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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 20, 2005

Guilderville swimming

By Tim Matteson

The Guilderville girls’ swim team has faced a lot of adversity this season, but Coach Walt Lane is in the midst of watching some great individual performances this season.

The team is dealing with losses, in the pool and personally, but 20 swimmers so far have qualified for the sectional swim meet that will take place at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in November.

"That is far more than we’ve had before," Lane said at a recent practice. "This is the biggest group we’ll be taking to sectionals in a long time."

The Guilderville team has struggled to a 1-5 record after Tuesday’s loss to Saratoga Springs. But the girls on the Guilderville team experienced a bigger loss.

Their popular assistant coach, Edward Sayer, died on Oct. 5 after a long battle with cystic fibrosis.

"We all loved him," junior Stephanie Bintz said in a story that ran in last week’s Enterprise. "We all called him Ed...He’d tell us to do the hardest thing in the world, yet he’d make it fun. He’d encourage us."

"He was always very upbeat and happy," Katie Linehan said in the same story. "That was part of the reason we never knew how sick he was."

"I’m pleased with the way we’ve been working," Lane said. "I’m really proud with the way they handled the situation with Ed Sayer’s passing. The parents were a big help in keeping the kids calm. And Katie did an excellent job leading the team through that. That’s sort of her role, and she did a nice job."

The Guilderville team competed in a meet against Burnt Hills the day after Sayer died.

Linehan, a senior, has been on the team since the eighth grade and has competed in the state meet. She won the 50-yard freestyle last November at RPI.

Bintz also qualified for the state meet last year. She swam the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.99 to finish fourth.

"Katie Linehan is looking good," Lane said of her performances this season. "She’s been strong in the 50 and 100. Stephanie Bintz has been strong in the back stroke."

A pair of divers are also having a good season for Guilderville.

Jill Malfetano and Toni Marie Whitbeck have both qualified for the sectionals.

"Jill’s been in the top five or six this season," Lane said. "Toni’s been diving solid all season...The two have the potential to go to states."

Lane said that Brittney Ginsburg has been good in the long-distance events. Erin Dewey has also done well in the longer swim races this season.

The relay teams are also in the top eight in the section.

Seniors help

Linehan is one of six seniors on the squad.

Jamie Glath, Bridgit Schultz, Kaitlin Jewell, Kaitlin Saba, and Malfetano are the other seniors on the team.

"All the seniors have done a nice job with helping with the things that we need to do," Lane said. "They are all great and all did well with leading the younger kids through that situation," he said of Sayer’s death.

"Each one has a different job to do," Lane added. "We spread them out. They all have had a piece of the action this season."

Lane said that the team has meshed very well this season despite having swimmers from Guilderland and Voorheesville high schools.

"The team has come together," the coach said. "There are no distractions. They are a team and they support each other equally. There are no school ties and no borders."

Lane has 33 swimmers and divers on the team; 34 started out the season. An eighth-grader broke her ankle and is out for the rest of the year.

Lane has seen improvement throughout the season from all his swimmers.

"Everybody’s improved a lot," he said. "They all have bettered their times from last year."

Rain washes away Dutchmen’s offense against Bethlehem

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Friday night’s rain dampened the offense for both Guilderland and Bethlehem.

Guilderland’s offense seemed to be stuck in the mud pit that was the Bethlehem High School field in a 10-0 loss.

The offensive woes shouldn’t drown out the effort of the Dutchmen defense as they held a good Bethlehem offense.

"The effort was there," said Guiderland Coach Dan Penna. "We came out knowing Bethlehem can play good football."

Guilderland gave up the 10 points in the first half and was in the game up to the end but couldn’t crack Bethlehem’s defense in the slick conditions.

After Guilderland punted on its first possession, Bethlehem moved the ball down the field, starting at its own 36-yard line.

The Eagles got the ball to the 10-yard line but stalled as Guilderland’s defense made some key plays.

Bethlehem settled for a 27-yard field goal by Steve Seymor to take a 3-0 lead with 3:19 left in the first quarter.

Bethlehem made the score 10-0 in the second quarter.

After a great punt by Dutchman Nick Zanotta, the Eagles got the ball on the 20-yard line.

Bethlehem got a big run to move the ball to the Dutchmen’s 28-yard line and Brian Nicholson finished off the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run.

Those would be the only mistakes the Dutch would make on defense as they held Nicholson, one of the best running backs in Section II, to under 100 yards and shut out Bethlehem in the second half.

