Her last chance was the best chance, Laura Reigle figured.
If she was going to break the Section V pole vault record, the Hilton senior had "home court" advantage Saturday, the weather was just about perfect, Hilton's spiffy 5-year-old LeBeau field sported brand new red landing mats in the pit and … her senior ball is next week.
"It’s true," she laughed, finally breaking into a smile after just missing three vaults at 13 feet, 3 and a half inches. While she won an unprecedented eighth sectional title in pole vault with a 12-10 leap, it was the last three near misses that left her forlorn, sitting all alone and ruing what might have been at the Section V outdoor track and field championships.
The meet included classes A1 and B2, for the biggest schools in track’s two divisions.
"I’m still glad I had a good day, yes," she said, setting aside falling short of Erica Ellis' 13-3 mark, set for Gates Chili in 2017. The 12-10 is No. 1 in New York state now and 51st in the nation.
"I tried really hard at it," Reigle said. "My first one was closest. Just brushed the bar.
"I'll treat next week's state qualifier as a fun meet now because I'll have to leave early for the ball. Not sure what height I'll start at yet (Saturday she came in at 11-6) but I know I won't have time to do nine jumps like today."
The Reigle vaulting legacy is assured, though. Raising the bar ever so steadily since seventh grade, the six-time All Greater Rochester first-teamer and athlete of the year for the '20-'21 indoor season wraps up her Hilton Cadets career with a trip to the ball with her date, then graduation, then off to Lehigh University in August to continue her career.
Reigle's teammate won the boys competition as well, as Jacob Schindler cleared 13-0 and edged three others – one of them teammate Hayden Penna – all at 13-0.
First one for Thomas
Led by a double winner – senior Erik Stephany – and what his throws coach Matt Carpenter and head coach Rich Kieffer call "a whole lot of young guys," Webster Thomas won its first outdoor boys sectional title. Thomas toppled Rush-Henrietta 126-111.
"As far as we know," said Kieffer, who's in his 12th year of coaching the varsity. "It’s the first one. Certainly since we've had two high schools (in Webster)."
Stephany, who'll compete as an electrical engineering major for Rochester Institute of Technology next season, kept the throw titles in Thomas’ trophy case with a 47-3.75 throw in the shot put and a 150-0 in the discus. Graduated teammate Sean Smith won both last year.
"The 150 was OK for me, but nothing really special." He threw a 155-5 May 10. "I was actually shooting for 160."
His shot distance was just an inch short of his personal best.
"I was very happy with that," he said. "Especially since I didn’t have any fouls. That’s been something I’ve had to deal with."
Webster's girls throwers, for both Thomas and Schroeder, dominated in discus. Skylar Klimow of Thomas led the way by winning with a 113-06. Then the district placed 2,5,6,7 and 8.
Thomas' Connor Thomas steeplechase victory was the only other first place for the Warriors, but add in three seconds, six thirds and two fourths from others on a team of 36 and it resulted in a winning formula.
Thomas senior Jackson Gloskey, indoor champion in the 55 hurdles, reinjured a hamstring muscle, finishing second in the 110 hurdles. He was seventh in the long jump.
"He did what he could," Kieffer said. "So many other guys stepped up. I'll have a hard time choosing an MVP for the banquet. Maybe multiple MVPs!"
Webster Schroeder and Victor battled neck-and-neck all day, but ultimately the Blue Devils from Ontario County prevailed, winning their second straight girls A1 title.
It's their fifth one overall, following three titles in the 90s, and predictably led by their senior-junior duo, Maddie Pitts and Melody Griffith against Schroeder's sophomore-junior-senior trio of Corintia Griffith, Camryn Cole and Sierra Doody.
Look at this rivalry:
100 meters: 1. Griffith 12:16, 2. Harloff 12:30.
100 hurdles: 1. Cole 15.26, 2. Pitts 15:90.
200: 1. Griffith 24.86, 2. Harloff 25.23.
400: 1. Harloff 57.84.
400 hurdles: 1. Pitts 800: 1. Doody 2:19.63.
1500: 1. Doody 4:43.29.
3000: 2. Doody 10:50.79
High jump: 1. Cole 5-8.
