AHS boys and girls track teams win division title

As the daylight faded at Tuesday’s Amsterdam track and field dual meet against Gloversville at Park Terrace Elementary School, one athlete was left competing: Amsterdam’s Izaiah Brown. Many of his teammates gathered to watch Brown try for a school record. Many of them were not born yet when Brown’s uncle, Fred Brown, set the mark of 6 feet, seven and one half inches in the high jump.

Brown closed his eyes briefly then opened them, focusing on the 6 foot, eight inch bar ahead of him. He started into his stride, soared, and for a moment it looked like the record was his. But Brown’s left leg just barely clipped the bar. It rattled and fell to the mat.

“I have to get that record before I leave here,” Brown said as he turned and looked back at the bar.

Brown took first in the high jump to cap off a day when both the Amsterdam boys and girls wrapped up Foothills Council South division titles. The AHS boys won 97.50- 43.50, and the girls were victorious 89-52 giving both teams perfect 5-0 marks heading into next weeks’ crossover meets against the winners from the Fooothills Council North division.

“Goal one out of the way,” Amsterdam boys head coach Kevin Wilary said. “We were going to push them today, and the kids came out and performed.”

Only one record left to beat

Since joining the AHS track and field team, Izaiah Brown has been on a mission to break the records set by his uncle Fred Bown. Izaiah, now a senior, has just one record left to beat, the high jump. He made several attempts on Tuesday, and with each try got a little bit closer to completely clearing the bar. Brown had competition from teammate Gehrig Garner, who finished second to Brown’s leap of 6 feet, five inches. Brown paused between tries to offer some words of encouragement to Garner and then continued his quest.

“It was a lot of fun watching him try,” said Coach Wilary of Brown’s efforts. “I think that record that reads ‘F. Brown’ is going to change to ‘I. Brown ‘ soon.”

Brown was also part of a standout day for the Rams track team that won nearly every event in the process of racking up more than 60 points in track events alone. Brown also finished first in the 100 meter dash, and the 200 meter run.

“We always go out and try our best team-wise,” said Brown. “We didn’t know what to expect in our first season joining the Foothills Council, but overall it’s been a good season so far. A few records have been broken this year, and we’ve done well despite the cold weather which is finally starting to warm up.”

And while Brown still has a few more tries to break at least one more record before his career at AHS comes to an end, another athlete’s career is just getting started.

An impressive rookie season

Kevon Boucaud is not chasing shadows. He’s casting his own. Tuesday, he got a chance to run in an event he had never run in before, and won.

“Kevon had never run in the 400 meter,” Coach Wilary said. “I gave him a shot and he won it against some good competition.”

Boucaud posted a time of 52.70 seconds in the taking the 400 meter run, and placed second behind Brown in the 100 meter dash sending notice to the competition that he’s ready to step in and lead the way when his teammate graduates this Spring.

“He’s performing at a high level so early,” said Coach Wilary. “I’m impressed by him.”

Boucaud has been consistent this year finishing in the top three in both the 100 meter and 200 meter runs. Boucaud also excels in the field events and took first place in the long jump on Tuesday helping the Rams to the top.

“It feels great,” said Boucaud after learning the Rams took the division title. “It’s a nice feeling to know we did that.”

The Amsterdam boys also got first place finishes from Gabe Fernandez is the 800 meter run, David Graaveley (110 hurdles, 400 hurdles), Omari Sturdivant (triple jump), the 400 meter relay team of Gravley, Boucaud, Sturdivant, and Ryan Farley, the 1600 meter relay team of Fernandez, Sturdivannt, Gravely and Andrew Druziak, and the 3200 meter relay team of Druziak, Fernandez, Antonio Mercado and Pablo Almovodar. Tim Kline picked up a second place in the 1600 meter run, and Jon Knack finished third.

“It’s that time of year when you have to step up,” said Gerhig Garner. “We’re here to stay.”

Gloversville got first place wins from Jack Hayes, who won the 1600 meter run, Jacob Perez in the 3200 meter run, Michael Budka in the pole vault, and Eric Close in the shot put and discus throw.

A new league, a new title

The varsity girls team claimed their first title on Tuesday afternoon since their Big 10 victory in 2013.

“The first goal was to beat Broadalbin-Perth and Scotia-Glenville,” said Amsterdam girls senior captain McKenna Palczak. “The next was to win the division and then win the whole thing.”

Palczak took first in the 100 meter hurdles to help lead a talented Amsterdam girls team that also has the right combination of youth and experience to carry them into sectionals and beyond.

“We’re deep in so many events,” said Palczak on one reason for the teams’ success. “We are two or three girls deep in each event. The last time we won a title was two years ago. We really wanted this.”

Amsterdam showed that depth taking first place in all but one track event. Freshman Brenda Santana took first in both the 100 meter and 200 meter runs, Lauren Santiago was first in the 400 meter run, and a third freshman, Olivia Lazarou captured the 800 meter, 1500 meter, and 3000 meter runs in convincing fashion.

“I was really going to get the points for my team not just for times,” said Lazarou. I want to get my time down in the 800 meter. I know I can and will work toward that.”

Lazarou was also a part of the winning 3200 meter relay team with Santiago, eighth grader Emma Gomez, and senior captain Alyssa Turo. The final event of the day for the girls capped off an outstanding day for AHS setting up a crossover meet next week against Queensbury.

“I’m excited,” Lazarou added. “It’s going to be fun to see Queensbury. I know we will work hard as a team and have fun.”

Finally got the hand off right

“That was so beautiful,” Maddie Janetsky exclaimed after her run on the winning 400 meter relay team. “So amazing. And we ran 53.3 seconds and we usually run 55. We beat our best time by over a second. A very good day for the relay.”

Janetsky teamed up with Brenda nad Ashley Santana and Edena Sanchez to win the 400 meter relay, and in fact all the AHS relays teams won making it a clean sweep in both boys and girls. The Lady Rams 1600 meter relay with Gomez, Sanchez, Turo and Brenda Santana also won. Cassandra Robataille also took home first place in the shot put and second in the pole vault for AHS.

“We all worked very hard for this,” said Ronbataille, a junior. “We just have to do our best and stay confident.”

Gloversville got first place wins from Madison Fancher (400 hurdles, high jump, pole vault), Brianna Port (long jump), and Kayla Murphy (discus throw). The Amsterdam girls took all by one track event.

“We talked about it all season,” Amsterdam girls head coach Stu Palczak said. “We set a goal to win the Foothills South division, go undefeated and we’ve done that. The girls ran very well on the track today, and we are especially deep on the track. We can put sprinter after sprinter out there.”

The reward for winning the division was a day off from practice on Wednesday. The teams return to action on Friday with the AHS girls heading to the Johnstown Invitational, while the boys are bound for Shenedehowa. The Foothills Council crossover meets will be next Tuesday and Wednesday at Amsterdam High School.

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.