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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 7, 2005

2005 in review: Year of the Blackbird

By Tim Matteson

Though the days were dark and dreary during the winter and spring months, there was a bright light on local athletes, especially at Voorheesville.

Voorheesville brought home Section II titles in boys’ basketball and sectional and regional titles in boys’ volleyball. The Blackbirds also won the Colonial Council title in baseball.

Basketball continued to be the bright beacon of winter for local teams. Besides the Voorheesville boys, two other teams reached the Section II finals — the Guilderland and Voorheesville girls.

Here is a sport-by-sport breakdown of the winter and spring seasons.


As usual, the hard court produced numerous warm nights in another cold winter.

The Voorheesville boys’ team had its best season in recent years, capping its run with a trip to the Glens Falls Civic Center for the state semifinals. The Blackbirds lost a heartbreaker by two points to eventual state champion Palmyra-Macedon from the Rochester area. The final score was 30-28 in a defensive struggle.

The Blackbirds only graduate two players in senior starters Greg Delaney and Mark Carson. Returning for the Blackbirds will be guards Greg Klopfer and Andy Catellier as well as forward Nick Duncan.

For once, the Voorheesville boys’ outshone the powerhouse girls’ program at the school — but by little.

The Lady Blackbirds played another tough regular-season schedule and it paid off as they advanced to the Class B sectional final before losing to Johnstown. Voorheesville did knock off the number-one seeded team, Fonda-Fultonville.

Leading the team were seniors Megan Maikoff, Alex Fish, and Cyrilla Suker. The Lady Blackbirds also got major contributions from juniors Bridgit Feeney and Ame Nadratowski and sophomore Jenna Massaroni.

The Guilderland girls’ basketball team made it to the sectional finals but lost to Suburban Council rival Colonie, 44-36.

The Lady Dutch were led by senior center Jessica Edmonds, who signed a scholarship to play at Siena College earlier in the year. Classmate Kara Foro made major contributions off the bench during the season. Senior Christi Podgorski was also a key player as were underclassmen Kristine Pezze and Nikki Branchini.

The Guilderland boys’ team struggled to find consistency, replacing key members of the previous year’s Section II championship game run.

The Dutchmen were bounced out of this year’s Section II tournament in the first round after a loss to Bishop Maginn.

Guilderland got contributions this season from seniors Justin Maxwell, Kevin Goutos, Ryan Morin, Greg Bankowski, and Mike Dillon.

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team also had trouble duplicating successes from the past season. The Lady Bulldogs were two-time defending state semifinalists coming into this season but had to replace most of the starting line-up.

BKW still had a good season as it won the Southern Division of the Western Athletic Conference and advanced to the Class CC Section II semifinals before losing to eventual champion Tamarac.

The Bulldogs were led by seniors Kelly Creed, Kendall Bunzey, and Karen Patnode.

The BKW boys’ basketball team continued to improve under second-year coach Andy Wright and fought its way to a sectional playoff berth with a regular season-ending win against Duanesburg.

The Bulldogs, though, had to travel to Cambridge for an opening-round sectional match-up and were bounced by the Indians.

BKW was led by seniors Kyle Rossback and Matt Mulson. The Bulldogs also got contributions from some underclassmen, especially Tom Houck; and the junior varsity team only lost a couple of games during the season.


This year, the New York state high school wrestling championships were held at Pepsi Arena in Albany so excitement was in the air.

The Guilderland Dutchmen had two competitors advance to the states where they put together impressive displays.

Roger Sawyer advanced to the state competition after winning the 152-pound weight class at the Section II qualifiers, and Joey Wyld advanced after winning the 275-pound class.

Wyld wrestled his way to the semifinals but lost to eventual state champion Arthur Jones of Union-Endicott High School, which is near Binghamton.

Sawyer dislocated his jaw in his first match of the state tournament and was taken to the hospital. He came back just in time to wrestle in his consolation match, but he lost and was eliminated from the tournament.

The Guilderland team had a tremendous season as well. The Dutch finished second at the Class A sectional meet behind Colonie and had only two league dual meet losses during the season.

The Voorheesville wrestling team didn’t quite reach the heights of its Guilderland counterpart but still had success.

The Blackbirds had two wrestlers advance to the small-school state qualifier. Paul Hognestad wrestled his way to a title in the Class C tournament but lost in the finals of the 160-pound class at the state qualifier.

Stephen Cardinal also made it to the state qualifier after a fifth-place finish at the Class C tournament in the 189-pound weight class.

Cardinal and Hognestad are both underclassmen.

BKW started a modified program for middle-school wrestlers this year with the idea of building to a varsity program in a couple of years.


The Guilderland ice-hockey team lost in the quarterfinals of the Section II Division I tournament to Christian Brothers Academy, 5-1.

The Skating Dutchmen had reached the sectional semifinals in the previous two seasons.

The Dutch were led by junior captain Tim Montgomery and seniors Nick Napoli, Brian Helm, Justin Lindemann, and Kyle McCartan.

Guilderland will have a large group of underclassmen returning next year, including Montgomery and goaltender Adam Gray.


