Zach Yerington earned MVP honors as Hamburg beat Clarence in the final to win the 28th Orchard Park/Walt Stefani Volleyball Invitational.
The title was the first for the Bulldogs since 2005. The Hamburg middle blocker earned the honor after he neutralized Clarence’s two big middles, forcing them to aim elsewhere.
Hamburg and Clarence saw plenty of each other during a 24-hour span. They met on Friday in an ECIC I match won by Hamburg in four games. They met in pool play in the tournament with Hamburg winning two close ones, 28-26 and 25-23, then they met again in the finals.
Trevor Vail and Pat Stroh of Hamburg were named all-tournament. Also making the team were: Neil Conway of St. Joe’s, Tom Euszkiewicz of St. Francis, Ted Okon of Clarence and Dale Payne of Clarence.
Stefani’s name was added to the event to honor the recently retired coach.
Record falls at Alden
Given ideal racing conditions, TJ Hornberger showed what he could do on Saturday. The Lake Shore senior broke the course record with a 15:41.34 at the Alden Cross Country Stampede. Sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s greeted the field of 27 boys and 24 girls teams.
“I honestly didn’t run as fast as I wanted to,” said Hornberger, who recently committed to Syracuse. “I wanted to run in the 15:20s, but I was a little sore today because we’ve been doing a lot of workouts to prepare for states. We’ve been coming to this meet since I was a freshman, so it’s a neat record to have.”
Hornberger won’t compete again until he returns to Alden in two weeks for the ECIC Championships. It’s the second consecutive year the course record has fallen. The previous record of 15:43.03 was set by Gabe Rodriguez of Genesee last year.
Sophomore Kenny Vasbinder of large school team champion East Aurora came in second in 16:27.31. The Blue Devils’ Matthew McLaughlin and TJ Murray also were in the top 10. Large school runner-up Frontier took third place in the race as Matt McCann finished in 16:36.41.
Barker won the small school title by a 14-point margin over Alden. Dylan Servos of the host Bulldogs won the race in 16:47.06. The next local runner was Matt Kruszka of Gowanda in 17:14.29.
East Aurora also won the girls large school race as its 24 points bettered runner-up Starpoint with 65. The Blue Devils did everything except win the race. That distinction went to Starpoint sophomore Sophia Tasselmyer, who won in 18:36.61. EA’s Marta McLaughlin, Maisy Webster and Fiona Danieu took the next three places. Sidney Spaschak was sixth and Carlin Sullivan was ninth.
The small school girls title went to Alden with 46 points. Kristen Holmberg of Falconer, Colleen Steward of Gowanda and Savannah Warner of Alden went 1-2-3.
• Anthony Hawthorne of Niagara Falls ran a 16:57 to win the Pembroke Invitational against seven complete teams. In the girls race, Amber Custodi of Lew-Port was the top local finisher in second place in 20:00. The Lew-Port girls led the way among local teams, placing third.
Gibbs nets tennis title
Freshman Brianna Gibbs of Williamsville East beat Gillian Wittig of Depew, 6-1, 6-0, to win the ECIC Girls Tennis Championship at Village Glen.
Gibbs was the defending champion. “She was unstoppable,” said ECIC Chairman John Stinneford. “Her footwork is much improved, she’s getting to every ball easily, hitting it cleanly, and that has really made her game even more dominating.”
Gibbs won four matches over the two days. In the semifinals, she beat Nicole Kozinski of Clarence, 6-2, 6-3. Gibbs will be the No. 1 seed at the Section VI Championship on Oct. 25-26 back at the Glen.