Displaying items by tag: blue streaks
[All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Coach Matt Usher has been coaching varsity basketball at Saratoga Springs High School for the last five years and he and his team of five seniors, seven juniors, and one sophomore, are ready for the new season to begin.
“We’ve been pretty balanced. We’ve got some depth and some athleticism and hopefully we can use and have a different guy ready to contribute on any given night, so that’s nice to have. You never know who’s going to step up from game to game,” Usher explained.
The three captains this year are Brian Hart, senior and straight-forward; Matt Larkin, senior and point-guard; and AJ Lawton, senior and shooting-guard. Coach Usher spoke highly of the three captains and called Brian Hart and AJ Lawton two of his key-players. Hart was the second leading scorer last season as a junior and was brought up to varsity as a sophomore.
“We’re going to be looking to him for a lot of leadership and rebounding on both ends of the floor. He’ll be our guy that we can look to in a tight game,” Usher said.
Hart has accepted a baseball scholarship to Marist College for next year. Lawton has been on varsity since his sophomore year as well and has started for the team for the past two seasons.
“He’s a very good shooter, we’re going to be looking to him to continue to do well from outside of the perimeter shooting and also scoring in a variety of ways,” Usher explained.
Usher gave praise to junior Andrew Patnode.
Patnode “had a really good off-season, he’s come in and done a nice job in the pre-season so far,” Usher said.
It certainly helps that Patnode is 6’7”.
You may recognize some of the guys shooting hoops on the court this season from the football field in the fall. Wes Eglintine, quarterback and Carter Steingraber are both on the basketball team. Eglintine recently returned to basketball after being out last year for an ACL injury. So far, this season, there have only been a few minor injuries.
“Hopefully we can, knock on wood, stay healthy,” Usher said.
While the dual athletes may not have as rich of an off-season as the other basketball players, “in the same hand, they come in and they’re strong and they’re tough and they’re used to the physical contact and we need some of that as well. We have some other players that are very skilled, but maybe not as strong as some of these other guys coming in off the football field,” Usher explained.
Although Usher feels good about the teams’ offense, he knows they need to work on their defense.
“We’ve shown flashes of being solid on the defensive end, but we haven’t been consistent enough throughout our first three scrimmages on the defensive side of the ball. I think if we play defense that will help us score the ball and transition, that will help us put up some easy points,” Usher said confidently.
“There is no night off when you play in the Suburban League. It’s very deep and wide open this year,” Usher said.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Blue Streaks will take on the Christian Brothers Academy at Saratoga Springs high School, the game starts at 7 p.m.
[All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Basketball season has begun scrimmaging and Coach Robin Chudy, now starting her fifth season as varsity coach at Saratoga Springs, is ready for a successful season.
With 13 girls on the team, five of which are seniors, Chudy is grateful for the scrimmage opportunities the team has before officially starting the season.
“It’s always good to compete. We’ve been practicing a lot so to get out and compete against other teams is a good thing. It gets the girls kind of excited for the season to start,” Chudy said.
The team has already seen a few sprained ankles and one ACL repair this pre-season, so it is safe to say that scrimmaging was a nice way to pull the team together in a competitive atmosphere. Chudy spoke of her four key players warmly. Dolly Cairns, a sophomore, is described by Chudy as the teams’ “go-to person when there is five seconds left on the clock.”
“Cairns handles the ball, handles the pressure, she handles the leadership out on the court. She has a great outside shot, she can drive to the basket, and she plays solid defense,” Chudy said.
It is clear to see why Cairns would be Chudy’s point-guard, she was brought up to varsity halfway through her seventhgrade season.
Kerry Flaherty, a junior who has been on the team since her eighth-grade season, is another player to watch.
“She’s a solid overall shooter, she’s fast, she’s quick to the basket, and she runs the break really well. She’ll be another person who will lead us in scoring, tempo, and pace. She and Dolly are both able to see the court well so the two of them will be huge for us,” Chudy explained.
Briann Barringer, a senior and captain for the team, has been described by Chudy as a “work horse.”
With three other captains to help Barringer lead the team, she is able to put in work as a small forward.
Barringer will “get to the ball, she’ll grab rebounds, she’ll have put-backs. She will add a lot to our team as well as her defense and her ability to get to the basket,” Chudy said.
