Area athletes to compete at state track meet

Fonda-Fultonville's Brittany Castelluccio takes off from the board during the Division 2 long jump competition during the Section II championship meet June 2, 2017, at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park. Castelluccio will compete in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championships today at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

STATEN ISLAND — Four local athletes and a relay team will be among those competing today at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.

Fonda-Fultonville’s Brittany Castelluccio, along with Amsterdam’s Lauren Santiago, Gabby Stanavich and Charli Beekman will be joined by the Lady Rams 1,600-meter relay team of Santiago, Stanavich, Olivia Lazarou and Brenda Santana.

Amsterdam coach Stu Palczak said he wasn’t surprised to have so many competitors qualify for states.

“We knew it would take great performances, but we felt confidence in our preparation and that the girls were ready,” he said.

Castelluccio, a senior, qualified in the long jump with her winning leap of 17-6 3/4 and finished second in the triple jump with a personal best jump of 36-7.

“We were confident that she would qualify in the long jump. She had already met the state standard so she only had to finish in the top three and we weren’t worried about that. She ended up winning,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Mark Therrien said of Castelluccio’s effort at the Section II state qualifier. “She hadn’t met the standard in the Triple Jump yet so we knew she would have to finish in the top two. However, one her second jump, she surpassed the standard and it became a matter of finishing in the top three again. She finished second.”

This marks the sixth-straight track and field championship meet that she has qualified for.

“Having been to numerous state championships, she knows what the level of competition will be. Knowing what to expect will make it easier for her to concentrate on what she’s doing,” Therrien said. “Also, the Ocean Breeze complex doesn’t provide a good warm up facility so we’ll be better prepared for that this year.”

Castelluccio qualified for the outdoor championships as a freshman, indoor and outdoor championships as a sophomore and the indoor and outdoor championships last year as a junior.

“Last year at the state meet, Brittany finished 14th in the long jump. I think she can break into the top 10 and maybe the top eight for a medal if she gets off a good jump,” Therrien said. “This will be the first time she’s triple jumped in the state meet, so we’re hoping to finish this season with a PR.”

Castelluccio will be joined at the meet by the Amsterdam contingent, which Palczak said will help his group at the meet.

“Bringing multiple athletes to a ‘big’ event helps the kids relax and prepare. Also it’s great to have a big cheering section,” he said. “We expect to place and earn medals.”

Stanavich, a junior, qualified for the state meet with her victory in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.43.

Beekman, a freshman, finished third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.52 but earned an at-large bid by meeting the state-standard with her time of 7.41 which she posted at the Springfield College Invitational.

Santiago, a junior, earned her spot with a winning time of 42.31 in the 300-meter dash.

The Lady Rams’ 1,600-meter relay team earned its second-straight trip to the state meet with a winning time of 4:11.19.

“Simply qualifying for states makes it a success,” Palczak said. “In addition, we would like to compete hard, set school and personal records, and get on the podium.”

The meet was slated to begin at 8:45 a.m., but the NYSPHSAA announced Friday that it was moving the start time to 12:45 p.m. to allow competitors from around the state to reach the venue.