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Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Think you're good at FIFA15? Prove it vs. the American Outlaws

AP Photo - U.S. men's national team players Michael Bradley (left) and Aaron Johannsson at training in Denmark.
Last summer, Wolff's Biergarten was the place to watch the U.S. men's national team take on the world in the 2014 World Cup. This Sunday, gamers will have a chance do that themselves in a FIFA '15 tournament.
The ages 21-and-over tournament is being hosted by U.S. soccer supporters group the American Outlaws. Proceeds from the $5 entry fee will go to benefit the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
AO member Jeffery Dockum said in a press release:


“Last year we held a similar event and it was a huge success. There was a lot of attention with the World Cup just a few months away. Instead of an entry fee, we collected food donations, and were able to fill several large boxes for the Regional Food Bank of Northeast New York.

“This year, we are partnering with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. They’ll have volunteers at the event to provide more information about adoption, volunteer opportunities and other programs. There will be an entry fee this time, but 100% will go to the charity. It’s only $5 to play but if you pay more there are some perks.”

“It’s always slow at the end of a World Cup cycle; it’s like one big collective exhale. But everything is quickly picking up with the Women’s World Cup this summer, the men’s team in the Gold Cup - we have members going to both."

This is the second year that the American Outlaws have hosted a sponsored EA Sports FIFA tournament. With even more excitement surrounding this edition of the game, a large crowd is expected to attend. EA Sports has provided copies of the game, and a chance to win prizes like an AO Beer Stein, a signed Clint Dempsey or DeAndre Yedlin U.S. Soccer jersey and signed goalkeeping gloves from Nick Rimando.

Wolff’s Biergarten is located at 895 Broadway, in Albany. During the tournament, there will be leaders available for all in attendance to get help signing up for membership, although it is not required to attend and participate, as with most of their events. All supporters of the U.S. are encouraged to come cheer their team to victory. More information is available: https://www.facebook.com/AOAlbany
The American Outlaws are the largest, most dedicated group of supporters united behind the United States National Soccer Team. Starting as a local supporters group in Lincoln, Neb., the American Outlaws have expanded to every U.S. state with more than 150 local chapters. Every time the U.S. National Soccer team takes the pitch, American Outlaws can be found in the stands as well as hosting watch parties in every state of the union. For more information, visit http://www.theamericanoutlaws.com
  Good luck to all who enter!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Updated Kentucky Derby Entry point standings

Dortmund, right, holds off Firing Line to win the Robert B. Lewis.
After the latest round of prep races, and the final nominations for the Run for the Roses, here are the updated Kentucky Derby point standings for nominated horses. According to the official standings here, Dubai Sky was nominated late,
after winning the Cincinnati Spiral Stakes this weekend. Tiz Shea D and Divining Rod were also late nominees.

1. El Kabeir (John Terranova II) 75
2. International Star (Mike Maker) 71
3. Dortmund (Bob Baffert) 70
4. Carpe Diem (Todd Pletcher) 64
5. American Pharoah (Bob Baffert) 60
6. Firing Line (Simon Callaghan) 58
7. Dubai Sky (Bill Mott) 50
8. Itsaknockout (Todd Pletcher) 50
9. Upstart (Rick Violette Jr.) 36
10. Conquest Typhoon (Mark Casse) 26
11. War Story (Tom Amoss) 24
12. Far Right (Ron Moquett) 22
13. Madefromlucky (Todd Pletcher) 20
14. Ami's Flatter (Josie Carroll) 20
15. Prospect Park (Cliff Sise Jr.) 20
16. Tiz Shea D (Bill Mott) 20
17. Bold conquest (Steve Asmussen) 17
18. Mr. Z (D. Wayne Lukas) 14
19. Frosted (Kiaran McLaughlin) 13
20. Classy Class (Kiaran McLaughlin) 13
21. Keen Ice (Dale Romans) 12
22. The Truth or Else (Kenny McPeek) 11
23. Ocho Ocho Ocho (Jim Cassidy) 10
24. Daredevil (Todd Pletcher) 10
25. Far From Over (Todd Pletcher) 10
26. Pain and Misery (Henry Dominguez) 10
27. Metaboss (Jeff Bonde) 10
28. Bolo (Carla Gaines) 10
29. Divining Rod (Arnaud Delacour) 10
30. Firespike (Mike Maker) 10
31. Frammento (Nick Zito) 10
.....
36. Toasting Master (Dale Romans) 5

