CICERO – Jayla Moss came out of the blocks hard and kicked in an extra gear near the end of her 100-meter dash at the New York State Track and Field Championships. The junior from Cheektowaga knew a trip to the Federation final for the first time in school history was on the line, and she didn’t want to take any chances.
Moss finished that race in 12.31 seconds to take the Division II title, .14 ahead of the next closest competitor. She then had to sit through the Division I race to see if she would get to race again.
As soon as the runners crossed the finish line, Moss’s teammates and coaches engulfed her in hugs. She beat out two racers from that final, earning her a spot in the Federation final.
“I’m excited, really excited,” Moss said. “I just stayed focused and thanked God and just pushed forward.”
She went on to finish fifth with a time of 12.36 in the Federation final, but for Moss and her coach Kenneth McCracken, just making it to the Federation final was an accomplishment in itself.
“It feels unbelievable,” McCracken said. “She’s put a ton of work and effort into getting to this point. I don’t know who’s more excited, me or her.”
The day didn’t have the same happy ending for Miquela Hunter, the freshman from Olmsted that won the Division II 400 state title yesterday. In the same 100 race that qualified Moss for the Federation final, Hunter pulled her hamstring and finished last.
“I’m ready to get better,” Hunter said. “Hopefully I can run at Nationals next week. I’ve never felt that before. Before I got to the finish line I just felt my whole muscle shift to the top and I was just like I’m going down.”
Hunter left the track on crutches and was forced to scratch from her remaining races.
A day after winning her first state title in the 400, Orchard Park’s Jenna Crean was back for three more races. She finished second in the 200, where she raced against Lanae-Tava Thomas, the senior from Rush-Henrietta who is committed to run for the University of Southern California next year.
“I was so happy I got to run against Lanae, she’s just incredible," Crean said. "She really pushes me. She’s absolutely amazing. My game plan was to just stay as close to her for as long as possible and I think I did pretty well.”
She placed third in the 200 Federation final, and then 30 minutes later, placed second in the 400 Federation final to wrap up her state championships.
“I’m happy I was able to make it through all of them,” Crean said. “I’m tired but my muscles are still fine. I’m proud of myself for getting through it all.”
Crean will be competing in New Balance Nationals next weekend before taking a break from competition for the summer heading into her senior year.
Taylor Hunter, who was a part of Tapestry Charter’s 4x100 winning relay yesterday, came in second in the 200 in 25.79. This was her last high school state meet, and she will be competing for SUNY Cortland in the fall.
“Being able to go with my girls for four years, it’s just been amazing,” Hunter said. “I have amazing teammates.”
Despite being a little off in the shot put and long jump, Amherst's Morgan Hart pulled together a best time in the 100 and 800 to place third in the pentathlon.
“There's so much great competition here it’s crazy,” Hart said. “A little disappointed with how a couple of events went, but that always happens. There are some great girls here.”
East Aurora cruised to a first-place finish in the first heat of the 4x800, crossing the finish line 16 seconds ahead of the next closest team. They placed fifth overall and broke the Section VI record, which has stood since 2006, by five seconds.
Anna Rybczynski from West Seneca West followed up her second-place finish in Division I final with a fifth-place finish in the Federation final. Emilee Hanlon from Dunkirk tied for fourth overall in the high jump and third among just Division II competitors.