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Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017: Section 4 moves Seton girls basketball up to 'A'

   Leading off today: Back-to-back Section 4 championships and a romp through the state tournament last March has earned Seton Catholic a move up to Class A in girls basketball season for the 2017-18 season, WBNG-TV reported.

   Coach Colleen Jayne confirmed the team has being moved up on the heels of a 28-1 season that ended with 26 consecutive victories. The average margin in three NYSPHSAA tournament contests and two wins in the Federation Class B tournament was 27.8 points a game.

   Though New York State Sportswriters Association Class B player of the year Lexi Levy graduated in the spring, the Saints are projected to return four starters including New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament MVP Hanna Strawn.

   Marcellus pioneer departs: There will be a changing of the guard in the Marcellus girls lacrosse program after coach Dick Lundblad and assistant Bill Hennigan made official their decision to step down.

   Lundblad, a former high school All-American attackman at West Genesee, started a girls club team in Marcellus 20 years ago and the varsity squad a year later. His teams went 233-111 with five league championships.

   Lundblad quoted fellow West Genesee alum Chris Kenneally, who earlier this year retired as boys lacrosse coach at Fayetteville-Manlius. "Chris summed it up pretty good," Lundblad said. "You go from who's who, to who's he, to who cares in a flash. I didn't want to wait around until I was in that third group."

   Catching up: Medina ended Wilson's 40-match winning streak in Niagara-Orleans League boys with a 228-260 victory Monday at Willowbrook Golf Club. Ian Wagner, a state tournament qualifier last season led Medina with a 37 to share medalist honors with Nate Fox of Wilson.

   Chiming in: The editorial pages have not been immune to the waves of cost-cutting most newspapers have undergone on a regular basis since the commercial Internet started hitting its stride around the turn of the century.

   It's left scant time, space and manpower for many editorial staffs to dip into high school sports matters other than reacting to scandals and tragedies, and even then often with a cursory approach. That was most certainly not the case over the weekend when The Post-Star chimed in with a thoughtful 900-word piece on the future of football.

   Taking note of the decision last week by Salem to drop varsity football this season due to having just 19 players available, the paper pointed to the number of schools now fielding teams of fewer than 30 players as well as the steadily declining enrollments in many districts and called for a serious conversation about whether football can be sustained in Section 2 north of Albany. "[I]f it is to continue, many schools will need to seriously consider mergers with other schools." they wrote.

   "We'd like to see the local football schools look seriously at merging programs with other schools if they are intent on keeping a viable program. Nineteen players are not enough to field a team, considering the physical demands and injuries inherent to the sport. While the NYSPHSAA sets 16 as the minimum number of players needed before a team must forfeit, we believe that is too few."

   In addition, the editorial called for an "informed discussion" about head trauma, calling it long overdue and citing recent medical research.

   You can read the full editorial here.


   More interesting reading: There were at least two profiles written this week that are worthy of a few minutes of your time.

    • Dan Doherty, 61, has been the New York State Sportswriters Association's girls cross country editor, compiling weekly rankings and the season-ending all-state team, for as long as I can remember. People who know him will confirm his recollection of the past and grasp of the present in the world of running boggles the mind.

   With Doherty starting his 40th season as the coach at Pearl River, The Journal News wrote an enlightening feature about him this week. It turns out that there's a lot more to football site

him than just a history of consistent success in the form of 35 sectional and eight state championships.

   Doherty is "old school" in many respects, but he's kept Pearl River at or near the top by adapting to the times.

   Junior Mary Borkoski, whose mother ran for Doherty three decades ago, recalled the coach threatening to end training camp in Vermont prematurely last year after a sub-par group run. Angry, Doherty said he was calling the bus company to take everyone home. His older brother Tom Doherty, a former Pearl River coach and AD, saw it as a sign Dan has softened. In earlier years, he joked, he would have told the kids they were going to walk home.

   "Coaching becomes addictive," Dan Doherty said. "There's always something to strive for. You'll say, 'I'm just going to stay until so-and-so graduates. Then there's always a new someone, who is two years back."

    • A couple of football recruiting websites told much of the story around the time Jalin Cooper committed to the University of Toledo earlier this year, and The Buffalo News chimed in this week with more about the Medina three-sport standout.

   There's no way a brief summary here can convey the hardships Cooper has endured in his young life; that's better handled in Miguel Rodriguez's story. The fact that he's turned out the way he has is a credit to his own determination and a community that's helped lift him out of some very tough places.

   "He's a super-caring kid; he goes out of his way to help people," said assistant football coach Eric Hellwig, Cooper's legal guardian. "He's somebody who makes a really strong first impression. Then after you get that first impression and you see in school that he's acting that way not just with you but with everybody else in the school, kids and teachers and custodial and cafeteria workers, now it's genuine."

   You can read the full profile here.

   He's got that right: I saw this tweet yesterday and it took me back to my days covering high schools in the mid-1980s, sometimes finishing stories with my laptop perched on the hood of my car and the game program tucked under a windshield wiper.

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