Leading off today:
Having already made a giant leap into inclusion with its Unified Sports offerings for students with intellectual disabilities, the NYSPHSAA is moving closer to an innovative program to bring wheelchair athletes into mainstream track and field competition.
Meeting last week, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association officers gave approval to a one-year pilot program for participation in meets by wheelchair competitors this spring. It could be OK'd as a permanent program when the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meets in July.
With the impetus being the recent participation in modified track and field by two wheelchair athletes, the NYSPHSAA pulled together a plan that draws from one that the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has had in place for quite some time. The state's track and field coordinators, ADs and coaches at the two schools and the families of the two athletes were consulted as the details were worked out.
The rules kick in once the appropriate medical documentation is supplied and the school applies for a special accommodation. The short version of the scoring goes like this:
If there's one wheelchair athlete, he or she will be competing against the clock or the tape measure in the 100, 400, 800 and 1,500 (or 1,600) meters, shot put or discus. By meeting the standard (for example, 1:40 in the boys 400 meters), they earn a point for their team.
If there are two competitors, the winner scores two points per event and the runner-up one. For three or more athletes, the scoring is on a 5-3-1 basis.
In the postseason, the top finisher will advance to the next level of competition.
A-L's Martin dies: Longtime Allegany-Limestone girls basketball coach Frank Martin died Wednesday while hospitalized following a surgical procedure.
Martin's team played in the NYSPHSAA girls semifinals last weekend, losing to Syracuse Academy of Science at Hudson Valley Community College.
Martin guided A-L to nine Section 6 championships and won 302 games beginning with three seasons at Archbishop Walsh, where he was also the principal for a year. He also coached girls volleyball and tennis.
Education was a second career for Martin. He was a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who moved into the Southern Tier in 1997 to run the St. Bonaventure University ROTC program.
• Retired Pearl River coach Joe Ryan died Sunday at the age of 73. Ryan coached a variety of sports, including rolling up 240 wins in boys basketball.
Stupid human tricks: The Central Square school district has closed its sports stadium after an unspecified number of adults caused "significant damage" to the field and track while clearing snow last week, the superintendent said.
Superintendent Thomas Colabufo said video footage shows several adults broke into the locked gates at the stadium and caused the damage with power equipment not designed to be used on the artificial turf.
The incident was reported to State Police.
Colabufo did not elaborate on the extent of the damage. He said the stadium will likely remain closed for the remainder of the spring sports season.
Speaking of vandals: A California high school baseball team has had to postpone scheduled home games after its stadium was stripped for copper.
KESQ-TV reported all the copper was stripped from the field's light fixtures. The initial estimate of the damage was $2,200.