2018 Track & Field Preview: Back on Track

Fonda-Fultonville’s Brittany Castelluccio competes in the triple jump at the Section II championships on June 1, 2017 at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)

The local track and field season gets under way today with some of the top talent in the state seeking berths at the season-ending state championship meet on June 8 and 9 at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

Foothills Council

The Gloversville Huskies are scheduled to open their new track facility at the Lincoln Street campus but the extended winter weather has delayed progress on finishing the track before its season opener today.

Instead the Huskies will travel to Johnstown for their season opener.

Gloversville coach Cody Headwell will be looking to fill the void left by the graduation of big-meet point scorers Madison and Sierra Fancher, Hailey Bujai Dunlap, Amanda Bakyta on the girls side as well as Jackson Peck and Gage Mersinger for the boys.

Headwell has a solid group of returning athletes led by Libby Cook, Ivy Dutcher, Rhea Winter, Josie Wood and Brenna Wooster for the girls and Buck Galster, Petey Raldiris, Skyler Reed, Israel Billington, Ian Hoyt, Ryan Smith and Peyton Simek.

Also looking to make their marks at the varsity level this season are Kadin O’Shaughnessy, Ryan Issa, Madison Hickok, Skylar Brockhum, Jordan DeMagistris, Sydney DeMagistris and Katie Callen.

“We are looking forward to competing for a league championship,” Headwell said.

The Johnstown Lady Bills are coming off a season where they were runners-up at the Section II Group 3 championships.

The Lady Bills lost triple jump specialist Molly Sear to graduation as well as distance aces Aylene Newman and Casey VanValkenburgh and hurdler Jordan Rose, but the returning talent will keep the Johnstown girls in the hunt for the title.

Abby Gottung is coming off a sophomore season in which she set a new mark in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and a third-place finish at the Section II championships. Julia Sarullo, who qualified for the state meet in cross-country last fall, will look to do the same in the distance events on the track this spring.

Coach Melissa Kaszuba will also be looking for major contributions from Olivia Weiderman in the throws as well as Molly Hotaling and Anika Byrnes in the sprints and senior, Lauryn Wilson in sprints and triple jump.

On the boys side coach Kaszuba will be looking to fill the voids left by the graduation of Nick Frasier in the high jump, distance specialist Brandon Mraz and sprinter-hurdler Erik Frank.

Coming off strong performances last fall in cross-country Zach Ropeter, Mark Cwiakala and Gabe Cole are expected to anchor the Sir Bills distance corps, while Spencer Kotwasinski and Trey Stover are coming off solid seasons in the sprints and Brady VanAernam, Riley Savoie and Tommy Lizio give Johnstown a solid base in the throws.

After taking a season off, Matthew Boyle returns and should contribute to relay teams is joined by Evan White and Collin Bolebruch on a solid sprinting crew. Christian Solby, who was injured during soccer season, continues to support the team and may make a late season return

“Johnstown Track and Field is looking forward to competing at the Watervliet Invitational, Cherry Valley Invitational and our home invy,” coach Kaszuba said. “We have a diverse group of athletes, from returners, newcomers and freshmen. It will be exciting to see how everyone meshes together and competes throughout the season. I am excited to see the growth in our throwers and the leadership from our veteran athletes to welcome new teammates.”

The Amsterdam girls have reloaded as they seek their fourth-straight Foothills Council South championship.

While losing middle-distance specialist Edena Sanchez to graduation, the Lady Rams return veteran distance ace Olivia Lazarou who is a multi-time state-meet qualifier in cross-country, Gabby Stanavich, who competed at the state meet last spring and the past two winters in the hurdles and sprinter Charli Beekman who earned an indoor state-meet berth this past season.

Stanavich, Santana and Lazarou joined with Lauren Santiago to finish sixth at the indoor state championships in the 4×400 relay. Santana, Lazarou and Santiago teamed with Sanchez and finished second to Shenendehowa at the Section II championships.

Also among the returning point-scorers for the Lady Rams are Kayla Sondrup (distance/jumps), Emma Gomez (jumps), Gaby Feliciano (distance), Iliana Sanchez (pole vault/throws), Kayla Dzikowicz (sprints/hurdles) along with talented newcomers Jackie Stanavich (mid distance/jumps), Kim Lopez (mid distance), and Maddie Carmona (sprints).

