TRR photos by Ted Waddell

Victory is sweet indeed. John Poplawski took gold in the boy’s pentathlon, narrowly edging second place finisher Swabik, who posted 4:22.32 in the 1500m.

The rise and fall of Icarus

MIDDLETOWN, NY — Sometimes you can get too close to the sun.

 Never look back, someone may be gaining on you. John Swabik of Clymer-Sherman-Panama has the lead, nearing the finish line of the 1,500m, inches in front of John Whitman’s John Poplawski, who went on to the win the race at 4:21.79.

According to Greek mythology, the son of Daedalus attempted to escape the bounds of earthly captivity in the labyrinth on wings of feathers and wax. But as he rose heavenward, the rays of the golden orb melted the wax, and Icarus fell back to earth as a mere mortal.

On Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) held the 2019 state outdoor track and field championships at Middletown High’s Faller Field.

Several local scholar athletes made it to the states by qualifying in their chosen sports the previous week, but when faced with talent from across the entire state, they flew toward the sun and crashed back to terra firma despite some high expectations.

A quartet of Sullivan West’s finest track stars made it the states, and competed in four Division 2 events: Grace Boyd (3,000m), Tallula Gann (400m), Sam Becker (110m hurdles and 400m hurdles) and Bryce Maopolski (3,000m steeplechase).

Chasing gold. Sullivan West’s Sam Becker in the 400m hurdles.

On Friday, Boyd finished 15th in the first heat at 11:11.82, and came in 30th in the championship race behind North Rockland’s gold medalist Katelyn Tuohy’s 9:21.90.

Also on Friday, Gann took fourth place with a time of 58.64, a few seconds off first place winner Eva Balseiro of Bronxville’s 57.06

On June 7, Becker placed second in the 110m hurdles at 15.11, and in the 400m hurdles came in third at 1:03.04.

Then came Saturday’s finals, and Becker took seventh in the 110m hurdles at 16.02 behind gold medalist Ama Boham of Ichabod Crane with 14.96, while in the 400m hurdles she garnered seventh at 1:05.96 behind first place winner Vanessa Watson of Spencerport’s time of 59.76.

On Saturday morning’s opening round of competition, Maopolski took 26th in the 3,000 steeplechase at 10:05.06 behind Maine-Endwell’s Parker Stokes gold medal posting of 9:02.48.

One of the greatest things about covering high school sports, whether the athletes win or lose, is watching them give it their very best shot. Pushing themselves to the limit is the stuff memories are made of, even if they don’t get a medal to prove their guts and glory.


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