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Eagles Walk off with League Title

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by Perry King
Eagle Girls Earn Title and Guy's Slip in at 2nd at League Meet 
In the 5th season of the new era of indoor track for Dobbs Ferry, the Eagles finally got their first league title in recent times and maybe the first ever for the girls, who outpaced Ardsley by a 128-112.5 score. The boys also finished strong to hold off Hastings for 2nd place by 2 points while trailing champ Woodlands by 105-83. In both cases the great outcomes were due to an "all hands on deck" strategy by Coach JP Kaminski to squeeze big efforts out of every team member, many of whom got a first taste at unfamiliar events. Though the actions (mainly captured for posterity on film) had plenty of oddities as shot putters faced the wrong way, triple jumpers hopped off wrong feet, high jumpers displayed highly unusual somersault techniques, and many athletes sought last minute advice on "how do I do this thing," the group effort produced a championship when every point was precious and 30 different Eagles were digging out points on the girls and boys sides.

After two years in a Bronxville-dominated league back in 2008 and 2009, the Eagles have been slowly moving up in their Rivertowns 2C Conference league. The boys were the runner-up for the second straight year, and after three straight 4ths and then a 3rd last year, the girls pushed through for the title in 2012. In a league that includes five other teams (Woodlands, Sleepy Hollow, Irvington, Ardsley, and Hastings) and 14 core events plus 1500m Race walk for girls and apparently also the pole vault on both sides even if there is only one minimalist pole vaulter, the first team to 100 points usually wins. Both the boys and girls got only three 1st place finishes, but they got a championship by pinching off enough points in every event not called the high jump or pole vault and dominating some key events.

On the usual bitterly cold January Sunday at the Armory for the League contest on January 15, the event that usually gets the Eagles flying is the 1500m race walk, which Sofia Maluf had won the four previous years. As she was temporarily unavailable following the surgery to remove the rods, pins, bolts and other sundry pieces of metal needed for her recovery from last February's accident, another Eagle had to be dragged in to keep the walking streak going. That would be a game Mary Constant (trying out three new events on the day), who figured out on the fly just how much she could get away with as she ambulated away from Sleepy Hollow's Liz Brady on the last lap to win in a personal best 9:25.4 time to pick up the first 10 of her 14 points on the day.

The boys also got into the groove in the next event, as the 3200m is always a big favorite for them. Running with athletes from the other two league meets taking place at the Armory on Sunday afternoon, Brendan Wortner again claimed the 3200 title with a dominating 9:56.3 time and the Eagles again took 2nd (Epstein kid last year), as Grant Sheely nailed his first League silver with a 10:44.4 time. The girls also piled up more points in the 3000m as Shanna Yue ran away from Ardsley's Selena Colon to finish in a personal best 11:19.5 to take 3rd behind the Katherines (Ardsley's Loomba and Sleepy Hollow's Doyle). Annabelle Sheely stayed strong for 5th in 12:49.9 and Rebecca Wiersma pushed the Eagles' booty in the 3000m to 9 points with a 13:47.1.

The heats of the 55m hurdles were underway early, and the Eagles hung in well in an event that has not always been a team strong point. Bryan Martin bounded over obstructions to finish in 11.0 to take 2nd in an event won by Woodlands' Dane Watson, as the Falcons began to show their strength in the short, fast and the field events that took them to the title. The Eagle girls stayed on championship pace, as Elizabeth Majia took 3rd in 11.7, Mary Constant transformed from walker to hurdler with a 4th place 12.0, and Talia Clarick picked up the 6th place with a 15.0 time.

