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Bronxville Steeplechaser Qualifies for State Meet

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Steeplechasers Dayton Flannery of Bronxville High School and Brendan Wortner of Dobbs Ferry High School have raced against each other many times.

They did again Friday at the Section 1 track meet at White Plains High School. Both boys secured spots at the state meet next week.

Flannery passed Wortner toward the end of the race to take first place, but Wortner did not mind.

“I just wanted to qualify. I was just trying to keep it a little low key just so I can have more for states 'cause that’s where it really matters to me,” Wortner said. “I thought I did well today. Dayton kind of went by me at the finish. Didn’t really faze me all that much cause I didn’t care. I just wanted to qualify, and I did, so I’m happy.”

Flannery finished in second place in the 2000-meter steeplechase event at nationals last year, but he dubbed Brendan Smith of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse as “the No. 1 steeplechaser in the country, without a doubt.” So the senior tempered his expectations for when the two meet at the state competition.

“I don’t really expect too much out of next week. I guess my ultimate goal is to medal because New York is arguably one of the best distance states, track and field states, in the country,” Flannery said. “So medaling would mean a lot to me.”

Wortner finished in sixth place at states last year, which just got him onto the podium. This time, he hopes to get into the top three. To do so he said he must clear the hurdles more cleanly.

“That’s what makes or breaks a lot of people, just getting over those barriers smoothly and efficiently,” Wortner said. “Because if you stutter at them, you have to pop over. It just takes a lot out of you, eventually. It always comes back to haunt you if you do that.”

The senior added he must also avoid landing in the water when he takes that leap.

Flannery said he knows Wortner “fairly well as a person.” He has raced against Wortner and his older brother, Patrick, who now runs at SUNY-Geneseo, since seventh grade. They are in the same class and have been in the same league for years. The two are more familiar with each other on the track than off, and Flannery said they have different race strategies.

“He’s a good guy, good competitor,” Flannery said. “I know enough.”

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