SUFFERN — During the winter indoor track season, Eva Gibney was doing well in pole vault.
The Scarsdale sophomore cleared 10 feet in early December. Months later, that height would stand third best among all Section 1 girls for the season.
But Gibney had few opportunities to try to improve on it.. Her season ended in January with a dislocated left shoulder.
Then, during spring outdoor track practice, she re-dislocated it, leaving her future as a pole vaulter in doubt.
So, she decided to try another event -- or more like several other events rolled into one.
Gibney became a pentathlete,
And Saturday at Suffern High she also became the girls Section 1 Class A pentathlete champion, recording personal bests or near-personal bests in every event.
Her performance was so good that had she been competing in the open 800, she would have won silver with her personal-best 2:23.48 run, which was the last of her five events.
Her personal-best long jump of 16-4 would have placed her sixth, just one inch from from fifth in the open long jump.. Her personal-best 16.82 100-meter hurdles time would have placed her fourth in the open hurdles. And her 4-11.5 high jump (just .25 of an inch off her personal best) would have placed her second in the girls high jump.
Even her 25-1.25 shot put throw, which was several inches shy of her PB, would have placed her in the top half
of girls competing in straight shot put.
As it was, Gibney swept the pent events in recording an overall winning point total of 2,957.
Not bad for a sophomore. Not bad for someone who never did pent before this spring.
"Now it's my favorite (event)," Gibney said. "You never get bored. .... I'm so excited. I get bored with things. The beauty is (with pentathlon), I show up at practice never knowing what I'll be doing."
Except, perhaps, for improving.
Saturday, she was particularly happy with her long jump distance, a personal best by 11 inches.
"Something just clicked," said Gibney, who beat runner-up Alysha Calvo of Clarkstown South for the overall girls pent title by 708 points.
Gibney could only smile about her future.
"I see so much room for improvement," she said.
While Gibney's high school career is just launching, teammate Henry Rifkin, a senior, ended his on a big high note Saturday.
Rfkin, who also started doing the pentathlon only this spring but was second at the Westchester County track and field championships, won the Class A boys title with 2,685 points.
Carmel's Kyle Klammer (2,476) edged Spring Valley's Kevin Dessalines (2,464) for second.
Rifkin, who was part of Scarsdale's state championship boys soccer team and Section 1 finalist boys basketball team, noted his high school sports career, which included three sports per year for four years, was done because he was going to his school prom instead of the upcoming Section 1 state qualifier.
Still, he probably couldn't have written a more satisfying closing send-off.
Rifkin hit personal-best marks in all five pent disciplines.
He in part credited Gibney, remarking, "She pushes me every meet."
And pointing to her and to teammate Max Rubin, who coached him in the shot put, he remarked, "That's camaraderie."
He noted he's no fan of the closing 1,500-meter run, where he placed fourth, clocking a 4:53.39 PB to move up to first place overall, He said of his effort, "I think I just got the dog in me to keep going."
Now, after his championship, Rifkin's thinking maybe his track career hasn't ended. He said he may try to walk on at Colgate.
Suffern three-peats in both boys and girls
The host Mounties also had a fine day.
With 12 schools scoring, Suffern won the boys team competition with 184 points.
Horace Greeley was second (127), Scarsdale was third (63), Clarkstown South took fourth (55) and, rounding out the top five, Carmel had 36.
With 12 teams scoring and with 178 points, Suffern also won the girls team competition.
Ursuline (135) was second, Scarsdale was third (77), Clarkstown South was fourth (38) and the fifth spot went to Horace Greeley (30).
The team wins marked a three-peat for both the girls and boys.
Suffern's Anthony Couch was a double individual winner.
He clocked a personal-best 16.08 to win the boys 110 hurdles with Yorktown's Michael Ryan (16.36) second.
And Couch ran 58.88 to win the boys 400 hurdles. Greeley's Matt Mancini (1:03.19) was second.
Sophomore Collin Pringle cleared 6-0 for the boys high jump title. Silver went to Clarkstown North's Chris Merilus at 5-10.
And Suffern went 1-2 in the boys triple jump. Jephthah Joseph won in a personal-best 44-3.5. Jake Tarrant was second (PB 43-3).
Suffern also won the boys 4x400 relay as Tarrant, Michael Cromwell, Joseph and Couch clocked 3:24.97.
Clarkstown South was second at 3:30.11.
The steeplechase was competed on Wednesday at Hen Hud and Suffern also netted gold in that event with senior Mason Mayer finishing in 10:06.6 in the boys 3,000 steeple.
Yorktown's William McCarthy (10:15.5) was second.
Mayer, who'll compete next year for Marist, has done steeple since eighth grade and finds it fun and challenging, noting it's somewhat similar to cross-country and requires athletes to be alert.
At Hen Hud, he was only looking for first-place points to help Suffern in the team competition. But his goal is to qualify this week to compete in the state championships.
On the girls side, Suffern went 1-2-3 in the high jump. Kyra Skoglund won at 5-3, Olivia DeBellis was second at 4-10 and bronze went to Olivia Alm at the same height but in more attempts.
Suffern also picked up first-, second- and third-place points in pole vault
DeBellis was an easy winner, clearing 11-0. Runner-up Kaelin McCluskey cleared 8-6 as did (in more attempts) third-place finisher Anna Riskin.
Karen Augustin clocked a season-best 1:07.1 to win the girls 400-meter hurdles for Suffern. Ursuline's Elena Olson (1:08.8) was second.
Suffern senior Lily Diamond ran 10:43.2 to win the girls 3,000. Scarsdale's Sophia Garcia (10:47.05) was second.
