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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Amateur boxers came together in Saratoga Springs this past weekend to fight for a good cause.
On March 25, the Saratoga Springs City Center played host to a night of amateur boxing to honor and raise money for celebrated Capitol Region boxing promoter, Bob Miller. Miller, a 60-year industry veteran and founder of the Uncle Sam Boxing Club in Troy, was in a serious car accident on Oct. 15 of last year that left him paralyzed. Shortly after, the Miller family established the Bob Miller Fund, a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising money to help cover Miller’s expenses, including “his medical care, the equipment (e.g., wheelchair, braces) he will need, and lodging for Linda, our father's wife, and the immediate family so that we can continue to support him during his long rehabilitation away from home,” according to the page’s description.
Doors opened for the event at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout commencing at 7:30 p.m. A total of 13 bouts took place over the course of the show, which drew around 850 attendees. According to city center executive director Ryan McMahon, when factoring in volunteers and trainers, the total attendance number for the night was closer to 1,000.
“Very strong,” McMahon said about the night’s attendance figures.
Some of the bouts on the card included Schuylerville-native Joey Barcia against Francis Hogan of Boston, Alison Watson of Vermont against Jamere Shelby of Albany, Malachi Davis of Albany against Richard Hogan of Boston, and the Uncle Sam Boxing Club’s own Tugar VanDommelen against Gianni Gragnano. In addition to the boxing, other fundraising activities at the event included a raffle and a silent auction.
At time of writing, event organizer Dave Wojcicki estimates that the event raised around $15,000 for the Bob Miller Fund. When asked if the city center would possibly work with Bob Miller and company in the future, McMahon was optimistic.
“We would love to,” McMahon said. “Bob is a long standing client and fixture in Saratoga Springs boxing.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Bob Miller Fund can find the campaign’s page at www.gofundme.com/bob-miller-fund-2unsxys.
All photos in this story are by PhotoAndGraphic.com.
SARATOGA COUNTY – Two local robotics teams stole the show at a recent regional competition, paving the way for their trips to the national level in April.
Robotics club teams from the Ballston Spa and Schuylerville school districts competed at the NY Tech Valley FIRST Robotics competition, a regional division of the FIRST Robotics Competition, an international youth event designed to give student practical engineering experience. Each school put in strong work at the competition, which ran from March 16-18 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with Ballston Spa receiving the prestigious Chairman’s Award, and Schuylerville finishing in second place and putting up the highest score of the weekend during the quarterfinals, 450 points. Both teams will be competing at the national championships in St. Louis, MO, which will run from April 26-29.
At the regional competition, teams were challenged to design and build robots that could receive and place gears, fire wiffle balls, and climb five feet. Each challenge would net the teams a certain amount of points, and it was up to the teams which actions they designed their machines to specialize in. Ballston Spa chose to design a robot that could do all three actions, with club advisor and coach Darrel Ackroyd being particularly proud of the machines ability to place gears by itself.
“We can receive gears from the human player station and place the gear on the peg via an active placement of the gear,” Ackroyd said. “Most teams have a passive gear system where the pilot has to pull the gear out of the robot.”
Schuylerville, on the other hands, chose to focus on gear-placing and climbing, as they determined that shooting wiffle balls would be too difficult to design for, and would not yield as many point as the other challenges.
Every team competing in the FIRST Robotics competition was informed of the challenges they would face in January, and then had six weeks to design and build the robot they would take to the competition. After that, their machine had to be submitted, or “bagged and tagged,” so that they could not utilize it again before the competition weekend. Both teams, however, built practice robots at the same time as their competition robots, so that they could continue practicing after the six week time limit.
“Our robot performed incredibly and we won quarterfinals,” Ackroyd said about his team’s performance. “We came up short in semi finals, but our alliance with Cambridge and Troy was a great one to be apart of in eliminations.”
“I couldn’t have ask for anymore,” said Mark Belden, advisor and coach for the Schuylerville team. “We’re not a big team, but we went right out there. Our team, our mentors, our alliance partners… it went as well as I could’ve expected.”
This will be Ballston Spa’s third time competing at the national level, and their second time in a row, having made it to the finals at RIT last year. This will also be Schuylerville’s second year in a row competing at nationals. Neither team has won at that level, but they are hopeful heading into the event.
