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High School Girls Track and Field: Immaculata strong again, Hamburg performs well in loss

Renee Meinhold is a key returning athlete for Hamburg. She’ll be a mainstay for the Bulldogs in the hurdle events. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Immaculata has won the past three All-Catholic titles. The Bears don’t plan on slowing down one bit.

Head coach Charlie Planz has been thoroughly impressed with what he’s seen so far this spring in running away with a Monsignor Martin three-team meet and a few performances in multi-team Invitationals. The Bears bring back 28 athletes while fielding a team with 31 newcomers for the burgeoning program.

“It looks pretty promising for us to repeat,” Planz said. “We’re very well balanced. We have strength all over the place.”

Over the weekend, sophomore Meghan Krawiec won all of the jumping events, taking the high, long and triple, at the Fleet Feet meet at All-High Stadium as Immaculata took second among 17 teams.

Krawiec jumped 34-feet, 6-inches in the triple, 15-7 in the long and 4-8 in the high jump. Already having competed nationally, Krawiec is the protege of star jumper Kaitlyn Lopez, who made the traveling team for Division I Penn State this spring.

Immaculata’s also very strong in the throwing events and in the middle and long distances.

Kathryn Halloran, who’s also playing softball this spring, took second in the shot put at the Fleet Feet meet, while right behind her was classmate Bailey Gawley in fourth.

The distance runners will be led by the Attea sisters, Claire, a junior, in the 1500 and 3000, and Grace, a sophomore, in the 800. Freshman Rachel Luczak is also developing in the longer distance running events.

Junior Samantha Grasso ran 65 seconds in the 400 meters, while freshman Isabelle Blanchard was right behind in 69 seconds. The sprints are being led by senior Kelsey Krawiec.

“The kids are helping each other, the older girls are good mentors and the freshmen are banging on the doors and coming along,” Planz said. “It’s amazing what’s been going on.”

Although losing 90-51 to powerful Williamsville North team in ECIC Division II action last week, Hamburg opened the season with some very strong performances.

Sophomore Amy Villarini, a returning sectional finalist in the 100 and 200 meters, already attained sectional consideration times and won both events, along with the 400. Newcomers Samantha Ruszczyk made sectional times in the 100 and 400 hurdles, winning both, while Meghan Haggerty won the pole vault. Haggerty was a sectional qualifier during the indoor winter season.

Sophomore Erin Cuddihy attained personal bests in the 800 and 1500, while Alicia Giles recorded a best by more than two feet in the shot put and junior Renee Meinhold put up a personal bests in 400 hurdles and triple jump. Rosemary Herbst and Emilee Puccio notched bests in the 300. Also for Hamburg, sophomore Ashley Kabza, senior captain Brooke Dehlinger, Villarini and Ruszczyk teamed together in the 400-meter relay to record a sectional-qualifying time.

Also expected to contribute are senior Brooke Dehlinger in the sprints, senior captain Grace Maecker in the 200, senior captain Cookie Meissner in the 800 and junior Leah Covelli in the steeplechase and in a utility role. Seventh grader Molly Kabza will add to the middle distances, while big sister, Ashley, will also help in sprints and jumps.

Those two squads and a plethora of others will compete in upcoming Invitationals at Hamburg on May 3 and Frontier on May 10.
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