Maxana and Mallory Grubb of Amherst both got into running for similar reasons. They both liked their early introductions to the sport, which was competing in an elementary school race as fourth graders.
But the younger Mallory had another reason for sticking with it. She wanted to run like her big sister Maxana.
Both now know what it’s like to be a league champion for the first time.
The Grubb sisters had a very good weekend during the ECIC track and field championship meet at Hamburg’s Howe Field. Maxana, a junior, captured the title in the 800-meter dash in 2 minutes, 13.15 seconds. Mallory, a freshman, added the 1,500-meter championship to her trophy collection after winning the 3,000 on Friday. She crossed the finish line in 4:46.48 seconds to win by more than 7 seconds. Mallory won the 3,000 in 10:02.54 to hit the state-meet qualifying standard. Both helped the 4x800 relay place second to East Aurora.
“She’s done amazing,” said Maxana of Mallory. “It definitely feels good to compete (together) at Sectionals. Hopefully we’ll be on the bus to states together.”
What Mallory’s state status means, if she finishes top three during the coming Section VI meet later this week in the event, she’ll get to go to the state meet for the first time during the outdoors season. She qualified for states in the 1,500 during indoor last winter. Maxana went to states in the 800 last year during outdoor but has been to the NYSPHSAA in the 600 during indoor, too.
While Maxana is flattered Mallory’s reasons for running was to be like her, she also was a little scared.
“She’s fast, very fast,” Maxana said. “I didn’t want her to beat my times. ... But now I’m very proud of what she’s accomplished.”
“We’re very supportive of each other and we’re very happy when the other succeeds,” Mallory said.
They’re also thrilled when Amherst teammates do well, including Morgan Halt.
Halt won the 100 and 400 hurdles. She also took second in the high jump and long jump.
Meanwhile friendly Southtown rivals Jenna Crean of Orchard Park and Gwyneth Goldowski of Frontier experienced something different during a head-to-head encounter. The sophomore Goldowski beat the Duke-bound senior in race for the first time, winning the 400-meter dash in ECIC record fashion. Goldowski crossed the finish line in 55.78 seconds to break the record held by Crean, who matched her old mark Saturday (55.83).
“It felt really nice to beat her for once,” Goldowski said. “I’ve been running against her since eighth grade, but I’d have to say setting the record it does feel really good.”
“When she PRs I feels so proud of her and excited for her,” Crean said. “Gwen is an amazing runner. I’m so happy I get to compete against each other. She’s also one of my greatest friends. Before every race we talk about how we’re going to pick each other up and try to hit our PRs. It’s just a healthy competition we have going on.”
Crean may have placed second in the 400, but she still gobbled up first-place points in the 100, 200 and 4x100 to help Orchard Park capture the ECIC large schools team title. The Quakers edged Amherst 116-110. It's the second year in a row OP has won the team title.
“It’s because of the kids. They stuck together," coach Gene Tundo said winning the meet title along with an unbeaten regular season. "It’s a really deep team. Kids pitch in all over the place for points. It’s the girls that make the team.”
Iroquois won the small schools crown.
The Section VI meet is next as the two-day extravaganza that also serves as the state qualifier starts Friday at Williamsville South.