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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 16, 2009

Voorheesville track and field a mainstay in Colonial Council

By Jordan J. Michael

COHOES –– The color purple is easy to find at a track meet.

The Voorheesville track and field team continued its success at the Colonial Council Relays in Cohoes on Tuesday. The team is already a powerhouse in Class C after the boys came in first and girls second at sectionals in 2008.

“Phil Carducci and I have been coaching this program for four years now and the bar has been raised,” said Head Coach Steve Relyea. “We’re lucky to have formed a base with all these great athletes. The team started placing well and it has attracted more and more athletes every year.”

Sophmore Caitlin Abelseth is new to the team after playing softball for the Lady Blackbirds in years past. Her 4 x 400 meter relay team came in third with a time of 52.69.

“I had been playing softball since I was 6 years old, but I started running part-time for the track team last year,” said Abelseth after her race in Cohoes. “I decided to drop softball because I like track better. I’ve always been fast, so I’m putting it to good use.”

Ashley Tremblay joined the Blackbirds last year to help coach the sprinters. Tremblay told The Enterprise that she started coaching the athletes “differently.” “I used to run track in college and I used these crazy workouts,” she said. “These runners take instruction well and are willing to try new things.”

The Voorheesville girls took second place in the sprint medley relay Tuesday with a time of 2:11.83. The boys placed fourth in the 800-meter relay with a time of 1:40.40, and the girls had a time of 1:51.61 to come in second place in the same event.

Carducci has seen the distance runners come a long way over the years. “I tell them to lock out all the other teams at the meet,” he said. “They’re not going to be intimidated by other runners. We beat Shenendehowa four years ago and everything changed after that.”

The girls’ relay team of Karen Obertubbesing, Brianna Lee, Carla Planz, and Michelyn Little took first in the 1600-meter. The boys’ relay team of John Malfetano, Tim Wood, Talyor Treadgold, and David VanDervort posted a 9:55.20 to take first place in the 3200-meter.

“The distance runners can compete in any event and they’re not getting any younger,” Carducci said. “We joke around and say that we can break all these records, but it’s not that far from the truth. They’re going to surprise some people.”

Lady Bird jumpers Jane Pritchard and Karen Dawson combined triple jumps for a length of 57 feet, 6 inches to take first place. The girls also took second place in the long- jump relay with a combined measurement of 27 feet, 11 inches.

“I’m hoping to reach 17 feet by the end of the season, so I can re-break my record,” said senior Chelsey LeFevre. “I just have to stretch a little further.”

Voorheesville, Schalmont, and Lansingburgh all tied at 8 feet, 11 inches for the girls’ high jump relay. Lady Bird teammates Seneca Gray and Sarah Williams, like the rest of the field, couldn’t clear the 4 feet, 10 inch bar.

“There are so many things running through your mind when you’re high jumping,” said Gray after trying to clear the bar three times. “You come around the curve, plant the feet, use the arms to drive, lean the head back, and snap your ankles back. It becomes second nature after a while.”

Relyea has his eyes set on sectional championships for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Lansingburgh, Holy Names, and Albany Academy will be a test for Voorheesville in the regular season.

“The boys lost to Lansingburgh already, so they’re still getting in shape,” said Relyea. “On the girls’ side, beating Holy Names is something to work for. Each meet will be a progression.”

“I’ve been involved with track and field since I was in high school, so it’s very important to me,” Relyea said. “I’m glad that I was able to build a successful team in a town that I call home.”

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