Sunday, December 3, 2023

Stormer Taking His Talents To Notre Dame

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In this June 2023 file photo, Frewsburg’s Landon Stormer celebrates after winning a sprint at the Section VI Track & Field Championships at West Seneca West High School.
P-J photo by Tim Frank

FREWSBURG — Landon Stormer has never liked settling for second place.

So when it came time to choose where he will spend the next four years of his life, he wasn’t about to settle for his second or third choice.

Instead, the Frewsburg senior dreamed big.

Surrounded by his track and field teammates as well as family last Wednesday, Stormer signed a national letter of intent to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, to run track and field for the Fighting Irish.

“Every college in this process really meant the world to me. Notre Dame just had that special something about it,” Stormer said following his signing. “As soon as I stepped foot on campus I just had an instant good feeling. The team, the coach, everything about it was amazing. … It’s Notre Dame, baby.”

Flanked by his brother, Tristan, and parents, Eric and Erika, Landon Stormer signs his national letter of intent to attend the University of Notre Dame last Wednesday at Frewsburg Middle/High School. Standing in back are, from the left, Adam Loftus, track and field coach; and Terry Gray, athletic director.
P-J photo by Matt Spielman

Coming off a record-setting junior year, Stormer had interest from several NCAA Division I programs, including Virginia Tech and Kansas, among others.

After he thanked several people that helped him get to the point he is at now — at the start of his senior season of indoor track — Stormer ripped off a Frewsburg sweatshirt in the high school library to reveal the green and gold of Notre Dame.

“This was the goal, whether it was soccer or track, this was the ultimate goal having those hats out on the table,” Stormer said. “I didn’t really ever think I would get here because of all the injuries. … Here we are. It is a dream come true.”

See STORMER, Page B2

After selecting a Notre Dame hat instead of those of the Hokies or Jayhawks, Stormer sat down and signed his NLI next to his younger brother, Tristan, as well as parents Eric and Erika.

Following a devastating leg injury, followed by a collarbone injury, Stormer got back into high-level competition as a sophomore.

“He missed his eighth-grade year and I didn’t know how he would respond coming back in ninth grade. … He almost had to learn how to run again coming back from that injury,” Frewsburg head coach Adam Loftus said Wednesday. “He had some mechanical flaws as a ninth-grader, but he worked his tail off. Then, by 10th grade, you could tell he was going somewhere special.”

“There was a time when I doubted it with a big leg injury and a collarbone (injury) back to back. … The dream became dimmer, but here we are,” Stormer said. “I just had this goal in mind at the end. I envisioned what we had here today and kept that as motivation all the way through. … I had a great support system and God taking me through it all.”

Stormer burst onto the scene last winter while running for the combined Falconer/Cassadaga Valley/Frewsburg/Randolph indoor team. He posted sprint bests of 6.54 seconds in the 55 meters, 7.16 seconds in the 60 meters, 22.15 seconds in the 200 meters and 34.70 seconds in the 300 meters as well as a leap of 16 feet, 9.25 inches in the long jump. His 300-meter time placed him third in the state, while he was also a member of F/CV/F/R’s eighth-place 800-meter relay team.

“It amazes me that he did all of that as a junior, knowing that he has another whole year to show the section what he has,” Loftus said. “A lot of coaches were surprised last year to find out that he was only a junior.”

In the spring, during his outdoor season, Stormer was at it again. At Bill Race Field in Falconer for the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association championships, Stormer won the 200 meters (22.90 seconds) and was second in the 400 meters (49.82 seconds).

In Randolph at the Section VI Class D championships, Stormer won the 100 meters (10.91 seconds) and 200 meters (22.68 seconds), and was second in the 400 meters (54.52 seconds).

At the Section VI state qualifier, Stormer won the Division II 100 meters (10.8 seconds) and 200 meters (21.22 seconds).

Finally, at the state meet, Stormer took fifth place overall (second in Division II) in the 200 meters in addition to the 19th-best time in the preliminaries of the 100-meter dash.

Stormer hopes to improve on all of his indoor and outdoor times in the coming months. He already knows he’ll be spending much of his time for the next four years — at, ironically, the Loftus Sports Center in South Bend where Notre Dame houses its indoor track.

“Going into the season for indoor and outdoor, the goal is a state championship,” Loftus said. “Regardless of how the seasons end, it’s already a storybook ending for him. I know he has some eyes on sectional records. It’s going to be exciting.”

“It’s state title or bust. … I really want to win it all. I know my competitors will make that tough for me, but I’m up for the challenge,” Stormer added. “I’m coming for all the records, all the titles and all the wins. It’s going to be a really exciting season.”

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