Track/field: Another NTL title for Gator boys

Four consecutive North Tier League championships.

Thirty-two dual meets without a loss.

In other words, business as usual for the Port Allegany boys track team, which survived a minor scare at Coudersport last Thursday before clinching another NTL title against Otto-Eldred on Tuesday to finish the regular season at 7-0.

“I did expect it to be close. Not that close,” head coach George Riley said following Port’s 78-72 win against the Falcons. “The 4×800 relay team set the tone for the meet; I guess I didn’t expect them to grab that, but James Coxen pulled it out at the end. That team did the job, went and got us a quick five points early.”

Max Morris tripled in the 100, 200, and 400 relay, Tyce Miller led a sweep in the high jump in addition to claiming the 400 and 800, and Nick Conway continued to dominate both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles to pace the Gator victory. Kory Majot (pole vault, javelin) and Mitch Freeman (shot, discus) doubled for the Falcons.

“The boys came through,” Riley said. “It was close. Hats off to Coudersport – they gave us a serious scare.”

Bryanna Evens (400, 400 relay, 1600 relay) and Kelsey Payne (100 hurdles, 400 relay, high jump) tripled and Renee Edgell added wins in the shot and discus as the Gator girls downed the Falcons, 80.5-69.5, to complete their dual-meet schedule at 6-1. Jenn Kane (100, 200) and Natalie Giannotti (1600, 3200) doubled for Coudersport.

Both teams turned in positive performances at Friday’s Coudersport Invitational, with the boys cruising to a comfortable win and the girls coming in third behind meet champ Northern Potter and Oswayo Valley. The news wasn’t all good, though, as Morris pulled a hamstring in the 100 and was forced to drop out of the rest of his events.

“I’m hoping he’s healed and back by districts. We’re giving him two weeks to rest; hopefully it works out,” Riley said.

With Conway – fresh off running a meet-record :16.42 in the 110 hurdles – joining Ben Osani, Trevor Neal, and Scott Brookens as a last-second replacement, the Gator 400-meter relay team didn’t miss a beat, crossing the line in a season-best :46.47 for the win. Neal also claimed the high jump at 6-0 in a tiebreaker over Conway, who added a victory in the 300 hurdles, and Camrin Stuckey (long jump, 19-7) and Seth Lowery (shot put, 44-6) also notched wins in their specialties.

Payne doubled in the high jump and 400 relay for the Gator girls, with the team of Jillian Edgreen, Breanna Foster, Payne, and Sara Borro winning in :55.65. Carli Johnston and Jordan Edgell tied for first in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 7-0, and Renee Edgell qualified for districts with a winning shot put of 31-0 ½.

“Kelsey had a great day. She’s excelling at her events,” Riley said.

For one of the first times all season, the weather was gorgeous for Tuesday’s final home meet of the year, with both Gator teams easing to wins against overmatched Otto-Eldred.

“Their numbers are down,” Riley said of the Terrors’ small squad. “They have some quality athletes who pushed us in a couple of races, but we have the numbers.”

Miller quadrupled (400, 800, 1600 relay, high jump), Stuckey tripled (1600 relay, long jump, javelin), and Conway (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles) and Brock Taylor (shot, discus) doubled in the boys’ 122-28 win, with Noah Jordan doubling in the 1600 and 3200 for O-E.

As usual, the Gators ruled the high jump with yet another sweep.

“We have three guys who can go six feet and better. There aren’t too many teams who have that luxury,” Riley said. “They work hard, and they compete against each other. Conway might get it one time; the next, Tyce Miller or Trevor Neal’s got it. So you never know who’s going to be the top one, but it’s nice to know you’re going to take those three spots.”

The girls swept all 11 running events on the way to a 121-29 victory, with Evens (100, 200, 400, 1600 relay) and Payne (100 hurdles, 400 relay, high jump, triple jump) quadrupling and Ashley Woodruff doubling (1600, 3200).

Friday’s North Tier League meet at Otto-Eldred is next on the schedule. Riley expects both teams to do well, but noted that with the school musical also taking place the same evening, several students will be pulling double duty on the track and the stage.

“It’s a small school where we have people involved in lots of things. We don’t need the league meet to clinch or claim anything, so get the kid an event or two, then go and perform for the community. It’s a good opportunity for the kids,” he said.

