|The Freeman’s Journal|
CCS’ Alec Silvera heads for a school record at last year’s Don Howard Invitational. He’s a favorite again this year.
Longtime Cooperstown track coach Don Howard started the Cooperstown Invitational in 1989 as a way to get all the local schools together for a day of competition.
Last year, though, there was not much competition on the boys’ side as the host Redskins won 12 of 17 events and amassed over 200 points, the first time a team had done that in the first 21 years of the meet.
Star-studded Cooperstown figures to flex its muscles once again this Saturday, May 6, when it welcomes 11 schools to the 2 p.m. meet, renamed the Don Howard Invitational in 2007.
Headlining CCS’ strong squad is senior Alec Silvera, who won a Division II gold medal in the 110 hurdles at the state meet last year. Silvera’s teammate, Chris Wehner, is also strong in the 110 hurdles. Josh Winchester of Unatego should also be in the mix, CCS head coach Joe Kennedy said.
“The lead story for Cooperstown this year is our middle-distance team, led by senior Will Reis and supported by juniors Jeremiah Ford and Jacob Miller,” Kennedy said. “All three of these athletes won medals at the state championships last year, and have a repeat trip in their sights for this year.”
Reis runs everything from the mile to the 400, Kennedy said, and has an area-best time (2:01.26) in the 800 this season.
Reis and Oneonta’s Zach Rabeler will duel in the 800 in one of the most anticipated local races of the day, Kennedy said.
“They are ranked first and second in the area in the event and will be seeded about one second apart,” he said.
Ford and Miller ran with Reis (and now-graduated Caleb Edmonds) to a fourth-place showing at States last spring in the 3200 relay.
“Ford has branched out this year, showing his versatility in the 110 hurdles (16.7) and 400 hurdles, (area best 58.72), as well as running on the 4x100 relay in addition to the 4x400 and the 4x800,” Kennedy said.
Miller has yet to lose a 400-meter race this season.
Wes Lippitt is Cooperstown’s best chance to score in the 100 and the 200, and will also run on Cooperstown’s 400 relay, according to Kennedy.
Brandon Daniels, a senior shot putter, has an area leading 44-9.5 throw in the shot and also leads the area in the discus, 112-4. He will be favored to score well in both events.
Kennedy said races of particular interest on Saturday will be in the 100 and 200. Eddie Cotton of G-MU (11.44 in the 100) and David Van Alstine of Unatego as well as Lippitt of Cooperstown (11.6) will make the 100 extremely competitive, he said.
On the girls’ side, Oneonta is the favorite to defend its title of a year ago, said CCS head coach Connie Herzig.
“They have star power and they are very balanced,” she said.
Herzig said the high jump should be one to watch, with three area athletes already clearing 5-2 this season. Herzig said Oneonta’s Christie O’Connor is the “high jump queen,” and Cooperstown’s Lucy Ford and Oneonta’s Brittney Herrick are also top performers.
Freshman Haley Hohensee should be competitive in the 200 and 400 and also runs in the 4x100 relay; and fellow junior Katelynn Kiuber is second in the area in the long jump with a distance of 15-6.
Traditional powers Sidney and B-GA will not attend the meet, but should return again next season.