OSWEGO, NY – State champions Drake Becksted and Cory Keefe returned to Oswego on Saturday evening celebrating a day which qualified them as the elite among their peers in their respective events.
Becksted captured the 50 Free and 100 Free swimming crowns at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championship meet in Buffalo while Keefe proved to be the best in the state in the 55 meter hurdles at the NYSPHSAA Indoor Track Championship at Cornell University.
Meanwhile, the boys’ varsity hockey team earned a berth in this weekend’s Final Four Division II State Tournament in Utica with a 3-1 win over Salmon River.
In the pool the Oswego High School quintet of swimmers scored well as the Bucs tallied 95 points and finished sixth out of more than 80 teams that were represented at the state meet and fourth among the public high school teams in competition.
Becksted enjoyed his best meet yet of the four times he’s made it to the State Championship Meet.
Coach Josh Lerch said, “He is the State Champion in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle events. His time of 20.52 in the 50 freestyle sets a new Section III record, as well a new school record. His time of 44.95 in the 100 freestyle sets a new State record, Section III record, and school record. In addition to walking away with the two State Titles, Becksted was also honored with the Swimmer of the Meet Award.”
Lerch commented, “I couldn’t imagine a better end to an outstanding season for the Oswego Boy’s varsity swimming and diving team. It’s quite a list…fourth place at States, State Champion twice over, State Record Holder, Two new Section III records, and a Swimmer of the Meet Award. I’m not sure if there has ever been an Oswego team that has been this successful in the past, and I’m not sure when there will be one that reaches this level of success again.”
Sophomore Alex Kemper and junior Jimmy Dillon both went to the State Championships as important parts of Buccaneer freestyle relays. Kemper’s 50 split of 23.06 was his best ever and good enough to get the Bucs’ 200 freestyle relay into the top eight.
The three seniors were also be big contributors to the success of the relay. Zach Gerber put up his best 50 split ever on the relay, a 21.99, to catapult the relay to third place out of the public high schools at the meet. Reeve Callen led off in his lifetime best in the 50 free (21.78), and Becksted would anchor in 20.51. Their time of 1:27.40 is the second fastest 200 freestyle relay ever swam by Oswego Buccaneers.
Jimmy Dillon would also put up his fastest split ever (50.81 in the 100 free) to put the Bucs’ 400 freestyle relay into the top eight. The three seniors completed the relay team, every one of them also posting excellent splits. Callen led off in his fastest lead-off in the relay all season (48.12). Becksted anchored in a respectable 45.36 and Gerber posted his best split ever in the event, a 48.95. The relay time of 3:13.55, put them in sixth place out of the public high schools at the meet. Their time is the second fastest 400 freestyle relay ever swam by Oswego Buccaneers.
Reeve Callen and Becksted were also very successful individually at the meet. Callen, at his second state meet, swam his lifetime best in both the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle events. His time of 1:45.39 in the 200 freestyle was good enough to get him back to finals where he would place sixteenth place out of the public high school swimmers at the meet. Callen had a solid swim in the 100 freestyle, touching the wall at 47.50, which put him at tenth place out of the public high school swimmers at the meet.
Keefe Captures State Crown
Oswego junior Cory Keefe, continued his outstanding season for the Bucs, by capturing the state 55 meter hurdles title, at the New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships, held Saturday at Cornell University.
Keefe sprinted to victory in 7.49 seconds, shattering his previous school record, to best the top seed Tyron Rivers of Sweet Home (Section-6), who finished second in 7.56.
” What a race…what a race…” said Oswego coaches Jim McCaul and Erwin Dewey, ” Cory got a terrific start and maintained his speed throughout his race, in pulling away from the field. What a race…”
Keefe, coming back from a sore hamstring, finished second in his heat of the preliminaries, with a time of 7.75 seconds.
“Cory struggled a little bit at the end of this race, but it was obvious that he was at full strength and capable of running fast” said McCaul,
Cory returned with a first place in the semi-finals, with an improved time of 7.63 seconds, leading up to his strong finals performance.
Keefe’s trip to the state finals, continued an impressive junior indoor season. He finished the regular season unbeaten in both 55 meter dash and 55 meter hurdles, setting two new school records in both. He earned a league title at the CNYCL American Track and Field Championships, earned two titles at the Section 3 Championships, and placed first at the Section 3 State Meet Qualifier.
He also earned first team all league honors, was chosen as a Palladium Times Athlete of the Week, and was selected as Section 3’s representative, as the NYSPHSAA Sportsmanship Award winner, at the state championships. Keefe also qualified for the upcoming New Balance National Indoor Track and Field Championships, in both the both 55 meter dash and the 55 meter hurdles.
“Cory is an outstanding competitor, who keeps getting better and better as the level of competition improves” said McCaul ” His drive, determination, confidence, and work ethic, can only lead to continued success.”
Hockey Final Four Next
The Oswego High School hockey team entered the NYSPHAA Ice Hockey Division II Tournament against Salmon River (Section X) realizing that they could be in for a battle.
When the game had ended the Bucs walked off the ice with a hard fought 3-1 victory and will play at 5:45 p.m on Saturday at the Utica Auditorium against Saranac Lake, winner of Queensbury in quarterfinal action. Joining the Bucs and Saranac will be number one ranked Kenmore East and third ranked Pelham.
Oswego 17-4-1 started out the with a strong first period effort as they controlled play. Zach Zerrahn tallied the first goal of the game around the midway point. Blue liner John Phillips powered a shot toward the net and Zerrahn got a stick on it sending it past the goalie for a 1-0 lead.
Less than five minutes into the second period Josh Sova put the eventual gamer on the board as he cashed in with a shot to the upper left hand corner with Cody Mariano and Dan Maniccia assisting.
A scramble late in the second period resulted in the visitors scoring their loan goal of the game as Naylen Laffin was credited with the tally and the count was 2-1.
The third period the visiting Shamrocks put the pressure on the Bucs, but Chase Izyk stopped a total of 13 shots.
Finally Mariano cashed in an open net goal with 55 seconds remaining to send the Bucs back to the Final Four.
Izyk finished with 24 saves while his counterpart at the other end of the ice was credited with 22 stops as Salmon River ended its season 17-4-1. Both OHS and Salmon have identical records, but for the Bucs it means at least one more game.
Byrne Burns Up Pins
Cameron Byrne rolled the overall high series of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Bowling Tournament in Waverly, as the Bucs finished fourth place as a team.
Byrne had a six game series of 1,253 to lead all bowlers in the event while team mate Zachary Delbrocco had the second highest individual game of the tournament with a 259.
The Bucs finished fourth in the tournament of sectional champs.
Greece-Athena (V) had a 5,871 followed by Yonkers (I) with a 5, 708, Middle Country (XI) 5,583, Oswego (III) 5,576 and Waverly (IV)5,475.