Alana Danieu, who had to settle for second best at ECICs, turned it around a week later winning the Section VI Girls Tennis title at the Lakewood YMCA in Jamestown. The East Aurora junior defeated senior Rachel Molé of Frewsburg, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in one of many close matches.
The event was also a qualifier for the New York State Championships as the top three singles players and top three doubles teams advance. Danieu and Molé will advance, along with eight-grader Brianna Gibbs of Williamsville East, who defeated Karli Hollins of Orchard Park, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. Gibbs entered the tournament as the reigning ECIC champion, but she was defeated by Molé in the semifinals, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
“The quality of tennis was off the charts all day, everything went three sets and every match went at least 2.5 hours,” said Section VI Chairman Mike Venditti of Williamsville East.
“Brianna struggled a little bit, her serve left her for a little bit and Rachel took advantage and she picked up her play a little bit. It was close and still could have gone either way.”
Winning the Section VI title in doubles was Shayleen Brennan and Nikki Legler of Orchard Park, who defeated Sarina Shah and Nicole Kozinski of Clarence. 6-2, 6-2. In the third place match for the last state spot were Elizabeth Rowan and Victoria VanEvery of Southwestern, who defeated Grace Ruh and Taylor Sayoc of Orchard Park, 7-6, 6-4.
Junior Melissa Saenger of Clarence broke ECIC meet record in 17:59.82 to highlight performances at the ECIC Cross Country Championship at Alden. The old record of 18:16.6 had been held by Shannon Crane of Lancaster since 2003. The East Aurora boys and the Clarence girls were the overall team champions. TJ Hornberger of Lake Shore won the boys race in 15:32.
• Mitch Loiacano of Lockport ran a 17:09 to win the Niagara Frontier League Championship by a two-second margin over Jack Jibb of Niagara-Wheatfield. The Lions scored 33 points while Grand Island was second with 71 over a wet course at Beaver Island State Park. Matt Kaczmarek was fourth and Connor Doran fifth for Lockport. Andrew Masiello of Grand Island ran a 17:17 over his home course to place third.
For the girls, a pair of sophomores, Abby Lang and Hannah Kurbs, finished 1-2 to lead Lockport to the title. Lang ran a 20:01 while Kurbs was close behind in 20:07. Grand Island finished second led by strong runs from of top 10 finishers Ayla Marino (seventh), Emma MacIntryre (ninth) and Taylor Marino (10th).
• Albion captured the Niagara-Orleans League Championship ending Barker’s four-year reign. The Purple Eagles’ last title was in 1995. They were runners-up last year. Senior Jordan Bender of Barker won the race in as he covered the 3.1 mile course at Lakeside Beach State Park in 17:48.
Senior Eddy Pfeil of Roy-Hart came from behind to finish record in 18:03. Albion had four runners in the top 10 led by senior Brett Rosato, who placed fourth in 18:12. Albion’s fifth man, Zach Neilans picked up valuable points coming in 12th.
“This year we didn’t lose any guys to graduation, so this was the guys’ team goal, to win a league championship. We’ve always been behind Barker for so many years,” said Albion coach Mark Hryzniak.
The Akron girls beat four-time defending champion Newfane as it went 3-4-5-7-10. The Tigers were led by two seventh-graders, Margo Henley in third place in 21:25 and Eliza Papke in fourth in 21:39. Junior Kelly Bochnewetch won the race in 20:21 finishing with 40 seconds to spare over sophomore Holly Heil of Medina.
Rebecca Anthone was named the Most Outstanding swimmer after she led the Clarence to the ECIC Large School title. Anthone won the 100 freestyle in 54:02 and was on two of the Red Devils’ three winning relays. Sydney Modeas of Clarence won the 200 free, 500 free and led off the 400 free relay. The title in diving went to Morgan Wellenzohn of Orchard Park with 318.15 points.
• East Aurora put on its usual dominating display winning the ECIC small school title as it swept all three relays and won four individual races. Sydney Atendido was named the most outstanding swimmer after she won the 200 individual medley, the 100 breaststroke and was on two winning relays. Holly Jackson won the 200 free and Maddy Atendido won the 100 backstroke and was on two relays.