AHS girls track and field finish second in Foothills

The Amsterdam girls track and field team came up short in a crossover meet with Queensbury on Wednesday at Amsterdam High School. At the conclusion of the meet, AHS coach Stu Palczak called the seniors together one last time on their home track for a photograph. Several of them had been a part of the varsity program for six years. Among them was Palczak’s daughter McKenna. He paused for a moment after addressing his team, and then called his daughter over and gave her a hug. McKenna Palczak has run track for six years and was part of a team that won the Big 10 title in 2012, and then helped lead her team to a Foothills Council South Division title this year, accomplishing a goal they had set at the start of the season. Amsterdam fell 94.3- 45.6 to Queensbury, but that didn’t take away from a season of accomplishments, with more yet to come.

“It’s my last time ever running on this track,” McKenna Palczak said. “I remember running here with my dad since I was a kid and now this is it.”

Palczak and her teammates had their work cut out for them against a Queensbury team that came in with more than 70 kids on their roster. Amsterdam had a little more than half that number.

“We tried our best but they were so deep,” Palczak said. “They came in with 70 girls and we had 40, 10 of whom scored. We tried our best and did what we could do.”

Palczak led Amsterdam with a first place finish in the triple jump, a second place in the long jump, and a pair of third place finishes in the 100 meter and 400 meter hurdles. Lady Rams’ Lauren Santiago bolted to a pair of wins in the 400 meter and 200 meter runs.

“Lauren ran extremely well,” Amsterdam head coach Stu Palczak said. “She ran a nice 200 meter and a great 400 meter.”

Santiago’s 27.1 seconds in the 200 meter was .4 seconds better than Queensbury’s Laura Kenyon, and her 400 meter time of one minute and .9 seconds was six seconds better than Lady Spartans Kate Birkholz. Santiago’s freshman teammate Olivia Lazarou also turned in a first place finish in the 3000 meter.

Lazarou stayed stride for stride with Queensbury’s Rachael Guinther for much of the race. As the gun sounded for the final lap, Lazarou burst out in front and sprinted away, once again reaching for the school record. Lazarou crossed the finish line with a time of 10:58.2 almost six seconds ahead of Guinther. Although Lazarou has not broken the school record yet, she has three more years to make it her own.

“I kept Olivia out of the 800 meter run so she could run a good 3000 meter,” Coach Palczak said. “She ran well in the 3000 meters.”

Amsterdam also got second place finishes from Cassandra Robataille in three events: the pole vault, high jump, and 100 meter hurdles. Brenda Santana ‘s 13.4 seconds was second behind Emma Hayes’ 13.3 in the 100 meter run, and AHS senior Madddie Janetsky’s 30′ 6” was second in the triple jump.

The Lady Rams got third place efforts from Santiago in the 100 meter run, and Cassandra Robataille in the long jump.

Queensbury’s ability to put several athletes on the track in most events had an impact on the meet’s outcome. In the 800 meter, Amsterdam’s Alyssa Turo was up against more than 20 Lady Spartans. She and Lazarou faced a similar number in the 1500 meter. There were also at least four heats in the 100 and 200 meter runs.

“Their depth really helped them,” Coach Palczak said of Queensbury. “It allowed them to keep their kids fresh for different events. I get concerned about putting young athletes in so many events.”

Queensbury got top finishes from Emma Hayes in the 100 meter and 400 meter hurdles, Alexis Baartlett in the 800 meter and 1500 meter runs, Rachel Hoiser in the 100 meter hurdles, the 4×400 meter relay team of Kenyon, Bartlett, Hayes, and Sherri Metcalf, the 4×800 meter relay team of Metcalf, Katherine Ackner, Eliza Blood, and Emma Dembowski, the 4×100 meter relay team (Hayes, Kenyon, Trinity Roscoe, Annie Westcott), and in field events; high jump (Casey Moore), pole vault (Grace Murphy), long jump (Annie Westcott), shot put (Jen Stimpson), and discus throw (Stimpson).

The senior members of this years Lady Rams team, McKenna Palczak, Maddie Janetsky, Alyssa Turo, Anastasia Lazarou, Kaitlyn Bartlett, Ashley Santana, Anna Syzdek, and Alexandra Montalvo, have the set the bar a little higher for a strong group of young athletes like Lazarou, Santiago, and Santana to follow.

“There is still more to be excited about,” Mckenna Palczak said referring to the William F. Eddy meet in Schenectady on Saturday and then the Foothills Council Championships invitational meet at Schuylerville on May 21.

“We will try and put as many as we can on the podium,” said Coach Palczak.

The Lady Rams will also be part of the Section 2 Group 1 competition at Shenendehowa High School on May 27.

Authors Note: Two Amsterdam Lady Rams ran for the track team and later played softtball for the Amsterdam junior varsity team on Wednesday. Giuliana Pritchard ran a time of 14.30 seconds in the 100 meter dash, and Emma Patrei ran in both the 4×400 meter and 4×800 meter relay events. The last time I recall that an Amsterdam girl played in two sports on the same day was in 2003 when Maria Delliveneri ran a cross-country meet and then played a tennis match while both AHS teams were at Central Park in Schenectady. For Patrei, this was the second time this season she played two sports in on the dame day, and that is a first for an Amsterdam girl athlete.

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.