News + Views

Yorktown Lacrosse Loses Late


By Chuck Slater

Yorktown went into its regional game in Albany on Thursday, May 30, ranked sixth nationally among high school lacrosse teams. But its opponent, Section 2’s Niskayuna, came in ranked second.  So the result was not a  big surprise: Niskayuna rallied for a 13-11 victory after trailing for most of the first three quarters.

“The breaks didn’t go our way,” said Dave Marr, coach of the Section 1 champions.

The Huskers took an early 6-3 edge and were still leading, 10-9, after the third period.  But the Section 2 champions got two goals early in the fourth quarter before Brian Prestreau scored his team-high fourth goal for Yorktown to knot the score.  However,  Niskayuna then scored twice in the last five and one-half minutes.

“The boys tried hard,” Marr said, “but in the end they were outplayed.”

May 31, 2013 |

Lang Scores 8 to Lead John Jay


By Chuck Slater

Senior Sarah Lang has long been a lacrosse standout – her total of 164 goals is the fourth most in John Jay Cross River’s career annals.  And on Wednesday, May 29, she picked the perfect time to score eight goals in one game to lead the Indians to the Class B regional final with a 19-14 victory over Section 2’s Burnt Hills at Fox Lane High School..

Later on the Fox Lane turf, Putnam Valley, a section champion for the first time, advanced to the Class C regional final with a 12-11 squeaker over Albany Academy.

The local boys team in regional play, nationally ranked Yorktown, had its Class B match with Niskayuna, also nationally ranked, in Albany postponed by a thunderstorm.  Hopefully, the two powerhouses will have their showdown on Thursday, May 30.

“Absolutely amazing,” said Lang, referring to John Jay’s success.  “So exciting,” said coach Christine Smith who in her second year at the helm has taken her team to its first sectional title since 1993 and now the regional final.   “The girls deserve it.”

The Cross River girls next face Saugerties in the regional final Saturday in Kingston.

John Jay actually trailed by 10-6 halftime before dominating the second session as Lang scored six of her eight goals.  “No,” she said with a laugh, “I’ve never scored eight goals before.”

“It took a while to adjust to Burnt Hills’ aggressive play,” added Lang, an attack who has a scholarship to the University of Vermont ahead of her.  “But we seniors realized we could be facing our last half in high school if we didn’t pick it up.”

And, led by Lang, pick it up they did.

Putnam Valley next faces Section 9’s Red Hook on Saturday in Kingston.  The Tigers, however, had to hold on after taking a 12-6 lead.

“I know we are going to go all the way,” said Putnam Valley’s Mel Wagner, who had five goals.

May 30, 2013 |

Big Victory for Morales


By Chuck Slater

A year ago at this time, Nicole Morales, the precocious young golfer from South Salem, finished 22nd in the prestigious Thunderbird International Junior Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I put too much pressure on myself,” she said then. “I’ll do better next time.”

Did she ever. On Monday, May 27, she won the three-round event, closing with a 69 for a 5-under-par 211. “I was in the right frame of mind,” she said after the most significant victory of her illustrious young career.

Morales, who left the John Jay boys golf team to concentrate on major junior women’s events, drained a 35-foot putt on the final hole to win by a stroke. “My putter was on fire,” she said.

Next up for Morales: trying to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open in New Jersey on Thursday, May 30. It is her 17th birthday.

May 29, 2013 |

Panas Volleyball Star Burcescu Headed to Northeastern U.



The search is over, the long year of recruiting finished. Brigitte Burcescu has chosen to continue her brilliant volleyball career at Northeastern University following her senior season at Panas.

As a junior, Burcescu was clearly the area’s premier volleyball player. The 6’1″ outside hitter captained and led Panas to a 20-5 record as well as its first sectional and regional championship. She also made first team all-state.

“She’s made an excellent choice,” Panas coach Joe Felipe said of the Boston university. “It’s somewhere she can make an impact.

“Northeastern has a strong volleyball program but, even more important to Brigitte, it is very strong academically.”

The highly-sought Burcescu considered myriad collegiate suitors — including Georgia Tech, Lehigh, Colgate and Delaware — before choosing the Huskies. Last season, she rewrote school records for kills in a single match (36) and a season (526). In both cases, she erased marks of her older sister Vivian, who started as a freshman for the University of Virginia this past season.

Having her college decision in the rear-view mirror is a comfort, the younger Burcescu said. “But I’m just going to work harder” to be prepared for the first year of college, she added.

“She’s outstanding as a player and a person,” Felipe said.

April 30, 2013 |

For Hen Hud’s Boyle, the Hits Keep on Comin’



This reporter, I must confess, is a Mets fan. I have been one ever since covering the Original Mets, those lovable 1962 losers, in the long-departed Polo Grounds.

Today my favorite player is David Wright. Now, Wright fields brilliantly, throws quite well, hits very well and is a standup guy and the Mets captain. He also strikes out … a lot. About 100 times a year. In the third game of this young season, he struck out three times.

Perhaps Wright could learn a thing or two from Cassidy Boyle, the Hen Hud shortstop who last year as a sophomore was all-league, all-section and second team all-state in softball.

In softball, the ball zips at one underhand between 60 and 70 miles per hour from a distance of only 43 feet, so strikeouts are more frequent than in baseball. But Boyle did not strike out even once last season – and she has not in early games this season. It’s something Wright could envy.

Oh, she also batted .630 as a sophomore, something any player at any level could envy. (more…)

April 16, 2013 |

Hen Hud Javelinists Look to Throw Far


slater_articlepicSLATER’S SLANT

When the race walk, the javelin throw and the hammer throw were returned as scoring events for the county track and field meet this season, the first thought was it would be a big difference-maker for Somers. After all, in Maria Gorecki (the certain county favorite), Kristi Licursi and Allie Shaw, the Tusker girls have three of the area’s very best race walkers; the change should add some incentive to their All-America bids.

But the inclusion is a huge plus also for Marsha Bailey’s Hen Hud squad. It has, arguably, the county’s two best javelin throwers in juniors Jack O’Brien and Michael Gabrielsen, two tall athletes who both qualified for national competition as sophomores.

With javelin a non-scoring event, the Sailors would likely settle for a middle-of-the-pack county showing with senior sprinter-high jumper Brad Barthelmes leading the way in the B competition. But with the javelin registering in the team totals, Bailey’s team can certainly aim higher.

“I expect Jack and Mike to be 1-2 in our league and they could well score just as well at the county competition,” Bailey said. (more…)

April 12, 2013 |
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