Pat Osuch, pictured here hurdling last season, is a key returning athlete for the Frontier boys team. (Photo courtesy of Ron Olson)
In 2012, St. Francis enjoyed a season to remember, setting numerous school and Monsignor Martin league records on its way to winning a third consecutive All-Catholic title. This year’s challenge will be replacing 20-plus seniors who graduated while competing in the very competitive MMAA.
Among the top returning athletes is Derrick Weyrough, who was a member of the 4x400 relay, which broke a 41-year MMAA record with a time of 3:22.01, will be concentrating on the sprints. Brennan Macey is the defending All-Catholic champion in the high jump. Macey will be asked to help on the runway and in the sprints. He already jumped 20-feet in the long jump and cleared 5-10 in the high jump.
Jacob Smolinski will help in both jumping and throwing for a team trying to replace seven seniors who graduated last spring. Kerrick Woyshner is proving to be just as diverse mixing in the discus with his main role as a distance runner. Ben Brady looks to follow up strong cross country and indoor seasons in the distance races.
Among the top St. Francis underclassmen looking to make their mark include sophomore Chris Walter, who finished second in the long jump at the Webster Invite and junior Elliot Buccieri, a sprinter who qualified for the 400 and took third at the Webster Invite in the 400 hurdles.
Juniors Aaron Hayes, who comes back from an injury, and Tim Bartnik, a returning All-Catholic qualifier in the 4x800, look to be a factor in the middle distance and the mile.
Sophomore throwers Matt Kowalski and Nick Weikle are getting valuable experience early on this season, while sophomore distance runners Adam Gargano and Noah Zydel are already contributing. Juniors Bryan Peek and Brett Bosinski are scoring points in the sprints and Ryan Kawalerski looks to be healthy and running well in the 400 after missing last season.
Freshmen Isaih Utley and Nick Miller provide depth in both the distance and sprinting events. Utley is also a steeplechaser and Miller, a hurdler, while competing at invites.
Also of note, seniors Mike Taylor and Dalton Reynolds are hoping to provide depth in the distance and jumps, respectively. Reynolds, the surprise of the spring, qualified for the high jump with a 5-4 effort and the triple jump (38-9). Taylor took fifth in the 3000 steeplechase at the Webster Invite.
St. Francis will meet Canisius on May 1 and St. Joe’s on May 8 with All-Catholics set for May 13-15 at Stransky Sports Complex in West Seneca. St. Francis will also take part in Invites throughout the season, including at Hamburg on May 3 and Frontier on May 10.
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will be led by senior co-captains Chris Kirsch and Tyler Gates, who have kept teammates motivated during some of the worst preseason weather. Krisch is looking to get back to sectionals and Gates leads the team in the throwing circles. Junior Chase Klawon will also be pivotal as he leads the 400 hurdles, long jump and triple jump efforts.
Freshman Joe Lopez and junior Jon Bley should be the top runners in the 100 and 200. Junior Peter Schmitz will sprint and look to improve his best of 10-6 in the pole vault. Kyle Schwertfager will sprint and triple jump. Versatile senior Zach Boris will look to keep improving his times for the 400 and help out with the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Senior Tyler Bernas and sophomores Arek VanKueren and Jeremy Nytrai round out a promising middle-distance group. In the longer races, junior Adam Brawdy and freshman John Satanek are leading the pack. Freshman Sam Gaglione is close behind the top two and has turned his focus to the steeplechase.