Barringer is a captain along with senior guard Kara Vamvalis and senior small forward Amanda McGinn. Kara Vamvalis is being counted on to take the pressure off the other two guards.
“Kara is going to be pretty big for us this season. She is a very good outside shooter, she’s so fast. We’re going to look to her to take some of the pressure off the two guards. She’s a very good shooter, I think she’s really going to help us a lot,” Chudy explained.
Chudy said their biggest challenge this season will be, “putting together our defense the way we want to. Our offense has a lot of shooters and very good, very talented, shooting guards. It’s going to be our solid overall defense, being aggressive, playing hard, rebounding, and getting boards. Defense will be our focus because we are pretty skilled offensively.”
Chudy considers the games against Shenendehowa as the teams’ biggest of the season.
“They have a great team and we always seem to compete with them. We haven’t been quite able to get the win, but we always have a great game with them. The girls are always pumped to play with them so I think it’s going to be another great couple of games when we play them,” Chudy said.
Friday, Dec. 8 marks the first official league game of the season and will be played against Schenectady High School at Saratoga Springs at 7 p.m.
[Photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Renee Banagan is a senior at Saratoga Springs High School who has been playing field hockey for the Blue Streaks since seventh grade modified. She is the team goalie.
“I actually didn’t play field hockey last year, I took a break for the Robotics Team but I have been on the team since modified. I’ve just been with it ever since then and this year we actually ended up winning the Section II championship in the Class A division, which is really awesome. We made it to regionals and ended up losing to Baldwinsville, but that’s okay. We all just really wanted to win sectionals this year and we did that. We became a really strong family through this past month of field hockey and that was really cool. Field hockey is by no means an individual sport,” Banagan said.
Banagan had nothing but praise for her coach, Joanne Hostig, “playing for her is a lot of fun. She really cares about us and how we play on the field. She gives us every resource that we could really need to be at our best for every game. We’ve had personal trainers come in, we’ve had a lot of new equipment this year, and since Saratoga doesn’t have turf space, we’ve been able to rent out a lot of turf spaces thanks to our awesome Booster Club. So she really just tries to provide us with anything that we need to be the best that we can be.”
Banagan is also on the school’s Robotics Team and has been active since eighth grade.
“Way back in eighth grade, Mr. Sweeney, a technology teacher at Maple Ave Middle School had heard about this robotics program called VEX Robotics and he bought a starter kit and he told any kids that wanted to come in after school and help build a robot for a competition could drop by and help out. So me and ten other kids went and did that. I fell in love with it. The next year we bought a few more robot kits and grew into a couple separate teams and ended up competing all around NYS,” she explained.
This year, the Robotics Team was a state finalist, earning them a spot in the world competition in Kentucky. Banagan is in the TECHSMART Program, and through that she is earning a year’s worth of college credits and with a grant that they provide her, she is able to go to Hudson Valley Community College for a year free of cost.
“I think I might take advantage of that,” she laughed, “I’ll finish my associates degree in mechatronics, which is what I’m currently working towards, and then hopefully I’ll transfer to a four-year school like RIT and finish with a mechanical engineering degree.”
On top of robotics and field hockey, Banagan has been to Uganda twice, with a third trip this upcoming February, through AOET (AIDS Orphans Education Trust Fund).
“My neighbor is part of the New England Presbyterian Church and through that church there has been a lot of people who have gone to Uganda with this organization. My neighbor knew that I’d always wanted to travel so they informed me about this and I went for the first time in 2016. It was a two week medical mission trip. We were bringing over medical and school supplies for local schools over there. We performed somewhere around 600 physicals on children,” Banagan said.
Travel expenses for AOET are out of pocket. The money they fundraise goes into the organization, which has two schools in Uganda, a primary and a secondary school, and a medical clinic. The program also has a sponsorship aspect where people from around the world can sponsor a kid for $38 a month. This money provides them with schooling, access to the medical clinic, and at least one meal a day. Banagan’s trips typically line up with school breaks, resulting in her only missing one week of school instead of the full two that she’s gone.
“I always try to go in ahead of time and get my work. I always talk to my teachers, just to make sure they know what’s going on. They’re so great about helping me stay on track with what I need to know,” she said.
This year, her favorite teacher is Ms. Narkiewicz, her physics teacher.
