CICERO – Just before Jon Surdej unleashed the throw that put him in the lead for good, the Lancaster junior was the one leading the cheers for his competition.
That included vocal support for Batavia's Anthony Ray and Rush-Henrietta's Jake McPherson – the two who finished behind Surdej, the undisputed champion of the shot put in New York.
"You're cheering on each other because you are your own competition," Surdej said. "These guys are here to push you and motivate you to be the best you can be. That's why I cheer for everybody."
The same can go with the loud, distinct scream that escapes Surdej's mouth whenever he unleashes a really good throw.
He unloaded the Federation championship-winning distance on the second of his four attempts Saturday afternoon at Cicero-North Syracuse High School – a distance of 60 feet, 8.25 inches.
Surdej was the only male from Western New York to win State Federation and New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association championships during the two-day meet which brings together the top athletes from the state's 11 sections as well as the state's non-NYSPHSAA members.
"Everyone out here was gunning for me right from the beginning and I appreciate that because for most of the season I've been untouched," said Surdej, who captured Friday's public schools' competition with a throw of 58-7. "Just to come out here and have the competition I had it's wonderful. You can't script this.
"It feels great. Everyone out here was cheering for me. I had my family here. It just felt good to have everyone around me."
In addition to cheering the competition, Surdej is quite the cerebral competitor. A student of his event, he knows instantly what he did well or not so well on an attempt.
He understands his positioning in the circle. He understands how his body reacts on throws. He understands the event, according to Legends throwing coach George Rak.
Surdej also understands the grind it is to win the NYSPHSAA and Federation shot put titles the same weekend. It's a feat to be celebrated.
"I think one of the toughest things in the outdoor state meet is to win it twice," Rak said. "To win it once is nice and you can't take a state championship away from somebody but everybody knows you want to win it them both. You want to walk away saying you were the very best. In order for that to happen you have to win twice."
There's no disputing Surdej is the best this year.
There's also no disputing the talent of Sweet Home's Nate Davis. He's a coveted Division I talent, who helped the 4x100 win public schools and Federation championships last year and also won the 200.
Though he did not leave C-NS with a state title this weekend, Davis medaled in each of the four events he qualified (long jump, 100, 200 and 4x100 relay). He came closest to experiencing victory in his final state-meet race. He anchored the 4x100 relay's second-place showing in the Federation race. Davis, Thomas Rivera, Anthony Williams and Kyle Durwald posted a time of 42.44. They got nipped at the end by Section V's Edison Tech (42.38).
"I thought I had it when I came to the line," Davis said of the finish. "I really had to lean. I was hoping that would get it."
Davis took third in the public schools' 100 and 200 and also helped the 4X100 to a third-place finish Friday and took sixth in the long jump. He placed sixth in the Federation 200.
The only other boy to place second was Clymer/Sherman/Panama's John Swabik with 3,130 points in the pentathlon.
St. Joe's Tyler Doty placed third in the Federation discus.
In other Division I results, Lockport's Malik Brooks took fourth in the 400, while Orchard Park's Cal Puskar set a PR in placing sixth in the Division I 1,600 in 4:13.29.
In Division II, Cleveland Hill's Javon Thomas took fourth in the 200 and fifth in the 100. Lew-Port's Michael Allender ran in the same events, finishing a spot behind Thomas in each of them. Michael Wolfgang of Allegany-Limestone took sixth in the 110 hurdles. His teammate, Liam Coulter, finished sixth in the 400 hurdles. Grant Fox of Olean took fourth in the pole vault. Falconer/Cassadaga Valley's 4x800 relay team of Rayven Sample, Bryce Baglia, Collin Barmore and Andrew Young achieve its goal of medaling by placing fourth.
"It just means the world to me (to place at states)," said Young the only senior on that relay. "We put in so much work with this team. ... To finally end up with a medal was a dream come true."
Shevaughn Allen of JFK took sixth in the Federation long jump.