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YORKSHIRE — Talk about running with someone on your shoulder. Sophia Tasselmyer ran 3,000 meters at Friday’s Section VI Track and Field Championships only to win by a mere .49 seconds.

In a margin of victory generally reserved for shorter races, the Starpoint freshman held on to win in 10:22.53, edging junior Carolyn Hopkins of Williamsville South, who crossed in 10:23.02.

“We were neck-and-neck. I knew she was right there,” Tasselmyer said. “She was pulling away and I’m like, ‘I can’t let her get away.’ That last kick – I don’t know how I did it, but I did. It was tough.”

The race brought the first day of the sectionals to a close. The meet resumes today at Pioneer at noon.

After winning the Division II 800 meters the past three years, it was expected East Aurora junior Marta McLaughlin would win a fourth. She did but the path to victory wasn’t easy. Running in the closest seeded race of the day, she found herself in third place after the first 400 meters. She made her move with 300 meters remaining and finished in 2:17.78, edging Megan Marsh of Maple Grove. “All week I’ve been practicing 300s and it paid off because that’s when I started going,” McLaughlin said. “You practice how you want to race.”

Another winner for the Blue Devils was Megan Baritot in the 3,000, clocking a 10:33.14. It was only her third 3,000 race of the season. Her best event may be the steeplechase, where she is the No. 1 seed going into today.

The hot, muggy conditions didn’t stop junior Abby Jankowski of West Seneca West from running her personal record of 2:20.76 to win the Division I 800 meters. “I felt really good the first lap; usually I tend to take it out too hard,” Jankowski said. “I was like, ‘I’m just going to go for it.’ ”

McKyla Brooks of Frontier won the Division I long jump by more than a 1-foot margin, covering 19-feet-4½. Brooks has been eyeing the Section VI record of 19-9¼ all season. Austin Negelhout of Kenmore East delivered with an 18-1 on her last jump to earn a trip to states.

Cheektowaga crowned two Division II champions. Shawnn Foster won the long jump in 17-4½ and Stephanie Lombardo took top honors in the discus in 123-7.

Jesse Dhaliwall of Grand Island lived up to her top seed in the Division I discus, winning in 132-10.

Holland had a big day on the track. The Dutchwomen, who qualified 13 for sectionals, have the top-ranked runner heading into the 200 final in junior Chelsea Grupp. Freshman Megan Caltagirone finished runner-up in the Division II 3,000 in 10:34.39. Discus thrower Erin Izdorczak went from a No. 14 seed to third place in the final with a school record 104-5.

Holland’s 4x100 relay reached the final as a No. 3 seed. Senior Jillian Faltyn is the top seed in the pentathlon with a school record 2,397 points.

Christina Walter of Maple Grove is the defending state champion in the Division II 100 and 200. She will not have the same leg up on the competition this year. She’s been nursing a stress fracture in her fibula and is easing her way back into competition. She ran a 12.59 to gain the No. 1 seed into today’s 100.

Tapestry sophomore Alston Taylor qualified for the Division II 100 final for the second year in a row. It’s the fourth season the charter school has fielded a team.

City Honors freshman Julia Ziaja, this year’s All-High champion in the 100 and 200, has carried that speed into sectionals. She’s in today’s Division II 100 and 200 final.

mmonnin@buffnews.com