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

The Amsterdam High School boys and girls varsity track and field teams continued their winning ways Tuesday afternoon at Broadalbin-Perth High School. The Amsterdam Lady Rams remained unbeaten this season with an 88-53 victory over the Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots, remaining undefeated and in first place in the Foothills Council standings.

On paper, what would have appeared to most was just another high school track and field meet was much more than that. Both the Amsterdam and Broadalbin-Perth teams are no stranger to winning championships. Boys and girls from both schools have been part of league and sectional, and even state championship teams. The AHS teams have recently been on a marathon journey participating and excelling at five meets in a span of less than two weeks, but the victories in competition only scratch the surface of what makes up a championship team.

A team, a family

The first event for the girls on Tuesday showed the future of both teams with Amsterdam sophomore Olivia Lazarou teamed up with junior Edena Sanchez, freshman Emma Gomez, and eighth grader Kayla Sondrup in the 4×800 meter relay. BPHS featured a team that included sophomore Jordyn DeNeuville and freshman Gabrielle Larsen and well as veteran teammates Cadey Nolan and Mackenzie Frye. Having been a part of the AHS cross country and track and field teams since and eighth grader, Lazarou has earned success at both levels and became the first AHS girls cross country runner to make it to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) championships, and this year to the Federation meet. Like any athlete on the course, Lazarou sets goals each season and challenges herself to improve, but like every athlete she knows her time on the high school team will one day come to an end, yet before it does she will leave and example for others to follow. One of those future standouts on the AHS girls team is Kayla Sondrup, who Lazarou has been a teammates with since Sondrup joined the AHS varsity cross country team, and now Sondrup is learning from the best.

“It’s different,” said Sondrup on being a part of the varsity team. “I thought of this as a team before, but now as a family. We grew together over the Summer.”

Sondrup ran the third leg of the relay and handed the baton to Lazarou, who completed the first event win for the Lady Rams, as the team ran a time of 10 minutes and 45 seconds. Lazarou and Sondrup also teamed up to take the top two spots in the girls 3000 meter run with Lazarou clocking a time of 11:49.60, and Sondrup coming in at 12:46.90 . One day in the future it could be Sondrup taking the baton from a future star of the AHS team, to anchor the last leg of a relay, but for now she is just beginning to realize her potential.

“We’re like sisters,” Lazarou said of her teammate who has yet to acquire a true nick name. Lazarou is known by her team and much of Section 2 as “pop tart.”

“We get along so well,” she added.

Lazarou also won the 1500 meter run on Tuesday with a time of 5:24.00, and was part of the winning AHS 4×400 meter relay team that included Gomez, Sanchez, and Amsterdam senior Chantel Dopp, who like Lazarou and Sondrup was part of the AHS cross country team, and has starred for AHS since the seventh grade. Dopp also finished third in the 800 meter run, and fourth in the 1500 meter event. Sanchez won the 800 meter with a 2:28.00 time.

And while veterans of the AHS cross country team had the distance events covered, the AHS girls sprint and hurdle teams displayed a bright future as well with a combination of senior leadership and athletes in their first year, all of who continue to learn to develop their skills.

Five meets in 11 days

The Amsterdam Lady Rams started the 2016 high school track and field season on Saturday, April 9 at the Ken Smith-Kiwanis Bi-County Meet at Knox Field in Johnstown and came away with more first place finishes than any team at the event. Since then the team has racked up wins over Foothills Council rivals Johnstown, and Gloversville, and earned their first invitational win at this past Saturday’s Niskayuna Warrior Classic, where they were seven points better than defending Foothills Council champion Queensbury, and scored more points than Suburban Council schools like Averill Park and the host school Lady Silver Warriors. Amsterdam wrapped up their marathon start to the season with a win against sectional champion Broadalbin-Perth getting standout performances all over the track.

“I thought for the fifth meet in eleven days we looked good on track,” Amsterdam coach Stu Palczak said. “Again, Gabby Stanavich looked really good on hurdles, and the sprint teams did well with Kaitlyn Devine, Giuliana Pritchard, Brenda Santana and Lauren Santiago.”

