During a time when most area schools are looking at ways to trim their athletic departments, Amsterdam opted to add a team to its athletic roster.
The Amsterdam indoor track team will make its debut Sunday in a Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at Union College in Schenectady.
The team will be coached by Jaime Julia, Stu Palczak, Kevin Wilary, Maura Dargush and Mandy Davey.
Fonda-Fultonville's Jake Hentnik clears the bar in the pole vault during a Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at Union College last season. (The Leader-Herald)
More than 40 students will compete on the team in its first season.
"As this is our first year as a program, our goal is to engage new athletes, and prepare veteran athletes to reach the next level," Palczak said. "Our core group is excited and enthusiastic."
Among those competing on the Amsterdam boys team will be seniors Brett Stanavich (sprints), Anthony Stewart (distance), Matt Raponi (distance), Nick Raponi (distance), Connor Kilgallen (middle distance) and Josh Turo (distance). Also on the team will be junior Chris Rost (jumps), sophomores Izaiah Brown (sprints/jumps) and Brett Flint (middle distance), and freshman Ohmari Sturdivant (jumps)
The Amsterdam girls team will include seniors Kelly Paris (middle distance), Megan Ottati (middle distance), Deborah Johnson (middle distance) as well as juniors Abby Wollman (sprints), Hannah Wollman (sprints), Caitlyn Adamchick (distance) and Illenis Quinones (distance).
Also on the roster are sophomore Maddie Janetsky (sprints, jumps), sophomore McKenna Palczak (hurdles), freshman Cassandra Robataille (jumps) and seventh-grader Brenda Santana (middle distance).
The Rams will be joined in the Tri-County Indoor Track League by three other area teams - Gloversville, Broadalbin-Perth and Fonda-Fultonville.
After both teams posted strong showings last season, Fonda-Fultonville will look to continue its run of success in 2012-13.
The FFCS girls won the Section II Division IV title last season, while the boys were second. The Lady Braves also placed second in the Colonial Council, while the boys were second in the Independent League.
The Fonda-Fultonville girls lost Allana Clough and Tristan Grisel to graduation, while the boys lost Kaleb Godfrey, Elbert Heacock, Wally Kowalski, Zach Krizan, Tyler Myers, Justin Nellis, Levi Redlin, Michael Scott and Zach Viscosi.
The girls team returns Lindsay Therrien who won the 55-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump for the Lady Braves at the Division IV meet.
Also back are Kimberly Geniti and Cameron Savoie who won the 1,000 meters and shot puts, respectively, at the Division IV meet. Geniti also was part of the winning 4 x 400 relay team and placed second in the 1,500 meters. Jamie Kasza, Samantha Phelps, Katie Wisniewski, Carly Littlejohn, Whitney Martuscello and Emily Littlejohn also posted top-six showings at the Division IV meet and all return this season.
Shannon Cartwright, Rebekah Hentnik, Alex Wisniewski and Sabrina Springer also return from last year's team.
"We have a good core group returning from last year and we have some talented young kids who will help greatly," coach Therrien said. We're looking forward to seeing the improvements in this group this season and, as always, we hope to be in the top groups at the league championships and sectionals."
New to the girls team this year will be Guilyan O'Kosky, Kim Epting, Jenna Kasza, Caitlyn McGuirk, Shawna Trigg, Ashley DaBiere, Alesha Heacock, Johanna Hentnik, Skyler Hesch, Shaleena Sweetman, Rachel Vecchio and Kacie Hunter.
The boys team also returns several athletes who posted top-six finishes at the sectional meet last season.
Jacob Hentnik, Jimmy Westman, Tyler Angioli, Jacob Shave, Matt Hoffman, Kyle Giuffre, Tyler Cranker, Tom Dwyer and Dalton Hunter all finished in the top six last season at sectionals.
Joe Fox, Josh Lewis, Dominick Neri, Justin Galusha, Matt Georgia, Cameron Gilligan, Anthony Brand, Riley Cook, Dylan DeSorbo, Jason Klotz, Ray Lybolt and Zach Nizet also return for FFCS.
"We have a nice group of young girls again this year, but we also have quite a bit of experience in that group. We're looking forward to watching this group improve throughout the season," coach Therrien said. "Although we'll be running a very similar schedule to last year, we are looking forward to competing against the Colonial Council schools in our championship meet."
