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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: December 2007

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Young Russians set to invade Friday

Clifton Park residents are being asked to open their homes to the Russians during this holiday season, not as a hostile takeover, but an act of international kindness.

The Olimp Hockey Club from Vorkuta, Russia is traveling to the Capital District to compete in the International Santa Jam this weekend at the Clifton Park Arena. The overseas visitors will face local powers, the Clifton Park Dynamo, the CD Selects, the Salem New Hampshire Top Guns and the Massachusetts Dual State Huskies. All the players are a 1994 birth year (13-years-old).

Vorkuta is located in the Komi Republic beyond the Arctic (or Polar) Circle about 55 miles inland from the Barents Sea of the Arctic Ocean. Olimp HC is a "AA" youth hockey program that has won the North Regions of Russia "Polar Games" four times; it was champion of the Northwest Region of Russia in 2007 and placed second in the "Golden Puck" Championships last year. All the players on this team attend a sports school, where classes are combined with training each day.

The jamboree is currently looking for sponsors to help with the Russian hockey team’s entry fee into the tournament and their luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 29 as well as families to host two players each. The players are all first-year bantams and would need housing from Dec. 28 through Dec. 30.

For sponsorship information or housing billeting, contact Craig Jenkins at 279-3070.


International Santa Jamboree
All games at Clifton Park Arena
Friday, Dec. 28
9 a.m. CP Dynamo vs. Olimp Hockey Club
10:30 a.m. Top Gun vs. CD Selects 94
4:30 p.m. Top Gun vs. CP Dynamo
6 p.m. CD Selects 94 vs. Olimp Hockey Club
Saturday, Dec. 29
9 a.m. Top Gun vs. Olimp Hockey Club
10:30 a.m. Dual State vs. CD Selects 94
12:30 p.m. Skills competition – All Teams
4:30 p.m. Top Gun vs. Dual State
6 p.m. CP Dynamo vs. CD Selects 94
Sunday, Dec. 30
10:30 a.m. Dual State vs. CP Dynamo
3 p.m. Dual State vs. Olimp Hockey Club

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Davidson commits to Providence

Just a week after becoming the fourth-fastest runner in the nation, Saratoga Springs senior Hannah Davidson made another big leap, committing to run for the next four years at Providence College.

“It was mostly the team and the coach,” Davidson said. “I left there after my official visit and knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Davidson, finished in fourth-place at the Nike Team Nationals on Dec. 1 running with the Kinetic Running Club. The Saratoga-based running group finished in third place at the national cross country team event in Portland, Oregon.

“I wanted to go somewhere with a strong program, that had a tradition of some sort,” Davidson said. “I’m leaving Saratoga and I wanted to go into another program like that.”

Friars head coach Ray Treacy enters his 16th season at the helm of Providence. The women’s cross country team recently made its 26th appearance at the Big East Championship, earning a second-place finish, the fifth-consecutive year the Friars have finished in one of the top two spots. Providence captured the NCAA Northeast title to qualify for the NCAA meet where the women’s team finished in 26th place.

“A lot of my school choices were not near home,” Davidson said. “Providence was the only one near home.”

Davidson is expected to sign her National Letter of Intent, legally committing her to Providence College during the initial signing period for field hockey, soccer, track and field/cross country in early February.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Shen come back, wins 5-4

Here are the on-line updates from my Blackberry Friday night of the Shen versus Williamsville North contest that began at 9 p.m. too late for print deadline.

Shenendehowa went ahead for the first time Friday night when Jesse Elliott went from passer to scorer, putting the Plainsmen ahead, 5-4, just six seconds after tying the contest at four goals each.

Elliott took a feed from A.J. Mangino for the leading tally with 5:09 to play.

Williamsville North took two late penalties and Shen was able to earn the come from behind victory.

Adam Hitchko took matters into his own hands after the Plainsmen killed off a penalty six minutes in.

The big man took the puck down the left side, shook off a defender and deposited the puck inside the goal, unimpaired, knotting the game at four apiece with 5:15 left.

Captain Bryan Hunter pulled the Plainsmen to within a goal, when he put the vulcanized rubber prize between the pads of Williamsville goalie branden Komm 1:13 into the third.

He was again set up by Jesse Elliott, working in the office, behind the net.

