ALBANY - Though there is no denying that every last athlete who found themselves running at the state track championships at the University at Albany this weekend is incredibly athletic, there is a special aura to those who compete in the pentathlon.
It is a test of endurance, skill, and mental fortitude. Five events in two days determine who is the most versatile athlete in the state.
And this year, that athlete is Bayport-Blue Point's Kathleen Cibuls.
Cibuls, who scored 3,425 points, was crowned champion Saturday afternoon. She bested Buffalo Sweet Home's Tiana Luton by 24 points.
"It was very long," Cibuls said. "But it's so rewarding."
In Cibuls' eyes, the number of events she had to complete over the two days wasn't as much intimidating as it was annoying.
"All the friends that you come up with have one race and then they're done," Cibuls said. "You have three events Friday and two on Saturday. It's just exhausting."
Cibuls won the 800 meters, the final event of the series, in 2 minutes, 17 seconds.
The junior entered the event third in the overall standings, and the win put her over the top and onto the top block of the awards podium.
"Sometimes I wish that was first," Cibuls said of the 800. "Other times, I don't because I like needing to know what I need to run in order to win. Which is what I did today."
Cibuls said she ran the first 400 meters in 63 seconds, got to the 600 mark at 1:40, and closed as hard as she could.
Cibuls placed fourth in the shot put, tossing 28 feet, 61/4 inches.
She was also fourth in the 100 hurdles in 15.52.
She cleared 5-31/4 to take third in the high jump and leaped 16-10 to take second in the long jump.
Bay Shore's Aviana Goode won the Division I long jump championship, flying 18-21/4.
Goode needed to hit her winning distance on her final jump of the afternoon.
"I knew my last two feet on the board had to be a good pop off, just so I could get into that pit far and reach," Goode said.
Sachem North's Leah Blackall won the Federation triple jump, going 38-113/4.
"I hit the board well and I had a lot of speed," Blackall said. "I was really focused."
Blackall won the Division I crown Friday, going 39-61/2.
"I wanted this a lot more," she said of the Federation title. "This is the official state championship. It feels great."
LuHi's Kennedy Kerr won the Division II 100 championship in 12.12 seconds.
Holy Trinity's Kristina Insingo won the Division I shot put, tossing 45-111/4.
East Islip's Faith Penny was second in the high jump, clearing 5-8.
Longwood's Crystal Henderson placed second in the Federation 100-meter hurdles in 14.36.
Uniondale's 4 x 400 relay team, composed of Michala Webster, Asia Jinks, Kristina Cherrington and Crystal Green, placed third in 3:49.33.