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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 14, 2011

Lady Dutch track-and-field rising to the top

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– Just a few points separate the Lady Dutch from the perennial track-and-field powers of Shaker and Colonie in the Suburban Council. Guilderland easily handled the competition from Averill Park and Columbia on Monday.

Dick Usher, who has coached the Dutch for 30 years, highlighted a sturdy list of female athletes this week. A few of the girls have broken school records in the past year and Usher said that every one of them would improve as the season progresses.

“We have a strong team,” said Usher. “We’re going to give Shaker and Colonie a battle. We won’t roll over and play dead this time.”

After breaking an indoor track record for the triple jump during the winter, junior Catalena Diamente jumped 36 feet, 11 inches to break a Guilderland outdoor record on Monday. Diamente also competes in the long jump and the 400-meter run.

Long-legged, lean, and light as a feather, Diamente might give a false impression. “You wouldn’t think that she’s a jumper,” Usher said. “But, she’s very easy to work with and loves the sport. I foresee more records for her.”

Another record-setter is sophomore Kendra Lizotte, who pole-vaulted over a height of 10 feet, 6 inches last year to set a new mark for Guilderland. She’s cleared nine feet already this season while finishing in first place in two separate events.

Usher told The Enterprise that senior Liz Tapler is the best all-around athlete for the Lady Dutch. She’s looking forward to competing in the pentathlon, which is five events –– high jump, long jump, 100-meter hurdles, shot put, and 800-meter run. On Monday, Tapler placed second in high jump by clearing 4 feet, 10 inches.

“She’s currently the best shot put thrower on the team, but that’s not even her best event,” Usher said.

Junior Dejana Harris ran a 70.7 in the 400-meter hurdles on Monday, a personal best. She broke the indoor track record for the 55-meter hurdles over the winter. Her time of 17.2 in the 100-meter hurdles on Monday was enough for second place.

The top three distance runners for Guilderland are sophomore Michele Fish, eighth-grader Emily Burns, and junior Sarah Buckley. At the CBA/LaSalle relays, Burns and Fish both ran a 5:01 in separate races for the 1500-meter event. Buckley placed second in the 3000-meter two weeks ago at Shaker with a time of 11:07.

Rounding out Usher’s sizeable list of athletes are Laurie Knapp and Abby Marco. Knapp is Guilderland’s best sprinter and Marco is the team’s finest 400-meter hurdle runner. Usher also hopes that Anna Pickett and Lea Cure would “find their stride shortly.”

Besides Usher, the Lady Dutch have three other coaches: Pete Cure for pole vault, middle, and long-distance running; Mike Schafer for sprints; and Dan Penna for shot put and discus.

“We’re focused on our specific events, but are willing to help each other out,” said Usher, who concentrates on hurdles, high jump, long jump, and triple jump. “We love to work with kids and succeed.”

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