WHITESBORO – While several records were broken at the Ed Wadas Invitational Meet at Whitesboro on Friday, the biggest standard was a new one, set by a runner who virtually lapped the field.
Jason Robinson, a freshman at Westmoreland, has a disease called spinal segmental disgenesis, which has left him in a wheelchair for almost his entire life. That hasn’t stopped him in the slightest from burning up tracks all over the Mohawk Valley, and the roads of Utica (he’s competed in several Boilermakers as well). Friday was no different, as he set a personal best in the 3200 meters and ran away with the 1600 meter race as well, turning in a time of just over four minutes.
“My goal is to just keep breaking my personal best every time,” Robinson said. “If I do that, it’s a good day.”
Of course, Robinson’s speed demon ways have been met with confusion, as he is one of very few wheelchair runners in New York State. Despite that, he has been on the forefront of making new rules so that adaptive sports become a reality someday in Section III.
“He and his parents took the opportunity to bring adaptive sports to New York,” Westmoreland coach Mike Wessing said. “We’re supportive of him and work with him.”
“I’ve had such a supportive group at Westmoreland…I”ve never had a problem on the track,” Robinson said. “It feels good that I’m spreading the word. Hopefully more kids come out and race against me, even when I get out of high school. I wanted to show the kids in the stands that they can run track and field too.”
While Robinson was setting a new standard, the bar was being raised all over the track, and it began with the very first event of the afternoon, the girls’ 100-meter hurdles. Proctor junior Jada Lockwood came into today’s meet almost a second behind the area leader, Clinton’s Emmeline MacPherson. When the dust settled after the finals, however, Lockwood edged out MacPherson with a time of 16.71 seconds.
“It feels really great,” Lockwood said of her record-breaking run. “It motivates me to keep pushing forward. I’m expecting to get my personal best in everything today…it’s good weather to do so.”
Lockwood placed in three other events on the day as well. However, MacPherson would get her redemption in their next event together, the 400 meter hurdles, where she would edge Lockwood by just under a second. Lockwood also picked up a fourth place ribbon in the 200 meters. She would pick up another winners ribbon in her final event of the night, the 4×100 meter relay, where the Raiders edged rival Rome Free Academy in the final with a time of 52.08 seconds.
The boys’ hundred-meter record was shattered as well, but this time for the Whitesboro faithful that packed Ed Wadas Field, this one came back to the Warriors. Junior Lucas Casab, coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for all of Whitesboro’s long run on the football field, stepped onto the track and proved to everyone that he was back and he was still a force to be reckoned with. Casab scorched the track with another meet record, this time a blazing 11.04 seconds to take home top honors.
“It helps bring back confidence,” Casab said. “I came out of the blocks explosively…I just started to run and just kept running.”
Casab was not done for the day, as he would come back later and tear up the track yet again, this time in the 200-meter dash. He wouldn’t set another record, but he would bring home another winner’s ribbon. In the 200, Casab pulled away slightly more, edging out Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s Cory Couture by just under half a second to take home the 100-200 double.
“It feels good to know I still have my speed for football and track,” Casab said.
Another pair of records fell out at the high jump pit, and these ones were extra special for the Rome Free Academy Black Knights. Sophomore Isaha Garner and freshman Olivia Griggs not only smashed both standards and won their event, but they did it within five feet of each other. Garner put almost a foot on his record, while Griggs will share her record of 17 feet, four inches. However, both were really excited when they found out the other won.
“It’s pretty cool,” Garner said. “I’m a sophomore and she’s a freshman. I can’t wait to see what we do as we go on. Olivia has that never-satisfied mentality. She always wants more.”
“I’m pretty proud of myself and Isaha,” Griggs said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it with the weather today…when he said 17-4, I didn’t expect any of that… I jumped up and down [and] I went to my mom and hugged her. We [Garner and Griggs] both worked really hard…It feels like we’ve accomplished a lot.”
In other action around the Ed Wadas Invitational on Friday:
-Cooperstown senior Julie Ford not only gave her team ten points from her win in the girls’ pentathlon, she also goes home with a record. Ford edged the record of 2331 by just 38 points, picking up the record by posting a time of two minutes and 55 seconds in the final event, the 800 meter dash. No one could touch Ford in the shot put, where she put up a mark of just over eight meters, while no one else posted a mark over seven meters.
-Middle schoolers dominated the podium in the girls’ 3000 meters. Camden eighth-grader Elizabeth Lucason set yet another meet record, running the distance in a blistering ten minutes, 27.75 seconds. Her closest competitor, Clinton eighth-grader Madison Luke, finished just under 20 seconds behind her.
-Ryan Swavely of RFA brought home yet another winners ribbon for the Black Knights in the boys’ shot put, though the weather, which was windy and sprinkling rain for most of the day, did not help. Swavely did bring home a personal best, however, throwing the shot put 46 feet, nine inches to win the event, beating out Camden’s Steven VanHoeven by almost two feet.
-In all, 18 meet records were either broken or tied on Friday. The boys broke nine records, while the girls broke eight and shared another one. Of the more notable victories include Holland Patent’s Eddie Callahan breaking the 110-meter hurdles mark by 98 one-hundredths of a second, while Sherburne-Earlville’s Amberlyn Robertson set marks in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. Coincidentally enough, Griggs had set the mark in the 200-yard dash just last year.
-When all was said and done, New Hartford ran away with the team title in the boy’s division, raking in 117 and a half points, almost doubling runner-up Rome Free Academy’s 64. The Black Knights would walk away with the girls’ title, though, edging second-place Proctor by just 13 points, 86-73.
You can find all results, times, and team standings for today’s meet at leonetiming.com.