SARATOGA SPRINGS – A strong season is continuing apace for the dominant Saratoga Springs High School varsity girls lacrosse team.
In a league game against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on their home turf on April 22, the Blue Streaks dominated the visiting team from start to finish, ending the game with a strong 16-6 victory. The team made good on their intentions to dominate the game from the beginning, putting up the first point of the game, and by halftime, they had massive 10-1 lead. This win puts the team 5-0 in league games, with their only loss coming at the hands and sticks of Niskayuna in a non-league game. Coming up soon will be big games against formidable teams, including Shenendahowa, Shaker, and Bethlehem.
“We have really excellent momentum,” Coach Elaine Lotruglio said. “We’ve had one loss, and it was close. I think we’re in a real good place [going forward].”
Lotruglio was impressed by the rhythm of the game, noting that the younger team was really coming into its own. Compared to previous years’ teams, this team skews much more towards the lower grade levels, with five freshmen and four sophomore players. Lotruglio guesses that by the time these young players make it to their senior year, their familiarity with one another will make them a force to contend with.
“They love to be together,” Lotruglio said about the team’s chemistry. “They pass well, and they’re learning each other’s moves, so to speak.”
A strong practice routine is also helping the team put up impressive numbers, in particular their warm-ups developed by the players themselves alongside assistant coach Elise Britt, a personal trainer and Maple Avenue Middle School health teacher. Lotruglio also noted how the team pulls certain shortcomings from each game they play so that they can work towards fixing them in future practice sessions.
Alongside the younger players, this season’s team has four senior players, Olivia Oskin, Cameron Parry, Emily Fischer, and Francesca Mangino, the latter three of which have signed their letters of intent to play inter-collegiate lacrosse in the fall. Lotruglio also highlighted the skills of sophomore Lindsey Frank, junior Ellen Payer, and junior Katie Wendell.
“They all just have a lot of fun together,” Lotruglio said.
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – It was a situation that would be tense for any baseball team in any game: tied with the rival team, 4-4, in the bottom of the seventh inning. This was the situation that the Saratoga Springs High School varsity baseball team found itself in on April 14, when it faced rivals Shenendahowa in a non-league game at Shuttleworth Park. This was not just any old non-league game, however: to give some extra heft to the game required under new Suburban Council guidelines, the two teams came together to create the I-87 Cup, which will fought over each year by both teams in a non-league game.
Enter junior Brian Hart, who with just the right swing of the bat hit a homerun, cinching the Blue Streaks’ victory and making them the inaugural holders of the new title.
“It was a great feeling, just running around the bases,” Hart said. “Seeing everyone at home plate, all excited, and I was excited, just to touch the plate and celebrate with my team… Yeah, they were all excited for me, and it was a special moment for us.”
“I kinda said to him in the on-deck circle, it’d be nice if you hit one over that wall, kinda jokingly,” Coach Andy Cuthbertson said. “And, you know, sure enough, he did that.”
Hart has been playing baseball for Saratoga since little league, or, “most” of his life, as he said. Going forward in the season, he believes that the Blue Streaks can go on to win a sectional championship.
“We’re looking to make a long run,” Hart said.
“The one thing about Brian, even when he was a 10th grader last year, he is very composed,” Cuthbertson said. “He doesn’t get very worked up, and that’s quite an attribute to have as a 10th grader, and now as a junior, sometimes I almost think in my mind that he is a senior, and I have remember that, wow, I have him for one more year. What a nice treat for our program.”
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A director discusses the specifics of scene D-14 with his actors and crew, stressing that 5-6 shots will be needed. Meanwhile, a short ways away on the set, other actors patiently wait on their marks, going over their lines and directions for the upcoming shots. All the while, the cast and crew eagerly await the completion of the last few shots so that can finally take their lunch break for the day.
But this film set is not in Hollywood, or somewhere else far off. It’s right here at the Saratoga Springs Public Library (SSPL). And that cast and crew is not made up entirely of film industry professional. Rather, it is composed of local students, learning about film production for a good cause.