“The coaching staff is very optimistic due to a talented and dedicated set of returners, some promising young talent, and an outstanding indoor season where multiple athletes qualified for and earned medals at states and nationals,” Amsterdam girls coach Stu Palczak said. “The ultimate goals are to win the Foothills South division and league championship meets; have individuals and relays qualify for the states and win a plaque at the Division 2 sectionals. We think that the combination of moving to Div. II sectionals and an outstanding indoor track season has us prepared to reach these goals. The girls are dedicated to these goals and will truly enjoy the pursuit of a great year.”

Kevon Boucaud was a high point scorer and perennial state-meet qualifier for the Rams during his high school tenure and his graduation will have Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary looking for leadership from his returning athletes.

Seniors Mikey Gomez (400m, 800m) and sprinter Luis Rodriguez return to the track this spring, along with junior sprinter and hurdler Marcos Santiago and second-year freshmen Angel Sanchez, Trevon Joyner and Trevor Dzikowicz and pole vaulter Chaun J. Ramos.

Wilary also will be looking to newcomers Eli Millett, A.J. Perkins, Jacob Greco and Peyton Ausfeld to impact the Rams scoring.

“After losing many top Section 2 Track Athletes over the past several years the Amsterdam boys are excited for a season where many new athletes will emerge,” Wilary said.

Jeff Derwin brought home the state championship in the discus and a silver medal in the shot put from the 2017 state championship meet and Jake Bunker was a key element of the record-setting state-qualifying 4×100 relay teams.

They have both graduated along with point scorers Brandon Akey, Connor Brooks, Tom Coddington, Noah McDonald, Jordan Shannon and Dylan Sweet and Lady Patriot competitors Allyson Becker, Julie Capito and Victoria Laurange.

The Patriots are coming off a strong indoor season in which they finished a close second to Albany Academy in the Division III sectional meet.

The 400-meter relay team will be looking to return to the state championship meet as Ivan Roberts, Chris Wagner and Zach Johnson return and will be looking for a fourth competitor to replace Bunker on the team that finished eighth at the championship meet.

Wagner also is among the top competitors in Section II in the pole vault along, while Sean Meher won the Div. 3 indoor triple jump title and Marcos Viera captured the indoor weight throw championship. John Coddington and Aidan DeJong placed second and fourth respectively at the D-3 indoor shot put standings.

“In 19 years of coaching, this year boys’ roster is the most balanced and talented teams we have ever had,” B-P head coach Jeff Richards said. “On paper, we are strong and deep across all of the multiple events in track and field. However, paper and reality are two very different things. In order for us to be successful, our boys are going to have to finally realize their potential and, more importantly, once they realize it, being willing to work harder to keep getting better. During indoor, the boys were close to realizing this, but unfortunately fell a bit short. I am hoping that the disappointing end of that season and the gain of a few new pieces is enough fuel to push us to the top. Ultimately, though it is up to them.

“On the girls side we also have a lot of talent but unfortunately lack the depth the boys have. We have won in the past with smaller teams and thus, I remain optimistic about this year. In order for us to be successful we are going to need each girl to be willing to do multiple events and push hard to get better each week.”

Western Athletic


Fonda-Fultonville returned to Western Athletic Conference competition last year and the Lady Braves won the league championship and placed second in the team standings at the Section II, Division four championships.

The Lady Braves return a large group of competitors from their championship squad including senior Brittany Castelluccio who is a multi-time state indoor and outdoor championship meet qualifier and school record holder in the triple and long jumps. She is joined by veterans Katie Dunham (distance), Meaghan Macdougall (throws), Emma Rhodes and Alyson Shirley, (hurdles/jumps) Ryleigh Hesch (pole vault), Alyssa Duval (sprints), Emilia Vardai-Davidson (jumps), Giuliana Capparello, and Madison Nichols, (sprints), Halie LaPratt (distance), Stella Williams (hurdles/jumps) and distance runners Savannah Bell and Jayden Mundell.