"In the first half, they made plays," Penna said of Bethlehem. "They broke some tackles and got big plays. But I’m proud of the way we played defense...At times, we held them down. But their touchdown came off big plays."

Guilderland caused a couple of fumbles — one in the first half after a big hit by James Ransom. The second came late in the fourth quarter.

"No quit"

Chris Wolfe recovered the ball on the 24-yard line to put an end to a good Bethlehem drive.

"We came out and battled," Penna said. "We’ve been doing that all season long. There is no quit with this team."

Guilderland’s linebackers — Wolfe, Ransom, Pete Stanish, and Kevin Doherty, — made big hits all game. Safety Kevin Forbes played a big game as well as the Dutchmen defensive linemen John D’Ambrosio, Judd Robinson, Kyle Hussey, Kevin Germain, Curtis Lloyd, and Zannotta.

The Guilderland offense turned the ball over three times. They fumbled early in the second quarter and quarterbacks Bill Rafferty and Greg Barcomb each threw an interception.

The first interception occurred late in the second half and would have been a touchdown if not for an illegal-blocking penalty on the interception return.

"We have to fix the turnovers," Penna said. "We have to do a better job at times of holding onto the ball. It was partly due to the weather. But that’s not an excuse; they’re our miscues."

The Dutchmen finished the regular season with a 1-6 overall record and 0-6 in Division I of the Class AA. Guilderland’s lone win came against Ballston Spa of Division II.

The Dutch will play two cross-over games to wrap up the season. They will play Schenectady on Friday.

Penna said that he won’t need to motivate his team to play out the season.

"They have fun playing the game," the coach said. "And if you’re not enjoying it, what’s the point in doing it at all" We have fun in practice and, with games, they approach it the same way. We’re just going to go out and prepare for whoever we have to play."

Colling makes state tournament his calling

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Mason Colling has pulled off a rare feat in Section II golf.

Colling, a Guilderland High School senior, has qualified for the state golf tournament that will be held in June at Cornell University.

"It’s a good accomplishment," said Colling, who competed last year at Cornell. "I wanted to win the qualifier. Oh well, it’s great to be going again. I had a lot of fun staying in the dorms at Cornell."

Colling shot 75 on both days of the tournament and finished with a total score of 150.

"He actually finished tied for second," said Guilderland Coach Andy Ryan. "He was pretty excited. But he was kind of calm. He has confidence in his game and he expected to make it. He’s really one of the best players in Section II."

Colling won the Class A sectional tournament to reach the state qualifier.

Another Guilderland player reached the sectional tournament.

Ryan Parker lost in a playoff for the final spot for the state qualifier.

"It’s too bad Ryan missed the playoff," Coach Ryan said. "He improved quite a bit."

Tough teams

The Dutch team finished the season with an 8-6 record after facing some tough teams in the Suburban Council.

"Bethlehem was outstanding," Ryan said. "Shaker was very good and Shen is always good. But at sectionals we finished fourth and were just six strokes off of Bethlehem."

Ryan thought the Dutchmen’s record would be a little better but was impressed with the individual performances of his players.

"We lost a couple of close matches," the coach said. "We played tough against Bethlehem. They had a lot of good players returning. I’m happy with the overall season. We had players that made some good improvements."

Ben Newell dropped his average from a 43 to a 40 during the season.

"That’s pretty significant," Ryan said. "He got a lot better."

Colling, Parker, and Newell are all seniors.

The Dutch were a senior-dominated team with just one junior and one sophomore mixed in with seven seniors.

Max Sands, Zach Appio, Brian Albert, and Brian Tobin were the other seniors on the team. Jimmy Mueller was the junior and Jon Bass was the team’s sophomore.

The Dutch played their home matches and practiced at the town-owned Western Turnpike Golf Course during the season.

"It worked out very well," Ryan said. "A lot of the kids play there. We shot good scores there."

Guilderland was a much better home team than on the road.

"At home, we did well," Ryan said. "We had a couple of tough matches away. But that is to be expected. It’s hard trying to win away in golf. The kids know their own courses and we have some kids who are playing a course for the first time. The other team plays there every day."

The Dutchmen had a couple extraordinary matches this season. In one match, they shot 223 as a team, which was the lowest score in the Suburban Council. They also shot a 227 in another match.

