Attitude key to AHS girls cross country win over BPHS

According to Amsterdam Coach Stu Palczak, a competitive attitude was the key in the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity cross country team’s victory over Broadalbin-Perth, 23 to 36, on Tuesday afternoon at Bob’s Trees in Galway.

“That’s where I see improvement,” Coach Palczak said. “We’re competing, we’re battling. I’m seeing a maturation in the varsity girls. In the past we might have let other runners get by us, but not anymore. That’s attitude.”

Amsterdam got off to a great start with another first place finish from senior captain Olivia Lazarou, who completed the course in 17 minutes and 55 seconds. After a previous first place finish at the John Killian Memorial Invitational in Fort Edward on Saturday with a time of 17:49.72, it was the second straight race where she has clocked in at under 18 minutes. On Tuesday, the Lady Rams front runner was more than a minute better than the next best finisher for the third consecutive Foothills Council meet. Broadalbin-Perth’s Gabrielle Larsen (19:44) came in second and was the top finisher for the Lady Patriots.

Junior Lauren Santiago (20:10), who has consistently finished in the top five during Foothills Council dual meets, was next across the line.

“I was in third and I was hoping more Amsterdam runners would step up,” Santiago said. “They did and I was really proud of them. I said to the team before the race that we had to run like we did this past Saturday or we wouldn’t win this meet.”

Sophomore Kayla Sondrup (20:24) finished just behind Santiago and turned in her best time of the season, knocking more than thirty seconds off her time from Saturday. Sondrup’s fourth place finish against BPHS had a major impact on the outcome of the race.

“I think she did a nice job today,” Coach Palczak said. “She beat out some really good runners. I’m proud of her.”

Palczak also agreed that Sondrup’s time was her best to date this season. And the efforts continued. Braodalbin-Perth had the next two runners across the line as Samantha Murphy (20:36), and Mackenzie Dezolt (20:37) finished fifth and sixth overall. But, Sondrup’s finish helped the Lady Rams take an 8 to 13 lead after the first six runners completed the course.  (In cross country, the lowest score wins). The next four runners to finish were all Lady Rams, and that sealed the win.

Freshman Brook Marshall (20:41) finished in seventh, and sophomore Skylar Grybos (20:58) in eighth. They were the fourth and fifth Lady Rams to reach the line and rounded out the scoring for Amsterdam (2-1 Foothills Council). Gabby Feliciano (21:36), and Sydney Szczepanik (22:13) also finished ahead of BPHS’ Sarah Larsen (22:31), and Aubrey Jennings (22:56) pushing their scores back.

“We’re focused on one race at a time,” Amsterdam’s Olivia Lazarou said. “I think all of my teammates had a great race today. They have a very positive attitude about it. We’ve all been working hard and we push each other to stay positive.”

Amsterdam had a total of 14 runners complete the 2.82 mile course on Tuesday including Josie Smith (23:08), Natalie Fernandez (24:23), Gabby Maroto (24:26), Sofia Dayian (27:23), Emma Kelly (27:28), Makayla Brown (31:17), and Chara Boston (32:08).

The Lady Patriots entered eight runners in the race including Gabby Martin (23:50), Jessie Brooks (24:29), and Brooke McClarren (38:58).

“We’re just starting to get them running,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jeff Richards said. “We had to run as an incomplete team recently and I can’t remember the last time we did that. We’re back to eight runners, and we’re finally starting to get healthy.”

Lady Rams honor four on Senior Night

Tuesday’s race was also the final home meet for Olivia Lazarou, Natalie Fernandez, Chara Boston and Kayla Dzikowicz. All four have been a part of the Amsterdam girls cross country program, and the girls track and field program for at least two years. Dzikowicz did not race on Tuesday due to an injury, but was there in support of her teammates and her brother Trevor, who is a member of the AHS boys varsity team.

Sculco leads Amsterdam modified girls

Amsterdam seventh-grader Rosalie Sculco finished the modified race with a time of 10 minutes, 42.22 seconds to lead the Amsterdam modified girls team. Sculco finished fifth overall and ahead of five boys and all but one of the girls. Broadalbin-Perth’s Lauren Phillips (10:30) was the top girls finisher.

Brittney Ferlazzo (11:56) was the next Amsterdam girl to cross the line, and was tenth overall, fourth among the girls. Ferlazzo has had plenty of inspiration to guide her. Her cousins Nicole and Elizabeth Ferlazzo were both part of outstanding cross country teams at Broadalbin-Perth High School.

Also completing the course for Amsterdam were Briana Kelly (11:58), Brooke Schaufelberg (12:01), Kathryn Kowalczyk (12:18), Brenna Macnamara (12:20), Jayla McGaffin (12:42), and Taylor Smith (12:53).

The Lady Patriots got a third place finish among the girls from Bianca Ropeter (11:42), and a seventh place finish from Kate Szumowski (12:04). Also completing the course were Erica Lin (13:01), and Grace Smith (13:23).

The boys and girls modified races in the Foothills Council are run at the same time. .

The modified girls and boys races are run at the same time during Foothills Council dual meets. Modified runners only complete one lap around the course while varsity runners complete two laps. Sculco has led the Amsterdam modified girls in all three Foothills Council dual meets this season.

Lady Rams varsity earn second place at Killian Invitational

Olivia Lazarou came in first place in the girls varsity race at the John Killiam Memorial Invitational at Moreau Recreational Park in South Glens Falls on Saturday. Lazarou’s time of 17:49.72 was her first under 18 minutes this season, and one of the best times of her career. Albany’s Natalie Penna (18:28.06) was second. Amsterdam came in second in the team competition with 69 points. Lauren Santiago (19:46.53) was tenth overall giving Amsterdam two runners in the top ten. Skylar Grybos (20:44.38) was 21st, Brook Marshall (20:44.87) 22nd, and Kayla Sondrup (20:54.52) was 25th, giving the Lady Rams five runners in the top 25 overall. Also competing for Amsterdam were Gabby Feliciano (21:21.81), and Gabby Maroto (21:34.78).

“I like the course a lot,” said Lazarou, who has taken first place in every Foothills meet and invitational she has entered this season. “I’ve been talking with my coach about pushing myself especially when I’m alone on the course to help me improve.”

Lazarou has drawn attention from a number of colleges, but the talented senior sees it as part of the process of finding the right school when her high school career is done, and she simply concentrates on the course ahead.

“I just stay focused on my race,” Lazarou said. “It’s always good to talk to them (college coaches), but I don’t worry about it if there’s someone there watching me run. I just focus on my race.”

The Amsterdam cross country teams will be in action this Saturday at the Grout Invitational at Schenectady’s Central Park. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9am. Amsterdam returns to Foothills Council action on Tuesday with their final league dual meet against Johnstown. The meet at Johnstown High School is slated to start at 4:15pm.

Harvest Classic moved to different location

The 2017 Harvest Classic at Schodack Island has been moved this year to Bob’s Trees in Galway. The date of the invitational is Saturday, October 28, and is scheduled to start at 9am.

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.