“A tremendous group of upper class athletes reinforced by huge ninth and 10th-grade recruitment will make Fonda girls team tough to beat,” Fonda-Fultonville coach Mike Benton said.

Joining the Lady Braves this year are Julia Bagnardi, Haley Clear, Carolyn Cranker, Avery Cusack, Katie Kubly, Madisyn Dineen, Meagan Hanson, Kianna Hanson, Meghan Klim, Zoey Leonard, Julia Rutty, Autumn Todd, Amelia Petersen and Hannah Lewis.

The Braves are coming off a strong indoor season in which they won the Section II D-4 championship.

An influx of new talent will add strength to a veteran group that includes senior thrower Chris Yarush, distance runners Aidan Zenzen, Trevor Cline, Jeremiah Hunter and Kyle Nare along with sprinter Nick Oertel, hurdler Liam Viscosi and pole vaulter Anthony Gatto.

“A good recruitment year is producing a pool of talent to reinforce the strong base we already have from a championship indoor season,” Benton said.

Joining the Braves this spring are Angelo Canale, Jaden Nole, Camden Woodman, Christian Pearce, Carter Petersen, Eric Hesch, Bennett Melita, Shane Viscosi and Cody Hanson.

The Canajoharie boys ran away with their third-straight WAC championship last season but were hit hard by graduation.

However, the Cougars have a strong base to build around with WAC cross-country champion Andrew Yacobucci returning to compete in the middle distance events, as well as the high jump.

He is joined by Andrew Towse who placed second at the state qualifiers in the 110 high hurdles and was third at the meet in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Andrew Ferguson placed third in the intermediate hurdles in the WAC championship and sectional championship meet as a freshman, while Joey Nare placed third at the WAC championships in the pentathlon.

Coach Kevin Stuttle is looking for the combination of Yacobucci, Hunter Congdon, Louis Hand and Logan Arduini to defend their sectional championship in the 3,200-meter relay.

“Last year was a very special year: third WAC Championship in as many years, first sectional title in school history, and undefeated in duals,” Stuttle said. “The team performed at an incredibly high level all season and as a group we understand that that type of success is rare. To repeat that the year after takes a lot of hard work. We took a big hit with graduation last year, losing a significant amount of points, character and leadership from last year’s seniors. Our returners all know that this group left some large shoes to fill and have been more than willing to do so and have helped the incoming freshman and rookies improve and learn. This year’s seniors also have a chance to do something special. It is our goal to send these guys to graduation with only one dual meet lose in their careers, 4 WAC titles, and another Sectional Title. To do that though we have to stay the course and keep working, which they have done. Several returners have their eyes on the state meet as well. I’m excited and the kids are excited to see what this year is going bring, especially with the improvements that other teams have had as well.”

The Lady Cougars will be looking to returning veterans Jordan Porter, Emily Mayer, Sydney Weingart, Meghan Dingman, Maddy Elliott, Taya Yacobucci, Alexz Lathers, Jocelyn Hammons and Olivia Hopkins along with newcomers Victoria Adams and Cheyanne Rebello to help move up in the league standings.

“We are a small team looking to improve on our times and distances,” coach Ellee Miller said. “We are focused on doing well individually to push for a strong team performance this year.”

In their first season of competition the merged Fort Plain/Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville team turned in a successful season.

Tyler Brado won the Section II championship in the high jump and placed third in Division 2 at the state championship meet.

The squad lost a lot of talent to graduation including Brado, Nate Florian, Justus Richardson, Isaiah Cechnicki, Liam Sammons and Aidan Eggleston.

“Graduation has left us some big shoes to fill” coach Charlie Karker said. “They were point winners especially Tyler Brado in the jumps. We have some very solid performers back along with some talented newcomers. We always look to improve through the season in preparation for the big meets at the end.”

Among the returning competitions for the FP/OESJ boys are Louis Calbet, Luke Doxtater, Michael Hoffman, Mekhi Lanier, Hunger Logan, Patrick Murphy, Skylar Barker, and Braden Fredericks. Deegan Eggleston, Robert Snell and Chris Swartz.

After posting a 7-3 dual meet record last year the FP/OESJ girl’s squad will be looking to move up in the standings at the WAC championship and sectional meets this season.

