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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: November 2008

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.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cross country clubs punch tickets to Oregon

The Kinetic RC girls and Clifton Park TC boys running clubs each earned all-expense paid trips to Portand, Oregon and the home of shoe giant Nike next week Saturday afternoon at Bodowin Park in Wappingers Falls.

The groups are comprised of runners from Saratoga Springs and Shenendehowa High Schools, but since it is a non-sanctioned event by the high school associations and involves air fare, hotel and tons of swag the kids who ran last week as high schoolers run this week as a "club team."

Kinetic was second behind No. 1 in the nation Manlius XC Club (Fayetteville-Manlius High School) with both qualifying for the national race.

The Burnt Hills TC (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School) girls squad placed a close third and are expected to receive an at-large bid Sunday afternoon.

Clifton Park TC (Shenendehowa) boys's entry won their event and will again take a plane cross country to race on the manmade course, guaranteed to have a ton of mud (it is Oregon) and a live video feed.

The Deluge XC boys squad (also Burnt Hills) came in fifth overall and won't advance.

What was dramatic looking at the results is the amount of time dropped by the same runners on the same course two weeks ago during the NYS Federation Meet. Some of the drops approached a staggering 1 minute reduction.

I plan to follow-up with the coaches about the qualifier this week for a preview of the national team event.

And no, I won't be hopping a plane with the harriers, not even in the cargo hold.

I'll link Sunday' story here once it goes live on web along with the preview when it's ready.

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New definition to the phrase 'Sin Bin'

Your team is tied during an ice hockey tournament contest, you and your squad are fighting for your proverbial playoff life and you've just decided to clunk one of your opponents in the head with your glove.

You get whistled by the referee and sent to the penalty box for a roughing infraction, placing your team down a player for the next 90 seconds.

Besides your coach rolling his eyes and your teammates cringing that they have to suck up the ice for another man-down shift. What could be worse?

How about your mom greeting you in the 'Sin Bin'?

Yes, it actually happened Saturday afternoon to a Clifton Park player (I'll protect the guilty here) during the 'A'-level Between the Pipes Tournament.

Hold your chuckles, the story actually gets better.

At the youth level, hockey tournament volunteers are typically parents who run the clock, keep the score sheet and run the penalty boxes. So this hockey player's mom is in the home team penalty box and gets to greet her son after his foolish infraction.

He plops down on the bench and while normally protocol calls for the box attendant to be quiet, he's getting it from his mom.

Since I was also in the box taking pictures of the contest, I had a bird's eye of the action and right there to hear the following...

"How could you do something like that?," Mom said as the opponents takes the face-off and moves the puck up the ice against Clifton Park. "See what they are doing, they are going right at..", yep, you guessed it, a power play goal six seconds into the penalty.

It still doesn't end there.

The player kicks the penalty box door with his skate in anger and is trying to bust out of the box as if he's on fire and his mom now is all over him again for acting like a child after the score.

Clifton Park never recovered and lost the contest, failing to advance to Sunday's play.

How would you like to be in that car on the way home..

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Shen boys hoops open strong

I capped my Black Friday by taking in the Shenendehowa boys basketball Tip-Off Festival game Friday night as the Plainsmen opened up against CHSAA's Nazareth of Brooklyn.

I usually make a joke about the Shenendehowa boys basketball team looking like the soccer team in sneakers...all of them standing 6-foot or shorter and unable to jump.

Boy was I wrong.

Shenendehowa brings back some height in 6-foot-6 senior center Ryan Murphy and the squad only sports four players under the basketball Mendoza line of 6-0.

This year's group should be a lot of fun to watch. They are athletic, quick and unselfish, exactly what head coach Tony Dzikas is looking for.

Now all they have to do to make their coach happy is rebound more and play tighter defense to put teams away.

Basically, "It ain't over until it's over."

One other thing the Plainsmen could use is fans. The Plainsmen student body fully supports the ice hockey team, filling the Clifton Park Arena and gladly paying admission to help the squad offset its ice costs, but how about some love for the cagers!

The Plainsmen dropped a good Nazareth squad 69-51 to open its season, story here, and will face Big 10 powerhouse Schenectady 6:30 p.m. Sunday night before opening its Suburban Council season 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, hosting Ballston Spa.

I hope to see you there.

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Black Friday rush

They waited outside since 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day on a cold day, eating their turkey a day early to be the first in line at Wilton's Best Buy, but for David and Eric Chung it was worth it.

