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Memorial Golf Tourney Celebrates Four Years
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local memorial golf tourney returned to the McGregor Links Country Club to once again honor the memory of the late course superintendent, Mark Printsky.
The fourth annual Mark Printsky Memorial Golf Tourney took place at McGregor Links on July 15, with 40 local golfers taking part in the tourney itself, and around 75 people being in attendance overall. The tourney is held each year to raise money in honor of the late Mark Printsky, the longtime course superintendent for McGregor who passed away suddenly in 2014 after 32 years of service. Money raised at the event goes towards the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship fund at Mark’s Alma matter, SUNY Cobleskill.
In 2014, Mark’s wife Mary Beth Printsky found him passed on their bed. Despite her efforts with CPR, Mark tragically and suddenly passed away, leaving friends and family stunned and mourning. Around 6-8 weeks after his passing, those same friends and family came together to organize a memorial golf tourney in Mark’s name, and they were happily able to get it set up at his former place of employment, McGregor Links. Initially, the funds raised by the event went to Mary Beth herself, with subsequent annual tourneys raising money for the scholarship fund.
“I didn’t want him to be forgotten,” Mary Beth Printsky said about continuing the tourney and establishing the fund in the last few years.
As the course superintendent, Mark Printsky was responsible for managing all of the upkeep duties at McGregor Links. As his wife put it, his work keeping the greens in top condition was one of the main reasons that people remembered and returned to course over the years.
“In a way, he was the heart of the golf course,” Mary Beth Printsky said. “He was the reason people came to play.”
Over the course of three years, the tourney has raised around $6,000 for the scholarship fund. Funds were raised this year through entrance fees, raffles, mulligan sales, and other methods. Saratoga Eagle Sales & Services donated beverages to the event. A plaque dedicated to Mark and his time with the club was also set up at the event. Mary Beth Printsky herself designed the plaque.
“It just gave me so much joy,” Mary Beth Printsky said about this year’s event. “It was a real labor of love.”
This year’s event saw returning Cobleskill senior Patrick Murray of Buzzards Bay, Mass., graciously accept the fund’s first scholarship, valued at $500. Once over $10,000 is raised for the fund, the amounts granted to each student will increase, according to Mary Beth Printsky. To qualify for the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship, one must be a returning student in the Grass Management Studies Program.
Mary Beth Printsky expressed gratitude to many individuals involved in helping in the tourney come to fruition. This included the owners of McGregor Links, Blake Crocitto and Bill Ahl, for providing the venue for the event and giving her a lifetime membership to the club, and Annemarie Kissane, McGregor’s assistant pro who helped her improved her golf game.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
Radio Dreams: Skidmore Radio Offers Youth Program
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local college student and professor are showing young people the power of radio.
Skidmore College junior Adam Simon and professor Adam Tinkle introduced the Upstate Youth Radio & Podcast Project this summer, with the goal of showing Capital Region kids the inner workings of radio production and sound engineering. According to the project’s official website, the project teaches kids “everything you need to be a radio DJ, talk show host, audio documentarian, and podcaster.”
The kids involved with the program are mostly preteens, but the range of ages runs from as young as seven to as old as 20. Simon and Tinkle wanted to be sure that the program would show that kids of all ages could gain things from radio production. Two days out of the week, the program runs workshops for its participating kids in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, one at the Saratoga Springs location and the other at the Schenectady venue. Another two days out of the week, they take what they have learned in the workshops and run actual broadcasts from WSPN. On these days, Mondays and Thursdays, from 4-6 p.m., Simon either broadcasts prerecorded material produced during the workshops, or he works with the kids live in the studio. Simon said that for some of the younger participants, the sense of planning something and seeing it play out for an audience is the most engaging part of the program.
The program was made possible via a grant as part of Skidmore’s Faculty/Student Summer Research program, which allows individuals with the school to have around 5-10 weeks of lab or classroom time on-campus during the summer for research purposes. Unlike the traditional research pursuits that this program allows for, the Upstate Youth Radio Project is acting as a sort of pilot program, providing a means for facilitating youth involvement in radio production and testing the waters for a potential network of youth radio programs in the Saratoga area and beyond.
