Share this article

print logo

Orchard Park’s Wheatley coasts in high jump

One sectional title wasn’t enough for Terius Wheatley. So he went for a second helping.

That was a popular theme for a host of athletes at the Section VI track and field championships at Niagara-Wheatfield on Saturday as Wheatley was one of seven double-winners.

The Orchard Park junior won the Division I high jump on Saturday, adding to the triple jump title he earned on Friday.

“I’m really excited about it,” Wheatley said. “I didn’t run track last year, but I worked on high jump with my dad. Winning it and going to states is big for me. I just want to keep going higher.”

Wheatley was the top seed in all three jumping events. His best high jump mark of the season was 6-foot-6, he needed only to jump 6-3 to win on Saturday. He cleared 6-3 with ease, on his first try.

Wheatley was in a good position to be the meet’s lone triple-winner on the boys side. Despite being the top seed in long jump, Wheatley knew the competition would be stiff as the top three jumpers had season-best marks separated by two inches or less. Wheatley settled for third place (21-9).

“I knew they were really good, but I just wasn’t feeling it today,” Wheatley said after the meet. “I switched my legs; I usually jump off my left leg, I jumped off my right today. But, the competition was really strong. I’ve gone against them before, so I know how good they are.”

Lancaster junior Jake Valley won the long jump (22-7), while Williamsville South’s Christian Graziano also qualified for states (22-1).

“I came in worried because I had two kids ahead of me,” said Valley, who entered as the third seed. “We’ve been battling each other all year, it feels really good to win this one.”

Niagara Falls’ Jeffrey Menyah, Allegheny Limestone’s Owen Barber and Roman Greco, Lancaster’s Colin Blair, Depew’s Nick Serafin and Bennett’s Alex Dildy joined Wheatley as double winners.

Menyah, a junior, swept the Division I hurdles, winning both the 110 and the 400 hurdles. Menyah won a tight race with Jamestown’s Ben Larson in the 110 hurdles, much different than how the 400 hurdles unfolded.

Menyah dominated the 400, using the last 100 meters to pull away and win by more than two seconds.

“This feels really good,” Menyah said. “I feel like I’ve worked really hard for this and I deserve it. … I expected to get the double win today and it feels great that it came together.”

Barber won his second sectional title of the weekend by edging out East Aurora’s Kenny Vasbinder in tight race in the Division II 1,600. Barber won the 800 on Friday.

“I worked so hard this week to get ready for this meet, so it feels amazing for it to pay off,” Barber said. “I knew I had to come in and perform at my best. It feels great, even though my legs hurt.”

Serafin of Depew won both the high jump (6-4) and the long jump (21-11).

Two men reigned in the weekend’s throwing events, as Lancaster’s Blair (187-5) and Allegheny-Limestone’s Greco (148-6) won discus titles after they each won in the shot put on Friday.

Dildy, a sophomore at Bennett, won both the 100 and 200 in Division II.

A handful of underclassmen had good showings. Sweet Home freshman Nathaniel Davis was the youngest sectional champion, as he won the 200 (22.26). Lockport sophomore Tresten White won the 400 in Division I.

Lake Shore senior Ty Becker was impressive in winning the pentathlon, leading three of the five events. Becker cleared 6-7 in the high jump.

Senior Mike Coatsworth of East Aurora won the 400 in Division II (50.66). Orchard Park’s Matt Mercer won the Division I steeplechase, TJ Murray of East Aurora won in Division II.