Weekly Feature



2015-12-31 / Sports

Athletes make memories during fruitful 2015

Year in review
JASON NADOLINSKI
Sports Reporter

History was made.

Records were broken.

Titles were claimed.

All in all, 2015 was another banner year for a great deal of West Seneca residents on their respective playing field of choice. Here’s a look back at some of the standout achievements that were recorded over the past 12 months:

January

• A solid effort throughout the entire night allowed West Seneca East’s boys basketball team to never really feel threatened en route to defeating Sweet Home, 54-47, in Jan. 6’s first game of the new year. The victory ensured the Trojans wouldn’t go winless in league play for a second consecutive season.

Ed Ratka followed that effort up Jan. 24 by going to the free-throw line a program single-game record 19 times, which helped him post a career-high 26 points on the night in East’s 61-56 victory over crosstown rival West Seneca West.


West Seneca East’s Nick Parucki closed out his 2014-15 campaign on a strong note, first became the program’s all-time leading scorer by netting 32 points in East’s regular-season finale loss to Lake Shore. He then blocking a school single-game record 10 shots as part of a triple-double performance that included 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help pace West Seneca East’s seventh-seeded boys basketball team to a 73-45 win over 10th-seeded Riverside Feb. 25. West Seneca East’s Nick Parucki closed out his 2014-15 campaign on a strong note, first became the program’s all-time leading scorer by netting 32 points in East’s regular-season finale loss to Lake Shore. He then blocking a school single-game record 10 shots as part of a triple-double performance that included 22 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to help pace West Seneca East’s seventh-seeded boys basketball team to a 73-45 win over 10th-seeded Riverside Feb. 25. • West Seneca West’s indoor track team saw two school records fall during the team’s trip to New York City to participate in the 20th New Balance Track and Field Games Jan. 23 and 24. Robert Frazer was the sole individual record breaker for West, turning in a time of 36.76 seconds in the 300-meter dash to break the 10-year old record of Ryan Tune’s by nearly six-tenths of a second.


West Seneca’s Jon Clancy celebrates holing out for an eagle on the 10th hole during the ECIC Individual Championships tournament Oct. 13 at Sheridan Park Golf Course in Tonawanda. Clancy’s eagle helped him record an 18-hole round of 86, which was good enough to tie for 24th place and earn a spot in this upcoming spring’s Section VI Championship Tournament. 
File photos by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca’s Jon Clancy celebrates holing out for an eagle on the 10th hole during the ECIC Individual Championships tournament Oct. 13 at Sheridan Park Golf Course in Tonawanda. Clancy’s eagle helped him record an 18-hole round of 86, which was good enough to tie for 24th place and earn a spot in this upcoming spring’s Section VI Championship Tournament. File photos by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Frazer (personal-best split of 51.9) also joined freshman Peter Borzillieri, sophomore Parker Welling (personal-best split of 53.9) and senior John Gorman to shatter the program’s 4x400 relay record by 3.41 seconds, finishing the race in 3:34.73 to reclaim their spot as the section’s top-ranked relay.

• West Seneca/Hamburg’s girls hockey team found itself in a marathon in Jan. 30’s Section VI quarterfinal with Frontier/Orchard Park, and as the game dragged on from overtime to overtime, Brian Hillery began hoping more and more that his squad could just hold on long enough to make it to a shootout. Unfortunately, Frontier/ Orchard Park had other plans, as it finally broke through for the game-winning goal 90 seconds into the fourth overtime session to earn the 2-1 win and kept West Seneca/Hamburg winless on the season.


