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Saturday, July 7, 2018: The schedule-poster scam has reared its head again

   Leading off today: The cost of getting duped has apparently increased by $40 in just two years, so let the buyer beware.

   Glens Falls Police warned this week of a scam that targeted a local business by pretending to raise money for a school athletic department, The Post-Star reported.

   A Maryland outfit calling itself Sports Media is said to be sending false invoices to Capital Region businesses seeking payments for a "Saratoga Springs High School 2018 Fall Sports Poster." Detective Lt. Peter Casertino said the school district indicated the solicitation was not sanctioned by the district.

   The phony invoices attempt to collect $189, which is $40 more than what was being fraudulently billed two years ago in a scam aimed at Canandaigua-area businesses.

   Sports Media lists its address as 722 Dulaney Valley Road, No. 267, in Towson, Md. A little research shows that address to be a UPS Store, which offers a mail service similar to U.S. Postal Service post-office boxes. Many legitimate businesses uses such boxes, but so do a fair number of scammers seeking to hide their identity.

   Efforts by police to contact the company over the years have been unsuccessful.

   Star QB heading south? Casey Kelly, a two-year starter at quarterback as well as a veteran lacrosse player for St. Joe's, may be leaving Western New York to play his senior season in North Carolina.

   The WNY Athletics website reported on Friday that Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, now shows up on the football roster for Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, N.C. on That school went 14-1 and lost in North Carolina's Class 4AA championship game last fall.

   Kevin Kelly, Casey's father, told WNY Athletics "no comment."

   The 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback, who was honorable mention all-state as a junior, was 66-for-146 on pass attempts for the Marauders in the 2017 season, which ended with a loss to Canisius in the Monsignor Martin Association championship game. He threw for 873 yards and 13 TDs with seven interceptions. He also ran for 801 yards and 15 scores.

   Kelly scored 36 goals and had 40 assists to help the St. Joe's lacrosse team to its third straight Monsignor Martin championship this past spring.

   Pride to do post-grad year: Section 3 basketball standout Charles Pride, who led Liverpool to the NYSPHSAA boys Class AA basketball championship as a senior in March, will attend Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut this fall.

   Pride averaged 14.4 points a game while limited by an ankle injury for part of the season. He averaged 18 points a game in the postseason.

   Pride played on four straight Section 3 championship teams, beginning with his freshman and sophomore seasons at Syracuse CBA.

   Kicker decides: The scholarship offer last week from Ohio University was enough to convince Tristan Vandenberg to commit to the Mid-American Conference school.

   Vandenberg is the third straight Canisius kicker to earn an FBS scholarship as a freshman. He follows Michael Tarbutt, a 2015 graduate who attends Connecticut, and Blake Haubeil, a 2017 graduate who is now at Ohio State.


   Dipping a toe in multi-sport strategy: I don't ever remember a time when elite swimmers in the 12-to-18 age range weren't encouraged -- even admonished -- to make training for that sport their only serious athletic endeavor. The culture of the sport always seemed to be along the lines of "Do your 7,000 yards today or don't waste my time by coming back tomorrow."

   The Wall Street Journal reports that USA Swimming is changing direction in light of a 10 percent drop in participation in the 10-year-old age group from 2013 to 2016.

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Close to half of those who quit said they had a desire to play other sports and more than 40 percent said swimming required too much of a time commitment.

   In response, USA Swimming launched a new ad campaign last month showing young swimmers participating in other activities such as soccer, lacrosse and the school marching band. The national governing body is also rolling out a new, entry-level member- ship program called FlexSwim for young swimmers ages 5-18 who want to try competitive swimming but can commit to only a few days of training a week and two swim meets a year. FlexSwim slashes the USA Swimming membership fee fro,m $60 to $20 a year, though clubs still set their own membership prices.

   "We're telling people it's OK to do other sports. We know that even within our own sport, not everyone is going to agree with that," said Matt Farrell, USA Swimming's chief marketing officer. "But it's a real philosophical shift, and we think it's the best long-term view."

   It's an acknowledgement that there are only so many hours in the day for young athletes and their parents at a time when there are more school obligations, entertainment options and recreational offerings.

   "So we were facing a choice: Do we want to fight that culture, or decide to own it?" Farrell added.

   Staying in top shape: Jeff DiVeronica's final story for the Democrat and Chronicle was a look at year-round strength and conditioning programs being utilized by schools.

   The bottom line is that the days of the weight room being the near-exclusive domain of the football team are long gone at most schools. Further, that area of the campus as well as the cardio equipment are accessible 12 months a year, often under the supervision of a specially trained strength and conditioning coach.

   "It's really trying to teach these kids the work ethic. That's what's going to make championship type of teams ... the harder we work in the offseason it's just going to make us better in-season,” says trainer Joe Aratari of Penfield's strength and conditioning program.

   Aratari runs a company that contracts out trainers to at least five other schools. Other Rochester-area schools have trainers contracted through the University of Rochester Sports Medicine, sometimes as part of comprehensive deals including injury rehab and event safety coverage.

   When Penfield's summer sessions started under Aratari four years ago, four girls showed up on Day 1. This summer, about 65 girls (and 150 boys) attended the morning session.

   "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," Patriots football coach Jay Johnson said. "If we have kids who aren't as talented, they have to work harder."

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