OGDENSBURG — The 2021 Van Dusen Memorial Invitational and Section 10 Track-Field Championships were staged under an overcast which created ideal competition conditions Friday night at OFA.
For the competitors it was a chance to perform under a new light, free from the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and the constraint of masks and covid protocol which limited the number of spectators throughout the spring season. The mask mandate and COVID-19 protocols were all lifted on Monday with Section 10 following directions from state and county department of health officials.
“We were all so excited when we heard. Wearing a mask didn’t bother me in cross country but in track it was very uncomfortable,” said Norwood-Norfolk junior running standout Maddie Dinneen who is planning to compete at the Division I level in college.
“It felt like a breath of fresh air and it was great to have a big crowd here.”
The big crowd witnessed the latest a long line of virtuoso performances across the running spectrum by Dinneen who led the 2000 steeplechase in a school and meet record time of 7:21.22 and the 1500, 800 and 400 meter races pacing the Lady Flyers to the Girls Championship in one of the closest team races ever. N-N scored 138.5 points followed by Potsdam at 135 and Madrid-Waddington 134.
She followed up her performance at the Van Dusen with a seventh place finish in the mile run at 4:58.36 and an eighth place in the 1500 in 4:38.45. In the elite 1500 field she made a decided drop from 4:53.64 which earned her the Van Dusen and Section 10 Championships.
“Tonight I entered the races where I thought I could score the most points for team because we had a good chance to win. I had never run the steeplechase before but I ran well and set a school record and I think I broke the meet record,” said Dinneen who honored as the meet’s Outstanding Female Distance runner.
“Competing for the team is what I love about track-field. We have a great team, we are all very close and we made signs to support each other. We all have so much fun.”
Potsdam won the boys championship outscoring Canton 166.5-144.5. Malone and Norwood-Norfolk followed with 90 and 87 points. The Sandstoners also won the Van Dusen Trophy for combined boys-girls scoring with 300.5 points and N-N was second 225.5 points.