By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- For a first time out, it was a pretty good morning and early afternoon at Williams College for the Amsterdam boys and girls indoor track teams.
Participating in their first Big 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Rams and Lady Rams both came in third place Sunday, as Schenectady took the competition on the boys' side and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons was the girls' winner.
Along the way, a host of Amsterdam athletes went home after medal-winning performances, while Izaiah Brown was named the Gordon Brown Male Athlete of the Meet.
"This was a lot of fun," said girls head coach Stu Palczak. "I thought it was a great experience and really competitive."
"This was our first season doing indoor and the thing I was really impressed with was the kids who had never been to any big-time meets were stepping up," boys head coach Kevin Wilary said.
For the most part, though, the top Amsterdam competitors were familiar names. On the girls' side, Megan Ottati was Amsterdam's top performer, winning the 600-meter run and contributing to a winning team -- with Caitlyn Adamchick, Kelly Paris and Delilah Quinones -- in the 4x800-meter relay.
The senior's win in the 600-meter run was extra special. In the race, Ottati bested ND-BG's Talya Williams, a standout who has rarely seen anything but a first-place finish in Big 10 competitions.
"That was the first time I ever did (beat her)," said Ottati. "That was an exciting win."
Meanwhile, Brown carried the Rams, winning the 300-meter dash, the 600-meter run and the high jump. The sophomore overcame an illness to win his three events, as Brown had missed most of the past week's practices.
"I've been a mess the whole week," said Brown, who said he vomited twice after winning the 300-meter dash, his first race of the day.
"But I promised the team I'd be here," he continued. "I wanted to be here to help the team."
Also helping the boys along was Chris Rost. The senior garnered first-place finishes in both the long jump and triple jump, while recording a fourth-place finish in the 55-meter dash.
Rost said that he thought the meet went pretty well for Amsterdam, which is in its first year competing in the indoor track season.
"I feel like we did great," he said. "We had hopes of winning, but we didn't have as many people here as everyone else since it was out first year. We did everything we could."
That included received strong days from underclassmen and general novices to the track game from before this season. On the boys' side, Rost and Wilary both gushed about the performance from freshman Omahri Sturdivant in the triple jump, in which he came in third place.
"He had a great day," Wilary said.
"He definitely showed in the triple jump that he's really doing well -- making fast gains -- and he's a tough competitor. He had me scared today," said Rost, who edged the freshman in that event.
Besides Brown's and Rost's first-place finishes, the Amsterdam boys' 4x800-meter relay team -- Matt and Nick Raponi, Connor Kilgallen and Anthony Stewart -- was also a winner, as the team bested its personal-record time by 20 seconds with its time of 8:45.06.
On the girls' side, there were no individual winners besides Ottati, though McKenna Palczak (second place in the 55-meter hurdles, member of the second-place team in the 4x400-meter relay), Cassandra Robataille (fourth place in the high jump, fifth place in the 55-meter hurdles) and Brenda Santana (second and third place in a pair of relays, third place in the 55-meter dash) each turned in strong performances.
"Brenda Santana coming in third place -- as a seventh grader -- in the 55-meter was pretty impressive to me," said Stu Palczak. "That's a power event."
The Amsterdam youngster's favorite event, though, was getting to run -- with the occasional skip thrown in -- the medals won by her teammates over to them from the score table.
"I liked getting to do that," she said. "I was (having fun). This meet, it was the best."