Valley Sports Report
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - In any sport, the goal is to peak at right time.
For Waverly's three athletes at the New York State Indoor Track & Field Championships here Saturday at the Ocean Breeze Track Center, it was mission accomplished.
Junior Isaac Chandler became just the fifth Waverly athlete to medal at the State meet, placing fifth in the pole vault, tying his own school record with a height 14-feet, 6-inches.
Chandler also posted a personal-best time in the 55-meter hurdles, while junior Sheridan Talada ran a school-record time in the 3,000-meter run, and Melina Ortiz, in her fourth trip to States, posted a personal-best time in the 300-meter dash.
"When competing at the State Meet, one hopes to come away with at least a personal record, but on that level, it tends not to happen," said Waverly coach Scott Baird. "When it does though, it's very special. All four of our athletes competed with heart and determination.
"This was my 21st straight trip to the State indoor meet," noted Baird. "I've only had five other times at a State indoor meet where we have been able to experience such a wonderful day, when the performances clicked to gain them a PR or to land on the podium.
"Saturday was a special day," added Baird.
Assistant coach Nate Culver expressed similar sentiment.
"Coach Baird and I couldn't be more proud of the commitment, hard work and passion these kids have for this sport," he said. "They collectively represent what it means to wear the Wolverine ‘W.'"
Saturday marked the third consecutive meet that Chandler reached 14-feet, 6-inches. He is the second Waverly pole vaulter to medal at the indoor meet, matching Chris McCarty's fifth-place finish in 2010.
Jake Puusula holds the distinction of best finish at the indoor meet for the Wolverines, placing fourth in the 300-meter dash in 2005.
Albany Academy's Donald Jones claimed the state gold medal in the pole vault at 15-feet, 3-inches.
Chandler finished 26th in the 55-meter hurdles in a personal-best time of 8.08 seconds. Mount Sinai's Kenneth Wei won the state gold in a time of 7.49 seconds.
Talada finished 27th in the 3,000-meter run, breaking hew own school-record time with a time of 10:55.37.
North Rockland's Katelyn Tuohy won the state gold in 9:15.35 - more than 27 seconds faster than runner-up Brooke Dauber of Tully, who clocked in at 9:42.73.
Ortiz finished 29th in the 300-meter dash in a personal-best time of 43.49 seconds.
Huntington's Analyses Batista won the state gold in a time of 39.65 seconds.
Kaylee Uhl earned a sixth-place medal on the Intersectional relay in 2015. She was also part of fifth-place 1,600-meter relay in 2010, along with Mariah Brown, Serena Emms and Erick Kisel.
IN PHOTO: Waverly's Isaac Chandler and coach Scott Baird.
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