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Monday, July 15, 2019: Timon football player killed in weekend shooting

   Leading off today: The Buffalo teen shot and killed Saturday has been identified as Paul Humphrey, a football player at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School.

   Humphrey, 17, was a wide receiver and running back for the varsity team.

   "The Bishop Timon-St. Jude family is heartbroken over the tragic death of Paul Humphrey, who just finished his sophomore year at Timon," the school said in a statement. "Our Timon family offers the deepest condolences and any assistance we can to his family as we all struggle with the same heartbreak."

   Humphrey and a 15-year-old boy from West Seneca were shot at about 12:50 a.m. Saturday. Humphrey was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. The other boy was taken to Oishei Children's Hospital, where he was treated and released.

   "He was a good friend of everyone at Timon. He talked to everyone," said Connor Davie, a recent Timon graduate.

   NYSED commissioner leaving: State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will resign by the end of August to pursue another job.

   Elia, 70, who was appointed in 2015, submitted a letter of resignation Monday at the Board of Regents monthly meeting in Albany. It is believed she may be in line for a role in a national educational program.

   The NYSED commissioner's responsibilities include oversight of physical education and athletics in the state's public schools systems. As such, Elia has presided over various appeals on eligibility issues and a handful of other high school sports issues during her tenure.

   Earlier this year she became the first NYSED commissioner to attend a quarterly New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Committee meeting. Her departure and what is likely to be a brief period without a permanent replacement is unlikely to have an effect on New York high school sports.

   Newburgh pool out of commission: The Newburgh Free Academy swim teams will be without a pool for at least the upcoming school year while repairs are made. A leak in the main drain closed the pool in February. Repairs and a project that includes a new deck plus the renovation of the spectator area and locker rooms are part of the a pending capital bond.

   "It's not anybody's fault," girls coach Pat Kavanagh said. "It's one of these things that happened. It's upsetting. It makes those of us that are part of that swimming community nervous about being able to get it fixed and get it up and running again."

   The boys and girls swim teams are some of Newburgh's most decorated, with 12 All-Americans and eight state champions. The teams have produced the school's valedictorian or salutatorian in five of the past six years," The Times Herald-Record reported.


   Academic achievers: The NYSPHSAA has announced its 2018-19 Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction and School of Excellence Award winners.

   Schools of Distinction are those with 100 percent of their varsity teams qualifying for the Scholar-Athlete team award during their respective seasons. To earn the School of Excellence Award, 75 percent of a school's varsity teams must qualify for the Scholar-Athlete team award.

   Section 5 leads the way with nine Schools of Distinction, followed by Sections 8 and 11 with eight apiece.

   The full list of honored Schools of Distinction is available here. The list of Schools of Excellence is available here.

   On the move: Peekskill has appointed Austin Golberg as athletic director effective Aug. 14. He has spent the past three years as the AD at Tuckahoe.

   Prior to that he spent 10 years as a coach, teacher and athletic coordinator at East Ramapo.

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   The strain of softball: Justin Ritzel at The Citizen in Auburn is the latest reporter to explore the question of whether softball needs a pitch-count rule to protect hurlers.

   Per a mandate by the National Federation, the NYSPHSAA joined the list over governing bodies imposing pitch limits in baseball two seasons ago. To date, there has not been a substantial movement to set a number of pitches in softball that would trigger mandatory removal from a game or nights or rest.

   "We view the softball thing as benign, and it's not benign," Dr. Dale Buchberger, a Central New York specialist in sports-related shoulder and elbow injuries said. "What is a common belief doesn't necessarily make it a truth. The question is, why is it that we will protect our little boys but we won't protect our little girls? That's it in a nutshell."

   In the book, "Any Given Monday," orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews expressed concern that the potential damage of underhand deliveries in softball is generally underestimated.

   "The repeated movement and velocity of pitches thrown, even in the windmill style, are now even tearing the 'Tommy John ligament,' resulting in (ulnar collateral ligament) injury," he wrote. "Pitching limits matter in softball as much as they do in baseball."

   Many coaches are still unsure, and there's data to justify a level of skepticism. Top softball pitchers can throw nearly three times the number of innings of their male counterparts, but "Tommy John surgery" remains almost exclusively a procedure used to repair baseball injuries.

   Rather, the real culprit in softball pitching injuries to the elbow or shoulder may be the grind of summer and fall competition that falls outside the scope of high school sanctioning bodies.

   "This is where I kind of struggle," Weedsport coach Sandy Donahue said. "I look at some of my younger players and they're playing travel ball during my season, going all summer long and a bunch are playing other sports, and it doesn't seem like they're getting a break. ... It's that mentality that we've got to have the best kid, that my daughter's got to be the best pitcher in the world."

   Extra points: The Burke Catholic boys basketball team will drop down to Class A following its 3-17 record last season, the Section 9 non-public classification committee has decided.

   Section 9 moved Burke Catholic up to Class A for the 2012-13 season after it reached the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinals three straight times, winning a title in 2011. The Eagles were bumped to Class AA a year later.

   The Eagles played in the Class AA sectional final in 2017 and '18.

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