SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Life has its incomparable first experiences, memorable last experiences and those that seem unfettered by time as they go on year after year. A first kiss, a first day at college, or a first win in a sport form lasting memories. So too do graduation days, a last day on the job of a lifelong career, or the departure from a place we’ve lived in all of our lives. Taking part in annual events grounds us to ongoing traditions such as holidays, parades, tournaments and championships. This week offered some of all of the above.
In the first category were the registering of those much sought-after initial wins of the season recorded by the Sullivan West softball and Liberty baseball teams. The Lady Bulldogs downed Monticello 8-2 in a road victory that took some of the sting out of back-to-back league losses against O’Neill and Burke. Katie Slater struck out 10 and was two-for-three from the plate as the Lady Bulldogs mounted a five-run second inning to break a 1-1 tie with the as-yet winless Lady Panthers.
Liberty won the middle game of its three-game series versus Division IV nemesis Sullivan West with a 2-1 nine inning victory sparked by the outstanding pitching of Quinn Jackson and Atwoun Ackerley. Brendan Siegel accounted for both RBI. Cody Franskevicz pitched six stellar innings and left with a lead, but the Dawgs couldn’t close the door. In the first- and third- game series wins over the Indians, Sullivan West marshaled the pitching of Karl Knecht and Sawyer Erlwein.
Meanwhile, up at the Boston Marathon, former Sullivan West standout Rianne Erlwein ran a speedy 3:19 in her first encounter with the storied race, finishing well ahead of the ensuing mayhem, much to the relief of her family and legions of friends. Speaking of firsts, currently Sullivan West is in first place in Division IV. But the biggest story of the week had more to do with the last Tri-Valley Invitational organized and overseen by Bears’ coaches Joe and Missy Iatauro, whose 30-plus year reign as gurus of the storied T-V program will end this June as they move to Georgia to begin the next phase of their lives. The meet, always one of the highlights of the spring track season, has often been beset by some zany weather. This year it was chilly but clear as 25 teams from both Division I (600 students and up in grades 9-11) and Division II (under 600) brought their best to bear on the swan song for the Iatauros in their special large scale annual meet. Fittingly, the Bears defended both their boys and girls Division II T-V Invitational championships.
Senior Mareena DiMilia was named the Outstanding Female Field Athlete for the second straight year. She ran the opening leg in the winning shuttle hurdle relay, won the javelin and took second in the hammer. Other T-V girls winners included Katlynn Greffrath in the high jump and long jump. Autumn Bender won the 2000 steeplechase and the freshman 800. She was second in the freshman/sophomore 1500. Mary Alongi was second in the 1500 racewalk. Caroline Martin was third in the F/S long jump. Monticello’s Jordan Fredell won the triple jump and was third in the 400 hurdles. Sullivan West’s Hannah Feinman was second in the long jump and the triple jump. Fallsburg’s Kelsey Moody was second in the high jump, while Meagan Horowitz won the F/S pole vault. Fellow Lady Comet Kali Seastrand was second in the F/S long jump while Nyasia Harris was thing in the F/S shot put. Sullivan West’s Autumn Thiele was second in the F/S discus while Courtney Meyerer took second in the Freshman 800. She teamed up with Megan Robisch, Rosa Martinez and Erin Sumfleth to win the F/S 1600 relay. Liberty was third in the girls 300 shuttle relay, while Monticello Boys winners included T-V’s Aric Boyes in the shot put and the hammer throw, Aidan Woolsey in the pole vault and Josh Winters in the javelin.
Other Sullivan County finishers included Monticello’s Shane Jackson in the 100. He took third in the 200. Sullivan West’s Anthony Rydell won the discus. Monticello’s Brian Stickle won the F/S shot put, Terry Duncan was second in the 400, Mike Rogers took second in the pole vault and Kyle Haynes was second in the F/S long jump. The Monties were second in the 400 relay. Tri-Valley was third in the 300 shuttle relay and the F/S 1600 relay. In team standings, in addition to T-V’s first place in Division II boys and girls, Monticello was sixth in Division I girls and third in Division I boys. In Division II boys SW was third, Fallsburg was third and Liberty was seventh and Eldred was ninth. In Division II girls Sullivan West was second, Fallsburg was third, Liberty was seventh and Eldred was ninth.