By MICHAEL KELLY
JOHNSTOWN — As the outdoor track and field season subtly began its switch to the championship portion of the campaign, several area athletes and the Amsterdam High School boys squad excelled at Saturday’s Johnstown Invitational.
Competing at Knox Field, the Rams collected a team title, as the AHS boys compiled 147.5 points to best second-place New Hartford’s total of 116.
Individually, nobody responded better to the season’s turning point than the Rams’ Omahri Sturdivant. The sophomore finished in second place in the long jump to senior teammate Julian Gallup (19 feet, 11 inches), and Sturdivant won the triple jump with a personal-best mark of 44 feet, 4.5 inches.
Sturdivant had just set a new personal record earlier this week when he recorded a leap of 44 feet. That broke his old PR of 43 feet, 10 inches, which he had set several weeks ago when the season had just started. He said the past few weeks in between the PR leaps had not discouraged him, as he knew he needed some time to get his body right.
“I’d felt good for that week and, after that, my legs were just done,” said Sturdivant. “I rested for a while and I feel better now.”
The Rams also received three solo victories from junior Izaiah Brown, who won the 100-meter dash (11.13 seconds), 400-meter dash (48.16 seconds) and high jump (6 feet).
AHS also received strong days from a number of other competitors. Both the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams were winners, while sophomore Bryan Stanavich (200-meter dash, 23.05 seconds) and junior David Graveley (400-meter hurdles, 58.35 seconds) also added wins for the Rams.
Rams junior Jose Perez also added a strong performance, as he came in third place in the pentathlon. Perez struggled in the 1,500-meter run, but the junior won each of the three field events, which buoyed his confidence as he prepares to be a significant contributor for the Rams at sectionals.
“Last year, I was just average at the field events, but now I’m doing a lot better,” Perez said.
Perez won the pentathlon’s high jump, long jump and shot put.
The boys from Fonda-Fultonville finished in third place with 99.5 points, while Mayfield-Northville finished in seventh place with 43 points.
The Braves received a victory from its 4x800-meter relay team, as well as senior Michael Sweet (110-meter hurdles, 15.49 seconds) and senior Ryan Park (pole vault, 13 feet).
The M-N boys did not have any winning entries Saturday, but junior Todd Briggs scored points in four events. The junior’s best finish came in the triple jump, where he finished in second place to Sturdivant with a leap of 40 feet, 1.25 inches.
On the girls’ side, Saratoga Springs won the team competition with a total of 205 points. The F-F Lady Braves finished in third place with 70 points, while Amsterdam compiled 17 points to finish in eighth.
Leading the Lady Braves was senior Lindsay Therrien, who won the triple jump with a leap of 33 feet, 9.5 inches. Therrien also finished in third place in both the 100-meter hurdles and the high jump, and came in fourth in the long jump.
Another F-F athlete turning in an encouraging effort was eighth-grader Mariah Van Avery, who helped the Lady Braves’ entry in the 4x800-meter relay to a third-place finish.
“In the beginning of the season, I was running a 2:55 for my PR in the 800,” she said. “I got a 2:36 today.”
Joining Van Avery on that relay team were freshman Lydia Brown, senior Kim Geniti and eighth-grader Hailie LaPratt.
The Lady Rams’ top finisher was junior Maddie Janetsky, who came in second place to Therrien in the triple jump with a mark of 32 feet, 0.75 inches.
The next major competition for the Rams is Saturday’s William F. Eddy Jr. Track and Field Meet, where the AHS boys will attempt to defend its 2013 title.
Sturdivant competed last year for the Rams at the Eddy Meet, but did not register a qualifying jump in the triple jump. This year, the sophomore said his goal for the Northeast’s most prestigious meet is to set another PR in his signature event.
“I want to have 45 by next week,” Sturdivant said.
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