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Displaying items by tag: sports
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The play-offs for the Saratoga Regional YMCA’s youth basketball league were held recently, marking the end of the league’s current season before the new summer league commences in June. In the Saratoga Rotary Jr. Division, the D’Andrea’s Pizza and BHHS Blake Realtors teams faced off, with D’Andrea’s coming out on top, 42-32. In the Saratoga/Wilton Elks Lodge Sr. Division, the Toyota of Clifton Park and Mexican Connection teams competed in the finals, with the Toyota of Clifton Park team taking the win, 56-46.
Along with the finals, the youth league also gave out the James Cudney Award, which goes to the player who most exemplifies the YMCA’s core values. This year, the award went to Saratoga Springs High School junior Elias Wohl.
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 SPRINGS – There is no rest for the dominant track and field stars of Saratoga Springs High School.
Just one week after blowing away competition at the NYSPHSAA 2017 Indoor Track & Field Championships in Staten Island, sophomore Kelsey Chmiel and senior Nick Cavotta took another trip down to New York City to compete in the 2017 New Balance Nationals Indoor (NBNI). The event, a premier national-level event for high school track and field athletes, was held in the Armory Track & Field Center and ran from March 10-12.
Competing this time in the 2-mile, Chmiel put in another stellar performance, despite taking part in a more endurance-testing event. Finishing in third place behind Brie Oakley of Aurora, CO, and Jessica Lawson of Elmira, NY, her time was 10 minutes and 12.94 seconds, narrowly but definitively besting the national record for sophomore girls in the 2-mile event, as well as the state record. Previously, the national record was held by Hannah De Balsi of Westport, CT, with a time of 10 minutes and 12.95 seconds, giving Chmiel the edge by 0.01 seconds. This marks back-to-back broken records for Chmiel, who set the national sophomore record in the girls 3,000 meter event at the state championships the previous weekend.
“The state level is usually pretty competitive,” Chmiel said. “But nationals has some really competitive and fast people in it.”
Characteristically modest about her performances, Chmiel said that she was pleased at the gradual improvement she had made over the course of the indoor season. Coach Linda Kranick, always more keen to tout the runner’s achievements, led the rest of the girls track and field team in a round of applause for Chmiel’s record-breaking run right before her first practice back on Monday afternoon.
“I like the longer distances, so the 3K is usually my focus,” Chmiel said about what she will focusing on going forward into the outdoor season.
Cavotta once again competed in the long jump event that has been his signature in the past few weeks. Coming in 14th place out of 33 finalists, Cavotta’s farthest jump measured 21 feet 11.5 inches, lower than the 23-foot jump that helped him claim his first ever state title and break his school’s long jump record. While admitting that Cavotta might have made the top 8 if he had given his best jump, coach Chris Conley remains nonetheless impressed with the progress he has made during his high school career.
“Halfway through his sophomore year, he came out for outdoor track day,” Conley said. “And in the last couple seasons, he’s really started to put a lot of technical stuff together. He’s come a good amount of ways in a short amount of time.”
For now, Cavotta is resting up for a week before moving into the outdoor track season, as Conley traditionally likes to do for his athletes between seasons. Moving forward, Cavotta will focus on competing in a few different events, including 200 and 400 meters, in addition to the long jump, as he begins to be recruited by more and more universities.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – It was a major weekend for Saratoga athletics, with three Blue Streaks netting state titles across two different state meets on March 4.
At the NYSPHSAA 2017 Indoor Track & Field Championships in Staten Island, senior Nick Cavotta bested his personal record as well as the overall Saratoga Springs High School record in long jump to claim the state title, while sophomore Kelsey Chmiel set a meet record on her way to claiming the state title in in the 3,000 meter event. Meanwhile, a short ways east at the Nassau County Aquatic Center, junior Zac Zwijacz swam his way to the state title in the 200 meter freestyle event.
For Cavotta, it was a day of firsts and bests. With his win last Saturday at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field Complex, he claimed his first ever state title with a 23 foot jump. In the process, he bested his own personal record for long jump by four inches, and set the overall record for his school by two.
