Penn Yan's Joddie Decker wins 1,500m qualifier; heads to state championship

Gary Pinneo

Penn Yan Academy's Joddie Decker, after an impressive regular season run, won the 1,500m event at the New York State Track and Field Qualifier held at Penfield High School Friday. The first place finish in the Division 2 bracket propels the talented Mustang 8th grader to the New York State Championship Meet at Union-Endicott High School on Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10. It's an exciting story and athletic career in the making. 

She almost qualified in two events. Decker also finished in 3rd place in the 3,000m event. Mustang teammate Emma Harling finished in 3rd place in the shot put event. Marcus Whitman's Hailey Rossi finished in 4th place in the 200m steeplechase event.

In the boy's competition Friday in Penfield, Penn Yan's Ben DeMoras finished in 4th place in the 1,600m event. Dundee's Tyler Brace had a 7th place finish in the high jump. Also for Dundee, William Hall came in 7th place in the triple jump.

The athletic programs at smaller high schools like Penn Yan, Dundee, and Marcus Whitman are facing challenging times with student numbers declining in many cases. Finding enough athletes can be difficult. But it's refreshing to see these programs succeeding in spite of these trends. Congratulations to Joddie Decker and all of the young, hard working athletes who work so hard to be the best they can.