“We are basically acting as if we could propose a sort of permanent installation of this project,” Simon said.
The inspiration for the project partly came from similar projects that Tinkle had run in the past focused on getting young kids involved in experimental and improvisational music. Simon also said that the school’s possession of its own radio station was a major inspiration for creating the program. Creating such a program also went a ways to fixing the situation whereby the station would have to rely on automated playlists in the summer when many of its student DJ’s would be back home.
Simon is a philosophy major at Skidmore College with a minor in media and film studies. He has been involved with Skidmore’s local radio station, WSPN, as a radio DJ since his freshman year. Tinkle is a visiting professor at the school, teaching film and media studies with the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative.
All photos courtesy of Adam Simon.
Saratoga Little League All-Stars Take District Championship
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Little League’s All-Star season age-12 players dominated their way to a championship victory on Sunday.
Taking place on the league’s home field at West Side Rec on July 9, the age-12 team crushed their opponents from Schenectady 13-0 to take the District 11/12 championship. Despite initial nerves heading into the game, the team eventually proved how far ahead they were of Schenectady with an excellent overall performance, according to Coach Jeff Babcock. The team will next face the team from Plattsburgh for the Section 2 title.
“The boys went out there a little skeptical in the first inning,” Babcock said. “But after that we just started hitting the cover off the ball, and defensively we were great. Had some nice plays, and just had a great team effort for the win.”
Babcock mentioned that the team made use of the batting cages at Sluggers Den while practicing for this game. Hitting 70-mph balls in the cages rather than simply throwing back-and-forth between each other no doubt helped give them an edge heading into the game.
Speaking of specific standout players, Babcock highlighted starting pitcher Mateo Avila, whom he referred to as “untouchable.” While Schenectady managed a few hits off of Avila in the fourth inning, his performance overall was sterling, with seven strikeouts. In the tournament overall, Avila has pitched 17 innings and has given up only one run, according to Babcock. Additionally, Babcock also praised Joey Barreto, who managed an RBI double.
Saratoga Little League’s All-Stars season commences directly after the end of the standard little league season in early summer, with tryouts taking place on June 9 followed by the first practice on June 20. The three All-Star teams are roughly divided by age, with ages 10, 11, and 12 being the standards, although Babcock and league vice president David Karpinski noting that players can end up playing for teams that do not match their ages depending on their skill levels.
Around 30 young players are picked for the All-Star from the around 300 players that usually compete in the preceding season. According to Karpinski, all leagues choose their All-Star players differently, using whatever method they deem fit. Saratoga Little League’s method is to hold an “assessment night” for all interested little league players. At these nights, players run through routines that include fly balls, running, pitching, catching, and more activities that reflect the skills necessary to be a part of the team. Karpinski also stresses that their choices are not strictly based on performances during the assessment night, but also on each player’s body of work throughout the year.
The first match between Saratoga and Plattsburgh is scheduled for July 15.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
Waldorf School Brings the Circus Back to Town
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Children and families took an adventure through time and space in the fields near the Saratoga Casino Hotel as Circus Smirkus returned to town. The renowned Vermont-based youth circus promotion made its way back to Saratoga Springs from July 11-12, once again with the collaboration of the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary, and the wild theme this year was designed to evoke a sense of its history. While certainly a grand afternoon out for many families in the area, the event also serves as one of the school’s biggest yearly fundraising opportunities, bringing in a significant amount for the school’s general operating budget.
The theme of this year’s show is “Midnight at the Museum,” which sees three young performers staying the night at the otherworldly “Smirksonian” museum. After a bit of mischief results in “The Archives” being opened against the express warning of the museum’s curator, all of the exhibits spring to life and serve as the basis for the show’s various set pieces. The general feel of the story being told by Circus Smirkus is most similar to the “Night at the Museum” film series.
