PLATTSBURGH — After collecting Section VII indoor track and field championships Feb. 8, the Saranac boys and Plattsburgh High girls showed the way with all-star selections.
Chris Verkey, who coached the Chiefs to an undefeated season and boys’ title, was named the section’s Coach of the Year.
Helping the Hornets to their second consecutive sectional crown, Adam Mehan and Vern Harrison were named Co-Coaches of the Year on the girls’ side.
Thirty-seven athletes were recognized with all-star status.
Coach of the Year
Chris Verkey, Saranac- “I am honored and very thankful for this designation of Coach of the Year,” Verkey said. Verkey helped coach the Section VII champions to an undefeated season in Section VII regular meets and also to win the North Country Invitational at St. Lawrence College. “This year’s success was only possible because of the hard work and dedication of all my student-athletes who put in the effort and work every day of the season. I am very proud of how far my team has come this year.”
Evan Page, Seton Catholic- Page, the senior captain of the Knights boys’ squad, led the team all season in the middle distances. He set a personal record in the 1,600 and at the NYSPHSAA state meet, Page set another personal record in the 3,200 with a time of 10:24.56.
Jay Hebert, Ticonderoga- Hebert has been a dominate competitor in indoor league competition for multiple years now and remains undefeated in league competition from 2012-14. He has won the 55 meter hurdle at the Dartmouth Relay for the second consecutive year with a 7.55. Hebert also won the New Balance Games 55 meter hurdles in 7.45, also for the second year in a row. Other highlights include a 300-meter championship win at the state qualifier meet (37.1), winning the state qualifier for the third year in a row (7.5) and he won his second state and federation championship trials (7.56), semifinals (7.44) and the championship finals (7.37).
Jarryn Granger, Ticonderoga- As a senior, Granger went undefeated in Section VII land and triple jump. Granger’s season bests both came in the state qualifier meet, where he posted a 21-02.75 in the long jump to place in 18 and a 41-08.00 in the triple jump to place in 29.
4x160 Relay Team, Ticonderoga- The team of Jarryn Granger, Marcus Moser, Coleman Granger, Jay Hebert, and alternate Skyler Gilbert broke the previous school record with a time of 1:17.4 at the sectional track meet. The team also combined to break the 4x200 school record with a time of 1:38.39 at the Dartmouth Relays. The team won the state qualifier meet in 1:17.8 and placed 10th at the state meet in 1:39.39.
Justin Liechty, Saranac- Liechty’s contributions to the team paid off as he won three events at the state qualifier meet and represented the Chiefs in the 600, 4x800 and 4x400 relay. Liechty broke the school record in high jump in the Chiefs’ first meet of the season with a jump of 6’2”. Liechty also improved his personal best in the 600 at the state meet with a time of 1:29.07.
Sobaan Ayub, Saranac- Ayub, the senior captain for the Chiefs, won the 300 and was a member of the 4x400 team at the state qualifier meet. He improved his personal bests this season in the 55, 55 hurdles, 400 and 300-meter dashes. Sobaan graduates with school records in the 55 hurdles and 4x400 relay.
Ryan Kneussle, Saranac- Kneussle made the transition comfortably into the high jump for his first full season in 2014. Kneussle showed steady improvement throughout the season and eventually won the Section VII high jump championship with a jump of 5’10”.
Colby Russell, Saranac- Russell remained undefeated in Section VII shot put and steadily added new personal bests with every meet throughout the season. His personal best throw came in the final regular-season meet with a throw of 43’9”. Russell represented Section VII in the shot put at the state meet.
4x400 Relay Team, Saranac- The Chiefs 4x400 relay team went undefeated throughout all regular season and postseason Section VII meets. The team of Dustin Durgan, Justin Liechty, Lance Hackett and Sobaan Ayub ran the fastest time of the season. The team of Mike Bernardi, Justin Liechty, Lance Hackett and Sobaan Ayub won the state qualifier meet and represented the team at the state meet.
Sean Tyrell, Saranac- Tyrell earned himself a first-place finish in the 1,000 at the state qualifier meet and also placed in three events at the Section VII meet, including a first-place finish in the 4x800, second place in the 1,000 and sixth in the 1,600.
4x800 Relay Team, Saranac- The team of Dustin Durgan, Justin Liechty, Sean Tyrell and Zach Lepage had a successful year, breaking the school record with a time of 8:26.7, nearly missing the Section VII record of 8:26.67 (FAT). The relay team won the Section VII championship and state qualifier.
Jeriqho Gadway, Plattsburgh High- Coming off of a state championship this past cross-country season, Gadway was a standout in Section VII all season long. Jeriqho set personal bests in the 1,600, 1,000 and 600. He set school records in the 1,600, which he was undefeated in, and the 3,200 this season.
