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Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018: Section 3, game officials in contract stalemate

   Leading off today: The word "unofficial" could take on an entirely new meaning in Section 3 sports beginning later this month as numerous game officials and referees consider sitting out in a spat over stalled contract negotiations.

   Contract negotiations between the section and representatives for 43 officiating boards in 19 sports have been stalled for nearly two years. characterized the Meeting between the sides on Wednesday as "stormy."

   "It's not good, it's not good," said Mike Albanese, the representative for the New York State Association of Certified Football Officials, which covers the Syracuse area. "A lot of guys said they'd just take the year off."

   Money is at the root of the central issue in the dispute. The Section has sought to do away with mileage allowances for travel, with the officials groups dissatisfied with the corresponding increase in game pay.

   While a formal strike would violate language in a contract with officials and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, it's less clear what would happen if individual officials simply declined to continue membership in their respective boards.

   "They're threatening legal action," officials spokesman Mike Magnarelli said. "I don't really know what kind of legal action they could take against independent contractors. If they (officials) don't want to work, they don't want to work. Some of them haven't even rejoined their boards yet."

   Port Byron Schools superintendent Neil O'Brien, the chief negotiator for Section 3, said the boards have refused to consider starting the school year without a new contract, something officials did for the entire 2017-18 school year.

   All-state lacrosse: Teammates Matt Grillo and Zach Hobbes of two-time defending NYSPHSAA Class A champion Ward Melville have been selected boys lacrosse large-school players of the year by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

   Owen Hill of Akron earned the player of the year honor for small schools.

   Grillo, a senior attackman, scored 70 goals this spring, including four in the state championship game against West Genesee. Hobbes, a senior midfielder, finished his season with 33 goals and 16 assists. He received the Dellecave Award as Section 11's top boys scholar-athlete.

   Hill finished a dynamic Western New York career with 231 goals in five seasons. The midfielder scored 49 times as a Tigers senior.

   The full set of all-state selections can be found in our reference section.

   Champion swimmer sanctioned: Hauppauge swim star Jack Casey has accepted a six-month suspension from USA Swimming events and practices after testing positive for a banned substance, Newsday reported.

   The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced the penalty last week, reporting that Casey, 17, tested positive for Anastrozole in a urine sample he provided at the AT&T Winter Nationals on Dec. 1. Casey had a doctor's prescription for the substance, a USADA representative said, but was suspended because he did not secure a required exemption.

   The Casey family declined to comment, the paper reported.


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   NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said there is no state rule that would affect Casey's participation with Hauppauge's team next season. The suspension will have expired by the time of the state meet, at which the Section 11 champion placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke last March.

   According to the USADA, Anastrozole is a masking agent used to prevent unwanted side effects from anabolic steroids and may indirectly increase muscle development.

   Coaching news: Monsignor McClancy boys soccer coach Adam Brunengo is stepping into the collegiate ranks, having been named men's head coach at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn.

   Brunengo, a Spanish teacher at McClancy, guided his team to five CHSAA "A" Division city titles from 2009-14 in his nine seasons there.

    • Lisa Eipp, 186-43-7 in 12 seasons at Westhill, has been hired to take over the girls soccer program at Onondaga. Eipp took teams to NYSPHSAA semifinals three times before sharing the championship in Class B last fall following a 2-2 draw against Aquinas.

   Eipp cited personal reasons in her decision to leave Westhill.

   "Getting somebody of her caliber is just a great boost for the Onondaga community," Onondaga AD Jason Czarny said.

    • Already the boys lacrosse coach there for two seasons, James Synowiez is now in line to run the ice hockey team at Scarsdale. The school board is expected to approve his appointment later this month.

   "It's the second time this job has opened up since I've been at the school and I would've kicked myself had I not thrown my hat in the ring," Synowiez said.

   He inherits a team coming off a 10-10-1 season.

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