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Sunday, April 29, 2018: Manhasset lacrosse edges Garden City

   Leading off today: Peter Lapina's goal midway through the fourth quarter broke a tie and helped Manhasset to a 7-4 victory over Garden City in the 133rd edition of the Woodstick Classic, the nation's oldest continuous boys lacrosse rivalry on Saturday.

   Garden City was ranked second and Manhasset seventh in the New York State Sportswriters Association Class B rankings.

   Lapina scored with 6:11 to play, and freshman Aidan Mulholland struck twice in the final 1:35 to add insurance. Midfielder Marc Psyllos won 11 of 15 faceoffs.

   "Putting the ball in a freshman's hands in that spot shows you what we think of him," Manhasset coach Keith Cromwell said of Mulholland, who has already committed to Michigan.

   More boys lacrosse: Jamesville-DeWitt raced to a 6-0 lead in the first 18 minutes and went on to a 10-4 triumph against West Genesee to secure the Rams' ninth consecutive win.

   J-D is ranked third in the state in Class C and West Genesee 11th in Class A.

   Sophomore Ryan Vespi and senior Ryan Drotar scored in the first four minutes, and freshman Johnny Keib connected twice early in the second quarter to make it 4-0. Keib finished with three goals and an assist.

   All told, the Red Rams got eight goals and three assists from freshmen and sophomores.

   Since an opening loss to Victor, J-D has gone 9-0 with only one game decided by fewer than four gals.

   "In our first game against Victor, it took us a quarter and a half for them to even know what it meant to compete," J-D coach Jamie Archer said of his young team. "Since then our young guys have grown so much. Tonight we were better the whole way."

    • Victor, top-ranked in Class B, rolled past Class A No. 9 Corning 14-3 as Cam Hay scored four goals and Tucker Hill won 11 of 12 faceoffs.


   Penn Relays wrap-up: It's been awhile now since I've made it to the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. I was going to suggest that some things about that meet never change -- the precision of the schedule and the dominating performances of the Jamaican schools that make the annual trek -- but one of those Jamaican schools added a new wrinkle this weekend with probably the greatest performance ever.

   Kingston's Calabar High became the first school to win the Championship of America titles in the 400-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays in the same year, and it did so by using 12 athletes to clock three times superior to the all-time U.S. scholastic records.

   Calabar, which won the 400 relay in 39 flat a year ago, repeated in "only" :39.51 this time, All four legs of the 3,200 ran splits under 1:54 for a 7:26.09 time, and then the 1,600 quartet stole the show with a sole-melting 3:03.79, including Christopher Taylor's :44.84 anchor. Calabar shaved nearly five seconds off the meet record of 3:08.59 it established in 2017.


   Calabar became the first boys team to win three relays at Penn of any kind since 1949, when Bishop Loughlin accomplished the feat.

    • The older (and busier) I get, the further removed I become from track and field, which was my favorite sport until one too many drug scandals at the professional level finally sapped my enthusiasm.

   It's gotten to the point where I'm not nearly as quick as I used to be in picking superb times and distances out of agate with minimal effort.

   A few of the stellar efforts at Penn that I neglected to catch included Spencerport's Vanessa Watson clocking 1:00.17 in the 400 hurdles (the section 5 record is 1:0013 by Penfield's Karen Elliot in 1993); the Rush-Henrietta girls going :47.91 in the 400 relay to win the prestigious Northeast final; and the Newburgh boys 1,600 relay making it to the Championship of America final by qualifying in 3:17.36.

   Championship venues: A handful of site selections for New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships will almost certainly receive approval at Friday's Executive Committee meeting in Troy.

    • Binghamton, which has hosted the semifinals and finals since 2003, will get a three-year extension for the baseball tournament through 2021 after winning out over Niagara Falls and a combined Cooperstown/Oneonta proposal.

    • The football finals will remain at the Carrier Dome, also on a three-year deal through 2021. The finals have been played there every year since the tournament started in 1993.

   Football's Eastern semifinals appear to be staying at Middletown High through 2021 after a 6-2 vote by the football committee opting for that venue over Dietz Stadium in Kingston.

   The Western semifinals will alternate between Cicero-North Syracuse (2019, '21) and Union-Endicott (2020) following their decision to put forward a combined proposal. There were no other bidders.

   Time to combine? In separate meetings recently, leadership of the Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport central schools have expressed support for merger, which could open the door to restoring high-interest courses, student clubs and extra-curricular activities that have been casualties of budget reductions over recent years.

   The two districts have a combined BEDS figure of just 83 for the current school year. A decade earlier, the figure was 166.

   Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport have already combined soccer and baseball teams. A full-fledged merger would likely help keep their teams viable in the long haul.

   I've said it before and will say it again: New York has too many school districts. Rolling up the smallest districts into adjacent ones will save money and offer students more opportunities in academics and extra-curriculars.

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