Lori Mahan

Lori Mahan

Thursday, 01 February 2018 13:41

Saratoga Gymnasts: A Perfect Season

[Photos provided]

 On Friday, Jan. 26, the Saratoga Springs High School Gymnastics Team hosted their sixth annual Purple Passion fundraising meet at the Wilton YMCA. Thanks to event sponsors and gift basket raffles, $500 was raised for Wellspring of Saratoga, an organization dedicated to ending relationship and sexual abuse in the community.  In addition to the Blue Streaks, gymnasts from Guilderland, Bethlehem and Shaker participated in the event.  Although there were no team scores tallied or individual awards presented, all the gymnasts prevailed as the camaraderie and support for one another was contagious throughout the evening. 

Saratoga Springs High School gymnastics ended their dual meet season a perfect 6-0 with a win over Bethlehem 176.05 -155.60 on Tuesday night.  With the victory, the Blue Streaks won the 2017-2018 Suburban Council gymnastics title.  Saratoga was led by freshman Ava Dallas who broke the longstanding Section 2 vault record of 9.325 with a score of 9.40.  In addition to winning the vault, Dallas also won the floor exercise with a score of 9.50 and took first place in the all-around with a score of 37.10.  Saratoga’s Sophia Damiano was second in the all-around with a score of 36.65.  Damiano also won the uneven bars with a score of 9.15 and the balance beam with a score of 9.40.  Taking third in the all-around was Saratoga’s Laura Eberlein with a score of 34.90.  Fourth place in the all-around went to Bethlehem’s Allison Gray with a score of 33.05.

With the dual meet season over, focus now shifts to Sectionals and the State Championships. On February 14, Saratoga will compete at the Section 2 Gymnastics Championships at Shaker High School against Shaker, Guilderland and Bethlehem.  Saratoga gymnastics is looking to extend their 16-year winning streak at the Sectional Meet.  For the Section 2 gymnasts who qualify, they will compete at the State Championship meet in Cold Spring Harbor, NY on March 3.

Thursday, 01 February 2018 13:36

Toga vs. Shen Rivalry Game: Ice Hockey

[Photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Blue Streaks had their rivalry game against the Shenendehowa Plainsmen on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at the Weibel Avenue Ice Rink. The winner of this game was given home ice advantage in the playoffs and one playoff game. The Blue Streaks lost to the Plainsmen, 3-0, effectively ending their winning streak. With no goals in the first period, they seemed to be on even
ground. However, at 0:21 seconds into the second period, Shen’s Jon DiGiovanni scored the first goal of the night with an assist from Tyler Sullivan. In the third period, Brennan Alheim scored the final two goals, the first at 1:36 with an assist from Zach Rupert, and the final at 12:06 with assists from Cole Haldane and TJ Novitsky. Saratoga Goalie Brad Hippsley had 25 saves and Shen Goalie Kent Leighton had 16 saves. Saratoga’s league record is now 3-5-2.

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ken Mantia, head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Saratoga Central Catholic for the last decade, has an interesting season ahead of him now. On Martin Luther King weekend in back- to-back games, senior captain Ryan McFadden, the teams’ top defender, suffered a torn MCL knee injury in the game versus Hoosick Falls. The next day, senior captain Tyler Haraden, the teams’ top scorer with at least 21 points per game, broke his foot. Both injuries have, essentially, ended Haraden and McFadden’s high school basketball careers.

“Haraden looks like he’s out for the season, there’s a small chance that he could get back by sectionals. So now, all of a sudden, we’re down two starters, so other kids have really stepped up and they’re doing a great job,” Mantia clarified.

Since the injuries, other team members have stepped up and the team has seen significant role changes, effectively adopting the “next man up” mentality. The “next man up” mentality is, basically, the opportunity for the players who normally don’t have the opportunity to step up and into the shoes of their injured teammates.

“It really gives kids an opportunity to shine, and they’ve been really relishing that,” Mantia said.

Stepping into McFadden’s shoes is senior Ben Scammell, a shooting guard, and appropriately stepping into Haraden’s shoes is his brother, Sam Haraden, also a senior and power forward.

“[Scammell] has kind of stepped into Ryan’s spot and he’s been doing a great job. He’s got a couple of games where he had three three-pointers and Sam Haraden has been doing a really good job defensively for us,” Mantia said.

Other key players who have stepped up are Terel Tillman, a junior point-guard who was an all-league player as a sophomore and has been a starter since sophomore year; Sean Englert, a senior center; and Aiden Dagostino, a sophomore shooting guard.