Remaining Championship Series races (with points up for grabs)
March 28: UAE Derby at Maydan Racecourse (100 1st, 40 2nd, 20 3rd, 10 4th)
March 28: Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park (100-40-20-10)
March 28: Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds (100-40-20-10)
Apirl 4: Wood Memorial at Aqueduct (100-40-20-10)
April 4: Blue Grass at Keenland (100-40-20-10)
April 4: Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita (100-40-20-10)
April 11: Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park (100-40-20-10)
April 11: Lexington at Keenland (10-4-2-1)


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saratoga grad, MLB pitcher Tim Stauffer supports Act With Respect Always

Staffer pitches for his former team in 2014.
Retired Saratoga Springs tennis coach Rich Johns, founder of the Act With Respect Always program has been given a message of support from Minnesota Twins pitcher and Saratoga Springs native Tim Stauffer. Stauffer played high school baseball for coach Phonsey Lambert at Saratoga Central Catholic.
"Tim Stauffer represents everything that Act With Respect Always strives to be," Johns said. "I cannot thank him enough in his endorsement and belief that everyone can make a difference every day."
Staffer made his big-league debut with the San Diego Padres in 2005 and has compiled a 32-34 with a 3.87 ERA in 183 appearances (73 starts) over parts of nine seasons. The right-hander battled injuries for many years with the Padres before signing with the Minnesota Twins in December.
"In life both on and off the field I believe that respect is one of the most important things that we can give and receive," Stauffer said in a statement. "I believe that the Golden Rule 'Always treat others as you would like them to treat you,' best sums up how I was raised and how I strive to act each and every day. The Act with Respect Always program is a great tool for our young people to implement in their lives. Coach Johns’ message can and should be implemented in every walk of life. Thank you Rich for all you do."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Section 2 releases 2014-15 Girls Basketball brackets

Selection Wednesday in the Capital Region produced the brackets for all five girls basketball classes. 
In Class AA, state-ranked Shen took the No. 1 overall seed and will await the winner of Suburban Council rivals No. 9 Ballston Spa at No. 8 Guilderland.


In Class A, independent Troy grabbed the top seed while Averill Park was seeded No.2 thanks to its tough Suburban Council schedule.


In Class B No. 1 Hoosick Falls edged No. 2 Watervliet for the top seed in the tournament. Cohoes is No. 3 while Tamarac clinched the No. 4 seed on the strength of its Wasaren League schedule.



Hoosic Valley's big win over Greenwich in the regular season finale for both schools may have been the thing that clinched the top seed for Hoosic Valley. Greenwich is No. 2 followed by No. 3 Maple Hill and No. 4 Greenville.

The Flying Forts earned the No. 1 seed in Class D ahead of No. 2 Warrensburg and Adirondack League rival No. 3 Argyle.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Suburban Council announces new Blue, Gray divisions for 2015-16

As reported last month, the Suburban Council will grow by four teams (Troy, CBA, Schenectady and Albany) at the start of the 2015-16 school year because of the dissolution of the Big 10.
Friday we learned the council will eliminate the North and South divisions and replace them with realigned Blue and Gray divisions.

Here's how the new-look Suburban Council will be divided:



Blue Division                                   Gray Division
Bethlehem                                                        Albany
Colonie                                                             Averill Park
Columbia                                                          Ballston Spa
Guilderland                                                      Burnt Hills
Niskayuna                                                         CBA - Albany
Saratoga                                                          Mohonasen
Shaker                                                             Schenectady
Shenendehowa                                                 Troy                 

 According to the press release sent by Suburban Council President John W. Rickert of Niskayuna High School, preserving rivalries, enrollment, geography and strength of the overall programs went into deciding which division schools were placed in.

The press release also announced the creation of a Competition Committee chaired by Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooley in charge of reviewing the divisions annually to determine if changes are needed. 


“We have spent considerable time as a Council planning for this expansion and we have worked closely with the administrators from the new districts," Rickert said in the release. "The principals and athletic directors have done a great job of working collaboratively to bring this together in time to create a league schedule for the 2015-2016 school year. We look forward to having one of the most organized and competitive leagues for inter-scholastic athletics in all of New York State."



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Shen boys basketball ranked No. 11 in the state poll

The undefeated Shen boys basketball team moved up to No. 11 in the latest rankings released by the New York State Sportswriters Association. For the complete poll, including all classes, click here.
Fellow unbeaten Green Tech (12-0) remained the top-ranked Class AA team in the section with a 12-0 record while Shen (15-0) moved up one spot from last week to No. 11. Suburban Council South Leaders Guilderland (11-2), whose only league loss came at Shen, is No. 23.

Shen is now one of four unbeaten Class AA squads along with Green Tech, Aquinas (Section V) and Arlington (Section I). Here are notable teams and their spot in the rankings.

