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Canajoharie, NY ,

Michael Kelly
Canajoharie's Morgan Koelbl competes in the pentathlon's high jump during Tuesday's WAC Championships in Fort Plain.


Canajoharie wins girls title

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - Updated: 10:01 AM


For the C-S-E

FORT PLAIN -- When the results were tallied up and showed the Canajoharie girls outdoor track and field team had won Tuesday's Western Athletic Conference Championships, Lady Cougars co-head coach Ellee Fichthorn could not pinpoint one big thing that had brought her team the victory.

"The little things brought us through," said Fichthorn, who coaches Canajoharie with Kevin Stuttle.

Little things added up Tuesday for the Lady Cougars, and the squad needed every contribution it received. Canajoharie collected 139 points at the championships, only one more than second-place Middleburgh.

The Lady Cougars received several first-place finishes and numerous strong performances on a day where many local athletes starred.

Canajoharie received victories from Dainara Veeder in the 100-meter hurdles (16.5 seconds) and 400-meter hurdles (72.5 seconds); Morgan Koelbl added a win in the pentathlon (2,185 points); and, Alexis Kane won the discus throw (90 feet, 4 inches).

In addition, the Lady Cougars received a victory from its 4x400-meter relay team of Ariannah Logan, Jordyn Logan, Jordan Porter and Veeder.

Mayfield-Northville, which finished in sixth place with 52 points, received a sparkling performance from Kaylee Bumpus. The sophomore anchored M-N's winning team in the 4x100-meter relay; came in third place in the 100-meter dash (13.6 seconds); finished in second place in the pole vault (7 feet, 6 inches); and, she won the 200-meter dash (27.6 seconds).

Bumpus said her win in the 200-meter dash was surprising -- "I was really just going for top-three," she said -- but she seemed happiest with her relay team's victory.

"We got a big PR," she said, as the team of Bumpus, Sarah Dickey, Emily Cromie and Lyndsey Wadsworth finished in 54.1 seconds -- a couple ticks better than normal.

But the day belonged to the Lady Cougars. While the team's usual stars like the Logans collected numerous top-three finishes on the track and in jumping events, and junior Christina Towse came in second place in the triple jump, the efforts from Kane and Veeder were what led to Canajoharie's victory.

Fichthorn credited a season of hard work for Kane's victory.

"She PR'd by about five feet," said Fichthorn. "It was an unexpected win."

Kane agreed with that assessment, and credited Canajoharie boys thrower Zach Folts with helping her to improve this season.

"He helped me a lot," she said. "He told me to stay lower and work on my release, and it's been a good result."

Later in her day, Kane got to have some fun. The junior competed in the steeplechase and took her time with the fun event; on her last trip through the water pit, Kane stood atop the steeple and pantomimed a basketball shot.

"I love basketball and my dad told me to throw in the jump shot," she said.

Veeder collected the most points for the Lady Cougars. Besides her two first-place finishes in solo events and her relay win, the junior also contributed to a second-place finish in the 4x800-meter relay.

Veeder had missed the early part of the season, as she was battling tendonitis in her right knee. Tuesday was only Veeder's fifth competition this spring and there still is some pain, but she said a love for the sport has carried her through it.

"I really enjoy hurdles, so it helps," she said. "I get so excited when I get to the starting line."

At the starting line, Veeder has a bit of an unorthodox approach. In the 100-meter hurdles, Veeder starts from an upright position, as her lack of practice with the event has made it uncomfortable for her to use starting blocks. She admitted it is a bit awkward when she begins races with everyone around her using blocks, but she likes being the underdog.

"When you win, it's the best feeling out there," Veeder said.

Veeder did a lot of winning Tuesday, helping the Lady Cougars -- which won the North Division title in the regular season -- to an overall title.

"Dainara coming through with three first-place finishes ... what a huge way for an athlete that's been injured to come back," Fichthorn said.


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