Returning this season are Emily Abrams, Eliza Cechnicki, Rhyonn Ford, Selyna Dumond-Halse, Cassandra Herron Quinn Jones, Calli Logan, Michaela Stockwell, Jasmine Van Avery and Madison Richardson.

“Graduation always hurts, but we have a number of reliable holdovers and some potential in our newcomers,” Karker said. “We are showing great promise and hope to improve as the season goes along in preparation for the WAC meet and sectionals.”

Madison Relyea has been at the top of her game again this season, with qualifying for the state meet in cross-country this year for a second time as a freshman and also the state championships in cross-country skiing.

She is joined by veterans Hannah Coupas (pentathlon), Mikayla Myers, Sam Kent, Katherine Knecht and Avery Feldman along with newcomers Fianna Halloran, Tatjana Bjelica and Kiley Garrigan.

Tyler Newkirk is also coming off a solid cross-country season and returns to the track for the Mayfield-Northville squad along with Dylan Bumpus, Evan Lehr, Michael Dickey, Adam Liebers, Antonio Mannino and Nick Angelo.

“The kids are working very hard this preseason,” coach Jon Caraco said. “We are focusing on core work, as well as form and technique and anxious to get outside to continue our hard work on the track. We are optimistic that the hard work the athletes are putting in will lead to individual improvements on the track.”

The Galway Golden Eagles had a good turnout for both the boys and girls squads, giving coach Geoff Maliszewski a positive outlook for the season.

“We have solid numbers over or around 25 boys and 25 girls,” Maliszewski said.

For girls, Leah Vanderhorst and her twin sister Maya return along with Rachel Wnuk, Kim LaCerais, Alia Bishop, Sara Ernst, Natalie Zembsch and Samantha Grant.

“We have some seniors returning like Grace Montague, Ella Decker and Meagan Whalen and juniors, Siela Zembsch and Lilly Gullet who were on the cusp of being scorers in big meets for us,” Maliszewski said. “So it comes down to how well our new comers contribute and by how much our veterans have improved or desire to improve.”

The boys are led by veterans Jake Restivo and Eric Mathews, who scored in every event they competed in at the WAC Championships and Sectionals. They are joined by senior Shane Billings, underclassmen Ryan Ingle, Holden Decker and Steven Mothon.

“This year our success depends largely on two things, how well our new comers and veterans fill the holes that were left by some talented graduates,” Maliszewski said. “We will see if this group pushes themselves hard enough to mirror last year’s results (second In the WAC and second in sectionals) or possibly do even better.”

Center State Conference

A large turnout for the Dolgeville track and field team has coaches Matthew and Ashley Randall looking forward to seeing what the athletes can do against tough Center State Conference competition.

Returning for the Blue Devils this season are Zach Carpenter, Dylan Lamphere, Owen Davis, Chyle Grossman Nick Coffin and Dillon Lyons.

“We have a very young, but talented team,” Matthew Randall said. “We are hoping to build skills needed to be a successful team in the future. Our league is very tough, so we need to be patient.”

The Lady Blue Devils return Alexis Smith, Bobbie-Lee Hall, Emma Bilinski, M.J. Dellabarca-Barnes and Rhyanne Williams.

“This girls team is the largest it has been in years,” coach Ashley Randall said. “We are hoping to compete in several meets this year.”


Saturday, April 14

Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Fonda-Fultonville, Gloversville, Johnstown, Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Mayfield-Northville at Kiwanis Bi-County Meet (Fonda-Fultonville), 10 a.m.

Monday, April 16

Dolgeville at Adirondack, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 17

Gloversville at Scotia-Glenville, 4 p.m.

Amsterdam at Broadalbin-Perth, 4:15 p.m.

Canajoharie, Mayfield-Northville at Galway, 4:15 p.m.

Mekeel Christian, Bishop Gibbons at Fonda-Fultonville, 4:15 p.m.

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, Schoharie at Duanesburg, 4:15 p.m.