“She’s a really great teacher. She really cares about her job and her students and she wants to build basically a class that’s going to help benefit us the best it can,” Banagan said of Narkiewicz.
Banagan said that the best part of her senior year is, “the freedom I have. It’s really awesome just to be able to do things with my friends after school.”
[Photo by Corbin Olsen]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Coach Jeff Geller has been the boys varsity soccer coach at Saratoga Springs High School since 2001. Geller has been playing soccer for as long as he can remember. He has played everything from travel soccer, being fortunate enough to travel the USA and Europe, high school soccer, and collegiately at Siena College.
“Soccer is an amazing game because it takes an amazing amount of both technical skill and tactical awareness to be successful. While it’s great to be big, fast, and strong, it’s more important to have a great touch on the ball and make positive decisions quickly. While many people consider soccer ‘boring’ due to the low score-lines, I find the hundreds of ‘mini-battles’ within the game to be very exciting,” Geller explained.
The captains of this year’s team were Simon Smith, Conor Murphy, and Aidan O’Malley. Simon Smith, Aidan Rice, and Evan Farr also made first team Suburban Council; Conor Murphy made second team Suburban Council, and Aidan O’Malley made third team Suburban Council.
This season as a whole was described as “great” due to the fact that the team have spent numerous years playing club soccer and preparing themselves for this season.
Geller had nothing but positive things to say about his players and coaching staff.
“In the attack, Aidan Rice was a crafty forward to the ball, Eren Kilic was always a threat with his tough play, and Luke Clark was strong using his physical presence to keep the ball. Our midfield trip of Aidan O’Malley, Simon Smith and Evan Farr worked well together to possess the ball and find ways to advance the ball forward when it presented itself. We had a stellar defensive group this year with Conor Murphy, Jon Irons, Ryan Postlethwait, and Ben Leombruno giving 100% every match to keep the ball out of the Blue Streaks net. Goalkeeper Alex Henderson often had little to do in the back due to the strong defense but would often come up huge when called upon. The player who impressed the coaching staff tremendously this year was TJ Bradley, perhaps one of the fastest players in Section II, who would come out of nowhere to save the day for us in the back with his blazing speed,” Geller commended.
On the field, the team is described as a “well-oiled machine,” and off the field, the boys are known to be excellent students and very respectful young adults.
The team won the Suburban Council Championship with a record of 12-1-2, with a tie in the first round of Sectionals. They defeated La Salle in the quarterfinals and tied CBA in the semi-finals. After regulation and two overtime periods, the Blue Streaks lost 4-3 in penalty kicks that would decide who would advance to the Sectional Championship game.
“It was a heartbreaking way to end the season but we had our chances during the match to win in regulation but were unable to convert. Our final overall record was 13-1-3,” Geller said.
“Our goal is always to fight for a Suburban Council Championship and hopefully win a Section II title. We have been to the Section II semifinals the past three seasons, something no other team in the Suburban Council has accomplished. We have a huge core of juniors and sophomores returning next season so we will strive to replicate this season’s accomplishments or perhaps make it even further. If the boys continue to work hard in the off-season and come back next season ready to compete, I look forward to great things. It was a pleasure to coach this group of fine, young, student-athletes” Geller stated.
[Photo by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks have had a record-breaking season this year. They are currently 9-0 with their Sectional Game taking place Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. against Troy. This will be a neutral non-conference game.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – This year, the Blue Streaks Hall of Fame has inducted seven new members. The Class of 2017 includes five athletes and two coaches, all of which have made great strides for the Blue Streaks in the past.
The Blue Streaks Hall of Fame was “established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of outstanding athletes, coaches, administrators, and supporters,” said the official statement.
A committee composed of current and former coaches; high school administrators, community members and current and retired athletic directors review the nominations and select the nominees. A trophy case in the lobby of the blue gym holds plaques in honor of the Hall of Fame members.
This year the inductees were:
Jen Dryer (Pennell)
Dryer graduated in 1994 and participated in soccer, basketball, softball, and lacrosse. She played varsity soccer and varsity basketball as an eighth grader; she was named Suburban Council First Team All-Star multiple times for soccer, basketball, and lacrosse; she was part of Section II Division 1 Championship Lacrosse Team in 1991 and 1992; named First Team Saratoga Dream Team for basketball; finished basketball career with 1523 points, 325 assists, 348 steals, and 228 rebounds.