West Seneca East’s John Dolac had a final football season to remember, reaching the Section VI Class A final at Ralph Wilson Stadium while earning the 2015 All-Bee Football Team’s Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-star running back status in the process. 
File photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com West Seneca East’s John Dolac had a final football season to remember, reaching the Section VI Class A final at Ralph Wilson Stadium while earning the 2015 All-Bee Football Team’s Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-star running back status in the process. File photo by Jason NadolinskiPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com February

• Students at West Seneca East High School — including boys basketball team member DJ Schiersing — wasted little time putting the wheels in motion to hold a cancer awareness fundraising night after learning that the squad’s assistant coach, Dan Lutman Sr., had been diagnosed with leukemia in early January. The program’s inaugural Leukemia Awareness Night— something head coach Dan Lutman Jr. hopes becomes an annual event— came to fruition Feb. 5, and East posted an impressive double-double: the Trojans beat Hamburg pretty handily, 62-46, and with the help of the public raised more than $4,000 to date to benefit the American Cancer Society.

• Lee Stempniak has had the opportunity to play in the home of the Buffalo Sabres — the team he grew up following as a young hockey player — 10 times prior to joining the New York Rangers this past offseason. Visit number 11 on Feb. 20, however, produced a first: Stempniak and the rest of the Rangers had to wait nearly three months to the day of the originally schedule date of New York’s first road game with Buffalo to actually play the Sabres thanks to a lake-effect snow event in the days leading up to their meeting that buried the city and the Southtowns in five or more feet of snow.

• Nick Parucki blocked a school single game record 10 shots as part of a triple-double performance that helped pace West Seneca East’s seventh-seeded boys basketball team to a 73-45 win over 10th-seeded Riverside Feb. 25. Parucki — who became the program’s all-time leading scorer by netting 32 points in East’s regular-season finale loss to Lake Shore — also scored 22 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out five assists in what was one of the best single game performances in program history.

• West Seneca West sophomore Andrew Burckhalter became the school’s first-ever participant at the boys bowling state championships, as part of the Section VI all-sectional team, following his performance at the Section VI Championships at Airport Lanes. Burckhalter posted the tournament’s second-highest six-game series, rolling a 1,225 set to finish 59 pins behind the winner. Burckhalter rolled a 218-202-607 set in the morning and a 223-233-618 set in the afternoon.

March

• West Seneca West forward Adam Tobias was named a 2014-15 All-Bee Boys Hockey First Team All-star. East defenseman Brandon Day (Second Team) and East forward Brian Wasilewski (Honorable Mention) were also named to the All-Bee Team. Defenseman Nicole Dubill, meanwhile, represented the district’s girls hockey team as a Second Team All-star on the 2014-15 All-Bee Girls Hockey Team.

• The West Seneca Wings U16 girls hockey team won the New York State Tier II championship, held at Northtown Center, by defeating Skaneateles in overtime, 2-1.

• West Seneca East’s Nick Parucki was named a Second Team All-Bee Boys Basketball All-star.

April

• Mandy Manquen struck out five batters and allowed just three hits in relief to earn the 7-5 victory over Williamsville South April 17 as West Seneca East’s softball team bounced back from a season-opening shutout against one of the preseason picks to make a deep playoff run this spring in about as good of a way as possible: by taking out the defending state champions.

• West Seneca West’s girls lacrosse team bounced back from its 0-2 start April 16 by knocking off Williamsville North for the first time in program history, 10-9.

• West Seneca West’s girls track team won an impressive 15 of the 17 events contested to cruise to a 108-32 victory over crosstown rival West Seneca East — a win coach Pete Szymanski called “a nice way to open up the outdoor season”— in April 16’s season-opening dual meet.

•Josh Glaub and Dominic Farszmil broke the previous meet records in the 3,200-meter run and high jump, respectively, in winning their events and helping the Trojans place seventh in the team standings at April 25’s third annual West Seneca West Track Classic. Glaub’s winning effort of 10 minutes, 27.11 seconds gave him the 3,200 title, while Farszmil cleared the high jump bar at 5-feet-10 to earn his title.

• Both West Seneca East’s and West Seneca West’s softball teams won their respective brackets in April 25’s annual Depew Wildcats Tournament to give West Seneca the tournament sweep. East shut out Clarence in the “A” final, 3-0, while West downed the tournament’s hosts, 5-0, in the “B” final.

May

• West Seneca East’s boys lacrosse team picked up its sixth straight win in its rivalry series with West Seneca West when it topped the Indians, 12-3, on May 12.