“The load is kind of with those three guys and then the other two kids, Scammell and Haraden, are stepping in and doing their part,” Mantia explained.

“The kids that have been hurt, they’re still on the bench, rooting the kids on. They’ve had great attitudes, so it’s been good to see. We’re playing well, just taking it one game at a time,” he said.

As of Jan. 31, no games have been lost since the injuries.

McFadden and Haraden were “obviously disappointed by the injuries because they’re seniors. I mean, it’d be one thing if they could re-group and come back next season but when we’re in the middle of a really good year, we’re 14-2 now, we’re ranked in the state, and all of a sudden, their careers are over, it’s very tough. But they’ve been coming to practice, supporting the team, sitting on the bench at the games, their attitudes have been outstanding,” Mantia commended.

While the injuries were devastating to the entire team, they may have ironically helped to switch things up.

“It’s funny because now it’s hard to guard us, because you don’t know who it’s going to be. Tyler was a great player, and the opposing team used their whole defense to stop him,” he explained.

Injuries aside, the Spa Catholic boys have had a tremendous season and are taking it one game at a time to maintain that.

“We’ve done a lot of great things, it’s been a tremendous year. So we’d like to keep going as far as we can. I’ve seen seasons like this where guys will step up and you look back and it’s just amazing what kids can do when they get the chance to show off their skills,” Mantia said.

The Spa Catholic boys play again on Tuesday, Feb 6. For game details, check out the Sports at a Glance page.

[Photos provided]

BALLSTON SPA — Joe Shaver has been with Launching Pad Productions, the drama club putting on Shrek the Musical at Ballston Spa Middle School, for 16 years and has directed 14 shows. In a cast with 56 actors and 70 crew members, Shaver has been hard at work to make something great.

“It’s a lot of work but I love it. It’s what keeps me going, I love doing this. I mean I love teaching, but this is totally different. It’s not a classroom, it’s not a curriculum. It’s just like ‘let’s get a group of kids together and do something really special,’ which you can’t always do in the classroom. So, it’s really fun to get out into this place and do something fun that they love, too,” Shaver explained.

The audition process can be “grueling,” Shaver said. They see over 100 kids in two days and only four hours total.

“They don’t get a ton of time, about a minute and a half, and in that, we need to accept the right kids for the right parts. It’s very difficult but I think we do a very fair job. They get to sing for us, they get to read lines for us, we see a lot in that short time,” Shaver said.

Kids have the option of signing up to either audition, run crew, or both.

“If they audition and don’t get a part, they’ll be assigned to crew. We probably had about 175 applications all together,” he said.

Jared Wachtel, an eighth grader, was cast as Shrek. This is his first time doing a production.

“There was a good strong feeling that he’d be Shrek when I heard him sing and I don’t regret that decision at all,” Shaver said of Wachtel.

“It’s been really fun,” Wachtel said before he was rushed on stage to sing.

Liam Manion, a seventh grader in his second year with Launching Pad, is playing Pinocchio.

“This has been my dream since I was a little boy, so I’ve always wanted to be in Launching Pad,” said Manion.

Last year, Manion was an Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka.

“I just love singing and acting, it’s really fun,” Manion said.

“We got really lucky this year with costumes. Part of the reason I selected this show is because I knew that we would have the support of a lot of local theaters, because Shrek has been done a handful the last couple of years,” Shaver explained.

Galway, Home Made Theater, and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Middle School donated costumes from their previous Shrek productions.

“It’s one of the biggest sets we’ve had, it’s created by one of the local parents here. He’s been with us for 13 seasons now,” Shaver said.

The set contains two spinning castle units and three large hanging moons, among other intricate designs. They also rented a life-size dragon controlled by three puppeteers.

“The kids are amazing. They are excited. I think it helps too, with it being Shrek, a show that everyone knows. So, they come in here excited to learn and wanting to learn and get better. They improve every rehearsal,” said choreographer Sarah VanAernem.

Performances are Feb. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7 p.m. with matinees on both Saturdays at 1 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors and can be purchased before each performance in the lobby.

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The kids at Maple Avenue Middle School has been hard at work since November to put on this year’s production, Beauty and the Beast, a show they put on seven years ago. Candace Colvin, director and producer of the show; this is her eleventh show with the district. 

