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Wednesday, April 19, 2017: Wright, Williams earn player of year awards

   Leading off today: Hameir Wright has repeated as the NYSSWA's boys Class A basketball player of the year.

   Wright led Albany Academy to a 76-46 victory over Walton Campus last month in the Federation tournament Class A final. He shared the New York State Sportswriters Association honor last season with Stafford Truehart of Canisius.

   Wright, who averaged 16.8 points and nine rebounds a game this season, was also selected Gatorade's New York State player of the year.

   The NYSSWA also announced Wednesday that Bishop Loughlin senior Keith Williams is its Class AA player of the year. Williams, who is a University of Cincinnati signee, averaged 22.2 points a game this season.

   Jose Alvarado of Christ the King was the only repeat first-team selection in Class AA. In Class A, Wright and Cheektowaga's Dom Welch were repeat first-team picks. St. Raymond's guard Isaiah Washington, the winner of the BCANY's Mr. New York Basketball award, was selected to the Class AA first team.

   The complete all-state selections in the large-school classes can be found here. The Class B, C and D selections were announced last week.

   More reference material of interest:

Past NYSSWA players of the year

Recent all-state teams    Record-tying effort: Allison Kasprzyk tied an East Aurora record for goals in a game with nine in a 16-5 victory over Springville.

   More girls lacrosse: Jenna Doyle and Ellie Mooney registered hat tricks for Pittsford in a 16-8 win over Yorktown.

   The Panthers are ranked ninth in the state in Class A according to the New York State Sportswriters Association. Yorktown is ranked fifth in Class B. (Full rankings here.)

   Michelle Messenger had seven saves for Pittsford, which got two goals and eight draw controls from Caroline Cullinan.

   Boys lacrosse: Canandaigua rallied from two goals down early to defeat Penn Yan 8-3 in non-league action.

   Devin Andrews scored two goals and recorded four assists for Canandaigua, ranked eighth in the state in Class B. Joe Post won 10 of 14 faceoffs in the win and Tommy Rice made nine saves in goal.

   Penn Yan is rated sixth in Class D. (Full rankings here.)

   Clash of champs: In a matchup of defending NYSPHSAA champions, Emily Hess struck out 10 during a four-hitter and hit a two-run homer to lead host Maine-Endwell to a 4-0 softball victory over Binghamton in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference on Tuesday.

   Class A champion Maine-Endwell took a 2-0 lead after a home run by Meaghan Raleigh in the third inning. A Hess homer made the score 4-0 in the sixth.

   Binghamton's Paige Rauch struck out nine and walked one in a five-hitter. The Patriots (2-4) won the 2016 Class AA title.

   Swim rules changes: This wouldn't have been high on my to-do list, but presumably there just wasn't much else to talk about.

   Meeting last month in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations' Swimming and Diving Rules Committee gave an OK to allow visual lap counters to track progress in the 500-yard freestyle by counting in either ascending or descending fashion.

   The NFHS said the rule change is in keeping with current trends in the sport. Who knew?

   More substantively, Rule 8-3-5c was expanded to specify where the feet of the final three racers in relay events must be on the exchange. One foot must be in contact with the surface of the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during takeoff to minimize risk, the organization decided.

   In an administrative move, state associations will be required to identify "culminating meets" that require the use of the championship format.

   "The championship meet format features preliminaries and finals rounds, which are thought to provide athletes the best opportunity to excel in their events," Sandy Searcy, NFHS liaison to the swimming committee, said in a statement. "However, the format also prescribes specific rules associated with team and individual entries, dual confirmation, declared false starts and applicable penalties for violation of these rules. The committee agreed that state associations are in the best position to determine which competitions must adhere to the championship meet format."

   The most likely implication for New York is that the rule should reinforce uniformity in how sectional and state qualifier meets are conducted ahead of the state championships.

   Good read: The Journal News offered up an update on Suffern track star Kamryn McIntosh, a senior on the mend from surgery to repair a heart condition.

   McIntosh, who for a time owned the national high school record in the indoor 600 meters, had her junior year curtailed by a benign growth in her knee but was showing signs of a full recovery last fall in cross country when repeated bouts of uncharacteristic post-race fatigue raised a red flag.

   An initial diagnosis of anemia was accurate but not the whole story. New Jersey cardiologist Dr. Zvi Marans discovered an "anomalous aortic origin," meaning two coronary arteries were embedded too close to each other. That impaired blood flow, and the subsequent surgery also uncovered a coronary artery that was too narrow.

   McIntosh's type of congenital heart defect is estimated to exist in between 0.2 percent and 1 percent of the U.S. population, and anomalous aortic origin of the coronary artery is the No. 2 cause of sudden cardiac death among children and adolescents.

   "Unfortunately, the first symptom can be sudden death," said Dr. Dianne Atkins, a cardiologist with the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital.

   McIntosh ran her last race Jan. 21, winning the 600 meters in her fastest time in two years. The diagnosis came a week later and the surgery -- during which doctors stopped her heart for 22 minutes -- was performed Feb. 23.

   McIntosh said she worried about having a panic attack while running, "Stressing, 'Oh, my God, wait, am I going to drop right now?' It's scary to think about having to go through that every time you step on the track."

   A post-operative complication -- fluid accumulation around the heart -- was quickly overcome, and McIntosh has been making slow, steady progress since. She's been assured that her scholarship to Clemson University will be waiting for her this fall, so goals this spring will be modest.

   She wants to compete again before graduation, joking even if that means running a "15-minute 800."

   Extra points: Gary Sundown, who was the head coach a decade ago and most recently had served as a volunteer assistant, has returned as head boys lacrosse coach at Akron, a three-time defending Section 6 champion.

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