Lori Mahan

Lori Mahan

Thursday, 05 April 2018 14:24

Athlete of the Week: Brian Hart

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Brian Hart, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, is a star baseball and basketball player. He will be attending Marist College on a baseball scholarship in fall 2018. He has played on the varsity team for both sports for the last three years.

“Basically, my dad just put a bat in my hand when I was a young kid and I played little league. I’ve enjoyed playing baseball all these years,” Hart said, explaining how he became involved with baseball.

He started with Saratoga National Little League and then did the Saratoga Stampede travel team during middle school and high school. Hart’s senior basketball season was a success.

“We had a really good basketball season this year. All the kids on that team are the kids I’ve been playing with my whole life, so just being able to play with them again this year was really fun,” he said.

Hart says he enjoys baseball and basketball the same amount, but he recognizes that he’s better at baseball.

In his free time, Hart studies, works out, and hangs out with his friends, which consists of mostly the baseball team.

“We have a lot of seniors on this team that I’ve been playing with for a long time, we’ve all made it a goal to win a state championship. We have high expectations for this team and we’re looking to have a good season this year. I try to be a leader for the team and if any of the underclassmen need help they can ask me and I’ll help them out,” Hart stated.

Every March, the team goes to Vero Beach, FL for spring training.

“It’s an advantage for us because other teams in the area don’t have the privilege to go to Florida and play games, so we use it to our advantage when we come back here,” he said.

Hart has worked out with several major league teams: the Brewers, the Red Sox, the Rangers, and the Padres.

“It [working with those teams] was a blessing and it just shows that all of my hard work has paid off. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and if good things come of it, that’s just great,” he said.

He isn’t sure about going pro just yet. In college, he is thinking about majoring in either math, finance, or business.

Hart’s favorite baseball team is the Yankees and his favorite player is Aaron Judge, “because he’s an outfielder and a power hitter” like him.

Hart feels supported on and off the field. His cites his parents, Pam and John, as his biggest supporters.

“Athletically though, definitely my dad is my biggest supporter. He’s done a lot for me, he’s my backbone with sports, he’s helped me practice. He’s just done a lot,” Hart explained.

On the field, Hart gets along with his whole team and all of his coaches.

“My coaches are great. I get along with them. [Cuthbertson] is really easy going, he’s not the type of coach that will yell at you. He has the expectation that we’re going to work hard and get the job done. That just makes everything easier and takes the pressure off everyone,” Hart said.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Independent School’s (SIS) Odyssey of the Mind team won first place in its regional competition and is moving on to compete in the New York State Finals Tournament on April 7 at Binghamton University. Saratoga Independent School’s three Odyssey of the Mind teams took home three awards at the New York Region 6 competition held in Galway, New York on Saturday, March 17, including a first place finish, a third place finish, and a special award for good sportsmanship.  More than 300 students on 44 teams from public and private schools in 15 school districts competed. SIS’s Odyssey of the Mind team advancing to the state tournament includes:  teachers Sarah Morris and Ilena Coor; students Jack Scher, Virginia Arnod, Wyatt and Carter Short, Anna Westney and Norah Hoke. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. Founded in 1991, SIS is a New York state-chartered private school in Saratoga Springs accredited by the New York State Independent Schools Association.  The school currently serves 140 students in Prekindergarten through 5th grade. In Fall 2018, SIS will launch The Middle School at Saratoga Independent School, beginning with sixth grade. Seventh grade will be added in 2019 and eighth grade in 2020. The school’s mission is to empower students to become confident learners who are capable of critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork.  It strives to equip its students with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in an increasingly complex world, while enriching each day of their childhood.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Michelle Tsao, principal at Averill Park High School, has been appointed as principal at Saratoga Springs High School. The appointment is effective July 1.

"Ms. Tsao comes to Saratoga with significant building level leadership experience as Averill Park High School Principal. Ms. Tsao has worked closely with her faculty and staff to raise the level of academic achievement for all students, promote a positive school culture and climate, and engage families as partners in education," said Superintendent of Schools Michael Patton, Ed.D.

"We were very fortunate to have a number of highly qualified candidates who applied for the Saratoga Springs High School Principal position. All of the stakeholder groups who participated in the interview process were very impressed with Ms. Tsao's strong instructional leadership experience, collaborative approach, and passion for working with students,” Patton continued.

Ms. Tsao has spent the past three years serving as the principal at Averill Park High School. Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal at Shenendehowa High School, an assistant principal in the Queensbury Union Free School District, and a teacher at Ballston Spa High School. Ms. Tsao earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from SUNY Albany in 1999, a master’s degree in education in social studies from SUNY Albany in 2000, and a school district administrator certification from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2006. She holds a permanent certificate from New York State as a school district administrator and as a social studies teacher.