“It’s a great show. It’s a show everybody loves, the music is outstanding, and we’ve had so much help on the sets, which are incredible. The parents do the costumes and we’ve rented some costumes. The kids have been working a little bit in November and December, but pretty much every day in January, even some Saturdays! We try to make it fun,” Colvin said.

The show rotates between two casts total and three Belles. Molly Egan, an eighth grader who has also done shows through Home Made Theater and Schuylerville Community Theater, is playing one of the Belles, following in her older sister Serena’s footsteps.

“It’s intense, it’s a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end. I think that we’ll end up with a really awesome show,” Egan said.

“Molly is awesome, she was our Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz last year and she was Ariel in The Little Mermaid when she was a sixth grader. She’s very talented and a great kid, too, very smart,” Colvin commended.

Egan intends to continue doing musicals in high school, and though she prefers singing to acting, she enjoys them both immensely. She is also a lacrosse player.

“I just really love when it all comes together. I think it’s so cool with the costumes and everything. I feel like there’s one moment when you see everything on stage and it just makes you really happy, after all of the hard work,” Egan said.

The Beast is being played by Ethan Crowley, an eighth grader with a black belt in Tai Kwan Do and a swimmer.

“I mostly do plays, I don’t really do musicals too much, but it’s been fun. I’m not a dancer at all,” he laughed, stating that as his biggest challenge.

“But you can’t tell when he does the waltz, it’s quite good,” Colvin laughed.

Crowley plans to continue acting in high school.

“I love playing this character and working with such a talented cast,” Crowley said.

“It’s a super great group of 100 children, they’ve been really good,” Colvin said.

Shows are over two weekends, beginning on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Performances continue Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Henry C. Trombley Auditorium, tickets are $5.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 13:11

Saratoga Ninja Garage Kids Head to Nationals

[Photos provided by Eric Huss]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Ninja Garage (SNG) has caused quite the stir this last year, between their summer camps with American Ninja Warrior stars Jamie Rahn and Brian Arnold, among other special ninja guests, and the attention that the ninja sport has brought to the area. SNG curator Eric Huss started converting his garage so his kids, Johnno, 10, Oliver, 8, and Scarlett, 5, could have a play space for themselves and their friends. After a few open gym sessions, the SNG was packed frequently with kids looking to improve their ninja skills and have a great time. Huss decided to start a competition team, resulting in 14 kids, ages 6-15, competing at the Pinnacle Parkour Academy gym, owned by ninja warrior Jamie Rahn, in Cherry Hill, NJ. The third annual Cherry Hill PPK National Ninja League Qualifier competition took place on Jan. 20 and 21.

Team SNG had seven National qualifiers from the Saratoga Springs area: Zach Germain, Kaitlyn Wells, Andrew Wells, Oliver Huss, Nick Freeman, Molly Kaatz, Molly Ford, and coached by Randi Cowper.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 13:03

Sabbatical Delivers First Foal

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Foal Patrol Project, a livestream initiative where people can view realtime videos of several in-foal mares during their pregnancy and through the actual foaling process. Livestreams are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with extended hour as the expected foaling date approaches, at
www.foalpatrol.com. At 5:50 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, the first foal was delivered by Sabbatical, a mare owned by Phipps Stable at the historic Claiborne Farm. The foal, which is a bay colt by War Front, arrived earlier than its’ projected due date, which was Jan. 28. Both Sabbatical and the foal are healthy.

“We’re so excited to see the first foal of Foal Patrol. Congratulations to Phipps Stable and everyone at Claiborne Farm,” said director of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Cathy Marino.

“We are thrilled they agreed to be part of this new initiative of the Museum. One of the Museum’s priorities is to make the sport of thoroughbred racing accessible to as many people as possible and Foal Patrol is a wonderful way for people to get unprecedented insight into the breeding of a racehorse, one of the most essential components of the sport. We’re looking forward to seeing this colt grow and develop on the way to the racetrack,” said Marino.

A contest has been set up on www.foalpatrol.com for name suggestions, the winner will receive a prize package, including a tour of Claiborne Farm. The next mare, Breeder’s Cup Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria, is projected to deliver her foal at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky around Feb. 2. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018 12:49

Rock Climbers to Gather at The Edge Halfmoon

[Photos provided]

HALFMOON — On Saturday, Jan. 27, The Edge Halfmoon rock climbing gym will be holding their first annual The Lead Revival Sport Open competition. The event will last the whole day, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 8 p.m.; top professional climbers, including Gansevoort’s Vincent Sablich, will compete for $10,000 in cash prizes and $2,500 in physical prizes.

