Storm runners earn sectional titles

PLATTSBURGH – Saranac Lake came away with three sectional titles and Lake Placid had several strong showings Saturday at the Section VII track and field championships on a cold and wet day at Plattsburgh High School.

In one of the more exciting races for local athletes, the Saranac Lake girls 1,600-meter relay team beat Lake Placid by about six seconds to take the title.

The Saranac Lake squad of Sam Martin, Kate Stevens, Annie Frenette and Vanessa Salamy finished in 4 minutes, 31.6 seconds. Lake Placid’s team of Gabby Armstrong, Kendra Manning, Elisabeth Ashley and Rachael Ashley finished second in 4:37.9 despite holding an early lead.

The race was the final event of the meet after a tough day that featured temperatures that hovered around 40 degrees, combined with strong winds and heavy rain. Most of the runners struggled to keep warm between events or in the moments leading up to them.

Despite the weather, picking up the win in their final sectional meet was a nice way to go out for Salamy and Frenette, both seniors.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Frenette said. “This is my seventh sectionals. I think three times there’s been a Saranac Lake team that’s won the 4×400. This is the first time I’ve been on it. So it’s really exciting to finally be a part of that.”

Another Saranac Lake senior to have a big day was Craig Leahy, who took home the 400 hurdles sectional title with a time of 1:01. He beat Saranac’s Ayub Sobaan, who finished 3.8 seconds behind.

“The wind really played a factor in the backstretch,” Leahy said. “It really was blowing hard so you really had to have your steps down and thankfully all of them connected with me. This was probably the most competitive race of the whole meet. Some really top guys, but coming out of the 200 turn, I just kind of found another gear and my steps kind of worked and I pulled out the victory.”

Leahy said this was his fifth year on varsity but his first sectional win.

“It feels great, especially on a day like today because conditions are poor,” he said. “To pull it out, I was very happy.”

Saranac Lake’s other individual sectional champion was junior Sam Martin, who took first in the 800. She finished with a time of 2:31.3, about five seconds ahead of Peru’s Ashley Leta.

“I really like the 800,” Martin said. “It’s half a mental race actually. You got to think that you can do it, even if your legs feel like they’re giving out.”

Lake Placid also had a strong showing in the 800. Nina Armstrong placed fourth in 2:39.4 and her sister, Gabby, finished seventh in 2:45.

Nina Armstrong also finished third in the 1,500 with a time of 5:27.40.

“I started off and tried to stay with the pack and my legs felt good,” Armstrong said after the race. She said she was happy with the results and had a lot of fun.

Several other local relay teams and individuals did well.

Saranac Lake took second in the 400 relay with a time of 54 seconds, finishing just behind Beekmantown’s time of 53.80. The Red Storm team consisted of Blair Moody, Selena Baillargeon, Jada Meadows and Salamy.

Salamy also took second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.7 and fifth in the 200 in 29.60. Lake Placid’s Kendra Manning came in fourth in 28.40.

Baillargeon took sixth in the shot put with a throw of 26 feet, 1 inch. She also took fifth in the 100 in 13.40.

Moody took sixth in the long jump with a leap of 14-4.50.

Frenette took sixth in the 400 in 1:08.8.

Lake Placid took third in the 4×800 relay with a team consisting of Gabby and Nina Armstrong and Elisabeth and Rachael Ashley. They finished in 10:59.5.

In the boys competition, Saranac Lake’s Kevin Morgan took third in the 400 in 55.90 and Leahy took fifth in the 110 hurdles in 16.10.

Saranac Lake’s Kyle McGrain took sixth in the shot put with a 42-1.25.

Overall, the Saranac Lake girls team finished fourth with 66 points. Beekmantown took first with 113.5, Plattsburgh was second with 109 points and Saranac was third with 95.

The Saranac Lake boys team finished tied for sixth with 32 points. Saranac won with a dominating performance, tallying 208 points. Beekmantown took second with 93 and Plattsburgh was third with 69.