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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018: Controversial ending to Section 9 track meet

   Leading off today: Section 9's state track and field qualifier ended in controversy Saturday as officials tried to sort out a mess in the boys 1,600-meter relay at Gillis Fieldhouse.

   Newburgh Free Academy and Middletown appeared to have finished one-two in 3:26.92 and 3:28.52, respectively, with Monroe-Woodbury a strong third in 3:30.90.

   Washingtonville protested that its third racer was impeded by runners from both NFA and Middletown, causing Dillon Kane to fall, the Times Herald-Record reported. Washingtonville wanted both teams DQ'd and an opportunity to re-run the race.

   An officials inquiry resulted in Middletown being disqualified, which should have paved the way to have the race re-run, but the top three teams apparently declining. Running alone, Washingtonville's quartet of Josh Mallard, Cameron Aviles, Kane and Tony Dallman then posted a 3:26.43, seemingly winning the race and earning a spot in next weekend's state indoor championships.

   That didn't end the dispute, and meet referee Jose Rodriguez relented on the issue of Middletown's disqualification. That raised the question of whether the do-over was valid.

   Middletown has filed a protest, and it may be a matter for Section 9 to take up at the beginning of the week.

   Boys basketball: Brothers Adrian and Allen Griffin (29 points, 11 rebounds) combined for 49 points and 16 rebounds as Archbishop Stepinac won its first CHSAA Archdiocesan title since 1984 with a 78-62 win over Cardinal Hayes.

   Both teams earned a bye into the quarterfinals of the CHSAA's intersectional tournament on March 4.

    • Fourth-seeded McGraw snapped top-seeded Lyme's 20-game winning streak with a 65-57 victory in the Section 3 Class D semifinals.


   Kevin Shorts scored 21 points as McGraw advanced to a rematch of its 2017 title-game loss against Madison.

   Girls basketball: Danielle Rauch (21 points) sank three late free throws for Bishop Ludden in a 67-65 win over Westhill in a Section 3 Class B semifinal.

   Ludden advances to face South Jefferson in the final on Friday in the Carrier Dome.

   Earlier Sunday: I posted an earlier blog recapping highlights from Saturday's finals in the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships in Albany.

   More online: This weekend was the first of four in the row that comprise my favorite stretch of the high school sports season.

   Admittedly, some of it has to do with the majority of the championship action taking place indoors -- and away from weather that sometimes makes fall or spring postseason action a bit unpleasant.

   My weekly column for alludes to that, recalls one of my enduring memories of covering high school sports three decades ago and also explains how ADs try to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to getting athletes and teams to the right place at the right time in the win-or-go-home postseason.

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