“We’ve got a number of the strongest climbers coming in from all over the country. There are a couple of different disciplines in climbing; there is bouldering, which is no ropes, and 15 feet off the ground; there’s league climbing which is you’re clipping rope as you go up, which for us is 40 feet; and so these guys will have three routes in the qualifying round to try and get their best scores on, and then whoever gets the best scores in those three climbs, the top eight go onto a final, which is one round, no previews, just walk up, look at it, and go,” Adam Catalano, director of The Edge Halfmoon, explained the competition.

While this event is not associated with USA Climbing, the same competitors will compete in the same event.

“There are a number of bouldering events across the country, some of them very big, and they draw the biggest names. However, there are very few of these sport climbing league competitions. There is a national event in March that I help set up for last year and we didn’t really have too much of an idea of how people were sport climbing because there were no other events we could look back at. So, I said, ‘I want to make an event prior to that national competition so people can test their skills and see how they’re doing before they actually go to the nationals,’’ Catalano said.

The Edge Halfmoon is also putting on this competition with help from Love 146, “an organization that fights human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking with children. I know a number of employees there and we felt like the climbing community would be interested in helping out in that realm. We wanted to bring awareness to that,” Catalano explained.

Love 146 will have a table and volunteers available to discuss their cause at the competition. So far, 25 climbers have signed up for the competition and Catalano is hoping for more since the entry fee is only $60. Membership at The Edge Halfmoon varies, ranging from an annual fee of $500 and one month is $60.

For more information or to sign up for the competition, contact Adam Catalano at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518-982-5545.

[Photo provided]

BALLSTON SPA — In December, over 700 Ballston Spa Middle School students participated in the first stage of the National Geographic Bee in preparation for the schoolwide geography competition.

In early January, over 50 students competed in the next stage of the Geography Bee and the winners are as follows: Coleman Brandl, Jacob Nagengast, and Charlotte Tan, sixth grade; Maddie Burns, seventh grade; Andrew Paster and Timothy Winslow, eighth grade. After answering a series of tiebreakers, Timothy Winslow took the top spot and now advances to the next level of competition, which is a written examination to determine state competitors. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018 12:35

Local Students Go Global

[Photos provided]

SARATOGA COUNTY — GlobalFoundries has teamed up with BOCES to create a new collaborative and streamlined program to help high school seniors enter the engineering technician training program, which begins in September. “What we’re trying to do, in the case of GlobalFoundries, is work directly with our business industry partners in the region in helping to create programs that support the training that they need so kids can move into careers with those employers and through the employers, also work for higher education. It’s really how can we help meet the workforce demands of local employers to drive our economy and help prepare kids for really great careers in our own backyard,” Joe Dragone, senior executive officer of BOCES said.

For high school seniors, the training program is the length of their senior year and is a half day program. Students will attend the program like they would if they were in a career tech training program and in the second half of the year they work directly with the HR department at GlobalFoundries regarding job qualifications. This program is also available for adults and is a six-week program, which BOCES is hoping to kick off this spring.

“For the adult program, they are self-funded but we’re working through some grant opportunities to off-set that, so tuition may be minimal or free,” Dragone explained.

“Regionally, there are three strong work-force investment boards that work with adults looking for forward training or unemployed adults looking for new career opportunities, as well as collaboration with the chambers and the community colleges. We have our own adult education programs so it’s working with the agencies that engage the adult population to make sure that they are aware of the opportunity,” he stated.

While starting salaries remain to be determined, it all depends on what the student qualifies at and what the industry is offering at that time. “Even at entry-level positions in this field, it can be very lucrative and a great career opportunity,” Dragone said.

Interest in the program has been great and seniors from 23 school districts will begin to enroll in the coming weeks. The student program begins in September 2018.

“GlobalFoundries is a great partner, they’re allowing site visits and tour opportunities from all of our school districts, so they can understand what this field is about. This is really the evolution of career and technical training and you’re seeing it in advanced manufacturing, you’re seeing it in clean technologies. As training continues to grow, as technologies continue to grow, it’s expanded from the usual portfolio, which is also still in high demand, of our traditional career and technology fields, to this evolution of career and technical training that includes all of the hightech industries as well,” he explained.

Students will be trained in automation, valve operation, electronics, and will learn how to investigate delays in the manufacturing process.

“This is one program, of hopefully many more to come, that we’re working on where as a region, we can look to see how there can be strong collaboration to strengthen opportunities for students,” Dragone stated.

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