Niskayuna relay beats clock in win

The Niskayuna 4x800-meter relay team won at the Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 Suburban Council Championships at UAlbany. Shown, from left, are Erica Wasserbach, Marisa DiVietro, Lexi Sciortino, and Amelia Kokernak. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)The Niskayuna 4x800-meter relay team won at the Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 Suburban Council Championships at UAlbany. Shown, from left, are Erica Wasserbach, Marisa DiVietro, Lexi Sciortino, and Amelia Kokernak. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

ALBANY — When sophomore Amelia Kokernak finished out the win for the Niskayuna girls’ indoor track and field team’s 4×800-meter relay at the Jan. 31 Suburban Council Championships, her three teammates — senior Marisa DiVietro, junior Lexi Sciortino, and junior Erica Wasserbach — rushed toward her for what looked to be a bittersweet celebration.

The Silver Warriors had won the race, but their time showing on the display clock was approximately 15 seconds slower than the 9:40.00 time the girls needed to qualify for the March 1 Eastern States Championships at The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.

“We were all like, ‘Oh, no, we didn’t get it,’ ” DiVietro said. “We were trying to qualify for Easterns here. That was our one goal.”

Quickly, though, the Niskayuna foursome found out some good news. The clock had malfunctioned, and the group’s winning time was actually 9:34.92 — more than fast enough to qualify the team for the prestigious March meet.

A year ago, Niskayuna fielded a second-place finish in the girls’ 4×800-meter relay at the Suburban Council Championships. Kokernak, Sciortino and Wasserbach were all on that team, which ran a 9:56.86.

“We weren’t as well-conditioned last year,” Kokernak said. “We weren’t all hitting in the 2:20s or better. This year, our training has really come together for us and we have that depth.”

In early January, Niskayuna coach Jason DeRocco said the Silver Warriors began the process of grooming the four girls to produce a winning time at the league championships. That started after the Jan. 8-9 Dartmouth relays, at which the athletes excelled in their individual events.

“Since then, we’ve kind of pointed toward this [meet] for them,” said DeRocco, who debuted the foursome as a relay at the league championships.

While three of the four Niskayuna relay team members were repeat runners from last year, DiVietro was a rookie to the sport for this winter. After her cross country season this past fall, the senior — who set the Niskayuna school record in the 800-meter run at a Jan. 29 competition — said she signed up for indoor track just to do something with coaches and teammates she likes being around.

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” said DiVietro, a multi-sport star who is committed to play women’s lacrosse for the University of Carolina. “I just wanted to get in one more running season.”

PARZYCH LEADS BOYS

Individually, boys’ team member Mateo Parzych performed the best at the championships.

Parzych, a senior, earned a second-place finish in the 55-meter dash.

Also, he combined with Soja Moore, Michael Reyes, and Joseph Romano to take second place in the 4×200-meter relay.

OVERALL FINISHES

Both the Niskayuna boys’ and girls’ team each came in ninth place at the championships.

The boys finished with 19 points in a 16-team field that Saratoga Springs emerged from as the winner with 118.

The girls’ earned 15.5 points in a 15-team field that Shenendehowa dominated with 147 points.


Top-seven finishes at the Suburban Council Championships for the Niskayuna indoor track and field teams.

FIRST PLACE

Girls’ 4×800-meter relay: Erica Wasserbach—Marisa DiVietro—Lexi Sciortino—Amelia Kokernak, 9:35.40

SECOND PLACE

Boys’ 55-meter dash: Mateo Parzych, 6.93

Boys’ 4×200-meter relay: Mateo Parzych—Michael Reyes-Soja Moore-Joey Romano, 1:39.03

THIRD PLACE

None

FOURTH PLACE

Girls’ 4×200-meter relay: Sarah Dalakos—Clare Lawson—Claire Decker—Grace Minkin, 1:54.77

FIFTH PLACE

Boys’ 1,000-meter run: Charlie Ragone, 2:43.69

SIXTH PLACE

Boys’ 3,200-meter run: Colin Ross, 10:20.88

Girls’ high jump: Julia Wagner, 4-10.00

Girls’ triple jump: Clare Lawson, 32-3.00

SEVENTH PLACE

Boys’ triple jump: Joey Romano, 39-8.00

Girls’ long jump: Cara LaPorta, 15-3.00

Girls’ triple jump: Cara LaPorta, 32-0.75

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.