Contario uses late kick to capture title in 3,200

By Ben Jacobs
Democrat and Chronicle SYRACUSE, N.Y. (March 11, 2001)

Newark's Jesse Contario won the boys 3,200-meter run in 9 minutes, 28.30 seconds yesterday at the State Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Carrier Dome.

Contario started out at the back of the pack, but ran his second mile eight seconds faster than his first to finish with his personal-best indoor time.

"The whole race was really tactical, nobody went out hard in the first mile," Contario said. "We were all watching each other."

Contario has a chance to become the state champion in both the indoor and outdoor 3,200 run. He won the Class B state outdoor championship in 1999 and finished second last year.

"I had an all-right (indoor) season, but not as good as I hoped," Contario said. "This lets me go into outdoor with a confident feeling. I think I will be able to run with whoever's out there."

Andy Wigton of Greece Athena finished fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 9:37.30. Contario and Wigton both started slowly, but toward the end of the race they were running side-by-side at the front.

"Usually I start toward the back because the pace goes out too fast," Contario said. "I knew I could win if I was in it the last 400 meters."

Hilton's Matt Cushman won the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 8 inches. He clinched the win without missing any jumps through 6'8". He then tried to break his own Section V record, but missed all three of his attempts at 6'11".

Cushman was seeded first at states last year, but finished sixth.

"Last year I thought, `I'm seeded first, I have to win,"' Cushman said. "This year, I was focused on winning without the thought of having to win."

Cushman will compete in the Nike Indoor Classic nationals today in Maryland, where he is seeded third.

"I'm not disappointed that I didn't break the record," Cushman said. "I just wanted to win. (Today) I want to jump higher, because it's nationals. I want to get All-American (honors)."

Julius Gerald of Edison Tech placed second in the 55 hurdles in 7.48 seconds, .05 seconds behind Fellippe Francis of Westbury-VIII.

"We've faced each other at Empires and outdoor states, so I knew one of us was going to win," Gerald said.

Gerald was also on the 4x200 relay team that appeared to win, but was disqualified for tripping another runner.

Fairport's Pete Reynolds jumped 14'3" to place second in the pole vault.

Josh Wooten of Rush-Henrietta finished second in the 1,600 run in 4:26.27. Wooten was seeded seventh with a time of 4:27.30.

Brockport's Matt Siciliano, Fairport's Pat Fricke, Spencerport's Andy Cadegari and Athena's Steve Strelick ran the Intersectional Distance Medley in 9:06.54 to finish second.

Edison's Roy Richards was seeded first in the long jump at 22'6". He ended up tied for ninth with a distance of 21'1". Edison's BuAhmed Wright and East's Charles Bigham placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump.