Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

COOPERSTOWN — The Ballston Spa varsity baseball team beat the Mohonasen Warriors 8 to 3 at the historic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York on Saturday morning. The team also visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum while in town.

Doubleday Field is named after Civil War Major General Abner Doubleday, who was reportedly born in a small house that still stands in downtown Ballston Spa. (The home is now the site of the Real McCoy brewery.) Although Doubleday was once thought to have invented baseball, there’s no substantial evidence that he had anything to do with the creation or popularization of the game.

VANCOUVER — Jackson Hornung, the first Skidmore College alum to be drafted by a professional sports team, cracked a three-run dinger last month for the Vancouver Canadians, the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

In a game against the Spokane Indians, Hornung extended his hitting streak to six straight games before crushing the 0-2 pitch over the center field wall. Hornung finished the night with two hits and three RBI. 

The former Skidmore Thoroughbred has upped his numbers from last year, when he played for the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays in Florida. As of May 3, he had a .630 OPS with 12 hits and 6 walks in 51 total at-bats.

GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder, an ECHL ice hockey team affiliated with the New Jersey Devils, beat the Maine Mariners at home, 2-0, in th decisive game 7 of the Kelly Cup Playoff North Division Semifinals last week. After winning the series, the Thunder advanced to the North Division Finals to take on the Norfolk Admirals.

In game 7, goalie Isaac Poulter stopped 21 shots for the shutout, while Ryan Wheeler and Tristan Ashbrook scored the Thunder’s two goals.

In game 1 against the Admirals last Friday night at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, the Thunder fell, 7 to 4.  Ryan Smith scored two goals in the contest. His second goal came at the end of the second period, putting Adirondack ahead 4-3. But Norfolk erupted offensively in the third, scoring four goals and taking the first game of the series.

Game 2 on Saturday was a closer contest but the Admirals got the better of the Thunder once again, scoring three goals in the final period to take the W, 5 to 2. Yushiroh Hirano and Tristan Ashbrook contributed Adirondack’s two goals. 

Down 2-0, the Thunder traveled to Norfolk for game 3 on Wednesday night. 

MILL SPRING, N.C. — The Belmont Stakes isn’t the only horse show in town.

The Skidmore College riding team finished third overall with 39 points at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association National Championship in North Carolina last weekend.

Skidmore narrowly lost out to Sacred Heart University, which took second place with 41.5 points. Savannah College of Art and Design were crowned national champions with 59 points.

“We are very proud of this team’s hard work and dedication,” Head Equestrian Coach Belinda Colgan told Saratoga TODAY. “It is a pleasure to coach these outstanding individuals who demonstrate such wonderful sportsmanship and camaraderie.”

Among individual Skidmore competitors, Kenya Sanders finished fourth, Harper Sanford was third in the Team Open Equitation on the Flat, and Isa Jensen was sixth in the Team Intermediate Equitation on the Flat. Skidmore’s horse “Crosby” also won high point horse of the show.

To reach nationals, the Thoroughbreds first captured the Zone 2 Region 3 Championship with a score of 48 last month at Long Island University – Post.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — It was a bright, beautiful day in Saratoga Springs when two lacrosse teams took the field. But something was different about this game. Opposing teams wore matching shirts that displayed yellow ribbons. An American flag flew at half-mast. Handwritten notes tied to a fence bordering the field offered tributes to someone the community had lost.

On a seemingly typical Monday afternoon, the Saratoga Springs and Jamesville-DeWitt girls varsity lacrosse teams paid tribute to Olivia Allen, a recent Saratoga grad who succumbed to leukemia in March. Silently, they completed 47 passes back and forth, a symbolic gesture recognizing the 47 children who are diagnosed with cancer every day in the United States. 

“On March 28, Olivia left a legacy of strength and determination,” said Blue Streaks Coach Jennifer Furze while standing at midfield. “Liv’s heroic story is being heard and felt throughout the entire country. It is truly a testament to the beautiful human being she was.”

The remarks were deeply personal for Furze, whose daughter was best friends with Olivia. Months ago, Furze and her team began planning a collaboration with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation’s LaCROSSe Out Cancer campaign. Then, Olivia passed away. Since then, Furze said her team has been passionate about aiding the foundation. 

“I think it’s been a really great outlet for their grief,” Furze said. “They’re channeling the way that they’re feeling, their emotions, into positivity. Because that’s ultimately what Liv stood for.”

On behalf of both teams, Coach Furze presented a $10,000 check to the foundation. It took the teams only three weeks to raise the donated funds. The money will aid efforts to find cures for pediatric cancers.

