Amsterdam’s Olivia Lazarou races to the finish during Tuesday’s cross country meet against Broadalbin-Perth at Bob’s Trees in Galway. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
GALWAY — It wasn’t her last time running over the course that’s become her home over the past few seasons, as the Amsterdam cross country program will host its annual Harvest Classic Invitational later this month at Bob’s Trees, but Tuesday was the last home dual meet for Lady Rams senior standout Olivia Lazarou, and she celebrated her Senior Day in style.
Lazarou motored over the 2.82-mile course with ease, crossing the finish line in 17 minutes, 55 seconds during Tuesday’s meet against Broadalbin-Perth. That was 1:49 better than runner-up Gabrielle Larsen of B-P, and 33 seconds faster than the time Lazarou herself posted a week earlier in the Lady Rams’ meet against Gloversville.
Lazarou’s strong run helped lead the Lady Rams to a 23-36 team victory. Meanwhile, the Amsterdam boys got an individual win from Trevor Dzikowicz for the second straight week, but B-P’s tight pack running allowed the Patriots to claim six of the next eight spots across the finish line for a 24-34 win.
“It’s definitely exciting, the last dual meet here,” Lazarou said.
The win for the Amsterdam girls was the Lady Rams’ second in a row, and came on the heels of a second-place team finish Saturday at the John “K-Dawg” Killian Memorial Invitational in South Glens Falls. Larsen took second for B-P, but Amsterdam had strong efforts from Lauren Santiago in third, Kayla Sondrup in fourth, Brook Marshal in seventh, Skylar Grybos in eighth, Gabby Feliciano in ninth and Sydney Szczepanik in 10th.
In a race where the field was packed a bit tighter than last week’s meet with Gloversville, Lady Rams coach Stu Palczak was pleased to see the competitive fire in his runners.
“What I’ve seen in the last two meets, Saturday and today, our girls are really battling for position,” Palczak said. “They’re working to place in front of other kids. That’s not something I had seen so far, so to me that’s a sign of maturity for Lauren (Santiago), Kayla Sondrup, Brook (Marshall), Gabby Feliciano and Skylar (Grybos). They’re really working to get spots, which is what this is all about.”
Lazarou’s individual victory continued an unbeaten start to her senior season. A month out from the Section II championships, everything is on the right track.
“We’re focusing on one race at a time. When we get there, we’ll see what happens,” Lazarou said. “We’re working on anything we need to fix and always working on how to improve.”
“She’s healthy and running strong, and that’s what we hope for from her,” Palczak said. “Now we’re midseason, if we can continue this throughout the season she’s really gonna have an outstanding finish.”
Along with Larsen in second, B-P had Samantha Murphy in fifth and Mackenzie DeZolt in sixth provide solid finishes as the team attempts to get back on track after having its early season derailed by injuries.
“We’re slowly getting healthy, and that’s the biggest positive,” B-P coach Jeff Richards said. “We’re getting healthy at the right time. It’s the first time in a while we’ve run with the majority of our team.”
In the boys race, Dzikowicz overcame a slight illness to run to victory in 17:08, holding off a late charge from B-P’s Micah Smith, who finished just three seconds later. That makes two straight dual meet victories for Dzikowicz, sandwiched around a ninth-place invitational finish in South Glens Falls for the rapidly-improving freshman.
“We haven’t had a distance runner as good as Trevor since Matt and Nick Raponi, and that was 2013,” Amsterdam coach Kevin Wilary said. “He’s a freshman, and the one thing I like about Trevor is he loves running. He loves pushing himself, and even though he didn’t feel great today, he pushed himself through it and got the win.”
B-P came away with the team victory thanks to some tightly-bunched running. Behind Dzikowicz, B-P took second through fourth with Smith, Wyatt Couperus and Devin Becker finishing within 11 seconds of each other. Amsterdam took fifth and sixth with Daniel Bublak and Marcos Santiago, but the Patriots claimed seventh through ninth with the trio of Daniel Dylong, Evan Smith and Damian Brockhum to lock up the victory.
“The boys did a really good job coming together as a pack in the second half of the race,” Richards said.
Amsterdam also got a solid race from Chaun’J Ramos in 10th, but B-P’s superior depth — the Patriots had 12 runners, compared to just six for Amsterdam — won out in the end.
“We’re getting better for the future, that’s what we’re really looking at,” Wilary said. “The kids have done a good job improving.”