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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 8, 2005

Guilderland wrestling

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland wrestling team has to replace a number of good wrestlers who graduated from a team that finished second in the Class A sectional meet last winter.

And with 34 wrestlers joining the varsity and junior varsity teams, the Dutchmen look to continue the recent success the program has had.

"It’s about the same as every year," Guilderland Coach Regan Johnson said. "The [wrestling] room is only so big. It would be hard to fit 50 people in here. Not impossible, but it would be tight."

Johnson has to fill slots that were left by state qualifiers Joe Wyld and Roger Sawyer as well as key graduates Ryan Serafin, Matt Mosall, and Mike Cubillos.

But Guilderland has experienced wrestlers returning in Matt Cubillos, Mike’s brother; Josh Sawyer, Roger’s brother; Dan Doynow; John D’Ambrosio; and Ian DeSol. All of them had slots in last year’s line-up.

"It’s a good problem to have," Johnson said. "We have a lot of young guys with experience. Cubillos, Doynow, and Josh Sawyer are all underclassmen. So is Ian DeSol. It seems like he has been here forever. He is finally an upperclassman as an 11th-grader and has four years of experience."

Guilderland only has three seniors who are on the varsity team: D’Ambrosio, Kevin O’Neil, and James Ramson.

"We lost a ton of good seniors," Johnson said. "These guys have filled in nicely as far as leadership goes. You’re not always going to have years like last year."

There are 14 freshmen on the two teams, which bodes well for the next few years but could hurt this year.

"They’ll make a lot of mistakes," Johnson said. "But you just want them to improve on that. You don’t jump all over them when they make a mistake. You want to give them instruction and get feedback. You don’t want to give them too much too soon."

Good start

The Dutchmen got off to a good start this season, beating Mohonasen, 42-21, last Wedneday in their season-opening contest.

"It was our first match and I never feel like I’m ready for the first match," Johnson said. "There are always things I want to get done that I don’t get done. But I always know that we are ready for the last meet of the year. The kids understand that there were a lot of things we did not do well on Wednesday. But that is going to happen in every sport. We did a lot of good things. It’s just too early. We’re focusing on correcting the mistakes we made."

The Dutchmen did get good things out of a few newcomers.

Eighth-grader Eugene Sellie wrestled well in the 103-pound match, posting an 8-5 win.

Freshman Greg Serafin, Ryan’s brother, got his first varsity win in his first match in the 119-pound weight class.

Freshman heavyweight Dan Van Auken lost his match but did well, Johnson said.

"A process"

The younger wrestlers are learning a lot from their older counterparts, Johnson said.

"That is one of the things about wrestling," the coach said. "The junior varsity and varsity are together. The older guys remember being helped by someone and they want to return the favor and share their knowledge. That is how good programs stay good."

The Dutchmen wrestled Averill Park on Wednesday. Saturday was supposed to be the day of the first Dutchmen Duals of the season, but a couple of teams canceled because of concerns over travel and fuel costs and the Dutch will compete instead in a meet in Niskayuna.

"It was too late to get anyone else in," Johnson said. "So we’re taking the remaining teams to Niskayuna."

The season is long, and Johnson wants to see his wrestlers improve during the winter months and be ready to do their best in February and March. That’s when individual wrestlers can improve and prepare for sectionals and a shot at the state meet.

"That has always been the way I look at it," Johnson said. "The wrestling season is a long couple of months. It’s like a marathon. No one remembers who finished in first place at the start of the season."

The team also appears to have a bright future beyond this season.

"It’s a process," Johnson said. "Next year, we can be better than this year. And in three years, if all the guys stay with it, we’ll have 14 seniors. That is unheard of in wrestling. It’s a nice problem to have."

Guilderland girls basketball vs. Shaker

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland girls’ basketball team overcame a pair of close losses to win their Suburban Council opener, 42-32, against Shaker High School on Tuesday.

The Lady Dutch lost both of their games in the Bethlehem Tournament played at the Washington Avenue Armory on Friday and Saturday nights.

