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High School Extra: OP's Leah Pasqualetti wins pole vault at Millrose Games

The Millrose Games began on Thursday at the Armory in New York City. The prestigious annual indoor athletics meet features some of the top track and field athletes in the United States.

Orchard Park pole vaulter Leah Pasqualetti took home first place in the girls pole vault.

Pasqualetti was the lone jumper to clear the bar at 13 feet, 7.25 inches.

Pasqualetti was the last in the group of 13 to attempt her first jump. She cleared 12-5.5 in just one attempt. By that time, six of her competitors had already been eliminated for missing three consecutive vaults.

In total, Pasqualetti vaulted four times. She cleared 13 feet, 1.5 inches in one attempt. She needed two attempts at her winning height.

The event came down between her and Lancaster, Pa. native Sydney Horn. Horn could not complete the jump at 13-7.25.

Pasqualetti did not get the opportunity to break the meet record of 14 feet set in 2014 by Desiree Freier. Last Saturday, she broke the state pole vault record at 14 feet, 3 inches in the Section VI Groundhog Classic at Houghton College.

Also competing on Thursday evening was Lancaster thrower Natalia Surdej.

Surdej place third in the girls weight throw event with a 58-0.5 throw on her fifth attempt.

Surdej’s previous high this year was 57-2 and ranked second nationally.

She was narrowly beaten by Cheyenn Figuroa from Providence, RI who recorded a 58-4 throw on her sixth and final attempt.

Monique Hardy of Webster, near Rochester, placed first with a 66-11.25.

The Millrose Games will continue on Saturday.

Competing from WNY will be Frontier’s boys 4x800 team of Brian Gleason, Preston Bova, Connor O’Brien, and Josh Peron. They are the number two seed after breaking the Section VI indoor record at 7 minutes, 56.05 seconds, ranking third nationally heading into the event.

Jada Kenner from Tapestry will race in the girls 60-meter dash. She is vying for the state record as an eighth-grader at 8.05.

Centercourt Classic
With the boys basketball playoffs set to begin later this month, 12 teams will use the annual Centercourt Classic as a way of seeing just where they stand before heading into the postseason.

The two-day event at Williamsville North begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a doubleheader and ends Saturday night with a battle between Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the Buffalo News large schools poll.

Tickets are $5 per day for all games and can be purchased at the door.

Reigning Section VI Class C-2 champion Randolph faces Class B contender Iroquois to tip things off Friday. The second game pits ECIC I rivals Jamestown and North against each other at 7:45 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule features four games with the first pitting Nichols against East at 1 p.m. State runners-up Middle College and Cardinal O’Hara battle at 2:45 p.m. Lewiston-Porter and St. Joe’s meet in the penultimate game at 4:30 p.m.

The main event features No. 1 Canisius against No. 2 Health Sciences. Both teams head into the game coming off close losses on the road.

Prep Talk AOW
Lancaster hockey player Max Richter and Grand Island hockey player Abigail Blair have been named the boys and girls Prep Talk Athletes of the Week, sponsored by Sgroi Financial, in voting done by visitors to

Richter scored a hat trick in a win against Canisius that clinched the top seed in the WNY Federation playoffs for the Legends. He is tied for fifth in the Fed with 30 points this season. He received 49% of the vote.

Blair tallied three goals and three assists in two playoff victories putting Kenmore/Grand Island in the Section VI final. She moved into top 15 all-time in WNY girls varsity scoring with 94 points. She received 54% of the vote.

Voting is conducted on, beginning each Monday. The voting concludes Thursdays at noon. To nominate an athlete for consideration, send an email to

Kirk sets ECIC record
Clarence senior Alexis Kirk set an ECIC rifle record with a 296 out of 300 in the three-position air rifle over Pioneer.
Clarence defeated Pioneer, 1,159 to 1,138 in the match.

The Red Devils are an undefeated 14-0 in ECIC this year.

Clarence is the reigning state champions in rifle.

Woodard leads Eden
Eden junior Brooke Woodard led the Raiders with 18 points in a 86-26 win against Lackawanna. During the game, Woodard became the new career scoring leader for Eden. She has 1,047 points.

Jenna Phillips previously held the record with 1,037 points. It was set in 2010.

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