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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: October 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.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Inside Hudy's Head - What a week Ahead

My wife, Reda, often gets caught up in conversations I have with myself when we are traveling, eating dinner of me just muttering to myself. I have tried to explain to her that my brain is like a T1 line, a lot of information flowing, I'm multi-tasking and don't have the speed to converse about all the available options that I am processing to include her into the conversation.

This week though, I may have even outdone myself as my brain and my heart have way too much to accomplish before Father Time, a tight newspaper deadline along with my managing editor looming over me to get this all done.

Here's a quick look inside Hudy's Head for this week...and I do apologize for all the clutter before entering.

We're taking a look at the Southern Saratoga YMCA Barracuda youth swimming program, a program that has been around since 1996 and the program opened up it's 2010-2011 season this weekend.

We'll honor two athletes, male and female for their efforts with our Athlete of the Week segment, a Shen girls volleyball player and plans for Otis Ubriaco at Burnt Hills, one of the top male runners in the country. (Stan Edit - Otis wasn't available, still on a college visit trip. Have to catch him Tuesday before his meet, then to the pool).

Add some finishing touches on the Barracuda story Monday afternoon, with a swing up to Burnt Hills where the Spartans tennis program is in the Class B finals at home.(Nope).
Tuesday things heat up in the pool at Niskayuna travels to Shenendehowa for a big meet, can the Silver Warriors upend the Plainsmen in their own pool. If we had the rights, "Smoke on the Water" is a fitting soundtrack for the video from that. (It's layout day/night for me, so hopefully I can get there for the contest)

Looking to add a coaches feature from Sunday's Saratoga National Cross Country Classic 5k with BH-BL's Coach Button and Shen's Rob Cloutier.

Oh ya, football, almost forgot, all three Southern Saratoga teams are in playoff action, Shen on the road at Shaker after a disappointing loss to rival Saratoga, Burnt Hills gets a re-match against Glens Falls and Mechanicville upended the apple cart, with a win in the slop Friday and vaulted into the playoffs as a No. 3 seed. All deserve previews, schedules, etc.

The Section II tennis championships are underway and Jessica Macaluso is a top seed, we want to keep track of her success along with a doubles team from Burnt Hills (forgive me about the names, comes with the clutter).

It's a musical theme day "Love that Muddy Water", we've got 10 teams rowing at the Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend, plus a few college rowers, looking to preview that event and touch base with everyone near and far.

Add in the great news and help from Eddie Johnson at the Southern Saratoga YMCA and the Adult Basketball League, we are getting scores, standings and leaders from him starting this week. Thanks Eddie.

Lauren Carpenter is a goddess and a godsend, stopping by the Nick's Fight to be Healed Soccer Clinic last Friday and getting me photos of the Barracudas for this week.

Did I tell you I need to have this on the press by 5 p.m. Wednesday??

And it's only Monday afternoon...oh crap.. I have to get down to the schools now! Welcome to Hudy's Head enjoy the mess.

P.S. Did I add that there is a demand for the Hudy Head book reveiws to return, I'm thinking of a monthly book review. Cutting it down from 52 books to 12 might be a possibility...maybe between 2 and 3 a.m.??

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Football: Section II football playoff schedule

Here is the Section II football playoff schedule, updated for this week, including crossover contests.

It'll be a full week for the sports staff at The Saratogian as we are all expected to be out Friday night at Saratoga, Ballston Spa and Shaker (vs. Shenendehowa). With some assistance we could also be spotted at Burnt Hills.

There won't be any rest for the wicked as we're back on the road Saturday at Albany Academy (vs. Schuylerville) and at Fonda (vs. Mechanicville).

I'll update the schedule throughout the weekend and as we progress through the playoffs.

Section II football playoff schedule

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Saturday...errr...Sunday in the Park was a Classic

Stealing a line from the band Chicago, Sunday in the Park almost felt like the Fourth of July.

It was bright, warm and a great day for the 10th annual Saratoga National Bank Cross Country Classic, a 5K run on the state championship course at Saratoga State Park.

Albany High and University at Miami graduate Alex Paley got a helping hand on the course when he went astray and still managed to win the men's overall in almost record time. Clifton Park's Michelle Binsfeld won the women's title.

I'm working on a feature about two of the more notorious, notable runners in high school coaches, Chip Button and Rob Cloutier. Button ran the course a few years ago and Cloutier won the event in 2008, now at the helm of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake program (Button) and Shenendehowa (Cloutier) I talked to them both about their fleet feet being on the cross country trails again. They were both gracious enough to enjoy the theme of "Run as I say, Not as I do."

Here's the link from the Cross Country Classic with a video and full results from the event.

The Classic is a great race sponsored by Saratoga National Bank to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family, nice to see a notable local business reach out to help a program that helps so many.

Next up for most is the Great Pumpkin Challenge, also at Saratoga State Park, but a road race to benefit Rebuilding Saratoga. I'll see you there next week too.

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Decision 2010: It's a Blue State after all

Well the voters voted, but the players played and they decided the outcome of this year's rivalry football contest between Saratoga Springs and Shenendehowa.

The Blue Streaks vaulted themselves into the No. 2 spot in the Class AA playoffs and the Plainsmen fell from atop the Empire Division into the No. 3 spot and are now forced to win two road games if they can look to advance to its first Super Bowl appearance since 2004.

Here is the link from the Saratoga at Shen football game along with the link for the video.

Coach Steuerwald was as quiet as I can remember after the contest, not shell-shocked but definitely disappointed with the outcome, the missed opportunity and already thinking about the next two weeks on the road. The Plainsmen will first face Shaker, who lost to No. 1 Liberty Division champion Troy. If successful on Friday night, Shenendehowa would be on the road on Saturday at Troy. (Yes, I am taking Troy this weekend over CBA).

It looks like Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett dodged a bullet, or at least a Blue Streak jersey after Saratoga Springs mayor Scott Johnson didn't take him up on the offer of a jersey wager on the contest. Mayor Johnson didn't want to add any more distractions to his city council meetings so declined the initial wager, but he did add "Phil better be careful for what he wishes for."

Looks like the mayor will at least retain bragging rights for now.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Decision 2010 Shen vs. Saratoga football rivalry contest tonight

Everyone has weighed-in on tonight's Saratoga at Shenendehowa High School football contest and it is expected to played in near hurricane conditions, but the thunder and the lightning will be on the turf at Steuerwald Stadium.

This is a fierce rivalry and I checked in with both town/city and school officials to find out what they had to say about the Blue State (Saratoga Representatives) said and the Green State (Shenendehowa/Clifton Park) Representatives said.

We divided Saratoga County up in Blue and Green with Ballston Spa as an independent, but all three teams share in tonight's outcome to determine their path in the playoffs.

While it didn't make print, Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett did issue a public challenge to Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson with a friendly wager about the outcome of tonight's contest.

Barrett challenged Johnson that the losing public official would have to wear the opposing school's T-shirt or jersey at an upcoming City Council or Town Board meeting. Mayor Johnson appreciated the idea, but while confident in the Blue Streaks he declined, citing a need for proper decorum at the City Council meetings.

The two are rumored to still be considering a friendly wager, but it has not yet been made public.

Of course both coaches kept things civil in conversations with both Coach Steuerwald and Coach Jones as both are focusing on their squads and what they can control, avoiding any pre-contest controversy.

With weather gear on and Rite in the Rain paper in hand (shameless plug), I'll be on the sidelines, writing and Tweeting, soaking in (pun intended) the entire game.

If you're too weather weary, the contest is going to be broadcast on Time Warner Cable Sports, Channel 3.

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