At Coudersport, May 5:
Boys: Port Allegany 78, Coudersport 72
100: Morris (PA) :11.7, 200: Morris (PA) :23.6, 400: Miller (PA) :55.8, 800: Miller (PA) 2:16.6, 1600: B. Forney (C) 5:24.6, 3200: S. Forney (C) 11:24, 400 relay: Port Allegany (Morris, Osani, Brookens, Neal) :47.0, 1600 relay: Coudersport (Hutcheson, Rigas, Furman, Gibson) 3:57.5, 3200 relay: Port Allegany (Stehle, A. Majot, Binder, Coxen) 9:36.2, 110 hurdles: Conway (PA) :15.6, 300 hurdles: Conway (PA) :41.4, long jump: Morris (PA) 19-5, triple jump: Hutcheson (C)/Osani (PA) 37-4, high jump: Miller (PA) 6-0, shot put: Freeman (C) 43-5 ½, discus: Freeman (C) 137-0 ¾, pole vault: K. Majot (C) 10-6, javelin: K. Majot (C) 155-1.

Girls: Port Allegany 80.5, Coudersport 69.5
100: Kane (C) :13.5, 200: Kane (C) :28.2, 400: Evens (PA) 1:06.7, 800: Matzinger (C) 2:37, 1600: Giannotti (C) 6:04.8, 3200: Giannotti (C) 14:00.8, 400 relay: Port Allegany (Borro, Payne, Evens, Foster) :54.7, 1600 relay: Port Allegany (Edgreen, Miller, Foster, Evens) 4:39.7, 3200 relay: Coudersport (Kautz, Johns, Green, Matzinger) 11:34.2, 100 hurdles: Payne (PA) :18.9, 300 hurdles: Fink (C) :53.7, long jump: Culver (PA) 13-1, triple jump: Gabreski (C) 32-7 ½, high jump: Payne (PA) 4-10, shot put: R. Edgell (PA) 31-1 ½, discus: R. Edgell (PA) 79-10, pole vault: J. Edgell (PA) 7-6, javelin: Karpinski (C) 90-6 ½.

Coudersport Invitational, May 6:
Boys: Port Allegany 108, Oswayo Valley 79, Coudersport 77, Eisenhower 70.5, Smethport 66.5, Northern Potter 61, Cowanesque Valley 49, Otto-Eldred 17, Williamson 15, Cameron County 14.

Girls: Northern Potter 124, Oswayo Valley 115, Port Allegany 77, Coudersport 73.5, Otto-Eldred 39.5, Eisenhower 39.5, Smethport 38.5, Cameron County 24, Cowanesque Valley 12, Williamson 7.

At Port Allegany, May 10:
Boys: Port Allegany 122, Otto-Eldred 28
100: Neal (PA) :12.0, 200: Kittilson (PA) :25.9, 400: Miller (PA) :55.4, 800: Miller (PA) 2:25.2, 1600: Jordan (O-E) 4:56.2, 3200: Jordan (O-E) 12:00, 400 relay: Port Allegany (Austin, Osani, Brookens, Neal) :47.0, 1600 relay: Port Allegany (Collver, Miller, Stuckey, Shaffer) 3:57.1, 3200 relay: Port Allegany (Majot, Stehle, Coxen, Binder) 9:43.7, 110 hurdles: Conway (PA) :15.4, 300 hurdles: Conway (PA) :41.2, long jump: Stuckey (PA) 18-10, triple jump: Osani (PA) 37-1, high jump: Miller (PA) 5-11, shot put: Taylor (PA) 38-9, discus: Taylor (PA) 126-8, pole vault: Farmelo (O-E) 10-0, javelin: Stuckey (PA) 169-6.

Girls: Port Allegany 121, Otto-Eldred 29
100: Evens (PA) :13.5, 200: Evens (PA) :27.8, 400: Evens (PA) 1:03.6, 800: K. Miller (PA) 2:41.3, 1600: Woodruff (PA) 6:21.6, 3200: Woodruff (PA) 15:12.3, 400 relay: Port Allegany (Borro, Payne, Foster, Edgreen) :54.6, 1600 relay: Port Allegany (Evens, Ford, Helo, Foster) 5:25.4, 3200 relay: Port Allegany (Armendariz, Rosenswie, Helo, Naylor) 13:24.4, 100 hurdles: Payne (PA) :18.72, 300 hurdles: Young (PA) :57.1, long jump: Hahn (O-E) 13-8 ½, triple jump: Payne (PA) 31-3, high jump: Payne (PA) 4-8, shot put: R. Edgell (PA) 30-1, discus: Franklin (O-E) 70-7, pole vault: J. Edgell (PA) 7-6, javelin: Healy (PA) 83-7.

