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Wednesday, March 27, 2019: West Genesee wins first game with new coach

   Leading off today: The Shaun Smith era of West Genesee boys lacrosse opened with a 7-4 victory over Saratoga Springs on Tuesday at Herkimer Community College.

   Smith is his first year of coaching at West Genesee following the retirement of coach Mike Messere after 43 seasons. Messere is the winningest lacrosse coach in U.S. high school history.

   "It's good to get it over and get a win," Smith said following a four-goal performance by Anthony Dattellas in the victory.

   West Genesee took a 4-1 lead into the fourth quarter before Saratoga Springs' Graham Patton scored. The Wildcats ended the threat with back-to-back goals by Dattellas and Brad Cunningham for a 6-2 advantage.

   AD out over certification issue: Mark Mensch, the athletic director at William Floyd since 2004, has taken a $15,000 buyout in return for his resignation after it was determined that he did not hold the appropriate state-mandated certification, a district spokesman confirmed to Newsday.

   "Mr. Mensch did not keep his physical education certification up to date as required by New York State education law," spokesman James Montalto said in a statement. "As a result, he tendered his resignation on March 8, which the Board of Education accepted."

   Mensch has had an active administrator certification since February 2005 but his physical education certificate expired in 1993, the paper reported. The phys ed certification is required for a director of physical education, which was part of Mensch's job title and description.

   Wrestling coach steps down: Peter Kennedy is giving up his position as the wrestling coach at St. Joseph's after 14 seasons in order to focus on a newly created administrative job in the school.

   The school is restructuring its admissions office with Kennedy serving as vice president.

   Kennedy directed his alma mater to the All-Catholic team title in February.

   "Simply, this new opportunity is too good to pass up and will require my complete attention," Kennedy said. "The decision to step away from the head coaching position is something that has been on my mind over the past two seasons and the time is right to step aside."

   Alumni news: Robert Cornegy Jr., a star low-post player for the Andrew Jackson basketball team in the PSAL in the early 1980s, has landed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

   An average of measurements provided by three doctors showed recently that Cornegy, a city councilman who represents Brooklyn, stands 6-foot-10, which qualifies him as the world's tallest politician.


   Guinness officials said Cornegy is now the official record-holder, besting Sir Louis Gluckstein, a London politician who died in 1979, by 2½ inches. The most recent record-holder was Archie Hamilton, a 6-foot-6 former member of the British Parliament.

   After high school, Cornegy played briefly at St. John's and Alabama. He went on to earn a master's degree in organizational leadership and won a primary and general election in 2013.

   Yes, another eSports story: I've linked to a few stories written in the past year about the growth of eSports in high school sports and its potential to gain a foothold in New York, perhaps as an activity supported by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

   Another one of those stories popped up on the radar today courtesy of The Journal News, but I believe it may be the first from a New York outlet that addresses a legitimate issue that may affect acceptance at the scholastic level and beyond.

   "We know a lot of the content is hugely misogynistic," NCAA President Mark Emmert said at the organization's national convention in January. "We know that some of the content is really violent. We don't particularly embrace games where the objective is to blow your opponent's head off. We know there are serious concerns about health and wellness around those games."

   Perhaps helping the cause is the fact that "League of Legends" is currently the most popular game title, according to the gaming industry analytics firm Newzoo. It's described as a version of capture the flag, demanding strategy and execution just like football or basketball. There are more than 100 million active monthly players around the world.

   High school sports governing bodies in several states have already started to support eSports competitions, and the National Federation of State High School Associations has partnered with online gaming provider PlayVS.

   There's a smattering of schools across the state sponsoring club teams that compete in regional and national leagues, but the NYSPHSAA and most school districts are nowhere close to doing more than just dipping a toe in the exploratory pool.

   "I would have to learn a lot more about eSports," Arlington AD Michael Cring said. "At first blush, it's hard for me to say yes, but that might be because I'm 53 years old and have never been into video games. I want to see kids up and moving. You'd probably have to sell me on it being a sport, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be a good activity in the schools."

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