The Saratoga brothers wanted to be the first in line to purchase two of the doorbuster specials at the electronics retailer.

I took time out of my Thanksgiving to talk to the group, adding
a story and a a video about the first arrivals.

Throughout the night and early morning they were joined by hundreds of busy shoppers, joining the line that stretched around the building.

After a joyus dinner with our friends up her, another losing round of poker with my godsons too, it was back to Best Buy at 4 a.m. for the opening.

More pictures, a grateful entry into the store to warm up and wait for the crowd to charge.

Fortunately for myself and the shoppers, everyone was orderly, happy and no other drama played out, unlike the tragedy at Wal-Mart on Long Island where an employee was trampled.

The shoppers entered, I took more pictures and then did some shopping of my own, picking up a much-wanted GPS for my godson, Kyle, that was part of the doorbuster bargins.

Within a few minutes and a few turns through the makeshift checkout aisles through the videos, I was on my way.

Not home, Reda was dropped off at Kohl's for their 4 a.m. opening. She made it to the most important doorbuster of the day for us, down comforters, any size for $34.99.

That along with presents for our families and our cats, a new pillow blanket for $14.99, completed our early morning shoppping.

I treated my bride to a tasty breakfast at Compton's on Broadway, a new stop for us, uploaded the video and photos at The Saratogian and then made our way home.

The comforter never even had a chance of making it under the Christmas tree, it went right on the bed and us underneath it for a well deserved post-shopping nap...along with all three cats, we settled in for a long winter nap (or at least a few hours).


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A new skin for my blog

It's a new look and do I look any thinner?

My blog is now integrated into the Saratogian Web-site so I guess I have to start giving them credit for my paycheck.

I don't have any control over the ads my my blog, but hopefully there won't be any embarrasing pop-ups like on another sports website I look to almost every day. (I'll fill you in on that one someday).

So I guess I can say that "I got a new skin for my birthday", so I guess it is sort of a facelift.

With the winter season now kicking off, or rather skating off and shooting off things will heat up on the hardwood and the ice.

For now, I'm going to carbo-load on Thursday to get ready for the early A.M. shopping Friday morning, for what I don't know yet...I have to grab my own Saratogian Thursday morning to find'd think with all this free advertising I'm giving them with my blog I could at least get a free paper out of it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hear the rowers roar Dec. 3

In today’s Post Star by Drew Kerr the Saratoga Rowing Association will be heard by the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Dec. 3 during a public hearing about the $240 million dollar budget of which the SRA has requested $30,000 for a permanent timing tower and equipment.

The initial request was declined, but the organization has the opportunity to have their voice heard on Dec. 3 before the Dec. 10 deadline date for the budget to be adopted.

The shock is the reasoning by one of the supervisors, Art Johnson, who apparently has a “one and done” rule for budget requests.

In the Post Star today written by Drew Kerr…

“Wilton Supervisor Art Johnson, who chairs the Law and Finance Committee that considered the request, said though the economic impact was considered, he did not support the request because the county has funded the association in the past. The county gave the association more than $20,000 in 2005 to help purchase docks and to prepare for the 2006 national tournament.

"You just can't keep coming back year after year," Johnson said. "There has to be an end to it at some point. Their application has merit, but there comes a time where you just have to say no."

The rowing association's request was one of four pleas for funding made to the county, none of which was added to the county's budget.
Other requests came from a teen help hot line, the Moreau Civic Center and the Saratoga Springs City Center.

Funding for the requests -- which totaled around $164,000 -- would likely have come from the county's surplus, which is expected to total a little less than $30 million next year.”

“You can’t come back year after year…” I guess this is another example of the Wilton supervisor being unable to add..Money in 2005 now asking for money in 2009…how many years is that in-between…

Now at what point aren’t you supposed to be shaking your head that this wasn’t a good move by the supervisors.

Yes, a 20,000 investment in 2005 brought the Scholastic Rowing Nationals to Fish Creek on Memorial Day weekend, one of the biggest times to exit the Spa City, not be drawn to it.

The Wilton Supervisor, the fiefdom of big box retailers that have helped bankroll a portion of the county’s surplus, much more than compared to the bankrupt NYRA organization and potentially disappearing VLT revenues, is still not willing to dole out ½ of one-percent of the counties surplus to support four different requests and support having the event return every four years.

Who knows, the Saratoga County supervisors may be right, you can’t ask for money year after year, but please, host these nationally recognized regattas on our waterways, fill our hotels, promote our area, increase our sales tax and bed tax…Now that’s good business! For them.

