Girls cross country steps up in win against Gloversville

Although they faced an incomplete team, Amsterdam girls varsity cross-country coach Stu Palczak said that Tuesday’s meet against Gloversville was an opportunity for the team to step up their performance. AHS runners placed eight in the top ten finishers, and picked up their first dual meet win in the Foothills Council at Bob’s Trees in Galway. Gloversville fielded only four runners making the final score Amsterdam-15, Gloversville-incomplete.

“They did step up today,” Amsterdam coach Stu Palczak said. “We knew Gloversville had some good girls, but I think our girls knew they had to be faster and finish well. An improvement from the last meet.”

Palczak was referring to Amsterdam’s league opener against Scotia-Glenville last Tuesday at Indian Meadows Park where the Lady Tartans had four runners in the top six to win a close 24-31 decision. Amsterdam’s first home meet was a different story.

First to cross the line was Amsterdam Lady Rams front-runner Olivia Lazarou, who again finished more than a minute better than the next runner with a time of 18 minutes, 28 seconds. Daley Jo Christman (19:50) of Gloversville was next across the line, but the Lady Rams hustled to take seven of the next eight spots.

Amsterdam’s Lauren Santiago (21:10), and Brook Marshall (21:14) came in third and fourth on the 2.82 meter course, ahead of the next Gloversville runner Rhea Winter (21:31). The next five runners were all Lady Rams beginning with sophomore Kayla Sondrup (22:01) in sixth place, and continuing with Gabby Maroto (22:23), Skylar Grybos (22:41), Gabby Feliciano (22:43), and Sydney Szczepanik (23:42) taking the seven through ten spots. Szczepanik had to sprint like a base runner as she hustled to the finish with Gloversville’s Autumn Hardman (23:42.50) crossing the line just ahead of her opponent. The finish by the Lady Rams field was an improvement from the loss to Scotia- Glenville.

“We did a lot better,” Amsterdam senior Olivia Lazarou said. “We were together as a team and we support each other. I think overall we just want to get better.”

Lazarou’s impressive career has drawn the attention of several colleges, and during her meets this season college coaches have been in attendance to see her run and have spoken with her. Lazarou continues to work hard, just as she has done from the first time she stepped on a course. She dealt with the heat and the terrain on Tuesday, but it was business as usual for the Lady Rams standout.

“It was good,” Lazarou said of her run. “It wasn’t my best time, but I just shake it off and get ready for the next one. I just keep running hard.”

Her abilities and a positive attitude have kept her ahead of the field. Lazarou has won both varsity girls races in the first two Foothills Council meets, completing the Indian Meadows course last week in a time of 18:03. She also finished first in both of the Lady Rams invitationals at Niskayuna and Fort Plain.

“She ran great,” Coach Palczak said of Lazarou. “She has started the season strong and I only anticipate it getting better.”

Lazarou’s teammates continued to finish strong. Josie Smith (25:13) was the twelfth runner to cross the line. Natalie Fernandez (26:32) followed her, in front of Gloversville’s Brenna Wooster (26:50). Amsterdam’s Sofia Dayian (27:49), Kayla Dzikowicz (29:08), Emma Kelly (29:11), and Kayla Kamanu (30:50) rounded out the field.

At the modified level, the top Amsterdam girls finisher for the second consecutive meet was Rosalie Sculco, who ran a better time than some of the boys.

The Amsterdam Lady Rams teams will be action on Saturday, September 30 at the Moreau Invitational at Moreau Recreational Park in South Glens Falls. Start time is scheduled for 9am. The Lady Rams return to Foothills Council action on Tuesday against Broadalbin-Perth. It will also be senior night and the Lady Rams will honor Olivia Lazarou, Kayla Dzikowicz, Natalie Fernandez, and Chara Boston.

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.