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Chris Brooks photo gallery and feature: Last Elk’s Spring Day for Wellsville’s Chris Brown

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By CHRIS BROOKS, sports editor, wellsvillesports.com

WELLSVILLE — The time for the biggest track and field meet of the season, had officially come. Bright and early Saturday morning, nearly 20 schools gathered at the John J. Rigas Complex in Wellsville in a gargantuan matinee that featured some of the best athletic and fierce competition the area has to field.

The annual Elks Spring Day – an event like no other.

You couldn’t ask for a better afternoon for the competition on the main stage. Hundreds of athletes across all walks of life gave it their all. From taking a diving into the pool during the steeplechase, to racing your way to the finish line, to even leaving the farthest footprints in the sand bunker.

At the end of the it, the Pioneer Panthers came away as this year’s Grand Champions of Spring Day, but it was also a day that saw many local teams provide some of their best showings of the season, including Bolivar-Richburg and host Wellsville, as both finished third and fourth overall respectively behind brilliant performances across the board.

Performances in a meet that was perhaps the most efficient of its kind, going from 9:30 to just before 2:30 in the afternoon. Wellsville boys head coach Dean Giopulos says that the meet exceeded all expectations, especially from their team’s overall showing throughout the course of the afternoon.

“This was the most efficient Spring Day we’ve ever had. The game is to never race to get to the end, it’s more about running a meet that allows kids to go out and strut their stuff. You want to put them in situations where they’re capable of performing their best at the biggest meets. I’m really pleased, and even though Pioneer won, schools like Bolivar-Richburg, who has an excellent chance to win Sectionals this year, we gave them a really great design for what it is they’re going to see when they go and compete during a time that it matters most.”

Giopulos applauded the Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg, who provided an incredible performance across the board between both teams, as they recorded a third place finish with 125 combined points and multiple finishes in the Top 5.

On the boys side, Rudy Polk led the way as a two-event champion for the Wolverines, garnering one from each field of competition in the 200 dash and triple jump. Polk would also go on to record second place finishes in the 100 dash and long jump to complete his marvelous day.

Helping further the cause was another fellow two-time champion – Ethan Coleman, who also grabbed first place finishes across each division, topping the charts in the 400 dash and in the pole vault, where he outlasted Wellsville’s JT Mariotti with a height of 11 feet. From the track, Hunter Stuck added a third place win in the 400 hurdles, while Logan Pforter placed third in the steeplechase. Bolivar-Richburg would also go on to add a fifth place finish in the 1600 relay.

From the field, Lloyd Kinnicutt brought out the brooms for a sweep of both throwing events, garnering winning distances in both the shot put and discus. His fellow throwing teammate, Darien Champlin, added a fourth place distance on the discus.

On the girls side for Bolivar-Richburg, Raegan Giardini and Kyla Gayton came away with the top finishes for the team, with Giardini placing third in the steeplechase and Gayton also finishing third in the high jump. Kori Thomas collected a fourth place finish in the 100 hurdles, while Joey Danaher and Nadia Baldwin rounded off with fourth and fifth place finishes in the high and long jumps, respectively.

Following Bolivar-Richburg on the leaderboard, was Wellsville, as both boys and girls teams combined to finish fourth overall with a point total of 111.5, with multiple Lions having a hand in some Top 5 finishes throughout their battle.

Leading the boys was Eli Brophy, who had the team’s lone first place finish right at the beginning of the meet, making a splash in the steeplechase with the winning time to claim the medal. Behind him, a bounty of Top 5 finishes would follow, including a second place finish for Mariotti in the pole vault. Noah Joslyn (800 sprint), Ben Jordan (1600 run) and Shane Davidson (Pentathlon) all added fourth place wins.

Wellsville would go on to record a second place finish in the 3200 relay, as well as a fourth place finish in the 400 shuttle hurdle relay.

The Lady Lions saw Alyssa Dorrough record their top finish of the day, providing the winning distance from the field in the shot put before placing fifth in the 100 dash. Following was Kaylee Oswald, who finished second in the shot put. Brooklyn Stisser collected a second place finish in the 200 dash, and third place finish in the long jump, while Hayden Waldon (3000 run) and Stephanie Oswald (discus) both added in fourth place finishes.

