Displaying items by tag: blue streaks
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Madison Chandler, a senior Blue Streak softball player, is taking her biggest inspirations from her supportive family.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nick Grasso, a right-handed tennis player at Saratoga Springs High School believes that one’s character both on and off the court is an athlete’s most notable quality.
Grasso began playing tennis while attending a summer camp at eight years old. He would see experienced tennis players practicing at the camp, and he thought to himself that maybe he should give it a try. After discovering his natural talent with a racket, tennis soon became his favorite sport.
“The fact that it’s an individual sport. When you do something well or you play a good match it’s solely because you played well yourself or if you lost its also on you. I like that individual factor, that the results are dependent on you,” said Grasso.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga High School’s varsity gymnast Sophia Damiano took home 1st place her first time competing in all four events since recovering from a sprained ankle.
In the middle of the Blue Streaks’ exciting season, Damiano took a tumble, off the mat, which kept her from competing in all four events for three weeks.
As she was hurrying down the end of the driveway to make it to school on time, she slipped on the ice coming down on her ankle.
“I heard it pop. I realized (her ankle was sprained) right then and there,” said Damiano. “It was instant pain.”
Upon having x-rays to ensure that it was nothing more than a sprain, the doctors pointed out that she had broken her ankle about a month prior. Damiano had persevered through that undetected ankle break but was now limited in competing.
The all-around contains all four of the major girls’ gymnastics events; vault, bars, beam and Damiano’s personal favorite, floor. Her vault routine was the final routine to get back on Damiano’s schedule, as the vault prioritized the most ankle stability.
“I really hate falling, but it teaches me to get back up,” said Damiano.
Get back up she did, with the guidance of Coach Deb Smarrow, Damiano religiously worked to get back up to speed in preparation for her competitions. She iced her ankle eight times a day, completed exercise such as toe raises and “ABCS.” After a week she began icing and heating and prepping her ankle for competition with compression braces and tape.
“She (Smarrow) was just very helpful with getting me through it. I really appreciated it – she wanted it (the ankle) to heal just as quick as I wanted it to.”
Damiano not only wanted to get back to the mat for herself, but for her teammates.
“Everyone on my team especially inspires me,” said Damiano. “It’s a team sport at the high school. So, they inspire me to do my best to help the team. “
Winning the gold medal for the team with her score of 36.475 was not the only highlight of the night. Damiano returned without hindrance to the sport that has her whole heart. The love for the sport and the joy it brings is always a reward for Damiano.
“I love being able to show off what I can do because gymnastics is a very hard sport,” said Damiano. “I love just being able to go out there, especially on floor and just show what I can do and really put my personality into it.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Devin Crowe, a 17-year-old senior at Saratoga Springs High School has been wrestling since the fifth grade.
“I got involved because my cousins were wrestling, and I just decided that I wanted to do it. A lot of the kids in the program made me decide to stick with it. Brant Robinson was wrestling at the same time and so we all just started together on modified and then we just kept going,” Crowe explained.
Crowe is a co-captain this year with Brant Robinson and Doug Cooper.
“I like being captain. I like showing the younger guys what is expected of you, how to carry yourself in school, and also how to help the team out when you need it. Maybe when you’re not necessarily supposed to win a match, you’ll still go out there and you’ll fight the entire match. Just don’t have a quitting attitude no matter what the situation is,” Crowe stated.
Crowe was also a captain on the football field where he plays right tackle and defensive end.
“Wrestling definitely helps me with a lot of balance and footwork and stuff like that. During the off season we’re lifting for football so that helps me get a lot stronger. The only thing it doesn’t help you with is getting bigger,” he laughed.
“You’re trying to be bigger for football and smaller for wrestling,” he explained.
Crowe manages it all by only focusing on one sport at a time. He isn’t mid-football and thinking about what weight he needs to be to wrestle.
“You just take it one sport at a time and go with it,” Crowe said. Crowe manages his wrestling weight, 182, by not eating constantly and not snacking as often. His favorite go-to snack when he can pig out is ice cream. So far this season, he is 8-2.