Schuylerville at Johnstown, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 19

Sherburne-Earlville at Dolgeville, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, April 20

Canajoharie, Fonda-Fultonville, Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Gloversville, Johnstown at Watervliet Invitational, 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 21

Amsterdam at Niskayuna Warrior Classic, 9 a.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Stillwater Relays, 9 a.m.

Tuesday, April 24

Johnstown at Amsterdam, 4 p.m.

South Glens Falls at Gloversville, 4 p.m.

Scotia-Glenville at Broadalbin-Perth, 4:15 p.m.

Canajoharie, Bishop Gibbons at Mayfield-Northville, 4:15 p.m.

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville at Galway, 4:15 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Schoharie, 4:15 p.m.

Saturday, April 28

Amsterdam, Fonda-Fultonville, Gloversville at Cohoes Relays, 9 a.m.

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Canajoharie at Maple Hill Invitational, 10 a.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Luciano Invitational (Hudson Falls), 4:30 p.m.

Monday, April 30

Dolgeville at Cherry Valley-Springfield Invitational, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 1

Johnstown at Scotia-Glenville, 4 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Gloversville, 4:15 p.m.

Hudson Falls at Amsterdam, 4:15 p.m.

Schoharie, Berne-Knox-Westerlo at Mayfield, 4:15 p.m.

Canajoharie, Mekeel Christian at Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, 4:15 p.m.

Fonda-Fultonville at Duanesburg, 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 2

Holland Patent at Dolgeville, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 3

Middleburgh, Bishop Gibbons at Galway, 4:15 p.m.

Friday, May 4

Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Fonda-Fultonville, Gloversville at Johnstown Invitational, 4 p.m.

Saturday, May 5

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Mayfield-Northville at Marsh-Galotta Invitational (Middleburgh), 10 a.m.

Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth at George Muse Relays (Glens Falls) 1 p.m.

Monday, May 7

Dolgeville at Waterville, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, May 8

Amsterdam at Gloversville, 4 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth at Johnstown, 4:15 p.m.

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, Mayfield-Northville, Middleburgh at Fonda-Fultonville, 4:15 p.m.

Canajoharie, Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Bishop Gibbons at Duanesburg, 4:15 p.m.

Galway, Mekeel Christian at Schoharie, 4:15 p.m.

Wednesday, May 9

Clinton at Dolgeville, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, May 11

Amsterdam, Dolgeville at Shenendehowa Invitational, 4 p.m.

Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Johnstown at Cherry Valley-Springfield Invitational, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 12

Amsterdam at Queensbury Invitational, 9 a.m.

Gloversville at Fonda Relays, noon

Monday, May 14

Amsterdam at Johnstown, 4 p.m.

Utica Academy of Science at Dolgeville, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 15

Canajoharie, Mayfield-Northville, Galway, Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville, Fonda-Fultonville at WAC Championships (Fonda-Fultonville), 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 16

Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Gloversville, Johnstown at Foothills Council Championships (Schuylerville)

Dolgeville at Center State Conference Championships (West Canada Valley), 4 p.m.

Friday, May 18

Freshman-Sophomore Meet (Fonda-Fultonville), 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 19

Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Canajoharie, Fonda-Fultonville, Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Johnstown at Eddy Meet (Schenectady), 9 a.m.

Tuesday, May 22

Broadalbin-Perth, Johnstown at Section II Group 3 Championships (at Schuylerville), 4:30 p.m.

Fort Plain-Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnville, Galway, Canajoharie at Section II Group 5 Championship (Fonda-Fultonville), 4 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23

Amsterdam, Gloversville at Section II Group 2 Championships (at Averill Park), 4 p.m.

Dolgeville at Section III Class C-2 Championships (West Canada Valley), 3 p.m.

Thursday, May 24

Fonda-Fultonville, Mayfield-Northville at Section II Group 4 Championships (at Stillwater), 4 p.m.

Thursday, May 31

Section II State Qualifier (Shenendehowa), 4 p.m.

Dolgeville at Section III State Qualifier (Cicero-North Syracuse), 4 p.m.

Friday, June 1

Section II State Qualifier (Shenendehowa), 4 p.m.

Friday, June 8

State Championships (Cicero-North Syracuse)

Saturday, June 9

State Championships (Cicero-North Syracuse)

By Paul Wager

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