Higgins, Greco place at NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championship

Liam Higgins named NYS steeplechase Champion and runner-up in 800m;
Louie Greco places third in in steeplechase and fourth in the 3200m.

by Coaches Kyle Lewis, Joseph Manaseri and Richard Furst

Three of Goshen’s most talented athletes traveled to Cicero-North Syracuse High School last weekend for the NYSPHSAA Track and Field Championship Meet. For two of the three athletes, it would mark the end of their outstanding high school running careers wearing a Goshen uniform. For the third athlete, it marked the first spring championship meet of what’s sure to be a great interscholastic running career.

Male track champions smile for camera as they pose on award podium
State Champion Liam Higgins and third place finisher Louie Greco on the awards podium after the 3k steeplechase at States​ in Cicero​.

The action began on Friday afternoon with eighth grader Kayla Schramm in the second of four sections of the 800m dash. The race plan for Schramm was to stay near the front of the pack for her first lap and then give it every last ounce of energy for the second. Things went exactly as planned for the first lap, with Schramm right on the heels of the leader, Haley Riorden of Rush-Henrietta (who would end up State Champion.) Through the first 400m, Schramm was at a blazing 62.3. With 300m remaining, Schramm was worn out from the unusually fast pace of her first lap. Unable to feel her legs, Schramm had hit the proverbial wall. She went on to finish in 2:19.31. While this wasn’t the time Schramm had hoped to run, she learned a lot from the experience in the first of what is sure to be many outdoor track state meets.

Next up in the 800m was senior Liam Higgins. For Higgins, the first lap was much slower than he had expected at 57.03 seconds. Having seen the times in the previous sections and aspiring to end up on the podium, Higgins took control of the race after 300m and picked up the pace. With about 300m to go, Higgins fell back a bit, but he wasn’t out of the race yet. He gave it a strong surge, working his way back towards the front of the pack to complete his final 200m in 25 seconds. In the final straightaway, he was able to pass all but one runner, finishing in 1:53.25 to end up in second place overall. Higgins’ 800m performance at States breaks his own school record set the previous week at State Quals.

Three male runners jump over steeple chase barrier
The iconic duo of Greco and Higgins jump off the water barrier together.

Louie Greco was next to run in the 3200m. Seeded eleventh going in, Greco knew it would be an uphill battle to earn a medal, but he was determined to fight it out. With the way Greco has been running lately, this was most certainly a reasonable goal. From the start, Greco positioned himself in a good spot, just pacing off the lead pack, and made sure to keep himself in medal contention. The top four runners started pulling away with 3 laps to go and Greco started to drop off, but when another runner hopped in front of him, Greco used him to pace until the last lap then passed him to finish in 4th place for public schools, 5th in Federations. Greco crossed the finish line in a personal best 9:19.81, just .21 off from setting new school record.

Opening the meet on Saturday morning was the marquee event for Goshen, as the 3000m steeplechase featured both Higgins and Greco as the top seeds. Nothing has been more iconic over the past couple of years than images of those two red and blue uniforms hurdling the barriers side by side. The fact that this was the State meet made no difference, as both Goshen boys led the way for most of the race. After a few laps, there were four competitors duking it out for the top spots: Higgins, Greco, Carlos Santos, and Parker Stokes. In the last lap, Greco began to tire (perhaps due in part to his brilliant performance in the 3200m the night before), and Santos took advantage. Stokes surged ahead of Higgins in the final lap to take the Federation championship. Higgins finished first for Division 1 public schools, lowering his own school record to 9:12.33, and running the second fastest time ever for Section IX. Greco finished 3rd in Division 1 and 4th in the Federation, lowering his personal best to 9:20.96 and running the 6th fastest time in Section IX history.

Three Goshen track coaches and two Goshen track athletes smile for camera after a race
Coaches Lawson, Manaseri and Lewis with Greco and Higgins at the State meet in Cicero.

Remarkably, the duo of Higgins and Greco scored 22 points, tying Goshen boys for second in Federation team standings.

Next week, the farewell tour continues for Higgins and Greco, as they will travel to Greensboro, NC for New Balance Nationals competing for the Gladiator Track Club. They will be running the 2k steeplechase, as well as the 4x800m relay along with Nicolas Paneto and Chris Perez-Garcia. Kayla Schramm will also be joining them in Greensboro to run the junior high 1-mile.  For full coverage, be sure to follow the team Twitter accounts: @GoshenXCTF & @LadyGladsXCTF.