Stepinac's Easterling takes third in state long jump
CICERO - It's a new strategy that Maurice Easterling has employed in the long jump.
As he sprints down the runway, slams his foot on the board and leaps into the sand, he yells as he sails through the air.
So far the new technique seems to have worked well for the Stepinac senior. He finished third in the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches at yesterday's state track and field meet at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
"I noticed when I started screaming, it helped out," Easterling said. "It feels like a release of energy and I'm able to just accelerate off the board and go farther."
The jump was a personal best for Easterling, who qualified to compete for today's Federation title. Since Easterling jumps for a CHSAA school, he is ineligible to win a state PHSAA title.
But taking third against some of the top competition in the state will serve him well as he jumps against those same athletes in today's final.
"It's a good inspiration to come out and (set a personal best)," Easterling said. "I'm going to go into (today) with a lot of confidence and try to jump even better."
Scarsdale's Roscoe Balter also set a personal best in the long jump as he took fifth in the event and fourth in the state, leaping 22-9.
Competing in only his second state meet, Roosevelt's Chris Davis placed third in the state and sixth overall in the 400 meters in 49.75 seconds.
It wasn't the time Davis was expecting, especially since he ran almost a full second faster last week at state qualifiers.
But it's good enough for him to come back today and compete in the Federation race.
"I planned to do better, way better," Davis said. "I planned to win. I planned to run 47. (Today) I get a second chance to run that time."
But running in the state meet is a little different than running in the local meets around Section 1, something Davis found out yesterday.
"Here you run with a group of fast people instead of just one or two," Davis said.
Hen Hud's Zach Weisbrot, running in the second heat of the 400 hurdles, ended up securing a medal as he took sixth in 55.20.
The senior was originally disappointed after being seeded in the slower heat.
But it worked out as he got a more favorable lane assignment - lane three - instead of being placed in the first lane like he was at last year's state meet.
"I ran at Eastern States trying to get a faster time, but that didn't work out," Weisbrot said. "But I got a better lane this year and I can't complain. I ended up with a medal."
In Division II, Valhalla's Philip Flynn took seventh in the triple jump in 44-5 1/4 , and teammate Marc Troiani finished seventh in the discus in 146-2.