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Friday, Jan. 18, 2019: Section 6 cancels dual-meet wrestling tournament

   Leading off today: Mother nature scored a decision in Section 3 wrestling and won by default in Section 6 on Friday.

   With this year's storm of the century on the horizon this weekend, wrestling took the biggest hit as numerous athletic contests were postponed or canceled.

   The biggest blow was in Western New York, where Section 6 canceled its dual-meet championships, automatically advancing Olean (Division I) and Falconer (Division II) to the NYSPHSAA Tournament next weekend in Syracuse. Sectional officials are holding out hope that Niagara-Wheatfield and Pioneer could land at-large berths.

   "Our seeding system is a points system," sectional wrestling co-chairman Israel Martinez said. "It prevents any kind of potential political argument over who the top seed is. It protects the integrity of the committee."

   Section 3 will move forward with its dual-meet championships Saturday, but seven of the 15 teams originally slated to compete have withdrawn due to school district decisions to cancel extracurricular activities.

   Some contests that weren't already postponed by late in the afternoon Friday were placed in limbo by an evening announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking the state Department of Transportation and Thruway Authority to issue a travel ban on tractor-trailers and buses beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday.

   The ban, which will be in place for the duration of the storm, extends to most Upstate interstate highways including I-81 from PA Border to Canadian Border, I-87 from Albany to Canadian border, I-88 from Binghamton to Albany. Local expressways such as I-290 in Buffalo and I-490 in Rochester are also affected.

   Moving on up: Northstar Christian senior guard Miles Brown now stands fifth on the state's career scoring list in boys basketball after scoring 42 points against Buffalo East during an 85-69 victory Thursday.

   Northstar is ranked 11th in the state in Class A and Buffalo East is ranked 14th in Class C.

   Brown has 2,681 points, putting him 104 behind No. 4 Sebastian Telfair on the all-time list.

    • Khaleah Cleveland set a Johnsburg school-record with 41 points in a 55-41 girls basketball victory over Elizabethtown.


   On the move: Longtime assistant James Muraco is the new head football coach at Hyde Park FDR, taking over for Brian Bellino. Muraco met with returning players Thursday and encouraged them to seek out classmates who might the interested in playing as the school looks to beef up its varsity roster and restore the JV program, HVSR reported.

    • Former St. Peter's football coach Mark DeCristoforo will take over as athletic director from Patricia Mulligan on July 1, Principal Michael Cosentino said.

   DeCristoforo, 41, who will remain the school's dean of discipline, stepped down as football coach a year ago after five seasons in charge.

   Good reading: The Democrat and Chronicle wrote a feature on wrestling coach John Grillo, who has 795 career victories midway through his 44th and final season in the sport, beginning at Pavilion and then Holley.

   Grillo, 65, retired from teaching two years ago and finds himself in the same bind that many other coaches experience once they're no longer in the building on a regular basis.

   "I can't do what I normally do best and that's get the kids together," Grillo said. "I see them during study hall, during lunch periods, and I walk around the halls, it's like a bond, that father-figure, it's that role-model figure.

   "They don't see me every day, and I can't do what I normally did for all of those years. Get them, love them, get them to participate and push their bodies. I see them just for a small period of time, you know in practice, but it ends there and then they go home, and it's just a whole different ballgame."

   Extra points: Former Spencerport boys coach Jeff Farnsworth has taken the helm as the 71st president of the United Soccer Coaches.

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