The public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3.

To read the Post Star story click here.

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Hall of Fame inductees: NYS Stock Car Association

Courtesy of NYSSCA

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A trio of outstanding drivers with wins around the Northeast and beyond and a highly regarded short track promoter will be inducted into the New York State Stock Car Association’s Hall of Fame on January 17 at the Polish American Club in Albany.

Western New York star Billy Rafter, the "Tampa Terror," Will Cagle, and the king of the Accord Speedway, Dick Hansen, will be joined by Dick Waterman, who operated the NASCAR sanctioned Utica-Rome Speedway when a contingent of local stars faced the best of New England every Sunday night.

Rafter began his illustrious career at Buffalo’s Civic Stadium in 1949, when he was only 17. He went on to score over 100 wins there and in 1959 claimed both the Civic Stadium and the New York State NASCAR Sportsman championship.

As good on a dirt mile as he was on the ¼ mile asphalt at the stadium, Rafter won extra-distance NASCAR events at Syracuse in ’59, ’62 and ’64 and was the State Fair champion as well in 1959. Other career highlights included a 1966 win in one of the famed "First Sunday of the Month" 100-lap open competition events at Lebanon Valley, which in those days drew well over 100 cars from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and 13 wins at Canandaigua, where Rafter shares the record of eight consecutive wins with fellow Hall of Fame driver Bob McCreadie.

But perhaps the most amazing of Rafter’s many accomplishments was winning five features in three days. After winning a 100 lapper at the Monroe Co. Fairgrounds in Rochester Friday night, he claimed two more 100-lap events on Saturday, at Syracuse and Civic Stadium. Sunday brought an afternoon win at Merrittville and a nighttime score at Waterloo.

Rafter’s final title came in the NASCAR Late Models at Holland in 1970, after which a fiery blown engine at Perry that left him in the hospital for an extended stay brought his illustrious career to a premature end.

Hansen also started racing at age 17, claiming three of the dozen wins he would score at Rhinebeck before moving on during his rookie year. He was the ’63 and ’66 champion at the Pine Bowl, took the White Lake title in ’65 and was the Accord champion in 1971.

A winner in three different decades at Lebanon Valley, Hansen won his first race there in 1966 and was the 1978 Sportsman champion. Best known for his time in Bruce Carman’s potent #23, Hansen was the ’72 champion at Mid-State, winning some seven races, including the first Super DIRT Series event ever run, and then backed it up by winning the inaugural DIRT series event at Lebanon Valley later on in the season.
But Accord was Hansen’s place, as he notched nearly 70 wins on the tight quarter mile, often wearing his helmet for 20 minutes or so after the feature just in case someone took exception to his aggressive charge from the rear.

Cagle’s impressive resume shows some 444 modified wins in the Northeast, not to mention his many wins south of the Mason-Dixon line. He won at 39 speedways, claiming 108 DIRT events and 336 independent speedway wins. For a time he was nearly unbeatable in central New York, winning 86 races at Weedsport, 70 at Rolling Wheels and 53 at Canandaigua to garner three Weedsport championships and four each at Canandaigua and Rolling Wheels. He remains the leading winner at Weedsport and Rolling Wheels and was also the 1973 Brewerton champion.

Prior to that run, Cagle was a big winner at the Orange County Fairgrounds, claiming 47 features, including four Eastern States events and five consecutive championships (‘66-’70) and at Nazareth, with 40 wins and the 1967 title.

He won the "Mr. DIRT" title in ’76, ’78 and ’79 and had an equally impressive record on big tracks, with asphalt wins in the National Open at Langhorne and on the Trenton mile and four triumphs on the tricky 1 1/8 mile Nazareth National dirt oval. His only disappointment was in not winning at Syracuse, though he was a tight second to Jack Johnson in ’79 and recorded two thirds, a pair of fourths, a fifth and a seventh in other attempts.

Cagle has also driven late models, sprint cars and even Indy cars and is still competing in Legends events in the southeast.

Dick Waterman, with partner Bernie Ingersoll, a retired local racer, bought the Utica-Rome Speedway from Joe Lesik, who built the speedway just outside the village of Vernon, NY in 1961. A paved quarter-mile, Waterman would later enlarge Utica-Rome slightly but it remained tight and anyone who won a NASCAR feature there had to handle constant lapped traffic as well as his pursuers.

Waterman’s genius was in creating a Sunday night battle between New York favorites and invading New Englanders, with his overhead late model class sending a constant stream of local talent to the "A" class, which for a while combined sportsman and modifieds and then became strictly modifieds.

