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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: January 2010

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saratoga hurdler Madalyne Smith in Sports Illustrated

Saratoga Springs senior Madalayne Smith is honored as one of Sports Illustrated's Faces In The Crowd for its Feb. 1 issue.

Madalayne, a senior at Saratoga Springs High, won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.90 seconds at the Yale Interscholastic Track Classic, breaking a 22-year-old meet record. It was the fastest time in the country this season. She was the New York Division I indoor champion in the event in 2009, when she also won the 55-meter dash plus the outdoor 100 hurdles.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/scorecard/faces/2010/02/01

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Hudy Head book review: The GM

Author Tom Callahan returns to the sidelines — and the front office — in his cooperative work with retired general manager of the New York Giants football team, Ernie Accorsi, in "The GM: A Football Life, a Final Season, and a Last Laugh."

It is hard to imagine that Callahan could follow up his riveting historic work about Johnny Unitas, "Johnny U," but he again proves that with a willing subject and time, great things can again be written for sports fans.


I have to preface my comments by a simple statement: I am not a New York Giants fan. I do not like the Giants and I do not root for the Giants. I am still personally scarred by Buffalo Bills place-kicker Scott Norwood's missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV during a Super Bowl party I personally hosted, surrounded by Giants fans.

With that out there for you to consider, my choice to purchase "The GM" was more to satisfy the New York Giants fans who will be interested in the book, taking one for the team as it were, for this week’s review.

Callahan had full access to Accorsi during his final year as general manager with the New York Giants in 2006. It was Accrosi's 35th year working in the NFL. It was a disappointing season for the club and its fans, filled with injuries, conjecture, and calls for terminations, but with Callahan there at every step of the way, stories from Accorsi made the season shine.

It is rare that an individual decides at an early age that they want to become a general manager of a sports team, but that role fell to Accorsi.

He grew up a fan of baseball great GM Branch Rickey and set himself on the path to work in the front office of baseball with stops along the way as a sports¬writer before turning to the gridiron working for Joe Paterno as a sports information director’s assistant.

He would learn from the best in Paterno before being offered a job in the front office of the Baltimore Colts in 1970.

He was in the big leagues now.

"The GM" doesn’t follow a chronological flow of Accorsi's starts and stops along his career. Callahan weaves the chapters together with his subject's history as well as views from the 2006 season and its ups and downs. The game chapters are quick, outlined snippets of scoring drives and don’t bog down the work.

Accorsi offers front-office insight of the 1983 draft when he successfully took John Elway with the first overall pick in the draft after talking owner Robert Irsay out of trading in during a flurry of telephone calls. He shouldn't have left the office; the same day, Irsay traded Elway to the Broncos.

It wouldn’t be the last time that Accorsi found quarterbacking talent and convinced his owners to trust him. It was Accorsi who successfully drafted Bernie Kosar, with the help of the quarterback's academic acumen and a loophole in the NFL by-laws, and of course, traded for New York’s current QB, Eli Manning.

"The GM" isn't all bright lights and touchdowns as Callahan steps behind closed doors and gives first-hand accounts of the more inept moments in 2006 with current coach Tom Coughlin, the bitter departure of running back Tiki Barber and the saner, brighter side of Jeremy Shockey.

Along the way there are names that are introduced to the reader that may be common to New York Giants fans, injuries, pre-draft opinions, and successes.

"The GM" wouldn’t be complete without revelations about owners, coaches and the New York Giants hierarchy, including the late Wellington Mara and George Young, to name a few. It is the truly personal, personnel insights that Accorsi reveals and Callahan weaves that makes "The GM", like Accorsi a winner.

Grade: 4 Hudy Heads

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

This one's for the girls - Kelly Kulick wins on Men's PBA Tour

I usually don't jump into the professional ranks on this blog, but after watching Kelly Kulick become the first woman to win a Professional Bowlers Association tour event on live television (ESPN of course) before the start of NFL's Championship Sunday, it deserved some pub.

Kulick won the 45th PBA Tournament of Champions at Red Rock Lanes in Las Vegas making history. She didn't miss a step, just one impossible 7-10 split as she beat the No. 1 seed Chris Barnes, 265-195 in the televised championship match and somewhat whopping $40,000. The biggest prize may be the two-year exemption on the PBA Tour.

