Albany Times Union

Hayes races ahead of the pack

La Salle junior doesn’t sweat technicali­ties

- By Sean Martin

Athlete of the Year: Gitch Hayes, La Salle

It was a euphoric moment, though fleeting, for Gitch Hayes and his La Salle teammates following their win in the 1,600meter relay at the Group 2 sectional championsh­ips, a win secured by Hayes’ rally on the anchor leg.

Born Getachew Hayes, “Gitch” is his nickname. Hayes called the celebrator­y moments immediatel­y following the race with teammates Dimitri Cerrone, Nassir Young and Alex Rontondi the highlight of the season before the team was disqualifi­ed by race officials due to a uniform violation on Hayes, though the junior from La Salle cleared checkin with the same shorts he ran in.

“It was on my shorts, there was a brand name,” Hayes said. “They allowed me to check in and go through and after the race, they said it was a violation. No one thought it should have been a violation or a DQ. It is what it is. Other than that, it was a great moment with my four-byfour team. For those few seconds after the win, it was amazing.”

The moment with his team

mates, along with sectional titles in the 800 and 1,600, were just a few of the highlights of the outdoor track and field season for Hayes.

Hayes recorded the second-best time in Section II this year in both the 800- and 3,200-meter events and had the best time in Section II in the 1,600 at 4 minutes, 17.95 seconds at the Colonie Relays.

Hayes faced a field of runners from notable schools such as Saratoga, Shenendeho­wa and Burnt Hills but held off the competitio­n in a race that featured the five fastest runners in the event in Section II this season.

“I didn’t go for a time, didn’t go for my max, just went for the win,” Hayes said. “The first lap was a couple of seconds faster than I wanted and I realized I was 10 meters ahead of the rest of the field. I slowed down at 600 meters, got with the group until the three-and-a-half-lap mark (1,400-meters) and then I made my kick and went for the win.”

Hayes says the mile is his best event — he qualified for nationals — and he uses his other races to help him in the mile.

“The mile is my main focus,” Hayes said. “I use the 800 for speed and the two-mile for endurance.”

With one year left at La Salle, Hayes will have a chance to enhance his legacy and provide many more moments of celebratio­n — next time, after post-race uniform inspection.

First team

100: Baden Seabury, Jr., Ichabod

A Crane: Won the Section II title at the Group 3 level. … Followed up that performanc­e with a second-place showing at the New York State Showcase postseason event, finishing with a time of 10.75 seconds.

A 200: Carter Cukerstein, Jr., Shenendeho­wa: Ran the fastest time in Section II this season with 21.87 effort in his thirdplace finish at the New York State Showcase. … Recorded second-best time in Section II at 21.92 seconds in May dual meet against Schenectad­y.

A 400: Tal Hamel, Sr., Bethlehem: Only Section II runner this season to eclipse the 49-second mark as he posted a time of 48.51 seconds in his win at the New York State Showcase.

A 800: Will Cusato, Jr., Guilderlan­d: Won Group 1 championsh­ip at sectionals with Section II season-best time of 1:56.03. … Placed third at the New York State Showcase. A 1,600: Gitch Hayes, Jr., La Salle: Won Group 2 sectional championsh­ip, recorded top time in the event on a sectional seasonend merge. … Time of 4 minutes, 17.95 seconds in his win in the Colonie Relays came against elite field of Section II runners as the top five runners in the 1,600 this season competed in the race.

A 3,200: Ryan Bush, Jr., Saratoga Springs: Won Section II title at Group 1 level. … Best time of season was 9:19.33 effort at the Garden State Twilight meet. … Finished fourth at the New York State Showcase in the two-mile.

A 110 hurdles: Michael Kilgallon, Jr., Queensbury: Won the Group 2 title at Section II championsh­ips with a time of 15.01 seconds and bettered that mark with a 14.87 showing in his second-place finish at

the State Showcase meet.

A 400 hurdles: Neil Howard, Fr., Taconic Hills: Versatile freshman won the 400 hurdles to win the NYS Showcase championsh­ip to go with his sectional championsh­ip at the Group 3 level. … Time of 56.18 seconds at the showcase was best in the event of all Section II hurdlers this season.

A 3,000 steeplecha­se: Julien Franjieh, Jr., Niskayuna: Won Section II title at Group 1 level with Section Ii-leading time of 9:35.12. … Though the distance was shortened at the NYS Showcase, Franjieh won the 2,000-meter steeplecha­se.

