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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018: Liverpool girls dethrone F-M in cross country

   Leading off today: Fayetteville-Manlius' string of league girls cross country championships came to an end Wednesday when Liverpool earned the Salt City Athletic Conference title by a 34-41 margin.

   The Warriors, ranked first in the state in Class A, sent F-M to its first league championship meet defeat since 2003.

   F-M junior Claire Walters (17:39.8) took first place individually, with Liverpool's Jenna Schulz (18:00.7) second.

   Advancing ... barely: Matt Lindaman scored with :06.2 to go to tie the game for Williamsville North and the Spartans went on to win the penalty kick shootout 5-4 over Orchard Park and advance to the Section 6 Class AA boys soccer semifinals.

   Football coach fired: Ed McCallister was fired as AuSable Valley's football coach on Monday over an apparent spat about call-ups from the junior varsity were handled, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported.

   McCallister was asked to resign three days after the team's first win of the season but declined, the paper reported. He had a 9-24 record in his fourth season.

   AuSable Valley is scheduled to play Saranac Lake on Saturday in the Section 7 Class C semifinals. Nick Moore was named the interim coach according to a statement from AD Kurt Munson.

   "The team is working hard to prepare for Saturday's game and will represent AVCS," the statement said.

   McCallister contends his dismissal stems from complaints by a parent whose son wasn't among 10 JV players called up from the junior varsity at the end of the regular season. In an effort to resolve the dispute, McCallister said he promoted every JV player to the varsity for Monday's practice and that he was called into the school to be fired 15 minutes into practice.


   "This is nothing more than placating to this one parent," McCallister said. "The coach from the varsity decides who he wants to bring up. No player has to be brought up and not every player has to be brought up. It's a coach's decision, and it's their discretion who they want to bring up.

   "For the three seasons we've been here prior to this one, there was not even a question or even a mention who came up; it was always a coach's decision to bring up who you brought up."

   The paper reported that at least two seniors have left the team this week to protest the coach's departure and that other players participated in a sit-in protest Tuesday at school.

   More football: We've updated our Week 8 schedule with playoff contests and consolation bowls hunted down by the NYSSWA's Steve Grandin. The schedule for ranked teams has also been posted.

   'Friends of Eli' launched: A community group has been formed in Elmira to help UConn football player Eli Thomas, 22, in his recovery from a stroke.

   Thomas, a first-team all-state selection for Elmira in 2013, suffered the stroke before a weightlifting session Oct. 10 in Storrs, Conn., and was hospitalized in stable condition. A school statement Monday said Thomas was making "good progress toward recovery."

   "Friends of Eli" is raising money to help Thomas, a redshirt junior for the Huskies. The group is seeking donations to help him with medical expenses related to his football site

rehabilitation. Donations can be made to the Ziff Law Firm, c/o Terri Ziegler, 303 William Street, Elmira, N.Y. 14901; or to the YWCA, c/o A'Don Allen, 211 Lake St., Elmira, N.Y. 14901.

   Thomas' career has been marred by injuries, including three torn ACLs that required surgery. A neck injury suffered against Syracuse on Sept. 22 kept Thomas out of two games before he suffered the stroke during UConn's bye week.

   Thomas transferred to UConn from Lackawanna College.

   Following up: A recent blog made mention of my weekly column for in which I wrote about how the New York State Council of School Superintendents would support an initiative to restore games that the NYSPHSAA cut from regular-season sports in 2009 in response to the Great Recession.

   One aspect that I did not mention at the time was that there is a bit of a public vs. private dynamic at play in the handful of sections in which large private schools are not NYSPHSAA members, something that was acknowledged by Depew Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey, who holds positions in both the NYSCOSS and Section 6.

   Ice hockey is a prime example, particularly in Western New York. As Section 6 Executive Director Timm Slade noted, NYSPHSAA and Monsignor Martin Athletic Association teams play against each other under Federation-style scheduling during the regular season and then go their separate ways for the playoffs. But the Monsignor Martin teams have been playing 24-game regular seasons while the NYSPHSAA schools were cut back from 24 to 20 in 2009.

   That's been a source of frustration for the public schools in several sports, but more so in hockey because of the regular-season collaboration. If everyone is once again playing the same number of games, it's one less consideration for a family to mull over when it decides whether to enroll their children in public or private schools.

   Is it a significant matter in the grand scheme of things? No, but it is one reminder that the public vs. private battle still exists at some level.

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