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Tuesday, June 6, 2017: Somers' Han wins golf title in playoff

   Leading off today: A 10-foot putt for par on the third sudden-death hole gave Nathan Han the New York State Public High School Athletic Association boys golf championship Monday at Cornell University's Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.

   The Somers sophomore had shot a 1-over 72 in the second round to finish tied with first-round leader Adam Xiao, a Manhasset sophomore. Xiao rallied from two stroke down with four holes to play had drawn even on the tournament's 36th hole with an easy birdie at the par-5 18th as Han's 15-foot putt to win slid by.

   Han needed up-and-downs after finding a fairway bunker at the first and third playoff holes, which were both played at the 437-yard, par-4 10th. In the end, he was left with the 10-footer to become the third straight Section 1 competitor to earn the championship.

   "I felt the pressure, but I stuck to my routine and told myself that I have been in these situations before," Han told The Journal News. "After that, I just concentrated on making a solid stroke."

   Han, the 2016 runner-up, was mobbed by teammates after the winning putt.

   "I felt a huge shock of relief, the pressure escaped me and I showed a lot of happy emotions," Han said. "I shared them with my teammates, who were great support during the whole trip."

   Han and Xiao, who fired a second-round 74, finished two rounds at 146.

   "It was a pretty relaxing 18 holes and even in the playoff," Xiao told Newsday. "I'm pretty happy the way I played."

   CHSAA baseball: Vin Vitacco pitched six shutout innings and Chris Taliercio doubled in each of the first two innings and drove in four runs as Monsignor Farrell moved to within one win of its second CHSAA AA Intersectional championship in three years with an 8-0 victory over Fordham Prep.

   The Lions can win it all Friday night at St. John's University against the survivor from the loser's bracket. If Farrell loses Friday, its opponent would also have to beat it on Saturday to earn the championship.

   "It's definitely a good feeling, knowing that even if we lose on Friday that we come back the next day," Taliercio told The Advance. "But we want the undefeated (CHSAA) season. We have that drive."

    • Charlie Neuweiler tossed a two-hitter as Monsignor McClancy stayed alive in the loser's bracket by eliminating Xaverian 2-0.

   The Crusaders will play Iona Prep on Wednesday at Fordham University in another win-or-go-home game in the double-elimination tournament.

    • Iona Prep eliminated Holy Cross 6-1 as Anthony Piccolino threw his third complete game of the postseason, scattering three hits and striking out six.

   Softball award: Ichabod Crane junior Calista Phippen has been selected the New York softball player of the year by Gatorade, it was announced Monday.

   The right-handed pitcher led her town to the Section 2 Class B championship game this season, going 13-2 with a 0.62 ERA and 250 strikeouts in 113 innings. At the plate, she hit .483 with 37 runs batted in.

   On the move: Fourth-year Tapestry Charter girls basketball coach Fran Snyder has accepted a similar position at Mount St. Mary's in the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association.

   "I've enjoyed my time with Tapestry," Snyder told, "but there is nothing like competing in the private schools, this is a great opportunity for me and my family."

   Snyder spent 26 years in the MMAA, beginning as an assistant at Bishop Timon and becoming the varsity coach at Holy Angels until that school closed.

   Snyder replaces Mike McCarthy, who was let go after this past season.

   Conn. controversy: A freshman placed third in the girls 100 meters and eighth in the 200 at the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference State Open on Monday in New Britain.

   They were the first losses of the season for Andraya Yearwood, 15, a biological male who identifies as a girl and was OK'd to join the Cromwell High girls track team after competing as a boy in middle school.

   Yearwood got of the blocks first in the 100 final and led for about half the race, which was won by senior Caroline O'Neil in :12.15 to Yearwood's :12.41.


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  •    Yearwood had started to become a national story in recent weeks after a string of successful meet performances. Though there have notable instances in recent years of transgender athletes in high school sports, media reports have pointed out Yearwood has taken no steps such as hormonal treatment to transition into a girl.

       A faint, ever-present mustache further riles those opposed to Yearwood's participation, but Connecticut does not mandate any hormone therapy or surgery as a condition for competing. In fact, standards vary from state to state and country to country. The International Olympic Committee last year adopted a policy that removed the need for women to undergo sex-reassignment surgery to compete. The waiting period went from two years after surgery to one year after the start of hormone replacement theory, which is also the NCAA rule.

       Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant recently contended that Yearwood's victories are unfair to other athletes "on a biologically competitive basis."

       Wrote Jacobs: "Humanity counts. So does biology. For me, somebody who has observed sports and written about all kinds of athletes for four decades, the integrity of the state competition ... was compromised."

       Cromwell coach Brian Calhoun said Yearwood's participation has never been an issue with the team.

       "She has just been a member of the team running hard day in and day out," Calhoun said. "It has been like every other athlete. We have a girl on the team who runs pretty quickly. And I think the girls are pretty happy to have a girl on the team that runs pretty quickly. ... It is going to be a positive thing for the whole team."

       Following up: With the topic of athletes sometimes having to choose between representing their school on the field or attending their prom in the news recently, Newsday drilled deeper into the subject over the weekend.

       A week ago, three St. Anthony's players, already in Staten Island after winning their CHSAA softball semifinal, were faced with the dilemma of heading back to Long Island for the senior prom with no time to spare or playing in the championship game.

       The three and another teammate who did not attend the semifinals opted for the prom, and the Friars lost the title game to Moore Catholic 8-0.

       "The whole time, none of us wanted to leave," catcher Justine Lomenzo said. "We wanted to be with the team whatever happened. win or lose. ... We had to make a decision which was stressful."

       As the story noted, there could easily be $1,000 or more riding on such decisions when the cost of tickets, clothing, makeup and transportation are considered.

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