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Published: May 28, 2009 11:01 pm     

HS TRACK & FIELD: GI boys, girls prevail at NFL meet

By Jeff Sowa
Niagara Gazette

SANBORN — A steady downpour and dark skies did little to dampen the spirited competition at the annual Niagara Frontier League track and field meet held Thursday at Niagara-Wheatfield High School.

Just when it appeared that the two-day meet, which began on Wednesday, would escape the bad weather, the rain began to fall shortly after 5 p.m. as Lewiston-Porter’s Robby Seyler was wrapping up a first-place finish in the pentathlon, which he won with a final point total of 2,720.

The harder the rain fell, though, the more intense the action became, with several multiple-winners in the boys and girls divisions strutting their stuff as they geared up for the Section VI Championships to be held June 5 and 6 at Pioneer.

Niagara Falls senior Brian Archie was the clear-cut individual standout at the event, winning the 100 meter dash (11.13 seconds), the long jump (21 feet, 10.75 inches) and the triple jump (42 feet, 9 inches).

“This is what I came out here to do, and it feels good to be an NFL champion,” Archie said. “But I’m not too worried about my individual marks right now — I’ll think about that at sectionals.”

Said junior teammate Dyrelle Crittenden of Archie, “Brian’s a great role model, but I’m glad he’s on our team instead of us having to go against him.”

Both Archie and Crittenden, who won the 110-meter high hurdle race with a time of 15.86 seconds despite a bum left knee, were more concerned with trying to give the Wolverines the top spot in team rankings than with any personal accolades.

“We haven’t won here as a team in a long time, so it would mean a lot to the school to come in first place,” Crittenden said.

The Falls boys came just four points short of doing so, instead settling for second place (139 points) behind victorious Grand Island (143). The Viking girls tallied 157 points as a team to win their division, besting second-place Lockport (125).

“It was a total team effort, scoring points in every event,” Grand Island girls coach Craig Davis said. “The girls really stepped up and dug deep to prevail.”

The Vikings’ Jamie Raepple won the 100 meter dash in 12.81 seconds, garnered a second-place finish in the triple jump (34 feet, 3 inches), third place in the 200 meter run (27.16 seconds) and played a pivotal role in her team’s relays.

“I won three events here as a freshman, so I wanted to practice hard and come out strong this year to try to perform well,” Raepple said.

On the boys side for the Vikes, Evan Tsembelis took home the 800 meter with a time of 1:54.94 and the 1600 in 4:22.57. For Kenmore West, Justin Salas bounced back from a second-place finish to Crittenden in the 110 high hurdles to overtake the Wolverine for first in the 400 intermediate hurdles with a time of 57.45 seconds.

“It gets hard after a couple hurdles, but I just push hard, give everything I’ve got and hope for the best,” Salas said.

A similar instance of a competitor one-upping another came when Grand Island’s Greg Feathers threw the discus 150 feet, 5 inches, to top a throw by Niagara-Wheatfield’s Jim Donner that traveled 146 feet, 9 inches. Donner previously won the shot put (47 feet, 9 inches) over the second-place effort of Feathers (46 feet, 10.5 inches).

Earning double wins for the girls were the Falls’ Bashiyra Doss (100, 200) and Lockport’s Caroline Tolli (800, 1500) and Erin Miller (shot put, discus).