“It’s been a dream of mine to win a PBA Tour event but I couldn’t have imagined it would have come in the Tournament of Champions,” said the 32-year-old right-hander said to PBA.com. “It may have looked easy but my legs were like jelly—it got to a point where I couldn’t feel them. Believe me I was nervous and I was just letting adrenalin take over.”

Ironically, she took the women to the top of the men's event for the first time, the closest previously was Cheektowaga bowler Liz Johnson in the 2005 Banquet Open.

It wasn't a total shock to see Kulick on the men's tour, she became the first women to earn an exemption on the PBA Tour by finishing sixth in the PBA Tour Trials in 2006. Her best finish was 22nd on two occassions.

She earned a berth in the Tournament of Champions by winning the PBA Women's World Championship. From there she still had to be successful in the earlier round-robin rounds, quarter and semifinals to earn the No. 2 seed, more than 40 games on this week's tour stop.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Post game: Shen vs. CBA hockey at RPI on TV

Some observations and thoughts from the first-ever televised high school hockey game on Time Warner Sports TW3:
  • Hopefully no one tuned away from TW3 as the station threw up a "technical difficulty" logo right after the RPI/Harvard 3-3 OT game leaving viewers and recorders like me wondering what was going on.
  • Too bad the press box emptied out right after the collegiate game (same in the parking lot) for the high school contest.
  • With a 7:05 start, no player introductions or national anthem, something missing from a traditional home game.
  • The game should look good with four camera in place, two adjacent to the press box, one on a raised lift at one end and a shoulder camera at ice level. TW3 again went with its 3-person broadcast crew, the same for the earlier RPI/Harvard contest.
  • Shen took a commanding 3-0 lead through the first period, but CBA appears to like to play with a 3-0 deficit, roaring back with three goals in the second period. The Brothers took advantage of a new defensive tactic by Shenendehowa goalie Peter Rakowsky who went to cover the puck versus usually poking it.
  • Without officially going to the video tape (I DVR'd the game at home) it appears that the local sponsors (Shen had to come up with $2,500 in sponsors (advertisers) to make the TV broadcast a reality) with several on air-spots during the 15 minute intermissions. According to TW3 this is not a normal practice (sponsors) for football broadcasts.
  • CBA coach Matt Baron was happy with the TV broadcast, but wasn't thrilled that the game moved to RPI and its 85x200 sheet of ice, compared to his home rink at Albany County Rec with its roomy 100x200 sheet.
  • Back for more: The two teams agreed to do this again next year at RPI, but no guarantee on another televised game. It will be revisited by both parties as Shen will give up its home game vs. CBA next season.
Here is a link to the story at The Saratogian.

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Shen's pay-per-view hockey game historic for local hs hockey

The Shenendehowa varsity ice hockey team will make history tonight when the puck drops at the Houston Field House on the RPI campus against rival CBA.

Not only will the Capital District High School Hockey League contest follow the afternoon collegiate battle between host RPI and Harvard, it will be the first televised high school ice hockey game by Time Warner on its TW3 sports channel.

Game time is 7 p.m. following the RPI game with Jayson Moy and Jeff Fraser in the booth with Ken Jubie on the floor.

“We’ve wanted to get a game on TV for a long time,” Shenendehowa ice hockey coach Juan de la Rocha said. “Ron (Kuhl, former CBA coach) and I talked about it when Time Warner was doing football.

“In May I got a random phone call from (RPI head coach) Seth Appert, and asked if we would be interested in doing a double header with him,” de la Rocha said. “He gave me a bunch of dates, this just happened to work out.”

What began as a collegiate/scholastic double header soon turned into history.

After that happened, we thought what a great opportunity to get Time Warner in,” de la Rocha said. “The biggest challenge before that was most rinks are not very camera friendly for video and games and I asked Seth if that game was going to be televised?”

It set the stage for tonight’s first televised event.

“We’ve done a lot of high school football games in the area and it has been our sweet spot,” John Quigley, Time Warner Regional Vice-President for Operations, Albany Division said. “We’ve been looking for some time to do a high school hockey broadcast.”

This is a first for TW3 and could be historic throughout the state.

“I’m not aware of any other market doing high school hockey,” Quigley said. “If you compare us to our peers we do a lot of high school sports. This is what makes this unique.”

