COUDERSPORT - Every point counts.
It's what Eisenhower head boys track and field coach David Bauer and assistant coach Ryan Hoffman have been stressing to their athletes since starting to coach together three years ago.
On Friday, that mantra helped the Knights win the Coudersport Invitational. And the Knights did it without a full roster.
In their third year there, the Knights finished in first place by one point, 116-115 over Port Allegany, a stalwart out of the District 9 Northern Tier League.
Ike has finished in the upper half the past couple of years of the dozen or so teams that compete annually at the invitational. This year, the Knights won it.
Matt Eernisse was a beast on Friday, winning the 100-meter dash with his fastest time of the year, finishing second in the 200 with his fastest time of the year - a district-qualifying 23.8 seconds, and second in the 400. He also helped the 4X400 team, including Nathan O'Brien, Andrew Onoratti and Jake VanHouten, win in 3:39.
On the track, Eisenhower had a ton of personal-best times, including the 4X800 relay team of Anthony Amroski, Matt Jewell, Greg Mizak and Devin VanGuilder, which finished third in 8:59. Amroski and VanGuilder also qualified for districts in the 1600.
Ben Perkins won the pole vault at 12-6, VanHouten was second and O'Brien third in the 300 hurdles, VanHouten second in the long jump, Onoratti fourth in the high jump, and Amroski fourth and VanGuilder fifth in the 3200.
The every point counts mantra couldn't have been more important than in the 400 relay, in which Eisenhower had only put together a new makeshift team - due to missing two members - a couple days ago. Adam Yaegle, Gus Bauer, Larry Ahn and Andy Decker sprinted to a third-place finish. Only the top three relays scored points at the Coudy Invite, so the third-place finish helped the Knights win.
"Today, that really did it," said Hoffman. "We made them put on speed suits even though two of them didn't want to do it."
The Lady Knights also competed, but results were unavailable by press time.