News + Views

Carmel’s Eric Holt Finds Perfection in Running


By Chuck Slater

That surprisingly great finish to the outstanding high school distance-running career of Eric Holt surprised first the state and then the national scene.  But it came as no surprise to the just-graduated Carmel athlete and his coach.

Ever since he started running competitively in the spring of his eighth-grade year, the almost 6-1 Holt has followed promise with accomplishment.  By the winter of his senior season, he earned All-American status in the 2-mile run and qualified for the prestigious Millrose Games in the mile.

And then came his finishing kick.

After sweeping his regular-season, league and section mile and two-mile events outdoors, Holt ran off with the Division 1 and Federation titles at 1,600 meters in the state track championships in Middleton on June 6.  His personal-best clocking of 4 minutes 7 seconds was the ninth fastest in New York history. (more…)

June 26, 2013 |

Bobby Belvins Receives Canadian-American League Honor


By Chuck Slater

Briarcliff native and resident Bobby Blevins has been named the pitcher of the week in the Candian-American League.

It’s not a first for the Rockland Boulders’ veteran professional righthander.  He was similarly honored last year and once when in the Dodgers’ system.

Blevins was cited for his 7-1 complete-game victory over the New Jersey Jackals on June 16.  Well-pitched complete games are rare in his hitter-friendly leagued.

The game was is fourth win of the season, tying the Boulders’ ace for the league lead.  His 43 innings pitched are tops in the league and his 3.35 earned run average is among then league leaders.

June 18, 2013 |

Long Way Back For Lakeland/Panas Field Hockey Star

Gianna Bensaia

By Chuck Slater

There is a sign on the wall in the bedroom of star Lakeland/Panas athlete Giana Bensaia.  It reads:  “Hard things are put in our way to bring out our strength and courage.”

This past March 30, that message moved off her wall and into the senior’s life.

Bensaia, one of the area’s premier athletes, a two-sport star in field hockey and lacrosse, was coming off a standout field hockey season in which she helped Sharon Sarsen‘s Rebels win a fourth straight state field-hockey crown following a summer with the national U17 team.  A field hockey scholarship to New Hampshire awaited her in the fall,  But now it was lacrosse time and the defense-minded Bensaia was being counted on to provide offense for a team hit hard by graduation the previous June.

Sarsen’s lacrosse girls were playing a friendly, pre-season Saturday match in Connecticut prepatory to opening their season in early April.  Bensaia was running, with no contact, when she took a misstep and went down with a sudden searing pain in her right knee.  “I heard a snap, crackle, pop,” she said.  “I knew it was bad.” (more…)

June 18, 2013 |

Yorktown Lacrosse Duo Heads All-Americans


By Chuck Slater

Two Yorktown lacrosse players – both midfielders, both underclassmen and both with the same first name but spelled differently – are among the six local girls from the 10 selected as All. Americans from the Hudson Valley chapter of U.S. Lacrosse.

Junior Emalee Mongno and sophomore Emily Concialdi were picked from the Class B section runners-up. Another underclassman, junior Emma Schurr of Somers, was also chosen along with three local seniors: Mahopac goalie Gabriella Anderson, Brewster middie Kristen Ohberg and John Jay attack Molly O’Reilly.

The picks were revealed at the Section 1 lacrosse awards dinner.

“It was very exciting to hear my name announced,” Mongno said.  “And Emily’s pick was well deserved.”

Christina Smith, coach of Section B champion John Jay, praised O’Reilly’s work ethic.  “The thing you have to know about Molly is how unselfish she is,” the coach said.  “She’ll score a goal but she’ll try just as hard to get a teammate a goal.”

Smith also praised Anderson as “I think the best goalie in our area.”

“It’s an honor and an accomplishment,” said Schurr, while wishing her equally talented twin Tara had also made it.  “Maybe together next year,” she said.

Emma had 4l goals; Tara, also a midfielder but a bit more defensive-minded, had 39.