Heading on to the 1000m, a quartet of Eagles lined for the boys race. Bryan Martin turned it up to move from 7th on the first lap into 4th with a 2:58.7 time, critically beating out a pair of Yellowjackets down the last stretch. Keith Hickey finished in 9th at 3:12.0, Calvin Sheely was 11th in 3:26.7, and George Argyros was 12th in 3:51.0. The 1000m was the big moneymaker for the girls, as they hauled away 22 points to move to a lead over Ardsley. Sarah King powered to 1st in 3:22.9 and was followed a half second later by Shanna Yue with another personal best of 3:23.40, as she moved past Hastings' Jamie Mondello on the fourth lap. Sashia Clarick continued the great action with a 4th in 3:38.4. Josephine Weidner finished just back in 7th at 3:50.1 and Lindsey Yue was 9th in 4:06.5.

Around this time the 55m sprint was finishing up. Although many Eagle guys competed in the heats and some like Gary Lu and Simeon Park reached the semis, the lone Eagle surviving till finals was Ben Hord, who smashed his PR with a 7.0 for 4th. The girls placed three sprinters in the finals and came away with 7 more points as three Eagles set PRs, with Lila Walsh hitting 7.7 for 4th, Katie Daly going 7.9 for 5th, and Alexa Rose Baviello taking 6th with an 8.1.

Back to the long, or longer, run, the 600m event turned out to be a bit of a lull for the Eagles, as no guys were entered. The girls kept plugging for another point as Riley McKeown took 6th with a big PR of 2:01.6. Chasing her were Sarah Coburn in 8th with a 2:05.4 and Emily Faro in 13th with a 2:23.4.

Add 1000 or so more meters and you have another strong Eagle event. Brendan Wortner had little trouble speeding to his 2nd gold with a 4:49.1. Grant Sheely and Takanori Okkotsu made the Eagle tally bigger with 5th and 6th in 5:16.9 and 5:17.7, though Irvington's Joe Riley gave them a scare by almost sneaking by them at the finish line. On the girls side, Sarah King fought through the 7th-lap heaves to take a 2nd behind Ardsley's Katherine Loomba in 5:17.4. Annabelle Sheely finished 7th in 5:53.5, Dylan Clay-Devlin was 8th in 6:09.1, and Rebecca Wiersma was 13th in 6:34.5.

With about half the events tallied, the Eagles had small leads on both sides, with the guys a few points ahead of four teams that all had 30-38 points and Irvington lagging at the back. The girls were also slightly ahead of Ardsley. The next event, the 300m, would start Woodlands on the way to the guys' title as the field events kicked in heavily, but the Eagle girls also got a big boost to pull a little further ahead of Ardsley.

With six Eagles entered in the 300m and all getting PRs, Ben Hord again proved to be the speediest Eagle on the day as he took 5th in 39.9. Joey Stallupi got 8th in 42.2, Simeon Park got 46.0 for 12th, Andrew Ruiz was 14th in 46.8, Cyrus Hadavi was 17th in 48.1, and Jeff Garcia was 19th in 49.2. The Eagle girls' breakaway move came with more PRs as Lila Walsh took 2nd with a 45.4 behind Sleepy Hollow's Gabrielle Maldonado. Though running in the 2nd heat, Sarah Koenigsberg blasted to a 46.1 and a share of 3rd place with Hastings' Lauren Wilt, as Dobbs outscored Ardsley 13-0 in the event. Anders Carlton was 10th in 52.2, and Elizabeth Majia was 16th in 55.1.

The individual running events were finished and the tallying of the field events was underway. Last year the guys got just 4 points and the girls 6 in field events, and this year the numbers were 16 and 21. With the help of a crew of long jump veterans and and a corps of mainly rookies for the other field events, the Eagles got the points to stay in good position. The high jump was a washout on both sides, though Mary Constant gave the HJ a try. The long jump was a better points earner, as Keith Hickey leaped to a 5th place 14-01.25 distance for 5th, with Andrew Ruiz at 8th in 13-01.75, Ryan Moynihan at 10th with 12-08.25, Liam Daly at 11th in 12-07.75, and Jeff Garcia in 13th at 11-07.25. The girls netted a total of 10 points between Sarah Koenigsberg's 2nd place 13-04.25 jump and Katie Daly's 5th place 12-05.50. Sarah Coburn took 7th with a 12-03.5, Elizabeth Majia was 13th with a 9-08.75, and Sasha Clarick was 14th with a 9-07.

