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Thursday, June 21, 2018: Red Creek player's suspension appeal dismissed

   Leading off today: The Red Creek parent's challenge of the Section 5 and NYSPHSAA rules over player suspensions after an ejection was dismissed in State Supreme Court in Rochester on Thursday.

   "Courts are valuable tools to resolve disputes," Justice J. Scott Odorisi wrote in his decision, "but they should not be transformed into a Replay Command Center or GameDay Central for every school, or even recreational, sporting squabble."

   Odorisi said court involvement would be impossible based upon the number of games played each day, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

   "Litigation of any and all referee calls would be disastrous to the orderly administration of the school sports system," Odorisi wrote.

   Odorisi also detailed procedural mistakes in the immediate aftermath of Izzy Wilbur's ejection from a Feb. 24 Section 5 game between Red Creek and Byron-Bergen. Matt Wilbur was granted a temporary injunction that allowed his daughter to escape the mandatory one-game suspension, but Odorisi noted that the omission of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association in the initial filing was problematic.

   Lot of honors: Awards season is in full swing at high school graduations, section-wide spectacles and the state and national levels. A sampling from the past few days:

    • Spencerport junior soccer and lacrosse player Erin Coykendall has been chosen as the national female Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Year by MaxPreps in conjunction with the U.S, Marine Corps.

   The Northwestern University commit scored 46 goals and 68 assists in 19 games in the just-completed lacrosse season, her fifth on the varsity. For her career, Coykendall has 540 career points (279 goals, 261 assists) in 88 games.

   "Her assists are what separate her from all the other attackers that I've seen," Spencerport coach Tricia Condon said. "She finds ways to find teammates behind the back. We always joke, if Erin passes it to you, there's no way you can't catch it because it's going right to your stick and you're wide open."

   Coykendall is a three-year starter on the Rangers soccer team, rolling up 59 goals and 25 assists and helping the team to back-to-back NYSPHSAA titles.

    • The NYSPHSAA has selected Columbia, West Genesee, Rochester Franklin and Islip as its winners of the 2017-18 Sportsmanship Promotion program. The winners will be honored at the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting July 24 in Lake Placid.

   The award is presented to schools developing proactive approaches in emphasizing sportsmanship. The NYSPHSAA said 231 schools submitted nominations and 41 were chosen by their sections as plaque winners.    Columbia was selected for the sixth consecutive year.


    • Gatorade's New York track and field athletes of the year are Cicero-North Syracuse junior Jeremiah Willis and North Rockland sophomore Katelyn Tuohy.

   Tuohy capped a nearly flawless school year last weekend by setting the national high school record in the girls mile, taking down a mark that stood for 26 years. A week earlier, she pulled a 1,500/3.000 double at the state meet.

   Willis won state championships in the long jump and triple jump on his home track this month. He set a Section 3 record in the long jump.

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   Stepping down: Kevin Hennigan has resigned as girls lacrosse coach at West Genesee after compiling a 41-11 record in three seasons.

   Hennigan, who with his wife has three children under 5 years old, said he just couldn't continue to fulfill the time commitment necessary at a top program like West Genesee.

   "Coaching at that school demands that you be all in," he said. "I couldn't guarantee that I could do that."

   Hennigan was hired in early 2016 after Bob Elmer, a 300-game winner with seven NYSPHSAA champion- ships, resigned suddenly.

   More coaching news: Mary Jo Cerqua has been OK'd for a 29th season as head girls volleyball coach at Baldwinsville despite coming under fire this spring from former players who filed a complaint under the state's Dignity for All Students Act.

   Several seniors from last season's team accused Cerqua of harsh treatment, especially after losses. They alleged Cerqua and her staff would single players out for sub-par performances, sometimes making them sit alone on bus rides home from matches.

   Cerqua, who has won more than 500 matches, 20 Section 3 championships and two NYSPHSAA titles, had her contract renewed at the most recent school board meeting.

    • Suspended Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls lacrosse coach Jake McHerron wants an opportunity to clear his name after having been placed on leave May 17. The reason for the action was not disclosed but sources told The Daily Gazette at least one parent complained about hard practices.

   "We have asked for a name-clearing hearing," McHerron said last week. "I have done nothing wrong."

   McHerron is being represented by attorney Phillip G. Steck, a state assemblyman also representing assistant coach Marylou Vosburgh, who was placed on leave along with McHerron.

   "We have not received a response from the school district," Steck said. "If they don't (respond), we will take them to court and force them to do it."

   McHerron led his BH-BL teams to four Section 2 titles since 2011.

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