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Saturday, May 4, 2019: Fine, suspension to replace banishment from playoffs?

   Leading off today: Yesterday's blog recapped the highlights of the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee meeting in Saratoga Springs. but I saved one nugget for my weekly column in The Press & Sun-Bulletin. At the same time that New York Public High School Athletic Association schools are closing in on a decision about how and when to restore games cut from most sports in 2009 due to the recession, people are now contemplating new ways to handle the rare but persistent problem of varsity teams that get themselves banned from the playoffs because they play too many regular-season games.

   You can read the full column here but the concern that officials of the state's largest governing body for high school sports have is that the postseason ban imposed under NYSPHSAA rules ends up punishing students for a mistake made by coaches and athletic directors.

   The glitch affects one or two of the 14,000 NYSPHSAA varsity teams per year. As such, I'm not convinced that any changes in the rule need to be made.

   Personally, I'd be more interested in addressing a different issue that is also part of the rules refresher course that ADs receive every year at a mandatory meeting. Already this school year, a Section 6 boys basketball team and a Section 5 boys hockey squad have violated the rule against raising money based upon player performances -- free throws made in basketball and goals scored in hockey.

   Yes, both promotions were fundraisers for charitable causes. Still, it is a rules violation until NYSPHSAA schools say it isn't.

   Likely going to trial: A former teammate accused of stabbing Batavia football star Ray Leach before the start of his spectacular senior season rejected a plea deal Friday. Antwon L. Odom, 18, was offered a deal by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman to plead guilty to second-degree assault with no sentencing promises. He would have faced anywhere from probation and local jail to seven years in state prison, The Daily News in Batavia reported.

   He is now expected to go to trial on a charge of first-degree assault, which carries a maximum term of 25 years. Odom's attorney asked Judge Charles Zambito to allow for more motions to be filed before a trial date is set, and the parties are to return to court in July.

   Odom is accused of stabbing Leach, who went on to share state player of the year honors in Class B, during a fight Aug. 4. He is claiming the incident, which left Leach with 10 stab wounds, was self-defense.

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   Weighty wrestling issue: The NYSPHSAA could be eliminating the 99-pound weight class in varsity wrestling before the 2019-20 season.

   The development stems from a vote at the state wrestling committee meeting Tuesday. A majority of the representatives from the 11 sections supported dropping the lowest weight class, reducing meets from 15 weights to 14.

   The next step will be a discussion at the annual NYSPHSAA Central Committee in July, with a final vote expected by the NYSPHSAA Executive Committee in

  




October.

   The lightest weight class under National Federation rules is 106 pounds, and the New York wrestling community has gone back and forth for decades over the merits of sticking with the NFHS classes.

   Dropping 99 pounds would have the effect of pushing some competitors up to 106 or 112. Others would find themselves assigned to the modified or JV programs since many competitors at the lightest weights are in seventh to 10th grades. Of the 16 state Division I and II champions since 99 pounds replaced 96 pounds as the lowest weight class eight seasons ago, only two have been juniors or seniors.

   Friday lacrosse: Jack Grooms and Riley Sizings scored a pair of goals apiece as Westhill edged Penn Yan 5-4 in boys action between 2018 state tournament runners-up.

   Westhill began the week ranked seventh in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association. Penn Yan is ranked sixth in Class D.

   More lacrosse: Gowanda sophomore Miya Scanlan set a girls state record for goals in a single game with 16 on Thursday in a 29-2 rout of Springville. Shari Maslin of Clarkstown North had scored 15 in a 2002 contest.

   "She's been a really good player all of her life," coach Charles Scanlan said of his daughter. "It's our third year as a varsity program. She's blessed to work with a lot of talent that shares the ball."

   Whitney Point senior Andy Davis became the Section 4 career scoring leader Wednesday with four goals and three assists during a 9-6 win over Watkins Glen. That left him at 462 points, bettering the mark set by Johnson City's Shane Majewski, a 2015 graduate.

   Rallying for a student: The Hendrick Hudson community has raised $88,000 in eight days is support of Alex Figueroa, 15, a freshman on the girls varsity basketball team who was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing's sarcoma last week.

   The cancer has metastasized to Figueroa's lungs, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her grandparents. She has been hospitalized in preparation for nine to 12 months of chemotherapy and radiation.

   "This kid is solid gold," coach Ken Sherman said. "She's such a nice kid, and she's got the attitude that will beat this thing, hopefully."

   Extra points: The Harley School and Allendale Columbia announced Tuesday they will combine all operations beginning in July and operate under a new name to be determined. The Section 5 private schools have long fielded combined sports teams.

   Harley was founded in 1917 and Allendale Columbia in 1890.


  
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