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Saturday, June 22, 2019: Canisius QB leaving for Maryland prep school

   Leading off today: We've become accustomed to seeing highly regarded basketball players leave New York midway through their scholastic careers in order to enroll in prep schools that can offer more visibility to college coaches on the national scene.

   It doesn't happen nearly as often in football but Western New York is losing a top quarterback prospect to the prep school ranks this fall ... not that he was actually a New Yorker to begin with.

   Canisius High QB Christian Veilleux wrote on Twitter on Friday that he will transfer to the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., where we will re-classify as a junior and pick up an extra year of scholastic experience.

   Veilleux arrived at Canisius a year ago by way of Canada. He threw for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdowns and picked up considerable college attention along the way. His offers thus far include Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Pittsburgh, according to 247 Sports.

   Sticking close to home: Hoosick Falls junior basketball star Logan Thayne has committed to continuing her career at the University at Albany.

   The 6-foot-2 Thayne, a second-team all-state selection in Class C this past season, averaged 23.2 points, 15.2 rebounds and 5.6 blocks per game as a junior to help the Panthers advance to the Section 2 Class C final. She played the final three weeks of the season suffering from the effects of mononucleosis.

   A lawsuit to watch: The NYSPHSAA runs up against more than its share of legal challenges each year -- in particular because the organization is errantly dragged into some lawsuits that should have been aimed against the New York State Education Department -- but none recently is a match for the no-win situation the state of Connecticut now faces. Officials there will be dealing with angry activists regardless of how a Title IX complaint is resolved.

   The Hartford Courant reports that three female athletes have filed the federal discrimination complaint arguing that they have been cheated out of college scholarships by the state's policy of including transgender athletes in girls sports.

   Alliance Defending Freedom filed the complaint Monday with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights on behalf of Glastonbury (Conn.) High sprinter Selina Soule and two unnamed track and field athletes.

   "Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field," said Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for ADF. "Women fought long and hard to earn the equal athletic opportunities that Title IX provides. Allowing boys to compete in girls' sports reverses nearly 50 years of advances for women under this law. We shouldn't force these young women to be spectators in their own sports."


   The two transgender athletes identified in the complaint -- Andraya Yearwood of Cromwell High and Terry Miller of Bloomfield High -- are working with the American Civil Liberties Union in planning a defense.

   "I have faced discrimination in every aspect of my life and I no longer want to remain silent," Miller said in a statement. "I am a girl and I am a runner. I participate in athletics just like my peers to excel, find community and meaning in my life. It is both unfair and painful that my victories have to be attacked and my hard work ignored."

   With Yearwood and Miller dominating the sprints at recent state meets, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference officials have frequently noted that they created their gender policy in conjunction with the region's Office of Civil Rights and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights. Unlike USA Track and Field and the NCAA, the CIAC does not require transgender athletes to undergo hormone therapy.

   Retired Long Island AD dies: Paul LeSueur, who served as the athletic director at Floral Park, Port Washington, Wheatley and the Waldorf School before his retirement in 2013, died June 10 following a stroke, his family said. He was 70.


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  •    He was stricken while presenting awards to his girls basketball team at a Waldorf School banquet June 5. He began coaching girls basketball at Waldorf in 2017.

       "He was the definition of what an athletic director looks for in a coach," said Waldorf School AD Shane Flanagan. "He was student-centered, so committed and dedicated. He came early, stayed late when he needed to. He coached the team, but on an individual basis. He was very good at taking players aside and saying what needed to be said to motivate them and bring out the best in them."

       LeSueur played soccer for the New York Cosmos, helping them win the 1972 NASL championship, and remained active in the sport as a player or coach, including as head coach at C.W. Post, for nearly half a century.

       He also coached boys soccer and lacrosse at Roslyn High.

       Good reading: If the start of a column by my former newspaper colleague Scott Pitoniak didn't want to make you read the remaining 15 paragraphs, then nothing will:

       "The day after Gary Scott's funeral on a somber spring morn in 1968, Jim Bruen felt compelled to return to his friend's freshly dug grave site. There, in the quiet solitude of Rochester Riverside Cemetery, he said a prayer and shed a few more tears for the U.S. Army lieutenant who a few weeks earlier had sacrificed his life to save a fellow soldier in Vietnam. Bruen then began walking around the tombstone, and noticed a bunch of empty gun shells from the previous day's military ceremony. He picked them up and sent one casing each to the guys who had lived and bonded with Scott and Bruen during their four years together at Syracuse University."

       Pitoniak was writing about Gary Scott on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of a scholarship fund set up to honor a graduating senior at LeRoy High School who embodies the characteristics that made Scott so special.

       Scott earned the respect of his football teammates and other classmates at LeRoy, where he won an ROTC scholarship to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. It was there where he roomed with Bruen and they became part of a tight group of about a dozen young men who spent the four years together.

       "We were quite active, always doing some physical activity. And Gary always seemed to be at the center of everything, leading by example," Bruen said.

       Scott graduated at the top of his ROTC class, an extraordinary honor for a young black man at a time when the color of his skin would sometimes be a disqualifying factor. As such he had his pick of assignments as a newly commissioned Army officer, but he chose one of the most difficult by asking to be assigned to the 101st Airborne during the height of the Vietnam War.

       More from the column:

       "Scott was well aware of the dearth of blacks in leadership positions, and felt he could help create more opportunities if he proved his mettle in war. On Dec. 14 of that year, he was deployed to Southeast Asia. It would be his first and last tour of duty, as he was killed in an ambush in Hue, Vietnam on March 29, 1968.

       Bruen and five of his Syracuse University classmates served as pallbearers at the funeral. A few months later, they began the scholarship program to ensure that Scott will always be remembered.

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