Jordan Powers achieved something this year that, while we can't exactly say for sure it hasn't ever been done, it is without a doubt an exceedingly rare feat.
Powers, a junior at Southwestern, qualified for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association state meet in three different sports - cross country, swimming, and track and field - during the 2012-2013 school year.
"That was my goal at the beginning of the year," Powers said. "A lot of my friends knew about it, and when my coaches found out they were all really supportive.
Southwestern junior Jordan Powers will be making his third trip to a New York State Public High School Athletic Association event this school year when he competes at the state track and field meet this weekend.
Photo by Tim Frank
"It's been a wild ride," he added with a laugh.
It certainly has.
"To get to three state competitions, that's almost unheard of," Southwestern boys track and field coach Fran Sirianni said. "I can't think of any (other athletes) that have been able to do that. There have been a few that have made two - in football and basketball, or wrestling and track - but never three."
It is, Sirianni says, a testament to Powers' all-around athletic prowess.
"His goal at the beginning of the track season was to reach the state meet," Sirianni said, "and I've come to learn not to doubt Jordan when it comes to achieving his goals.
"I think it shows he's a great all-around athlete, and that he really excels in the distance and endurance (sports)."
It's a somewhat different path from that of his father, Mark, who ran track and cross country but was better known as a standout basketball player for Maple Grove in the 1980s.
"When I was younger I tried basketball but never really enjoyed it," Powers explained. "And after my neighbors across the street, Bob and Judy Stevens, who swam in college, ran a developmental program that my dad signed me up for, I've been swimming ever since."
In other words, Powers, it seems, believes his talents lie elsewhere.
"We were just talking about his basketball game," Sirianni said. "Jordan was laughing and saying he thought his sister got all the basketball skills."
Looks like he'll have to "settle" for being a three-sport standout instead.
Powers took part in his first state meet this school year in November at Elma for the cross country championships. Next, he focused his efforts on the pool, and became the lone competitor - that's right, the only one - from Section 6 to reach the December state swimming meet.
The Trojan, who during the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association swimming season set seven new Southwestern records, actually qualified for three separate events at states, but, due to meet rules, could only compete in a pair.
Now, just five months later, Powers (along with 18 other area athletes) leave for Middletown High School today to vie for a state title in the 400-meter hurdles.
Not surprisingly, Powers, who took up the hurdles because his father had coached a state champion at Panama in the event in 1996, set the school record for that event last weekend at the Section 6 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Sirianni expects good things from the junior in the coming days.
"He has worked really hard over the last two weeks and has been reaping the benefits from that work," Sirianni said. "I believe, according to the set of rankings we saw, that Jordan is ranked sixth for Division 2 in the 400 hurdles, so we're hoping to improve on that."
Well, as Sirianni said, if that's his goal, count on him doing just that.
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When Christina Walter, the defending New York State Public High School Athletic Association champion in both the 100 and 200 meters, was sidelined with an injury early this spring (at that point she had competed in just three dual meets), Maple Grove coach Marcus Clark figured he likely wouldn't see the junior on the track again this season.
"I pretty much wrote her off," he said Wednesday evening. "I thought that if she made it to the county or sectional meet, that would be a bonus. I can only put her in when she wants, I wasn't going to push it."
Walter, as it turned out, pushed herself, delivering that bonus, and then some.
Not about to let her penultimate high school track and field season come to a premature end, the speedy Lady Red Dragon got to work on fixing what ailed her, and now, more than a month after the injury, she's headed back to the state meet.
Walter, who just prior to the leg injury had set new track and meet records in the 100 and 200 at the Olean Invitational, will defend her 2012 100-meter state title on Friday at Middletown High School after winning the event during the Section 6 Outdoor Track & Field Championships last weekend at Pioneer Central School.
Her time? A blistering 12.93 seconds.
The leg? Just fine.
"I ask her, 'How's the leg?,'" Clark said. "And she just says, 'Feels great.'"
With the win at sectionals, Clark notes that Walter's lone "loss" (if one could call it that) over the past two years was at the Federation track meet, which pits competitors from all divisions and all schools (private included) against one another. In that race she placed fifth.
After thinking for a moment, Clark admitted he probably should have known Walter would find a way back.
"She came out and supported her sister, Caroline, and the team (during every meet she missed)," Clark said, "but it was very hard for her to go and not compete."
And as soon as she was able, she was training.
"She was still able to lift, and she did a lot of water jogging," Clark explained. "She's tying not to overdo it, which is hard for her. She still trains more than any other person I know, but it's not to (the level) she normally would."
Even so, she has still managed to stake her claim, yet again, as one of, if not the, best 100-meter racer for Division 2 in the state.
"She's always run enough to win," Clark said. "I think she's a miraculous person who works extremely hard and gets things because she works hard. It's not all just a gift, she works hard in class, on the track and sets goals for herself.
"So I would always bet on her in a race with anybody. Put her against the best and she seems to run that much better to win that race."
That certainly doesn't bode well for her future competitors.
"We were working on her starts today," Clark said, "and we're hopefully looking to break her (personal record). I think she's got faster times coming."
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Joining Powers and Walter at the state meet will be Corey Wefing (3,200 meters) of Maple Grove; McKenna Maycock (100 and 400 hurdles), Zach Jackson (800 meters) and Chris Doubek (pole vault) of Randolph; Matt Civilette (triple jump) of Fredonia; Mackenzie Wright (long jump, triple jump) of Falconer; Brittany Feldman (400 meters, 200 meters and high jump) of Southwestern; McKenzie Swartzman (1,500 meters) and Alex Elderkin (high jump) of Frewsburg; Mitchell Moore (400 hurdles) of Jamestown; John Panus (3,000 steeplechase) of Olean; and Shae Smith (pentathlon) and the 400-meter relay squad of Evan Harrington, Sal Seitz, Anibal Santiago and Tanner John of Salamanca.
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While state track and field competition is going on in Middletown, and state softball action is underway at Queensbury, another group of athletes will be competing at SUNY Delhi for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association/Federation Girls Golf Championships.
The event begins on Saturday at 11 a.m., and will be the first time that golfers from the NYSPHSAA and the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) will compete against one another in a combined event.
And while nine golfers in all will be competing for Section 6, it's two in particular who area residents will be most interested in - Marissa DelMonaco, a freshman from Southwestern, and Kirstie Hanson, a junior from Jamestown.
The pair qualified for the state tournament by virtue of their performances at the sectional golf tournament in late May at Gowanda Country Club.
In that tournament, DelMonaco fired an 87 to tie for third place while Hanson carded a 100 for ninth.
On Saturday, DelMonaco will tee off from No. 1 at 12:20 p.m., along with Emilie Cullen of Section 8 and Emily Connors of the Catholic High School Athletic Association.
Hanson, meanwhile, begins on Saturday at No. 10 at 12:12 p.m., and will be playing with Courtney Walker of Section 5 and Brianna Sovring of Section 3.
First-round results will be posted online (at www.leaguelineup.com/section4girlsgolf) on Saturday evening.
Also competing from Section 6 will be senior Jenn Schuman (Lancaster); juniors Nicole Filipsk (Lancaster), Shelby Cornell (Clarence) and Jenna Stogsdill (Williamsville North); sophomore Chelsea Dantonio (Lancaster); freshman Sarah Godfrey (Singleton); and eighth-grader Alexis Kim (Clarence).