The Barker boys cross country team is starting to show signs it has the legs to repeat as state champion. The Raiders won the small school title Saturday in the 28th annual Bulldogs Stampede at Alden. A field of 432 runners participated in four varsity races.
Barker’s top finishers significantly shaved minutes off their previous best times led by race winner Jordan Bender, who dropped 28 seconds off his personal record with a 16:29. Bryce Moller dropped 19 seconds (16:57), Casey Webb dropped 28 seconds (17:19) and Hayden Hathaway (17:31) dropped 13 seconds.
“Those are huge times for this time of year,” said coach Paul Dersarkissian. “I told them I’m amazed. The guys are getting in condition, looking like their hot and ready to roll.”
Of the 24 runners Barker brought to the meet, 18 set personal-best marks.
East Aurora ran away with the large school title with 48 points followed by Starpoint with 100 and Sweet Home at 117. Sean Phillips was EA’s top runner as his 15:46 was good for third place. Gabe Rodriguez of Geneseo won the race, covering the 3.1-miles in 15.43. Jacob Eneix of Orchard Park was second in 15:45.
The East Aurora girls had four runners finish in the top 10 on the way to the large school team title. Sophia Tasselmyer of Starpoint won the race in 18:04 while Marta McLaughlin of the Blue Devils was second in 18:20.
Sweet Home was runner-up led by Aileen Doyle’s 18:26.
The Alden girls won the small school race for their first title since 2001. Springville’s Jessica Wojtkowiak crossed first in 19:32. Alden’s top runner was Savannah Warner, seventh in 20:04.
• The Lancaster boys and the Akron girls won team titles at the Pembroke Cross Country Invitational. The Redskins scored 42 points in beating five other teams. Lancaster had three runners in the top 10 as David Krull was fourth in 17:41, Jake MacDavid was sixth and Adam Stankowski was seventh.
Akron’s team title came by an 18-point margin over Notre Dame of Batavia. The Tigers’ top runners were seventh-grader Eliza Papke in fifth in 20:25, Emma Schaub in seventh, Angela Wager in eighth and Kylee Schultz in ninth.
Second best wasn’t going to cut it this year for Brianna Gibbs at the ECIC Girls Tennis Championships. One year after losing in the final, the Williamsville East eighth-grader beat junior Alana Danieu of East Aurora to capture the title at Village Glen.
“I tried to keep my energy high,” said Gibbs. “Since she was a lefty, I wanted to stay on top of the ball and hit it to her weaker side. She tried to move me around from side to side and go for it if I gave her a weak ball.”
Gibbs survived a tough semifinal match with Hayley Hollins of Orchard Park winning, 6-3, 6-4. Danieu advanced with a win over Karli Hollins of the Quakers in 6-1, 6-3.
The top eight finishers advanced to the Section VI Championships next weekend in Jamestown.
The Orchard Park boys volleyball team finished an up-and-down week by defending its title in the 29th Orchard Park Invitational. The Quakers started the week with a win over St. Joe’s in five games, then were upset by Clarence on Friday night.
On Saturday, OP didn’t lose a set all day.
“We beat St. Joe’s in a very emotional match, then we come to Clarence and I think we just didn’t prepare well,” said OP co-coach Walt Stefani. “The lesson learned is not to look past people. I didn’t know what to expect today, and they were unbelievable. I think they reclaimed themselves as a team.”
OP beat Hamburg in the final 25-21, 25-14. A rematch versus Clarence came quickly as OP beat them in the semifinals 25-22, 25-17. Libero Trey Cimorelli was named tournament MVP after averaging close to seven digs per set.
Named All-tournament were Skyler Reinhardt of Clarence, Billy Pinter of Lake Shore, Patrick Stroh of Hamburg, Connor Krolikowski of Hamburg, Tyler Eagleton of Orchard Park and Kevin Donohoe of Orchard Park.