Kat Klein was on the outside looking in, and anything less than a monster throw was going to keep the Cobleskill-Richmondville senior there.
“It was my last chance to go to the states,” Klein said of her final shot put attempt at the Section II state meet qualifier at Shenendehowa earlier this month. “Some people yell, but I usually don’t. I did on that one. I got angry and got around and released it.”
Klein’s set a school record with a winning heave of 39-73⁄4 that day, and nearly matched that distance a week later when she prevailed in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Division 2 shot put competition at Cicero-North Syracuse.
The 18-year-old became Cobleskill-Richmondville’s first female state champion, and the third Bulldog to earn such an honor.
“Definitely an awesome spring,” Klein said. “I had these goals for a while. I’d say it was very enthralling.”
The story gets even better.
Klein is a weights standout who can run fast, too, and her lead-off leg in the 1,600-meter relay at the Section II Group 3 meet not only helped the Bulldogs win the race, but the team championship by a single point over Fonda-Fultonville.
“You don’t see that combination with a thrower,” Cobleskill-Richmondville lead track and field coach Ed Hantho said. “She is a tremendous athlete who has done spectacular things.”
Cobleskill-Richmondville’s 2015-16 Outstanding Female Athlete never would have had a chance to excel in Syracuse, though, had she not delivered late at the state meet qualifier.
“I was first for a while,” Klein recalled. “The girl from Holy Names [Maddie Clark] throws a three-feet PR [personal record] and all of a sudden I am in third. I got a little upset.”
Clark was in first with a 39-21⁄4 and Shayla Lyons of Berne-Knox-Westerlo was in second with a 38-11⁄4 when Klein entered the circle for her sixth and final attempt. It was hot, sweaty day, and she said she had been having trouble getting a good push off her fingers.
“She had to come up with a throw,” Hantho said. “I told her it’s do or die, and she muscled one out there. It’s really cool how it happened, going from third to first on her last throw.”
Klein won the NYSPHSAA shot put title with a throw of 39-7, reaching that distance on her third attempt. Samantha Morillo of Valhalla was second with a 39-41⁄2.
The only other girls from Section II to win state titles were Hannah Reale of Shenendehowa in the Division 1 800 and Olivia Mooney of Cambridge in the Division 2 high jump.
“It was my third or fourth time at the states,” Klein said. “I didn’t get all caught up in it. It was relax and throw.”
Klein placed fourth in the Federation shot put the following day, against reaching 39-7. She also placed sixth in the NYSPHSAA discus with a throw of 113-4. At the Colonial Council championship meet earlier this season she set the school discus record with a 116-10.
She got serious about the weight events while in middle school after she started beating all of the boys.
“I thought, ‘Maybe I’m good at this,’ ’’ Klein said.
Klein won both weight events at the Section II Group 3 meet before her starting leg in the 1,600 relay. Cobleskill-Richmondville trailed Fonda-Fultonville 94-93 before the meet’s final race, and had a 103-102 lead when it was done.
“We needed to win the race to in order to win sectionals,” Klein, C-R’s most valuable track and field award winner, said. “I usually finish because I’m the fastest leg, but coach [C-R distance coach Matthew Hay] wanted me to get a lead.”
Klein did that, and Suzzie Kotoku, Noelle Lavine and Naiela Kooyoomjian kept it as the Bulldogs clocked a 4:12.52 to Fonda-Fultonville’s second-place 4:14.46.
“Coach Hay said if we want the title it would come down to inches and seconds,” Klein said. “He said we had to work for it and we did.”
Klein has never shied away from hard work. She took five AP classes this school year and will graduate with a 96 average. She is headed to Long Island University Post to continue her athletic career and study forensic science with an eye toward law enforecment.
LAPIETRO AMONG YOUNG STARS
Midfielder Darien LaPietro of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will be among the Section II players on Upstate New York teams at the Under Armour Underclass Tournament June 30-July 3 at Towson University in Baltimore.
Eleven regions from across the country will have lacrosse teams competing. The format has expanded this year to include two teams from each region. The Command Division is for players graduating in 2019 and 2020, and the Highlight Division is for players graduating in 2017 and 2018.
Though only a freshman, LaPietro emerged as one of the offensive leaders for Burnt Hills this spring with 32 goals and 22 assists. He had five goals and two assists in the Spartans’ 17-9 Section II Class B title-game win over Ballston Spa.
Joining LaPietro on the Upstate New York Command team will be attackman Ty McHerron (Scotia-Glenville), midfielder Griffin King (Niskayuna) and longstick midfielder Connor Cecala (Ballston Spa Middle School). The UNY Highlight team will include midfielder Lucas Quinn (Niskayuna) and longstick midfielder Tyler Hess (Guilderland).
The UNY girls’ Command team will include midfielders Annabella Conover (Niskayuna), Peyton Reihs (Niskayuna), Sarah Richardson (Albany Academy), Shea Thomson (Guilderland) and Sophia Burke (Saratoga Springs), and defender Maya Banks (Guilderland). Defender Rebecca Curro (Niskayuna) is on the UNY Highlight team.
Section II will be well represented at the New York State Games, a Prep Baseball Report-sponsored showcase for high school players set for June 27-29 at colleges in the Rochester area.
The Capital team is made up mostly of Section II players including Brandon Kruzinski, Rtan Starr and Ryan Lanaro of Mohonasen, Matthew Toy of Niskayuna, Luke Gold and Jake Fox of Ballston Spa, and Kurt Forsell and John Cady of state Class AA champion Shenendehowa.
Section II players will also compete for the Downstate, North Country and Mohawk Valley teams in the 10-team event.
Section II Players
Capital: Tim Carroll (LaSalle), Jordan Peltier (Shaker), Ethan Bradley (Rensselaer), Ryan Starr (Mohonasen), Kurt Forsell (Shenendehowa), John Cady (Shenendehowa), Brandon Kruzinski (Mohonasen), Brett Young (Albany Academy), Matthew Toy (Niskayuna), Ryan Lanaro (Mohonasen), John Wheeler (Ichabod Crane), Luke Gold (Ballston Spa), Jake Fox (Ballston Spa), Nicholas DeBrino (CBA), Noah Bagnardi (Watervliet), Christian Italiano (CBA), Aiden Booker (Shaker), Jonah Booker (Shaker).
Downstate: James Rubino (LaSalle).
North Country: Garrett Bailey (Fort Ann), Michael Siano (Queensbury), Tyler Mattison (Fort Ann), Connor Houle (Waterford-Halfmoon), Josh Bennett (Shaker), Quetin Crudo (LaSalle), Michael Spulnick (Shenendehowa).
Mohawk Valley: Mikael Brown (Shaker), Joseph VonHolten (Shaker), Dino Ferrarese (Shaker), Peter Close (CBA), Devin Lewis (Cobleskill-Richmondville), Cory Listing (LaSalle), Michael Smith (Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville), Jared Winkle (Ballston Spa).
Makaila Adair is Schenectady Little League’s first female 11-12-year-old all-star in memory, officials said but may not be the first-ever female all-star from the league. All league officials said in our story the other day is they’re still looking into it.
But she’s definitely not not the first female from a Schenectady County league to make such a team.
Sara Gallacchi made the JC Little League 11-12-year-old all-star team in 2002 and competed in the District 12 tournament, something Adair is soon to do. JC Little League merged with Schenectady Little League a few years back.
Adair, who has been playing organized baseball for six years, was featured in The Daily Gazette Thursday.
After her Little League days Gallacchi played softball at Schenectady High School and Siena College.