“Obviously with football, it doesn’t matter how you’re feeling for that individual day. You’ve got to get the whole team on the same page but when it comes to wrestling, you’ve got to get everyone just to have a goal. You have to have a goal in mind for every match and then if you can get everyone to think of that and put their best foot forward, that’s all you can ask them to do. Obviously, you want to win as a team, but you can’t always dictate what the other guys do,” Crowe said, stating the difference between football and wrestling season.
Crowe loves both sports but does have a preference for football, simply because, “you can eat as much as you want all the time,” he laughed.
He is considering playing football in college and is thinking of studying mechanical engineering. His “senioritis” hasn’t hit him yet, he’s averaging a 93 for the school year so far. His biggest support system is his parents, Mike and Cindy, and his grandpa, Dave Gougler.
To catch Crowe in action, check out Sports at a Glance game schedules on page 42.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mack Ogden, new appointed captain of the Blue Streaks ice hockey team, is a junior center on a mission to inspire his team and play hard and well. He has been on the team since he was a high school freshman and does not currently play any other sports, although Ogden is considering running track in the spring.
He became involved with hockey at age three after his mom, Michelle, a former figure skater, thought hockey would be a good way to get Mack and his older brother Zac on the ice while they were young.
While injuries are fairly regular in the NHL, Ogden has only ever bruised a rib.
Ogden plays hockey year-round. He also plays on the Troy-Albany Titans, a traveling team, and the Lake Lizards, a tournament team based out of Northern, New York. Some of his Blue Streak teammates are also on these teams with him, as well.
The Titans are state-bound this spring where they are competing in the tier one state championships.
Ogden was appointed captain by Coach Torres, along with senior Quinn Leffler.
“Well, Coach was going to decide who demonstrated all the qualities of a captain, like courage and leadership and stuff like that. Everybody has been saying how much I deserve it, all of the players on the team always said they’d be disappointed if I didn’t make captain,” Ogden explained.
Even so, he was a little surprised when Torres made his decision.
Ogden credits his ability to go 100 percent every time and leads by example as his best leadership qualities.
“When things are going bad, I try to lift everyone’s spirits and get them refocused on the game... I always tell them to brush it off and that next shift is a whole new shift and start with your next time on the ice and go as hard as you can. If you make a mistake, just make up for it with more hard work,” he said.
The team trains in the summer at 518Athletes and also attend a camp.
Like every athlete, Ogden’s favorite part of the game is winning, and least favorite part is losing.
“It feels really good to win but it also brings our school and community together. Plus being around all of the guys that I’ve known my whole life is the best part. I just want to see everybody come together and work hard, so we can get our first winning record since I’ve been on the team. I’d say we still have a couple of team things to work on, but we’ll be ready when the time comes,” Ogden stated.
Last year, Ogden’s brother joined the team for his senior year.
“It was awesome. Zac and I had never played together before last year and there’s not really anything like it. I made the team my freshman year and he didn’t as a junior, so to see him work hard and finally reach his goal as a senior and making the team and watching him play was so awesome,” he said.
Although the team hasn’t hit the ice for a game yet, Ogden says they can hardly wait to.
“We’re really excited, no one can wait to get on the ice for our first game. We’ve been working so hard over the summer, we just can’t wait to bring it all together and show everybody what we can do,” he explained.
Academically speaking, Ogden has also been successful, saying he’s been “fairly average, around the 90s.”
He plans to study radiology in college where he also wants to continue playing ice hockey.
“One of my best friends since I was really little, his mom passed away from brain and breast cancer last year and if I could do anything to help other families that are in that same position then that is more than an accomplishment,” he said.
Ogden credits his mom and brother as his biggest support system. “They really push me to do the best I can,” he said.
The Blue Streaks’ first non-league game takes place on Friday, November 30, against John Jay at 8 p.m. at Ice Hutch in Mt. Vernon.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ashton Capone, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, recently reset the school’s record for number of touchdowns in a game with six, following up with five touchdowns the game afterward.
“Honestly, it felt like a big accomplishment but like I’ve said before, all of the credit has to go to the line, obviously, because without them the hole wouldn’t open up,” Capone said.
Capone has been playing football since he began Pop Warner in sixth grade; he is a running back and outside linebacker. Before his record-setting game, his most touchdowns in a game this season was two. He recently decided to stop playing baseball in order to focus solely on football and the sport that would help him succeed the most at football, track. He runs in the winter and spring.