Baseball: Getting back into the swing of things

With the weather finally beginning to cooperate – although not without a few more raindrops and grumbles of thunder – the Port Allegany baseball team went 3-1 in a pair of doubleheaders last week, splitting with Kane on Thursday and sweeping Otto-Eldred on Saturday to improve to 5-2 on the season.

But after almost three full weeks since their last game, the Gators struggled to get back into the swing of things when they finally got back on the field in Kane, dropping a 3-2 decision in the opener before rebounding to take the nightcap 11-2.

“Give credit to Kane for making us pay, but we didn’t play well. We didn’t deserve to win,” coach Nate Zitnik said of the first game, when Port stranded several baserunners and the three Wolves runners who scored got on base via a walk, an error, and a hit batsman.

Scoring wasn’t a problem in the second game, when Rickie Bova’s solo home run and doubles by Seth Lowery, Camrin Stuckey, Sam Kysor and Garrett Drabert highlighted an 11-run outburst.

“Rickie busted out. He roped that one; it was a great hit,” Zitnik said. “Everyone contributed. I couldn’t be any happier with that stat line.”

In Saturday morning’s first game, the Gator bats were sluggish again, but Stuckey homered to lead off the second inning and combined with starter Garrett Drabert on a one-hit shutout to give the Gators the 1-0 win over Otto-Eldred.

“Stuke’s been on fire lately. He did almost kill me – he hit a laser right out at me (in the third-base coaches’ box), so now every time he’s been up to bat, I’ve been coaching from the other team’s dugout,” Zitnik noted with a grin. “But he’s been hitting really well. He came in and shut the door pitching-wise, and gave us our only run with that home run. We got off to a slow start; we put the ball in play, but they made plays. We were lucky to get out with a win there.”

First, though, Port had to withstand a bases-loaded threat from the Terrors.

“Cory Burr, who hasn’t played that much – he was filling in for Charlie Buchanan, who was taking his SATs – makes a diving play in the gap and flips to second to Sam to really save that game for us. So while it’s not exactly how I wanted it, there were some bright spots, too. I would be remiss to not acknowledge that we did some good things,” Zitnik said.

Zach Sigafoes drove in four runs and Sam Kysor added three in the second game, as Port completed the sweep with a 7-4 win.

“I do have to credit the guys in the second game,” Zitnik said. “Seth got himself in the groove and scored runs for us, Sam had a good game with multiple hits, and Stuckey stayed hot. But the surprise for us was Zach Sigafoes, with the clutch RBIs that put us ahead.”

But while he was happy to get out with the wins, Zitnik knows there’s plenty of work to do if his team wants to make a deep postseason run.

“It’s almost like we’re starting all over again, which is difficult with the playoffs just around the corner,” he said.

At Kane, May 5:
Port A 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 – 2 4 1
Kane 2 0 0 1 0 0 x — 3 3 3
Kyle Hildebrandt (3 SO, 2 BB), Camrin Stuckey (4) (1 SO, 0 BB) and Zach Sigafoes
Evan Depto (2 SO, 2 BB), Dave Swanson (4) (2 SO, 0 BB) and Jordan Kumher

Kane 0 1 0 1 0 — 2 2 1
Port A 2 9 0 0 x – 11 9 1
Swanson, Mitch Kumher (2), Matt Flickinger (2), Dan Park (3) (3 SO, 7 BB), and J. Kumher
Stuckey (3 SO, 1 BB), Garrett Drabert (3) (4 SO, 1 BB) and Sigafoes
HR: Bova (PA)

At Port Allegany, May 7:
Port Allegany 0 1 0 0 0 – 1 3 0
Otto-Eldred 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 1 1
Drabert (5 SO, 3 BB), Stuckey (4) (4 SO) and Sigafoes
Clay Pinner (2 SO) and Noah Colebert
HR: Stuckey (PA)

Otto-Eldred 2 2 0 0 0 – 4 4 2
Port Allegany 3 0 2 2 x – 7 6 1
Ryan Jeannerette (1 SO, 1 BB), Craig Halstead (4) (3 BB), Sam Colebert (4) and Pinner
Stuckey (1 SO, 1 BB), Hildebrandt (2) (3 SO, 1 BB), Sam Kysor (5) (2 SO, 1 BB) and Sigafoes