According to Bonnie Lattimore, the foundation’s director of strategic partnerships, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for kids, but only 4% of federal funding for cancer research is devoted to children. “We try to do anything we can, like partner with Saratoga Springs lacrosse or other organizations, to try to fill that funding gap, and they’ve done a fantastic job.” Lattimore said that $50 funds about one hour of research. “This has a huge impact for pediatric cancer.”

Olivia Allen graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 2023 and planned to attend Florida State University to study nursing. She played for the Blue Streaks field hockey and gymnastic teams.

Below the lacrosse field’s scoreboard, next to the half-mast flag, was an artful blue and yellow display that read “Live Like Liv.”

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When Donna Barton Brothers retired from horse racing in 1998, she was the second-winningest female jockey in the country by money earned. Since then, she’s become one of the sport’s most prominent advocates, using her talents as a broadcaster and reporter for NBC Sports to explain the complicated world of horse racing to the masses.

“We have a lot of language that is specific only to our sport,” Brothers told Saratoga TODAY, “and it doesn’t make people want to know more about our sport if we constantly use language that excludes them from understanding what we’re talking about.” 

On June 4, she’ll bring her explanatory skills to “Embrace the Belmont,” an event at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame that aims to teach the Saratoga community about its upcoming Triple Crown race. 

“I just wanted the people who are in town and the ones most affected by the Saratoga circus coming to town every year, to have an event for them,” Brothers said.

Fox Sports analysts Acacia Courtney Clement and Maggie Wolfendale will join Brothers at “Embrace the Belmont” and discuss all things Saratoga, which ranks as Brother’s second-favorite track in the country.

“Saratoga is such an iconic venue,” Brothers said. “When you walk in and look at that structure, you feel the 100 years plus of history ingrained in the wood.”

Brothers said that much like Keeneland in Louisville, Kentucky, people in the Saratoga paddock “still have a deep reverence for the sport.”

That reverence is part of the reason why Brothers said people in the horseracing industry are eagerly anticipating this year’s Belmont Stakes at Saratoga. But there are some aspects to this year’s race that insiders are less excited about, such as the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) decision to run the event at a mile and a quarter instead of the traditional mile and a half.

Brothers also said that there’s been a push in the industry to change the Triple Crown schedule to make each race about a month apart, with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, the Preakness on the first Saturday of June, and finally Belmont on the first Saturday in July. Brothers said NYRA has been resistant to these proposed changes.

“I think it was a little bit surprising that they were willing to change the distance so quickly without any sort of discussion with people in the industry, but yet they seem to have very little willingness to change the dates, the spacing, of the Triple Crown races,” Brothers said.

Nonetheless, Brothers said that the primary response among horseracing insiders to this year’s Belmont is excitement.

“We love the history of horse racing and we love that some things will never change. But it’s also fun to have a little bit of excitement and have things shaken up just a little bit here and there,” she said.

One organization that has shaken up the industry a bit is Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga, organizers of the “Embrace the Belmont” event. Brothers visited the nonprofit’s facilities in March and came away impressed.

“They’re helping people who are marginalized in one way or another, and they’re treating those people in a proven, effective way,” Brothers said. “I think that kind of work is very important but also very underrated.”

Therapeutic Horses of Saratoga rescues retired racehorses and matches them with humans who can benefit from equine-assisted therapy. Some of those who benefit include both adults and children with mental illness, veterans, families, couples, and victims of domestic violence.

In support of the organization, Brothers will emcee “Embrace the Belmont” on Tuesday, June 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame. To learn more about the event or to purchase a ticket, visit

Thursday, 02 May 2024 13:52

Lake Ave Elementary Celebrates 100 Years

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When the Palladian-style Lake Avenue school building opened in 1924, no students crossing its entrance knew about the Great Depression or World War II or Beatlemania. 100 years later, the Saratoga Springs City School District is celebrating the history of Lake Ave Elementary with a bevy of proclamations and celebrations.

On April 30, Lake Avenue School Day was officially declared by a representative from Congressman Paul Tonko’s office, State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, State Senator James Tedisco, and Mayor John Safford. The group gathered outside at the corner of Lake Ave. and Regent St. to issue their decrees.

“The history of this school is so long and so great,” said Mayor Safford. “It kind of reflects this wonderful little city that we call our own.”

After the city’s former high school burned down, the Lake Ave building replaced it. The first graduating class was in 1924, and the building remained the city’s high school until 1965. It was briefly transformed into a junior high until 1972, when it then became the elementary school that it remains today.

In celebration of 100 years, an open-house style community event will be held at the school on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse a historical exhibition, take a guided tour of the building, play two-square games, listen to live music, enjoy some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or Nally coffee, and shop for limited edition centennial merchandise. The event will also feature food trucks, face painting, and a book fair. 