Class AA
1. Cardozo (20-1)-PSAL
2. Thomas Jefferson (20-2)-PSAL
3. Abraham Lincoln (20-2)-PSAL
4. Green Tech (12-0)-Section II
5. Iona Prep (16-3)-CHSAA
----
11. Shenendehowa (15-0)-Section II
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23. Guilderland (11-2)-Section II

Honorable Mention: CBA (12-5)-Section II, Bethlehem (12-3)-Section II.  

Class A
1. Scotia-Glenville (14-0)-Section II
2. Greece Athena (13-0)-Section V
3. Spring Valley (14-1)-Section I
4. Kennedy Catholic (17-0)-CHSAA
5. Albany Academy (11-2)-AIS
----
25. Troy (9-5)-Section II

Honorable Mention: Amsterdam (11-4)-Section II, Averill Park (12-3)-Section II.

Class B
1. Westhill (15-2)-Section III
2. Buffalo Park School (11-1)-MMA
3. Babylon (15-1)-Section XI
4. Southhampton (15-1)-Section XI
5. Hoosick Falls (14-0)-Section II
----
19. Broadalbin-Perth (10-4)-Section II
20. Schalmont (12-2)-Section II
21. Cohoes (11-4)-Section II
----
25. Mekeel Christian (11-1)-Section II

Honorable Mentions: Schuylerville (10-4)-Section II, Voorheesville (11-5)-Section II.

Class C
1. Waterville (15-0)-Section III
2. Napbles (12-0)-Section V
3. Caledonia-Mumford (13-1)-Section V
4. Alexander Hamilton (14-1)-Section I
5. Lake George (15-1)-Section II
----
11. Greenwich (13-2)-Section II

Honorable Mentions: Hoosic Valley (10-5)-Section II, Stillwater (10-5)-Section II, Waterford-Halfmoon (12-3)-Section II.


Class D
1. Bridgehampton (13-1)-Section XI
2. New York Mills (12-2)-Section III
3. Sherman (14-0)-Section VI
4. Chateaugay (13-1)-Section X
5. Moriah (13-0)-Section VII
----
7. Germantown (13-1)-Section II
----
12. North Warren (12-3)-Section II
13. Fort Ann (12-2)-Section II

Honorable Mentions: Argyle (10-5)-Section II, 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Schuylerville boys hoops ranked No. 16, Greenwich No. 17

The last NYSSWA boys basketball rankings of 2014 were released Tuesday and both the Schuylerville and Greenwich cracked the top 20 of their respective classes.

Here's a link to the girls rankings.
Here's a link to the boys rankings.

No.  16 Schuylerville (5-1) dropped its first game of the season to Broadalbin-Perth before picking up its first Foothills Council win over Hudson Falls the Friday before break.

Class B 

1. Westhill, Section III (4-1)
2. Southamton, Section XI (5-0)
3. Norwich, Section IV (5-1)
4. Rochester Leadershipo Academy, Section V (7-0)
5. Woodlands, Section I (5-1)
---
10. Hoosick Falls, Section II (4-0)
---
13. Cohoes, Section II (5-2)
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16. Schuylerville, Section II (5-1)
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19. Mekeel Christian, Section II (2-0)

In Class C, 2012 sectional champion Lake George is undefeated and the team to beat, but a veteran Greenwich (5-1) squad has played well in every game except a loss to Schuylerville. Fellow Section II teams Hoosic Valley, Rensselaer and Stillwater are among the honorable mentions.

Class C

1. Waterville, Section III (8-0)
2. Lake George, Section II (8-0)
3. Haldane, Section I (6-1)
4. Caledonia-Mumford, Section V (5-0)
5. Buffalo Middle College, Section VI (4-1)
---
17. Greenwich, Section II (5-1)

Honorable mention: Stillwater (5-2), Hoosic Valley (4-2), Rensselaer (6-2)

In Class AA Guilderland is the only Suburban Council team to crack the top 25 of the Class AA standings despite several quality out-of-section wins from undefeated Shenendehowa (8-0) over the break.  League rivals Bethlehem (5-2) were also listed as honorable mentions.

Class AA

1. Long Island Lutheran, AIS (7-0)
2. Christ the King, CHSAA (7-0)
3. Wings Academy, PSAL (7-0)
4. Brentwood, Section XI (4-0)
5. Green Tech, Section II (7-0)
---
19. Troy Catholic Central, Section II (5-1)
---
21. Guilderland, Section II (6-0)
---
23. Schenectady, Section II (4-1)

Honorable mention: Bethlhem (5-2), Shenendehowa (8-0)