In the relay department, the team placed second in the 400, third in the 400 shuttle hurdle and fifth in the 1600.

“I’m incredibly proud of what they were able to do today. Across the board, we are extremely young and our kids had an opportunity to compete against upperclassmen that are capable of performing at high levels,” said Giopulos. “We were able to compete and excel in this environment. My boys in particular are beginning to smell the seeds of success. I’m excited about where we end up this year, but even more so about where this program will begin to turn next year. We will restore this track and field to its highest level.”

Among the other local performances: the Cuba-Rushford Rebels, who placed 12th overall with a combined point total of 32.5 points. They were led by a top finish from Noah Siegel on the boys team, as he raced his way towards victory with the winning time in the 400 hurdles, pairing the medaling triumph with his second place finish in the 400 hurdles.

Adding help was Tristan Clayson, who recorded the third best distance from the field in the discus. The boys team would also finish third in the 400 relay. As for the Lady Rebels, they only saw one Top 5 finish come from Lillie Kreamer, who had the fifth best height in the high jump event.

Genesee Valley/Belfast would add in a 14th place finish between both teams, finishing with 26 points. The JagDogs would garner four Top 5 finishes in all, with Morgan Torrey’s pair leading the way from the field, as he placed second in the high jump and third in the triple jump. On the girls side, Sophie Zillgitt provided a phenomenal second place finish in the Pentathlon, while Alicia Borden placed fourth in the 400 sprint

A 15th place overall finish for the Fillmore Eagles was the end result, as a trio of Top 5 finishes saw them record 20.5 points. Leading was Eli Strickland on the boys team, who placed third in the 3200 run. For the Lady Eagles, Rachel Hatch battled all day long to come away with a third place finish in the Pentathlon, while Kiera Engler placed fifth in the 400 sprint.

Friendship/Scio would round off the local competition with a 16th place finish behind 4.5 points.

All of the day’s top results have been posted below for viewing. To view the complete results in its entirety, they have been posted officially on NY Milesplit (you can follow that link here).

As for Spring Day itself, it would be the very last one that Wellsville’s longtime girls track head coach Chris Brown would coach. After 35 resounding years alongside his partner-in-crime, during competition and outside of it in Giopulos, Brown will officially hang up the whistle, the stopwatch, everything else in between as he officially announced his retirement at season’s end.

In a conversation with WellsvilleSports.com, Brown says that this year’s Spring Day was perhaps the best to end his illustrious and decorated career on.

“It was really great. We’ve had a lot of great help over the years and this was not any different than all of the other Spring Days that we’ve had in years past,” he said. “This has been a great, smooth event, and honestly it was one of the best ones we’ve ever had. The most efficient, for sure. It’s definitely something that I feel really good about, especially with it being the last one.”

Brown reflected on his time spent since the beginning of his storied career with the Lions, noting a time where he and Giopulos would spend hours on end during the beginning of its inception by working graveyard shift the evening before the big meets, writing the preliminary meet sheets by hand in a time where automatic timing didn’t quite exist yet.

“It’s been 35 years of doing this whole thing, and Dean and I always talk about a time back in the day where we used to stay up all night long to write out all of the meet sheets for Spring Day. And this was during a time where we didn’t have automatic timing,” he recalled. “It took some very long hours, but it makes it part of how things were back then. We had to do it all manually, and it made me realize how much of a big undertaking this is. It’s been a lot better since then, and I can’t express my gratitude for the school, Kelly Lynch, Justin Vossler, everyone for helping us out with every meet over these years. It’s been absolutely wonderful.”

There will be no doubts that remain when the topic of discussing Brown and where he rightfully belongs alongside some of the all-time greats that have ever graced the stage in Wellsville school history.

In fact, he could very well be at the top of the list, garnering 313 total victories on his resume. Along with it, an amassment of Section V championships, earning 10 in all while coaching multiple Lions tracksters towards titles themselves. That includes a pair of New York State Champions during his time, more recently in elite thrower Emma Kinnicutt back in 2019, and before that, Sue Livergood back during the inception of his Lions career, in 1988.