Another Somers athlete in another sport also made All-America on Friday, June 15.  Kristi Licursi finished fourth in the mile race walk at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. with the top six finishers automatically All Americans.

Licursi, who was also an All America last year, was especially pleased with her time:  7 minutes 49.48 seconds,   It was more than eight seconds better than a year ago and took her under her 7:50 goal.

Carmel’s Eric Holt, the state 1,600-meter champion, just missed the elite six, finishing seventh in the two miler a day later with a personal-best of 9:05.19.  Stephen Shine of Briarcliff, the D2 champion at l,600, was eighth at 5,000 meters in 14:44.58.

June 17, 2013 |

John Jay in State Semis


By Chuck Slater

John Jay’s surprise Section 1 baseball champions advanced to the state semifinals Tuesday night, June 4, thumping section 9 champion Cornwall, 9-2, in Fishkill. They next play Saturday, June 8, in Binghamton in the Class A final four.

“It’s a tremendous feeling,” said coach Geoff Curtis, whose club was only the sixth seed in Section 1.

The Indians’ playoff pitching hero, Sam Mines, submarined his way through 6 l/3 innings, giving up five hits and just one earned run, before Scott Michaels got the final two outs.  Shortstop Jack Weiller had three hits for the second straight game while Jason Valvano was 2-for-2 with three runs batted in.

John Jay broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fifth, then broke the game open with a five-run sixth.  “These kids fight through adversity,” said Curtis, “and plan to go all the way.”

The Indians’ staff has yielded just eight runs in six playoff games.

June 5, 2013 |

John Jay Wins Again


By Chuck Slater

John Jay’s surprising baseball team survived a first-inning scare, then cruised to a 7-1 victory over Section 4’s Maine-Endwell in Binghamton on Monday, June 3 to reach the regional finals.  The Indians face Section 9’s Cornwell Tuesday night, June 4, in Fishkill, the winner advancing to the state semifinals./

The scare, however, had nothing to do with the scoring.  Sophomore second baseman Ronnie Correli was knocked unconscious in a first-inning collision and had to be hospitalized.  Soon he was fine , however.

And so was his team.  The Section 1 titlists, though concerned, broke open the game with a four-run second inning and Alec Brown yielded just five hits and a run over six innings.  Sophomore Jack Weiller went 3-for-4 with two walks.

“The kids were resilient,” said Coach Geoff Curtis.

June 4, 2013 |

John Jay Surprises in Baseball


By Chuck Slater

At the start of the first game of a very promising baseball season for John Jay a couple of months ago, senior pitching ace Will Jahn went down with a season-ending labrum injury to his pitching arm requiring surgery.

“At that moment I didn’t think much of our chances for being sectional champions,” recalled Geoff Curtis, the very successful Indians coach.

Yet on Friday, May 31, sixth-seeded John Jay became exactly that, sweating out a 2-1 Class A sectional title-game victory over fourth-seeded Beacon at Provident Bank Park. Curtis’ surprising crew next faces Maine-Endwell at Union Endicott High School on Monday, June 3, in a regional semifinal. It is the only local team to win sectionals.

“Even without Will we had pitching depth,” said Curtis. Indeed, Sam Milnes (twice) and Alec Brown, both seniors, had won John Jay’s first three sectional games and Curtis still had senior Trevor Filacchione for the title game. He delivered 5 2/3 shutout innings while allowing just four hits to a team that had scored 29 runs in its first three playoff games and beaten the Indians by 10-2 during the regular season.

But with two out in the seventh, Beacon got runners on the corners with two outs. Curtis called on Milnes, who before the game had told the coach he could get him an out or two.   After giving up a run-scoring single, Milnes got the final out.

The Indians (16-8) won with only two hits. Jack Weiller’s single plating the game’s first run. “All season,” Curtis said, “we’ve won with timely hitting, strong pitching and an incredibly improved defense.”

June 3, 2013 |
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