Rounding out the boys roster will be newcomers Tyler Frederick, Anthony Angioli, Robert O'Kosky, Michael Sweet, Ben Bogan, Dan Westman, Mitchell Braun, Connor Curtis, Cody Fancher, Bryan Finn, Damion Freeman, Bryan Klim, Shawn Lansing, Tyr Morford, Christian VanAvery, Ben Vardai-Davidson and Cole Wozniak.
Therrien will once again share the coaching duties with Tom Carpenter and Dave Petersen this season. Fonda-Fultonville will open its season Saturday with a Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at Union College.
The Huskies lost Liz Hogan, Kellie Lawton, Zach Moynihan, Jon Lander and Derrick Eddards to graduation. Hogan finished eighth at the state meet in the shot put.
Despite the losses, Gloversville boasts a healthy roster of 95 athletes heading into this season.
"We have some great athletes coming back along with some new talent joining the squad this year on both teams," Gloversville coach Stephen Wendt said. "All of our coaches have high expectations, and are expecting big things from both groups. We feel this will be a year to remember."
Leading the boys team will be John Knox who won the 1,000 meters and was third last season at the Section II Division II Championships.
Also back is Alex Gifford who was second in the 1,000 meters at the Division II meet,
Also returning are Hunter Marshall, Jack Hayes, Justin Unislawski, Phil Meher, Brendan Dutcher, Zack Vaillancourt, Lance Sledge, Luther Sledge, Kadison Shaver, Matthew Rivera, Nicholas Gundersen, Sedrick Nellis, Zachary Williams, Eduardo Yace, Zachary Funk, Cory Miller, Austin Kadle, Cody Cowles, Janai Richards and Tyler Pape.
In addition to its large group of returnees, the Gloversville boys team also has plenty of newcomers this season.
Adam Sleezer, Tyler Unislawski, Nick Buck, Seth Hulbert, Chris Hernandez, Tyler Rulison, Devyn Moldt, Ryan Stead, Kevin Sprung, Shon Lewis Matthews, Mike Murray, Jacob Perez, C.J. Devito, Alex Fountain, Alex Buck, Anthony Hayes, Anthony Rodriguez, Dylan Schrader, Michael Fancher, Austin Luci, Alessandro Ciuci, Jordan Himpsl, Nakeya Avery, Jaxon Sledge, Michael Budka, Zachary Skinner and Josh Young are all part of the Huskies' roster this season.
Dayna Peck, who placed second at sectionals in the 55-meter dash, leads the returnees for the Gloversville girls.
Also back for the Huskies are Morgan Rienhardt, Sarah Ambrosino, Emily Ambrosino, Anna Fancher, Darianna Port, Alicia Anich, Krysta Lee, Ashley Ostrander, Aleah Barksdale, Amanda Cabrera-Case, Kaylee Beddow, Marielle Dador, Brianna Akowicz, Emily Denmark, Carolyn Peck, Hayley Schuyler, Amanda Pike, Kendra St. Andrews, Jillian Christiano and Megan Moore.
Newcomers Brittany Craven, Tierney Vandeusen, Katie Nealon, Caroline Bakyta, Channel Thomas, Allison Hammer, Rose Warner, Laura Rodenbaugh, Cassandra Ryan, Cheyenne Hayes, Brittany Beckett, Hayley Ferrara, Brianna Port, Leanna Langlois and Ippany Parsons also will compete for the Gloversville girls this season.
Gloversville will open its season Saturday with a Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at Union College.
Like Gloversville, the Broadalbin-Perth indoor track team absorbed some key losses to graduation.
Austin Becker, Opal Jessica Bogdan, Sarah DePalma and Nicole Vainauskas were all key contributors for B-P last season.
Becker ran the 600-meter leg on the Section II Intersectional Medley Relay team at the state meet, helping the squad to a second-place finish.
Becker also helped the Patriots get back on the track last winter after initially not planning to field a team.
This season, the Patriots will compete for the full season.
B-P returns Zach Bulger, Pierre LaPort, Hunter Martin, Chelsea LeBlanc, Renee Bellinger, Coreena Monroe, Cadey Nolan, Montana Smith and Allie Sanders from last year's team.
They will be joined by newcomers Greg Bogdan, Biagio Bucciferro, Ryan Charland, Michael Visco, Abby Blake, Rebekah Rorick, Anna Smith and Jordyn DeNeuville.
"We are a very young team with only two seniors. There are many freshman and sophomores one the team that are new to track," Bellinger said. "They are working real hard and have good attitudes. As the season progresses, I look for the performances to steadily improve."
Broadalbin-Perth will open its season Sunday with a Tri-County Indoor Track League meet at Union College.