BY MICHAEL KELLY
NISKAYUNA — A host of new athletes have arrived for the Niskayuna boys outdoor track and field team.
After an indoor season that saw the Silver Warriors finish in seventh place in the Suburban Council and third at sectionals, head coach Jason DeRocco’s squad has received an influx of roughly 50 more competitors for the 2015 outdoor season. In advance of the team’s season-opening meet April 14 at Guilderland, the Niskayuna roster has just more than 100 athletes and the squad is still figuring out its lineup.
“I’m hoping there’s at least one diamond in the rough, if not five,” said DeRocco. “But that remains to be seen.”
“We still have to see [our new] guys try different events,” said senior Ryan Azer. “It’s trial and error, sort of, just to see what events everyone does best.”
Azer will compete in the hurdling and jumping events for Niskayuna, and could also see some time in mid-distance running events. Besides him, senior sprinter Jacob Wick and junior sprinter Mateo Parzych figure to be two of the top Silver Warriors this spring; Wick is Niskayuna’s lone returning scorer from last spring’s sectional meet, while both Parzych and Wick were leaders for the Silver Warriors during the winter season.
Where the Silver Warriors may see the most improvement this season, though, is in the distance events where seniors such as Robert Kaucic and Matt McDermott should add high-end talent for Niskayuna.
McDermott returns after a strong cross country season — in that sport, he finished No. 5 in Section II and No. 31 at the state championships — while Kaucic was one of Niskayuna’s top performers on the track as a freshman and sophomore.
Kaucic missed his junior season with the Silver Warriors, as he was starting to take college courses. Then, early in his senior year, he broke his leg while attempting to dunk a basketball, keeping him from the fall and winter seasons, but he is healthy and active for Niskayuna this spring.
“He was one of our best guys,” said DeRocco. “We haven’t seen him a lot lately, so we’re glad he’s back.”
His first week back with the Silver Warriors was tough on his body, but Kaucic said he has readjusted after his layoff.
“Now, I’m into it and feeling good,” he said.
So are the rest of the Silver Warriors. Buoyed with the third-place performance this winter at sectionals, Kaucic said Niskayuna’s spirits are high this preseason.
“We’re working a lot harder,” said Kaucic. “Everyone is really stepping up their game and trying to go that extra mile.”
The following is the schedule for the Niskayuna boys outdoor track and field team, subject to change. All home competitions are at the high school:
- April 14: at Guilderland with Columbia, 4:15 p.m.
- April 17: hosts Medley Relays, 4:15 p.m.
- April 18: hosts Warrior Track Classic, 9 a.m.
- April 21: at Saratoga Springs with Shenendehowa, 4:15 p.m.
- April 25: at Hudson Falls Invitational, 10 a.m.
- April 30: hosts Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Mohonasen, 4:15 p.m.
- May 1: at New Hartford Invitational, 4:30 p.m.
- May 2: at Colonie Relays, noon
- May 5: at Averill Park with Bethlehem & Columbia, 4:15 p.m.
- May 8: at Shenendehowa Invitational, 4 p.m.
- May 12: at Shaker with Ballston Spa, 4:15 p.m.
- May 19: at Suburban Council Championships, at Colonie, 4 p.m.
- May 23: at Cicero-North Syracuse Invitational, 10 a.m.
- May 27: at Section II Championships, at Shenendehowa, 4 p.m.
- June 4-5: at state qualifier meet at UAlbany, 4 p.m.
- June 12-13: at state championships at UAlbany, 9 a.m.