By Rob Tetro
Phoenix boys’ varsity indoor track coach Keith Walberger considers this past season to be quite successful.
Phoenix placed highly in nearly every small school meet they took part in. Walberger and his team had smaller expectations going into the season while anticipating struggles with depth issues. However, Walberger’s team proved him wrong.
His seniors displayed fantastic leadership abilities and solid performances throughout the season. Walberger also said his younger players can learn from the effort and performances his seniors displayed this season.
Phoenix earned many team awards throughout the season. They came in seventh place out of 11 teams in the Onondaga High School League 1 Meet. The Firebirds earned a fourth place finish out of 10 teams in the Class B, Section 3 Meet.
The remaining events were meets that featured small schools from Class B, C and D. Phoenix tied for third in the Arcaro Memorial Meet.
They earned second at the Jensen Holiday Relays, came in fourth at the Grieve Memorial Meet, earned a second-place finish at the Kirschenheiter Memorial Meet and got a first place at the Last Chance Meet.
A few Phoenix athletes came away with individual honors this season.
Mike Leach, Anthony Brienza, Dylan Switzer and Sean Madden were named 2nd Team All-League 4×400 meter relay. Andy Padula was named 2nd Team All-League in the pole vault. Eric Hillpot was named 2nd Team All-League in the high jump.
Andy Padula won the Class B Sectional Championship in the triple jump. While Eric Hillpot won the Class B Sectional Championship in the high jump.
Along with the already mentioned team and Individual accolades, both Andy Padula (pole vault and triple jump) and Eric Hillpot (high jump) qualified to compete in the Section 3 State Qualifier Meet with the opportunity to earn the right to compete in the State Championship Meet.
At the Section 3 meet, both athletes came up short in their attempts to qualify for the State Championship events.
However, Walberger feels the progress his team made over the winter will bode well for them during the spring.
“We are all looking to build on this momentum during the upcoming outdoor (track) season!”, he said.