According to de la Rocha the contest was a given months ago at RPI, but the televised agreement was contingent on TW3 securing enough sponsors (advertising) for the event and required the support of Shenendehowa’s hockey team boosters and its contacts.

“I called Greg Bobbitt and he said ‘We just can’t just say yes and do it, we have these advertising spots to try to get some business to take on and raise $2,500 in ads,’” de la Rocha said. “He made it clear, they are not doing any of the fundraising for it.

“We went to our boosters and said if you donate $500, this is what you get out of it,” de la Rocha said. “That started to happen three to four weeks ago. We were going to play at RPI with or without television, but it is really want something we wanted to see happen. It’s great for Section II hockey.”

Once viable from a business standpoint, Quigley expects it to be well received.

“Typically you see us doing a lot of college games,” Quigley said. “The community likes to see high school games and this is a new opportunity for Time Warner and the schools.”

Shenendehowa beat CBA on its home ice at the Clifton Park Arena, 3-2, on Jan. 10 and it was CBA that agreed to give up a home game and the gate receipts to make tonight’s contest happen. Shenendehowa in turn will give up a home game to CBA again next year at RPI to return the favor, but nothing is confirmed next year for a televised contest.

The Plainsmen hold a 27-1-1 advantage over the Brothers since 1994 with CBA earning it’s first-ever victory last year. Shenendehowa may hold a historic advantage but are 0-2-1 in its past three games with losses to Division II squads Queensbury and Glens Falls along with a tie to Bethlehem, nothing is guaranteed under the lights and cameras tonight.

“The kids are excited and it will be a good experience for them, it’s never happened before,” de la Rocha said. “They are all over it.”

As for the three-game skid, de la Rocha expects his new and improved squad to take to the ice against its rival, CBA.

“As far as I’m concerned, the pressure is off losing those two games the top seed is gone,” de la Rocha said. “I’m just worried about getting things on track, there isn’t any pressure anymore.”

Admission to the hockey double-header is $10 for adults and $5 for students at the Houston Field House press box for both the 4 p.m. RPI vs. Harvard game and the Shen vs. CBA game at 7 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable channel 3.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book review: Hudy throws a yellow flag on football's "The Code"



The Code
Football's Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-At-Your-Own-Risk Code of Honor
By Ross Bernstein
Triumph Books
246 pages

Author Ross Bernstein returns with his inside the game series "The Code: Football's Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-At-Your-Own-Risk-Code of Honor" after having previous success with books about "The Code" in the NHL and professional baseball.

Unfortunately his foray into football starts out slower than a stagnant offense with consecutive 3-and-outs in a big game.

The title is catchy; the notation of previous works about the inner workings of retaliation, do's and don'ts on the ice and on the diamond made this version of "The Code" an enticing purchase.

The book begins with two forwards written by a pair of former NFL stars, Jerome Bettis and Ahmad Rashad, followed by Bernstein's own preface. He gets "The Code" moving downfield with a complete 14-page entry of what "The Code" is, but that is where the book falls off the gridiron and the reader's own radar.
The next 51 pages (of a 246 page work) deal with "Revenge and Retaliation" giving the reader the truth of what happens under the piles of 300-pound lineman during a scrum, why cut-blocking is abhorred and the frequent eye-gouging that occurs. Bernstein is able to keep the theme going by utilizing 63 different quotes from NFL greats, former players, referees and league officials.

What makes the book grind to a halt like a first-ranked defensive line is the reiteration of the constant warnings of intentional injury, payback and commotion in the football scrums. Page after page is the same theme, just different voices who I am sure Bernstein is grateful for granting him an interview, but do not serve to advance his point, and only bore the reader.

If that wasn't enough, Bernstein dedicates the 22 pages to another page-gripping topic from "The Code," retaliation. If 51 pages of what happens at the line of scrimmage isn't enough to keep any parent from ever letting a child play football, the next 22 pages come close to forcing the reader to shelf the book.

Bernstein's Hail Mary for this version of "The Code" delves into the topic involving stealing signals from the opposition during games, on the road, from television feeds and gives a quality look at "Spygate" involving the New England Patriots.

His work provides plenty of anecdotes from Hall of Fame coaches and their efforts early in the history of the game to prevent spying and how they attempted to throw off the enemy camps is a perfect break from the last 73 painful pages.

Bernstein's scoring drive stalls later on as the writer gives only a quick look to interesting subjects such as the referee's code during contests and interactions with coaches, just four pages to the training camp code before providing a look inside the locker room of NFL clubs.

