AHS girls track and field tops Scotia-Glenville in league opener

The Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity track and field team got off to a strong start for the 2017 season posting wins in all but one event in a 94-38 win over Foothills Council division rival Scotia-Glenville on Tuesday afternoon at Amsterdam High School.

After a day that saw temperatures approach ninety degrees, a brief rain shower cooled things off just in time for the start of the meet. The latest version of the Lady Rams varsity swept the relay events, and got two wins apiece from standouts Brenda Santana, Olivia Lazarou, Gabby Stanavich, Lauren Santiago, and Haley Madej. This years’ team features a talented mix of veteran performers, some in at least their third year on the varsity squad as well as rising stars in Stanavich and Kayla Sondrup, and newcomers Charli Beekman, Brooke Marshall, and Skylar Grybos.

“You never know how it’s going to turn out,” Amsterdam coach Stu Palczak said after the meet. “The kids really came through very well. Our veterans did what was expected of them, and some of the new kids stepped up and did a good job as well.”

Lazarou runs for speed

Many know of Amsterdam junior Olivia Lazarou’s accomplishments on the cross country team. Over the past three seasons at AHS, Lazarou has become the first Amsterdam girl to reach the state championships, and the federation meet, often showing endurance and stamina in all sorts of weather. But, Tuesday afternoon, Lazarou had to show a little quickness when she took the baton from teammate Skylar Grbyos for the second leg of the first event, the 4×800 meter relay. Lazarou had some ground to make up against Lady Tartans’ Delaney Krogh, and looked more like a sprinter as she tracked down her opponent and passed her within the first 100 meters. Lazarou built a comfortable lead before handing the baton to Kayla Sondrup, who maintained that lead for Edena Sanchez to finish off for the win.

“Once we get out of indoor season, coach has us take it easy for a while,” said Lazarou who also picked up first place wins in the 1500 meter (5 minutes, 01.10 seconds) and 3000 meter (11:24.90) distance events. “Working hard in practice pays off. To start out hard and finish hard takes speed. Working hard every day is what it takes to get more speed and distance.”

Impressive hurdle crew

“I’m proud of the way we competed,” Coach Palczak said addressing the entire team. “Everyone did a good job. Best performance of the day was the hurdle crew. They were amazing.”

That put a smile on AHS sophomore Gabby Stanavich’s face. A second year varsity member, Stanavich burst on to the scene last year, making it all the way to the state qualifying meet in the hurdles as a freshman. On Tuesday, she shined once again posting wins in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 15.40 seconds, and in the 400 meter hurdles (1:11.40), getting closer to a record set by her aunt, former AHS standout, Marie Davey.

“I didn’t expect it,” Stanavich said after learning she set a personal record in the first event. “I’ve definitely improved since last year. I’m getting closer to the record and I’m happy about that.”

The hurdles weren’t the only place that Stanavich helped Amsterdam win. She was also part of both the 4×100 meter, and 4×400 meter relay teams. Stanavich teamed up with senior Edena Sanchez, junior Brenda Santana, and eighth grader Charli Beekman in the 4×100 meter (51.40 seconds), and later with Sanchez, Santana, and sophomore Lauren Santiago in the 4×400 meter (4:13.30) to help the Lady Rams complete the sweep of the relay events.

“We were nervous at first,” Stanavich said of the team at the start of the meet. “But, everyone did really well.”

Four runs, four wins

Amsterdam also swept the sprint events as well getting wins in the 100 meter and 200 meter runs from Brenda Santana, by Lauren Santiago in the 400 meter, and Edena Sanchez taking first in the 800 meter run. Santana posted times of 12.90 seconds in the 100 meter and 26.40 seconds in the 200 meter. Santiago’s 1:00.80 time was tops in the 400 meter, and Sanchez’s 2:25.40 was best in the 800 meter. The Lady Rams also got plenty of support, and points with a second place finish by Santiago in the 200 meter, and a third place finish by Charli Beekman in the shorter distance.

“We loaded up our track today,” Coach Palczak said. “We anticipated it would be tight. And, they shined. We’re pretty strong right now, as if we were in mid-season form.”

Young performers on the rise

Charli Beekman did a little bit of everything on Tuesday. She placed third in the 100 meter (13.30 seconds), helped the 4×100 meter relay team win, and in the field events placed third in the long jump with a leap of 13 feet, one inch.

“Charli Beekman had some really good times coming out of the blocks,” Coach Palczak said. “She did really well today.”

Beekman wasn’t alone among the rising stars for the AHS girls. Freshman Kayla Sondrup finished in a first place tie in the high jump with a height of 4 feet, 8 inches. Competing for the first time in the event, Sondrup’s attempt at 4′ 8” was better than he try in which she cleared 4′ 6”. Beaming with confidence after the meet, Sondrup said she will get 4′ 10” before the season is done. AHS sophomore Emma Gomez won the triple jump with a distance of 31 feet, three inches. Gomez also earned a fourth place in the 400 meter dash.

“Emma Gomez won triple jump, and Kayla Sondrup did a great job with high jump” Coach Palczak said.

More top performers for AHS

Lady Rams junior Haley Madej topped the field in both the shot put and discus throw. Madej’s toss of 25 feet 3.5 inches was best in the shot put. Her total of 79 feet, eight inches was tops in the discus. Madej’s teammate, senior Janina Sjoberg finished second in both events with a throw of 24′ 1.5” in the shot put, and 63′ 8” in the discus throw. Kelly Kilgallen picked up a third place for AHS in the discus giving the Lady Rams a sweep of the points in the event.

Amsterdam junior Kayla Dzikowicz had a busy day for the Lady Rams. Dzikowicz earned second place finishes in both the 100 meter hurdles (19.88 seconds), and the 400 meter hurdles (1:19.90), and was fourth in the high jump with a height of 4 feet. Chara Boston gave AHS a sweep in the 100 meter hurdles with a third place time.

Lauren Santiago picked up a second place finish in the long jump for the Lady Rams. Freshman Skylar Grybos was tied for fourth in the high jump, and eighth grader Brooke Marshall placed fourth in the 800 meter run.

Scotia-Glenville’s lone first place finish came from Mikyla Mitchell in the long jump. Rhaymi Porter tied for first in the high jump. The Lady Tartans also got second place finishes from Sydnee Smith in the 100m, Liz Esker in the 400m, Juliana Geniti in the 800m, and 1500m, Liz Darling in the 3000m, Serena Sweet in the 400m hurdles, and Mitchell in the triple jump. Smith (200m), Taylor Cooper (800m), Olivia Jack (400m), Liz Darling (1500m), Olivia Wheeler (3000m), and Olivia DeAngelo (high jump) all posted third place times.

The Lady Rams return to action on Saturday morning when Amsterdam High School hosts the Kiwani’s Bi- County Invitational. The meet will feature high school track and field teams from Montgomery and Fulton counties, and will be an all day event, scheduled to begin at 10am. Amsterdam track and field teams continue their season in the Foothills Council on Tuesday, April 18 when they visit Knox Field in Johnstown.

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.