Some of the set pieces in this year’s show include ones themed around jungles, skeletons, pirates, astronauts, and one particular inventive sequence based around a museum heist. One of the more striking performances early on came from 16-year-old Isabella Majzun, who performed a mesmerizing juggling routine while also balancing herself on a large ball. Artistic director for the show and head clown Troy Wunderle said that the museum theme was chosen deliberately, as it allows them to pay homage to Circus Smirkus’s 30-year history. Many of the individual set pieces in the show are references to themes from previous years.
One thing that should immediately stand out to viewers is the youth of the performers in the show. According to Wunderle, the performers range in age from 12-18, and come from all over the country. One performer, 18-year-old Patrick Chikoloma, is from as far away Lusaka, Zambia. While the performers may be young, Wunderle said that they are entirely professional, as anyone who watches their polished and skillful performances can attest. The teens in the show are properly trained in a variety of different circus arts programs. Quite often, Circus Smirkus serves as a springboard for careers in the circus industry, as Wunderle noted that past performers have gone on to work in world-renowned promotions like Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
This year marks the 11th time that the Waldorf School has worked with Circus Smirkus to bring the show to Saratoga Springs. On a yearly basis, the show has been one of the school’s biggest fundraising opportunities, bringing in around $20,000-30,000, according to administrator Anne Maguire. Funds raised with Circus Smirkus go towards the school’s general operations budget, which includes salaries, building maintenance, and more.
Maguire also said that working with Circus Smirkus helps encourage students to pursue interests in circus arts, as the school itself offers a Juggling and Circus Arts Club, where students can learn to do all the various tricks and techniques they might have seen under the big top. Two Waldorf students have in the past performed with Circus Smirkus.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
Polo Anyone? Season Begins with Strong Attendance
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Polo Association kicked off its 2017 Tournament season on July 7 with an exciting day of competition in front of a sell-out crowd. Alan Edstrom, director of sponsorship and events for Saratoga Polo, said that while there is not currently an exact attendance number, it must have been around 2,500-3,000 for it to be a sellout crowd. This was all followed by the second day of the season on July 9, which still drew a huge crowd, albeit one just short of another sellout.
The first day of competition notably featured National Interscholastic Polo champions Hannah and Olivia Reynolds, 17 and 14 years old respectively, in competition. On the second day, a team from downstate was bussed in from Pine Plains to compete. According to Edstrom, two of the players on this team were six-goal handicapped, a considerable ranking in polo. Edstrom further elaborated that polo players can be ranked as high as 10-goals, although players with the highest handicap are considered rare.
Moving forward, Saratoga Polo will feature a number of noteworthy events that fans should take note of. July 16 will feature the Bob Bullock “Voice of Saratoga Polo Association” Cup, a memorial event for the association’s veteran announcer to celebrate his now-30-year tenure. Later on, Aug. 4 and 6 will feature a tournament for the prestigious Whitney Cup.
Photos courtesy of Saratoga Polo.
Ballston Spa Teacher Reaches for the Stars
BALLSTON SPA – Ankie Meuwissen, a science teacher from Ballston Spa High School, recently completed a special program that will help her to bring the stars to her students.
From June 15-19, Meuwissen took part in the Honeywell Educators in Space Academy (HESA) program in Huntsville, Ala. The program gives educators from across the country a chance to learn more about space and space-related technologies, so that they can ideally bring back the things they learned to share with their students. Meuwissen mentioned that there were also activities focused on incorporated engineering design, which she said would be “much needed from our graduates.”
The HESA program was created in 2004 by the Honeywell Company in conjunction with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with the intention of helping math and science teachers become more effective STEM instructors. This year, Meuwissen was among over 200 other educators from 45 states and 33 countries. Over the years, 2,776 instructors have taken part in HESA, from 52 U.S. states and territories and 62 countries, with official estimates putting the numbers of students impacted by the program through their instructors at over 3 million.
