CICERO – After all the coaching Cory Wefing has had in his running career, the best piece of advice he got at Friday’s New York State Track and Field Championships came from his mom.
“Right before the gun I heard my mom yell, ‘be aggressive at the start.’ She sure wasn’t kidding,” said Wefing.
The Maple Grove senior took her words to heart, breaking from the tight field just enough to win the Division II state title in the 800 meters in 1:54.60. Wefing and thrower Phil Zobrest of Alden claimed state titles for Section VI on the first day of competition being held at Cicero-North Syracuse High.
A field of 1,559 track and field athletes representing 414 schools from across the state are competing. Day Two begins today at 10 a.m.
Wefing admitted he caught a couple of breaks in his race.
“It was a tough start. I just kind of clawed my way through as much as I could,” he said. “I was lucky to find a hole and then I just stayed in that lane. I felt like I had one of the best paths in the race right there.”
By the second lap the field was closing in on him so he made a move to the outside, and sure enough, found some running room.
“I was blessed, it was just great timing,” he said.
Not all Section VI runners in the race were as fortunate.
T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore, coming off spectacular runs at last week’s Section VI meet got boxed in at the start and saw his intended path close down quickly. He settled for third place in Division I in 1:54.84.
He will be a man on a mission in today’s 1,600 meters.
Zobrest’s early interest in the throws came from an older brother, but he took it to the ultimate, winning the Division II discus in a personal record 163 feet, 3 inches. His effort came on his second-last throw and came right after the eventual runner-up up threw 161-1.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Zobrest will play football in college at Holy Cross. Zobrest was quick to recognize his coach Ken Partell, who has coached him in a variety of sports over the past seven years.
“He’s probably my favorite person ever,” he said.
Chris Doubek of Randolph put the finishing touches on an impressive high school career, earning second place in the Division II pole vault. He was third a year ago. He cleared 14-0, four inches shy of his school record. Doubek said he chose the pole vault early in his career wanting to surpass his father’s career-best jump of 13-0.
The Cardinal senior will also be remembered for leading his football team to back-to-back state titles in Class D. At halfback last fall, he rushed for 2,563 yards, earning All-Western New York.
Owen Barber of Allegany-Limestone was state runner-up in the Division II 3,200. The sophomore sensation used a push from the fast field to finish in a personal record 9:33.17.
Bennett freshman Alex Dildy made today’s final in the Division II 100 meters with a time of 10.98; Orchard Park senior Dawson Hillis finished third in the Division I discus in 182-6. Just 15 inches separated the top three finishers. … East Aurora’s 4x400 of Mike Coatsworth, Mike Durant, Matt McLaughlin and Zack Zagrobelny enjoyed a third-place finish in 3:24.10. … In the closest race of the day, the Dunkirk 4x100 relay finished seventh in 43.996 while Tonawanda’s foursome crossed in 43:998.