By MICHAEL KELLY
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Given the day off Tuesday from practice, more than a few members of the Amsterdam High school girls indoor track and field team showed up to get a workout in with the boys' team, anyway.
"We have some pretty motivated kids," said Lady Rams head coach Stu Palczak, Wednesday, at an official practice for his squad. "I can't wait until we start competing."
Junior McKenna Palczak was one of those Lady Rams getting in a workout on her off day. Wednesday, she said she was excited to see how many of her teammates had joined her for the voluntary workout.
"There's no room for time off right now," she said. "This is go time."
The Lady Rams won't compete as a team until midway through December, but the squad already looks like it is ready to go. Much like the school's male team, the Lady Rams' roster is bursting with new athletes joining the program that is now in its second season.
"Our team has doubled," McKenna Palczak said.
"It's a good mix of experienced kids and new kids," said Stu Palczak. "Everybody that we thought should be running is here. The girls have really responded to the opportunity to have indoor track."
More than a week into preseason practices, the Lady Rams had three new athletes show up to Wednesday's practice to join the team. Senior Caitlyn Adamchick said the added numbers has helped the team's athletes to be able to separate off into distinct practice groups based on skill and specialties.
"We've been doing different groups and stuff, which helps us more as individuals," she said.
Early on in the season, Palczak said he will be the most interested to see how the squad's athletes from the cross country team will perform.
"Our cross country girls are in really good shape, so we're interested to see how they do once we add some shorter, faster events for them," Palczak said.
One of the Lady Rams' crossover athletes from the fall's running team is Olivia Lazarou. The eighth grader ended her cross country season as one of AHS' top runners -- something she said even surprised herself.
"It did," she said. "I wanted to do good, so I knew I had to practice hard to do good at meets."
In the sprinting events, eighth grader Brenda Santana -- last year's surprise standout -- will be a factor for the Lady Rams, while seniors Abby and Hannah Wollman, and juniors Yari Laboy and McKenna Palczak will also be impact competitors for AHS.
"They're all ready to go," Stu Palczak said.
After the indoor track and field program's inaugural season ended in third-place finishes in the Big 10 for both the boys and girls teams, Palczak said it was encouraging to see the level of excitement during the preseason from his team.
"The kids are really focused on having a good track season -- indoor and outdoor," Palczak said.
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