By MICHAEL KELLY
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Against overmatched squads from Bishop Maginn and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, the Amsterdam High School boys outdoor track and field team still found ways to impress during Wednesday's Big 10 dual meet.
The Rams took overall first-place finishes in all but one of the day's events, as the club breezed its way to a pair of wins on a windy day. AHS topped Bishop Maginn, 132-25, and the Rams blasted ND-BG, 127-34. The victories pushed AHS to a 4-0 start in league action, putting the Rams halfway to an undefeated Big 10 season.
"We are where we should be," AHS head coach Kevin Wilary said after his team's wins.
While the Rams' core of stars did its usual thing Wednesday, the club again received strong showing from some of its less-heralded members. Of particular note, junior Andrew Druziak won the event's 800-meter run, besting ND-BG's Jonah Allard, one of the league's top runners. Druziak, a rookie for the team, won the race in 2 minutes, 12.7 seconds.
"Andrew's a hard worker," said Wilary. "One thing he's been doing a lot lately is he's gotten himself into the gym for lifting and he's put some muscle on his body, and he's stronger now."
Meanwhile, sophomore Bryan Stanavich -- another rookie -- did not factor into any of Wednesday's scoring for the Rams, but he likely will in the near future. Stanavich ran the 100-meter dash in 11.6 seconds, a time that would have won the event if he had run in a scoring heat -- but Stanavich ran in a non-scoring heat, as he is still getting used to his new sport and the team's coaches were not sure he was ready for a scoring race.
"But he has a lot of potential in this sport," said Wilary. "He had a fantastic day."
Stanavich also ran for the Rams' non-scoring 4x400-meter relay team. The sophomore ran a strong opening leg, almost beating teammate David Graveley -- the lead leg for the squad's scoring relay.
"He was right there with David, and he's one of our best 400 runners," Wilary said.
Stanavich said it has been an adjustment getting used to the new sport, one made a little tougher since he is also playing baseball this spring. He said he is relying on his coaches to guide him to whatever events best fit his skills.
"I just want to do whatever helps the team," Stanavich said.
Another Ram working within that mindset is Jose Perez. For the second week in a row, Perez won the discus throw, an event he rarely competed in last season. Perez has long been one of the team's best in the jumping events, but has been steadily working on his throwing since picking up the discipline as a freshman.
"And, this year, he's our best at it, and that says a lot for how hard he's worked at it," Wilary said after Perez won with a distance of 97 feet, 9 inches.
AHS senior Austin Bartone won the day's shot put (34 feet, 0 inches) and came in second place to Perez in the discus throw. Perez said the club is slowly developing depth in the throwing events.
"All of us have the power," said Perez. "Now, it's the form we need to work on."
Junior Izaiah Brown won four individual events Wednesday, taking the 200- and 400-meter dashes, plus the high and long jump competitions; junior David Graveley won both the 110- and 400-meter hurdle races; senior Lucas Dorr picked up a win in the 100-meter dash; sophomore Jonathan Knack won the 3,200-meter run; sophomore Omahri Sturdivant won the triple jump; and, sophomore Austin Brock and junior Isaiah Cameron-Murray tied for first place in the pole vault. All of the club's relay teams were winners.
While the Rams collected one first-place finish after another, the club also picked up numerous second-place finishes, too, from its less-experienced athletes.
"We have a lot of emerging guys," Dorr said.
Now, the trick for the Rams is to turn its talent and strong start into a third consecutive league title. The key, Perez said, will be for the squad to work on the finer points of the sport.
"All those little details in each of our events," said Perez. "We have the endurance and the speed, so we need to work on the little things, like our jumps and our handoffs, to keep getting better."
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