Shen suffering, down 4-2

The Plainsmen couldn't catch a break as. Williamsville North's Sean Talty tipped in Nick Angelo's shot from the top of the right circle with 3:24 left in the second for a 4-2 lead.

The tip in bypassed Shenendehowa's second goalie of the night, Peter Rakowsky.

More bad news as Shen junior forward Tim Wall skated off the ice with a trainer, holding his left arm acrossthe front of his jersey with 1:52 to go in the second period.

Williamsville took back its lead, 3-2, when Nick Angelo skated in from the right side onto Shenendehowa goalie Nate Mellow. Angelo flung the puck over Mellow's shoulder and under the crossbar midway through the second for the lead.

The timing or the outcome at 7:29 of the second allowed Plainsmen coach Juan de la Rocha to change goalies, sending Peter Rakowsky in to replace Mellow at the game's halfway point.

The Plainsmen knotted the contest at two apiece, taking advantage of a Williamsville North miscue.

The Spartans attempted to ice the puck for a line change, but in an attempt to send it up the far boards, had it intercepted at the red line.

Adam Hitchko gathered the puck and walked down the left side with help for a two-man advantage against spartan goaltender Branden Komm.

Hitchko beat him to his stick side the game-tying goal with 10:47 left in the second.

Shen cut the lead in half, 2-1, 51 seconds into the second period when A.J. Mangino put back a shot by Sean Smith from the top of the slot. Jesse Elliot set things up from behind the net, feeding Smith up top.

Score: Williamsville North 4, Shen 2

Shots: Willy North 6-8 14, Shen 8-12 20.

Shen down early, 2-0

Shen came out aggressive in the first period, but couldn't convert on its eight shots.

Williamsville North held off the early offensive attack and converted twice on Plainsmen goalie Nate Mellow.

The Spartans took advantage of a defensive miscue in the Shen end, feeding the puck across ice and onto the blade of Josh Liddle who ripped the puck past Mellow with 3:52 left in the first.

Things got worse when Mellow was screened after the ensuing face-off and couldn't block Williamsville North's Cameron Sroda for the 2-0 lead 35 seconds later.

Score after one: Willy North 2, Shen 0

Shots: Willy North 6, Shen 8.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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One vote down, successfully, two more to go

Stillwater and Mechanicville up next

After the Shenendehowa School District approved a $3.5 million upgrade to its athletic facilities Dec. 11 by a vote of 1,549 to 1,526, two other local communities are hoping to have the same positive outcome.

On Dec. 18 residents in the Stillwater Central School District will vote on two separate propositions, both involving the Warriors athletic fields.
Proposition One would authorize the construction of a multi-purpose artificial turf field at a cost of $870,500.
Proposition Two would authorize the installation of lighting around the playing field at a cost of $182,500.

If both propositions are successful, the total cost would be $1,053,000.
In a letter to taxpayers, Stillwater Superintendent Stanley Maziejka stated that the average cost to taxpayers would be $6 annually for 15 years.

On Dec. 20 the Mechanicville School District will also vote on two separate propositions, with only one having any impact on taxpayers.

Proposition One offers to repair the high school roof, renovate, update current locker rooms, secure the school cafeteria and update the current football bleachers. The proposition will utilize EXCEL Aid available to the school district and will not effect the current tax rate.

Proposition Two authorizes the repair and upgrade of the current pool and include the installation of lights to the current football field. The proposition will have an impact of $2 a year for senior STAR, $3 for a primary residence and $4 for a home with an average cost of $100,000.

“I have no idea how the Shen vote will impact us,” Mechanicville Superintendent Dr. Michael McCarthy said. “Hopefully the fact that is passed would help us for approval.”

The superintendent said the Mechanicville projects are at a smaller scale than the Shenendehowa proposition.

The second proposal could be hurdle due to the impact to taxpayers.

“The second proposition is really renovations to the underbelly of the pool and the pool itself,” McCarthy said. “Along with some lights which would really give us a lot better use of our athletic fields. In some ways it may be considered a frill, but it is something that the community has indicated to me often that they do want.”

Mechanicville athletic director and football/track coach Kevin Collins was interested in the Shen outcome.

“I wasn’t surprised by the turnout, especially with the way costs going up,” Collins said. “It hits everyone in the pocketbook and they voted. It came out in their favor. I think we will get quite a few people to come out to vote and it’s a hot topic in Mechanicville.”

