Sports briefs: Stillwater’s Locci named state’s girls’ track and field athlete of the year by Gatorade

Stillwater's Gianna Locci take off from the runway during the girls' federation championship long jump at Cicero-North Syracuse Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the NYSPHSAA track and field championships.
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Stillwater's Gianna Locci take off from the runway during the girls' federation championship long jump at Cicero-North Syracuse Saturday, June 11, 2022 at the NYSPHSAA track and field championships.

STILLWATER — Stillwater’s Gianna Locci has been named the 2021-22 Gatorade New York Girls’ Track & Field Player of the Year, it was announced Thursday. Locci is the first athlete from Stillwater High School to receive the award.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Locci as New York’s best high school girls track and field athlete. She is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls’ Track & Field Player of the Year award, to be announced in July. 

The 5-foot-4 senior broke the state record in the long jump this past season by earning silver in the event at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor with a leap of 21 feet, 1 1/2 inches, which ranked as the nation’s No. 2 performance among girls’ prep competitors in 2022 and was also the No. 10 long jump in U.S. girls’ prep history. Locci also won the NYSPHSAA Division 2 and federation titles in the long jump. She wn the Division 2 200-meter dash and anchored the winning 4×100-meter relay.

Division 2 championships, she won the long jump and 200-meter dash, and anchored the victorious 4×100 relay.

“Gianna’s talent is next level, but what sets her apart is dedication,” said Stillwateer coach Shawn McClements. “She takes nothing for granted. She treats each race and each attempt as if it were sacred—as if it could be the last jump she ever takes.”

Locci has maintained an A average in the classroom. She has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete on scholarship at Duke University this fall.

RPI ASSISTANT COACH TO JOIN AUSTRIAN STAFF AT WORLD JUNIORS

TROY — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s hockey assistant coach Mathias Lange will serve a similar role for his native Austria in the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championships, it has been announced. The 46th edition of the tournament, which was postponed earlier in the year, will take place from Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton, Alberta.

Lange, a 2009 RPI graduate and a native of Klagenfurt, Austria, has been a part of the Engineers’ coaching staff since 2019-20, when he became the team’s operations coordinator. He was then elevated to assistant coach in 2021 and is responsible for the team’s penalty kill, while also working with goaltenders and recruiting.

Austria opens tournament play on Aug. 10 against rival Germany, before taking on Sweden on Aug. 12. They face the United States the following day and then wrap up pool play against Switzerland on Aug. 15.

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