What NFL book would be complete with a solid discussion regarding steroids and drugs? Bernstein gives the subject a quality view and then brings the reader back to Earth with two intriguing chapters about players playing hurt and the long-term effects of the violent game that dominates Sunday afternoons in America.

Bernstein appears to have the play clock wind down on him late in "The Code," using his chapter "Sub-Codes to the Code" to toss in quick slants in sub-headlines for long-snappers, the late game kneel down code, the Pro Bowl code and others that deserve more attention and could have broken up his verbose earlier chapters.

While tagged as only a 246-page work, "The Code" is not a quick read; it can only be compared to being forced to watch all of your favorite team's pre-season games before jumping into the mid-season hunt for a title, a quick glimpse at the playoffs and a shortened Super Bowl contest.

It takes a true NFL fan to be willing to break open "The Code."

1 ½ Hudy Heads
Note: The Hudy Head rating system ranges from 1 to 5 Stan Hudy Heads.
1-head - I wasted my time reading it, don't waste yours.
2-heads - If you have time, it looks good on your shelf
3-heads - Worthy of a read, may come in handy during timeouts
4-heads - Forget the beer, buy the book and brag to your friends
5-heads - An All-Star book, worthy of promotion on any sports talk radio show

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Post game: Shen at Saratoga boys basketball, 79-64 Shen

It was a game of opportunities Friday night as Shenendehowa traveled to rival Saratoga Springs for a boys varsity basketball game and a battle between the top teams in the Suburban Council.

When the dust settled it was the Plainsmen who took full advantage of every opportunity in the contest, especially the Blue Streaks turnovers early in the contest to roll, 79-64. Shen had a 22-point lead at one point in the contest and Shen had seven steals in the first half alone.

There were several highlights in the contest that didn't go into the print edition that I wanted to share:
  • The Fourth Estate: It was nice to sit in press row again with Jim Schlitz from the Schenectady Gazette and Sean Martin from the Times Union, two good guys in the business and showed how big of a game this was.

  • Speaking of big games, the Saratoga Springs student section finally came out in force. I believe that this was the biggest crowd to see a boys contest in years. The bleachers were filled and it was standing room only in the corners. (Personally, I think they should have gone with a 15 minute half-time to allow all to take advantage of the concession stand, but that's me.)

  • Temper...Temper! The excitement carried over outside the lines Friday night as one adult spectator stormed onto the court after the referees during a time-out. He was quickly corralled by the Saratoga chaperones, AD Peter Sheehan and one of Saratoga Springs Finest. Needless to say, he didn't see the end of the game.

  • T-time in Saratoga. Saratoga Springs head coach Mitch Snyder received a technical foul call after arguing a call with one of the referees. I think he was OK until the ref came over to explain the call and Snyder decided to put his arm around the ref. He must have an issue with personal space and T'd him up. It didn't stop there as even before the ball was inbounded after the two free, free throws senior Tony DeLoatch was T'd up for throwing an elbow to create space...at the far end of the throw by the same referee.

  • Why can't we be friends?? Both coaches say that they are friendly, but Mitch Snyder and Shenendehowa's Tony Dzikas did have a few words at the scorers table during the contest. Dzikas walked away and Snyder appeared shocked that the Shen coach was upset. He did have a sizeable lead, so why walk away angry. Snyder took the high road and kneeled near his bench, eyeing Dzikas with a smile on his face. The Shen coach wouldn't even look over. They both joked about it after the game with reporters, but when Dzikas kidded about the incident as Snyder was leaving, he kept on walking....the gamesmanship never ends.

  • A quiet 30? It was a good quote, but Snyder called St. Edward's University-bound Shenendehowa senior Matt Miner's output a "quiet 30." Of course with the double-digit onslaught from teammates Jose Reyes with 16, Dan Lee with 15 and Josh Koopman busting out with 13.
The best thing may be that these two will meet again, Thursday, Feb. 11 at Shenendehowa, the next to last game of the year for the Plainsmen. Expect it to be another barn burner. Check out my game story in today's Saratogian.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

13 Saratoga County players named to Class AA and A All-State football squads

The list continues to grow as 13 more names were added to the New York State Sportswriters Association All-State team in Class AA and A.

