YOUNGSTOWN – Lockport’s Malik Brooks came into the Niagara Frontier League track and field championships determined to go 4 for 4 for the second year in a row.
Lewiston-Porter’s Andrew Perreault? He too came in wanting to win all four events at the meet that serves as the final attempt for athletes to qualify for next week’s Section VI Championship/state qualifier meet.
Both achieved the feat Thursday at Lewiston-Porter High School, except Perreault regained two of the championships he lost last season in the process.
Brooks and Perreault were among the big winners in the boys competition, while Lockport sophomore Sydney Nowicki and teammate Kahniya James also had a hand in four victories apiece for the Lady Lions.
Senior Le’Gary Jackson of Niagara Wheatfield won three events and led the charge for the Falcons, who won the girls team title for the second straight year. Lockport won the boys crown.
Brooks, the Lions’ three-sport star, played a role in that.
It started with him crushing it in the 400, as he triumphed by more than 2 seconds. The lad with very noticeable designer running shoes (painted by friend Dakota Wiley that include Brooks’ name and the numerals 46 and 716) also won the 200 and then helped Lockport take relay titles in the 4x100 and 4x400.
Brooks, who will continue his football career at Monmouth and may attempt to play hoops there too, captured the same four events last season during the meet.
“It’s just hard work over the summer doing hills and starts out of the blocks,” said Brooks, who placed fourth at the state meet last year in the 400. “It’s kind of emotional going through the last weeks here but it’s all good because I’m going to play sports at the next level.”
So too is Perreault, who plans to run cross country and track at Canisius College.
He’ll be in fine shape heading to college, as Perreault came into the season wanting to participate in four events during sectionals and dual meets. So he worked on his stamina during the offseason along with his leg strength.
The result? Perreault first regained the titles lost at last year’s meet – steeplechase and 3,200. Then he won the 1,600 and helped his team win the 4x800 relay. He also won the steeplechase and 3,200 his freshman and sophomore years.
“I came into this year with a little chip on my shoulder,” said Perreault, a member of Lew-Port’s Section VI boys soccer and boys basketball championship teams.
“People don’t know that Andrew not only is a talented runner but he is competitive,” Lew-Port coach Dick Lindamer said. “He doesn’t like to lose.”
Devon Toland also won two events for Lockport, which finished 51 points ahead of runner-up Lew-Port. He took the titles in the shot put and discus.
Nowicki experienced that winning feeling in the 800, 1,500, 3,000 and 4x400 relay. The sophomore pulled it off in the name of team as she admitted to battling through tired legs Thursday.
“I ran the 3000 and the 800 (Wednesday), I was just going for the team win today and we were close,” Nowicki said. “We still had a good day. It was hard to set personal records with the wind today.”
Teammate Kahniya James won the 200, 100, 4x100 and 4x400.
Senior Le’Gary Jackson came close to going 4 for 4 at the meet as she and Niagara Wheatfield finished second to Nowicki and Lockport in the 4x400. Still, Jackson, who will run at Detroit Mercy, had fun winning the 400, high jump and long jump.
Jackson is the younger sister of former Niagara Wheatfield standout Kyri Jackson, who now runs the pentathlon at Detroit Mercy.
Le’Gary has won the 400 each year since eighth grade and the high jump each year since her freshman campaign.
“It’s mostly my coach because I get into my head,” said Jackson of her success. “With having my family support me, I was able to do what God allowed me to do because I didn’t think I could do it but he knew.”
On winning the team title at NFL meet after capturing regular-season title:
“We’re very excited about it because it’s our second time in a row,” Jackson said. “It’s a team effort because we’ve been working hard.”
Grand Island had a pair of double winners. For the girls, Laura Schulz won the triple jump and the 100 hurdles. For the boys, Sebastian Melendez won the 800 and 400 hurdles.
Other NFL champions from the girls meet included Niagara Wheatfield's May Liu (discus), Mackenzie Patterson (400 hurdles) and Destiny Osby (pole vault), Lockport's Skylar Pointer (shot put) and Kenmore West's Laura Cohn (steeplechase).
For the boys, Kenmore East's Nick Coburn (high jump), Niagara Falls' Jonathan Litten (triple jump), North Tonawanda's Jaivante Baldon (long jump), Ken West's Chris Kaszynski (pole vault) and Mark Marrelli (110 hurdles), and Lockport's Jalyn Jones (100).