080520 Raepples - Sports

James Neiss/staff photographer Niagara Falls, NY - Grand Island� Jenna Raepple practices the hurtles before a track meet at Niagara Falls High School.

Craig Davis has a problem on his hands. A problem that most track and field coaches would die for.

“I have a strong person in every event and in most cases, I can go two and three deep,” the veteran Vikings coach said recently.

Perhaps that’s why Grand Island is considered the favorite heading into this spring’s Niagara Frontier League schedule.

Sophomore Jenna Raepple is the reigning Section VI champion in the triple jump and the NFL champ in both the triple and long jump. Davis said Raepple is within striking distance of the school record in the triple jump. Her older sister, Jenna, returns as a top league and sectional competitor in the 100, 200 and 400 relay.

Senior Kelsey Mash is back in the hurdle events. For sectionals, Mash will compete in the steeplechase. Junior Maritina Tsembelis returns as the league favorite in the 1,500 and 3,000. Also back is junior pentathlete Megan McInerney, senior jumper Amber Duda and junior thrower Rahsanica Ford.

“I think we have an excellent chance of winning the league this year,” Davis said. “I’m expecting a lot of individual winners and hopefully a team championship at the all-league meet.”

Niagara Falls

What the Wolverines lack in experience, they’re hoping to make up with hard work. Senior Bashiyra Doss returns as the NFL champion in the 100. She’ll also be a contender in the 200, according to second-year coach Jon Robins.

Freshman Jazlyn Porter will handle most of the mid-distance events with Shana Ventresca also available to run the 400 and 800. Cecilia Barron will be a contender in the hurdle.

“We’re young and inexperienced, but we have lots of talent that just needs some time to develop,” Robins said.

Niagara-Wheatfield

The Falcons are still attempting to sort out their lineup, but they have plenty of young prospects.

Juniors Stephanie Schmidt and Stephanie Bowman should excel in the distance events with sophomores Brianna Valeri and Kailey Walck set to run the mid-distance races. Junior Jaimie Popp returns as N-W’s top sprinter with junior Emily Carl set to pole vault and senior Chiemika Ihiasota handling the throwing events.

“The exciting thing as a coach is you just don’t know who is going to step up,” co-coach Pete Cerny said. “We’re young, but excited about this group.”

Lewiston-Porter

The Lancers lack depth, but have some of the league’s top contenders in Jenna Van Dusen, Gretchen Herb and Jennifer Raby. Van Dusen will compete in the pole vault and sprints, while Herb and Raby are distance specialists.

Also back for Lew-Port is sprinter Sam Wilber, mid-distance runners Emma Besaw, Amy Roemer and Hannah Matthews, field athletes Andrea Favero and Amy Law and hurdlers Alexis Nichols and Sarina Flores.

“With the lack of depth and the size of our team, we tend to struggle in the dual meets, but we’ve done very well at the league meet,” veteran coach Mark Johnson said. “We have a good returning group, so hopefully we can do well again this year.”

Wilson

Second-year coach Steve Zimmer is excited about his roster of 31 girls this spring. Senior Kari Kopchick headlines the list of returnees as she will compete in the steeplechase, 400 intermediate hurdles and 3,000.

Also back for the Lakewomen is senior sprinter Anjolie Plante, junior mid-distance runner Sam Buckner and junior discus thrower Jordynn Koroschetz.

• No information was available for Starpoint.

Contact reporter Nate Beutel at 282-2311, ext. 2262.

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