In college, Dryer attended West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1994-1998 on a full scholarship for Division 2 basketball program where she started as a point guard for all four years and her overall career included 775 points, 460 assists, 206 steals, and 297 rebounds.
“She may be the best ever all-around athlete to go through Saratoga Springs,” said Coach Rich Johns, Saratoga Springs tennis coach for 38 years.
Guglielmo was a longtime assistant coach from 1971 – 2011 and coached many different sports in the district, such as; freshmen football in 1971, varsity football from 1972-2010, JV wrestling from 1971-1974, varsity lacrosse from 1988-1993, JV lacrosse from 1994-2003 and in 2005, modified lacrosse from 2009-2011. During his 40 years of coaching football, he and his team had many accomplishments including 15 league championships, 22 sectional playoffs, 5 sectional runner-ups, and 5 championships. With his assistance, the lacrosse and wrestling teams also won multiple league and sectional championships.
Kuenzel graduated in the class of 2002, where he participated in football, indoor and outdoor track and field. His accomplishments include: team captain for football in 2001 and track and field captain in 2002; named Section II All-Star Captain and Offensive Team Player of the Year for football in 2001; school record holder for the shot put since 2002; three-time NYS Meet Qualifier in discus (2001), shot put (indoor, 2002), shot put (outdoor, 2002); received the Clayton Chubb Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year Award and the NYS Sports Foundation Scholar Athlete Award in 2002; part of Suburban Council Boys Track and Field Championship Team; Yaddo Medal Award winner.
In college, at SUNY Geneseo, Kuenzel served as co-captain of the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams; NCAA SUNYAC Conference Sportsmanship Award Winner; 2006 Geneseo Male Contribution and Leadership Award; holds current Geneseo school record for indoor and outdoor shot put and discus; five-time SUNY Geneseo Student Athlete of the Week; one-time ECAC Field Athlete of the Week.
After graduating from SUNY Geneseo, Kuenzel went on to coach at the college level and teach middle school mathematics.
"This is a great honor and I am very humbled to be in the company of amazing athletes," Kuenzel said of his induction.
43 – A.jpg Moore with his Biddy Basketball team. Photo provided.
Moore, who passed away in 2011, graduated from Saratoga Springs in 1970 and was dedicated to the youth in Saratoga Springs for over 43 years. He began his career as a camp counselor for the cities recreation department. At only 16-years-old, under the guiding eyes of the late Bennie Fasulo, Moore coached the All Star Frogs in Biddy Basketball. He also coached the Pop Warner football program, Little League baseball, a women’s softball league, Skidmore College softball and Saratoga Catholic Central High School football and baseball.
“I saw a man and a coach who had an attractive personality that motivated kids to learn basketball. It went as far as parents asking for their kids to be on my dad’s team,” said Moore’s son, Landon Moore, III.
“He just had a way with kids that made them want to play and motivate them. He helped kids understand teamwork, respect, and character, all fundamental things that are entailed in the game of basketball and they received that under my dads’ leadership at an early age and moving forward, they took those same core values into life. At an early age, my dad presented things to his players that parents couldn’t and he motivated them in a different way,” Moore continued.
Moore’s wife, Amy, was there to accept the award on his behalf; their daughter Phoebe and her husband Jim Hayes also came from South Carolina for the induction. Hayes played on Moore’s Biddy Basketball team when he was nine, long before he was his son-in-law.
“It was beautiful,” Amy Moore said of the ceremony.
Smith graduated in 2010, she participated in indoor and outdoor track and field. Her accomplishments include: first in Section II history for the 100-meter hurdles; second in Section II history for the 100-meter dash; eleventh in Section II history for the long jump; State and Federation Champion in the 100-meter hurdles.
Smith attended the University of Connecticut and competed in indoor and outdoor track; she finished fourth in the outdoor track 100-meter hurdles at the Big East Championships and at the American Athletic Conference Championships in 2014; finished third in the indoor track 60-meter hurdles at the American Athletic Conference Championships and eighth in the ECAC Championships in 2013-2014; finished first in the indoor track 60-meter hurdles at the New England Championships in 2012-2013 with a meet record of 8.47.
Maureen Van Neste (Wickerham)
43 – B.jpg Van Neste and her son at the induction ceremony. Photo provided.