With seven seniors graduating, Ryan will have a lot of slots to fill, but he has some younger, talented players coming through the ranks.

"The junior-varsity team was pretty good," Ryan said. "They won the Suburban Council tournament. We have some good young players. I think we’ll be all right in time. We’ll have some growing pains, but we should be fine."

Mason works

After the first day of the state qualifier, Colling was in contention to advance. He came out on the second day and put together another solid performance to clinch a spot.

"On the second day, he had six birdies," Ryan said. "He threw in a couple of bogeys and a double bogey. But the difference in his game is that he makes a lot more birdies." A bogey is one stroke over par on a hole, and a birdie is one stroke under par.

Colling has played golf since he was nine years old. He plays most of the time now at Western Turnpike.

"I probably won’t play for a couple of weeks," Colling said. "I’m kind of bored of it. I’ve been playing for six months straight. I need a break from it."

Luckily, the state tournament isn’t until the spring.

"I like that it is in the spring," Colling said. "Right now, it gets cold quickly. I am playing the best golf in my life right now, though."

Colling is thinking about playing golf in college. Whether he makes a team or not, golf will be a major part of his life.

One of the schools he’s looked at is Methodist College in North Carolina.

"It’s a Division III school," Colling said. "But I want to study professional golf management. They teach you a lot about the business side of golf. It is something I can do for the rest of my life. A lot of my friends don’t know what they want to do with their lives. It’s not like football or soccer. I can play this, well, until I die."

Voorheesville clinches top seed
Blackbirds nest on top of division

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville football team was on the cusp of reaching one of its major goals on Saturday afternoon.

As afternoon approached evening, the Blackbirds had reached the top.

The Birds blasted winless Coxsackie-Athens, 41-6, to win the the Southern Division of Class C and secure a number-one seed for the sectional tournament that starts on Saturday.

Voorheesville will host Granville, the number-four seed from the Central Division, at Thomas Buckely field on Saturday. Kick-off will be at 2 p.m.

"We got it done," said Voorheesville Coach Joe Sapienza. "For me, the thing that makes me the happiest is that today every single guy contributed. It’s great to win the championship. Every single guy on the 30-man roster contributed. You can’t ask for anything more than that."

Voorheesville dominated from the start, scoring on its first three possessions of the game.

P.J. Hognestad capped off a seven-play drive with a five-yard touchdown run.

The drive began at the 37-yard line and featured strong running by Hognestad and Justin Lupien.

A turnover led to the second touchdown for the Blackbirds.

Lupien intercepted a pass at the Blackbirds’ 18-yard line to end a drive by the Indians.

Voorheesville worked the ball down the field, mixing running and pass plays from Andy Catellier to Tim Robinson and Nick Duncan.

Hognestad finished off the drive, following the blocks of his linemen, to reach the end zone for the second time — this time from three yards out.

Cameron Taylor kicked his second extra point to give the Birds a 14-0 lead. Taylor was subbing for Matt Miller who was playing in a soccer game.

Lupien put an end to the next Coxsackie possession as well. He intercepted a second pass at about the Voorheesville 45-yard line and returned the ball to the Coxsackie 32.

Again, Voorheesville moved the ball down the field and Catellier hit Duncan for an eight-yard touchdown pass to cap a 10-play drive.

Taylor added the extra point, and the Blackbirds led, 21-0, with 8:28 left in the second quarter.

"Our first three offensive possessions," Sapienza said, "were our best three of the year."

Coxsackie got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter.

Coxsackie’s Rich Bell intercepted a pass at the Voorheesville 47-yard line.

Five plays later, the Indians caught the Blackbirds’ defense and quarterback Adam Cole was able to complete a pass to David Dingman for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

The extra-point kick was no good, and the Birds held a 21-6 lead.

Shut out

Voorheesville dominated the second half, scoring 20 points and shutting out the Indians in the half.

Catellier hit Robinson for a touchdown pass with 5:20 left in the third quarter. Taylor missed the extra point, but the Birds led 27-6.

Junior Alex Zvinovsky scored for the Birds with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

The touchdown came two plays after Duncan recoverd a Coxsackie fumble at the Indians’ 22-yard line.

Zvinovsky’s run was good for 12 yards.

Taylor connected on the extra-point kick and gave the Birds a 34-6 lead.

Sapienza substituted freely in the fourth quarter, as the second stringers got the majority of the play in the final stanza.