The cast constantly changed but it was not unusual to see Bill Wimble, Jerry Cook, Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro, Sonney Seamon, Kenny Shoemaker, Lou Smith, Frank Mathalia, Dick Clark, Bernie Miller, Dick Fowler, Dave Lape, Bill Henry and the Kotary clan defending their turf against such noted invaders as Rene Charland, Eddie Flemke, Bugsy Stevens, Freddy DeSarro, Fats Caruso, Pete Hamilton, Don McTavish, Ronnie Narducci and Bobby Santos.

And Waterman, to assure his fans saw the best possible show, would hold the feature until a handful of point chasers made the mad dash across the Mass Pike and up the Thruway from Thompson, CT’s afternoon show to tag the field.

His biggest promotion each season was the New Yorker 400, run the night before Labor Day, attracting point chasers from the south such as Joe Thruman, even more New Englanders and a huge crowd to watch the non-stop action.

Waterman sold the speedway and adjacent drag strip in 1979, with the new owners converting it to dirt. But Waterman remains a racing fan and still attends Sprint Cup events at Bristol and Pocono each year, often with Wimble, a long-time friend and one-time Utica-Rome official after retiring from competition.

Following the induction ceremony at the annual NYSSCA banquet, the new Hall of Fame members will be at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, site of NYSSCA’s permanent Hall of Fame display, to greet the public and recall the glory days of their careers.
The event is set for 11 a.m. January 18. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located in the Saratoga Spa State Park, just off exit 13N of I-87, the Adirondack Northway.

For more on the New York State Stock Car Association click here.

For more on the Saratoga Automobile Museum click here.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Baseball Hall of Fame game back, sort of

The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, delivered at least somewhat of a pitch right down the middle today when it announced that major league baseball will be returning to the home of baseball this June.

The traditional Hall of Fame game will be replaced with a Father's Day game played in conjunction with it's newly announced Hall of Fame Classic Weekend.

In a press release, the Hall of Fame announced that it was teaming up with the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) to stage the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic, which will replace the defunct Hall of Fame Game on the 2009 baseball calendar.

"In a salute to fathers everywhere, Cooperstown will be the place for families to celebrate June 20-21, as Hall of Fame Classic Weekend will include a number of interactive activities both at the Museum and Doubleday Field, culminating with the Hall of Fame Classic on June 21, which is both Father's Day and the first day of summer.

The Hall of Fame Classic will feature four Hall of Famers and more than 20 other retired Major Leaguers. Along with the exhibition game, there will be a hitting contest and free autograph sessions throughout the day for all Hall of Fame Classic ticket holders."

Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame were criticized for removing the former annual summer classic, Baseball Hall of Fame game last year. This may not be the same thing for the younger fans looking to get close to big name, big bucks major leaguers, but the money-weilding older baseball fans are expected to bring another big weekend back to Cooperstown.

Here is some of the offical ticket information -
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Museum is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. seven days a week. The Museum observes offseason hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend.

Ticket prices are $16.50 for adults (13 and over), $11 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $6 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger. For more information, call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.

Here is a link to the Hall of Fame press release.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shen, Leuchanka take Boys XC Federation chamionships

Shenendehowa senior Alex Leuchanka led the Plainsmen boys to the 2008 NYS federation title Saturday afternoon at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls Saturday afternoon.

Leuchenka, second at states last week, held on for the win as Shenendehowa appears to have won, just in front of locals, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Queensbury finished in fifth place.

Official results and times to follow.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

BH takes Girls Feds XC championships

The Burnt Hills-Ballston High School girls cross country team won the New York State Federation cross country championships at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls Saturday afternoon.
The Spartans ran to a quick 69 point finish followed by Saratoga with 80, Shenendehowa and Queensbury.
The boys went off at 1 p.m. as the girls results were being finalized.
More on the boys in a few minutes.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's youth hockey time

The youth hockey tournament season kicks off tonight at Sartoga's Weibel and Vernon Ice Rinks with the Saratoga Youth Hockey Squirt Invitational with 14 teams competing at two different levels.

Play begins at 5:15 p.m. with opening ceremonies scheduled for 6:50 p.m. with the dropping of a ceremonial puck and the announcement of the Connor LaFrance Scholarship Award.

The weekend-long event is also supporting the EOC Food Pantry in Saratoga Springs, collecting non-perishable food products. Last October the pantry served 299 families, this year that number rose to 357. Of them, 96 were new families that never used the pantry before.

