LEWISTON — Kenmore West senior pentathlete Marcus Lobdell continued to run away from the competition Friday during the first day of the Section VI Track and Field Championship at Lewiston-Porter High School.
Lobdell cruised to a time of 15.71 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles and used a 6-foot-3.5 throw in the shot put to put himself in first place — nearly 300 points better than the next-best total — heading into the final two legs of today's pentathlon.
Meanwhile, several other area athletes used strong preliminary performances to qualify for today's final races, including Tonawanda's Bobby Liebel, who qualified third in the 400-meter dash and seventh in the 200.
The defending 400 champ in Division II, Liebel has his eyes set on a repeat, coach Dave Nedell said.
"He took the first step today," Nedell said.
The top two runners in each heat, plus the next four fastest times qualified for today's finals. Liebel took second in the 400 in his heat, runner-up behind Pioneer senior Nate Andres.
"They've been going back and forth," Nedell said. "He felt good afterward, wasn't pushing too hard. He thought about catching him. But I said, 'hey, we don't need to risk anything. Coast into second place and we'll worry about it (today). He got himself into the final, which was his job."
Liebel upset Andres as a freshman a year ago, winning the race in 50.00. Friday, Liebel clocked in at 51.59. The times were much slower do to a steady drizzle and wind throughout the afternoon.
"Those two (Liebel and Andres) will battle it out. They battled it out last year," Nedell added. "This year, they've been battling back and forth and it's going to come down to who wants it more and who runs a better race tomorrow."
The automatic state qualifying time in the boys 400 is 50.24 seconds.
Tonawanda teammate Phil Giuga placed sixth overall in the 800 final on Friday, one of two track events to wrap up on Day One. Jeremy Driscoll took ninth in the 3,200.
In the girls field, Nicole Kaczor (North Tonawanda) and Shelby Goudy (Kenmore East) each qualified sixth in their respective events. Kaczor's time of 1:08.58 came in the 400-meter hurdles while Goudy had a time of 1:02.74 in the 400-meter run.
Tonawanda's Annie Draves current sits fifth in the Division II girls pentathlon.