At HESA, Meuwissen went through around 45 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction. Some of the activities that she took part in included a jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, land and water survival training, interactive flight dynamics programs, and more. Some of the activities that stood out to Meuwissen the most were mock water landing drills and a simulation of gravity on the Moon, which is about 1/6 the gravity found on Earth. Attendees were also able to hear from important pioneers in the realm of space travel, including space flight advocate Ed Buckbee, “Rocket Boys” author Homer Hickam, and astronaut Clayton Anderson.
Meuwissen said that she first heard about the program from “a friend of a friend,” and thought that it sounded both interesting and like something that would have meaningful benefits for her students.
“I learned sometime in the spring,” Meuwissen said about getting the opportunity to attend HESA. “I was really excited! What a wonderful opportunity!”
Meuwissen’s students were initially excited to hear about her involvement with the program, however, she said that the now-previous year’s students did not really see any benefit from it. Next year’s class will be the one to experience the significant changes in her curriculum.
“Currently I have plans to alter my bottle rocket project and incorporate better engineering practices into it,” Meuwissen said. “I also want to create a lesson around thermal heat shields into my physics class, and challenge students to keep an egg-stronaut safe as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere.”
Meuwissen has been with the Ballston Spa school district for five years and currently teaches astronomy, physics, and earth science.
Saratoga Lacrosse Shootout Brings the Heat to Town
SARATOGA TODAY — Overcoming repeated bouts with rain, the 5th Annual Saratoga Lacrosse Shootout brought some of the best high school lacrosse teams from across the country together at Gavin Park for a weekend of high intensity competition. Taking place from June 30-July 2, the event saw teams mostly from New York, a good number from New England, and a couple from as far away as Arkansas. These teams competed for a Championship title, and the wider event also featured professional player clinics, coaching clinics, opening night ceremonies and festivities, a players-only lounge, 3-vs.-3 mini lacrosse tournament, Mazzone Catering, and a vendor village.
All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com.
Local Sports Physician Celebrates 35 Years
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dr. David Gabay still occasionally finds his dreams drifting back to when he was fresh out of college.
“It’s funny, I still have the dreams where I wake up, and I’m still in chiropractic college and I have three months to graduate, and I don’t know where I’m gonna go,” Gabay said. “And now it’s 35 years later.”
Gabay first established his private chiropractic practice in Saratoga Springs back in May of 1982, just a few months after finishing school in December of 1981. He had completed his undergraduate degree at Stony Brook, and his graduate school had been the New York Chiropractic College, which was then located in Long Island. He initially stressed about which direction to take his career early on, not sure whether to go work some place as an associate, or to start up his own practice. Despite offers from respected chiropractors in Manhattan and Long Island, he followed the urgings of family friend Robert D. Scott to come check out the Saratoga area for a potential practice.
After staying with Scott for around two weeks, Gabay made the decision to take a risk on his own practice, starting out with a location on Myrtle Street. Having grown up in the Pine Bush section of Albany, it was something of a homecoming for him. Now, many years and accomplishments later, Gabay’s practice is still going strong on the second floor of a building on Maple Avenue, just across from the middle school tennis courts.
Gabay recalled an amusing exchange from the early days of his practice. Two of his first patients, local golf enthusiasts Mike McGraw and Denny Farone, were interested in checking out “the new guy in town.” Both men were in need of a chiropractor, but expressed concern over getting treatment from someone as young as Gabay.
“To this day, Mike remembers my response,” Gabay said. “I said, ’Well, do you want somebody who’s old or do you want somebody that’s good?’”
Gabay began to get involved in sports medicine in 1994 after Dr. Philip Santiago, the first ever chiropractor chosen to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team Medical Staff, established the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician program to offer specialized training to chiropractors looking to work with professional athletes and Olympians. Gabay completed his certification over the course of three years, going to Meadowlands area of N.J. one weekend each month for classes and hands-on instruction. From time to time, he worked with the New York Giants while working towards his certification, occasionally attending games to help the players on-site.
