A year ago, Armani Merlino of Lancaster finished one place in front of Tom Appenheimer of Cardinal O'Hara.
Saturday, Merlino finished in front of the O'Hara star again, winning the large schools boys race of the West Seneca Invitational at Sunshine Park in West Seneca.
Appenheimer was second in 16:15.06 over the 5K course at Sunshine Park in West Seneca. Merlino won in 16:11.32.
Anna Rybczynski of West Seneca West won the girls large school race in 20.37.9. That was a little slower than her third-place time in 2017 (20.32) but that race wasn't run in the hot conditions for this year's invitational.
The West Seneca West girls defended their team title with Rybczynski leading the way, winning by 51 points. Teammates Allison Stainsby (4) and Sara Mruk (7) finished in the top 10.
Penfield from Section won the boys large school team title with its best individual finish a fifth by Zachary Gauronski.
Individual small school winners were sophomore Ellie Decker of Silver Creek in 20:56.50 and freshman Kyle Urban of Alden in 17:34.47.
Sacred Heart won the girls team title for small schools, 11 points better than Springville. Batavia, another Section V team, won the boys small school title. Batavia was led by a second place finish by Mario Rosales and a fourth by Zakariah Jantzi.
Hamburg soccer on a streak
Hamburg is riding a school record shutout streak in boys soccer and they're doing it with a goalkeeper who just started playing the position 15 months ago.
Nate Neudeck and the Bulldogs took the lead in ECIC II with a 1-0 victory at defending champion Williamsville East. The goal was a hedesr by senior Andrew Lauria in the 35th minute off a corner kick by Seth Heeter.
"Neudeck is long (6-foot-3) and works extremely hard, Hamburg coach Tony Schiappa said of his goalkeeper. "The guys in front of him are three-year starters Austin Hubert, Alex Roth, Mike Lange and Williamsville East."
While pointing out that "championships are not won in September," Schiappa noted that it was Williamsville East that ended Hamburg's shot at a four-peat for the sectional Class championship last year.
"That was extra motivation four our kids," Schiappa said.
Williamsville East was ranked No. 1 and Hamburg fourth in last week's WNY Coaches Poll for large schools. Both are ranked in the State. Each is 7-1 now in overall, but Hamburg is 5-0 in the divison while the Flames are 5-1.
No. 1 EA girls triumph
East Aurora, the No. 1 ranked small school in WNY girls soccer, marched on with a 4-0 triumph over Maryvale.
Julia Patterson scored with an assist by Katherine Jancevski in the 10th minute to get the Blue Devils in front. Jancevski scored the next two for EA then assisted on Lucy Creighton's second hafl goal.
Not to be outdone, the East Aurora boys went to St. Joe's and pinned a 4-1 loss on the Marauders.
Two East Aurora captains accounted for three goals and an assist. Alex Baase scored in the fifth minute after he assisted on a tally by Adam Russ.
Josh Bean had two goals within a span of a minute in the second half for the Blud Devils.
Raiders win v-ball title
In boys volleyball, St. Francis (7-1) defeated Williamsville East, 25-19, 25-21 in the final set top win the Cheektowaga Invitational. The Raiders went 5-1 in pool play and defeated Maryvale, 25-17, 25-16, in the semifinals.SF: Jack Rooney had seven digs and Mario Moretti 15 assists in the final match against the Flames.