A 400 relay: Colonie (Thomas Davis, Jr.;

Fabien De Silva Jr., Sr.; Ben Ross, Jr.; Zaire Higgins, Sr.): Narrowly edged Schenectad­y at the wire in the Group 1 championsh­ip at sectionals as Zaire Higgins’ rally on the anchor leg was the difference.

A 1,600 relay: Saratoga Springs (Evan Barthelmas, Jr.; Aidan Slavett, So.; Dawson Tooker, Sr.; Ryan Bush, Jr.): Edged Colonie by less than a half-second to pull out the win at the Group 1 sectionals.

A 3,200 relay: Shenendeho­wa (Gavin Ethier, Sr.; Colin O’neil, Sr.; Michael Clay, Jr.; Aidan Glynn, Sr.): Posted top time in Section II this season with winning effort of 8:10.05, more than four seconds faster than runner-up Saratoga Springs.

A High jump: Jack Hogan, Sr., Hudson Falls: Dominant season saw Hogan jump a Section Ii-best of 6 feet, 8 inches at a May dual meet and at sectionals. … Won Group 2 title at sectionals and also grabbed the win at the New York State Showcase.

A Long jump: Jacob Gomez, Sr., Amsterdam: Won Section II title in Group 1 with a jump of 22 feet. … Nearly matched that mark with his runner-up finish at the New York State Showcase (21-10¾).

A Triple jump: Alexandros Wheeler, Jr., Columbia: Blue Devils junior finished second at the New York State Showcase with a Section Ii-best jump of 45-4¾, slightly more than his winning jump of 45-4½ in his Group 1 win at sectionals.

A Shot put: Jaston Ormsby, Sr., Shenendeho­wa: Finished second at the New York State Showcase. … Toss of 56-3¾ at the Colonie Relays was best effort of all Section II throwers this season. … Runner-up at Group 1 Section II championsh­ips.

A Discus: Alex Saltsman, Jr., Fondafulto­nville: Toss of 166-9 at a May dual meet was the best in the area this season. … Won Group 3 title at sectionals.

A Pole vault: Matti Levasalmi, Jr., Bethlehem: Only Section II performer to pass the 15-foot mark this season, and he did it twice. … Vault of 15-4 was the best in the area and the junior hit 15-0 in his win at the Section II Group 1 championsh­ip.

A Pentathlon: Gabe Lucarelli, Sr., Lasalle: Scored 2,504 points in his win at the Group II sectional championsh­ip, the highest point total in the area this season.

Coach of the Year

A Peter Hansen, Albany Academy: With points at a premium, Hansen guided the Cadets to a thrilling Section II title in Group 2 by two points over Burnt Hills.

Second team

A 100: Fabien De Silva Jr., Sr., Colonie

A 200: Tal Hamel, Sr., Bethlehem

A 400: Fabien De Silva Jr., Sr., Colonie

A 800: Gitch Hayes, Jr., Lasalle

A 1,600: Ryan Bush, Jr., Saratoga

A 3,200: Gitch Hayes, Jr., Lasalle

A 110 hurdles: Bashir Praileau, So., Albany

Academy

A 400 hurdles: Jason Colindres, So., Shenendeho­wa

A 3,000 steeplecha­se: Matthew Rounds,

So., Burnt Hills

A 400 relay: Schenectad­y (Shemar Delphin, Sr.; Deron Davis, Jr.; Dior Roberts, Jr.; Che Samiel, Jr.)

A 1,600 relay: Colonie (Zaire Higgins, Sr.; Dante Genovese, Sr.; Thomas Davis, Jr.; Ben Ross, Jr.)

A 3,200 relay: Saratoga Springs (Max Fredette, Sr.; Shifan Shaffe, Sr.; Jack Donnelly, Sr.; Cole Harris, Jr.)

A High jump: Daryl Headen, Jr., Schuylervi­lle

A Long jump: Neil Howard, Fr., Taconic Hills A Triple jump: Dylan Zinsley, Sr., Shenendeho­wa

A Shot put: Scott Dochat, Sr., Shenendeho­wa A Discus: Scott Dochat, Sr., Shenendeho­wa A Pole vault: Neil Howard, Fr., Taconic Hills A Pentathlon: Dahvion Wimberly, So.,

Albany Academy

 ?? Lori Van Buren / Albany Times Union ?? La Salle runner Gitch Hayes had the best time in Section II in the 1,600, and was second-best in both the 800- and 3,200-meter events.
Lori Van Buren / Albany Times Union La Salle runner Gitch Hayes had the best time in Section II in the 1,600, and was second-best in both the 800- and 3,200-meter events.

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