Stanavich continued to impress in the hurdle events where she won the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 16.70 seconds, and conquered the 400 meter hurdles with a winning time of 1:15.40. The AHS freshman also took her turn trying the 200 meter dash, and crossed the finish line with a time of 29.10 seconds, which would have been good enough for fourth place had she been in a scoring heat. AHS sophomore Kayla Dzikowicz finished third in both hurdles events. BPHS’s Joanna Tavolaro was second in the 100 meter hurdles, and her teammate DeNeuville was second in the 400 hurdles.

Brenda Santana, fresh off setting a new school record in the 100 meter dash at the Niskayuna meet, led a sweep of the 100 meter dash against BPHS. Santana crossed the line at 13.20 seconds with senior Kaitlyn Devine close behind at 13.40, and sophomore Giuliana Pritchard third at 13.80 seconds. That AHS trio, along with sophomore Alyssa Kuchis also won the 4×100 meter relay with a 53.90 time. Lauren Santiago was best in the 400 meter dash getting to the finish with a time of 1:03.00, just ahead of BPHS’ Lexi Eipp (1:06.00) and AHS’ Emma Gomez (1:10.10).

The Amsterdam girls did not fare as well in the field events on Tuesday. AHS was hampered by an injury to senior Cassandra Robataille, who sprained an ankle during the pole vault at last week’s meet with Gloversville.

“We were inconsistent in the field,” Coach Palczak said. “We missed Cassie (Robataille) today.”

Amsterdam did get a third place finish in the pole vault from versatile senior Kaitlyn Devine, who also runs on sprint and relay team for the Lady Rams, and got first place efforts from Lauren Santiago in the long jump, and Emma Gomez in the triple jump. Haley Madej was second in both the discus throw and shot put events with Aneysha Gonzalez coming in third in the later. The Lady Patriots’ Joanna Tavolaro and Lexi Eipp took first and second in the pole vault, and Eipp was second and Tavolaro third in the triple jump. Katelyn Davis was first in both the shot put and discus throw, with teammate Allyson Becker coming in third in the discus.

Taking steps in the right direction

The Brodalbin-Perth Lady Patriots have also been spending a lot of time on the track in a short amount of time. Like the Lady Rams, the team has a good compliment of senior leaders and young standouts, who will one day be counted on to mentor the next generation. The Lady Patriots did sweep one event on Tuesday, in the high jump. The team of Madison MacFarland, Victoria Laurange, and Ali Visco took the top three spots in the event. MacFarland won with a jump of 4′ and 6” followed by Laurange and Visco at 4′ and 4”.

“We’re a young team and taking steps in the right direction,” Broadalbin-Perth head coach Jeff Richards said. “Hopefully one day we can be as good as Amsterdam.”

In 2015 they were a step better, and won a sectional title last June at Knox Field by a single point over Albany Academy. There were plenty of gutsy performances by now BPHS graduates Coreena Monroe, Kaitlyn Sala, Christa Decker, Sarah Naple, and Chelsea LeBlanc. This years’ team still has the right makeup of key contributors and veteran leaders to make another run at a sectional title.

Both Laurange and Visco, who also plays varsity softball for BPHS in the Spring, scored in the long jump, and are among several versatile BPHS athletes who can score in more than one event. When the 2015 team won the NYPHSAA title, they had at least one athlete score in every event, and pulled off the victory getting only one first place finish, a triumph in the 800 meter run by Celina Onzo, who like AHS’ Robataille did not run due to injury, but will return to action soon.

One of the new group of BPHS athletes proving they have what it takes on varsity is freshman Gabby Larsen, who was entered in several events for the Lady Patriots. In addition to running anchor legs in the relay events, Larsen has competed in the hurdles, and on Tuesday scored in the 1500 meter run, taking second place, and also with a runner up finish in the 800 meter run. And Larsen, like AHS’ Kayla Sondrup also has had a veteran teammate leading by example. BPHS senior Cadey Nolan, who has been on both a cross country and track and field sectional champion team during her high school career was Larsen’s teammate in her first year on the varsity cross country team, and joined Larsen on the BPHS relay teams. Nolan also competed in the distance events placing third in the 3000 meter run.

Both the Amsterdam and Broadalbin-Perth girls teams will return to action in quest of sectional titles, and both will contend with league rival Scotia-Glenville in coming weeks. The Lady Patriots will make up a meet against SGHS today, and the Lady Rams will travel to Scotia-Glenville for their final meet against a division rival on Tuesday, May 3. Start time for the AHS meet is scheduled for 4:30pm.

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.