• West Seneca West’s school record in the boys 4x100-meter relay was toppled during May 29 and 30’s ECIC Championships to highlight the Indians’ effort at Maryvale High School. The foursome of Jacob Maurino, Parker Welling, Austin Ensminger and Peter Borzillieri trimmed nearly a second off the old mark of 45.24 seconds with their time of 44.30 seconds.

• Bri Chambers hurled a six-hit shutout to guide West Seneca West’s softball team past Lancaster, 1-0, in a Section VI Class AA quarterfinal on May 26. Lancaster had beaten West on three occasions during the regular season.

June

• West Seneca East’s Tyler Skretny was named a First Team All-star defenseman on the 2015 All-Bee Boys Lacrosse Team, while East’s Sierra Broad was tabbed the First Team All-star goalie on the 2015 All-Bee Girls Lacrosse Team. East’s Laura Skrzypczyk, meanwhile, was named an Honorable Mention attacker on the All-Bee Girls team.

• Joshua Nowak was named West Seneca West’s 2014-15 recipient of the annual Skip Vonsik Memorial “Big Guy” Scholarship, and Adam Tobias was selected as the 2014-15 West Seneca West “W” Club Athlete of the Year award winner. West’s Lauren Fibich was named the 2015 “W” Club Female Athlete of the Year.

• West Seneca West’s Morgan Altman (Second Team infielder) and West Seneca East’s Anilese Kelly (Honorable Mention pitcher) were both voted 2015 All-Bee Softball All-stars.

July

• West Seneca residents Nik LaGambina, Nathan Wurl, Colby Jensen and Cole Ignaszak helped the 12U Cheektowaga Southline Warriors travel baseball team go undefeated in the 2015 Evans Youth Baseball Midsummer Classic.

• West Seneca East graduate Brandon Day finished as the South’s leading receiver with five catches for 56 yards in what was ultimately a 26-10 North victory in the 40th annual Kensington Lions Club All-Star High School Football Classic, held July 29 at Depew High School.

• West Seneca East’s Dan Lutman (coach), West Seneca West’s boys soccer (team), West’s Anna Rybczynski (female athlete) and East’s Tyler Skretny (male athlete) took home top honors from The Bee for the 2014-15 school year.

August

• Members of the West Seneca West football and cross-country programs were rewarded for their dedication to their respective offseason training programs by receiving Skip Vonsik Memorial T-shirts.

• West Seneca resident Dan Schiffhauer recorded a hole-in-one while playing at Rolling Hills Golf Course on Aug. 24. Schiffhauer aced the 146-yard par-3 third hole with his 5-iron.

September

• Ray Johnson single-handedly took the wind out of Frontier’s sails in Sept. 4’s season-opening non-league football contest, as his 99-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the third quarter not only set a new school record for the longest scoring play of that type but prevented the Falcons from clawing their way back into what would instead ultimately end up as a 41-0 thumping by East.

• West Seneca West’s boys soccer team saw Nate Roberts set up a school single game record five goals Sept. 14 in helping the Indians absolutely obliterate Jamestown, 17-0, and pick up their second league win in as many divisional outings.

• The long march toward victory finally ended for West Seneca West’s football team Sept. 18 as the Indians, whose last win came against Riverside in the 2012 Class AA Funke Memorial Championship Game, ended their 17-game losing streak in dominant fashion by dismantling Amherst with relative ease, 36-0, to improve to 1-2 in the Class A South standings.

• After dropping its first three games by a combined 13-3 margin, West Seneca East’s girls soccer team bounced back to win its three most recent games by a 12-5 margin and even out its overall record at 3-3, capped by a 5-1 throttling of Lake Shore on Sept. 19.

October

• West Seneca West’s football team made crucial adjustments in the second half of Oct. 9’s Class A South clash with Lake Shore, and those adjustments not only allowed the Indians to knot the score at 8-8 in the third quarter, but gave them the needed confidence to pull out a 24-16 win in double overtime.