“Growing up, I really enjoyed baseball and looked forward to it and then eventually, I played it for the school, and then after that I decided to just play travel. After travel, I’m coming down to where it’s, you know, getting later in my years and I’ve got to start focusing on football,” Capone said.
He cites track as “playing a big role in building speed for football.”
“I found out that I did fairly well in spring track and managed to take a sectional title, so I’m focusing on that in spring and winter,” he explained.
He played shortstop and was a starting pitcher on the baseball field.
“I already knew my plans in what I wanted to pursue, and that was football, I’ve always had a passion for football. So, it has basically come down to what is going to help me for football and baseball wasn’t really that. I knew my weakness going into this season was going to be speed because I worked all summer on building strength; and so I knew that I had to compliment it with speed. So I knew I had to give up baseball because it came around the same time as track and when it came down to it, my main priority was to build speed,” he stated.
Capone plans to continue playing football in college, he just explored SUNY Cortland and is visiting Pace soon. He wants to study physical training. To him, this football season isn’t all about winning. His team is a group of friends who get together every Thursday night to play video games, eat dinner, and talk.
“Everyone’s friends. It’s all about bringing each other up and never bringing each other down,” he explained.
He credits his parents, Fahren and Patrick Capone, as his biggest supporters. The Longest Yard is his favorite football themed movie.
“That’s a favorite from my younger days,” he explains.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Springs City School District will honor five individuals for their extraordinary contributions to athletics for the 2018 Blue Streak Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Friday, October 12 in the Robert Meade Teaching Auditorium at Saratoga Springs High School. The program was established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of athletes, coaches, administrators and supporters.
This year’s inductees are Brianne Bellon, Claudia Didziulis, Rory Pedrick, Bill Scott, and Lawrence Youngblood.
Brianne Bellon, class of 2010 and member of the undefeated cross-country team, which was the suburban council, sectional, and federation champions for five years. Bellon is the current 800-meter record holder for Saratoga Springs.
Claudia Didziulis, class of 1952, participated in varsity basketball, varsity cheerleading and varsity softball. She received the first ever Section 2 Athletic Director’s Secretary of the Year Award in 1999 at the NYS Athletic Administrators Conference.
Rory Pedrick, class of 2004, participated in varsity football and varsity lacrosse. He earned the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award. Pedrick went on to play Division 1 Lacrosse at UMASS and made it to the National Championship. Pedrick was the first Blue Streak to be recognized twice on ESPN’s “Play of the Day.”
Bill Scott, class of 1929, participated in varsity football, varsity basketball, and varsity baseball at Saratoga Springs High School. He became the Athletic Director for Ballston Spa where he began the sports program and was the first football, baseball, and basketball coach.
Lawrence “Toby” Youngblood, class of 1975, participated in varsity basketball and varsity baseball. He was awarded Outstanding Male Athlete, Section 2 Leader in stolen base percentage, baseball’s most valuable player, and was a Booster Club Award Winner. Mr. Youngblood is currently involved in the Saratoga American Little League, high school sports, NY Mets semipro baseball team, and Black Student Alliance All-Star Basketball.
The Saratoga Blue Streaks varsity football team kicked off their 2018-2019 season on August 13, heading straight into practice. There are no try-outs or cuts for this team, anyone who shows up is put to work. That means all 48 players hit the field.
“We have some great kids back and we beat one of our rivals, Christian Brothers Academy, last week and we’re getting ready for Albany this week,” explained Terry Jones, head coach.
Last season, the Blue Streaks’ record was 9-1, losing to Troy in the Section II finals. Troy went on to win their second state championship.
“Jake Williams is taking over as quarterback, he was a sophomore last year, but he wasn’t our starting quarterback. He’s taken over the reigns as our quarterback and we’re excited about what he brings to the table,” Jones said. Wes Eglintine was quarterback last year and graduated.
“We feel good about the kids that we have. Jake was with us last year and saw a lot of time. It’s the high school process, kids graduate and move on and the next group must step up. Jake played a great game Friday night and we expect great things out of him this year,” Jones complimented.
This is Jones’ 28th coaching year overall and 12th year as head coach for the Blue Streaks.