot in the race.

Cecunjanin also won the 200 with a blistering 26.84, more than full second ahead of second place. Lake Placid’s Annie Rose-McCandlish (28.85) placed sixth in the 200 and was followed by Saranac Lake’s Hailey Cornell (29.03) in seventh.

Cecunjanin continued her winning ways in the 400 with a time of 1:00.84, while Annie Rose-McCandlish took second in 1:02.4. Grace Clark (1:13.98) and Sylvie Linck (1:15.06) went seven-eight in the 400 hurdles. Saranac Lake’s Gwen Mader (2:39.97) placed fifth in the 800 and 11th in the 1,500 while Lake Placid’s Lynn Palen (5:33.32) rounded out the top-10 in that event.

Saranac Lake won the 4×100 with a time of 52.57, Naila Cecunjanin took third in the high jump with a leap of 4-8 and Mecalyn Sousa-Thompson earned a second-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 30-8.

Bill and Mel Frazer, coaches of the combined Keene/Lake Placid team, said the girls 4×400 win was the highlight of the season.

“Looking across the board, we always look for PRs (personal records) and this is when you’re supposed to do them,” Bill Frazer said. “Every kid was PR-ing. We’re really surprised (by the girls win in the 4×400), that was awesome.”

“I knew they would win,” Mel Frazer said. “Sara, if she’s that close behind somebody, she’s not a fun one to have right behind you. Because she will eat you alive.”

“That was a fun one,” Bill Frazer said.

Saranac Lake and Lake Placid will compete at the state qualifier meet Friday, May 31 at AuSable Valley Central School. The NYSPHSAA championships will take place Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8 at Middletown High School.