The girls also scored nicely with 9 points in the triple jump behind Sleepy Hollow's LJ-TJ gold medalist Gillian Berger as Grace Kim leaped to a 3rd place 25-04, Cara Horsfield 5th in 21-11.5, and Talia Clarick was 6th in 20-08. The guys got a 4th from Gary Lu in 32-03.5 in the TJ. The final field event was the shot put and earned the Eagles more points. Hunter Bock and Kyle Ramos both tossed PR throws of 28-04.5 and 27-11.5 for 3rd and 4th to help hold off a hard-charging Hastings that took 1st and 5th in the event. Alexa Rose Baviello picked up 2 big points in the shot put in 5th with a 21-7.5 throw for the Eagles, as Cara Horsfield finished 7th in 19-09.5 and Emily Faro was 10th in 17-11.

Entering the relays, Woodlands had already pretty much clinched the guys' title, but the Eagles were just 8 points ahead of Hastings in the battle for 2nd. The girls' contest was still a nailbiter with the Eagles up by 4.5 points. The 4x800m races got the Eagles off to a strong start. With Brendan Wortner opening up a huge early lead, the Eagles team including Bryan Martin, Grant Sheely and Takanori Okkotsu stayed comfortably ahead of 2nd place Hastings to win by 19 seconds in 9:23.6 to push the margin over the Yellowjackets to 10. The girls 4x800m squad took the lead from Irvington on the third leg and then won by 10 seconds as Annabelle Sheely, Sarah King, Shanna Yue, and Sasha Clarick took the gold with a 11:15.9 (23 seconds improvement from last year) and gain 4 points on 3rd place finisher Ardsley.

The 4x200m relay provided a lot of high drama as the Eagles dueled with Woodlands in two memorable races. Sleepy Hollow took the boys race and Hastings was 2nd, so it was important that Dobbs stay close. Usually the Eagles finish a long ways behind the Woodlands sprint relay teams, but Gary Lu, Ben Hord, Simeon Park, and Joey Stallupi battled back and forth with Woodlands and Joey just would not let the Falcon anchor go by on the final straightaway, as the Eagles posted a 1:48.6. Sleepy Hollow also won the girls 4x200m, but Sarah Koenigsberg, Grace Kim, and Katie Daly stayed fairly close to Woodlands for three legs, and then Alexa Rose Baviello scorched the final turn and made up 10 meters in the back straight for a second 0.2 margin for the Eagles over Woodlands with a 1:58.4, likely a school record. The race clinched the title for the Eagles, as they gained 6 points over the 5th place Ardsley team.

Going into the final event, the guys had an 8 point advantage over Hastings for 2nd place, and with only 5 teams in the 4x400m, the Eagles just needed to hang on to the baton and have someone beat Hastings. Champion Woodlands turned out to be the helping team, as it held off Hastings in the final leg to win by 2 seconds. The Dobbs squad of Calvin Sheely, Ryan Moynihan, Keith Hickey, and Liam Daly all had successful exchanges to clinch 2nd place in the meet with a 5th place in the race at 4:24.0.

Though the girls had already clinched the League title, there's nothing like a barnburner of a race to end off a meet and celebrate a championship. The 4x400 team of Sarah Coburn, Riley McKeown, Lila Walsh, and Josephine Weidner finished a ways behind Irvington, but it was in a back and forth battle with Ardsley for 2nd place throughout the race. Walsh opened up a nice lead on the third leg, but after Ardsley's speedy anchor Sarah Sylla closed in on the back stretch, Weidner turned on the jets in the last 120m to get the silver in a 4:51.3 time, bettering last year's mark by 24 seconds.

The fact that Joey Stallupi wore his shirt backwards as a reverse hex trick probably had nothing to do with the Eagles' good day, but then again .....

Next meet is the Westchester County at the Armory on Sunday, January 29.

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