State championships open today in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN – Several area athletes will be among those chasing titles at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association track and field championships today and Saturday at Middletown High School.

Amsterdam’s Izaiah Brown, Gloversville’s John Knox III and Amsterdam’s John Hardies qualified for the boys state meet, along with the Amsterdam 4 x 400 relay team.

Broadalbin-Perth’s Mackenzie Ottati, Gloversville’s Chanel Thomas and Fonda-Fultonville’s Lindsay Therrien will compete in the girls state meet.

Brown, Ottati and Therrien will all be making return trips to the state meet after competing last year at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

“I expect Izaiah [Brown] to run a great time and he has a great chance to be state champion,” Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary said.

Brown was sixth last year in the Division I (large-school) 400 meters despite suffering a quadriceps injury.

Brown is seeded second in the 400 meters this year with his season-best time of 47.72 seconds, while Richard Rose of Boys and Girls is seeded first with a time of 47.52 seconds.

Brown punched his ticket to Middletown by cruising to a win in the Division I 400 meters at the Section II state qualifier in Johnstown on May 30, finishing with a time of 47.82 seconds more than a second ahead of Albany’s Devrin Grant who posted a time of 49.39 seconds.

“Izaiah [Brown] has been focused all season, and his past experiences at the indoor and outdoor state meets with help him because he was know what to expect,” Wilary said.

Brown also will be part of the Amsterdam 4 x 400 relay team, along with Brett Stanavich, Anthony Stewart and Hardies after the quartet won the Section II Division I title with a time of 3:19.31.

Amsterdam is seeded fourth in the 4 x 400 relay with its time of 3:19.31.

“I feel the 4×400 relay should be very competitive and has a great chance to come in the top three,” Wilary said.

Ottati was 13th in the Division II (small-school) 400-meter hurdles in each of the last two seasons and looking to improve her finish in her third straight trip to the state championships.

“The expectations are clear for Mackenzie and that is to do well at the state championship meet,” Broadalbin-Perth sprint/hurdle coach Vincent Calderone said. “We began this journey back in January, as she began to take part in a strength and conditioning program. Though Mackenzie has done well, we felt as a coaching staff she needed be stronger and more explosive. Her hard work and dedication has paid off. We are extremely proud of her and what she has done for the Broadalbin-Perth track and field program.”

Ottati is seeded eighth for this year’s meet with a time of 1:06.65.

“I think it does in regards to preparation and what to expect. However, we want her to go out there and treat it like it’s another meet and not get caught up in all the pressure of competing in the state championship,” Calderone said .”At the end of the day the hurdle height, spacing and distance of the event is all the same.”

Ottati qualified for states after finishing second at the Section II qualifier, finishing with a time of 1:06.65 in the Division II 400-meter hurdles.

“What we expect from Mackenzie is go out on Friday and leave everything out on the track,” Calderone said. “If she does that good things will happen.”

Therrien was 14th in the Division II 100-meter hurdles last year and is seeded 14th this year with a time of 16.23 seconds.

Therrien earned her second straight trip to states after finishing second at the Section II qualifier with a time of 16.60 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles.

While Therrien, Brown and Ottati all are returning to the state meet, three other area athletes will be making their state-meet debuts.

Knox qualified for the outdoor track for the first time this season, but is making his third trip to states this year after qualifying for the indoor track and cross country state meets.

“We feel that any experience in a level of competition like a state meet will play in his favor for any future competitive meets,” Gloversville coach Stephen Wendt said.

Knox is seeded eighth in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:12.96.

Knox qualified by placing second in the Division I 3,200 meters at the Section II qualifier, finishing with a time of 9:25.06.

“We expect John [Knox] and Chanel [Thomas] to do extremely well at the state meet, we feel that they both have the potential to podium at the state meet,” Stephen Wendt said.

Thomas is seeded sixth in the pentathlon with a total of 3,037 points, which set a school record as she won the Division I title at the Section II qualifier.

“A good weekend for John [Knox] and Chanel [Thomas] would be for the both of them to have fun and come back healthy after a highly competitive weekend,” Wendt said.

Thomas also was accepted and will be compete in the heptathlon at the 2013 New Balance National Meet at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C. on June 14 and 15.

Hardies is seeded 15th in the 800 meters with his time of 1:55.09. Hardies earned his spot by placing second in the Division I 800 meters at the Section II qualifier, posting a time of 1:56.93.

“Going to the meet alone is a success, but I feel Izaiah [Brown] in the 400, John [Hardies] in the 800, and the 4x400m teams making the podium will be a success for our team,” Wilary said. “Sending so many kids shows what an amazing season we had. It also shows the hard work of the athletes and the coaches all season.”

The state meet begins today at 11 a.m. and continues Saturday at 10 a.m.