Here is a quick look at the Saratoga County players honored by the NYSSWA:

Class AA Second Team Offense
OL Austin Lane Shenendehowa-2 6-5 290 Sr.

Class AA Third Team Offense
OL Nick Gallo Ballston Spa-2 6-0 250 Sr.
AP Tony DeLoatch Saratoga Springs-2 6-1 225 Sr.
PK Nick Daley Saratoga Springs-2 6-1 170 Sr.

Class AA Third Team Defense
LB Eric Hayden Saratoga Springs-2 6-2 215 Sr.

Class AA Fourth Team Offense
RB Bronson Greene Shenendehowa-2 6-0 185 Jr.

Class AA Fourth Team Defense
DB Mark Seager Ballston Spa-2 5-10 150 Sr.

Class A First Team Defense
DB Tyler Paluba Burnt Hills-BL-2 5-11 180 Sr.

Class A Second Team Defense
DL Zach Morton Burnt Hills-BL-2 6-5 225 Sr.
DL Jacob Meyers Burnt Hills-BL-2 6-5 215 Sr.

Class A Third Team Offense
OL John Acors Burnt Hills-BL-2 5-11 215 Sr.

Class A Fourth Team Offense
OE Keaton Flint Burnt Hills-BL-2 5-10 170 Jr.
PK Evan Nusbaum Burnt Hills-BL-2 5-11 154 Jr.

For the complete list of the 2009 NYSSWA All-State team here.

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Post game: Saratoga at Burnt Hills boys basketball, 56-51 'Toga

Wednesday night's game was a thriller with two Saratoga County and Suburban Council teams battling it out on the hardwood. Here are some extra thoughts and observations about the tilt.
  • Senior Tony DeLoatch made up for two early fouls and another to open the third, but came literally out of nowhere to drain two three-pointers. If "Coast-to-Coast" DeLoatch hits a few of those in a key home game at Saratoga it will be a sight to see with the gym erupting with each swish.
  • The Blue Streaks will have to rest and be ready for Friday's contest at Shenendehowa who remains undefeated, the game was moved at the request of Burnt Hills coach George Dudas who had a family emergency on Tuesday. Good news, all is well in the family and best wishes to them.
  • You have to love the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 6th man squad. The Spartan student cheering session was light in numbers, but just as entertaining: from razzing Saratoga's Joe Moore "Arm Sleeve - Arm Sleeve" for his sleeve on his right arm, from the traditional "dribble-dribble-pass" chant when the referee started the second half and handed the ball to the Saratoga player to start the clock to a new favorite chant during a Saratoga free throw "Five dollar, five dollar foot long."
  • The Spartan cheerleaders had a new look on Wednesday, black shorts and matching white T-shirts. It wasn't laundry day, but the squad uses the same uniforms for football, basketball and competitions, so they vote on what they want to wear for different games. Gives the uni's a break and spices things up.
  • Speaking of the match-up with Shenendehowa, Plainsmen coach Tony Dzikas was in the Spartan house with video tape in hand getting a fresh look at Saratoga. He didn't catch DeLoatch's long-distance dedications, but will have to be wary. He did get an eyeful of Mike McElroy and Brendan Haley who will give any opposing coach a headache.
Here is the link to the Saratoga at Burnt Hills boys varsity basketball game in today's Saratogian. Enjoy.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Hudy Head book review: Twelve Mighty Orphans shines

Twelve Mighty Orphans
By Jim Dent
St. Martin’s Griffin
304 pages

Jim Dent, an accomplished journalist and author of “The Junction Boys” has put together another best-seller with his latest work, “Twelve Mighty Orphans.”

Dent takes the reader back to the end of the roaring ‘20s and the beginning of the depression at the Masonic Home in Fort Worth, Texas. It was the home of any child that lost a parent(s) who were due-paying members of the Grand Lodge of Free Masons in good-standing. They would have a home until graduation.

Dedicated in 1899 the Masonic Home went from a home for wayward children to the highlight of Texas football and captured the hearts of millions of Americans thanks to the vision of its first-ever football coach Rusty Russell.

Russell arrived with no fanfare to an institution that was focused on discipline, education and was filled with young boys who went barefoot for eight months of the year and had never even seen a regulation football or played the gridiron contest.

Russell saw the job as an educator and a football coach, continuing to bring discipline to the young boys lives and institute a game that he had a passion for.

