HS TRACK & FIELD: Locals run hard but can't
claim state titles
By Jay Skurski
AMHERST — A pair of Grand Island Vikings had
top-five finishes Saturday, highlighting the second and final day of the
state boys and girls track and field championships held at the University
Vikings junior Evan Tsembelis posted a career-best time in the 1,600,
finishing in 4 minutes, 16.63 seconds, good for fourth in Division I. Also
for Grand Island, junior Adam Helman took fifth in the pole vault, with a
leap of 14 feet, 3 inches.
Grand Island’s 3,200 relay team finished 15th in the combined federation
meet — which includes Catholic and independent schools, as well as
schools from New York City — as Tsembelis anchored a team that also
featured Jordan Gibson, Chris Carter and Ryan Hagen. The team finished in
“Just getting here was enough, to be honest,” said Hagen, who got the
Vikings off to a blistering start. “We could have come in last place and
I would have been happy.”
On the girls side Saturday, Lockport’s Kelsey Fraser took 16th place in
the federation steeplechase, in 7:24.46. The Lady Lions also took 13th in
the federation 3,200 relay, at the team of seniors Mary Rachel Robbins and
Kelsey Fraser, junior Caroline Tolli and freshman Maggie Russell broke
their own school record.
Other notable finishes from Saturday:
• North Tonawanda’s Jackie Burns took sixth in the federation 800,
breaking her own school record by finishing in 2:12.87.
• Wilson senior Donald Truesdell was 12th in the federation in 1,600, in
• Cardinal O’Hara’s Sherman Nelson was 13th in the Division II long
jump, with a leap of 19-1 1/2. The Hawks also took 13th in the Division II
1,600 relay, as the team of Jalen Law, Tyler Phillips, Dan Meinser and
Klyde Bynum finished in 3:45.97.
• Barker senior Emma Dewart was 17th in the federatin high jump, with an
effort of 5-0.
• Newfane junior Molly Coakley was 13th in the federation pole vault,
with an effort of 10-6.
Also, here’s a recap of Friday’s results:
• Tonawanda’s 400-meter girls relay team took fourth in Division II.
The quartet of Christine Garrity, Jenna Metzger, Katie Mol and Brianna
Snyder ran a blistering 50.01 seconds
n Local martial arts standout Adam Irr of Newfane also crossed the finish
line in fourth place. The junior finished the Division II 800 race in
• Leading a large group of local fifth-place finishers was the North
Tonawanda duo of Burns and Jared Voelker. Burns set a school record in the
Division I 800 with a time of 2:14.96, which she would break Saturday.
Voelker, who ran the Division I 400 intermediate hurdles, came home in a
time of 55.13 to set a new school record. Will Cole of Hamburg won the
race in 53.43.
“I came in seeded eighth, so I’m happy with where I finished,” he
• Also in fifth, perhaps most impressively and certainly most
dramatically, was Lockport’s Erin Miller in the Division I discus. The
junior waited until her sixth and final throw to toss the weight 124-9,
setting a new school record. Miller’s good friend and training partner
Melissa Kurzdorfer of Lancaster defended her title with a throw of 146-7.
“(Kurzdorfer) actually helped me a lot for that last throw,” Miller
said. “She gave me a drill to quickly work on. I wasn’t getting my
weight on the correct leg and I was slowing down a little. I did the drill
and it seemed to work.”
• Miller’s LHS teammate and classmate Caroline Tolli finished eighth
in the Division I 800 in a time of 2:16.34. The only other local top 10
finisher was Cardinal O’Hara’s Dyana William in the Division II triple
jump. The junior leaped 33 feet and 3/4 of an inch.
Other locals that competed Friday included: Jenna Raepple (Grand Island,
Division I triple jump, 35-9 3/4, 11th), Klyde Byrnum (Cardinal O’Hara,
Division II 100 and 200, 12.03 and 24.02, 13th and 12th), Sherman Nelson
(Cardinal O’Hara, Division II long jump, 19-1 1/2, 13th), Molly Coakley
(Newfane, Division II pole vault, 10-6), North Tonawanda’s 1,600 relay
team of Staci Czaja, Olivia DiPalma, Kayleigh Bemisdorfer and Jackie Burns
(Division I 1,600 relay, 4:02.10, 14th) and Tim Metivier (Kenmore East,
Division I 800, 1:59.02, 15th).
Senior Anthony Johnson of Kenmore East, one of Section VI’s best chances
at a state title, false started in his Division I 100-meter preliminary
heat and was eliminated. Starpoint junior Joe Scibilia injured his ankle
in the hurdling portion of the pentathlon and was unable to compete in the