Pat Jones scored the final touchdown for the Blackbirds with 10:36 left in the game.

Jones scored on a 17-yard run two plays after Matt O’Brien tackled the Coxsackie punter at the 17-yard line after a bad snap.

It was a big day for Voorheesville all around, but the offense was extremely sharp.

Hognestad finished the game with 105 yards rushing on 14 attempts. Catellier competed eight passes for 84 yards and had two touchdowns.

Duncan made three catches for 32 yards and Robinson made four catches for 44 yards.

But the defense was not outshone either. Defensive lineman Sean Fitzmaurice made 11 tackles and Duncan and Sam Pelham recovered fumbles.

"We have been only giving up an average of 11 points per game," Sapienza said, "which is in the top five in Section II. This game keeps us up there. It was impressive."

With the playoffs here, Sapienza feels his team is starting to play its best football.

"I feel like we’re peaking at the right time," the coach said. "But if you look at Class C, it can be anybody’s. Every team is getting better every week and anyone can win it."

BKW golf team: Young, hard workers

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo golf team surprised its coach this season.

The young players on the Bulldogs’ squad pleased their veteran coach, Don Dennis, by finishing the season with a 10-8 record.

"This is a great bunch of kids," Dennis said. "We lost two matches that were heartbreakers. We could’ve been 12-6."

BKW also finished fifth in the Western Athletic Conference tournament after finishing fifth in the 10-team league during the regular season.

"It exceeded my expectations," Dennis said. "We had such a young team."

The highlight of the season, Dennis said, was beating Saratoga Spa Catholic High School.

"They won the WAC league tournament and finished second in the league," Dennis said. "It was a big win for us."

Dennis also had three players qualify for the Class C/D Section II tournament two weeks ago.

Eric Fernandez was the only senior on the team and one of the sectional qualifiers.

"He’s been with me for six years and is our captain," Dennis said. "He’s a hard worker at the number-one position all year long. He’s well respected by teammates, coaches, and opponents. I’ll miss him; he is a very nice kid."

Sophomore Caleb Grippin played in the number-three slot for the Bulldogs and also was a sectional qualifier.

"He’s a hard worker," Dennis said. "He is always working on his game. He won 23-and-a-half out of 36 points for us this year. He brought home a lot of points."

Freshman David Sikule also made it to the sectionals. He played in the number-two slot for BKW.

"He shot an 87 in the league tournament," Dennis said. "He also shot a 92 in the first round of the sectionals. That’s a good score. He’s a good solid player and he’s getting better and better. I told him before the season he could make sectionals, and he did. It’s a nice accomplishment for him."

Sophomore Jon Clark was the number-four player for BKW this season.

"He was battling guys for most of the season," Dennis said. "He’s a good, hard worker. He’s taken the dedication to work on his game."

Paolo Audino, an eighth-grader, was the number-five player for the Bulldogs this fall.

"He won 20-and-a-half out of 36 points," Dennis said. "He got better and better, and stronger as the season went on. He’s going to be a good player."

Dennis had four players battling for the sixth position.

Ninth-graders Charlie Turner and Andrew Cortese fought for the spot along with eighth-graders Sean Flanagin and Tim McIntyre.

McIntyre had the lowest average at the end of the season and Dennis took him to the WAC tournament.

"They all kept working hard and earned playing time," Dennis said. "I was going to take whoever had the lowest score to the league tourney."

Ninth-grader Max Clayton and seventh-graders George Moller and Robert Kelly also were on the team this fall.

The Bulldogs played golf in many different places in the pre-season and the season.

"I would like to thank Blackhead Mountain for having us for their summer clinic," Dennis said. "Cobleskill Golf and Country Club for letting us hold our matches there and letting us play for free. And also I would like to thank Ironworks in Duanesburg. I take the younger kids there for practice. They have been helpful to us."

Dennis was also thankful to Jeff Teats, his assistant coach this fall.

The Bulldogs should only build on their successful season in the next few years.

"We only lose Chi Chi," Dennis said of Fernandez, who was given his nickname because he wore a hat similiar in style to professional golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez.

"They are a nice bunch of kids," Dennis added. "I was proud to bring them wherever they go. They like to learn. Coming into the season, I was focusing more on individual goals, because it’s an individual sport within a team sport. But we got halfway through the season and we were above .500. The kids just delivered. Finishing 10-8, I’m very pleased with the season."

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