During his 15 years as the Masons coach, Russell not only brought this band of brothers to the forefront of Texas football, but also drew the hearts of America to the 12 man-squad that played at the highest levels of Texas football.

Always out-manned, the Masonic Home rarely had more than 12 players suited up, or as suited up as the continually broke football program had. The Mighty Mites were always outweighed as the Masons moved up into higher and higher classes to eventually play for a Texas state title.

“Twelve Mighty Orphans” is as much about football as it is a look at the turn of the previous century in America, from prohibition, the oil boom in Texas to the stock market crash and the nation’s entry into its First World War Along the way, Mason football players come alive in Dent’s work both on the stone and dirt gridiron and in the halls of the Masonic Home.

Several anecdotes will stay with the reader as Dent delivers in a smooth style of how precious material things were to the young orphans, types of mischief the players could get themselves into and the devotion of the people who surrounded the Mighty Mites program.

In the Mighty Mites first official contest against Mineral Wells, Russell approached the opposing coach prior to kickoff and asked if his visiting squad was lucky enough to win the game, could they keep the game ball as a souvenir. The Mighty Mites won the contest and garnered their first official football, not as a trophy, but something to use at practice versus the Clabber Girl Baking Powder cans shaped like football that the team has used early on.

One humorous story involved an overweight duck that wandered onto the practice field and wasn’t phased by the action going on around it. The duck was too fat to fly away and became an unofficial mascot, smuggled on an away trip and stayed with the team as long as it won. A loss in the district championship ended the hopes of a state title and the usefulness of the duck.

The Mighty Mites fought their opposition with never-ending desire to capture an AA championship; they fought each other as well as anyone else who called players “orphans” and the Texas Interscholastic League that attempted to keep the Mighty Mites out of title contention.

Games are won, titles are in hand and the Mighty Mites of the Masonic Home will again enter your heart more than 80 years later as Dent brings their story to light 80 years later in “Twelve Mighty Orphans.”

4 ½ Hudy Heads out of Five

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Saratoga County boys basketball scoring leaders through Jan. 10

Saratoga County varsity boys basketball scoring leaders through Jan. 10
Saratoga County boys varsity basketball scoring leaders through Jan. 10, 2009

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Saratoga County girls scoring leaders through Jan. 10

Saratoga County girls varsity basketball scoring leaders through Jan. 10.
Saratoga County girls varsity basketball scoring leaders

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CDHSHL scoring leaders through Jan. 9

Courtesy of http://www.cdhshl.org/ 
CDHSHL scoring leaders through Jan. 9, 2009

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Shen suspends eight basketball players

The new year got off to a rocky start this week for Shenendehowa's varsity basketball teams as eight players were suspended for four games due to a violation of the district's student-athlete code of conduct policy.
The suspensions were first reported on the Shen school web-site link, "Heard it through the Grapevine."
"An off-campus incident occurred over the Christmas break, in particular an incident stemming from events on New Year's Eve," Shenendehowa Dirctor of Athletics Christopher Culnan said. "A couple of concerned individuals contacted girls basketball coach Ken Strube to make him aware of the off-campus incident. He contacted me on Saturday (Jan. 2). Our investigation began on Monday and ultimately led to eight players, six girls basketball players and two boys basketball players being suspended. All were first violations and carry with it four game suspensions through next week."
This was the first time in 31 years that Stube has lost a player(s) under the school's athletic code of conduct policies.
"Any time an event like this occurs you're disappointed," Culnan said. "We have taken steps to try to enforce the importance of proper behavior expected of a Shenendehowa student-athlete.
"We go over the code of conduct, have the player and the parents sign it," Culnan said. "We have have had (sport) captain leadership conferences, but despite it we still have to keep having dealing with this issue."
Three years ago several athletes were charged with tresspass and vandalism a vancant home in Halfmoon referred to as the "Hockey House" incident and last year several ice hockey players were removed from the team due to marijuana use on a team overnight road trip.
Currently the Shenendehowa girls varsity basketball team are highly ranked in the latest New York State Spprtswriters Poll.
"Three sophomores have been elevated to the varsity level," Culnan said. "We have gotten a waiver from the Suburban Council that they will be able to return to the junior varsity level after the suspensions are complete. That was also agreed upon by Coach Strube and our JV coach Tim Minor."
Shenendehowa did not release the names of the athletes, citing student privacy policies.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Charbonneau, Bateman, Barbur, Pompa and McFee all-state football selections

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Five Saratoga County football standouts have been named to the New York State Sportswriter Association all-state team 2009 in Class B, C and D.
Jordon Charbonneau (Cornth), Austin Bateman (Schuylerville), Ben Barbur (Greenwich), Tim Pompa (Saratoga Central Catholic) and Ryan McFee (Greenwich) were all named to the annual state sportswriter selected squads.