Needed items include: Peanut butter, jelly, soup, pasta, potatoes, canned fruit, canned veggies, canned sauce and cereal.

Come out to support the local icers along with the food pantry.

Saratoga Youth Hockey Squirt Invitational
Tournament schedule
Friday, Nov. 14
  • 5:15 p.m. Vernon Rink   CSB Hawks vs. Saratoga Blue
  • 5:30 p.m. Weibel Rink  Clifton Park vs. Adirondack
  • 6:45 p.m. Vernon Rink  Troy vs. CSB Red
  • 7:05 p.m. Weibel Rink  Saratoga A vs. Bethlehem
  • 8:15 p.m. Vernon Rink  River Rats vs. Saratoga White
  • 8:30 p.m. Weibel Rink  Shenectady vs. CSB A

    Saturday, Nov. 15
  • 7 a.m. Vernon Rink   Saratoga Blue vs. Troy
  • 8:30 a.m. Vernon Rink    Hanover vs. CSB Hawks
  • 10 a.m. Vernon Rink   CSB Red vs. River Rats
  • 11:30 a.m. Vernon Rink  CSB Black vs. Saratoga White
  • 1 p.m. Vernon Rink   Bethlehem vs. Schenectady
  • 2:30 p.m. Vernon Rink  CSB A vs. Adirondack
  • 2:45 p.m. Weibel Rink  Clifton Park vs. Saratoga A
  • 4:15 p.m. Weibel Rink  Hanover vs. Saratoga Blue
  • 5:30 p.m. Vernon Rink  Troy vs. CSB Hawks
  • 5:45 p.m. Weibel Rink  Saratoga White vs. CSB Red
  • 7 p.m. Vernon Rink   Adirondack vs. Schenectady
  • 7:15 p.m. Weibel Rink  River Rats vs. CSB Black
  • 8:30 p.m. Vernon Rink  Bethlehem vs. Clifton Park
  • 8:45 p.m. Weibel Rink  Saratoga A vs. CSB A

    Sunday, Nov. 16
  • 7 a.m. Vernon Rink   Hanover vs. CSB Black
  • 7:15 a.m. Weibel Rink  A 5 vs. 6 consolation game*
  • 8:30 a.m. Vernon Rink  A championship game
  • 8:45 a.m. Weibel Rink  A 3 vs. 4 consolation game*
  • 10 a.m. Vernon Rink   B/C finals TBA*
  • 11:30 a.m. Vernon Rink  B/C finals TBA*
  • 1 p.m. Vernon Rink   B/C finals TBA*
  • 2;30 p.m. Vernon Rink  B/C finals TBA*
    *B/C finals and consolation finals will be scheduled to allow Hanover and CBS Black maximum rest.

    A Division
    Saratoga A
    Chittenden South Burlington (CSB) A
    Clifton Park A
    Schenectady A
    Bethlehem A
    Adirondack A

    Broduer/Crosby Division
    Saratoga Blue
    CSB Hawks
    CSB Red
    CSB Black
    Jr. River Rats
    Saratoga White

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  • Two strikes against Saratoga Rowing Association

    The news for the Saratoga Rowing Association was on par with the news on the economy this week and will have a negative impact on the local nationally recognized crew program.

    Early in the week the SRA's request to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors for a one-time donation of $30,000 for improving the current timing infrastructure (a high-speed permanent racing camera, timing system and tower), was declined. Of note, all four requests from different organizations were all declined at the Wednesday afternoon meeting.

    This isn't the first time the SRA has struck out, the City of Saratoga Springs has always turned down the organization despite filling the cities hotels each year for its Head of the Fish Regatta in late October and each May for the New York State Scholastic Rowing Championships. SRA also hosts the smaller Tail of the Fish in late September/early October and in 2006 hosted the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championships all on Fish Creek on Saratoga Lake.

    The economic impact of each regatta is staggering, filling hotel rooms, filling malls and theaters during each event. Just in sales tax and hotel room tax in Saratoga County, the numbers equate each year to over $186,000 for the entire county.

    According to SRA Regatta Director Chris Chase, this year's Head of the Fish brought in more than 1,800 rowers and had hotels booked from Lake George through Clifton Park down to Latham.

    Still not good enough for a $30,000 investment for an annual economic impact of more than $3 million each year gross. A one percent investment one time for a $3 million return annual. Now for a county I would call that a windfall, not a bailout.

