Year in review
Throughout the 2008-09 sports calendar year, Town of Amherst teams won 24 division titles, eight Section VI championships and one state championship. In addition, 11 teams were finalists for sectional crowns.
In individual sports (gymnastics, cross country, swimming, golf, tennis, bowling, track), 82 athletes qualified for state competition (includes those who qualified in multiple seasons). Twenty two won sectional titles as an individual or in the case of track, a relay, and two won state titles, one as an individual and one as a member of an intersectional team.
Here is a breakdown by season of how Town of Amherst teams fared.
Fall Of the three seasons, Town of Amherst varsity sports teams excelled the most in the fall.
Twelve teams won division championships (Sweet Home football, Williamsville East boys soccer, Amherst and East girls soccer, South and North field hockey, East and North girls swimming, Sweet Home boys volleyball, and North boys golf, Amherst and East girls tennis), five became sectional champions (East girls soccer, North and South field hockey, Sweet Home football; North girls soccer shared Class AA title with Clarence, Clarence won on penalty strokes); four made it to the state final four (East girls soccer, North and South field hockey, Sweet Home football), two made it to the state final (North field hockey and Sweet Home football) and one earned a state championship (Sweet Home football). Prior to last fall, the farthest Sweet Home football or East girls soccer had advanced was the Far West Regional.
Other notable highlights were:
Williamsville's girls golf team went 13-0, including wins against Monsignor Martin Association teams, Lancaster and Mercy from Rochester. It wasn't until the spring when South's Natalie Wisniewski repeated as section champion and took eighth at the state meet.
The Sacred Heart girls volleyball team won the Monsignor Martin Association consolation final and qualified for state competition.
Two cross country runners became sectional champs — Sweet Home's Katie Niblock in Class A and Amherst's Brenna Symoniak in Class B. Symoniak became the first female athlete at Amherst to win a state championship, winning the Class B state crown.
In gymnastics, South seventh grader Noah Roberson won a section title in vault and regional championship on floor exercise while older brother, Nathaniel Roberson, a freshman, won a section title on pommel horse and regional titles on parallel bars and high bar.
North girl gymnast freshman Lily Jagodzinski finished fourth on floor at sectionals to qualify for the state meet.
Williamsville dominated girls tennis. East's Olga Khmylev defeated teammate Miranda Podlas for the Section VI singles title, and East's Emma Manuel and Justine Rusk defeated North's Kelley Matthews and Maddie Robinson for the doubles crown. Podlas, Matthews and Robinson all qualified for the state meet because they finished in the top three. North's Andrea Lovrincevic and Jackie Mistretta also qualified for the state meet, winning the consolation doubles bracket.
In girls swimming, Sweet Home's Paige Gutowski won a sectional title in the 100-yard backstroke. She was one of 14 Town of Amherst swimmers who qualified for state competition.
The Amherst field hockey team ended North's two-year win streak over ECIC competition with a 1-0 victory.
More times than not in the winter, Town of Amherst teams played the role of a bridesmaid.
Seven times teams or individuals were sectional finalists — North and South Federation hockey, North and South boys basketball, Sacred Heart girls basketball, North wrestler Tommy Kellner (state qualifier at 145 pounds) and East's Matt Callari (state qualifier at 119 pounds) and Jacob Beichner (state qualifier at 215 pounds).
Only the Amherst girls basketball team — a seventh-seed in the Class A-2 Tournament — ran the table and won a sectional crown, taking the A-2 and overall A titles. It was their first sectional title since the 1992-93 season.
Amherst bowler Eric Michalski helped the Section VI team win the intersectional state title.
Division titles were won by North girls basketball — shared ECIC I honors with Jamestown; Sweet Home boys basketball — won a division title for the third consecutive year; North boys basketball — won the ECIC I title for the first time since 1993 and tied a school record with a 21-2 record; Sacred Heart girls basketball; South girls bowling; and East wrestling — won their first division title since 1978.
In indoor track, Sweet Home's Katie Niblock (1500), South's Kailyn Arcury (55-meter hurdles) East's Kala Allen (300, 600), and the East 4x400 relay of Melissa Spada, Amy French and Sarah Spitznogle won section titles and were among 22 individuals from Town of Amherst schools who qualified for the state meet. North sent a school-record 12 boys and girls to the state meet. The South girls won the Section VI Team Championships.
In boys swimming, North's Chris Arcara won a sectional title in 1-meter diving and took second in the state and third in the Federation. Arcara was one of four representatives from Town of Amherst schools who qualified for the state meet.
In Federation hockey, South made their first Federation final, falling to Kenmore East in the Small Schools Division. North made it to the Federation Large Schools Division final and was upset by Niagara-Wheatfield.
In addition, Sweet Home's Ellie Allen and North's Alex Barth were named the girls and boys All-Bee MVPs. Allen broke Gretchen Gegenfurtner's single season scoring school record, and Barth finished with the third-highest single-season point total in North history.
The Williamsville North softball and Amherst girls lacrosse teams were the only two Town of Amherst teams to win section titles, winning in Class AA and C, respectively. It was the Lady Spartans' first sectional title in softball and Amherst's fifth straight in girls lacrosse.
The Amherst softball and Sweet Home boys lacrosse teams were sectional finalists.
Sacred Heart's Emily Rodgers lost in the Monsignor Martin Association girls tennis singles final.
Winning division titles were Amherst and East boys tennis, Amherst girls lacrosse, Amherst softball, Sweet Home boys track and field and Amherst girls track and field.
In addition to winning the ECIC III title, the Lady Tigers' track and field team won the girls portion of the Town of Amherst Championships, four individual events and two relays at sectionals and sent seven competitors to the state meet. At the state meet, sophomore Ashley Fields won the girls Division I and Federation 100- and 200-meter dashes.
In other news this spring: Williamsville North grad Dan Gronkowski was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 2009 NFL Draft and Amherst grad Mark Rubin was picked by the St. Louis Rams as an unrestricted free agent, East Amherst's Brooks Orpik helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win an NHL Stanley Cup, and South grad Jim Dombrowski and Sweet Home grad Jackie Brummer were announced as two inductees for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.