Charbonneau, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior was selected a first-team offense selection in Class C as an all-purpose back.

Bateman, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior was chosen as a first-team defense selection in Class C at defensive back.

Barbur, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior was selected as a first-team offense selection in Class D as an offensive lineman.

Pompa, a 5-foot-9, 135-pound junior was chosen as a second-team offensive selection in Class D as a place kicker.

McFee, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior was selected as a third-team offensive selection in Class D as an offensive end.

The NYSSWA will announce its Class AA and A selections on Jan. 13.

For the entire list, visit Road to Syracuse.com
Here are links to each class by size, Class B,  Class C, and Class D.

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Monday, January 04, 2010

Return of the Hudy Head book review: Million-Dollar Throw



(Reviewer's Note:) As one of my many New Year's resolutions, on the top was to bring back the weekly Hudy Head book reviews to my reader(s). I couldn't think of a better way to kick off 2010 than with a hopeful, enjoyable read by Mike Lupica.
Enjoy.
-- Stan

New York Daily News syndicated sports columnist Mike Lupica brings in the New Year — and the return of the Hudy Head weekly sports book reviews — with his latest young-reader’s publication, Million-Dollar Throw.


Lupica, the author of other young-reader installments including “Travel Team”, “Heat” and “The Big Field” brings to life the story of 13-year-old Massachusetts travel team quarterback, Nate “Brady” Brodie, and his opportunity to win one million dollars during halftime of a New England Patriots contest Thanksgiving Night.

Everything about Brodie revolves around his love of football, the New England Patriots and his idol, Tom Brady.

The stage is set in Valley, Mass., with Brodie as the quarterback of his Valley squad, looking to earn an eighth-grade football title. Once again Lupica weaves real-life into his storyline that will hit home with several readers.

While Brodie appears as a can’t-miss quarterback for his Valley squad, the Brodie family is struggling. The family’s house is up for sale after his father lost his job with a large real estate firm and his mom is back to work. Before the story concludes, both parents are working two jobs before more bad news befalls the family.

Lupica can’t resist a little romance in his young-reader books, introducing Abby McCall as the coolest and prettiest eighth-grade girl in Valley. She enjoys football, is a talented artist, but is also in trouble — she is suffering from a form of retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that will cause her to eventually lose her eyesight.

Despite the loss of his father’s primary job, a promise was made by Brodie’s parents to support him halfway to the gift of his dreams, an autographed Tom Brady football at the local sports store. After Brodie shells out his $500 purchase he becomes eligible to enter a drawing for the million-dollar throw.

After the drawing is made official, the local quarterback becomes a national superstar with interviews on national television and Sports Illustrated. It also becomes a burden to the youngster, becoming fully aware of what the prize money could mean for his family.

A 30-yard throw through a 21-inch hole in front of a national audience in his favorite football stadium carries enough stress with it, but like many pro athletes, Brodie gets a case of the jitters when it matters most.

Lupica takes the reader through Brodie’s journey, losing his throwing touch during the playoff run with his Valley team, getting benched, finding out Abby plans to move away to a school for the blind and more.

It is a story of life, highs, lows and setbacks with a gridiron utilized as a backdrop.

This is a feel-good entry from Lupica, avoiding any negative mature subjects and allowing Brodie to get his million-dollar shot along with the potential glory that could go with it.

“Million-Dollar Throw” is a proper welcome to 2010 as a quick, light read for young adults and parents alike.
Grade: Four Hudy Heads out of five.

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Saratoga County girls hoops scoring leaders through Jan. 4

Here's a look at Saratoga County's girls basketball scoring leaders through Jan. 4.

Saratoga County girls basketball scoring leaders Jan. 4, 2010

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Saratoga County boys hoops scoring leaders through Jan. 4

Saratoga County boys basketball scoring leaders thru Jan. 4, 2010

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