    The SRA was even armed with a letter from the president of the Scholastic Rowing Association guaranteeing that Fish Creek would become part of a four-year rotating sight, keeping those millions flowing in for the empty-pocketed, VLT revenue fearing city and county. Still no luck.

    The news got worse for the SRA when New York State DOT announced it would be shutting down the Route 9P bridge adjacent to the State Boat Launch for approximately nine months and not building a temporary bridge next to it and then replacing it.

    The clean cut removal and replacement will save the state $5 million in construction costs, but it will impact the two fall Fish Regattas along with the NYS championships. Rowers, parents, volunteers, trailers and fans will be able to make the 6 or 9 mile detour to get there, but won't have the bridge to watch the results from.

    It also means that the start and finish of all of these events will now have to be moved up Fish Creek, impacting the start and finish logistics of these recreational, yet revenue producing events.

    Things are tough all over, businesses are closing down, layoffs are occuring, sales are slow and in government with all the supervisors up for election in two years its easier to say no to anyone who wants money. It gives them the ability to stand tall on their "fically responsible" platforms. And who did they hurt? A couple of not for profit volunteers?

    Supervisors be put on notice, the Saratoga Rowing Association has more than 175 rowers in it, many eligible seniors in high school who will be voting, their family member and volunteers who make it happen. This group raised enough money to build one of the best boathouses in the state and on the East Coast. They are business owners and leaders in their own right, not just "rowing moms" miffed because you said no to a measly $30k.

    These are people who can do the math and know it was an investment in their community, their program and into their own economy. They're not going away mad. They're going to go to the polls with a long memory of how you refused to do the math.

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    Sunday, November 09, 2008

    Skidmore: Christine Kemp earns Liberty League honors

    Field hockey sophomore Christine Kemp (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) topped a group of Skidmore fall athletes receiving 2008 Liberty League postseason awards.

    Kemp tops the Liberty League in scoring as she leads the Thoroughbreds (13-3) into field hockey conference playoffs this weekend and a first-round matchup with Union. The forward scored 15 goals and recorded 12 assists for 42 points, ranking her 20th in the nation in points per game. A five-time selection for Offensive Performer of the Week, she also leads the league in shots (88), shots on goal (73), and game winning goals (5). She scored a career-high four goals in a 5-0 win over Vassar earlier in the season.

    Kemp, a unanimous All-Liberty League first team selection, is joined by juniors Elise Britt (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and Casey Tang (Columbia, Md.).

    Britt was second only to Kemp in league scoring with 28 points (13 goals, two assists). Britt posed a threat to opposing defenses throughout the season, which was highlighted by a three-goal performance against SUNY New Paltz.

    Tang led the Skidmore defensive unit, which leads the conference in goals allowed (.81 goals per game), goals against average (0.73 goals per game), and points allowed (2.14 points per game.). A tenacious defender and excellent stick handler, Tang provided a solid strength in the backfield for the Thoroughbreds, who allowed just two goals in their last eight games.

    Sophomores Lauren McCarthy (Ipwsich, Mass.) and goalie Liz Catinella (Sudbury, Mass.) also contributed to the strong defense as they earned second team honors. McCarthy, a center midfielder, created a lot of options for the offense as well as posting a solid presence on the defensive end. Catinella helped break a Skidmore season record of eight shutouts as the Thoroughbreds posted nine in the regular season. She recorded 79 saves on the season and had a 0.76 goals against average.

    Sophomore Claire Superak (Carrboro, N.C.) earned honorable mention all-Liberty League as she combined with Tang in the backfield. Superak was tied for third in the league with three defensive saves this season.

    Women’s soccer senior midfielder Rachael Sushner (Potomac, Md.) was a first team selection as she leads Skidmore (12-4-3) into its first round playoff match-up against Union. Skidmore’s main playmaker, Sushner ranks fourth in the Liberty League in scoring with nine goals and four assists for 22 points. She collected five game winners on the season, including two clutch goals in 1-0 wins over Smith College and Utica College.

    Senior Leila Wendler (Maynard, Mass.), sophomore Lindsay Schmitt (Mendon, Mass.) and freshman goalkeeper Meghan Sleezer (Gloversville, N.Y.) all received second-team honors as they anchored the Skidmore defense. The Thoroughbreds allowed just eight goals all season and lead the Liberty League in shutouts (13), goals allowed (0.42 goals per game), goals against average (0.41 goals per game), and points allowed per game (1.21 points per game).

