Leading off today:
For the first time since the girls cadet division made its debut in 2011, New York has crowned multiple Champions in wrestling's Cadet & Junior National Championships in Fargo, N.D.
Lynbrook rising sophomore Ally Fitzgerald (112 pounds) and Minisink Valley's Mia Macaluso (127) scored victories in finals on Sunday.
Macaluso, a rising junior fresh off 10 days with the United States cadet world team at the U. S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., earned an 11-8 victory over Naomi Henry from Brooklyn in an all-New York title match after pinning her way to the final. The two were workout partners in practices leading up to this year's tournament.
Fitzgerald decisioned Charlotte Kouyoumtjian of Porterville, Calif., 6-2. The score was 2-2 (with Kouyoumtjian holding the potential tiebreaker) with 20 seconds to go when Fitzgerald scored a decisive takedown.
Taking a closer look: Team Takeover from Washington, D.C., downed California's Team WhyNot (sponsored by Russell Westbrook) 96-78 to claim the Nike Peach Jam title on Sunday in North Augusta, S.C.
The contest in front of numerous college coaches culminated the first half of offseason action in the boys basketball ranks.
Syracuse.com used the event as the entry point for examining the Albany City Rocks program, which plays in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League and has ramped up to become the state's highest profile AAU program north of the metro New York area. It was founded by Jim Hart in the early 1990s and routinely attracts many of the top talents from up and down the Thruway.
City Rocks won four of six games this weekend, bowing out to Team Takeover 65-57 in the quarterfinals.
Reporter Donna Ditota traveled to Hampton, Va., on Memorial Day weekend to take a closer look at City Rocks, though the event was dominated by tragedy as James Hampton, a 19-year-old Team United forward, collapsed and died on the court during a game.
A few items of note from the story:
• Sponsorships and fundraising cover the cost of the U17 team, but players on City Rocks' younger teams pay between $300 and $600 a season to play. None of the coaches are paid salaries.
• Shoe companies figure prominently in AAU basketball. City Rocks is a Nike program, which explains its participation in the EYBL.
More basketball: Drissa Traore, a 6-foot-7 rising sophomore is transferring from Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts in Harlem to Long Island Lutheran for the upcoming school year.
More reading: The Daily Gazette did a Q&A last week with Robert Zayas, executive director of the NYSPHSAA. Topics included eSports, Ultimate Frisbee and helping parents to understand the difference in dynamics between youth and scholastic sports.
"If you're a club coach and a parent wants to talk to you, you're probably going to talk to that parent because if you don't they're probably not going to be on your team anymore. So parents and kids grow up in this club sport mentality where they paid money and get their say," Zayas said. "Then, as soon as they get to high school sports, that all changes. And parents -- and to no fault of the parents -- get