In June, Stillwater School District taxpayers voted down the two projects as a combined proposition. Maziejka wrote to taxpayers about the positives of both projects gaining approval.

Both projects would take advantage of current EXCEL Aid and if not approved this week, the projects would be “prohibitively expensive” in the future.

Maziejka promoted the flexibility of a synthetic surface for all sports teams in the fall and spring seasons, along with youth teams.

The addition of lights would also extend the playable hours on the field for the same groups.

“We’re hoping that Stillwater passes and ours passes as well,” Collins said. “It’s an opportunity for kids to have something to be proud of. They think of athletic events they went to or competed in.”

The Stillwater vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 18, in the middle school gymnasium. The Mechanicville vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 20 in the high school gym lobby.

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On tap: The best game you may never see or read about

With the potential of a Nor'Easter heading our way to add to the small pileup of snow already on the ground from Thursday, I'm willing to committ to a light weekend of sports and a lot of time at home working on Fall Dream Team selections.
That said, what would a weekend be without some ice hockey and wrestling during a December two-day stretch.

The best hockey game not making deadline

Shenendehowa ice hockey faces Williamsville North in a clash of the titans tonight at the Clifton Park Arena, just moments before most siblings are headed for bed on a typical school night...8:45 p.m.
I haven't found out who to credit for this late night fiasco, but I doubt that any of the five local newspaper outlets will get a box score in before deadline.
I know making The Saratogian deadline is out of question, but will be in next week's Community News.
I'll try to send updates from my Blackberry between periods, sneaking out near a window for cell signal.

Lee Van Slyke Wrestling Tournament

At least the snow is expected to hold off until later Saturday night so the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake annual Lee Van Slyke wrestling tournament will go off undeterred.
The Spartans are once again strong contenders to win their own tournament, but they invite the best teams from across the state to grapple in the Burnt Hills gym all day.
I'll sneak over for some photos in the afternoon and weigh-in on the potential for video. It may depend on pending snow, they may want the camera in Saratoga for the snowstorm.

Shaker Invitational

I hate to disappoint the ladies, but I won't be at the Shaker Invitational gymnastics meet this Saturday. The event has 10 teams and would mean a long day for me. I saw Shen and Saratoga in a dual meet Monday night, so Saturday would be a lot of overkill.
The 10-team meet could also cramp the plans of Saratoga gymnastics coach Debbie Hayes who has some entertaining plans scheduled that night (hint: she's getting married over the holiday break).

Dream teams or bust!

Under the threat of not taking a vacation, Fall Dream Teams are underway and are scheduled to start running Dec. 19 through the end of the year. They need to be done before I start vacation, so between my sports editor and my wife, it has to be a deadline I can't miss.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Christmas Wishes granted...turf and a video camera

Dear diary,

Tuesday was one of the most exciting moments in my 10 year history as a sportswriter with The Saratogian and Community News.

I spent most of the night inside the Gowana gymnasium during the voting for the athletic facility upgrade speaking with voters, friends and familiar faces.

The voters came out in droves to cast their votes. The voters ranged from school district employees, residents, parents who have kids in current programs and those that have graduated.

One of my highlights included seeing first-time voters, Shen ice hockey senior standouts Bryan Hunter and E.J. Reutemann, exercising their right to vote and help make a difference on a vote that was decided by just 23 ballots.

It was great to see a large turnout, showing that people cared; both to approve the proposition along with those casting a ‘no’ vote and finding out their reasons.

Several of the ‘no’ voters I polled at the exit gave me reasons, but not their names. I appreciate their candor, but not their unwillingness to share a name or hometown.

The ‘yes’ voters did come from parents of athletes, past and present and some reasons of supporting athletics and education. Some of them, all giving their names, even had reasons that surprised me.

One voter said ‘If you want to have nice things, you have to pay for them. I live in Clifton Park because it’s anice area, I like the school and I’m willing to pay for these things.’

Some of the ‘no’ votes came from familiar faces that I have seen through the years. All were supporters of athletics, the school district and its students. The reasons were financial, something I cannot argue with.

