Thursday, 02 June 2016 11:05

Congratulations to High School Teams and Coaches

The two past weeks has been a run for spring sectional championships for local high school teams. A first time team Sectional Championship for Saratoga boys' Tennis, the Blue Streaks boys' Track and Field won the AA sectional title and a class B sectional runner up performance for Saratoga Catholic boys' baseball team.  


First of all, whether you are aware of it or not, Saratoga High School has a very good tradition in boys and girls tennis and until recently, the boys have been unable to overcome the dominance of teams like Bethlehem, Shen and Niskayuna. The Suburban Council, in my opinion, is one of the top conferences in scholastic tennis for upstate NY. Congratulations to a solid performing tennis lineup, a fairly young one at that, and their Head Coach Tim O'Brien (who also teaches social studies), and the rest of coaching staff for a stellar season.  I feel that Coach Tim O'Brien will continue with future success for the Blue Streaks boys’ tennis team.


Congratulations to the SSHS Track and Field team for winning the Class AA sectional meet last week. A track and field meet, for those who don't understand how it works, is an event that is the sum total of a series of events. There are anywhere from 16 to 18 events that make up a track meet, so there's a lot going on, to say the least. It's really a great spectator sport that has many interesting individual and team aspects to it. This phenomenon takes place at a single area, a smorgasbord, or collection of a variety of athletic endeavors and challenges. My hat goes off to the athletes and Head Coach Chris Conley (who also teaches math) and his staff, for their accomplishment. 


I would also like to pass on my salutary endorsement to the Saratoga Catholic baseball team for a great season, a record of 22-2, they finished as runner up in the Class B sectional championship game.  The Saints have a reputation for an excellent high school baseball program. The tradition has an obvious mentor, and leader – Head Coach Phonsey Lambert, who incidentally just passed the 500 career games won milestone. Amazingly, the Saints, year in and year out, are at the top of the baseball leader board of the Capital District and Section 2. Congrats to the Saints and their coaches, one of Coach Lambert's assistants is Dale Long, the namesake of his dad who played MLB.


The Ballston Spa High School softball team won its first ever Class AA Sectional title by upending Suburban Council nemesis Shenendehowa, congrats to Coach Amanda Fifield and the Scotties. Also, about a week ago Greenwich High School baseball team won its first sectional title in 16 years; Burnt Hills swept the boys and girls class A track sectionals; with Mechanicville boys and Greenwich girls track teams winning their respective championships. The Shenendehowa girls' track program won the AA sectional title, by edging out Saratoga, 190.5 to 171 in total points. 


Section 2 has always been a leader in sports throughout the history of New York State interscholastic athletics. New York has eleven regions, or sections, for scholastic athletics. Some sections are known for their dominance of certain sports, like Sections 8 and 11, in the New York City area, are known for their basketball. Section 3, Syracuse area, is also known for basketball, but has a strong football, soccer and lacrosse tradition. Section 2, I feel is a little more diverse with sports like, ice hockey, basketball, cross country/track, soccer and football. There are many more noteworthy sections in the state known for excellence in certain sports.


On the other side of things, some teams that did not win sectional titles, but were very successful, like the Saratoga High School girls' track and field program, under the direction of Art and Linda Kranick, as usual, were still in the hunt and had a great season. 


As for the Saratoga Catholic track and field program, in its third year of existence, the boys won the first ever track meet against MeKeel Christian of Scotia, and followed with a second win the following week. The girls did very well, but there aren't enough team members to score a victory.  The boys and girls both established many personal and school records this season.


A note of interest: Saratoga Catholic has moved out of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and beginning this coming fall the Saints will be competing in the Wasaren league. The transition will be a challenging endeavor for the school. The Wasaren is an excellent league, but I feel it's a good move for SCC's athletic program. 


In case you missed it: The Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame inducted the class of 2016 a couple of weekends ago. Local inductees were: Saratoga's Joe Britton, 1988 Section 2 Championship team. In 1992, he was named for D3 All American Honors while at Hartwick College; Superintendent of Mechanicville City School District, Michael McCarthy, Schuylerville High School's early 70s Section 2 Champs and Clarkson College standout; Robin Chudy, Saratoga's girls varsity basketball coach, who starred at Union College, and well known referee Gary Kalinkewicz, ranked as one of the areas top officials. I would like to extend my congratulations to those recipients. 



I'm not one who likes to compare eras of local sports, because it gets to be "my dog is better than your dog" and it can become personal, but in the near future I intend to talk about the "good old days" of section 2 sports. An era that I'm referring to relates to a time that drifts from the late 50s through the mid to late 70s, with an emphasis on the 1960s which is a time that I can give an account of since it's part of my history.

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