The Voorheesville boys’ volleyball team achieved new heights for the school and Section II this winter.

The Blackbirds not only won the Section II title but also beat Living Word Academy of Section III, from the Syracuse Area, to win the regional championship. It’s the first time a Section II school has won a regional boys’ volleyball title in the winter.

Voorheesville had beaten Coxsackie-Athens to win the sectional title a week earlier.

The Blackbirds were led by the Michalski triplets — Adrian, Austin, and Ian. The juniors were the backbone of the team, but Voorheesville also got major contributions from Tom Cavanaugh, Matt Lombardi, Matt Belgiovine, and Josh O’Brien.

BKW bowling

The BKW girls’ bowling team finished the season strong and won the Class C/D Section II championship. The team was led by high scorer Michelle Villeneuve who qualified for the Section II state tournament team after bowling a 1,329.

BKW bowled 5,503 to win the sectional title.

Amanda Harrington, Star Van Buren, and Samantha Moak were big contributors to the team.


The Voorheesville baseball team had a banner season, winning the Colonial Council for the first time ever.

The Blackbirds had two league losses but swept second-place Watervliet to win the league.

However, the Blackbirds didn’t reach the Class B Section II final, losing a heartbreaker to Saratoga Spa Catholic, 2-1, in a semifinal game that went 14 innings.

The Birds had many contributors, led by senior pitcher Chris Hensel, who pitched 10 innings of the semifinal game. Seniors Shayne Minick, Matt Lombardi, and Brett LaFave also were key players. Pete Lindner and Stephen Cardinal were top underclassmen for the Blackbirds.

The Guilderland baseball team won its first sectional playoff game for the first time in eight years. Brendan Malkowski blanked Schenectady, 5-0, in a first-round game. But the Dutchmen lost to Bethlehem, 8-2, in the quarterfinals.

Besides Malkowski, the Dutch got major contributions from seniors Matt LaValley, Domenico Albanese, Brad Anderson, and Josh Perches.

Bill Rafferty, Ben Henderson, and Nick Zanotta were top underclassmen for the Dutch.

The BKW baseball team had its season come to an end in a quarterfinal game against Salem. The Bulldogs ran into a tough pitcher who shut them out 9-0.

The Bulldogs were led by seniors Matt Mulson, Mike Yakel, and Sean Wolfe. Bobby Patrick and Jeremy Mann were the big underclassmen contributors.


The Voorheesville softball team had another strong season, but came up short of winning a sectional title.

The Lady Blackbirds lost to Broadalbin-Perth in the semifinals, 2-1, in the 10th inning.

The Birds were led all season by pitcher Cyrilla Suker. She was named first team all-state in Class B this season.

Alex Fish is another senior who had a big season for Voorheesville. The rest of the major contributors were underclassmen. Jenna Massaroni, Jillian Blair, Amanda DeZalia, and Brittney Vogel were starters who will return next year.

The Guilderland and BKW softball teams struggled during the season and neither reached the sectionals.

Guilderland was led by senior Gina Gaspary and Bridgit Schultz. BKW was led by seniors Liz Leonard, Kelly Creed, Sammy Aveyard, and Marissa Tanner.


The lacrosse teams at Guilderland High School had landmark seasons, though both faced top-notch teams in sectional finals.

The girls’ team reached its first sectional final but lost to powerhouse Bethlehem, 14-9.

The Lady Dutch beat Saratoga for the first time during the regular season, then beat the Blue Streaks in the sectional semifinals.

Guilderland had only three seniors, goalie Lauren Chatnik, Erin Grosso, and Ashely Pezze. The Lady Dutch return big-time performers in Kayla Best, Kelsey Schwan, Kaitlyn Vennard, and Jen Mihok.

The Guilderland boys advanced to the finals but lost, 19-5, to Niskayuna which reached the state final.

The senior class beat Shenendehowa for the first time ever during the regular season and beat Shen again in the semifinals.

The Dutchmen were led by seniors Jon Tuttle, Dave Romano, and Kevin DeHont. Juniors Mike Camardo and Judd Robinson played big roles for Guilderland.


The Guilderland tennis team brought home the lone sectional championship for the school.

The Dutch went undefeated through the season and finished with a 7-2 win over Bethlehem for the sectional title.

The top players for Guilderland were underclassmen. Alex Kolomeits was the team’s number-one player and Kevin Gioia and Joe Shawky played number-two and number-three singles respectively. Eric Greenstein, Josh Weisz, and Matt Goland-Van Ryn were the only seniors on the squad.

Track and field

The track and field season was highlighted by the running of Guilderland sophomore Brian Rhodes-Devey.

Rhodes-Devey won two titles at sectionals — the 800- and 1,600-meter races — and qualified for states in both. He finished the 1,600 in 4:17.75 and the 800 in 1:53.19.

Rhodes-Devey is among a plethora of young talented runners that should lead Guilderland in the upcoming years.

The Guilderland girls’ team had two state meet qualifiers in triple jumper Christina Connelly and hurdler Deanna Wachtel.

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