For a career that had begun after making the transition away from track and field on the collegiate level at Alfred University, Brown says nothing that he has accomplished across nearly four decades would not have been done without the help from not only the Wellsville school itself, but from his best friend in Giopulos as well.

“It’s been nice to reflect on a lot of things so far, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without Dean and the school after coming over from Alfred U,” he said. “This has been the most satisfying coaching experience I have ever had, and I’ve coached almost everything in my career. Track has been the most rewarding. Dean and I have known each other since we were 10 years old. We live across from the street, more or less, from one another. It’s great to know that we both understand the same thing. We put in the same effort, we have the same ideas in mind. Itm akes it the best for all involved, and I couldn’t have been happier with everything that has gone on. He is simply the best coach for sure.”

Giopulos in turn, added on the friendship inside and outside of track with Brown that the two coaches have shared for over 50 years while also noting that even though he leaves an incredible legacy that belongs with some of the all-time greats in school history, his presence has allowed himself to become not only a better coach, but a better person.

“The greatest thing about Chris Brown as a coach is that as a parent, you could trust in what he was going to do with our kids, how he was going to make them better,” the longtime boys coach said. “He was incredibly successful. He did it in all of the right ways, and for me personally, he has been my best friend for 52 years. I love him dearly, and I am so proud of the way he has worked with the girls in the 35 years that we’ve been coaching together. We feed off each other, he has made me a better coach, he has made me a better person. I hope to think that in some way, shape or form, I have done the same for him. In some ways I am sad to see him go, but in other ways, he will always be here for us until the end and well beyond his time here. Wellsville track is a family, through and through.”

As for what he’ll miss most? – The kids. Brown notes that the team, especially on the girls side of competition, has an extraordinarily bright future ahead. At the same time, he also knows that they will be in the right hands, as they continue to improve and build over the course of time.

“I’m going to miss working with the kids. That’s one thing I will miss the most more than anything. But, I feel very good about where things are going to be when I leave. This is going to be a young team that these coaches will help make them the best that they can possibly be. Dean and Jamie (Dahlgren) are going to continue doing an amazing job like they’ve done meet in and meet out. We had a lot of girls that started doing track for the first time, let alone track being their first sport. They had some tastes of success this season, and I really want them to continue in that. I think they will.”

The regular season slate on the track and field will wrap up next Friday night back in the Lion’s Den, when the Allegany County Championships get underway beginning at 5 p.m.

Beforehand, the Lions will officially put a close to their regular season slate on Tuesday, as they visit Hornell in a 4:30 p.m. start.

2022 Elks Spring Day

Overall Team Scores (Top 10): 1. Pioneer 212.3, 2. Canisteo-Greenwood 176, 3. Bolivar-Richburg 125, 4. Wellsville 111.5, 5. Springville 97.5, 6. Addison 89, 7. Elmira-Notre Dame 88, 8. Hornell 76, 9. Barker 66, 10. Alfred-Almond 44.3.


Boys Results (Top 5)

100 – 1. Keegan Foote (C-G) 11.3, 2. Rudy Polk (B-R), 3. Zander Terhune (PIO), 4. Isaiah Watson (ADD), 5. Malachi Green (PIO).

200 – 1. Rudy Polk (B-R) 23.4, 2. Keegan Foote (C-G), 3. Ethan Coleman (B-R), 4. Walker Bekiel (PIO), 5. Aritz Balboa (A-A).

400 – 1. Ethan Coleman (B-R) 52.0, 2. Walker Bekiel (PIO), 3. Cole Ferris (C-G), 4. Zane Wheeler (ADD), 5. Liam McAneney (C-G).

800 – 1. Mason Allee-Castro (BAR) 2:12.8, 2. Tyler Bley (PIO), 3. Jacob Taylor (A/P), 4. Noah Joslyn (WLSV), 5. Liam McAneney (C-G).

