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Surdej, Donner, Hanlon win state indoor track titles; Park hoops, Sweet Home hockey advance in states

Lancaster’s Jon Surdej and Iroquois’ Rachel Donner took first place in the shot put Saturday at the state indoor track and field championships at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.

Surdej, a junior, had a winning throw of 58 feet, 10.75 inches, while Donner’s heave traveled 42 feet, 1 inch.

Dunkirk’s Emilee Hanlon became a state champion, too, winning the girls high jump by clearing 5 feet, 7 inches.

Section VI earned a number of second-place finishes, as well.

  • Kenmore West’s Christina Wende’s triple jump of 38-3 took second; she also placed fifth in long jump and seventh in the 55-meter hurdles.
  • Sweet Home’s Nathaniel Davis was second in long jump at 23-2.75
  • Orchard Park’s Leah Pasqualetti finished second in pole vault (12-9).
  • Lancaster’s Natalia Surdej was second in the weight throw (49-4).

Additionally, Ian Russ of Holland/EA finished third in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in 9:15.60, while Sweet Home took third in the 4x200 relay. The Panthers team, made of up Anthony Williams, Eric Johnson, Tommy Rivera and Davis, finished in 1:30.04, which beat the meet record but not runners from Cornwall and Brentwood.

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Park to play for state title

Park basketball moved one win away from the Catholic Class A state title Saturday by beating St. Anthony’s of Long Island on the road, 51-40.

Senior Brandon Smith led Park (22-5) with 19 points while Noah Hutchins scored 13 and Daniel Scott added eight.

Park used a strong defensive effort to pull away after halftime, outscoring St. Anthony’s 20-11 in the third and fourth quarters.

“We made a defensive adjustment,” first-year Park coach Rich Jacob said. “Went to a triangle-and-2 defense and the matchups worked out. We were able to shut down their best scorers.”

Jacob credited Hutchins, Scott and Smith for their defensive effort, taking on St. Anthony’s best scorers, while Park’s big men clogged the lanes and controlled the backboards.

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Park plays Nazareth of Brooklyn for the state championship. The game will be played at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, March 11 at Villa Maria, following the B state final featuring Niagara Catholic at 1 p.m.

Canisius, which had its three-year reign as Manhattan Cup champions ended earlier this week by Park, faced Nazareth earlier this year in the Tom Keenan Memorial Tournament and won, 68-53.

“They’re quick and deep,” Jacob said of Nazareth. “As in any championship game, we’ll have our hands full.”

Park last won a state title in 2015 while competing in Class B. It was moved up to Class A the following year.

Sweet Home hockey wins regional

Tyler Edholm scored twice and set up another goal to lead Sweet Home hockey to a 3-1 win over Northeast Clinton in the regional round of the state playoffs at Rouses Point Civic Center.

The win sends Sweet Home to the Division II state semifinals, which will be held next weekend at HarborCenter. The Panthers have never won a state championship.

Edholm opened the scoring with his 29th goal of the season. He added his 30th later in the game on a goal from Andy Czyz and Boomer Regian. Czyz had two assists.

Sweet Home led 3-0 after two periods. Northeast Clinton got on the board with 2:30 to play but wouldn’t come any closer.

Sweet Home plays III-Auburn in the state semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at HarborCenter. Auburn beat X-Ogdensburg in the regional, 5-2.

Elsewhere, St. Mary’s hockey lost in the Catholic state championship game Saturday at Coney Island Ice Arena, falling to St. Anthony’s, 4-1.

The Lancers, who beat St. Joe’s to win the Niagara Cup, kept that momentum early and led 1-0 after the first. But St. Anthony’s took the lead in the second and never looked back.

OP, Frontier girls to meet in AA

Frontier girls basketball reached the Class AA championship game, and it avenged last year’s title loss to get there.

Fifth-seeded Frontier beat No. 6 Clarence, 46-39, Saturday night at Kenmore West to advance to Wednesday’s final against Orchard Park, at 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo State.

Kennedy Izzo recorded 17 points, 10 rebounds and five steals to lead Frontier while Claire Kruska scored 14 points and Erin Henry had eight.

But defense was the key. Frontier’s full-court press forced Clarence into 16 turnovers.

Ella Rose Eckert led Clarence with 17 points. Carly Reynolds had 11.

No. 1 Orchard Park won Saturday’s other semifinal, cruising past fifth-seeded Jamestown, 57-30.

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“We’ve been having a problem the last couple games of starting slow,” coach Gary Janas said. “I stressed starting fast on offense and the girls did a fantastic job. ... We really took control.”

OP led 19-9 after the first quarter and pushed its lead to 16 at halftime.

Sam Fischer finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds while Danielle Hore scored 17 and had six assists.

“Sam is, in my opinion, one of the best forwards in Western New York,” Janas said. “In a one-on-one matchup, I’ll take her any day.”

Fischer passed her own school record for single-season scoring Saturday, reaching 377. Janas said the 5-10 forward is athletic enough to battle with bigs but also fast enough to go coast-to-coast.

Orchard Park won both meetings against Frontier this year.

Kirk tops state in rifle

Section VI had a strong day at West Point during the state rifle championships, winning the sectional title and taking home a number of other championships.

Section VI shooters totaled 1,722 points, which beat Section III’s 1,664 points for the sectional title.

Lancaster won its first team title in the sport, with its 1,146 points edging second-place III-Central Square, which logged 1,135. The Legends were led by Kiersten Mucha (293), Mason Kowalski (289), Alex Hangen (287) and Emma Randall (277).

Mucha, a senior, took first place in the prone and standing positions after posting a 99.07 and 97.05, respectively, while her 97.05 in kneeling was good for fifth.

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Sophomore Alexis Kirk of Clarence won the kneeling with 99.07, and used fourth-place finishes in prone and stadning to beat Mucha for the aggregate title, 293.20 to 293.17. Kowalski was fifth with 289.14.

In the 30-shot standing competition, Lancaster took second to VIII-Valley Stream, but Section VI beat Section VIII for the sectional title by one point, 1,694-1,693. Kirk was second with 289.16.

O’Connell 5th in swimming

Hamburg’s Liam O’Connell took fifth place in the A final of the 200-yard freestyle at the state swimming championships Saturday, finishing in 1 minute, 42.93 seconds.

O’Connell also played fifth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:38.69. Williamsville East’s Andrew Clough was close behind in 4:40.44, which was good for seventh place.

Clough also took third in the 200 free B final (1:43.79), good for a 13th overall finish.

East Aurora’s Charles Morris placed 10th in the A final in the 100 breaststroke, clocking in at 59.42.

Hamburg’s Michael Maurer won the B final in the 200-yard IM in 1:56.92, good for 11th overall. He also finished second in the B final of the 100 backstroke (52.63).

Williamsville East’s Bryan Hong won the B final in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 21.47 seconds. That beat out Kenmore’s Benjamin Harper, who tied in third in 21.71.

Lockport’s Mark Crocker was fourth in the B final of the 100-yard butterfly in 52.27.

In the team event, Hamburg took 18th with 65 points, earning the best finish of any Section VI team.

Williamsville East was a point back in 19th, while East Aurora was 51st, Kenmore was 65th and Lockport finished 67th.

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