“I am very honored and excited to be joining the Saratoga Springs City School District community as High School Principal,” said Michelle Tsao.

“I look forward to getting to know the students, faculty, staff and parents of SSHS, and continuing to build upon the outstanding reputation that the building holds. Furthermore, I am excited to build collaborative relationships with the school community to further the opportunities available to our students as they prepare for their futures,” Tsao stated.

Thursday, 29 March 2018 13:52

FTFA Soccer Saratoga Sweeps Shamrock Cup

[Photos provided]

MILTON — FTFA Soccer Saratoga took their three club teams downstate to the Hudson Valley Sportsdome in Milton, to compete in Washingtonville Soccer Club’s Shamrock Cup Tournament. Over the course of the day, FTFA Romario won the U9 division, FTFA Neymar won the U11 division and FTFA Pele won the U13 division. The club earned an overall record on the day of eight wins, zero losses, and three ties. The teams scored 22 goals in the tournament while only allowing four. First Touch Futbol Academy is a soccer club based out of Saratoga Springs that trains boys from the Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa, Schuylerville, Queensbury, and Clifton Park school districts and beyond. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on FTFA Soccer Saratoga.

Thursday, 29 March 2018 13:40

Athlete of the Week: Claire Felton

[Photos provided]

BALLSTON SPA —  Claire Felton, a 15-year-old freshman from Ballston Spa, is a skiing, rodeo, and horseback riding enthusiast. Felton’s parents introduced her to skiing at the age of three and she began racing at age eight. For the past three years, Felton has made it to the USSA Eastern Finals. At sectionals this year, she placed third in the giant slalom, ninth in the slalom, prequalifying her for high school states. At states, she ranked 18th in the slalom, and 17th in the giant slalom. Felton skis on the Ballston Spa high school team, the New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) team, and the Gore Mountain ski team. Through NYSEF, Felton finished 13th in the slalom, therefore making it to the Eastern Finals. Felton is also a part of the New York State High School Rodeo Association, kids in sixth through twelfth grade compete all over New York State. Competing at a state level, the top four in each event qualify for nationals.

“My dad introduced me to riding horses when I was little, and I started rodeoing when I was seven,” Felton explained.

Felton participates in five rodeo events: barrel racing, team roping, breakaway roping, goat tying, and pole venting. Felton’s first rodeo of 2018 will be April 28; the season finishes in September. Felton says there are similarities between rodeoing and skiing. Each sport helps her to learn sportsmanship and balance.

“Also, being respectful to the coaches and parents, each sport teaches a lot of respect,” she explained.

Felton’s father and grandfather help her train for the rodeo and her parents, Mary and Tim, are her biggest supporters. In her free time, Felton enjoys playing with her Border Collie named Boulder, helping out on her family farm, and hanging out with her friends. Starting high school this year has shown her that with age comes more independence.

“There is more freedom in high school, I get to be a lot more independent. When there is a deadline, it’s a deadline. It makes you more responsible,” she said.

Felton takes AP World History which she plans to continue next year. Felton competes on Bo and Seven, her two horses, and Preacher, her father’s horse.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Nicholas Stiansen, a 2014 SSHS graduate, recently received the prestigious Thouron Award to further his post graduate education in the U.K. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior. Each scholarship winner receives tuition and stipends for as long as two years to earn a graduate degree. Stiansen studies bioengineering with a focus on medical devices. He works as an undergraduate research assistant on campus in Beth Winkelstein’s Spine Pain Research Laboratory where he studies cervical spine biomechanics. He is also a teaching assistant for a junior-level bioengineering lab and served at the president of the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board and the treasurer of the Biomedical Engineering Society. While at SSHS, Stiansen received many honors with football, academics, and the Yaddo Medal.

BALLSTON SPA — Elementary students from Ballston Spa recently showed off their scientific skills at the Ballston Spa Central School District’s fourth annual Elementary Science and Engineering Fair at the Milton Terrace/Wood Road Elementary School Cafeteria.  Participants included over 50 students from the kindergarten through fifthgrade from the four different local elementary schools. Students experimented with chemistry, biology and physics among other areas of science and engineering in their projects. Many interesting subjects were studied, including using fruits and vegetables to produce electricity and the properties of Ooblek. Ballston Spa High School students from National Honor Society, Robotics and the International Baccalaureate Program were also at the fair reviewing the younger students’ projects.  Rather than a traditional competition-based event, the science and engineering fair awards each individual student for their abilities to explain different aspects of their experiments. The event is a collaboration of the high school and the elementary schools working together to get students interested in science and engineering.   The Science and Engineering Fair is part of the Ballston Spa Central School District’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, along with Super Science Saturday in January and a Code-a-Thon in the fall. Additional information is available by contacting Ballston Spa K-12 Science Coordinator Diane Irwin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or at the High School by calling 518-8847150. Please visit the Elementary Science and Engineering Fair website at www.bscsd.org/Page/990 for more details on this year’s event.

