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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 22, 2010

Dutchmen track on the way up

By Jordan J. Michael

COLONIE –– The Guilderland boys’ track and field team won’t be focusing on the scoreboard this season.

The Dutchmen couldn’t keep up with Colonie and Shaker at a meet on Tuesday, losing by at least 60 points to both teams. That’s why Guilderland isn’t keeping track of the scores.

Head Coach Pete Wachtel said that Colonie and Shaker are two of the best teams in the Suburban Council. “Shaker will probably win the league,” he said.

“We want to focus on everybody getting better with every meet,” said Wachtel. “We would be letting ourselves down if we concentrated on wins and losses. There is no where to go but up.”

The varsity and junior-varsity team is composed of 80 athletes, and almost 60 of them are freshmen and sophomores. “Everything is very new right now,” said Wachtel.

“This is a good year to reset,” said Assistant Coach Jason Burlingame, who coaches cross-country for Guilderland in the fall. “We want to focus on building and help these kids become better athletes. We want to make it fun for them.”

Senior Matt Wyland isn’t in need of any help after finishing first in the high jump on Tuesday with a height of 6 feet, 2 inches. He also placed fourth in the triple jump with 37 feet, 2 inches.

After just completing a triple jump, Wyland ran over to the other side of the track for a high jump and cleared 5 feet, 8 inches like it was no problem. “I’m under a lot of pressure,” he said. “But it keeps me loose.”

Wachtel was clearly impressed by Wyland’s effort and came over to congratulate him. “He had to attack that bar because he was tired,” Wachtel said of Wyland. “That was a great piece of athleticism right there.”

Shawn Playford, Nick Zelezniak, and Alex Gaines were also back and forth between field events on Tuesday. “We run through everything and separate after that,” said Wyland. “We try to give each other tips when we can.”

Anthony Toffenetti had a time of 11.7 to place third in the 100-meter dash and Playford, Toffenetti, Ramy Houacine, and Matt Seita placed third in the 400-meter relay. Nico Turek was third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:02.2

“I’m out here trying to catch someone doing something right,” Wachtel said, lugging around a backpack and a clipboard. “If they’re not doing it right, then I give them some words of encouragement.”

For example, Wachtel was trying to help Gaines better understand the technique for using arch over the high jump bar.

“I try to change old habits into something technically more sound,” said Wachtel.

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