A few years later, Gabay went to work at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, alongside a number of other professionals from a wide variety of medical disciplines. His and everyone else’s job there was to help get as many injured athletes off the bench as possible in time for them to compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Gabay stayed in the position right up until the athletes shipped out for the games. He was offered the opportunity to attend the games, but ut as a solo practitioner, Gabay could not be away from his practice for another 3 weeks.
Since then, Gabay has worked with U.S. bobsledding, skeleton, and luge teams at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, and recently procured funding and casted orthotics for Bobsled, athletes.
Some of the teams that Gabay worked with included the U.S. wrestling teams, the judo and taekwondo teams, the weightlifting team, the shooting team, and more. Some of the notable individuals that Gabay worked with during this time included three-time wrestling gold medalist and future Edinboro University athletic director Bruce Baumgartner, and gold medalist and future WWE performer Kurt Angle.
In his spare time, Gabay likes to work on restoring classic cars, for which he has a garage set up out back of the building where his practice is. Often on the weekends, he gets together with a group of friends to work on his latest restoration project.
(UPDATE, 11:42 a.m., 7/7: This online article has been changed with minor corrections, and so differs from the print article.)
Mad Dog Mania Brings Out the Best in High School Athletes
WILTON – Soccer teams from across the Northeast came together at Gavin Park in Wilton and at the Saratoga Youth Lacrosse Association fields on the PBA Range property this past weekend to put on a show for around 160 college coaches at the 15th Annual Mad Dog Mania Showcase Tournament. The aim of the tournament was to provide high school soccer teams a venue at which to demonstrate their talents in the hopes of being recruited for a college team. At this year’s tournament, 131 teams from eight states competed, and while the number of individual players was not counted, tournament director Nancy Stangle estimated that there must have been over 1,800 players.
The event drew in teams from all around the Northeast, including 15 local teams and some from as far as Maine. According to Stangle, most of the teams at the event were from schools in the 3-4-hours-away range. Coaches in attendance came from all across New York State and beyond. Stangle said that most every local college was represented, including Skidmore, Union College, Siena, the College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Albany, and according the Mad Dog organization’s official website, coaches from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania made it to the event.
While the organization has never tracked the rate at which players from its tournaments successfully get recruited, Stangle cited anecdotal evidence from friends and families of players over the years to say that a good number of them are successful thanks to the tournament. A press release from Mad Dog Mania also cited an unnamed college coach in attendance at this year’s event as saying that they had targeted around 30 players as worthy of further consideration.
In that same press release, Mad Dog Mania also touted the economic benefits of their annual tournament. According to them, approximately 4,500 individuals journey to the tournament each year, resulting in around 1,000 hotel rooms being booked, with many participants partaking in local shops and restaurants.
“Numerous participants and spectators have said that they plan to return to this area for personal visits,” the release from Mad Dog Mania stated. “After attending the soccer tournament and seeing all that the region offers.”
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
Class of ’17: Saratoga Graduates 491
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Blue Streak family came together at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on the morning of June 23 to witness the graduation of the Saratoga Springs High School’s Class of 2017.
Overall, 491 seniors graduated from Saratoga in 2017, with over 88-percent of them planning on pursuing a college education, according to the school’s yearly senior survey. Around 63-percent of students have chosen to attend a four year college, while 25-percent have chosen a two-year. Only 1.2-percent of students have chosen other post-secondary education options, while 6.3-percent will be seeking employment.
Students from the class of 2017 chose from around 160 different colleges in 30 states, including two schools in Washington, D.C., and one school in Ireland.
Additionally, six students will be pursuing careers in the military. Among these students, three will be joining the army, while the other three will be off to the Navy, Air Force, and Army National Guard, respectively.
The top students from the Saratoga class of 2017 are as follows:
10. Sophie Smith
9. Amy Carolus
8. Sam Epstein
7. Lia Chabot
6. Peter Herman
5. Kieran Wurl
4. Matthew Chmiel
3. Samantha Rydzewsi
2. Max Willner-Giwerc, Salutatorian
1. Caleb Cohen, Valedictorian
All photos by Andrew Ranalli.