1600 – 1. Mason Allee-Castro (BAR) 4:55.9, 2. Colt Crooker (ADD), 3. Tighe Grigg (A-A), 4. Ben Jordan (WLSV), 5. Jacob Taylor (A/P).

3200 – 1. Tyler Simpson (E-ND) 10:23.6, 2. Derek Simpson (E-ND), 3. Eli Strickland (FIL), 4. Ward Sypniewski (PIO), 5. Jesse Hefley (A-A).

110H – 1. Ryan Karp (PIO) 16.2, 2. Noah Siegel (C-R), 3. Cole Ferris (C-G), 4. Trent Reifsteck (PIO), 5. Jack Byrnes (A-A).

400H – 1. Noah Siegel (C-R) 58.0, 2. Ryan Karp (PIO), 3. Hunter Stuck (B-R), 4. Jacob Phillips (HHS), 5. Jack Byrnes (A-A).

Steeple – 1. Eli Brophy (WLSV) 11:42.8, 2. Colin Hughes (PIO), 3. Logan Pforter (B-R), 4. Marshall Brewer (ADD), 5. Owen Stuart (A-A).

400R – 1. Canisteo-Greenwood (Hosmer, Ferris, Woodworth, Foote) 45.8, 2. Pioneer, 3. Cuba-Rushford, 4. Barker, 5. Addison.

1600R – 1. Pioneer (Craft, Bley, Wiseman, Bekiel) 3:40.1, 2. Alfred-Almond, 3. Canisteo-Greenwood, 4. Barker, 5. Bolivar-Richburg.

3200R – 1. Pioneer (Craft, Bley, C. Bekiel, W. Bekiel) 9:06.3, 2. Wellsville, 3. Alfred-Almond, 4. Fillmore, 5. Canisteo-Greenwood.

400 Shuttle – 1. Pioneer (Craft, Jedrzek, Coppola, Karp) 56.9, 2. Hornell, 3. Alfred-Almond, 4. Wellsville.

Pentathlon – 1. Brennan Delany (HHS) 2492, 2. Will Streeter (C-G), 3. Karter Giboo (PIO), 4. Shane Davidson (WLSV), 5. Noah Drouin (C-G).

Shot – 1. Lloyd Kinnicutt (B-R) 43-1.75, 2. Luke Fox (PIO), 3. Teegan Nolan (SPR), 4. Zack Santarsiero (BAR), 5. Graeden Heichberger (SPR).

Discus – 1. Lloyd Kinnicutt (B-R) 124-3, 2. Graeden Heichberger (SPR), 3. Tristan Clayson (C-R), 4. Darien Champlin (B-R), 5. Kenny Robinson (HHS), 6. Duke Redsteer (BAR).

High Jump – 1. Malachi Gadson (ADD) 5-5, 2. Morgan Torrey (GVB), 3. Malachi Green (PIO), 4. Gage Guerin (J-T), 5. Isaiah Watson (ADD).

Long Jump – 1. Keegan Foote (C-G) 21-0.75, 2. Rudy Polk (B-R), 3. Zander Terhune (PIO), 4. Jordan White (F/S), 5. Zane Wheeler (ADD).

Tri Jump – 1. Rudy Polk (B-R) 40-5.5, 2. Zander Terhune (PIO), 3. Morgan Torrey (GVB), 4. Dawson Donovan (BAR), 5. Mitchell Hosmer (C-G).

Pole – 1. Ethan Coleman (B-R) 11-0, 2. JT Mariotti (WLSV), 3. Zack Ledbetter (A-A), 4. Zack Coppola (PIO), 5. Tyler Bley (PIO).

Girls Results (Top 5)

100 – 1. Amanda Sampson (E-ND) 13.4, 2. Sarah Coddington (C-G), 3. Kerrigan Driskell (ADD), 4. Ashlin Cole (BAR), 5. Alyssa Dorrough (WLSV).

200 – 1. Elaina Flaitz (HHS) 27.1, 2. Brooklyn Stisser (WLSV), 3. Sarah Coddington (C-G), 4. Lillian Atwood (ADD), 5. Taylor Casey (SPR).