    Junior Emily Quirk (Maplewood, N.J.) also received second team honors. Quirk posted three goals and one assist from the midfield position.

    Men's soccer seniors Silas Doyle-Burr (Bristol, Vt.) and Pat Phelan (Wallingford, Conn.) were named Liberty League honorable mention for the 10-6-3 Thoroughbreds.

    Phelan tied for the team lead in scoring with five goals and one assist for 11 points. Doyle-Burr held down the defense for the Thoroughbreds, who went 3-1-1 in their final five games.

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    Friday, November 07, 2008

    BOO on Time Warner Sports Super Bowl bump!

    Usually I'm a big fan of Marissa Jacques and Joe Calderone at Time Warner Sports and Channel TW3, but they're going to hear my complaints the next time I see them.

    I know it wasn't their decision, but on Friday night, the eve of the Section II Class A Super Bowl between two undefeated teams, the decision was made to show the Union College vs. Harvard ice hockey game.

    What wingnut didn't realize what weekend it was when the Union College schedule came out during the summer or that this is Super Bowl weekend in the Capital Region.

    As my drunken friend Paul Gangarossa would say anytime during the night on Caroline Street when he disagreed with something..."Boooooo!"

    So now everyone who is interested will have to take the drive down to Colonie High School to see Burnt Hills (9-0) face Bishop Maginn (9-0) in one of the most exciting contests not to be shown on local television Saturday night.

    TW3 and Time Warner Sports are attempting to position themselves as the local broadcaster for key match-ups but what kind of message does it send when you cover high school football every week during the regular season and then bail on the final weekend, only showing one Friday night contest.

    I'd like to get their numbers on a Super Bowl versus Union College hockey. One is at its pinnacle while the other is just getting underway for most fans...hmmm.

    I do know that Capital News 9 will not be the highlight of choice for most viewers, handing the highlights to rival Fox23. Rich and Scott may not be able to give the game live, but they've been their every night, every week and sure won't abandon either team this weekend..

    Again...from myself, Paul G. and those disappointed high school football fans..."Boooooooooo!!!!"

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    Swimming math before/after the Section II finals

    For a non-swimming parent, athlete or official it could be considered the longest three days of the varsity sports season...the annual girls swim meet.

    Please send your hate mail to....

    It's not necessarily a bad thing, the sport has grown and so many athletes qualify for the meet that it takes a single day just to pare the swimmers down to the top 18 in two, count it, two divisions. Then a day is dedicated for the divers to compete five of their 11 dives.

    That brings us to Saturday, beginning at the ill-advised time of 12:45 p.m. for the large school division (Division 1) before giving way to the small school division, (Division II) at 6 p.m.

    Who made this schedule, the Marques de Sade?

    Last year was actually easier on the boys side where the meet was held in two different locations and the first one began at 10 a.m.

    Enough about my schedule woes..the one advantage that comes from having the preliminaries on Thursday is the ability to assign potential here we go...

    Divison I swim math
    Shen by a landslide to return to the top of Section II swimming!

    I have the Plainsmen with 400 points without diving included with Bethlehem second with 332 points. It's a two-team race and the rest of the 10-team field as spectators cheering on their teammates for spots on the New York State team.

    The 3-4-5 spot is a nice race between Niskayuna (263), Saratoga (253), Shaker (216).
    I have Shen winning two relays, big points, 40 each to bookend the meet and having five swimmers in the 500-freestyle event for a preliminary round potential of 66 points ends up being the hammer for the Plainsmen.

    Note: Points are awarded for 1-8 and 9-16th position. The meet uses an 8-lane pool and points are based on your finishing time. A 'B' finisher (9-16) cannot displace an 'A' finisher in points. No points are awarded until Saturday afternoon or, ugh, the night.

    Division II swim math prediction
    Burnt Hills takes third straight Division II title

    The Burnt Hills girls squad won't have to find a way to hold of Queensbury this year, they own this division going away.

    Last year the Spartans won the DII title by a single point, 388-387.

    This year, I've got Burnt Hills winning with 492 points compared to Queensbury's 426 without the diving equation. Glens Falls is a distant third with 215 points followed by Gloverville-Mayfield fourth at 201 and Scotia-Glenville fifth at 180.

    It looks like a twi-night yawner, but hopefully the BH-BL squad can place a few more swimmers on the state team this year.

    If you go, dress lightly or barely, RPI's nanotorium can be oppressively warm and be prepared to pay $6 beans for entry..this is still a Section II event.

