By MIKE SMITH
After both the boys and girls teams from Harrison came away as champions at the Jan. 11 League Championship Meet, the Huskies, as they have done over the past several successful years, turned their eyes to what came next–this weekend’s county meet.
But before they did, the squad took a little sojourn up north to compete in the 2014 Hurley-Quinney Invitational at Cornell University. Going against some of the top northern New York schools, the Huskies fared well, with the girls placing fifth and the boys taking home top honors at the Jan. 18 tournament.
Rula Samad had a big day for the Huskies girls, winning the 55m hurdles, the triple jump and running a leg in the 4 x 200m relay‑along with Sam Shopovick, Erica Lamanna and Renata Diniz‑while teammate Michelle Aguire place first in the 600m event.
On the boys side, the only event winner was Jeremy Altamuro, who took the shot put and weight throw–scoring a new school record with a throw of 55-2.5 on the day.
The boys scored points in 12 other events to earn enough points for the meet win.
“If you look at the top kids across the state, there’s not much separating them, no matter what the section,” boys coach Dominic Zanot said. “But Section I has a lot more depth, from say, four to 22, and that helped us out at Cornell. We had only one boy win an event, but we had guys score in just about every one and that’s why we won.”
For the Huskies–both the boys and the girls–the first-ever trip to the Hurley-Quinney Invitational served a couple of purposes. In addition to being a bonding trip before the team got ready for the county meet, Zanot also said it would be a big help to any Harrison athletes that might find themselves competing at states this winter.
The state finals are also held at Cornell.
“It’s such a different atmosphere from the Armory,” Zanot said. “And when we have kids going to states, sometimes it’s their first time going on a bus to an away meet, their first time staying in a hotel. Going up there gives them an idea of what this different itinenrary is going to look like.”
The Huskies will be back in action at the Armory on Feb. 1 when the county meet kicks-off. The meet pits the section’s top athletes against one another–regardless of class. Despite not being one of the larger schools, Zanot said the Huskies are ready for the challenge.
“With the depth of competition there, the best you can do is ask for the kids to reach their personal records,” Zanot said. “If we all come out and perform that way, if we all have that positive outcome, we can be successful.”