CICERO - When the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots track team practiced for the first time this spring, Jake Coveney and the coaching staff set a goal for the junior athlete - qualify for and win the Division 2 pentathlon state championship.
Saturday that goal was achieved as Coveney turned in strong performances in the long jump and 1,500-meter run to move from third to the top of the standings and claim the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys Division II (small school) pentathlon championship at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
"It feels great, Coveney said while catching his breath after finishing the 1,500-meter run in 4:31.99. "I know I am not showing a lot of emotion right now, but inside, I am freaking out and ecstatic. I love competing in the pentathlon. Everyone I competed with today was really nice and competitive."
Broadalbin-Perth’s Jake Coveney competes in the long jump during the boys pentathlon at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Coveney entered the second day of competition three points behind Matt Przybocki (2,039) of Burke Catholic for second in the Division 2 standings and nine points ahead of fourth-place competitor Bryce Moeller (2,027) of Barker. Ben Rourke of Lansing led the Division 2 standings with 2,088.
He took control of the competition in the first event of the day - the long jump.
"I was still beating the Moeller kid by nine points and the Lansing kid was ahead of me by 40 points, but I knew he wasn't as good in the long jump and was not strong in the 1,500."
Coveney wasn't pleased with his first of three jumps but steadily improved to record a jump of 6.11 meters (20-1/2 feet) to win the long jump segment and vault to the top of the D2 standings with just the 1,500-meter run remaining.
"When I landed I heard my coaches and parents yelling and clapping, that's is when I knew it was a good jump," Coveney said. "Then I turned around and saw 6.11 on my last one. I just thought I needed that. The Moeller kid jumped higher than I did, but I jumped longer than he did."
Coveney dogged Moeller right from the start of the 1,500-meter run, staying on his heels in fifth in the opening lap.
When Moeller made a move, Coveney stayed within striking distance but Moeller pulled away at the finish with a time of 4:30.38.
"When I was right behind the kid I was competing with the whole race," Coveney said. "I didn't expect him to run that kind of time. He had been consistent around 4:43 all year. He kicked it and started to speed away. I was second behind him I knew that it wasn't a big enough win for him to pass me."
Moeller collected 741 points for his time but Coveney's time of 4:31.99 was worth 732 points, enough to earn him the Division 2 state championship and a third place finish in the overall Federation championships.
"I am excited for Jake," Broadalbin-Perth head coach Jeff Richards said. "It was his goal, and ours, from day one. We trained for this right from the first day; it wasn't like in the past when we had a pentathlon athlete and two weeks before the meet we said alright now you have to work on the shot put and the high jump. All four of the coaches had a direct impact. The thing with Jake is he is an athlete who came in and wasn't intimated by this whole thing [the state meet setting]. He has that drive that you can't coach kids and he showed it the whole way."
Richards said he believes Coveney is the first individual athlete to win a state championship for Broadalbin-Perth.
"We had the boys soccer team but I am pretty sure he is the first in track and in any individual sport in Broadalbin history," Richards said. "It is a good win for him. He is an underclassman and I hope he stays hungry."
LeBlanc competes in high jump
Broadalbin-Perth's Chelsea LeBlanc made her first trip the NYSPHSAA championships in the high jump and found success.
The junior cleared the high jump bar on her first attempt and again at 5-0 before missing her attempts at 5-2.
LeBlanc finished in a tie for 26th out of 37 competitors with her height of 5-0.
"I told her after she finished to hold her head up high you have a lot to be proud of," Richards said. "I have had kids the first time at states come here and get intimidated. I have had kids in the pole vault and high jump record no height. They were very good jumpers and vaulters too. She cleared five, which she has done consistently this year. She made the best of the situation. She is a junior she didn't let this situation get the best of her.
She did good and I hope next year she will come back and do even better."