By MICHAEL KELLY
Recorder Sports Staff
Before the foursome of Amsterdam High School track and field athletes even get to Greensboro, N.C. today for Sunday's national championships, the program has already reached its fundraising goal.
"We did make it," booster club president Greg Knack wrote in an email Friday afternoon.
To send athletes Izaiah Brown, John Hardies, Brett Stanavich and Anthony Stewart -- plus boys head coach Kevin Wilary and assistant Jaime Julia -- to this weekend's New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships, the program's booster club was looking to raise $3,000 to help with the costs for airfare, hotel and entry fees for the competitions.
The booster club held two major events -- a dinner Tuesday at the Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, and a coin drop at Thursday's Amsterdam Mohawks game -- but also received out-of-pocket donations from individuals and various groups independent from the organized fundraisers.
"It's shown the great support the community has for our track and field program," Wilary said earlier this week.
"A lot of people have come forward to really help us. ... It's fantastic because we're bringing four great kids for a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he continued.
The Greater Amsterdam School District's teachers made up a good-sized chunk of the donations. For example, Knack said teachers from the R.J. McNulty Academy for International Studies and Literacy Magnet School -- where Brown, who won the state championship last weekend in the 400-meter dash, attended -- made a large donation.
Meanwhile, teachers flooded the Rams' event Tuesday at Muni. Stanavich said that teachers -- and others -- were buying dinner at the event where 20 percent of bills went to the team, plus making extra donations.
"We're really thankful for all of it," he said.
And more than a little surprised, too.
"You start something 10 days out before they have to go, and it was like: 'Can we do this?'" said Knack. "But the community has really come together and done a great job for us."