Long jump: 1. Griffith 18-8.5, 2. Cole 17-8.75, 3. Pitts 17-5, 4. Harloff 16-8.
Triple jump: 1. Pitts 38-6.5, 2. Griffith 38-6, 3. Cole 35-10.5.
Add senior Logan Brasacchio to that mix for Victor, second in the 2,000 steeplechase to Brighton’s Ava Voss and second in the 400 to Harloff, and it resulted in a 140-137.5 final score.
After they finished the 400, Brasacchio dropped to the turf and Harloff came running over and immediately started rubbing out Brasacchio’s cramping muscles.
"She‘s like that all the time," Brasacchio said. "Here she wins the race, but she's always looking out for the rest of us. She's helped me so much I can't tell you."
Victor coach Austin Donroe credited his team's depth – about 50 in all – and a season mainly free of any major difficulties as factors in their successful title defense.
Doody, Schroeder team captain, came within a few steps of the meet's only individual triple, finishing 11 seconds behind Brighton senior Lila Munger.
"I thought I could do it," Doody said, "but my legs didn't have it."
"Sierra is absolutely the hardest worker I have ever had in my 35 years coaching," said Schroeder coach Dan Graf. "She is phenomenal."
Doody's running only the 3,000 next Friday at state qualifiers and not states, at Cicero-North Syracuse the following weekend, even if she qualifies. She says she’s committed to her senior trip that weekend.
His dad could have been all over him when it was time to compete Saturday.
But that’s not Matt Buffum’s style.
The Webster Schroeder assistant coach told his sophomore son, Dylan, to just "relax and have fun."
No technical stuff, no blocks technique.
Then Matt stood back and watched with pride as Dylan reeled in the second sectional title in his family.
"He's a 400 guy," Matt said. "I was hurdles, the 110. Sectional champion for Schroeder, 1992. This has always been my sport, but I've not pushed him. He's enjoyed himself with this."
Dylan said he reminded himself to "stay tall. Dad said 'do your job.'"
The younger Buffum’s time was 50.82, not quite his personal best (50.45 set the week before at the Monroe County championships) but good enough to edge Victor junior Colden Chierichella by about a half second.
Charlotte Blake, Le Roy junior, says she loves the steeplechase because "the barriers and the water jump give me something to distract me from other things I shouldn't be thinking about." She swept three individual events in the Class B2 competition, winning steeple (7:56.11), the 1,500 (5:11.23) and the 3,000 (11:45.02).
She also attracts attention for her footwear.
"You racing without spikes?" she was asked more than once.
"No," she laughed, "these are old Nike racers. See, they have spikes," as she turned her foot up. The shoes are a well-worn, dull green and gray.
"I get asked that all the time! They're still working fine for me."
Note a splendid pentathlon performance by Fairport's Naim Abdullah. A senior, he won the high jump and long jump to score 2,832 points, fourth-best on Sec. V's leaderboard. …. Brighton's Voss fell in the 400 hurdles and didn’t finish, and said her victory in the steeplechase left her feeling a lot better. But she said she's "still not satisfied." Her time was 7:33.54, fourth on the leaderboard. … R-H senior Gabe Watson collected his second 800 title in as many years. The younger brother of R-H greats Ceara "CeCe" and Sammy Watson had to work for it at the end. "I got the job done. It wasn't pretty though," he said. Webster Thomas' Jerry Lewis closed fast and was just a tenth of a second behind at the finish. … In the relays, Schroeder's girls' winning 1,600 relay, anchored by junior Shelby Boise, gained a measure of revenge over Victor's four with a 4:12.76 time. Victor was fourth in 4:15.78, well off its season-best 4:05.95. … R-H junior OJ Singletary claimed the sprint titles in the 100 (11.04) and 200 (21.93). Brighton eighth-grader Will Vitale pushed him hard in the 100 (11.13) . Singletary's 400 relay also won. … R-H's other double-winner, Canyon Frost, long-jumped 20-5 and triple-jumped 41-10.
Jim Castor, retired assistant sports editor of the Democrat and Chronicle, has covered high school sports in the Rochester area for more than five decades. He can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Section V Class A1/B1 track and field