For more information about the festivities, visit

SARATOGA SPRINGS — At an April 25 2024-2025 budget adoption meeting, the Saratoga Springs Board of Education discussed proposed cuts to the district’s transportation department.

During the first public comment period, Dean Musgrove, a bus dispatcher, spoke in opposition to the cuts. “It’s really going to do a lot of damage to our department and I don’t think you realize the extent of it,” Musgrove said.

Bob Cohan, a substitute bus driver, echoed Musgrove’s sentiments. “It’s one of the lowest paying school jobs for people, and why you go after us is beyond me,” he said.

A prior budget presentation on March 28 suggested that two full-time transportation department positions could be eliminated: a bus mechanic and a bus dispatcher. The district is not planning on cutting any driver positions.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Patton said there had been “significant sacrifices” this year in order to achieve a balanced budget. “We truly appreciate the feedback that we do receive from transportation,” he said. “Mr. Musgrove and I had several conversations.” 

Dr. Patton said he would meet with transportation staff next Tuesday and had regularly been in touch with the department’s director. Dr. Patton also said that other similarly-sized school districts had fewer dispatchers and routing specialists than Saratoga Springs.

During the second public comment period, Musgrove said that on the morning of April 25, two dispatchers and three mechanics had to drive school buses to cover for five drivers. In the afternoon, Musgrove said that two bus runs needed to be canceled despite three dispatchers, three mechanics, and the transportation department’s assistant director all pitching in to cover for bus drivers.

“I have a hard time understanding why $180,000 can’t be located to cover these two positions that you’re talking about cutting,” Musgrove said. “Even though they’re not technically driver positions, they are actually drivers.”

Education Board member Amanda Ellithorpe said she felt for the transportation department. 

“I’ve been there,” she said. “I get it. I didn’t like having to make the decision tonight.”

Now that the board has adopted the 2024-2025 budget, a budget hearing will take place on May 9, followed by a budget vote on May 21.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Mentoring program needs more volunteer mentors and is expanding its recruitment efforts.

Program Director Colleen Forneris said that her organization has attended a number of local events recently to help match more kids with potential mentors. Currently, the program has more kids than mentors. 

“They all absolutely benefit from having an extra adult in their life,” Forneris said. 

Mentees range in age from 7 to 17, and the majority of them are contending with challenging life circumstances that can range from problems in school to problems at home.

Mentors can serve as role models to these kids, giving them one-on-one support and granting them access to activities and events they otherwise wouldn’t experience. These activities can include hiking, going to the movies, exploring a museum, or bowling.

“The [mentors] that we have are absolutely fantastic and really have made a big difference in their kiddo’s life,” Forneris said.

Although mentors can come from many different walks of life, Forneris said they tend to fall into three categories: retirees looking for volunteer work, working professionals searching for a meaningful activity, and college students.

After filling out an application, prospective mentors meet with a Saratoga Mentoring representative to discuss their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and interests. That way, the mentor can be matched up with a kid who has similar preferences. This makes it easier for mentors and mentees to find activities they can do together.

Saratoga Mentoring expects a one-year commitment so that a connection can be built between mentor and mentee. On a weekly basis, most mentors spend anywhere from two to six hours with their kids. 

Forneris said that one unique benefit of the program is that Saratoga Mentoring can utilize other resources and charities to help mentees with other life problems, such as paying bills or buying groceries and clothes. 

To learn more about being a mentor or to fill out an application, visit

DELHI — The Skidmore College softball team walloped SUNY Delhi last week, taking both games of a two-game series on the road. The contests ended after only five innings, thanks to the mercy rule, which occurs when a team is ahead by eight or more runs after five innings of play. The dominant victories may provide a spark for the struggling Thoroughbreds.

Game One

Skidmore - 16
SUNY Delhi - 3

In the first game, four Thoroughbreds had triples and five had stolen bases. Three players had three hits: Grace O’Connell (3 RBI), Hailey Clarke (3 RBI), and Franchesca Casillas (2 RBI). Clarke, a freshman, was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate and pitched all five innings, striking out four and allowing two runs. She earned her first win of the season.

Game Two

Skidmore - 12
SUNY Delhi - 0

In a shutout victory, O’Connell went 3 for 4 with a double and a triple, driving in two runs. Outfielder Bernie Berner and catcher Jessica Nachamie also went 3 for 4. On the whole, the team had 15 hits, scoring multiple runs in three of their five innings. On the mound, freshman Mallory Allen earned the victory, giving up only one hit. Allen’s ERA for the season is now an impressive 1.43.

After the pair of wins, Skidmore improved to 5-18 on the season.

Last week, O’Connell was also named to the Liberty League’s Honor Roll thanks to an eight-game hitting streak. During the previous week, she was 9 for 16 with 3 RBI, 4 stolen bases, and one dinger.

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