AHS track teams top BPHS, remain undefeated (boys recap)

The Amsterdam boys varsity track and field team kept its Foothills Council record unblemished on Tuesday afternoon with a 91-50 victory over the Broadalbin-Perth Patriots at Broadalbin-Perth High School. The Rams swept the sprint events getting outstanding performances from its veteran members and some contributions from some young rising stars. One senior leader even tried something new.

Having fun

Amsterdam senior Omari Sturdivant has been stellar for the Rams in the long jump, triple jump, relays and sprints. On Tuesday, Sturdivant tried his turn at an event he had never competed in, the high jump. In his first time out, Sturdivant achieved a height of five feet and ten inches, good enough for second place. His AHS teammate, senior Gehrig Garner, had to reach his personal record height of six feet to place first. Garner was up to the challenge and got his best height to take the top spot for AHS. Sturdivant took a moment to reflect on trying something new.

“That was fun,” Sturdivant said. “I would have been happy to have jumped six feet, but I’m not complaining.”

Garner is used to having competition from his teammates. Last season, Garner challenged Isaiah Brown in the high jump, all the while Brown was attempting to set a new school record in the event, a record that was held by his uncle. Garner spoke about what is was now like to have his teammate Sturdivant to contend with for a first place finish.

“We just push each other,” Garner said. “Just for the fun of it. That’s why we did so well, because it was about having fun.”

Sturdivant took first in the boys 400 meter dash with a time of 53 seconds. Mikey Gomez was second for AHS with a 56.70 seconds time. Sturdivant also won the triple jump with a distance of 45 feet and 3.25 inches, and placed second behind teammate Kevon Boucaud in the long jump. Garner also tried his hand at the 4×100 relay running the first leg of the race on a team that included fellow AHS senior Gabe Fernandez and Luis and Frankie Perez.

Boucaud showed no signs of slowing down and took first in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.5 seconds, and was best in the 200 meter dash clocking in with a time of 23,90 seconds. Amsterdam’s Luis Rodriguez was second in both events, and AHS freshman Angel Sanchez finished in the scoring in the 100 meter dash, placing third.

Gabe Fernandez was true to form in the 800 meter run placing first with a time of 2:08.40, and joined Ryan Kamanu (2:18.70), and John Companion (2:21.40) in sweeping the scoring in the event. Fernandez, Kamanu, and Mikey Gomez teamed with Luis Rodriguez to win the 4×400 meter relay, and teamed with Michael Johnson to take the first event of the day for the boys, the 4×800 meter relay.

“The kids did a great job for five meets in eleven days,” Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary said. They’re tired but they went out and had a good meet. The team went out to win. They went out there and ran their best.”

Marcos Santiago picked up more first place points for the Rams in the 110 meter hurdles, and AHS seniors Michael Johnson and Jon Knack placed second and third in the 400 meter hurdles. Amsterdam’s Timmy Kline battled BPHS senior Alex Hitrick in the 1600 meter run with Hitrick taking top honors with a 5:05.00 time and Kline close behind with a 5:08.50 finish. Kline later ran a 11.25.90 time for a top finish in the 3200 meter run. Seventh grader Trevor Dzikowicz finished third for AHS in the 3200 meter run.

The AHS boys field team stayed in step with Garner, Sturdivant, and Louis Fedullo sweeping the top spots in the high jump. Michael Johnson placed second in the pole vault, and Austin Brock took third in the discus throw.

Building the future

Every year, high school track meets have someone new break on to the scene and take nearly everyone by surprise. Coaches are always on the lookout for the next bright, new stars to make their mark on the high school level. Tuesday afternoon, Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary noted two athletes who are making a good impression.

“Angel Sanchez and AJ Smith really impressed me today,” Coach Wilary said. “They’re starting to show potential.”

Both Sanchez and Smith competed in the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes, and also in the long jump where they set personal bests with leaps of 17 feet, and two inches. Sanchez, a freshman scored for AHS in the 100 meter run with a 12.30 seconds time, good enough for third. Smith, a sophomore, also competed in the high jump where he finished sixth with a height of four feet and nine inches. Sanchez was also part of the AHS team that competed at this past Saturday’s Niskayuna Warrior Classic where the Amsterdam boys finished third overall.

“Angel Sanchez did a great job,” Coach Wilary said. “He’s getting more confidence and he’s getting better.”

That improvement is a positive sign for an AHS team that last year saw the graduation of one of its finest athletes ever in Isaiah Brown, who now stars for Rutgers University and has already won some top college honors for a freshman. Sturdivant will graduate this year and Boucaud will follow in 2018, and Coach Kevin Wilary is always looking for the next consistent performer.

“You have to look to the future and keep building,” Coach Wilary said.

Building the future – part two

The Broadalbin-Perth Patriots also know what it’s like to win a sectional title. The last time the BPHS boys accomplished the feat was in 2014. Last season saw the graduation of state champion in the pentathlon, Jake Coveney leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. A mix of senior leaders such as Alex Hitrick, who helped organize the BPHS boys cross country team into a formidable unit, and a group of young stars like Jeff Derwin, Lance Jennings and Wyatt Couperus help keep BPHS in contention in every meet.

Hitrick took first in the 1600 meter run, Derwin led the Patriots shot put and discus teams with top honors. Derwin’s teammate Brandon Akey was second in both events, and Marcos Viera gave BPHS a sweep of the top three spots in the shot put. Jennings was third in the 1600 meter run, and Hitrick and Jennings were fourth and fifth in the 800 meter run. Couperus hustled to a second place finish in the 3200 meter run. Jake Bunker won the 400 meter hurdles for BPHS, and Chris Wagner placed second, and Bunker third in the 110 meter hurdles. Wagner was best in the pole vault. The BPHS boys 4×100 meter relay team also was victorious with a time of 48.60 seconds. Bryant Palmer was third in the 400 meter dash, and Noah Marek (triple jump, 200 meter dash), Bunker (long jump), and James Mosher (pole vault) also earned third place finishes.

“Amsterdam is a tough team,” BPHS Coach Jeff Richard said. “We were a little banged up and rested some people. We have a young team and we’re getting better.”

Amsterdam will travel to Cohoes for an invitational this Saturday. AHS will finish up with a league meet at Scotia-Glenville on May 3, before returning home on May 10 to face Foothills Council foe South Glens Falls. Broadalbin-Perth will make up its meet with Scotia-Glenville today.

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.