Lauren Sullivan is showing her age, and that’s a good thing.
The only senior on Lancaster’s record-setting 4x200 meter relay, she’s embraced the leadership role and proven that time is on her side. Sullivan runs the leadoff leg of the relay setting the pace for freshman Ashley Grazen, sophomore Tiffany Cycon and sophomore Allie Mazur.
“It’s weird seeing the dynamic of the team change over the years, going from being the youngest to the oldest,” she said. “I like being the oldest one in the relay because I feel like they look up to me and it’s up to me to set an example. It’s definitely going to be hard for me to leave them next year, but they definitely have a big future ahead of them.”
At the recent Brockport Invitational, Lancaster’s 4x200 broke the Section VI record with a 1:45.68. The previous mark of 1:46.23 had been held since 2008 by West Seneca West.
The key to the foursome’s success is something that’s tough to coach. “We try to keep in our heads that we trust each other that we’re going to get the baton. That’s the big thing that we say, trust each other,” said Sullivan.
Lancaster’s girls are continuing their strong tradition in the field events. Senior Jenn Thill leads WNY in the pole vault at 12-0 feet. She appeared in Fredonia’s version of Olympic gold medalist Jen Suhr’s Thank You Tour last fall.
Junior McKenzie Kuehlewind is a 43-footer in the shot and also won at Dartmouth. Courtney Drozdowski gives Kuehlewind a formidable partner in the shot in relay meets and Oliva Gervan is the team’s top point-getter in the high jump.
Section VI records are typically a tough ticket, but not this season with three taking a tumble. Junior Devon Patterson of Williamsville South broke the section record in a big way by becoming WNY’s first 60-footer in the shot put. Junior Marissa Saenger of Clarence is the new record holder in the 3,000 meters.
Saenger’s success in cross country has carried over indoors. In the fall she placed 25th at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships in San Diego, Calif. She was WNY’s cross country’s female Runner of the Year.
At the indoor track’s Yale Classic she ran a 9:51.92 to break the 32-year-old section record in the 3,000. The previous record of 10:06 had been held by Anne Dobrowolski of Lancaster since 1981, 15 years before Saenger was born.
“I was pretty surprised. I was really nervous,” she said. “Coach seeded me at a pretty fast time. I ended up hitting it but it worked out. I hadn’t run it since outdoor track last year. I got into a good pace toward the beginning. It felt good. There was actually one girl in that race I remembered from the Foot Locker, we actually cooled down afterward.”
Saenger leads a talented Red Devils squad that also includes multi-event athlete Krisren George, currently ranked No. 2 in the triple jump, and eighth-grader Katrina Patters, a standout distance runner.
The Clarence boys are led by senior Ben Reinhardt, who leads Section VI in the 600 with a school record 1:23.72 and junior Dan Huben, ranked No. 2 in the 3,200.
Like Saenger, TJ Hornberger of Lake Shore is following his WNY male cross country Runner of the Year with a big season on the indoor track. He competed in the Nike Cross Country Nationals in Oregon.
He’ll be tough to beat indoors as he’s ranked No. 1 in the 1,600 and 3,200 and is No. 2 in the 1,000 behind Kalen Sullivan of West Seneca West.
Eagles teammate Calvin Butlak also ran personal bests at Yale in the 3,000 and mile.
Frontier has two athletes who have very real chances at the state meet. Sophomore McKyla Brooks is ranked in the top three in the state in the 55 dash, long and triple jumps
Senior Patrick Osuch is ranked No. 3 in WNY and is chasing the school record in the 55 hurdles.
Yale was the site of the Iroquois school records falling in the 4x200 as Matt Ridge, Josh Schiemant, Jeremy Horn and Justin Petrocy won the small school race in 1:34.74.
Orchard Park senior Shannon Smith (1000), sophomore Rami Major (600) and Jake Eneix (1600, 3200) all are ranked in the WNY top 10.
Lawrence Williams of St. Joe’s, who last year qualified for the state federation meet in the 400, has a 36.99 in the 300, the No. 2 time in WNY.
Two record-setting Amherst athletes are looking to return to states, seniors Adam Murphy and Emily Irish-Ryan. Murphy holds school records in the 1,000, 1,600 and 3,200 while Irish-Ryan owns the marks in the 55 hurdles, 300 and 600.
Senior Denzel Benton, an All-WNY wide receiver last fall for Canisius, has the No. 1 time in WNY and the No. 4 time in thw state in the 55 at 6.47. Desmond Nicholas is the No. 1-ranked freshman in the state with a long jump of 20-2.25. Billy Christ looks to run well at Catholic state meet in the mile.
Kenmore East’s Gavin DiMaria broke the school record in the pole vault, clearing 13-6 at Yale. Sophomore Ben Jackson gives the Bulldogs another pole vaulter ranked in the top 10. Senior Louis Capizzi is No. 3 in the section in the 600 and is on the No. 1 ranked 4x400 in WNY along with DiMaria, Chris Guarino and Avery Walsh.
Gregg Hart is the new West Seneca West record holder in the long jump with a 20-5.
Grand Island’s Jess Dhaliwall looked impressive sweeping the shot put and weight throw titles at Saturday’s Rock ‘N Rolls Throw-Offs.
Lockport’s All-America soccer player, Alex Reid, is ranked No. 1 in WNY in the long jump and No. 2 in the 55 and triple. He’s the school record holder in all three events. He’s undefeated in the LJ at 22-8.75.
Senior David Pollock is ranked No. 2 in the LJ behind Reid. Senior Megan Evans is ranked No. 2 in WNY in the pole vault at 11-0 and holds the school record in both indoor and outdoor.
Junior Carolyn Hopkins holds the Williamsville South school record in the 3,000 in 10:23.56 Sophomore Clare Losito is ranked in the top three in WNY in the 1,000 and 1,500.
Junior Lauren Hudson looks to represent Williamsville North at states as she’s ranked No. 1 in WNY with a school record 5-6 in the high jump.
Jamestown senior Cienna Simon is undefeated in the 55 hurdles, holds the school record and is ranked No. 8 in the state with a 8.55.
Sweet Home’s Jenny DelSignore broke the school record in the 3,000 with a 10:39.31 at Yale and joined Aileen Doyle, Alex Ortega and Kennedy Lewandowski with a school record of 10:05.49 in the 4x800 relay.
Terionna Ware, Kaila Frazier, Rachel Roberson and Lauren Rao broke the school record in the 4x200 with a 1:51.56, second behind Lancaster.
Panthers’ senior Tyvon Rivers. state runnerup in the 55 hurdles, currently leads WNY with a 7.91.
Section6Runs.com continues to be the top website for the latest on WNY cross country, indoor and outdoor track athletes.