The Mounties also captured the girls 4x400 relay with Avi Sanon, Augustin, Joy Yin and Kaya Duran running 4:12.22. Carmel was second in 4:16.42.
Sealy with 3 golds, 1 silver, Negrete 2 golds for Ursuline
Ursuline's Sarai Sealy not only won three gold medals and a silver but hit personal-best marks in all three events she won.
She increased her personal best in the long jump by more than six inches, going 18-2.5. Suffern's Augustin was second (17-8), edging Spring Valley's Giselandra Clerge (third place, 17-6).
Sealy won the girls 100 dash in a 12.56 PB. Greeley's Gabriela Sangil Cantalapiedra took silver in 12.67.
In a PB of 38-8.5, Sealy also captured the girls triple jump with Augustin again edging Clerge for silver, this time 34-11 to 34-3.5.
Sealy's silver came in the 200, where her 26.43 placed her behind Sangil Cantalapiedra (26.34).
But that hardly dampened her mood.
"It was all kind of a surprise," Sealy said of her performances. "It was a good day."
Sealy's teammate, senior Prizila Negrete, also picked up two golds for the Koalas.
She took the girls discus at 115-10 with Clarkstown South's Maggie Hanson winning silver at 109-11.
And Negrete captured the girls shot put at 38-8. The sophomore Hanson again took silver, throwing 34-3.
Ursuline also finished 1-2 in the girls 100-meter hurdles. Olson clocked 15.62 for the win and Ivana Richards crossed in 15.94.
Other top performances
Sydney Grey, Lynn Jacob, Clerge and Destiny Lawrence of Spring Valley clocked 51.02 to win the girls 4x100 relay. Suffern (52.77) was second.
Scarsdale's Rubin and Clarkstown South's Luke Mallory, both juniors, went 1-2 in the shot put with both hitting personal-best marks.
Rubin, who went to acrobatic pains to stay in the circle and not foul following his best throw, won at 44-1.5.
Mallory threw 42-7.25.
Rubin, who noted he was cautious with his early throws because he was fouling in the previous day's practice, said he had gone into the meet hoping for 44.
He got that and a little more on the last throw.
"The last one I let it go," Rubin said, adding, "I didn't think I'd be champion. I thought I'd be close, so this feels awesome."
And that final throw changed his perspective on the upcoming Section 1 state championships qualifier.
"To go to states before was more of an idea. Now I'm actually aiming for it," Rubin said.
Scarsdale also won both the boys and girls 4x800 relays.
Aviv Brav, Jack Sherman, Rishi Shadaksharappa and Yuhan Cruz, all underclassmen running together in the event for the second time after finishing second together at the Westchester County championships, clocked 8:40.55.
Greeley was second (8:45.7).
Although the group had never run the event together ,Scarsdale's Jennifer Schwartz, Shannon Kelly, Sydney Gerionger and Zoe Dichter finished well ahead in 10:06.95.
Ursuline ran 10:25.34 for second.
Dichter also captured the girls 800 in 2:22.51. Ursuline's Alexa Grassi (2:25.49) took silver.
Earlier at Hen Hud, Scarsdale's Rachel Rakower finished in 7:40.8 to win the girls 2,000-meter steeplechase. Suffern's Fiona Young (7:54.8) was second.
Ossining's Chukwuma Adiele-Iroakazi took the boys discus at 120-5. Gavin Kopf of Clarkstown North took silver at 119-7.
In 4:22.89, Clarkstown South's Julian Rime won the boys 1,600-meter title. Greeley's Mason Barlow (4:32.39) was second.
Two Fox Lane seniors took home gold in distance events.
Morgan Eigel won the girls 1,500 in 4:54.41. Ursuline's Kyleigh O'Keefe took second in 4:56.99.
And Fox Lane's Noah Bender took the boys 3,200 in 9:35.16 with Suffern's Mayer taking silver in 9:47.86.
Niko Wright had a big day for Greeley. He won the boys 100 in 10.88 with Spring Valley's Andrew Sutherland second (11.19), won the boys 200 in 22.35 with teammate Seamus Finn second in 22.44 and anchored Greeley's winning 4x100 team of Kyle McKenney, Finn and Ben Ho.
That team clocked 43.28 despite a handoff miscue. Suffern, at 45.1, was second in that race.
Ho, who also ran the 200 and did the triple jump, wasn't happy with his day until finishing with the long jump, where he recorded a three-inch personal best of 21-6.5 for the win with Suffern's Tarrant second at 20-7.
"I just do what I can. If the results are good, I'm happy," Ho said.
Carmel won on the track and off it.
Off it, Robert Altavilla captured the boys pole vault at 11-0.
Suffern's Gus Smith and Emanuel Ramirez both cleared 10-6 but Smith got silver and Ramirez took bronze because Smith cleared the height in fewer attempts.
Altavilla, a senior, has only been pole vaulting for a year.
"I thought it would be fun," he said of starting. "In the beginning I did okay but I really fell in love with it and have worked really hard."
The includes outside school.
Altavilla, who hopes to clear at least 12-0 this season, noted his outside coach thinks he can clear 14-0 this summer.
If he does this, he'll try to walk on to Middlebury College's track team.
Carmel's other win came in the girls 400, where Julia Aiello ran a personal-best 57.81, the second fastest time this season by a Section 1 girl, to win the girls 400.
Suffern's Duran ran a close 57.86 for second.
Nancy Haggerty covers cross-country, track &field, field hockey, skiing, ice hockey, basketball, girls lacrosse and other sporting events for The Journal News/lohud. Follow her on Twitter at@HaggertyNancy.ut Gibney, who also ran the outdoor 800 for the Raiders. knew she'd be bored training and competing in only that event.