Filmmaker Mike Feurstein returned to the Saratoga Springs area for a five-day film residency as part of the Don’t Wait to UnMake a Bully program, a partnership between his How to UnMake a Bully program and Lisa Bradshaw’s Don’t Wait Project. Through the program, Feurstein works with students in districts nationwide, using roles on a film set to teach them about treating others with respect and how to avoid being a bully. After the in-class lessons, students take what they learn and use their new skills to help produce an anti-bullying PSA. This most recent residency ran from April 17-20, with filming at the library taking place in the last three days.
“We meet the classes for the first time on a Monday and talk about bullying, kindness, citizenship, digital citizenship, cyber security, and things like that for the first 45 minutes,” Feurstein said. “The second 45 minutes is learning how to make a movie, and we learn all the roles, and I tie the roles into civic responsibility. So the sound guy is a good listener, and the director is a good leader as well as a good listener. So we tie in the jobs of a movie set to how you should e behaving in a civilized society.”
This is Feurstein’s second time working with students on a project in the SSPL, having worked there for the first time two years ago. This year, he is working with students mostly from the Saratoga Springs City School District, as well a few from South Glens Falls and Burnt Hills. The short film that they came up with has an appropriately library-inspired theme, with villainous characters coming out of various books and possessing the bodies a various children, causing them to act like bully.
“The Queen of Hearts is acting all boisterous and bossy,” Feurstein said. “And the Wizard of Oz is acting boastful”
According to Youth Services librarian Kali Nagler, the film will premiere to the families of the students and the public in a special screening on June 15, and in the fall, they will feature the film as part of a planned anti-bullying awareness day alongside the first film produced in 2015. The film will also be shared on Feurstein’s YouTube channel, “Unmaker Mike.”
“I think a lot of them are learning that making a movie is hard work,” Feurstein said. “And it’s collaborative, they have to work together, they have to listen.”
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A crowd of cheering friends and families filled the bleachers in the Saratoga Springs High School’s blue gym as 14 young athletes embraced their futures.
In a special ceremony held on April 12, the Saratoga Springs City School District honored 14 senior athletes as they signed their letters of intent to play inter-collegiate athletics at the universities of their choice in the fall. Athletic director Peter Sheehan addressed the attended crowd – which included other student athletes allowed to attend before their various practices and meets by their coaches – before the actual signings, thanking them for their attendance and congratulating the athletes on their achievements.
“We are so very proud of each and every one of you, and of the time and effort you’ve put in to make this day possible,” Sheehan said.
The athletes honored at the ceremony were, in the order they were seated at the table from left to right: Sarah Winters, who will play field hockey at Skidmore College; Francesca Mangino, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Brockport; Cameron Parry, who will play lacrosse at Quinnipiac University; Emily Fischer, who will play lacrosse at Clarkson University; Tucker Pierce, who will play lacrosse at Westminster College; Elizabeth Maguire, who will play soccer at Le Moyne College; Gabe Olsen, who will play soccer at Mount Ida College; Daniel Varsames, who will play soccer at Utica College; Michael Moran, who will also play soccer at Utica College; Autumn Boxley, who will swim at George Mason University; Victoria Breslin, who will swim at Le Moyne College; Morgan Hoffman-Smith, who will swim at Ithaca College; Nick Cavotta, who will run track and field at Winthrop University; and Mary “Mimi” Liebers, who will run track & field at the College of the Holy Cross. Griffin Taylor, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Oneonta, was not present at the ceremony due to attending a meet at his soon-to-be school, but he was mentioned by Sheehan and was present on the list of athletes at the ceremony.
“I just loved the campus as soon as I stepped on campus,” Parry said about her choice of Quinnipiac. “I knew that that was the place for me. The coaching staff was just really welcoming, and all the girls on the team were super welcoming, and I just really got a good feel for the team and for the… kind of program that I’d be going to.”
“I’m very excited,” Liebers said about attending Holy Cross in the fall. “I’ve always known I wanted to do college sports, and track has been my main sport for five years now. So getting to continue track in college is a dream come true… I wanted a D-1 program, but I particularly liked the Patriot League. And I just loved the school, and I knew I needed to see myself at the school without track, so it all just fell into place.”
