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Roy-Hart had a decade plus of dominance in N-O League boys track competition

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 2 May 2020 at 9:08 am

Contributed Photo – The athletes and coaches from RoyHart’s 1969 Niagara-Orleans League championship track team. In the front row are F. Kaiser, L. Demmin, D. Vanderwalker, D. Ramming, J. Ferington, R. Dill, T. Uschold, R. Kempton, J. Fagan, S. Brauen and E. Keller. In the second row are B. Wallace, M. Thaxter, R. Germain, T. Ulrich, M. DiNardo, H. West, W. Querns, R. Wagner, R. Orlando, R. Simmons, B. Ginty, W. Scott, T. Sharp, E, Knapp and B. Gothard. In the third row are Coach Kerry Finger, D. Menzel, L. Dill, D. Ogden, M. McCabe, C. Snowden, T. Elsenheimer, P. Merritt, P. Helwig, D. Brown, J. Sharp, B. Holahan, G. Newton, B. Metcalf and Coach Phillip Ciarico. In the back row are E. Sanderson, D. Piedmont, J. Schumacher, M. Spears, S. Socha, B. Spencer, D. McCabe, S. Silsby, G. Vanderwalker, D. Gilbert, T. Phillips, J. Weber and W. Trinder.

From the mid 1960’s to the mid 1970’s Roy-Hart dominated the Niagara-Orleans League boys track competition.

In fact, from 1966-1976 Coach Kerry Finger’s Rams won or shared the N-O crown 11 of 12 years.

The only team to interrupt the Rams title run was Medina’s 1973 championship campaign as the Mustangs went 6-0 during the regular season and 6-0 at the All-League meet.

Roy-Hart began it’s memorable run with seven straight undefeated championship seasons from 1966 to 1972. Including regular season and All-League meet competition the Rams went 14-0 in 1966-67-68 and 12-0 in 1969-70-71-72.

Then, after Medina’s 1973 title season, Roy-Hart shared the N-O crown with Newfane in 1974 at 11-1.

The Rams then were tri-champs in 1975 with Medina and Newfane at 10-2.

Then, after claiming the title outright in 1976 at 12-0, Roy-Hart ended its lengthy run by sharing the crown with Wilson in 1977 at 11-1.

Interestingly, Wilson went on to win the N-O title outright each of the next five years (1978-82).

Roy-Hart’s long title run featured a large number of outstanding individual student/athletes just of few of whom included Tom Nasal, Ryan Dill and Richard Gothard in the distance events, Bill Spencer and Tom DeCarlo in the 400, Jim Ferington in the hurdles and Tom Weber and Paul Merritt  in the jumps.

Since N-O track competition began shortly after World War II the league has seen several other long championships runs. Wilson won the crown nine years in a row from 1948-56 while Starpoint took it eight years in a row from 1996-2003 and Albion seven in a row from 2004-2010.