Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last season, the Saratoga varsity wrestling team struggled to overcome Burnt Hills and Ballston Spa. This year, the Blue Streaks have already beaten them both, and are in the conversation for one of the best teams in Section 2. 

The success has come in the midst of a new weight descent plan rule that has altered coaches’ strategies. “The new descent plan thing is really interesting because it kind of ties coaches’ hands on how strategic they can get going into the dual meets,” said Saratoga wrestling coach Jake Zanetti. “Everybody is impacted by that.”

The rule is a bit complicated. “They’re only allowed to lose 1.5% of their body fat each week of the season,” Zanetti explained. “So even if a kid is actually weighing the weight class, if his individual descent plan doesn’t allow him to be eligible for that, even though he’s legitimately weighing it, he can’t wrestle it.”

Despite the curveball, the Blue Streaks have already garnered nearly a dozen victories about a third of the way through the season. One tough matchup that saw Saratoga lose a criteria tiebreaker came against Queensbury earlier this month. The Blue Streaks were tied with Queensbury 30 to 30, but were credited with a loss because their opponents won one more individual match. 

“Queensbury kind of came out of nowhere,” Zanetti said. “They’re looking at the number one seed going into the Section 2 duals.”

The next time the two teams meet, Saratoga may have an ace up its sleeve with the return of standout Taylor Beaury, who has been sidelined with injuries. Beaury met with doctors this week to determine a timeline for his return.

As Zanetti awaits word on Beaury’s health, the Blue Streaks have two challenging tournaments ahead of them. The Windsor Christmas Tournament begins December 28, and the Saratoga Invitational starts January 6.

“January is going to be a long grinder,” Zanetti said. But the Blue Streaks are used to that. They were “grinding all summer long, all offseason,” Zanetti said. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The trendiest sport in America right now is pickleball, and the Saratoga region is paddling furiously to keep up with demand.

“We’ve been watching the sport grow like crazy in Saratoga Springs,” said Brandon Mackie, co-founder of the Pickleheads website. “We’re seeing new courts being built all over. East Side Rec Field now has 10 dedicated courts and Wilton Town Gavin Park has 10.” Mackie also said that searches for pickleball in the Saratoga area have increased 213% since April.

A number of regional locations are now hosting pickleball games, including the Saratoga Recreation Center, the Saratoga Regional YMCA, McGregor Links Country Club, The Paddocks of Saratoga, and the Burgess Kimball Memorial Park.The Malta YMCA branch hosted its first pickleball tournament earlier this year, and a Legacy Pickleball Club location is set to open soon in Ballston Spa.

But how exactly does one explain the public’s voracious appetite for this sport? “The most important thing that happened at the [recreational] player level is that the sport is really easy to learn,” Mackie said. “Our theory is that COVID was an important catalyst for this.”

According to Mackie, COVID turned the primarily indoor sport of pickleball into an outdoor game played at gyms, churches, and recreation centers. “I think we’ve just seen a snowballing of it over the last year,” Mackie said. “So now, depending on what data you believe, between ten and forty million players have tried the sport.”

According to Pickleheads, pickleball has seen a 158.6% growth rate over the last three years and has become “the fastest-growing sport in America.” There are now around 400 places to play pickleball in New York State, with dozens scattered throughout the Saratoga region.

To learn more about pickleball or to find a court, visit www.pickleheads.com.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Casino Hotel announced $120,000 in donations on Wednesday in the Vapor night club. 

The money was split evenly between twelve organizations, including Albany Medical Health System – Saratoga Hospital, Franklin Community Center, SNACpack Program (Saratoga Nutrition Assistance for Children), and Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar.

“It’s an honor to give back to these wonderful organizations in this community,” said Vice President of External Affairs Skip Carlson in a statement. “We’ve been hosting this event for 19 years now, and it’s so heartwarming to hear each year how these organizations are truly making a difference in the lives of so many.”

Thursday, 07 December 2023 13:42

Sweet Mimi’s Celebrates 10 Years

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sweet Mimi’s Cafe & Bakery celebrated its 10th year in business with a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 24. 

Mayor Ron Kim attended the event and issued a Sweet Mimi’s Day proclamation.