“Obviously I was a little nervous, my first state meet,” Cavotta said. “But I was just excited to be there, cause I knew I didn’t have anything to lose. I was just trying to have fun.
Cavotta’s winning jump came last after five others. Before making the jump, he started to get the audience clapping in hopes of feeding off the positive energy. Prior to jump, he noted that he had been having difficulty jumping from the board, the point from which a jump’s length is measured. He had been starting his jump a little bit behind the board, negatively impacting his results, and so was sure to practice jumping from the right point prior to real jump. Beyond that, Cavotta said that his main strategy was to just keep a level head and focus on the jump.
“They were all really, really good,” Cavotta said of the other competitors. “It was just good to be with the best competition in the state and knowing that I could actually perform with them.
For Chmiel, the hope for her performance in the 3,00 meter event was simply to focus and best her personal record. In the end, she bested the competition by 23 seconds. Going forward, her focus remains the same, getting her times down.
“I knew they were fast,” Chmiel said of her competitors. “So I just wanted to get out fast too.”
Although it was not his usual individual medley event, on account of recent hip problems, Zwijacz put in a strong performance in the 200 meter freestyle, claiming the state title with a time of 1:38.62. His coach, Bill Asay, remarked that Zwijacz showed impressive consistency in speed throughout his swim, which he believes is what propelled him to victory.
“He’s got a lot potential and talent, and he’s not taking it for granted,” Asay said. “That’s the mark of a champion.”
“The atmosphere was amazing and everyone was really competitive so everyone knew it was the time to compete,” Zwijacz said. “The other athletes all had their own strengths and were everything you would want in a race. I respect them all.”
Moving forward, Cavotta and Chmiel are focused on preparing for the national level competition, which is being held in New York City this weekend.
“I’m feeling a little more confident after the state meet,” Chmiel said about the upcoming national meet.
Zwijacz said that he is focused on maintaining his sustainability going forward, as well as improving his times. Asay hopes that his hip problems will subside so that he can go on to once again compete in individual medley events next season.
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 — “Well, inside I was freaking out. But it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
So said Rodger Wyland, a fixture in this market’s sports world, reminiscing about his first broadcast, which happened to take place on Travers Day, 1986, as a then-new addition to the WNYT-13 sports team. “Here I am, Born and raised in Altoona, PA, so of course we have heard of Saratoga, but never did I imagine that my debut assignment would put me on the roof to anchor our station’s coverage,” Wyland said.
Well, if he was nervous, it apparently didn’t show. For on Friday, August 26, Rodger Wyland, along with co-host John Pricci, will be up on the roof again, anchoring WNYT’s Travers Preview program, from 7-7:30 p.m. – a mere 30 years later. His regular sports program, “Big Board Sports,” has blossomed into the region’s “Must See TV” sports broadcast, on the network (NBC) affiliate that invented that catch phrase, as well as the network that will bring the big race, and show off Saratoga itself to the world on Saturday, August 27. And after the Travers, look for the Wyland-Pricci alliance to be on air with post-game analysis at about 6:20 p.m.
“So there I was, scrambling to prepare for that first broadcast, and I’m looking around the press box for some experts to interview,” Wyland said. “John at the time was the race analyst for Long Island’s Newsday, in addition to being an extremely colorful individual. John didn’t hesitate: He said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it!’ “He really bailed me out on that first broadcast. And we’ve been friends ever since,” Wyland concluded.
In a number of ways, this 30th anniversary has brought Rodger Wyland full circle. In addition to the WYNT anniversary, he this month transitioned to a higher plane on another other broadcast branch of his sports ‘tree’: Radio, as he moved to 104.5 the Team, an FM affiliate of sports powerhouse ESPN Radio, after several years on AM980. His show airs Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon, with Friday’s broadcast originating live from Saratoga Race Course. “I really got an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Wyland said. “For one thing, I have the syndicated “Mike and Mike Show” (Greenberg and Golic) from 6 to 10 a.m. as a lead-in. The ratings are huge!” “More importantly,” he continued, “I’ve got a big-time producer/partner on the show in Brady Farkas. This is a big upgrade. Most hosts get a producer who screens calls, cues breaks. Brady is on the mic next to mine. I can’t say enough about the guy! He knows his stuff, and puts it out there effectively. Even our good-natured ribbing and repartee is mixed with a major dose of respect. I’m telling your readers – watch this one. He’s going to do some great things,” he concluded.
