Let's start with the boys of Division 1, and a couple of usual contenders are there: Sweet Home and Lancaster. Nathanial Davis and Chris Nowak are the clear standouts for the Panthers. Davis leads Western New York in the 100 meters, and he's an obvious threat to everyone in the 200. Nowak is way ahead of anyone else locally in the 1,600 and 3,200. Sweet Home's 4x100 relay team will be tough to catch. Lancaster usually contends in the throwing events, and the Legends have some good ones in John Sudej and Paul Kemsley. Dave Wolanin has been exceptional in the 200. Lockport's Treston White is the early favorite in the 400 meters, and he's part of a very good 4x400 replay team. Orchard Park has a fine one-two punch in Cal Puskar and Michael Totaro in the 800.
In Division 2, Shevaughn Allen of JFK must spend some of his time figuring out which events to enter. He's the top three locally in the 110 hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump. Maple Grove, with its superb distance-running tradition, always does well despite being the 53rd-biggest school in its group. Michael Peppy is a standout there. East Aurora is great at the middle distances too; look for Ian Russ and Patrick Murray to contend. Kellen Martin of Cattaragus/Little Valley is one of the best hurdlers in the division.
The MMAA has the usual contenders on top. Canisius' Joel Nicholas is one of the best 200-meter runners in WNY, and Paul Woods and Alex Buczynski are two top long jumpers. St. Joe's offers Ryan Chmeil in the 800 meters, and Turner Dirrigl and Jordan Obrochta in the 3,200. St. Francis has the best 4x400 team in the MMAA, and Jeffrey Walter could be a threat to do some damage in the pentathlon. "He won four different events against us," St. Joe's coach Matt Hellerer said.
For the girls of Division 1, Jenna Crean of Orchard Park is a threat in all of the sprints - 100, 200 and 400. But she'll be challenged by Kahniya James of Lockport, who is having a great year. Olivia Gervan of Lancaster has the best high jump in WNY, and Legends teammate Brianna McKenzie can say the same about the shot put. West Seneca West has a fine team; Anna Rybczynski is a threat to go to the states in the 800. Katrina Patterson of Clarence is in the top 10 in three middle distances.
In Division 2, any discussion about sprinting starts with Nia Stevens of Tapestry, who won the 100 and 200 last year. Teammate Taylor Hunter is very quick, giving the team two building blocks in the 4x100. Silver Creek gets off to a good start with sprinter Emma Seiders, but Emma Johnson of Olean should be right there with her. Silver Creek also has a top athlete in the 400 hurdles in Krystel Schwab, but Lauren Swan of a strong Southwestern team should be right with her. East Aurora has such distance runners as Megan and Molly McLaughlin along with Tori Klimowitz and Maisy Webster. The Blue Devils naturally should do well in the 4x800 relay. Kylee Odell of Clymer/Sherman/Panama has broken 5 minutes in the 1,500.
In the MMAA, Nardin does as well as anyone thanks to the Orie twins. Danielle has the best times in the area in the 1,500 and 3,000, and sister Gabrielle is tops in the 2,000 steeplechase by about eight seconds. The Gators are the dominant team in the league. Sacred Heart is trying to gain ground on Nardin. "Every week I keep finding new surprises," SH coach Sue Epstein said. Sarah Wack has has done well at the middle distances, and the relay teams might be ready to surprise at the All-Catholic meet this weekend. Coach Charles Planz won the team title last year at Immaculata, but moved to St. Mary's of Lancaster when his old school closed. He has a young team, featuring Kathryn Vogl in the long jump and triple jump.