AHS boys cross country looks to Kamanu for leadership this season

As Ryan Kamanu sprinted toward the finish line at Tuesday’s varsity cross country meet against Scotia-Glenville, the Amsterdam junior looked like like he was running the final leg of a relay race. If there wasn’t an end to the 2.82 mile course at Bob’s Tree’s in Galway, he probably could have raced the team bus back to the school. Kamanu posted a team best second place finish with a time of 17 minutes and four seconds in Amsterdam’s 45-19 loss to the Tartans. This season he is being counted on for his leadership on a young Rams varsity team.

“Ryan Kamanu is a fantastic track athlete,” Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary said. “This year he’s taking it to the next level in cross country.”

Kamanu was one of the top freshman in the Foothills Council in 2014 and followed that up with a promising sophomore season in 2015 on a team that included seniors Gabe Fernandez, Edgar Maldonado, Jon Knack and Wil Weinheimer. The AHS boys varsity cross country team finished 2-2 in Foothills Council dual meets in 2015 with Kamanu winning the first race of that season as he showed the strength to stay ahead of Fernandez, who was consistently one of the Rams top performers. This year Kamanu will be guiding a young Rams team that includes five freshman and two eighth graders.

Tuesday’s race featured Kamanu leading by example. He battled Scotia-Glenville’s Jacob Greski for the top spot and wasn’t far off Greski’s first place time of 16:30 minutes, showing at the finish that he had plenty of energy to keep going.

“I just ran trying to hold my position,” Kamanu said. “I knew that if I went out too slow then I’d have to make it up. Next time I face him (Greski) I’ll be battling him for first place.”

Scotia-Glenville took the next seven spots to seal the win. Nathan Tabbert (17:12), Kyler Jerrald (17:27), Gabe Winters (17:29), Jeremy Shaffer (18:01), Joey Titus (18:02), Nick Swain (18:02), and Jacob Leaper (18:19) all factored in the scoring for the Tartans. A trio of Rams came next with eighth grader Trevor Dzikowicz (18:41) crossing the line in tenth followed by freshman Daniel Bublak (19:13) next with the AHS teams’ only senior Antonio Natole (19:22) in twelfth. Amsterdam boys varsity coach Kevin Wilary was impressed in the effort by the young team and in Kamanu.

“Ryan is a fantastic leader for the boys,” Wilary said. “All of the hard work is paying off.”

Kamanu’s expressed confidence in his expectations for the young Amsterdam team that includes Dzikowicz, and Bublak, along with freshman Cuba Fernandez, Corey Motyl, Marco Rivera, and Nick Rodecker, and eighth grader Tommy Ziskn.

“Over the next four weeks you’re going to see a lot of the young AHS guys right there battling with me,” Kamanu said.

Cuba Fernandez (19:48) finished 18th, junior John Companion (20:05) came in 20th, followed by Ziskin (21:10), Rivera (24:31), Rodecker (25:51), junior John Santiago (26:46), and sophomore Lucas Tepan (26:51) in order of finish for Amsterdam.

“This is a young team,” coach Wilary said. “Our number two finisher today is an eighth grader, our number three is a freshman, and our number five is a freshman. I’m really impressed with this young team doing so well.”

The Amsterdam teams head for the Queensbury Invitational this Saturday and the AHS boys will be entering both varsity and freshman teams in their respective races.

“What we’re really trying to do is have our freshman to do well as a team,” Wilary said. “For varsity we’re looking for them to have good individual times.”

The freshman on the Rams squad recently competed at a cross country relay event where they showed promise and took third place. Amsterdam returns to action in the Foothills Council with a dual meet at Gloversville High School on Tuesday. The meet is scheduled to begin at 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.