Skylar Barriere, Plattsburgh High- Barriere claimed the Section VII title in the 55-meter dash at the Section VII championships and state qualifier meet, which sent him to the state meet for the third consecutive year. Barriere proved his abilities in the indoor season this year, running the 55, 4x160, 300 and even tried the 600 for the first time.
Co-Coaches of the Year
Adam Mehan and Vern Harrison, Plattsburgh High- “We feel very honored and thankful to be voted Co-Coaches of the Year,” Mehan and Harrison said. “To win our second sectional championship in a row is truly a testament to how dedicated all of our student-athletes were throughout the year.” A mix of young talent and veteran leadership helped the Hornets to an undefeated regular season record and Section VII championship.
Kirsten Villemaire, Beekmantown- In her first year of indoor track, the eighth-grader established herself as one of the top middle distance runners in the section. Villemaire broke the school record (set in 1999) multiple times this season in the 1,500-meter run. She was part of the 1,600 meter relay team, which won the sectional championship and also qualified for the NYSPHSAA championships with her win in the 1,500-meter run at the state qualifier meet.
4x160 Relay Team, Beekmantown- The team of Mikaela Frechette, Elisabeth Plympton, Courtney Wilson and Kallie Villemaire dominated the event and went undefeated throughout the entire season. The team broke the school record multiple times throughout the season and was two-tenths of a second from breaking the section record. Frechette, Wilson and Villemaire were also members of the 4x100 relay team that won a state championship in 2012.
Margaret Champagne, Seton Catholic- The sophomore worked off of her strong cross country season to set indoor personal bests in all distances. One of her biggest performances came at the Yale Scholastic Track Classic in the 3,000 with a time of 10:24:56, which qualified her for the Emerging Elite two mile at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. Champagne was also the Section VII champion in the 1,500.
Ashley Leta, Seton Catholic- Leta, a senior in her first year at Seton Catholic, also came off of a strong cross country season to help lead the Knights. She set her season best in the 1,000 at the NYSPHSAA state meet with a time of 3:08:50. Leta, who will be competing for St. Lawrence University, was also the Section VII recipient of the girls’ sportsmanship award.
Lillith Ida, Ticonderoga- A junior, who is only in her second year on the indoor track team, Ida proved herself as a top competitor in the section by winning the Section VII high jump with a jump of 4’10”. She also placed 26th at the NYSPHSAA championships with a jump of 4’6”.
Halie Snyder, Moriah- Snyder proved her dominance for the Vikings and broke multiple Section VII records in her senior year. In the 55-meter, Snyder ran a 7.27 (FAT) at the Dartmouth Invitational and also set the Section VII record at St. Lawrence with a time of 7.0 HT (7.24 adjusted). In the 200, Snyder broke the Section VII record at Eastern States with a time of 25.29 (FAT). In the 300, she posted a 4.40 (FAT) at the NYSPHSAA championships to place third in states and fourth in Federations. Snyder also broke the Section VII long jump record at the Section VII championship meet with a jump of 17’10 1/4’”.
Meghann Wood, Saranac- Wood had a very successful season and showed tremendous leadership within the team. She was undefeated in the regular season for Section VII competition and was also crowned sectional champion in shot put. Wood placed second in the St, Lawrence Invitational and qualified for the state meet, which she finished 24th out of 32. She also broke the Saranac school record with a throw of 35’5.50”.
4x400 Relay Team, Saranac- The team of Nataleigh Threlkeld, Sabrina Bruno, Lexi Blockson and Lexi Haley won the state qualifier and represented Section VII at the state meet. The team of Ellen Thew, Lexi Blockson, Sabrina Bruno and Abby Cerne ran a team best at the state meet with a time of 4:34.29.
Claire Deshaies, Plattsburgh High- Deshaies had a successful season, running a number of events, ranging from the 55 all the way up to the 800. She won the 600 at the state qualifier meet, having run a personal best earlier in the season with a time of 1:43.1. Other highlights for Deshaies include a second-place finish in the 300 at the sectional championship and a third-place finish in the 55.
Brooke Knight, Plattsburgh High- Knight was a standout jumper for the Hornets and was also a member of the 4x160 relay team. Knight won the state qualifier meet with an impressive jump of 36’00.25, which was both a personal and school record.
Ashlee Carper, Plattsburgh High- Carper proved her dominance as a top hurdler in the section by not losing a race in the 55 hurdles. Carper’s best time came in the Section VII championship meet with a time of 9.0 seconds.
4x800 Relay Team, Plattsburgh High- The team of Alyssa Rector, Taylor Canet, Brooke Kelley and Claire Deshaies combined for an excellent indoor season by winning the state qualifying meets to advance to the state championship. All members of the team set personal bests during the season to break the previous school record with a time of 10.27.5.