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Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018: Two volleyball coaches hit huge milestones

   Leading off today: One sport, two coaches and 1,400 victories.

   That was the story in Section 3 girls volleyball Wednesday as Marcia Laidlaw and Barb Allen reached significant milestones.

   Allen booked career victory No. 600 when Dolgeville swept Cooperstown 25-17, 25-17, 25-12. Dolgeville has won seven straight matches to improve to 9-2 this season.

   Meanwhile, Laidlaw picked up her 800th coaching victory as Canastota downed Adirondack 25-11, 25-10, 25-7. Laidlaw is the winningest active volleyball coach in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

   Boys hockey: Chayse Ierlan made 15 saves in goal as Victor blanked Skaneateles 2-0. Victor is ranked third in Division I and Skaneateles 11th in Division II this week by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   College commitments: Lockport junior Zach Schneider announced on social media that he has committed to pay volleyball for Long Beach State in California beginning in 2019. Long Beach is ranked No. 1 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I poll this week.

    • Senior guard Dejavaughn Utley of the Cardozo boys basketball team, ranked fourth in the state in Class AA, has committed to Adelphi.

   Utley, a four-year starter for Ron Naclerio, had interest from a number of low- and mid-majors before the season but expressed a preference for schools closer to home.

   New championship: Section 6 will conduct its first boys golf team championship this spring. It will be held in conjunction with the individual championships May 21 at River Oaks.

   There is no state team championship for boys, but the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association will crown a team champion in girls golf this year.

   Good reading: I'm very behind when it comes to highlighting recent good writing and reporting on high school topics from around the state.

   Ron Moshier of The Observer-Dispatch in Utica wrote a short piece last week noting the death of Rene VanCauwenberge over the holidays.

   VanCauwenberge was the baseball coach at Richfield Springs when Moshier played there. Moshier's column tied memories of the good ol' days to VanCauwenberge, who gave him a first baseman's glove that's remained a treasured connection to the past for the reporter.

    • Also out of Upstate New York, The Post-Star's Pete Tobey wrote about Queensbury junior wrestler Dave Sanders. Although Sanders has a cochlear implant that allows him to hear lessons in school, hold conversations and listen to music, he cannot wear the necessary hardware on the mat while he wrestles.

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   That in essence leaves him totally deaf during matches. If you know anything about wrestling, you realize what a hardship that is for a competitor since most coaches frequently bark out instructions throughout the match. On the other hand, the cheering and streaming from the stands -- especially at a big meet -- can be only slightly less loud that being seated in front of the speakers at a rock concert.

   "I think it's a lot better, because when you hear everything going on -- you're hearing all the other voices and the bodies thudding -- it sounds distracting," Sanders said. "But when I can't hear anything, it sounds peaceful."

  
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   As far as in-match coaching goes, inter- preter Jan Lyford relays instructions from coach Bob Winchip to the first-year varsity competitor in sign language. She circles the outside of the mat as Sanders wrestles to stay in his line of sight and sign instructions from Winchip.

   Sanders, who com- petes at 152 pounds, is 13-11 this season.

   Click-bait update: Syracuse.com ran a story this week about the best public high schools in New York for sports, as ranked by Niche.com.

   The Pittsburgh-based website purports to have analyzed public edu- cation data along with more than 60 million reviews by parents and students across the country to come up with its rankings of schools and neighborhoods throughout the United States.

   As near as I can tell, the data highlighted by Syracuse.com, though labeled as for 2018 on Niche.com, is unchanged from the results I blogged about in May 2017.

   I ridiculed their methodology back then and my sentiment hasn't changed since. At that time, Shenendehowa was already a two-time defending NYSSWA Kerr Cup overall champion (they've since made it a hat trick) but somehow only rated the No. 54 spot on the list despite offering a wide variety of sports (with indisputable success in the majority), a stable and experienced coaching staff and obvious support from the administration and school board.

   On top of everything else, Shen was coming off a school year in which it had a pitcher selected near the very top of the Major League Baseball draft and its top boys basketball player had landed a scholarship from the University of Maryland. Those are significant credentials when the list is supposed to be about the best schools for sports.

   I think the rating of Victor as No. 1 is fairly easy to defend, but slotting Shen 53 spots behind is so laughable that Niche.com's expertise is questionable.

   Extra points: Apologies for being very late posting this blog. I spent too much of Thursday evening chasing my tail on a tip about a significant coaching change. I'll hopefully have more to report Friday.


  
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