2015 undergraduate state champions: Division I – Sam Wray-11 Starpoint (discus). Division II – Alex Dildy-10 Bennett (100).
2015 undergraduate Section VI champions: Division I – Lavette Warren-11 Lockport (100), Jake Valley-11 Lancaster (long jump), Jeffrey Menya-11 Niagara Falls (110 and 400 hurdles), Steve Neumeier-11 Lancaster (1,600), Nathaniel Davis-9 Sweet Home (200), Matt Mercer-11 Orchard Park (steeplechase), Tresten White-10 Lockport (400), Colin Blair-11 Lancaster (discus, shot), Kahlil James-11 Lockport (4x100 relay), Lavette Warren-11 Lockport (4x100 relay), Tom Wendt-11 Lockport (4x100 relay), Dante Mount-11 Lockport (4x100 relay), Parker Welling-10 West Seneca West (4x400 relay), Will Schultz-11 Sweet Home (4x800 relay), Chris Nowak-10 Sweet Home (4x800 relay).
Division II – Owen Barber-11 Allegany-Limestone (800 and 1,600), Alex Dildy-10 Bennett (100, 200, 4x100 relay), TJ Murray-11 East Aurora (steeplechase), Kenny Vasbinder-11 East Aurora (3,200, 4x800 relay), Matt McLaughlin-11 East Aurora (4x400 relay, 4x800 relay), Zach Jones-11 Holland (pentathlon), Chris Hammond-11 Gowanda (triple jump), Kendrick Benson-10 Bennett (4x100 relay), Shundrekis Lewis-11 Bennett (4x100 relay).
2015 All-Catholic underclassmen: Desmond Nicholas-11 Canisius (100, 200), Marcus Brown-11 St. Joe’s (1,600), Anthony Belfatto-11 St. Joe’s (3,200), Darren Thompson-11 St. Joe’s (4x100), Marcus Evans-11 St. Joe’s (4x100), Cameron Means-11 St. Joe’s (4x100), Joe Downing-11 (4x400), Nathan Gora-10 St. Francis (4x800), Nick Motley-11 St. Joe’s (triple jump).
Legendary talents: Lancaster had the top team during the indoor season and has kept the momentum going during the outdoor season. The Legends have won four meets heading into Saturday’s Carl Roesch Classic at Clarence.
Besides depth, Lancaster has a few athletes who will take their talents to Division I schools. Steve Neumeier, who won a state indoor title in the 1,000 and currently has the top time in the mile (4:14.5), is heading to Cornell. Colin Blair, who won the state indoor shot put over the winter and looks to defend Section VI outdoor titles in the shot and discus, is taking his talents to South Florida. Connor Fuller, among the leaders in the 400, is heading to Butler. Defending Section VI long jump champion Jake Valley also has the potential to compete in college, while distance runner Brad Bedell will run at Geneseo.
More talents: College talents aren’t just confined to Lancaster’s roster.
Canisius’ Desmond Nicholas, the defending All-Catholic champion in the 100 and 200, will trade his Blue and Gold uniform for the Blue and Maize of the Michigan Wolverines. Nicholas has run 10.5 in the 100 and also holds school records in that event as well as the 200 and helped set records with the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Indoor records he owns include 55 meters, long jump and 4x200 relay.
Sweet Home sprinter Jalen Wallace is heading to the University at Buffalo, while mid-distance runner Will Schultz is bound to Geneseo.
East Aurora’s Matt McLaughlin will join older sister Marta at Division II Grand Valley State in Grand Rapids, Mich. McLaughlin has helped the Blue Devils win three state cross country titles and was part of the 4x400 last season that became EA’s first state championship relay team.
Teammate Kenny Vasbinder, the two-time state cross country champion and All-American, is heading to Columbia. But he hopes to win a state title, perhaps in the 3,200, to cap his Blue Devils career. “He’ll be chasing that,” coach Walt McLaughlin said.
Fellow EA senior TJ Murray, a part of two winning state cross country teams and a steeplechase runner, will attend Albany.
Keeping up with the Joneses: Holland’s Zach Jones, who is heading to Albany, had the nation’s top score in the pentathlon until being passed by Geneseo’s Kyle Rollins last Saturday, according to MileSplit. Still, Jones’ total of 3,233 trails Rollins by only 45 points. Should both handle their business at their respective sectional meets, states next month should be quite interesting. Jones also has the top time in the area in 110 and 400 hurdles.
Defending state discus champion and UB-commit Sam Wray of Starpoint has a top throw of 191-2, which is almost 13 feet better than the next closest thrower in that event.
Lockport’s Lavette Warren finished second in the 100 in his first state meet last year and currently has the top time among Section VI runners in the event. He’s also part of the 4x100 sectional championship relay that broke Hutch-Tech’s heart last season. The Engineers return all four members of that relay – Amir Hunter, Jibreel Abdul-Nafi, Jack Manue and Ahsanul Haque – that missed qualifying for states by two-tenths of a second.
Others to keep an eye on include Orchard Park distance runner and past state qualifier Matt Mercer, whose 9:36.67 time is the runaway leader among the ranked in the steeplechase; St. Joe’s Darren Thompson, who has the top time in the state in the 200; North Tonawanda’s Cody Sikora in the 400; Alex Buzinski of Canisius in the long jump, Lew-Port’s Sean Foley in the pole vault and Hamburg’s Ethan Reimondo in the high jump. Talented junior Chris Nowak is part of Sweet Home’s 4x400 relay which has the top time in the area.
City stars: Besides reigning state champion Alex Dildy of Bennett, other Buffalo athletes to keep an eye on include:
Tigers teammates Kendrick Benson (200) and Shundrekis Lewis in the high jump, Avery Roper of City Honors in long jump, Amir Hunter of Hutch-Tech in 200, Dave Robertson of Hutch-Tech (high jump) and sprinter/jumper Keyon Johnson of McKinley.
Key dates: All-Catholic Championships at St. Francis, Saturday and Sunday; All-High meet Tuesday and next Wednesday at All High Stadium, ECIC Championships at Pioneer May 27-28, Section VI state qualifier at Pioneer June 3-4; state championship meet at Cicero-North Syracuse June 10-11.
Prep Talk Player of the Year candidates: Nicholas, Wray, Neumeier, Blair, Dildy, etc.