    Editor's note
    I didn't fair too poorly with my preliminary math and the actual outcome. Here is a look at the breakdown:

    Division I team results - I had the first six teams in order with Shen a clear winner. Take into account an earlier math error, adding in diving but taking out the DQ by the Bethlehem 200-meter relay team for an administrative error (costing them 32 points) I was within 2.5 points of Shen's winning total and 28 of second-place Bethlehem.

    Division II team results - I had the first seven teams in order and was within five points of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake's win total and within seven of Queensbury with diving included. The spread was a little closer, 40 points compared to my math of 66.

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    Blog exclusive: Burnt Hills Super Bowl preview

    This was planned to run as part of a Super Bowl preview package in The Saratogian, but the space gods wouldn't permit it, so here it is.

    The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football squad will take on Bishop Maginn 7 p.m. tonight in the Class A Super Bowl at Christian Brothers Academy in Albany. In the battle of undefeated, the Spartans are facing almost a mirror of itself.

    Both squads have quality, seasoned quarterbacks – Burnt Hills with senior Paul Layton and Bishop Maginn with senior signal caller Bunduka Kargbo. Both teams have prolific scoring offenses – Burnt Hills has tallied 437 points, 48.5 per game average, Bishop Maginn 320 points, 36 p.p.g. Both teams have been stingy on defense – Burnt Hills has allowed 53 points, 5.88 per game and Bishop Maginn has allowed 89 points, 9.9 per game.

    Both teams like to run the ball, Burnt Hills with its wing-T option and Bishop Maginn with its own option but the Spartans enter with Super Bowl maturity, making its third consecutive trip to the Class A title game. The Griffins haven’t played in week 10 in eight years (2000).

    Burnt Hills has blown out (21-points or more) eight of its nine opponents compared to Bishop Maginn’s four.

    The Griffins are more experienced in late-game heroics, beating Lansingburgh, 22-16, in overtime in week five and being forced to outscore its opponent for the win three times this year.

    “They run the ball well, they have a good tight end and good receivers,” Burnt Hills coach Matt Shell said. “They can make you miss and make big plays. They’re line is big and all year long they’ve been able to run and pass the ball. They’re a team that makes you defend.”

    Bishop Maginn coach Joe Grasso has similar thoughts about Burnt Hills.
    “They do a good job of spreading the wealth with four or five different kids,” Grasso said. “Their quarterback is their best runner and he also throws the ball extremely well and they catch the ball well.

    “They’re a team you have to defend the entire field,” Grasso said. “They run a Wing-T with a lot of formations, the run the counter, the counter-trey and the quarterback keeps the ball a lot. That’s a lot of pressure on the defense.”

    The answer for his Griffins is to stay home (on defense that is).

    “They have to stay disciplined and focused, dealing with our own responsibility,” Grasso said. “With our aggressive style of defense we have to wary of that.”

    Grasso is aware that a team doesn’t average almost 50 points a game without some talent up front.

    “They’re blocking schemes are precise and their execution in the backfield is impressive to me,” Grasso said. “They have kids who come up through the ranks, listened and learned from their coaches and have been able to execute what they do.
    “Their sheer talent,” Grasso said is a plus. “They are as talented as anyone on our schedule. They do things right and are able to showcase their talent that much better. They’re a lot to prepare for.”

    For Shell, he comes off a cool as the other side of the pillow.

    “It’s a good match-up,” Shell said. “It comes down to blocking and tackling and a chance to make a big play. It could be anything, even a yard for a first down.
    “It’s a fundamental game when it’s all said and done,” Shell said. “It will come down to the team that is able to do that for four quarters.”

    The Spartans weren’t challenged until last week against Troy in the semifinal, winning 35-20 but were tied at 14 at halftime.

    “Troy was a very good game,” Shell said. “For us to do that, to know our kids can play four quarters was important. We expect them to play four quarters, we did it and its good to know.

    “They’ll have to be ready and expect to play at a high level for four quarters again this week.”

    Game time is 7 p.m. at Colonie High School, expect to stay late.

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Get out the vote!

    Election Tuesday

    It's just after 6 a.m. and have you voted?

    My wife, Reda Garrett-Hudy dragged me (willingly) out of bed to be the first voter of District 2 in the Town of Ballston. She was also No. 1 this year during the primaries.

    I don't think it's going to be hard to guess who she voted for by her election day attire.

    Her morning was complete when she called local radio station PYX 106 and talked to Bob and the morning crew about her experience, who she voted for and why its important to her.

    Now I can go back to bed...