"We’re trying to get our first win and that can wear on you," said Guilderland Coach Frank Cacckello. "I would’ve like to win one of those two tournament games."

Guilderland lost each of those games by two points each including losing to Bethlehem on Friday in triple overtime.

"We got a lot of tournament," Cacckello said. "We’ve won two games in the five years I’ve been here."

On Tuesday, Guilderland was too talented for Shaker but couldn’t pull away from the Blue Bison until the second half.

The Lady Dutch led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 23-17 at halftime.

A jump shot by Shaker’s Michelle Prusack cut the Guilderland lead to four points early in the third quarter. Three minutes later, a three-point basket by Amanda Stopera cut the lead to two points — Guilderland got a free throw from Mary Kate O’Connell.

O’Connell made a basket from close range to start a 6-0 run.

Kristin Pezze made a jump shot and Rachel Rabbin scored on a running hook shot in the lane to give the Lady Dutch an eight-point lead, 30-22.

An inside basket by Stephanie Sloane ended the Guilderland run.

Guilderland then scored four consecutive points to add to the lead.

Pezze made a jump shot and followed that up with a lay-up. A jump shot by Ryan Graham cut the lead to eight points, 34-26, at the end of the third quarter.

"We kept the lead"

The Dutch couldn’t put away Shaker in the fourth quarter as they only outscored the Bison 9-6 in the final stanza.

"The key is to get an early lead on a team," Cacckello said. "No disrespect to Shaker, but we play up against good teams. In time, that needs to change."

The Dutch struggled to finish shots and grab rebounds in the contest.

"I think in tonight’s game our press [defense] frustrated them," Cacckello said after Tuesday’s game. "You try to bury teams early. That’s when teams believe they can win and lose. We had a couple of shovels full today."

Pezze led the Lady Dutch with 13 points. O’Connell added nine points and Rabbin and Tice, who is still recovering from strep throat, each scored seven points. Melanie Ostrowski made a three-point basket for her only points in the contest.

Shaker’s top scorer was Sloane, who scored 12 points.

Cacckello saw some good things on offense, but wishes his team could finish shots.

"Every good shot we get, we’ve got to finish," the coach said. "We don’t always know what to do with the basket on offense."

The defense has been strong during the early part of the season.

"It’s always there," Cacckello said. "We’re using a zone a little bit more. I got a little upset. We had some breakdowns at the end of the half in our zone that upset me."

But there were some things that made Cacckello happy.

"We kept the lead," the coach said. "We did little stuff well that really made me happy."

Cacckello wasn’t sure if the two close losses carried over into Tuesday’s game.

"Were they disappointed"" Cacckello asked of his players. "I know it carried over to Monday’s practice. Winning makes practice easier. We lost two games by a combined four points. One team banged in a three-pointer in overtime to get it into another overtime. We had a chance to win both those games.

"We basically played the same Colonie team that we played in the sectional final last year," Cacckello added. "We had our best chance to beat them. I was happy with the game. We know we can play with the best."

Getting the first win of the year can give the players confidence and take some of the pressure off.

"At certain times, bits and pieces grow more," Cacckello said. "We finally got into the gym over the weekend and we’ve got to keep getting into the gym and keep working. Winning makes getting into the gym much better."

Voorheesville boys' basketball vs. Albany Academy

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville boys’ basketball team just might have gotten over the hump.

The Blackbirds defeated the only Section II team that beat them last year; it appears they could make a run at the top of the Colonial Council.

Voorheesville beat Albany Academy, 45-36, in front of a capacity crowd at the new gym at Voorheesville’s high school on Friday night.

"We got one of the monkeys off our back," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier. "Every game is going to be like this. There are no easy wins in this league."

Voorheesville beat Lansingburgh, 83-51, on Tuesday night.

It took a great second-half effort in Friday’s game by the Blackbirds after a poor first half to overcome a deficit and finally pull away from the Cadets in the fourth quarter.

The game was tied, 28-28, going into the fourth quarter. Voorheesville took the lead for good on a close-range jump shot by Mike Hopper with 6:04 left in the contest.

