From the time the first individual winner crossed the finish line at All High Stadium during the city track championships Wednesday evening, one thing was clear: it was a good year to be a young athlete in the Buffalo Public Schools.
City Honors sophomore Tyler Carpenter won the girls' 100-meter high hurdles with a time of 17.1 seconds, setting the stage for sophomores, freshman, eighth and seventh graders to take over.
Carpenter, eighth-grader Rachael Ruhland and seventh-grader Allie Banas each won individual events for City Honors. Ruhland chased down DaVinci's Taisha St. Jean in the last leg of the girls' 1500-meter run, winning with a time of 5:51.2. Banas held off Olmstead's Brittany Higgs in the 400.
"I just really wanted to win," Ruhland said. "I didn't do anything special, it was just adrenaline kicking in down the stretch."
City Honors girls coach Dave Curry said his team, and the league, has impressive youth.
"It's not just us. The boys are young, too," he said. "So is Olmstead. Hopefully we'll be able to give Hutch-Tech a run for their money in the future."
Young programs also did well at the meet, with Olmstead, in its second year of competition, picking up its first two first-place finishes.
Higgs earned the program's first win when she finished the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:42.0. She also anchored the school's 1,600 relay team, which won with a time of 4:26.7.
"We had a couple close calls last year," Olmstead coach Rich Skrabucha said, "but we didn't get any wins. We got a couple this year, and it's a big step for our program."
Sierra Seymour had a big day for South Park, finishing second in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and grabbing first in the long jump with a distance of 16-feet, 7-inches.
The boys half of the meet was highlighted by big matchups, multiple winners and season best performances.
McKinley's Charles Cardwell and Hutch-Tech's Dannie Wea battled in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Cardwell took the 100, edging Wea by 0.2 seconds, but was disqualified for a false start in the 200, which Wea won with a time of 23.3 seconds.
City Honor's Seamus Degan and East's Mike Josey both won two events. Degan, who specializes in distance running, took the 800- and 1600-meter runs. Josey won the long jump and the high jump.
Hutch Tech's Nars Abdulla won the shot put with a throw of 42 feet, 8 inches, which was a personal best and the longest in the city this year. Tech won 14 of 28 total events and five of the six relays. City Honors had the second most with five, and East finished with three.
"There were a lot of great performances, a lot of great young performers that will be very strong in the future, especially on the girls' side," Tech coach Dave Sardo said.