The popular brunch spot was opened by Jeannette Liebers in 2013 at 47 Phila Street. In 2021, Liebers was featured in an episode of the cooking competition show “Beat Bobby Flay,” in which she faced off against the famed chef and frequent Saratoga visitor.

For more about Sweet Mimi’s Cafe & Bakery, their menu, specials and more visit sweetmimiscafe.com/

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A new cafe and corner market is set to open in downtown Saratoga Springs early next year, according to owner Stephen Mittler. The establishment will replace the closed Tailgate and Party shop at 33 Phila St.

The market will serve “the best breakfast sandwiches in town, yogurt parfaits, fruit cups, salads, soups, and a solid selection of grab and go craving solutions,” said Mittler in a Facebook post announcement. Convenience store items and candy will also be for sale.

The cafe portion of the business will feature an appetizer-only menu, along with alcoholic beverages.

BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Central School District will host a series of free winter concerts featuring local students in December and January.

Two upcoming performances will be held at the High School Auditorium at 220 Ballston Ave: the JV Winter Concert on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. (featuring choir, orchestra, and jazz band), as well as the 6th Grade Middle School Winter Concert on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

The district’s elementary schools will host their own concerts. The performances will occur at the follow locations and times:

• Milton Terrace Elementary School — December 12 at 7 p.m. in the Cafetorium at 200 Wood Rd.

• Gordon Creek Elementary School — December 14 at 7 p.m. in the Gymatorium at 50 Wood Rd.

• Wood Road Elementary School — January 9 at 7 p.m. in the Cafetorium at 300 Wood Rd.

• Malta Avenue Elementary School — January 11 at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium at 70 Malta Ave. 

For additional information, check the events calendar at www.bscsd.org or call the school hosting the performance.

Thursday, 07 December 2023 13:17

Tang Bazaar Returns to Skidmore

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College will host its annual one-day-only Tang Bazaar on Friday, December 8 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

The market will feature student-made goods including clothing, jewelry, art, and pottery. Most vendors will accept payment via Venmo.

For additional information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 518-580-8080. 

Thursday, 07 December 2023 13:15

Lions Club Scholarships Open

SARATOGA SPRINGS — $30,000 in scholarships is up for grabs, thanks to the Saratoga Springs Lions Club.

Applications for the 2024 Scholarship Program are available from the guidance counselors at Saratoga Springs High School and Saratoga Catholic High School. All graduating high school students in the Saratoga school district are eligible to apply. 

There are several different categories of scholarships:

• $10,000 Lions Foundation Jack Berkowitz Memorial Award

• $5,000 and $2,500 Four-Year Academic Program Awards

• $2,500 Leos Club Member Scholarship Award

• $2,500 Two-Year Academic Program Award

• $2,500 Career Technology Education Award

Most of the scholarships pay out a portion of the award money on a yearly basis. The scholarships will be granted to students attending a two or four-year accredited institution or career technology education school. Applications are due by April 15, 2024.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College has unveiled a newly-expanded locker room at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink. The 3,200-foot facility includes a changing area, training room, and coaches’ office. 

“The new locker room provides a much more professional space for our team to get ready for games and practices,” said goalie Tate Brandon in a statement. “The locker room is a microcosm of how far our program has come, and just how far it will go.”

This season, the Skidmore Thoroughbreds are off to one of their best starts in decades. The team is currently ranked 13th nationally in NCAA Division III.

The city also plans to make additional improvements to its ice rink on Weibel Ave. Earlier this year, new LED lights and automatic sliding doors were installed.

SARATOGA SPRINGS —A new dormitory currently under construction near the Oklahoma Training Track at the Saratoga Race Course will open this spring, according to Patrick McKenna, Vice President of Communications for the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

“At Saratoga Race Course, the first of three new dorms is taking shape on the Oklahoma side and will be open this spring,” McKenna wrote in a Tweet. “In addition, [the NYRA] will be renovating more than 40 backstretch residences in the coming years.”

The plan to build three new dorms at the track was announced last year. The buildings will add 204 beds and are the first housing units built at Saratoga since the early 1960s, according to the NYRA. Each dorm costs around $2 million to build.

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Blotter

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