Track, not necessarily a “team” sport other than the relay races, always has, within that framework, the great individual efforts that not only inspire, but added together can get that team over the hump and into the championship circle. For the New Paltz boys, Thursday afternoon was full of them.
When discussing New Paltz track for the past half-dozen years, one often comes across the name Busby. Busby as in Dan and Natalie, who won 12 Section 9 distance titles (1500/1600 and 3000/3200-meters) between them (Dan four and Natalie eight) from 2005 through 2009. And now you can add Brian, and possibly next season David, to the clan list, as the senior won his second set of distance titles with his sophomore brother finishing second in each race. Brian won the 1600 in 4:35.41, with David second in 4:37.63; and the 3200 in 10:06.79, with David at 10:09.16.
Sophomore Alfredo Mazzucca finished fourth in the 1600 with 4:46.48 and eighth-grader Johnny O’Donnell fourth in the 3200 with 11:08.21. This Busby-filled extravaganza, added to by Mazzucca and O’Donnell, and the 1-2-3 sweep in the 800 by returning Section champ, senior Hunter Bartlett (1:59.79), Brian Busby (2:04.76) and junior Matt Hasbrouck (2:05.86), plus the second-place and fourth-place finishes in the 3000 steeplechase by the Mazzucca Brothers (Alfredo in 10:37.57 to winner Greg Johnsmeyer of Onteora’s 10:16.84, and eighth-grader Lorenzo’s fourth-place 11:11.2 and junior Jeff Rizza’s fifth-place 11:12.36) has New Paltz looking deep into the future to hold on to the Huguenots’ unique position of prominence in distance races in the MHAL and Section 9.
But the distance races are not all there was for the new section champs, as senior Erik Simonson won his second straight 400-meter title with a 51.70, with junior teammate Adrian Climer third in 52.43; senior Brian Majestic won his second straight high jump crown with 6 feet, with Simonson second with 5’ 8”; and senior Ben Nadareski won the 110 hurdles in an upset over Ellenville’s favored John Paulsen and Rondout’s Johnny Seils with a 16.06, with senior teammate Canaan Lightsey fourth in 17.02.
Other top six finishers for the Huguenots were Majestic, third in the 400 hurdles to winner Paulsen of Ellenville’s 56.82, with a 57.89, and Simonson fifth in 58.67; senior Ben Morrison, second in the pole vault to winner Justin Farrenkopf of Ellenville’s 13 feet with 11’ 6”, with freshman Whitman Oehler-Marx fifth and junior Kevin Mannix sixth, both at ten feet; senior Kyle Roberts, third in the shot put to winner Ryan Hickey of Onteora’s 48’ 3 3/4” with 43-feet; and Climer, third in the 200 to winner Tyler O’Bryant of Ellenville’s 22.40 with a 23.82.
The Huguenots also won the 1600 relay with Bartlett, Majestic, Climer and Simonson in 3:28.65 and the 3200 with Bartlett, Alfredo Mazzucca, Hasbrouck and Brian Busby taking home the gold in 8:32.39.
For Highland, only sophomore Damien Stevens and senior Travis Distasi could crack the top six, with Stevens finishing sixth in the 3200 with an 11:17.54 and Distasi sixth in the long jump to winner Ben Altshuler of Ellenville’s 21’ 7” with 19’ 1”.
The other Section 9 Class B champions are Ellenville’s O’’Bryant in the 100 (11.01), Ellenville’s Altshuler in the triple jump (41’ 10”) and Rondout’s Kyle Kelly in the discus (145’ 5”). Ellenville’s quartet of Farrenkopf, Tomasz Czarnecki, Jose Aldorondo and O’Bryant won the 400 relay with a 44.35, with New Paltz’s Charlton Tsai, Chris Renus, Joe Fitzpatrick and Asher Sells third with a 46.03.
For the New Paltz girls it was Bouchard-Gordon, a junior, winning the 400 hurdles in 1:07.50 (the fastest Class B time in a decade) and the high jump with 5’ 2” (the highest in five years), with MHAL champ, senior Mike O’Donnell, jumping second with 5’ 1”.
O’Donnell took home the gold in the long jump with 16’ 6 3/4”, with Bouchard-Gordon third with 16’ 5 3/4”. New Paltz sophomore Cora Butler finished sixth with 15’ 10”. O’Donnell also took third in the 100 hurdles to winner Grace Weisbecker of Red Hook’s 16.0 with a 17.06 and third in the triple jump to winner Christine Kelly of Rondout’s 37’ 1” with 32’ 9”, with Butler taking second with 33’ 9”. Butler also finished a surprising fourth in the shot put with 29’ 5” to winner Danielle Boriello of Ellenville’s winning 32’ 8 1/2”.
Mancuso, now a senior running her final Section 9 races, added to her own legacy as heir to the Kim Ryan-Allie Geiser-Natalie Busby mantle of great New Paltz distance runners with a win in the 1500 -- in 5:01.42 -- and the 200 steeplechase -- in 7:41.77. She also ran neck-and-neck until the final 200 meters with Onteora’s sophomore wunderkind Emily Waligurski in the 3000, falling to Waligurski 10:19.79 to 10:29.65. Mancuso, running with Camille Ferguson, Leah Bernstein and Bouchard-Gordon also helped the Huguenots win the 3200 relay in 10:16.84.
Other top six finishers for the Huguenots were sophomore Doaa Khalifa, sixth in the 100 to winner Rachel Friedman of Rondout’s 12.99 with a 13.92; freshman Honour Butler, fourth in the 400 to winner Christine Kelly of Rondout’s 1:00.17 with a 1:02.08; freshman Desiree Otis, sixth in the 1500 with a 5:48.13; and junior Emily Takacs, fourth in the discus to winner Boriello of Ellenville’s 107’ 2” with 91’ 4”. The New Paltz quartet of Hanna Wood, Ella MacKinnon, Kristen Rosario and Honour Butler finished third to Rondout’s winning foursome of Victoria Ospina, Jaime Winne, Kristine Moran and Christine Kelly in the 1600 relay 4:17.59 to the Huguenots’ 4:22.59.
For Highland, freshman Halia Scott finished fifth in the 200 to winner Friedman of Rondout’s 26.82 with a 28.51 and sixth in the 400 with a 1:05.20; and freshman Kerry Gordon finished fifth in the 1500 with a 5:40.74 and third in the 3000 with an 11:59.89.
The other Section 9 Class B champs are Red Hook’s Sara Popovich in the 800 in 2:29.25 and Weisbecker of Red Hook in the pole vault with 9’ 6”. Rondout won the 400 relay in 51.34 with Amanda Modini, Kelly, Winne and Friedman taking it home for the Ganders.
The state qualifiers are this Thursday at Deitz Stadium in Kingston at 3 p.m. and Friday at Middletown’s Faller Field at 2 p.m. To qualify, an athlete must either win the competition or hit the state qualifying standard in that event.