ALBANY – Forgive Alex Dildy for not readily knowing the feat he had accomplished at the University at Albany on Saturday.
If an athlete pushes himself to the limit and still sees two others in front of him as he crosses the finish line, there isn’t an immediate need to celebrate for obvious reasons. It wasn’t until Dildy and his coach were informed that the two who finished before Dildy were from private schools trying to qualify for Federation finals later in the day that the achievement started to sink in for the sophomore.
Alex Dildy. State champion in the 100-meter dash.
The Bennett sophomore won the Division II state public schools championship before an estimated 2,000. In capturing the title, he became the first Buffalo Public Schools track and field athlete to win a state title since 2005 when da Vinci’s Kim Williams won the 200 meters.
Dildy is the first Buffalo Public Schools male track and field athlete to win a state championship since Seneca’s Kevin Hudson captured the high jump in 2002.
“To be a public school, I tried to come out here and represent,” said Dildy, a three-sport athlete at Bennett. “Try to work as hard as I can and push myself because you never know what can happen.”
“The best kids in the state are here,” Tigers coach Randy Rakowski said. “For him to be here with them is a great accomplishment, especially just him being a sophomore. He has plans for being here all four years of his high school career.”
Meanwhile, there’s no disputing who the top discus thrower in the state is as Starpoint’s Sam Wray earned that distinction. The junior followed up Friday’s win in the state public schools competition by once again rallying to beat Lancaster’s Colin Blair. It gave him the overall state Federation championship.
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” said Wray of basically being the undisputed state champion in the discus.
Dildy and Wray were the only Day Two champions among the boys from Western New York.
Dildy, who had a time of 11.02, has been making a name for himself in the Buffalo area in track; he qualified for states last year and took fourth in the 100 as a freshman. While winning a state title as a sophomore doesn’t guarantee future success, his goal is to continue putting in the work so that he keeps returning to the state meet.
Right now, it’s time for him to enjoy the reward for all the work he put in the past year.
“He had a good season,” Rakowski said. “You could see the progression. I thought he would do well here.”
The awards-tent announcer already was preparing fans for next year’s discus event based on Section VI’s 1-2 finish in both the Division I public schools and Federation competitions.
Like Friday, Wray had to rally for the win, as he unleashed the top distance of 174 feet, 10 inches on the third of his four attempts. Lancaster’s Blair, who finished second by nine inches Friday, failed to improve on the 172-9 he threw on his first attempt.
If a rivalry has been born, it will be a friendly one based on the respect each showed to each other during the weekend. Both also got to know each other as people as they were roommates during the road trip.
“It wasn’t a bad day,” said Blair. “Next year’s definitely going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to it.”
Lockport’s Lavette Warren took second among public schools runners in the Division I 100, posting a time of 10.84. Not bad for a first-time state participant in his first year in the sport.
“I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be here. I’m just happy to have placed.”
Also in Division I:
Sweet Home’s 4x800 relay of Will Schultz, Chris Nowak, Josh Hammer and Mitchell Daddario placed third in Division I, in a Section VI record time of 7:47.44. The foursome broke a 30-year-old record previously set by a Sweet Home relay team that featured Western New York Running Hall of Fame member Charlie Kern.
“We were happy it was there,” Panthers coach Brian Lombardo said. “We kind of felt we had a good performance in us.”
Orchard Park’s Terius Wheatley captured fourth in the triple jump, while Lancaster’s Steve Neumeier was fifth in the 1,600.
In Division II, Nick Serafin of Depew finished third (6-4), while East Aurora’s TJ Murray took fourth in the steeplechase.
Also placing fourth were Holland’s Zachary Jones in the pentathlon with 3,265 points, Allegany-Limestone’s Owen Barber in the 1,600 and Falconer’s Joel Fischer in the 110 hurdles.