This year's edition of the USA Track & Field Region 2 Junior Olympic Championships got off to an easy start on Thursday morning at Strider Field - call it the calm before the storm - as just a fraction of the more than 1,500 expected athletes took part in the opening day's events.
A little more than 30 competitors participated in those opening events, which were the heptathlon, the decathlon and the triathlon.
"There wasn't a lot of athletes today, but it was a good way to get going," Chautauqua Striders Program Director David Reinhardt said. "It was a way to go through routines, bring all the officials together - because we've got a lot from different areas - and learn from each other.
Above, McKenna Maycock, left, of the Chautauqua Striders, and Tia Livingston from Piscataway, N.J., running unattached, finish almost simultaneously in the 200 meters portion of Girls 15-16 heptathlon at the opening day of the USA?Track & Field Region 2 Junior Olympics at Strider Field on Thursday. Livingston won the race and is the overall leader of the event with Maycock second. The final portions of the heptathlon will be held today beginning at 9:30 a.m. Below, Jaden Edmonds of the Ispeed Track Club participates in the high jump. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Reagle
"We're ready to move on to day two."
So is McKenna Maycock, who was the lone Strider to compete on Thursday.
Currently in second place in the 15-16 Girls Heptathlon - on Thursday the competitors took part in the 100 hurdles, the high jump, the shot put and the 200-meter dash - the soon-to-be Randolph junior looks to be on track to qualifying for the USATF National Junior Olympics later this month.
The top three finishers of each event will advance to the National Junior Olympics, which will be held at Irwin Belk Track at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C., July 22-28.
"(McKenna) had a very good hurdles race, her shot put was good and her 200 was very good," Reinhardt said. "She's got three events left, and in two of those three - the long jump and the 800 - she's very strong."
Maycock has 2,378 points while the leader, Piscataway, N.J. native Tia Livingston, has 2,512. Rounding out the top three is Arian Przybylowski with 2,197.
Maycock won the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.92, was second in the shot put with a throw of 27-9 and second in the 200 meters, finishing just a hundredth of a second shy of Livingston's time of 26.37.
"It was very close, but (Livingston) had a good lean," Reinhardt said of the race.
The heptathlon finishes today with the long jump, the javelin throw and the 800. Action starts a 9:30 a.m.
"I think its really going to come down to the 800," Reinhardt said. "McKenna's still got a really great shot and is looking pretty good for nationals."
If it comes down to the 800 as Reinhardt expects, she certainly does. Maycock, you'll recall, captured the 800 meters two years ago at the USATF Junior National Olympics at Wichita State University to earn All-American honors.
In the Women's 17-18 Heptathlon, Madeline Hammer of Williamsville leads with 2,373 points while Nathena Brown of the Rochester Running Track Club has 2,263 and Kayla Key of the Ispeed Track Club (Pittsburgh) has 1,915 for second and third, respectively.
In the 17-18 Men's Decathlon, Mitch Valko (South Fayette Track Club in McDonald, Pa.) leads with 2,804 points, Jacob Kappes is second with 2,742 and Noah McDonald (Penfield Athletic Club) is third with 2,164.
Larry Mays, a member of Amaysingspeed (a club based in Mays Landing, N.J.), was the lone competitor in the 15-16 Boys Decathlon and has 1,778 points.
The 9-10 boys and girls triathlons also took place on Thursday.
Dawntaza Dutrieuille (East Allegany) won the girls competition with 694 points while Amia Green (Willis/Camden PAL) was three off the lead with 691. In third was Lily Johns (Wings of Moon Track Club, Pittsburgh) with 667.
Kegan Mancabelli clinched the boys triathlon with 483 points, Jackson Bliey was the runnerup with 402 and Jaden Edmonds (Ispeed TC) placed third with 359.
For complete results, visit www.chautauqua-striders.org and click on the link at the right.