Several ‘no’ voters wanted the taxpayer burden to be spent on other projects, music, books, robotics, school bus routes and building repairs. All were justified and pertinent to each child’s education at Shenendehowa. Don’t give up, continue to fight, write and vote for what is important to you and your family.

The biggest smile on the night did belong to Shenendehowa varsity coach Brent Steuerwald, equally shared with new Athletic Director Christopher Culnan.

Coach Steuerwald will now have the opportunity to see the school district’s athletic programs grow from playing on cornfields, to turf fields and finally, synthetic turf. It was one of the biggest challenges Steuerwald has faced and it is deserving that Steuerwald Stadium will contain an artificial surface for hundred and thousands of students, not just football players to participate on.

Are you ready for your close-up?

For the past several years you may have seen me toting my Canon Rebel digital cameras (shameless plug for free equipment) to various sporting events. Many of my photos appear each week on the Community News and Saratogian sports pages.

Be prepared, I’ve got a new toy!

Our corporate parent, Journal Register Company, has outfitted all 22 of its daily newspapers with Sony digital video cameras, Mac cinema stations and editing software, Final Cut Pro. (Another shameless plug for more equipment).

I’ve been able to create several videos so far and have them uploaded on our new, re-designed Web site, www.saratogian.com. They are listed under the AP Video Archives and include previews of the Shenendehowa and Saratoga ice hockey teams, Tuesday’s facility proposal outcome and Mechanicville bowler, Brian Mariano. Look for previews on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake ice hockey team and an outlook by the Shenendehowa gymnastics team to follow soon.

It’s another labor of love for the entire staff at both newspapers, but it is the wave of the future and includes its own sets of challenges.

We can’t video everything, we can’t stream live video of contests and it does take some time to edit and produce the final projects. We also are at the mercy of software, jump drives, video tapes, servers and the biggest culprit ever, time.
I think the upcoming weeks, months and hope, years, will be full of great opportunities for myself to offer even more to our readership as we become more comfortable with the process and equipment.

So, here’s looking at you Community News readers, through yet again, another set of eyes.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shen turf vote good in final seconds

The votes are in......

Yes. 1,549

No. 1,526





Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Shen turf vote turnout strong

They came from throughout the Shenendehowa School District to cast their votes on a $3.5 millon facilities upgrade that include a synthetic turf football surface.
The voting was brisk early on according to polling place volunteers and lines were formed from my stop during rush hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The non-scientific exit poll done by myself, a combination of formal interviews and casual conversation have the vote split 50-50.
The yes voters say the school district needs it and the no voters look at it as a "football" thing or a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The votes will be tallied and announced at 9 p.m. this evening.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Former Saratoga Phillie up for Brooks Wallace Award

Former Saratoga Phillies outfielder, Chris Dove from Elon College has been named as one of 224 baseball collegiate athletes on the annual award's "Watch List."

Chris Dove was a key component in Saratoga's 2006 run to the NYCBL championship. Dove was one of three outfielders selected first-team All-NYCBL in 2006.

The Brooks Wallace Award is awarded annually to the country’s top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual induction festivities.

Last year’s award went to Vanderbilt pitcher David Price, who was the first overall selection in the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

In 2007, his first season at Elon University, the 6-foot 175-pound right hander stole a team-high 31 bases on 40 attempts and batted .333 (third on team) with two home runs and 30 RBI. He also connected for a college-best eight triples.

Over the summer, Dove played for the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League where he batted .238 in 54 games. He scored 22 runs with 36 hits for two doubles and 13 RBI. He also stole 22 bases for the second-half North Division champions.

“We could not be more excited for Chis," Saratoga Phillies managing partner Keith Rogers said. "This is a tremendous honor for him. There is no doubt in my mind that Chris will have a long career in professional baseball. He is gifted with extraordinary baseball skills but even more impressive is type of person he is.
"He is the type of kid that you would want your son or daughter to grow up and emulate," Rogers said. "Without a doubt, one of the most humble and classy kids I have ever been around”.

The award is named after former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 27 in 1985.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Quick Dan Kauth Tourney results

The locals fared reasonably well at the conclusion of the2007 Don Kauth Memorial High School Hockey Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Weibel Ave. Rink.

Shenendehowa posted a 2-2 tie against Section III's Liverpool, but Plainsmen coach Juan de la Rocha was visibly disappointed in the tie.

