CICERO — Beaver River senior Colton Kempney delivered on his promise of winning two state titles.
The Beavers’ celebrated runner closed out his state high school career with a victory in the Division II 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NYSPHSAA outdoor track and field championships Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. Kempney had won the 3,200 in Division II early Friday evening to get the wins in his final two high school races for the school.
“It feels great to win those two races,” said Kempney, who will be running for Division I Furman in the fall. “I finished sixth (in the steeplechase) in 2019, so I ran with a bit of a chip on my shoulder.”
Kempney managed to stick to the lead group of five runners in the faster 13-runner heat and was third in the overall state Federation results. He held the lead briefly in the last lap, but Nikhil DeNatale of Trinity School from New York City and Julian Franjieh of Section 2’s Niskayuna pulled ahead and managed to hold off Kempney for the top two Federation slots.
“Definitely helps when you’re running in a fast pack and people are there pulling you along,” Kempney said. “I came up a little short in the final lap, but that was to be expected after the effort last night (in the 3,200).”
Kempney was witness to a thrilling finish as DeNatale held off Franjieh by a single hundredth of a second to get the win. DeNatale also set the meet record with a time of 9:01.18.
“It’s nice being behind that finish to watch it, but I definitely would have liked to be a part of it,” said Kempney, who will race in the 1,600 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals on June 17-18.
Canton senior Max Finley also medaled in the Division II steeplechase with a sixth-place showing. Finley joined Golden Bears’ teammate Nick Lyndaker, who was third in the Division II 3,200 on Friday, in getting a podium finish.
The 2,000 steeplechase started the track events for the day and the area runners made up two of the top-five finishers in Division II. South Jefferson senior Alexa Doe was fourth while Norwood-Norfolk senior Maddie Dinneen finished fifth. Doe logged a time of 7:08.00 and Dinneen turned in a mark of 7:19.31. Ann Brennan of Honeoye Falls-Lima won the Division II race with a 7:25.04.
Doe had struggled with injuries that made her miss the Frontier League Track and Field Championships, but managed to cap her Spartans’ career with a medal. She will race for Division I Iona with the track and cross country teams.
“My confidence went down a little after I hurt my ankle and had to take some time off from training,” Doe said. “I’m definitely grateful to fight my way back and the fact I was standing on the podium reflected that.”
Dinneen won her second podium of the weekend after taking sixth in the 800 on Friday. The Flyers senior usually dominates the event in Section 10, but had to get used to traffic around her. The Clemson-bound runner will use that knowledge when she competes in the steeplechase at nationals.
“I think my time wasn’t where I wanted it to be and that was because of being around other runners,” Dinneen said. “I’ll definitely have that experience under my belt and use it for next time.”
South Lewis sophomore Collin Stafford finished fourth in the Division II 1,600. He salvaged a spot in the medals after a stumble late in the race.
Tupper Lake junior Olivia Ellis placed sixth in the Division II girls pentathlon. Ellis made strong showings in Division II to land her first state podium spot.