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Valley Sports Report
CICERO, N.Y. — The Waverly 400-meter relay foursome of seniors Ralph Johnson, and Micah Chandler, and juniors Kolsen Keathley, and Xavier Watson ran a near-perfect race to win a state gold medal here on a stormy Friday at Day 1 of the New York State Division 2 Track & Field Championships.

The Wolverine quartet won in convincing fashion, clocking in at a season-best time of 42.47 seconds — 0.34 seconds faster than the runner-up foursome from Christian Brothers Academy (Syracuse).

"The 400 relay was an amazing race," said Waverly coach Dave Hogan. "I think I speak for myself, our coaching staff, and the boys themselves when I say we’ll never forget it.

"Micah (Chandler) got off to a great start, and Xavier (Watson) got out hard to make for a great exchange," noted Hogan. "Xavier ran a competitive leg and made a quick, smooth handoff to Kolsen (Keathley).

"I have to give it to Kolsen — he ran a fast, critical leg of the race where he put us into a fantastic spot," continued Hogan. "Once Ralph had the baton and was off, I knew we had it won. He’s too good and too competitive to envision anything less.

"It was just a stellar performance where — again — they also managed to cut their time, on top of winning a state title," added Hogan.

Last year, Waverly's 400 relay, which including Johnson and Chandler, won a silver medal in a time of 42.03 seconds.

The foursome will have a chance to earn more hardware Saturday afternoon in the Federation championships.

By the time the action finished Friday, it was more than three hours behind schedule thanks to a pair of lengthy delays caused by thunderstorms.

Despite the delays, Johnson also managed to run the fastest time in the preliminaries of the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

"The weather made today a really long day, with a lot of waiting around," said Hogan. "Even Ralph, who ran three different times, did quite a bit of standing around.

"I give him a ton of credit for preparing himself properly, getting into a competitive mindset repeatedly today," noted Hogan. "Those things were happening going into and out of multiple rain and lightning delays.

"His performances in the 100 and 200 Division 2 semis were dominant yet again, and our coaching staff thinks he is trending toward a big day (Saturday)," added Hogan.

Johnson, who was seeded second at 10.65 seconds, ran the fastest time in the 100-meter dash trials, clocking in at 10.78 seconds — just .03 seconds ahead of Maryvale senior Sohel Ahmad Peran

Seeded first at 21.52 seconds, Johnson also ran the fastest time in the 200-meter dash preliminaries, clocking in at 21.71 seconds — 0.28 seconds ahead of CBA-Syracuse’s Dairen Williams

Chandler, who was seeded 15th at 11.08 seconds, finished 16th in the 100 in a time of 11.42 seconds. The last qualifier for Saturday’s finals clocked in at 11.17 seconds.

Chandler, who has been battling a hamstring injury, scratched out of the 200.

"The decision to scratch Micah out of the 200 was on our brain at the state qualifier, but we ultimately left it in Micah’s hands to decide," said Hogan.

"His hamstring is still flaring up, and after his 100 semi today, he vocalized that he wanted out of it," noted Hogan.

"The ‘scratch one, scratch all’ rule was still in place, until it was lifted about 15 minutes before his 200 semi," added Hogan. "We had him scratch as soon as we found out, mostly in order to get his mind right for the relay."

Day 2 action begins at 11 a.m. Saturday.


IN PHOTO 1: Waverly’s Kolsen Keathley and Xavier Watson (baton). … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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