Nia Stevens, the state champion in the 200-meter dash, hopes to make an impact at the nationals this weekend. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Danielle Orie of Nardin finished eighth in the girls one-mile emerging elite race at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. She finished in a time of 4 minutes, 57 seconds in a race for those who narrowly missed meeting qualifying standards for the top flight. Orie was the Prep Talk Athlete of the Year in girls cross country last fall.

Orie will be taking part in the championship level in the 2-mile run today at the competition. She’ll be joined over the weekend by a handful of other top track and field standouts from Western New York. On

Saturday, the Sweet Home 4x100 relay team of Anthony Williams, Eric Johnson, Thomas Rivera and Nathaniel Davis will be running. That group won the state Federation title last weekend. Gabrielle Orie, Danielle’s sister, will take part in the 2,000-meter steeplechase. Nia Stevens of Tapestry will run in the emerging elite 200-meter dash, and will be part of the school’s team in the 4x100 team in the emerging elite division.

On Sunday, Anton Kunnas of North Tonawanda competes in the pole vault. Paul Kemsley of Lancaster goes after the discus title. Nathaniel Davis of Sweet Home runs in the 200 meters. All three won overall titles at the state meet. Meanwhile, Treston White of Lockport will take part in the 400-meter run.

Akron softball saluted

Akron has been named as this year’s winner of the Community Service Challenge by the New York State Public High School Athletic Challenge. Akron was picked by the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, which is made up of two current student-athletes from each of the 11 sections and three student leaders.

The honor is designed to salute students who become involved in their local community. They join with their schools in developing and executing a program.

In this case, the Akron varsity softball team created a program called “Just DOnate It!” In 2016, the squad collected 7,500 pounds of used softball equipment. It was shipped to Bani, Dominican Republic. Akron student-athletes visited Bani in January to distribute the equipment and teach the game of softball. Return trips are planned in the next two years to provide footwear and medical equipment.

“ ‘Just DOnate It!’ was a simple idea, and the players, our school, community businesses, the US Air Force and all of Western New York worked like a team and made it happen,” said Marlene Stone, Akron softball coach. “The hard work and persistence of these student-athletes will have a tangible impact in our Dominican sister city for years.”

Akron High School will be presented an award and recognized for their accomplishments at the NYSPHSAA Recognition Luncheon on July 25 in Clayton.

The next step

• Basketball standout Dominic Welch of Cheektowaga has announced on Twitter that he will attend Spire Institute Prep School in Geneva, Ohio, next season. He’ll be part of the Class of 2018 there. Welch won the Allen Wilson Player of the Year award as the top player in Western New York last season. He broke the Section VI career scoring record, averaging more than 30 points per game.

• Nate Luckman of Barker will attend Niagara County Community College next season. He has been an All-Niagara-Orleans first-team selection for the past two seasons, and is the fourth player in school history to score 1,000 points in his career. Luckman was a second-team all-star pick in Class C. He has the school record for three-points baskets in a career (176).

Stars needed

We’re compiling a list of all-stars for the various conferences around Western New York for the spring sports season. Please send them to sports@buffnews.com when they become available.

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