With only a handful of diehards left in the stadium, and most of the busses from Section VI already on the I-90, Brandon Joyce made history.
The Niagara Falls senior became the first athlete from his school to win indoor and outdoor state titles after he tied his own school record at 6 feet, 10 inches to win the high jump at Saturday's New York State Track and Field Championships.
Conditions were tough most of the day as athletes competed in a morning rain.
Joining Joyce as a state champion was Wayne Gordon of Sweet Home in the Federation 100, Dominik Kosar of St. Joe's in the Fed discus and Andew Burgio of Depew in the Division II shot put. They bring the number of state title by Western New York boys over the two-day meet to eight.
Joyce made three attempts at 7- 1/4 to break Brett Stern's 1992 Section VI record of 7-0, but fell short. "I tried, I had a couple good jumps, I just couldn't get over it," said Joyce. "I just loved the competition. It really brought out the best in me. Usually during league meets, I'm coming in [at a starting height] and they're going out."
After two state meets that were a bust, Gordon enjoyed a boom. As a junior, he pulled up lame during the 100 meters and was a scratch the rest of the meet. As a sophomore, Gordon was DQ'd in the 100. As a senior, Gordon put together the type of meet he always knew he was capable of.
"I think it's a blessing for me to come out here, be healthy, win my races and run the way I've wanted to all year," he said.
Gordon won his Fed race by a mere .01 in 10.96, nosing out Chris Belcher of Sayville. Gordon was also the public school state runner-up at 11.07. In what he considered his strongest event, the 200, he placed fourth in the Fed in 22.28.
"That surprised me. All season I've been focusing on the 200," Gordon said. "When I got injured [during the season], and had to take two weeks off, I think that affected my 200. But I still had the strength, and I'd been working hard all year round in the weight room."
Running along with Derell Hennings, Brian Banister and Jordan Johnson, Gordan anchored Sweet Home's 4x100 relay team to a fourth place in the Fed in 42.88.
Kosar also accomplished his season-long goal winning the discus in a school record 178-10.
Not all of Burgio's talent lies in football. The Depew senior, who will play at UB in the fall, won the public school title in the Division II shot put. His 53-10 3/4 on his second throw won by 13 inches.
"I've been dreaming about this for like two years, so I'm excited," said Burgio, who was the No. 3 seed. "I thought I had a real good shot, we were all within a foot of each other so it was going to be a close meet."
It was Burgio's first trip to states. He also placed fourth in the state in the discus. He said he prefers team sports, "but the shot put is one of the things I love to do."
In the steeplechase, junior Gene Baritot of East Aurora ran his personal record (PR) of 9:43.20 to finish as state runner-up in Division II.
"That's the best I've ever ran. To me -- it's the states, it's such a different feeling, and usually I have one person pushing me, and we've never been pushed that hard. It's so great," he said. I know I have a pretty good kick, so the last 800 I tried to kick it in."
T.J. Hornberger of Lake Shore ran his PR in the Division I 1,600 in 4:19.61. "I was hoping to go a sub-9:20 in the 3,200, but I couldn't have asked for a better sophomore season," he said. It was in Hornberger's race that a 30-year-old state record fell as junior Nick Ryan of Fayetteville-Manlius finished in 4:05.24 to eclipse the mark of 4:06.11.
Jailyn Twitty of Amherst was third in the Fed triple jump at 46-3 1/2 .
Senior Marcus Lobdell of Kenmore West finished third in the Division I pentathlon. He said his only solid event on the way to scoring 3,419 points was the hurdles. He was slowed by a 6-3 in the high jump after he had consistently cleared 6-6.
One day after winning the state title in the Division II 400 hurdles, Daryl Spencer of Cleveland Hill took third in the 110s in 14.88.
The East Aurora 4x800 relay of Brendan Keany, Elliott Martynkiewicz, Larkin Bohanan, Sean Phillips finishing third in 7:53.57, breaking a 31-year old school record.