“I was looking at schools in the south, and I found Winthrop, it has my major in business and a minor in sports marketing, which is just awesome for me,” Cavotta said about his choice of Winthrop. “It’s a beautiful school. It’s down south, lot of warm weather. Not a huge school, which I like, so I can get some more individual time with my professors. It just has everything I could look for in a college.”
“Super proud,” Cavotta’s mother said about her son’s achievement. “I like the school. Like he said, it’s a nice small school, homey, they focus on academics and education, and parent involvement.”
Notably, two of the athletes at the ceremony, Varsames and Moran, will be playing the same sport, soccer, at Utica. This is fitting, as they have been close friends for years.
“That’ll help a lot,” Varsames said about attending school with someone he is so familiar with. “We both know how each other plays. It’ll help team chemistry, obviously. We’re best friends, so it’ll be fun… [We’ve been playing together since we were] probably like around 10, 12 maybe.”
“I think we have an outstanding group of coaches, we have very supportive parents who allow our student athletes to have opportunities, both in-school and out-of-school, that kinda give them a chance to compete at the collegiate level,” Sheehan said about the SSCSD athletics program. “I think that’s important to have that year-round commitment and to have those year-round opportunities.”
All photos by Thomas Kika.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Code Blue Saratoga Emergency Shelter’s annual “Blue Needs You” 8K run and expo took off through the streets of Saratoga Springs last weekend, and the results were all that the organization had hoped for.
Each year since beginning the 8K run event, Code Blue, a local emergency shelter for the homeless, sets a budget-level for the year going forward with the hope that the funds raised at the event will match or exceed it. This year, the proposed budget was $40,000, which the Blue Needs You event raised almost exactly, according to executive director Michael Finocchi.
“We were right on target,” Finocchi said.
This budget was up slightly from previous years’ races. Despite raising a larger amount, this year’s run saw fewer runners, 470, compared to last year, though still significantly higher than the first year. Finocchi and other at Code Blue say that this lower attendance may be due to other runs that were being held at the same time. This had not been the case in previous years.
This year’s run started out from High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. From there, runners took Lake Avenue for a ways, crossing up and down a number of side streets before ending up on East Avenue. From East, the runners went all the way to Excelsior Avenue where they took a right, following the street all the way through a loop it makes near the Residence Inn near the Northway. Coming back down Excelsior, they turned onto Excelsior Spring Avenue briefly, and then turned once more onto the Spring Run Trail. Following this trail all the way back down to East, they once again returned to High Rock where the run concluded.
Code Blue is a shelter that provides emergency housing for the homeless during severe winter weather conditions, such as when the temperature drops below freezing or when more than 10-inches of snowfall is predicted. Code Blue also works to transition its residents to more stable living situations, including apartments or rehab services.
“It was very reassuring when you’re down there and you see how many people care about those we help,” Finocchi said.
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The storied Oklahoma Training Track, across Union Street from the Saratoga Race Course, officially opened for the 2017 racing season on April 17. Prior to the start of competition in July, members of the public can visit the track from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, where they can watch thoroughbreds run as they prepare for the season ahead. Visitors will also be able to visit the Whitney Viewing Stand, which was unveiled in 2013 as past of the track’s 150th anniversary celebration. The track will be open daily once the 2017 meet commences in July.
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.
WILTON – Closing out its most recent “Share the Love” charity campaign, New Country Subaru on Route 50 presented a check for $7,388 to local anti-bullying organization, “Act with Respect Always” (AWRA). Headed by former Saratoga Spring tennis coach Rich Johns, AWRA visits schools and encourages students to understand what their peers may be going through and to treat them with respect. This is New Country’s ninth year participating in Subaru’s nationwide Share the Love campaign. In 2013, local dealerships were allowed to choose charities within their own communities to raise money for, alongside other nationally recognized organizations. This year, the other charities included the ASPCA, Meals on Wheels, the Make-a-Wish foundation, and the National Park Foundation.