• The West Seneca Wings Bantam Tier II mixed hockey team won Oct. 9-10’s Rock-n-Roll Cup Tournament series in Cleveland, Ohio. Bryan Donovan scored the winning goal during West Seneca’s 2-1 championship-game victory over Ontario’s Kent Teksavvy Cobras.

• West Seneca East’s football team defeated crosstown rival West Seneca West in Oct. 16’s regular season finale, 49-14, dashing the Indians’ hope for a Homecoming Game victory and deadlocking the series’ overall record at 23-23 with its seventh triumph in the last eight meetings between the schools.

• West Seneca East’s boys soccer team traveled to All-High Stadium Oct. 19 with a roster of just 14 players for the start of its Section VI Class A-1 run.

One of the 10th-seeded Trojans’ players, Anthony Roncone, only managed 15 minutes before a nagging injury that had hampered him for the past six contests drove him from the game and left East another player short for the majority of the game. But that didn’t stop the Trojans from topping seventh seeded South Park, 1-0, in their prequarterfinal clash.

• West Seneca East’s Madi Jaszcz made the most of her final opportunity to compete at the ECIC Girls Swimming Championships, as she took home the title in the 100 butterfly in a time fast enough to meet the standard for qualifying for states. Jaszcz, no stranger to competing at states, will get one last crack at a state title after winning the 100 butterfly in 59.54 seconds during Oct. 24’s championship round at Clarence.

• Dawson Broad put together one of the better single-game passing performances in West Seneca West football’s recent memory to help guide the Indians to a 40-14 conquest of 7-1 Starpoint Oct. 30 that pushed them to a 4-5 finish for 2015.

Broad, who ended the year as the new record holder for most passing yardage (1,392) and passing touchdowns (13) in a single season, went 21-of-26 for 244 yards and three touchdowns against Starpoint. He also ran for a 1-yard score and caught a 10-yard touchdown reception on a trick play.

November

• West Seneca West freshman Anna Rybczynski became the first freshman since 2007 — and just the fourth female freshman ever in West Seneca history — to qualify for the state cross-country meet based on her fourth-place finish in the Class B race at Nov. 6’s annual Section VI Championships, held for the second straight year on West’s home course at Sunshine Park. Rybczynski finished fourth overall — but second among runners not from race winner Pioneer — with her time of 20 minutes, 16.68 seconds.

• West Seneca East freshman Ray Sambrotto, meanwhile, became the first male Trojan to qualify for the state cross-country championships since Kyle Pilecki in 2008 with his team-leading third-place finish in the Class B race.

• West Seneca West Hunter Mancuso (forward) and West Seneca East’s Chase Sorrentino (defenseman) were both picked as Honorable Mention All-stars for the 2015 All-Bee Boys Soccer Team. West’s Ashley Dibble was named a Second Team defenseman on the 2015 All-Bee Girls Soccer Team.

• West Seneca East’s John Dolac was named both the 2015 All-Bee Football Team’s Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a First Team All-star running back. West’s Ryan Sherk was named an Honorable Mention running back, while East’s Ray Johnson (Second Team defensive back) and Joe Ciraulo (Honorable Mention defensive lineman) also earned accolades.

December

• West Seneca East’s girls basketball team’s first-year coach Ryan Colbert wasted little time in picking up his first win with the team – at crosstown rival West Seneca West’s expense, no less – when the Lady Trojans knocked off the Lady Indians, 43-39, in Dec. 1’s opening round of the annual West Seneca Tip-Off Tournament.

• West Seneca West’s hockey team made a strong statement in its first two games of the season by scoring a combined 13 goals, including those scored in an 8-0 season-opening victory over Lew-Port on Dec. 4.

• All-Tournament Team selection Tristan Sullivan scored a career high 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as one of two West Seneca West players to record double-doubles in the Indians’ 59-35 victory over Holland in Dec. 5’s championship round of the annual Pioneer Motorsports Tip-Off Tournament. The win gave the Indians their first tournament title since 2012.

email: jnadolinski@beenews.com

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