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Sweet Home shines on final day of ECIC track championships

Powerhouse track and field programs dominated the two-day ECIC Championships at Pioneer High School that were cut two events short on Saturday because of lightning in the area.

Sweet Home (eight events), East Aurora (seven) and Lancaster (six) won a combined 21 of the meet’s 36 events. Orchard Park was next with four and Holland was right behind with three. Eight schools each won one.

East Aurora swept the boys and girls small schools titles, Sweet Home and Lancaster shared the boys large schools title and Sweet Home took the girls large schools title outright.

“It’s a credit to the kids,” East Aurora coach Walt McLaughlin said. “The ones who are willing to do the work are here. We key on these meets. This is your championship meet, so if you’re not going to perform well at this level then you’re missing the boat.”

Kenny Vasbinder in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 was the lone double winner for the Blue Devils, who finished first in both 4x800 relays. Jason Farrell also won the pole vault for East Aurora and TJ Murray won the steeplechase.

Sweet Home had the most wins of any school on Saturday with six.

“We use the term with our kids, success breeds success,” said Panthers coach Brian Lombardo. “We don’t expect our younger kids to be perfect, but the older kids really get into a system with what they’re doing. That system has been going on for about five or six years, which has been a nice thing for us.”

One product of that system? Tiana Luton, who took first in her three events Saturday. She won the high jump and set school records in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.35 seconds and the 400 hurdles in 1:03.67. She set another school record with a 19-0.5 long jump on Friday.

Luton competed in four individual events instead of the pentathlon, the event in which she’s currently No. 1 in the country with a score of 3,529. She’s not settling for that, though.

After finishing 2015 as the state runner-up, the senior is looking to win states this year while also breaking the Section VI and state records in the process. She’s less than 100 points away from the section record and about 200 away from the state mark.

“With workouts and stuff, I usually do pretty hard workouts even through this week because my peak is supposed to be states and nationals,” Luton said. “That’s really what I’m preparing for. I’m not really preparing for this meet.”

While Day One was predominantly dominated by seniors, Day Two offered a glimpse into the future.

Orchard Park freshman Jenna Crean won the 100, 200 and 400. Sweet Home sophomore Nathaniel Davis won the 200 and 400. Lombardo said Davis has started to draw comparisons to 2012 100-meter Federation champion Wayne Gordon.

Other double winners from the meet were Holland’s Zachary Jones in the 110 and 400 hurdles and Sweet Home’s Sam Peterman in the 800 and 1,500.

Lancaster swept the 4x100 relays Saturday after winning four events on Day One.

The Section VI Championships will be June 3 and 4 back at Pioneer with the State Championships June 10 and 11 in Syracuse.