We met last Friday, August 19, after the conclusion of his live radio show at the Race Course. A quick jaunt to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts stand. Caffeine in tow, we looked for a place to sit and chat. Failing that, we settled in around a recycle barrel and chatted a lot about racing trends. Wearing shades – we weren’t bothered by any fans (his, not mine). And so, we dug into the 2016 Saratoga Race Meet trends.
“What a meet so far!” he said. “Just halfway through, and we’ve got a lot of star power. No Triple Crown Winner, like American Pharoah in 2015 – but this meet has depth in its roster of outstanding performers.” So with three of the six racing weeks in the books, I asked him who his MVP of the meet would be if current trends continue.
“I got to go with my man from Mechanicville – Trainer Chad Brown. I remember interviewing him after he won his very first stakes race here years ago,” Rodger said. “But this is not a case of ‘homerism,’ the guy delivers – particularly on grass. He’s loaded up for the Travers as well, with three entries.” That would be My Man Sam, Gift Box and Connect – all who landed in the field of 14 for Saturday’s Grade 1 Classic.
Switching to the Jockey colony, Rodger’s top picks for the win title: “Now this is tough. A very competitive, high-quality group. I’m picking the Ortiz brothers one and two, with a slight edge to Jose over Irad, but I say it will be neck-and-neck to the wire at this meet. Number three, kind of funny calling him a ‘dark horse,’ but John Velazquez has come back strong this meet,” he said.
Now, onto horses – and I take great pains to remind you that this conversation took place the day before the Alabama, won for fun by Songbird. “You can’t look past Songbird – what a star! You can see greatness radiate off her. Her Coaching Club American Oaks victory here earlier in the meet (Sunday, July 24 – when Songbird won by 5 ¼ lengths) was good enough to convince me. I expect that she will smash a similar field in the Alabama,” he said.
(Songbird took that one the next day by seven lengths at odds on).
“Number two. It’s Chad Brown’s Connected. Primed for the Travers (as of press time, second morning line choice to Exaggerator at 4-1). Coming into this beautifully. And number three… well, what’s wrong with Frosted? Not a thing! We tend to overlook him because he will only race once at Saratoga (a Grade I Whitney Handicap victory) and this meet is geared to the 2 and 3-year olds. I wish he would try the Woodward, but his next race will be the Jockey Club Gold Cup, then, hopefully on to the Breeders’ Cup.”
So how about one longshot Travers pick before we sign off? “I’ll take Laoban. A longshot (15-1 in that same morning line) - but maybe not really. He broke his maiden in the Jim Dandy (July 30), first win in six starts - at 27-1, however. So we’ll see. I’m partial to his trainer, Eric Guillot. I visited his barn a while back, and he had this whole voodoo set-up with an opposing trainer’s head on it. Hard to go against voodoo,” Rodger said laughing. “What a character.” “So let’s go with the Connected/Laoban exacta. Bet it big and call it a day!”
Looking forward, we promised to discuss High School football once it started rolling, and in September, he was looking forward to promoting a golf tournament at Orchard Creek Country Club to benefit the Thomas Patrick Morrison Foundation, named after a two-year old child who succumbed and passed on January 20, 2006, as a result of a mitochondrial disorder. Rodger also recently concluded a soccer camp that benefitted the foundation.
We’ll be happy to help promote the tournament when details are finalized. It’s a no-brainer to do right by a person’s most near-and-dear cause, particularly when that person has spent decades doing the right thing in our market.
WILTON – For EMS crews responding to a medical emergency, every second is crucial to their patient’s well-being. Advances in cellular technology are now allowing ambulances to relay medical information to hospitals faster than ever before, which could make all the difference for a person whose life might be in jeopardy.