“We are making changes to our climber and gear mechanism for our competition this weekend at Rockland County,” Ackroyd said. “I feel with these changes we should be a top-performing robot at the competition”
“We’re feeling really good,” Belden said. “Some other teams we competed against have already gotten in touch with us with suggestions.”
Schuylerville is currently raising money to help fund their trip to St. Louis. Belden estimates that it will cost around $20,000 to transport the team. They will be hosting a spaghetti dinner and raffle to help raise funds on March 31 in the elementary school cafeteria, from 5-8 p.m. Donations can also be made directly at www.gofundme.com/schuylerville-robotics-team-4508.
SARATOGA COUNTY – The Girl Scouts of the Saratoga-Schuylerville Service Unit came together this past weekend for a day of fun and learning at the annual Jamboree. Taking place at Geyser Road Elementary School on March 12, the event is held every year to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the first Girl Scouts troop by Juliette Gordon Lowe in Savannah, GA. The theme of this year’s Saratoga Jamboree was “Countries from Around the World,” tasking each troop with picking a country and learning about its culture. The troops then set up tables at the Jamboree with informational displays and activities related to their countries.
According to Jamboree organizer Whitney Jobmann, the event is also an opportunity for scouts, young and old, to come together and have fun. The Girl Scouts has six different levels, broken down by grade: Daisy (K-1), Brownie (2-3), Junior (4-5), Cadette (6-8), Senior (9-10) and Ambassador (11-12). Jobmann said that 225 girls from 26 different local troops attended the Jamboree this past week.
“In addition to the Girl Scouts,” Jobmann said. “Are… the troop leaders and adult members of the troop [who] do a great job of supporting and encouraging the girls.”
SARATOGA COUNTY – Victory was earned for two local high school wrestlers this past weekend. Competing in the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships, which ran from Feb. 24-25, Ballston Spa junior Tyler Barnes and Schuylerville junior Orion Anderson fought through four rounds of competition across two days to claim state championship titles. Barnes won in the Division I, 170-pound weight class, while Anderson won in the Section II, 120-pound class. With this win, Barnes becomes the first ever state champion to come out of Ballston Spa. Anderson, meanwhile, fought through illness and injury to not only win the title, but also be voted one of the Most Outstanding Wrestlers out of the whole competition.
“He’s a very focused young man,” said Coach Harold Staulters of Barnes. “He has goals, he always has goals, and he sticks to them.”
After finishing in 5th place at last year’s championship, Barnes, supported by in Staulters’s estimation 40 or more Ballston Spa residence in attendance, went all the way this year to become the town’s first ever state wrestling champion. Winning his first match by pin on Friday, Barnes made it to the finals on Saturday, where he bested John Glenn High School’s Mike Ancewicz 5-2. Well aware of the import of his potential victory, Barnes wore a singlet with Ballston Spa’s school colors, purple and gold.
Staulters said that consistency was important during Barnes’s training leading up to the event. He stuck to his usual practice routines, and stuck with his longtime friend and practice partner, Jake Cook, who also competed over the weekend.
“They know each other pretty well,” said Staulters of Barnes and Cook. “They’ve been friends since they were six… Probably been workout partner since the same time.”
For Anderson, the run-up to the championship was fraught with hindrances. At the Section II state qualifying event two weeks prior at the Glens Falls Civic Center where Anderson secured his spot in the state finals, he suffered a cut to his forehead that required stitches. For the month prior to the state finals, Anderson had also been suffering through bouts of mononucleosis and upper respiratory infection, the latter of which sometimes made it difficult for him to breathe.
“I don’t think he even realizes what a big deal it is,” said Buck Anderson, Orion’s coach and father.
For each champion, wrestling is a family affair. Barnes’s father, Terry, wrestled in the 1995 state championships and was runner-up that year. Anderson, meanwhile, has seen many members of his family in the state finals, with his older brother and sister each having competed in the finals in years prior, and he himself has been wrestling since the age of two.
Barnes’s is currently planning to compete in the Cadet Greco Nationals in Fargo, ND, where he also competed last year, making it all the way through the semifinals. This year, he’s aiming to win it all. Anderson, conversely, will be taking things slower to let his body heal and to recover from his illnesses. Once he feels better, he intends to get back to practicing and compete in off-season matches.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – This summer, the New York State Racing Association (NYRA) and the Saratoga 150 committee will honor 30 Thoroughbred horses that have made their mark at Saratoga Race Course over the past 150 years and induct them into the newly-created Saratoga Hoofprints Walk of Fame.