Shenendehowa came up empty during a five-minute power play and then wasted Joe Macaluso's go-ahead backhanded goal with 5:25 left in the third. The Plainsmen then took two consecutive penalties, a tripping and charging infraction. Liverpool's Ryan Duffy scored his second goal of the game with 4:14 left.

Shenendehowa pressured the Warriors goaltender, Matt Miller, throughout the five-minute overtime period, but came up empty.

The pressure didn't sit well with Miller, who came up swinging, literally, in the closing second of the contest after a slew of Plainsmen players crashed the net looking for a rebound tally. His infraction coast him a four-minute major and a game misconduct.

Liverpool was playing without top player, Josh LaRose, who was forced to sit out Saturday's contest for an infraction stemming from Friday's contest versus LaSalle Institute.

Saratoga Springs was powered by sophomore goaltender T.J. Delaney who turned back all 20 shots he faced in goal, earning his first varsity win and shutout with a 3-0 win over Clarkstown North.

Blue Streak coach Tim McGuiggan made several changes to get through to his young squad.

He went casual behind the bench, in jeans and a Blue Streaks baseball cap. He received permission from Clarkstown North to wear its home colors and bench, moving Saratoga into a visitors locker room, skating in their road blue jerseys and went with a different goaltender minutes before the teams came out for warm-ups.

It worked as Saratoga went 2-for-4 on their power play, a far cry from the 0-for-6 outing Friday versus Orchard Park and 1-for-18 season estimate by assistant coach Mike Ricupero.

Senior forward Greg Jacot put back two rebounds for goals, both on the power play as the Blue Streaks appeared headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ashleigh Barone and Kelly Murphy 1st team All-State Soccer

Shenendehowa senior Ashleigh Barone and Mechanicville senior Kelly Murphy have each been selected to the New York State Sportswriters Association All-State team as first-team selections.

Siena-bound Barone was named to the Class AA first-team squad and Murphy was named to the Class C's top squad.

Saratoga County girls soccer players named to the state team:
Liz Boyer, sophomore, Saratoga, Class AA sixth team
Amanda Malone, sophomore, Burnt Hills-Ballston, Lake Class A second team
Alexis Wallace, senior, South Glens Falls, Class A fifth team
Tiffany McCall, senior, Schuylerville, Class B fourth team
Amanda Hathaway, sophomore, Stillwater, Class C second team
Lisa Bates, junior, Galway, Class C third team
Lexi Williams, senior, Mechanicville, Class C third team
Galina Schreifels, sophomore, Stillwater, Class C fourth team

Additional Capital District girls soccer players named to the NYSSWA team:
Class AA
Kristina Maksuti, freshman, Bethlehem, second team

Becca Millock, senior, Shaker, second team
Olivia DeMarco, junior, Catholic High, third team
Caitlin Kahalan, junior, Shaker, third team
Alicia D'Alessandra, senior, Niskayuna, fourth team
Kathryn Thomas, senior, Shaker, fourth team
Marissa Wing, senior, Columbia, fourth team
Courtney Blanchard, senior, Queensbury, fifth team
Whitney Frary, junior, Niskayuna, sixth team
Class A
Tess Massaroni, senior, Holy Name, second team
Brittni Lionarons, junior, Averill Park, third team
Megan Sleezer, senior, Gloversville, fourth team
Sara Cipperly, sophomore, Lansingburgh, fifth team
Class B
Kat Kulzer, senior, Tamrac, first team
Ashley Wilson, junior, Ravena, first team
Kylie Watt, junior, Ichabod Crane, second team
Jessica Strang, senior, Schalmont, second team
Mary Donohoe, senior, Ichabod Crane, third team
Sarah Lonergan, senior, Tamarc, third team
Class C
Sarah Delurey, senior, Hoosick Falls, first team
Ashley Gallt, senior, Mayfield, first team
Annie Mullen, senior, Hoosick Falls, first team
Kaitlyn Dano, senior, Schoharie, second team
Carley Pine, junior, Hoosick Falls, third team
Megan Rozumulski, junior, Middleburgh, third team
Carley Keefe, senior, Maple Hill, fourth team
Class D
Heather Nelson, senior, Northville, third team
Jane Gavrity, senior, New Lebanon, third team

For the entire NYSSWA girls soccer all-stars click here New York State Sportswriters

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