Batavia high and Attica high schools will be sending top athletes to compete in the New York State indoor track championships this weekend and indoor track nationals next weekend, both in New York City.
We asked what each student's goals and achievements are for these upcoming events.
Pictured from left are Batavia’s Alex Rood, Daemon Konieczny, and Rebekah Daniszewski, along with Attica High School's Emily Tait.
Alex Rood a senior who has competed in both state and national events last year is returning for both again and looking to set new records. Alex says his personal best for shot put is 54 feet, nine and a half inches and he would like to achieve throwing 56 inches or more. His goal in nationals is to go out there and compete the best he can and end on a good mark going into the outdoor track season.
Daemon Konieczny, a senior who has qualified for the state meet for pole vault, says his personal best is jumping is 13 feet. His goal is to get over 13 feet, six inches, which would beat the school record. Daemon added that if he can get to jump 15 or more, that would qualify him for the national meet the following weekend.
Rebekah Daniszewski is a junior at BHS who is competing for her first time in the state and nationals meet. She says she attributes her success to her coach who helped pushed herself to her very best. Her personal best in shot put is 39 feet, three and a quarter inches. Her goal this weekend is to throw 40 feet. Rebekah has not achieved that yet but hopefully in states she can pull it out.
Senior Emily Tait from Attica will be joining Batavia for the state and national meets, respectively. Emily will compete in the long and triple jump this year. Her personal best for long jump is 18 feet, eight and a fourth inches, which she did at state qualifiers. For triple jump, her best is 38 feet, nine and three fourths inches and she did that at sectionals. Her goal for long jump is to break 19 feet and she wants to come in first place at states. For triple jump, she wants to be competitive with the top girls in the competition so she's shooting for a mid-39-foot jump.
Batavia’s head indoor track Coach Nicholas Burk spoke about the success of students who have competed in states and nationals over the years.
"We have had a student compete every year since I have been coaching since 1998; we have been fortunate enough to have athletes compete at the state meet," Burk said. "The cool thing about indoor is the state championship is a legitimate state championship -- there is not a separation by class size, large school, small school.
"To qualify for this meet, means that you are competing against every school regardless of school size or class. So this one is really prestigious and when you medal at this meet, it's definitely a testament to the athlete with the ability to perform at the right time and have that performance at state qualifiers.
"We attribute our success to the boys winning nine sectionals championships, eight of them have been since 2008 and first one in 1993. On the girls' side, we have 16 championships, seven consecutives in 18 years."
Burk spoke highly of his students' dedication to track and the mentoring of his coaching staff.
In all aspects of track, whether it’s throwing, distance, jumping, hurdles or vault, coaches spends countless hours training young athletes year after year, Burk said, imparting in them the ability to compete at the highest level, both in sectionals and by attending the state meet.
"(This) has separated us and led us to the longevity to be one of the top teams in section five," Burk said.
Batavia’s throwing Coach Daniel Geiger said this is the 13th consecutive year of sending a thrower to the state meet, which is a great accomplishment and he is very proud of the work that these two athletes have done this year.
"We have to compete against every school in section five to get to this meet, whether it’s a small school like ours or a large school, it’s putting in the hard work and dedication to represent our school’s success," Geiger said. "You couldn’t ask more for a group of kids to work hard every day, give their all for the team and give their all for this program.
"This stretch started back in 2008 with Sam Yeager, Eric Williams, Chris Jones, Daemon Reeves, Devon Keopp, Anthony Ray and now Alex Rood and Rebekah Daniszewski. We have guys down the pipe that are working hard to rise to that level, too. So I am really proud of these two athletes, not of just what they have accomplished, but the legacy that they are continuing and leaving behind for the future athletes coming behind them."