This marks the first year that New Country Subaru chose to raise money for AWRA. Annie Robillard-Esposito, regional representative for Subaru, said that it is up to the specific retailer whether or not they work with a charity again for future Share the Love campaigns.
“It’s not just to sell cars, and do it for business,” Robillard-Esposito said. “It’s actually to do the right thing for the community.”
The Share the Love event raises money by allowing every customer to choose a charity they wish to donate to, and for each car sold, Subaru of America donates $250. Customers are able to choose multiple charities, so the amount often ends up split however many ways for each charity chosen. This most recent campaign lasted from Nov. 17 to Jan. 3.
As part of his work with AWRA, Johns tells people to accept the “1-percent” of others, meaning their outward differences such as appearance and class, and to get to know their “99-percent,” meaning the inner workings of a person that define them far deeper than tangible traits.
“I’m working hard to take away those labels on the 1-percent,” Johns said. “That we should all be accepted for who we are, what we look like, where we live… you are driving a different automobile, but I want to know what’s inside you, and that’s the 99-percent.”
All photos by Thomas Kika.
SCHUYLERVILLE – The Schuylerville branch of the National Honor Society inducted 45 new members in ceremony held on April 12. Inductees were chosen based on several criteria, including scholarship, character, leadership, and community service. Students and other attendees were also treated to words from guest speaker Khamel Abdulai, the director of training and talent management at Excelsior College and adjunct professor at the College of Saint Rose.
The inductees are as follows:
- Hailey Abruscato
- Cameron Alber
- Brandon Aschauer
- Grace Beaulac
- Freya Birkas-Dent
- Kassandra Brennan
- Alison Burnham
- Amanda Carlstrom
- Emily Carlstrom
- Lillian Claus
- Cassaundra Darrah
- Thomas Donovan
- Ryan Durie
- Samantha Ellis
- Hannah Eustis
- Elizabeth Fordyce
- Zachary Galcik
- Aidan Garry
- Sidney Gregorek
- Morgan Gunter
- Mikhail Hailu
- Grace Hanehan
- Nathan Hefner
- Jack Hemingway
- Jessica Hinners
- Devynn Hough
- Caitlin Kelleher
- Johnathan King
- Kadon Lane
- Jessica Melita
- Amy Moreau
- Teghan Murray
- Cassie Patrick
- Matthew Peck
- Lyndsey Prince
- Christine Putman
- Casey Renner
- Trent Thomas
- Tristan Turner
- Emily Vallee
- Dominic Vito
- Alice Voell-White
- Emily Warmt
- Katelyn Weed
- Derek Willson
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Springs High School inducted 194 students into the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society during a ceremony on April 4. In order to be eligible, students had to maintain a grade point average of over 90, gather five signatures of recommendation from teachers, complete 20 hours of community service, and write a one-page essay reflecting on the value of their community service.
Here is the full list of inductees:
Ha Jin Kim
Eve Mehalick Wilcox
Julia Van Horne
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Galloping up and down the emptied corn filed behind Pitney Meadows Community Farm, “Claude’s Alley Cat” begins its preparation for the 2017 racing scene in earnest with some gentle exercises. Before long, the two-year-old stallion will move onto the Oklahoma Training Track, across the street from the Saratoga Race Course, to begin more intense training.
For trainer Melvin Winney, Claude’s Alley Cat, named in memory of his late father, looks to make his return to the horse racing business a successful one. Running his first winning horse back in 1996 with “David Parson,” Winney went on to run eight winning horses during his career, including “Back Door Deal” and “Ms. Will a Way.” Now, after five years away from the business, he sees the potential for victory in his latest horse.
“He’s been doing everything right from day one,” Winney said. “He broke easily, quietly.”
Winney’s new horse was sired by celebrated stallion “Desert Party,” which currently resides at the Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater and was previously owned by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai.
“Most two-year-olds will go out with other two-year-olds to keep each other company,” Winney said about his new horse. “This guy, he doesn’t need any company, he’s very attentive, he’s focused. He’s like an older horse for a baby. He’s just a baby.”
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.