PITTSFIELD -- Aaron Coty remembers when everyone in Berkshire County was trying to keep up with Pittsfield High School's boys in the 110-meter hurdles. Two years ago, he was part of a trio that didn't surrender a point in the event in county dual meets.
After a year away, he's back to lead the way and get other Generals to his level -- or past it.
"It's kind of our legacy we've been trying to continue since we had Keiland Cross and Ty Discoe," Coty said. "That's a big part of it."
The senior was often the third of Pittsfield's top three hurdlers in the event in 2012, alongside Discoe and 2012 All-Eagle MVP Cross. In 2013, though, Coty took a year away from the sport to pursue another love, theater.
Now he's back, and again, he's not alone in 110-meter success. Coty's season-best time of 17.09 seconds was both second-best on The Eagle's first honor roll of the season, and second-best on his own team. Josh Bonny's best time this year is 16.83.
As Bonny leads the way, Coty tries to get back to, and even improve, on his 2012 form. He's also trying to help mold that next group of top PHS hurdlers.
"He does a good job. He talks to the other kids," Pittsfield coach Joe Albano said.
Then Albano thought a little more about it and amended his statement on Coty's effectiveness with younger hurdlers.
"It's incredibly helpful," he continued. "[Josh] isn't much of a talker. He can't really help other kids with their technique yet.
The county's class of hurdlers has improved from a couple of years ago. Monument's Jason Laramee, for example, has dropped more than a full second off his 2012-best time of 18.2. Coty saw that in person when Laramee ran a 16.9 in Great Barrington to win the event Friday. Monument's Tom Randolph was second in 17.3, ahead of Coty.
Albano said the year off has, admittedly, set his senior back a bit.
"He lost a year, so he could probably be better than he is right now," the coach said.
Coty's not worried. He trusts his coaches -- both Albano and assistant Gary Curry -- as well as their running experience. Both coaches, according to Albano, ran hurdle events when they were high schoolers.
And Coty knows there will be challenges.
"I think it's an attractive race; one of the most attractive races in track," he said of the 110. "It's always something everyone has wanted to try."
It's also a race Coty would like to excel in beyond Berkshire County. His goal, for now, is between 16.6 and 16.7 seconds. And he wants to finish in that time range at this year's Western-Central Mass. meet, or even the MIAA state meet.
"It's a possibility," he said. "I'll be working for it."
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