Van Neste graduated in 1994, she participated in basketball and outdoor track and field. Her accomplishments include: participated in varsity outdoor track and field for six years; 1993 NYSPHSAA discus state champion and 1994 NYSPHSAA discus runner-up; Section II Champion in the shot put and discus in 1994; Suburban Council Champion in the shot put and discus in 1994; co-captain of the varsity basketball team during the 1993-1994 season.
After graduating high school, Van Neste attended Syracuse University where she participated in indoor and outdoor track and field. She graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies in 1997. Afterward, she continued her education and earned a Master of Public Administration from Syracuse University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University. Currently, she is a Professor at Boston College Law School.
“Certainly my fondest memories were working with the coaches, particularly on the track team, Linda and Art Kranick run a top-notch program,” Van Neste said.
“Ed Hall was my discus coach. He was wonderful as a coach and mentor to me. He is the one who recruited me, gave me all sorts of confidence, and had such an influence on my life,” Van Neste said nostalgically.
Jamie Welsh (Sweeney)
Welsh, graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 2002, where she participated in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. Her high school accomplishments include: part of the girls cross country team to win the state, federation, and national title in 2001; named a Suburban Council All Star for cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field; ran a leg of the New York State and federation indoor and outdoor 4x800 relay team; named an All-American for the Steeplechase and Distance Medley Relay in 2002; and was listed in the “Who’s Who Among High School Students” and a finalist for the 2002 Sports Foundation Section 2 Scholar Athlete Award.
Following high school, Welsh attended the University of Rhode Island and participated in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. While there, she received the Rookie Performer of the Meet Award at the outdoor A-10 Championships in 2002 and placed twelfth in the Steeplechase at the New England Championship in 2005.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Brad Paisley stood atop the stage surrounded by hundreds of local high school seniors and asked for the details of their school mascot.
“Blue Streaks!” came the shouted reply.
“Blue Streak? What is a Blue Streak?” he pondered. “You guys are a streak of lightning,” he said, finally. “That’s very cool!”
And so it went Wednesday night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where Paisley put the finishing touches on the stage show for his Weekend Warrior World Tour which officially debuted Thursday night at SPAC and will travel across North America and touch down in Norway and Sweden before concluding in late September.
Wednesday night’s “dress rehearsal” came with the issuance of an invitation to hundreds of high school seniors at Saratoga Springs and Averill Park. Many were thrilled to attend the free preview.
“Oh. My. God. I’m so excited. Me and my dad listen to him all the time, but this is my first time seeing him,” gushed Saratoga Springs High School senior Cheyanne Mattison, who alongside fellow classmates Marisa Pantoja, Larissa Benton and Alyssa Concho secured elbow space at the front of the stage on a May night that boasted temperatures near 90 degrees.
The West Virginia born singer-songwriter strolled the catwalk, took selfies, and showcased his guitar skills, mixing strains of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” into a slew of tunes for more than one hour, as the band tweaked its sound and technicians tested the pulsating lights and flashy screen graphics, all to the joy of the kids who gathered to witness the event.
“I’ve never been to anything like this,” Paisley explained, casually dressed in black jeans, a T-shirt, street sneakers. A baseball cap rested atop his head.
The musical presentation was combined with casual back-and-forth banter with students which effectively gave the large amphitheater the feel of an intimate living room. When informed that the Blue Streaks had just secured a Section II title in tennis, Paisley offered his congratulations alongside some advice.
“It’s great you won. Tennis is good, but make sure you guys get a back-up career,” he instructed, before sharing his thoughts with the assembly of 17 and 18-year-olds of something to look forward to.
“You know, people will tell you high school is the best part of your life. That’s bull-crap. It’s not,” Paisley said. “But, now college…” he said with a smile.
Paisley made his musical debut in 1999. He has released nearly one dozen studio albums and topped the country music singles charts numerous times. His new release, “Love And War,” features appearances by Mick Jagger and John Fogerty, among others.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — One of the Spa City’s largest Broadway buildings will be undergoing major renovations this summer, bringing its upper floors to code and rebuilding new apartments. The owners of the Algonquin Building have hired Bonacio Construction to renovate the interior of the historic building—it was built in 1892 and designed by architect S. Gifford Slocum.