Norwich ended a 15-year drought between Southern Tier Athletic Conference track and field division titles. The Tornado boys beat Johnson City last week in lopsided fashion to complete a perfect run through the STAC Central Division. Over the past two seasons, Norwich has just one division loss, yet, Norwich failed to make a dent in the Section IV Class B meet a year ago, and scored just eight total points at the STAC Championships.
At Ithaca High School Thursday afternoon, Norwich is one of the dark horse contenders as it bids for its first STAC championship since 1977. “I’ve ran all the numbers and played the scoreboard game with our seeds. We should do really well,” said Norwich coach Paul Sims. “Vestal is going to be tough. If some things go our way and some don’t go their way, we could post an upset.”
While Norwich performed well in the regular season last year, it didn’t have the same number of top-level performers as this year, and not the amount of depth up and down the lineup. According to pre-meet seedings Norwich has a seeded athlete in most of the events with Matt Murray (800 meters) and Patrick Taylor (long jump) bringing in top seeds. “I think it may boil down to a kid who hasn’t maybe stepped up yet or isn’t seeded, and he comes through with a place finish to give us some extra points,” Sims said.
At the least, Norwich’s program is gaining notice from other teams in STAC, Sims said, and he would be disappointed if Norwich does not finish among the top three teams. “With how we’ve performed this year…we were decent last year, but we’re much better this year,” he said. “We’ve had countless good performances this year. Other teams are now looking at us and saying, ‘I don’t know if we can beat Norwich.’”
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