400 – 1. Selena Maldonado (HHS) 1:02.7, 2. Madison Matuszak (PIO), 3. Kiersten Lamphier (J-T), 4. Alicia Borden (GVB), 5. Kiera Engler (FIL).

800 – 1. Kirsten Melnik (SPR) 2:24.4, 2. Rachael Sampson (E-ND), 3. Amanda Sampson (E-ND), 4. Brooklyn Lazarz (PIO), 5. Maeve Robarge (C-G).

1500 – 1. Kirsten Melnik (SPR) 4:53.7, 2. Brooklyn Lazarz (PIO), 3. Piper Young (E-ND), 4. Faith Skowvron (ADD), 5. Mikala Woock (BAR).

3000 – 1. Anna Lyons (ADD) 12:21.6, 2. Kaitlyn Goodwin (BAR), 3. Caitlin Lamphier (J-T), 4. Hayden Waldon (WLSV).

100H – 1. Makenna Keough (E-ND) 16.9, 2. Lily Rexford (C-G), 3. Faith Ruppert (PIO), 4. Kori Thomas (B-R), 5. Miya Goodale (BAR).

400H – 1. Linnea Neureuther (SPR) 1:07.5, 2. Elaina Flaitz (HHS), 3. Kylie Williamson (C-G), 4. Kevina Drennan (PIO), 5. Lauren Smith (SPR).

Steeple – 1. Madison Fitzwater (A/P) 8:22.04, 2. Maeve Robarge (C-G), 3. Raegan Giardini (B-R), 4. Lydia Samson (BAR), 5. Morgan Cheney (A/P).

400R – 1. Addison (Driskell, Jones, Giardina, Sabol) 53.8, 2. Wellsville, 3. Canisteo-Greenwood, 4. Pioneer, 5. Barker.

1600R – 1. Elmira-Notre Dame 4:25.4, 2. Pioneer, 3. Canisteo-Greenwood, 4. Springville, 5. Wellsville.

3200R – 1. Addison (Lyons, Skowvron, Jacobson, Lyons) 10:34.1, 2. Pioneer, 3. Canisteo-Greenwood, 4. Jasper-Troupsburg, 5. Avoca/Prattsburgh.

400 Shuttle – 1. Canisteo-Greenwood (L. Rexford, M. Rexford, Sharp, Button) 1:07.2, 2. Hornell, 3. Wellsville, 4. Jasper-Troupsburg.

Pentathlon – 1. Aaliyah Sansone (SPR) 2175, 2. Sophie Zillgitt (GVB), 3. Rachel Hatch (FIL), 4. Brenna Jorritsma (A/P), 5. Irelyn Greenfield (C-G).

Shot – 1. Alyssa Dorrough (WLSV) 31-8, 2. Marinna Heichberger (SPR), 3. Stephanie Oswald (WLSV), 4. Elaina Bond (SPR), 5. Zaida Stewart (C-G).

Discus – 1. Marinna Heichberger (SPR) 102-10, 2. Kaylee Oswald (WLSV), 3. Keira Dalton (BAR), 4. Stephanie Oswald (WLSV), 5. Zaida Stewart (C-G).

High Jump – 1. Elaina Flaitz (HHS) 5-0, 2. Lillian Atwood (ADD), 3. Kyla Gayton (B-R), 4. Joey Danaher (B-R), 5. Lillie Kreamer (C-R).

Long Jump – 1. Makenna Keough (E-ND) 16-3.25, 2. Diana Morling (C-G), 3. Brooklyn Stisser (WLSV), 4. Linnea Neureuther (SPR), 5. Nadia Baldwin (B-R).

Tri Jump – 1. Makenna Keough (E-ND) 34-7.5, 2. Ella Fyock (PIO), 3. Selena Maldonado (HHS), 4. McKayla Ruhland (SPR), 5. Lilly Kless (PIO).

Pole – 1. Matayah Sharp (C-G) 7-1, 2. Karis Warner (C-G), 3. Abhainn Bajus (A/P), 4. Theresa Kolasny (PIO), 5. Lilyana Mess (SPR).

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