ITHACA — The sunny weather Saturday morning brought to mind how close spring is.
Before jumping too far ahead, there remained some winter-season business to take care of, including the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Geneva’s Alison Lockwood and Romulus’ Molly Gunter-Droney made their first appearances — and made the most of their experiences.
Gunter-Droney, a senior, cleared 5 feet in the high jump, which tied her with two other competitors for 18th place overall. Gunter-Droney was seeded 19th.
“It was great since this is my first year doing indoors, so I was really happy,” Gunter-Droney said.
Schuylerville’s Sarah Palmer won the discipline by soaring 5 feet, 8 inches.
Lockwood, a junior and veteran of three NYSPHSAA Cross Country Championships, finished the 3,000-meter run in 10:47.30, good for 21st place. Seeded 24th, Lockwood placed fifth in the first of two 3,000 heats.
“It was a great experience,” Lockwood remarked. “There were a lot of good girls and boys here; I was just humbled to be here.”
Cornwall’s Aisling Cuffe cruised to the 3,000 title in 9:36.95, nearly 20 seconds faster than her nearest pursuer.
Gunter-Droney, who qualified for the outdoor state championships last year, called her performance “average.”
“I usually always jump around 5 feet,” Gunter-Droney commented. “It was very exciting because everybody is so talented here and so competitive. It was really great to be able to be here.”
Lockwood took a conservative, consistent approach to her race, and it paid off at the end when she gained a few spots with a late burst of speed.
“I think I do better when I have a more conservative start going throughout the race,” Lockwood explained.
Lockwood admitted that running without Panther teammate Kelley Driscoll was a challenge.
“Obviously, I’m used to running with Kelley (Driscoll),” Lockwood noted. “It would have been nice to have her here.”
Gunter-Droney and Lockwood hope their solid indoor campaigns reap outdoor rewards.
“Indoor really helped me because it was so competitive and everyone is so good,” Gunter-Droney said.
“I’m just going to see how it goes and see where I go,” Lockwood said.
Two other Finger Lakes league athletes competed yesterday. Wayne teammates Erika Steensma and Liz Larson helped the Section V intersectional medley relay take 10th place in 10:59.60.