[Photos provided]

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — Susan Moore-Palumbo has been a teacher for 32 years, 20 spent in the South Glens Falls school district, and the first 12 at Albany High School. Moore-Palumbo has a master’s in education; she teaches AP Biology and Forensics. This year, she also taught Living Environment for 29 years. Moore-Palumbo co-wrote the Forensics course used at the high school with a colleague, tweaking it over the years upon reflection. She also taught the Facial Reconstruction portion of the course to other educators in the area with the colleague she co-wrote the class with.

“In addition, we did fundraisers through Barnes and Noble so that we could take our students to the Bodies Exhibit in NYC. We took the field trip for about six years, before the museum was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.  Many of the kids had never been to New York City before and they loved the museum and the boat ride we took around the harbor to see the Statue of Liberty.  I have collaborated with many of my colleagues to write curriculum to make science content more engaging and relevant to student lives which in turn helps students to be interested in science and helps them to be successful in high school,” Moore-Palumbo stated.

Moore-Palumbo comes from a long line of educators that includes her mother, grandmother, and aunts.

“I knew from an early age I wanted to go into education, but my parents really didn’t want me to. So, I went into biology instead and got my biology degree, worked in industry for year, and then decided to go back for my master’s in education. My mother had taught in the city schools in Syracuse and all of her friends tried to dissuade me from education. They just thought that it was a hard profession, but it’s where my heart is. Once I went into it they were very proud of me,” she explained.

Moore-Palumbo is also a Key Club adviser.

“Key Club is a service organization, the high school arm of Kiwanis.  As an adviser, it gives me a chance to share my passion for volunteering with my students and to teach them to be service-oriented.  We volunteer for bell ringing for Salvation army, have made dog toys for a local shelter, have an annual dinner for senior citizens before our school play, helped at Moreau State park, etc.  We try to do at least one service project each month,” she said.

Aside from teaching, Moore-Palumbo is a very active volunteer in the community. For six years, she served as the timing chief and in other capacities for the Saratoga Rowing Association, where her son was on the team. She was also a Cub Scout Leader, a Literacy Board member, Boy Scouts of America Science Merit Badge Counselor, and with her husband, Wilton Rotary Club Volunteer of the Year in the 1990s. Moore-Palumbo was also instrumental in the creation of Rebuilding Together Saratoga County as a founding board member. Though she no longer serves on the board, she is still a site captain and volunteer coordinator each year.

“If there is a need, Susan is the first person to raise her hand and offer to help. She is compassionate, caring, and willing to go the extra mile for folks in need,” said Michelle Larkin, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Saratoga County.

Moore-Palumbo met her husband of 31 years, Frank, at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. Frank is a landscape architect and they have two sons, Colin and Peter. In her free time, she loves to be outside, either walking, hiking, or skiing. She is also an avid traveler, having been to several countries in Europe, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, and the Czech Republic.

“Costa Rica is a biologist’s dream come true. It’s fabulous because of that. To be in a rain forest was amazing,” she said.

In the summer, Moore-Palumbo teaches an aquatic eco course and an environmental science course through St. Rose. She is retiring from South Glens Falls in June 2018.

“Going into education is a great career and I think sometimes as teachers we dissuade kids from going into education but it’s a wonderful field if you love it and I’ve always loved what I’ve done. I have incredible colleagues. It’s a lot of fun to be an educator,” Moore-Palumbo said.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 14:18

Local All-Star Moments

[Photos provided]

Saratoga Regional YMCA Basketball League Scores

GAME 1: D’Andrea’s Pizza – 60 vs. Post Time Wine & Spirits – 43                        
Ed Benway’s game high 24 points wasn’t enough for Post Time Wine & Spirits to avoid a 60 – 43 loss to D’Andrea’s Pizza Parlor. Jim Puleo notched 20 points, Charlie Maurer 18, and Mike Scanlon 16 points for D’Andrea’s.  Jim Eliopulos added 11 points for Post Time.

GAME 2: Jones Steves – 68 vs. Gennaro’s Pizza – 62                                   
Jones Steves outscored Gennaro’s Pizza 34 – 28 in the first half and continued on to their 68 – 62 victory.  Rory Wilson notched a game high 34 points for Jones Steves while Kevin Reilly topped Gennaro’s with 28 points. Also, in double figures in the winning effort was Matt Truex with 13 points and ‘Squid’ Sephas with 11 points. Rob Thiess’s 14 points and Mark Sohl’s 13 kept Gennaro’s in the game.

