Leading off today:
Saratoga's Kelsey Chmiel
wired the field Saturday in winning the two-mile run at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals at Greensboro, N.C.
Arriving the morning of the race after taking exams Friday in Saratoga, Chmiel broke the school and Section 2 record with a time of 10:10.44 while holding off Olivia Theis of Lansing (Mich.) Catholic (10:14.34) and Corning's Jessica Lawson (10:22.65). Blood had run 10:10.73 in 2004.
"I wanted to go out fast and see if I could hold on," Chmiel told The Daily Gazette. "I felt her [Theis] coming."
Lawson had won the 5,000 meters on Friday, and New York extended its dominance in the distaff distance races as North Rockland senior Alexandra Harris won the 2,000 steeplechase as part of a sweep of the top six places by athletes from the Empire state.
Harris' time of 6:45.32 was comfortably ahead of Shoreham-Wading River senior Peyton Capes-Davis (6:50.30).
In relay action, Paige Keefers anchored in 2:05 as West Babylon (3:52.33) fought off Shenendehowa (3:55.10) in the sprint medley relay. And Shoreham-Wading River earned first in the 3,200 relay in 8:51.43, with Ward Melville third (9:05.41). Northport won the boys 3,200 relay in 7:37.42.
Reunited: As we were putting together some reference material for the upcoming football season, word came along that Lyons would once again take players from Sodus into its football program after a one-year hiatus from the arrangement. The boost in the BEDS number will be enough to push Lyons up to Class C.
The news triggered a few recollections and thoughts:
(1) My memory doesn't go back far enough to recall Sodus ever fielding its own football team, though I'm sure it was possible. The twist on the Lyons/Sodus combination is that, with BEDS figures of 183 and 246 respectively, Sodus is actually the larger of the two districts.
Steve Grandin of the New York State Sportswriters Association was playing around with numbers this spring and came up with the list of largest NYSPHSAA schools (by 2017-18 BEDS data, not including charters) that didn't have a football team:
|School ||Sec. ||BEDS|
|Cohoes || 2 || 401 |
|Integrated Arts and Tech || 5 || 390 |
|Salmon River || 10 || 336 |
|Northeastern Clinton || 7 || 323 |
|Catskill || 2 || 312 |
|North Salem || 1 || 295 |
|Fallsburg || 9 || 284 |
|Greenville || 2 || 277 |
|Keio Academy || 1 || 264 |
|North Rose-Wolcott || 5 || 262 |
|Addison || 5 || 259 |
|Sodus || 5 || 246 |
|Williamson || 5 || 245 |
|Mayfield || 2 || 222 |
|Solomon Schechter || 1 || 222 |
|Red Creek || 5 || 217 |
|Schoharie || 2 || 209 |
|Galway || 2 || 202 |
|Maple Hill || 2 || 202 |
|Middleburgh || 2 || 200 |
Fallsburg fielded its own team in 2016 and Cohoes as recently as 2015.
Obviously, Sodus now comes off the list, but Sections 2 and 5 remain heavily represented.
(2) The discussion of sports mergers reminds me that the subject is likely to make the agenda for new month's NYSPHSAA Central Committee meetings in Clayton. It's probably going to be a close call, but there's a pretty good possibility that delegates from the 11 sections are going to make the rules for calculating enrollment less friendly for some combined programs.
(3) For what it's worth, arrangements like Lyons and Sodus in football are not the target of the initiative to change the combined programs rules. Their combined teams went 4-4 in 2014 and 6-3 in 2015, and then Lyons was 4-4 last fall. So there's no expectation that this will create a "super team."
Rather, it's more about the reality of sliding enrollments. As recently as the 2011-12 school year, Lyons had a BEDS figure of 238 and Sodus was at 294. And Sodus was already struggling so much at that point that it was unable to field a boys basketball team just seven seasons after capturing a NYSPHSAA Class C championship.
That's not to say Lyons doesn't have some proud football heritage, including Section 5 championships in 2002 and 2003. In '03, Lyons was part of a piece of first-ever feat that Steve believes has not been repeated since: The Cambridge team from that season played three state semifinalists -- beat Lyons in the regular season and