Girls’ roster stacked with returning talent
West Seneca West’s girls track and field program can be counted on to be in the title hunt year in and year out — whether that’s regular-season division, ECIC, Section VI or even state-level titles — and, given the talent on this spring’s roster, 2017 should be more of the same for the Lady Indians.
In fact, even though West lost nine athletes off last year’s squad — including collegiate level competitors Nicole Torres (Niagara) and Shania LiVecchi (Daemen) — there’s no reason why the Lady Indians can’t match, or even improve on, last season’s 4-1 mark against league competition.
“The leadership of this year’s program is experienced and has a good pulse of the program, as well as a great rapport with their teammates,” coach Emilio Mancino said. “We have a very positive outlook for what we can achieve this season, and we are excited to be guiding the athletes we have to help them become the best they can be. We look forward to truly contending for the ECIC Division II title this spring, as has been the case every spring for seasons now.”
Having a returning state-level competitor — who’s only a sophomore — in the mix in Anna Rybczynski certainly boosts the Lady Indians’ confidence. Rybczynski, a standout performer in the distance events thanks in part to her success in cross-country during the fall, broke West’s 33-year old record in the 800-meter race with her effort of 2 minutes, 16.20 seconds at the annual Dunkirk Invitational. She followed that up by placing 27th at states in the 1,500.
Rybczynski isn’t the only Lady Indian who’ll be ready to light up the track or field this season, though. Other returning athletes who are hoping to have their impact felt early and often this year include senior co-captains Jordan Hauser (middle distance and relays), Emily Marchitte (sprints, sprint relays and horizontal jumps) and Alexis Ramirez (hurdles and relays); fellow seniors Cassandra Siwy (middle distance, sprints, relays and pole vault), Ashley Dibble (middle distance, sprints and relays) and Kayla Murray (hurdles, jumps, relays, pole vault and pentathlon); juniors Tiffany Major (throws) and Breanna Lambert (sprints and middle distance); and sophomores Emma Larkman (distance and relays) and Allison Stainsby (distance and relays).
Newcomers to the varsity squad who are also hoping to make an early positive impression for the Lady Indians include freshmen Madeline Freeland (sprints, sprint relays, hurdles and horizontal jumps), Danielle Lambert (throws), Madison Mariani (distance and relays), Tabitha Raithel (middle distance, sprints and relays), Kelsey Sainsbury (hurdles, jumps, sprints and sprint relays) and Samantha Sigler (throws and high jump), as well as eighth-grader Jasmine Mings (sprints, sprint relays, hurdles and horizontal jumps).
“I think our youth will stand out in that we have 20 freshmen comprising 54 percent of our roster this season,” Mancino said. “We will do our best to be as prepared, if not more prepared, to compete at a high level than most of our opponents. To that end, I think our team strengths will be most evident in the horizontal jumps, with the sprints and distance events sharing equal billing. Our girls team’s strengths will be shared equally among every major category of events.”
The Lady Indians look forward to finally getting the competitive portion of the season underway this week with a dual meet against Williamsville East and an invitational at Niagara Falls, but even more than that they’re eager for their annual invitational to arrive on Saturday, April 29. That’s because West’s program will be honoring the memory of former Lady Indian Erin McAneney — who recently lost her battle with cancer — by dedicating the meet’s girls 3,000 in her name.
McAneney’s mother, Susan, will be waiting at the finish line to present this season’s winner of the race with a special award. McAneney’s other family members and friends will be on hand, as well.