A huge number of schoolboy athletes representing their high school teams, will be travelling upstate to Rochester to compete in the final meet of the 2010-2011 calendar schedule. The occasion marks the annual track and field competition in the New York State Outdoor Championships. There will be two separate meets, one for boys and one for girls.
While such elite athletes as Owen Skeete, Glen Forsythe, and Nyder Chondonette qualified in their specialties, some stayed ‘home’ not making the select squad. at all and felt very disappointed. Some athletes qualified in more than one event.
Skeete (enough said about him this season!), a senior at Westbury High School, captured the 1600-meter run in 4:21.54 and the 3200-meter in 9:41.51, thus ending his very successful season and career on Long Island grounds, going two for two in the Section Eight State Qualifier on his home track. In addition, the tired athlete tried to make it three for three, ran the anchor leg in the 4×800-meter relay, and led his team to fifth place. There will be no such state meet for the Westbury relay squad.
Forsythe, another of the premier athletes, but on the field, wound up second in the long jump with a leap of 23-1 ½, one place behind West Hempstead Tajyon Hall, who cleared 23-7 ½. However, the Uniondale High senior won the triple jump soaring 45-9 ½, and made the team for both events.
Chardonette, a three-sports athlete at Uniondale, recorded a 14.75 for third place overall, but second place in his section to qualify for the select squad in the 110-meter high hurdles. A versatile athlete, Chardonette, a junior at Uniondale, ran the opening leg to help Uniondale to a 43.21 in the 400-meter relay and to a runner-up position to Roosevelt High to make the select squad.
And one runner’s name stands out, in another sport, and not in track. Jonathan Greenwood, a nephew of Marlon Grenwood who wears a football jersey for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League, captured the 800-meter run in 1:57.76 to go upstate in his specialty.
Chardonette is completing his third year on the track and field team. He is also a member of the soccer and football teams during the fall. He credits his success to coach Dennis Kornfield.
“Kornfield shows me what to do and helps me with my start,” Nyder said, at Westbury High School, where the State Qualifier was held over a two day period. “He pushes me and I work hard.”
His greatest victory came during the winter when he won the Indoor County Championships in the hurdles.
His favorite sport is soccer, which he has been playing since he was five years old in his native land of Haiti.
“My strategy in the hurdles (this weekend) is to go out ‘there’ and run,” Nyder went on.
Meanwhile, in the 1600 and 3200-meter races, Skeete will have a lot of competition, and may not be able to go out fast at the start of the races, as he usually does.
“I’ll put in pretty much the same strategy upstate,” added Skeete, who will be making his second appearance in the State Meet. “In the 1600, I’m gong to focus more on the second half of the race and try to have a lead at least by the 1000-meter mark and kick (in) from the 300-meter mark. Everyne has a strong kick. In last year’s State Meet, I didn’t place well in any event.”
During the summer Skeete will take off, rest and get ready for cross country in college.
Skeete credits his success to Coach Donald Ross and his staff.
“He’s great and he’s been very aggressive training with me and all the athletes here (at Westbury),” Skeete added. “He makes us want to do our best, which is what we need in a coach. He tries his best so we get our beat training and our best motivation.”
Meanwhile, at Uniondale, Forsythe, who has been long jumping since he was in the fourth grade in Jamaica, West Indies, keeps working at his mistakes to better himself. He first started doing the triple jump as a tenth grader at Uniondale.
“It feels good to (head) for the State Meet because last year I didn’t make it that far,” he said. “I didn’t push. This year I hope to do my best in the State Meet. It feels great. jumping (here at Uniondale) Right now I’m the team captain.”
Forsythe’s greatest win this year came at the St. Anthony’s Invitational when he set a personal best mark of 23-11 in the long jump.
Last year Jaquan Smith, a senior at Elmont, ran in the State Championships, turning in a 10.8 for among the top five finishers in the 100-meter dash. Now he is working hard, going to practice and lifting weights in order to better his time and placing.
“It’s a good experience and we meet new people and I’m trying to get ready for college,” said Smith, who also plays football.
Smith credits Coach Michael Graham for his tremendous success.
“Graham told me to practice, focus, and stay out of trouble,” Smith concluded.