GAME 3: Mama Mi’s Cafe – 71 vs. West Side Sports Grill - 54                    
Mama Mia’s Café moved into a first place tie with West Side Sports Grill by beating West Side 71 – 54. Mama Mia’s was led by 31 points from Bobby Hanson and 30 points from Andy Kramarchyk. West Side was paced by 18 points from Joe Twomey, 15 by John Mooney, and 11 points from Scott Waterhouse.   

GAME 4: Village Photo, LLC – 67 vs. Nemer Chrysler – 65
Village Photo, LLC was able to overcome a 12 point first quarter deficit and earned a hard fought 67 – 65 win over Nemer Chrysler as Pat Reidy led the winners with 25 points. Nemer’s Phil Fitzpatrick was the league’s high scorer for the night with 37 points. Contributing to the win were Pat Correa with 16 points and Mike Lander with 12 points.  Tom Kelly added 17 points for Nemer.

SRYMCA Rotary Youth Basketball Banquet
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The banquet, held on Sunday, March 18 at the Saratoga/Wilton Elks Club, was attended by 245 players, families, sponsors, coaches, referees, and Saratoga
Regional YMCA staff. Prior to the banquet there were 4 AllStar games, a Jr. Division, a Sr. Division, a coaches’ game and an alumni game for anyone who played in the league since 1992. There were three-point contests for both the Jr. and Sr. Divisions. The three-point winner for the Jr. Division was Steve Bebee and the winner for the Sr. Division was Patrick Dechaine.

Thursday, 22 March 2018 14:13

Athlete of the Week: Alex Fragomeni

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Alex Fragomeni, a junior at Saratoga Springs High School, just celebrated his seventeenth birthday on the slopes in Utah during Junior Nationals. Fragomeni has been Nordic skiing for the last three years, through the school and club skiing, having just competed in his first Junior Nationals competition two weeks ago.

“It was a really exciting event. It was my first time going to a big race like that. I had a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement, and it was also my first time at altitude, so races were really tricky. When you’re at altitude, if you’re going as hard as you can, and you just don’t have any oxygen to breathe, it’s a whole 20 minutes of being in the pain cave, and it just hurts,” Fragomeni laughed, “other than that, the races were amazing. It was a great venue and great weather.”

Fragomeni was encouraged to try Nordic skiing by his "nana" and "poppy."

“My nana and poppy had a daughter and she was really into skiing, she made a lot of noise in the community with her good results, and she saw that in me. I kept getting older and older and she was like, ‘maybe I can get him into it and make him have some noise and get crowds going.’ After that, she told me I should join the Nordic Ski program at Saratoga Springs High School and ever since then I’ve been so hooked on it, just wanting to do it more and more,” he explained.

Before Fragomeni became hooked on Nordic, he was a competitive rower for five years, but since Nordic has taken over, he trains for that year-long. In the offseason, Fragomeni trains with a lot of roller skiing, running, and biking.

“I went on a really exciting roller ski one day. I decided, I’m just going to get up and go for a super long time. I ended up going for eight hours straight and covered over 100 kilometers at SPAC. I just went around in circles,” he laughed.

Fragomeni went to Junior Nationals and went to the Eastern High School Championships in Maine with friend and fellow skier, Michael Halligan.

“We’re really close. Over the summer I didn’t have my car, so I’d bike to Mikey’s house with all of my roller skis on my back and then he’d drive us to SPAC and we would just go for really long roller skis together,” Fragomeni said.

The boys met through Nordic skiing.

Fragomeni cites the races in Maine as, “best couple races of my life. Amazing results, amazing races, amazing experience!”

In the off-season, Fragomeni trains with assistant club coach Brian Halligan, Michael’s older brother.

“My biggest inspiration is Brian Halligan. We’ve become really close,” he explained.

Fragomeni says his biggest supporters are definitely his mom and grandparents, and he’s also very close to his three sisters: Olivia, Bella, and Francesca.

“I have three sisters, they’re always at every race cheering me on. We always go together anywhere, even if it’s just to the grocery store,” he explained.

In his off time, Fragomeni enjoys rock climbing and hanging out with his friends.

“I really like to get outside,” he explained, “I don’t like being stuck inside in the dark.”

As far as his academics go, he says his “grades slip a little” during the season but he knows that he has to stay on top of them if he wants to get into a good college. While he says that his school ski team is like a small supportive family, he prefers club skiing to school skiing.

“Definitely prefer club skiing over school skiing. It’s a different level of competition, a lot more competitive, and there’s also a lot more travel,” he said.

Fragomeni has decided to take a couple weeks off now that the season is over, but he intends to go back to training around Mid-April. Over the summer he will be intensely training to return to Junior Nationals next year, where he wants to be one of the top athletes. Still, his favorite part of skiing is the sport itself.

“Just being at the race, being in the moment, and just having the crowd cheer you on while you do what you do best,” he said.

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