Niskayuna track athletes star at variety of competitions

Niskayuna's Charlie Ragone competes in the 3,200-meter run during the Friday, May 13, 2016 Shen Invitational in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)Niskayuna's Charlie Ragone competes in the 3,200-meter run during the Friday, May 13, 2016 Shen Invitational in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

CLIFTON PARK — In the fall, an injury kept Niskayuna senior Charlie Ragone from competing in the cross country postseason.

This past winter, that same nagging injury — a small stress fracture just below his right knee — kept him from competing at the indoor track and field state championships.

Right now? Ragone is at the top of his game, as he punctuated a terrific multi-week stretch with a strong win in the 3,200-meter run at the May 13 Shen Invitational for outdoor track and field.

“I feel better than ever,” he said. “I’m back.”

At his previous two invitationals, Ragone took a first-place and then a second-place finish at 1,600 meters. He opted for the longer distance at Shenendehowa and scored a PR of approximately six seconds with his 9:43.87 mark.

“The mentality right now, it’s that nobody expects anything out of me,” he said. “So I just want to go out there and get it.”

Heading forward, Ragone should be one of the favorites to represent Section II at the state championships at either 1,600 or 3,200 meters. The state qualifier meet is back at Shenendehowa on June 2-3.

Niskayuna's Lexi Sciortino runs in the middle of the pack during the Friday, May 13, 2016 Shen Invitational in Clifton Park. Sciortino finished in sixth place in the 1,500-meter run. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

Niskayuna’s Lexi Sciortino runs in the middle of the pack during the Friday, May 13, 2016 Shen Invitational in Clifton Park. Sciortino finished in sixth place in the 1,500-meter run. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

MORE FROM SHEN

In the team standings, Niskayuna came in 10th place in both the boys’ and the girls’ competitions. The boys competed with 21 other teams, while the girls had 17 foes.

Besides Ragone, top finishers from the Niskayuna boys’ team included Mateo Parzych (200-meter dash, third place) and the fifth-place 4×800-meter relay team (Darius Irani, Colin Ross, Dominick Favata, Joe Quinn).

For the Niskayuna girls’ squad, Kari Leap (discus throw, second place) was the top performer.

Niskayuna's distance medley relay team of Amelia Kokernak, Grace Minkin, Sydney Smith and Abigail Spiers are shown after winning their race at the Thursday, May 12, 2016 race at the Loucks Games. (Photo provided)

Niskayuna’s distance medley relay team of Amelia Kokernak, Grace Minkin, Sydney Smith and Abigail Spiers are shown after winning their race at the Thursday, May 12, 2016 race at the Loucks Games. (Photo provided)

DMR SCORES WIN

Competing May 12 at the Loucks Games, Niskayuna girls’ distance medley relay team of Amelia Kokernak, Grace Minkin, Abigail Spiers and Sydney Smith topped the field.

The relay picked up a time of 12:33.25, besting the second-place finisher by more than 10 seconds.

STARS OF THE FUTURE

At the May 13 “Futures” meet at Mohonasen High School for underclassmen, a number of Niskayuna athletes impressed.

Recording first-place finishes were Rebecca Cropsey (girls’ 1,500-meter steeplechase), the “A” girls’ 4×400-meter relay team (Victoria Padula, Samantha Padula, Kokernak, Smith), the girls’ 4×800-meter relay team (Cropsey, Spiers, Tessa Hilt, S. Padula), Grace Minkin (girls’ freshman 100-meter dash), Megan Daviero (girls’ sophomore 100-meter dash), Kokernak (girls’ sophomore 1,500-meter run) and Jett Minkin (boys’ 1,600-meter run).

Taking second-place marks were Hailey Walthers (girls’ 400-meter hurdles), Madeleine Hesler (girls’ freshman 1,500-meter run) and Donovan Tucker (boys’ sophomore 1,600-meter run).

Third-place finishes went to Donika Ejlli (girls’ 400-meter hurdles), the girls’ 4×100-meter relay team (Zoe Harris, Hilt, G. Minkin, Kristina Koes), the “B” girls’ 4×400-meter relay team (Ainsley Filkins, Madeleine Hesler, Brenna Nealon, Jenna O’Reilly), Daviero (girls’ triple jump), Smith (girls’ sophomore 1,500-meter run) and Spencer Amorosi (boys’ middle school 1,600-meter run).

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.