Weekly Feature

2018-01-31 / Sports

Kenmore East track gearing up for postseason


Cardinal O’Hara junior Justin Hemphill holds up his commemorative 1,000-point ball with his teammates and coach Tony Pulvirenti during a ceremony Friday. Cardinal O’Hara junior Justin Hemphill holds up his commemorative 1,000-point ball with his teammates and coach Tony Pulvirenti during a ceremony Friday. The Kenmore East track teams have had a solid indoor season, despite some injuries. Between the boys and the girls teams, there are nine sectional qualifiers.

Among the top guys on the team is junior Nick Coburn, who has been solid in the 55-meter hurdles and broke the school record in the high jump with a leap of six feet. Junior John O’Connell qualified for sectionals in both the 300-meter run and the triple jump. Other sectional qualifiers include Connor Alderman (300 meter), Matt Geary (55-meter hurdles), Owen Nadrowski (weight throw) and Nolan DeJesus (weight throw).

“The season is going pretty well,” Kenmore East coach Tim Metivier said. “We should have a pretty good relay at sectionals too. We’ll either have the 4x200 or the 4x400, we haven’t decided yet. We have four sprinters going to the meet.”

On the girls’ side, senior pole vaulter Julia Brundin broke the school record with a leap of 10 feet-six inches. Fellow senior pole vaulter Kiara Smith also has qualified for sectionals. The final sectional qualifier is Emily Bandinelli in the 55-meter hurdles.

“They have also done well,” Metivier said. “We have had a couple injuries to sprinters on the girls’ side, but others have done well. We should have a relay for sectionals as well. I’m happy with how we’re progressing.”

The Bulldogs are currently preparing for team championships before sectionals, both of which take place over the next two weeks at Houghton College. For the team championship, the team will be in the second-largest of three game, but to be competitive against the larger Monsignor Martin teams. One of the keys to finishing the season strong for the Hawks will be to be consistent and get more production from players beyond Hemphill on offense.

“Those are good tests for us,” Pulvirenti said. “It matters toward our league record and stuff. But I want these guys to get a consistent mentality of going into Timon and Canisius thinking they can win, where in the past we’ve gone in there intimidated. If you’re intimidated, you already lost. This week, I hope we come in confident and we’re able to compete. Win or lose, we have to be able to compete. Only one team wins, we can’t win every game. But we want to compete in every game. That’s something I’ve been trying to get them to learn throughout the season.

“I talk about being consistent every day with them. It’s tough for adults to be consistent, let alone kids. If they can learn to buy in to being the same person every day and giving the same effort every day, we’re definitely going to be there every season.

“We’re much better when we get contributions from everybody. Justin is great, but we need to get more guys involved than just him if we’re going to win. We’re 7-1 when we score more than 70 points. My philosophy is we want to play harder and faster than most teams. Because most teams can’t play at the speed of scoring 70 or 80 points per game. That was definitely the game plan against St. Mary’s.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

divisions. They’re aiming to finish top-five among the 12 teams.

“A top-five finish would be a nice goal for us,” Metivier said. “I would be happy. We have those injuries, so we’re not at full strength. We also want to keep some kids fresh for sectionals instead of the team event.”

As for the sectional meet, there are a few athletes who have a good chance to make the state meet, including Coburn, Brundin and O’Connell.

“There are a couple people I think have a puncher’s chance for the state meet – Nick, John and Julia,” Metivier said. “They all have a decent chance. The way the section looks and with the things they do in workouts, it looks like they have a chance. It’s nice to have a state qualifier, we haven’t had one since 2014. It would be nice to break the drought this year.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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