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Sunday, March 1, 2020: New Hartford's Smith dominates gymnastics meet

   Leading off today: New Hartford's Miranda Smith came within a fraction of a point of making a clean sweep of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association gymnastics championships Saturday.

   Smith won three of four events for a total of 38.675, points, easily outdistancing Jenna Blair (37.175) of Frontier and Skye Harper (37.100) of Bay Shore for the all-around championship at Cold Spring Harbor High School.

   Smith won the floor exercise (9.600), balance beam (9.600) and uneven parallel bars (9.775). Harper (9.775) edged Smith (9.700) for honors in the vault.

   It was Smith's fourth consecutive year placing in the top three of the all-around.

   Smith finished third in the 2019 all-around, where she tied for honors in the floor exercise. She was also third in the all-around in 2018, where she won the floor exercise outright, and placed second in 2017.

   The complete results are available in our reference section.

   Fights mars basketball win: Amherst advanced to the Section 6 boys Class A-2 basketball semifinals with an 81-58 victory over Williamsville South but may find itself shorthanded Thursday.

   Jaylen Stewart scored 21 of his game-high 27 points during the first half as the senior guard surpassed 1,000 career points. Mike DiGiulio led Williamsville South with 27 points.

   With Amherst leading 53-36 in the final minute of the third quarter, Amherst's Myles Cooper was fouled on a 3-point attempt and rose to his feet to confront Williamsville South's Demetrius Wells. After the two exchanged pushes, another player went after Wells, triggering fighting that included at least one punch being thrown, The Buffalo News reported.

   Seven players, including three from Amherst, were ejected for leaving the bench. That triggers an automatic one-game suspension.

   Westhampton star hits milestone: Westhampton senior guard Belle Smith became the school's career scoring leader during a 49-34 victory over Pierson/Bridgehampton in the Section 1 girls basketball small schools championship at St. Joseph's College.

   Smith surpassed Bronson Martin with a layup midway through the first quarter. She finished with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, and four steals to help the team advance to play the Class AA winner of Northport and Longwood on Thursday for the Suffolk overall championship.

   Smith now has 1,725 varsity points.

   Skiing recap: I didn't get a chance to recap last week's NYSPHSAA alpine and nordic skiing meets, which kick off the state championships for the winter season.

   In the boys slalom, honors went to Hunter Montgomery for the third consecutive year. The Queensbury standout's two-run time of 1:16.09 topped Andrew Fogarty of Saranac Lake (1:17.72). Alex Tooker of Oneida won the giant slalom with a two-run time of 1:55.05 to top Fogarty's 1:56.22.

   Mamaroneck won the team championship with 84 points. Pittsford and Saranac Lake finished with 79 apiece.

   The girls alpine winners at Bristol Mountain were Hannah Klingebiel of Schuylerville in the slalom and Ellenville's Logan Fredrickson in the giant slalom. Fredrickson pulled a slalom/GS sweep at the 2019 championships; Klingebiel was the 2018 slalom champion.

   Klingebiel's two runs in 1:29.80 edged Samantha Burton (1:30.22) of Horace Greeley. Fredrickson coasted to victory in 1:56.58, with her sister Hayly Fredrickson second at 1:59.48.

   Pittsford beat Ballston Spa 86-81 for the girls team title.


   In the boys nordic meet, Rylan Hodgson (33.32.5) of Pittsford Sutherland won a close finish over Adrian Hayden (33:35.4) of Saranac Lake and Nick Logan (33:37.8) in the 10-kilometer individual race; Logan, Lucas Jenkin, and Teddy Borgos won the relay in 31:15.2.

   Queensbury (88) captured team honors over Honeoye Falls-Lima (74).

   The girls' 7.5-kilometer race was captured by Grace Mattern of Brighton in 22:55.5 over Mayfield's Madison Relyea (23:02.0). Mattern capped her meet by teaming with Emelia Jordan and Cate Anzellotti to triumph in the relay in 25:37.3.

   Mattern, the 2018 individual champ, and Jordan were part of the Barons' 2019 relay championship trio.

   Brighton edged Saranac Lake and Mayfield for the team championship.

   Accusation against former coach: A woman's civil suit alleges that Lou DiRienzo, who resigned as New Rochelle football coach late last year, sexually abused her when she

attended Yonkers Lincoln in the 1980s while he was a teacher and coach there.

   The woman is suing the Yonkers schools in state Supreme Court in Westchester County under the state Child Victims Act. She is seeking unspecified damages.

   The woman attended Lincoln from 1984-88 and describes in a court filing how DiRienzo began grooming her while she was an 11th-grader with the goal of sexually abusing her:

   "The acts of grooming included but were not limited to, DiRienzo giving plaintiff money, allowing plaintiff to skip class with no consequences, giving plaintiff his car keys so she could drive DiRienzo's car to the store during school hours and buy breakfast for plaintiff and DiRienzo and telling plaintiff he wanted her to be his girlfriend."

   The woman said in the court filing that DiRienzo sexually abused her between about 1986 and 1988. The abuse was said to have taken place in DiRienzo's car, the school's weight room and at a DiRienzo friend's home. The former student accused DiRienzo of abusing her about 12 times.

   DiRienzo could not immediately be reached for comment, The Journal News reported. The Yonkers and New Rochelle school districts declined to comment.

   Mass. progress in football: New York football fans complain from time to time about the state's disjointed football playoff system in which the Long Island sections, the rest of the NYSPHSAA, the PSAL, and the CHSAA each conduct their own championships.

   Massachusetts has an even more convoluted system, but that may soon change.

   Representatives from 333 of the 380 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association schools voted last week to adopt changes to the playoff system in 2021 when the North, South, Central, and West sectional tourney formats adopted in 1978 will give way to a statewide tournament in all team sports.

   The vote was 193-140.

   I don't think this is allowed: A Democrat and Chronicle feature on the Webster Thomas boys hockey team focuses on "Goals for Golisano," a fundraiser for the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester.

   The Titans have collected pledges from supporters who are donating money for each goal that the team scores in the Section 5 tournament. Goals for Golisano was first introduced last year by the family of goalie Cody Rougeux, born with a physical defect that required undergoing a colonoscopy before he was even a month old. The exam led to complications that resulted in a portion of his small intestine being removed and more surgery.

   The family made a personal pledge for each goal scored in the playoffs. Word began to spread, and others joined the cause.

   Raising money for charity is never a bad thing, but I'm almost positive that there's a NYSPHSAA rule against basing fundraising upon player performances in games. Under the heading of "Conducting a Contest" in the Definitions portion of the NYSPHSAA Handbook, is this:

4. Donations may not be made based on the outcome of student performance.

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