Falcons runners break school records; Jackson heading back to states
By David Yarger
It’s been a long and impressive season for the Niagara-Wheatfield girls track and field team, and recently the season got a little better.
The Lady Falcons defeated seven other teams at the Niagara Frontier League meet to win a second consecutive NFL championship.
The team posted 186 points, compared to the next highest of Lockport with 135.5.
At the meet, senior Le’Gary Jackson won the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.71. Jackson’s teammate, Maddi Fike, finished right behind her with a time of 1:00.31.
In the 100-meter dash, Kendall and Logan Sobczyk finished second and third, respectively; Fike and Victoria Achtziger-Hughes finished second and third, respectively, in the 800- meter run; MacKenzie Patterson won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:08.21; Danielle Carlson finished second in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 11:11.11; Kendall Sobczyk finished fourth in the 200-meter dash; Achtziger-Hughes and Julia Johnson finished third and fourth, respectively in the 2,000-meter steeplechase; Carlson and Sara Mueller finished second and third, respectively, in the 1,500-meter run; the team of Achtziger-Hughes, Fike, Mueller and Carlson won the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 10:24.91; the team of Catie Whitlock, Kendall and Logan Sobczyk, and Paige DiCarlo finished second in the 400-meter sprint relay; the team of Fike, Patterson, Bri Zayatz and Jackson finished second in the 1,600-meter relay; Jackson won the high jump; Destiny Osby won the pole vault; Jackson won the long jump; and May Liu won the discus throw.
Of the title win, coach Al Pogel said, “It took a total team effort to repeat as NFL champions. There is an incredible amount of talent in our league, and we have great respect for all of the teams that we faced. Our student-athletes made great sacrifices to do events out of their comfort zone so that we had multiple competitors in each event at the NFLs.
“The upperclassmen and team leaders for the Lady Falcons did an outstanding job of guiding our youngest performers and helped them to be ready for the competition that they faced. Last year, we had to learn what it took to win. This year, it was a matter of taking those lessons learned, overcoming the losses from graduation and injury, and performing as a unit.
“These young ladies have an incredible bond, and we are extremely proud of them and all that they have accomplished together.”
Following the title win, several runners also broke two school records at the Section VI state qualifier meet.
Patterson broke a 26-year-old record in the 400 intermediate hurdles with a time of 1:06.50, while the team of Fike, Patterson, Abby Mason and Jackson broke the 1,600-meter relay record with a time of 4:09.40.
Additionally, at the Section VI meet, Jackson notched another return to the state meet by winning the high jump with a 5-foot, 3-inch leap.
Jackson will compete at the state meet on Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Middletown High School, 30 Gardner Ave., Middletown.