AHS boys and girls track teams improve records

Two senior leaders were both part of the story Tuesday afternoon as the Amsterdam High School varsity track teams improved each of their records to 4-0 in the Foothills Council South division with victories over Scotia-Glenville, 83.50-56.50 for the girls and 100-41 for the boys.

A dependable leader and friend

During the 2014 Amsterdam High School cross-country season, senior Alyssa Turo said that freshman Olivia Lazarou had been telling her all season that she wanted to make it to states. At the Section 2 championships Lazarou became the first Amsterdam girl to reach the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) championships. Often, young athletes like Lazarou have someone who can help them to adjust to competition at the varsity level.

“Alyssa has provided guidance for me,” said Lazarou, who won both the 1500 meter and 3000 meters girls distance runs against Scotia-Glenville picking up 10 points for the Lady Rams. “Since coming in as an eighth grader I like having someone who will help me. I’ve looked up to her. She’s more than just a teammate to me, she’s been a friend. She’s someone I can count on.”

Turo has had to provide leadership on an AHS girls track and field team that features more freshman than seniors. In addition to guiding Lazarou she’s helped with Amsterdam’s relay teams featuring young stars like Lauren Santiago, Emma Patrei, Edena Sanchez, and Emma Gomez.

“Starting out so young, I tell them to stay focused on what you’re doing,” said Turo. “Never look back and go for your personal record. Keep pushing yourselves, and just try.”

The Amsterdam girls relay teams all turned in second place finishes on Tuesday, but Turo’s work wasn’t done. Both she and Lazarou ran in the 1500 meter and 3000 meter distance runs. Turo’s advice to Lazarou had an effect on the outcome.

“I tell Olivia to go out as hard as she can and keep that pace, and just lose the rest of the girls,” Turo said.

Lazarou sprinted out in front on both races and just as Turo had anticipated, Lazarou put the rest of the field well behind her, and in the 3000 meter finished almost a full minutes ahead of her closest competitor. Lazarou finished in 11 minutes 38 seconds. SGHS’s Liz Darling was next with 12:34.40.

“I keep reminding to go out hard and keep that pace,” Turo said. “Olivia also wants to get better in her 800 meter run.”

Lazarou finished third in the girls 800 meter run with her teammate Edena Sanchez taking the top spot. Turo earned points for the Lady Rams with third place finishes in both the 1500 meter and 3000 meter runs. She noted that she has set some personal goals for this season.

“For my 1500 I wanted to beat six minutes,” said Turo, who finished with a time of 6:57 at an earlier invitational, but later achieved her goal with a time of 5:48 at a recent meet.

“Now I want to break that,” Turo said heading into the upcoming Fonda Relays.

“Alyssa has turned into a great leader,” said AHS girls coach Stu Palczak.. “She’s been fantastic on the track and helping the younger kids who look up to her. She’s impressed me immensely.”

The Lady Rams got first place finishes from Brenda Santana (100 meter, 200 meter), Lauren Santiago (400 meter), senior McKenna Palczak (100 meter hurdles, triple jump), junior Cassandra Robataille (shot put,pole vault), and Aneysha Gonzalez (discus throw).

“The girls performed really well,” said Coach Palczak. “Our field event throwers came through for us big time. We did what we had to do and the girls performed within their capabilities. Brenda (Santana), Lauren (Santiago), and Olivia (Lazarou) are all strong and we can depend on them. We have some good veteran leaders as well.”

Earning second place finishes for the Lady Rams were Lauren Santiago (100 meter, 200 meter), McKenna Palczak (400 meter hurdles), Cassandra Robataille (high jump), Maddie Janetsky (long jump), Aneysha Gonzalez (shot put), and Anna Syzdek (discus throw).

Scotia-Glenville got first place wins from their relay teams and Olivia Jack (400m hurdles), Shannon Burbank (high jump), and Caitlyn Burns (long jump).

A trustworthy, hard-working competitor

Since the tenth grade, senior Ryan Farley has been running in the 4×100 meter relay for the Amsterdam Rams boys track team. The reason is because his coach knows he will work hard and come through for the team.

“He’s a very hard worker and has the most attention to detail of anyone on the team,” said Amsterdam boys coach Kevin Wilary, who indicated that Farley can recall the split times of the AHS relay teams.

“He knows that. When he gets older he’d make a good coach.”

Farley’s 4×100 relay team with David Graveley, Omari Surdivant, and Kevon Boucaud won Tuesday with a time of 44.90 seconds. Like the Lady Rams Turo, Farley has been helpful to some of the younger Rams as well.

“He’s helped some of the younger sprinters,” said Coach Wilary. “He’s been on the 4×100 relay team since the tenth grade. I know I could trust him the most.”

Amsterdam sprinters did well against Scotia-Glenville with Izaiah Brown taking the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter events. AHS varsity newcomer Kevon Boucaud took second in both the 100 meter and 200 meter. The Rams also got top finishes from David Graveley (110 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles), Brown in the high jump, Austin Brock (discus throw, pole vault) and Michael Johnson (pole vault), Omari Sturdivant (long jump, triple jump), and the 4×400 meter relay team. The Rams also got second place finishes from Isaiah Cameron-Murray (110 meter hurdles), Johnson (400 hurdles), Gerhig Garner (high jump), Andrew Druziak (long jump), Cameron Thomas (triple jump), Aris Nieuwkirk (discus throw), and Marcus Pritchard (shot put), who like his sister Giuliana is playing two sports this spring. He also plays no.2 singles for the AHS boys tennis team.

“We knew we had to win in the hurdles and field events,” said Coach Wilary. “Our hurdlers did a fantastic job. Our throwers, pole vaulters, jumps, areas we were strong in, did the job for us.”

Scotia-Glenville got wins from Grant Norton (800 meter), Jacob Greski (1600 meter), Daken Broadhead (3200 meter), Ire Pinney (shot put), and the Tartans 4×800 meter relay team.

Both Amsterdam teams improved to 4-0 in the Foothills Council. After the meet, Coach Palczak addressed the teams and restated the goal of hosting the Foothills Council championships in the schools’ first season in the league. They are one step closer to that goal, and both teams will be looking to go undefeated and win the South Division next Tuesday at Gloversville. The meet will be held at the Gloversville High School track and field complex at Park Terrace.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.