Andy Catellier added to the lead with a drive to the basket, with 5:28 left, to make the score 36-32.

Academy’s John Scott made a free throw to cut the lead to three points. Then a basket off an offensive rebound by Josh Shoemaker made it a one-point game.

But Voorheesville got some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to seal the win.

Justin Arico made both ends of a one-and-one at the foul line to put Voorheesville’s lead back to three points.

Hopper made one foul shot and Nick Duncan scored inside with 56 seconds left to make the score 41-35.

Greg Klopfer made two of four foul-shot attempts on two consecutive trips to the line and Hopper made two to round out the scoring.

The Blackbirds also used a tough, stingy defense in the final minutes of the game.

Albany Academy made just one free throw in the last three minutes of the game.

"Nerves took over"

"I challenged the seniors at halftime," Catellier said. "They stepped up in the second half. Mike Hopper played well and Nick Duncan finished with 11 rebounds. Hopper had seven and Andy had six assists. We didn’t play really well in the first half. We let them control it."

Voorheesville trailed 17-13 at halftime as the players appeared tight in the opening minutes of the contest and couldn’t get into any flow on offense.

Coach Catellier thinks that the large crowd at the first home game could have caused some jitters.

He said of the student cheering section, "The Birdcage was loud and it was the first home game. I think nerves took over."

The Birds came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Academy 15-11 in the stanza.

Andy Catellier was a one-man show early in the third period. He made a steal on a pass and then scored on a fast-break lay-up. Catellier was fouled and made the free throw to cut the lead to one point.

Catellier added a foul shot to tie the game, 17-17, with 6:26 left in the third quarter.

"I told the seniors and especially our three captains," Catellier said, "that none of them played well in the first half. I told them that last year is over and that you have to take on the leadership role.

"They played well in the second half," Catellier added. "Duncan had seven of his 11 rebounds and Andy had six of his seven assists and Klopfer had seven of his 13 points. The three captains stepped up and I’m pleased."

The teams battled back-and-forth and ended the quarter tied, 28-28.

Klopfer led the Blackbirds with 13 points. Duncan scored 11 points and Hopper added 10. Andy Catellier scored seven and Evan Christner and Arico each had two points.

"We got some balanced scoring," Coach Catellier said. "A win is a win is a win. It’s always better than a defeat. It’s hard to play the champs the first time out."

Scott led the Cadets with 16 points and eighth-grader Jamel Fields added 11.

"Anytime you can beat the defending league champions, it’s great," Catellier said. "They are still the champs until somebody beats them."

The Blackbirds travel to Mechanicville on Friday night. They host Ravena on Tuesday and Schalmont the following Friday. The Birds then play at Cohoes before getting two weeks off for Christmas break.

Voorheesville football all-stars

VOORHEESVILLE — Class C South Division champion Voorheesville football team had a number of members named as all-star selections in the division.

Senior quarterback Andy Catellier was named the division’s Player of the Year as well as first-team quarterback, and first-team cornerback.

Senior Nick Duncan was named first-team punter and first-team wide receiver as well as second-team safety.

Junior Tim Robinson was named the division’s first team at tight end.

Eric Dickson, a senior, was named first-team guard and first-team linebacker.

Jeff Conners, a junior, was named first-team defensive tackle and Classmate Charlie McGrail was named second-team offensive tackle. Senior George Ward was named a second-team guard and Sam Pelham, a junior, was named a second-team defensive end.

Junior Matt Miller was named second-team placekicker. Sophomore Adam Duncan was named second-team linebacker and senior P.J. Hognestad was named second-team running back.

The Blackbirds finished the season in late October in the Class C Section II semifinals, losing to Schuylerville. Voorheesville finished the season with a 6-3 record.

Voorheesville wrestling

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — Voorheesville coach Dennis Robinson is looking for individual success from his wrestlers this season as opposed to team success.

The Blackbirds will have trouble filling every weight class, which makes it hard for the team to win dual meets. Voorheesville lost its first match of the season to Albany Academy because it had to forfeit matches.

"I told the kids early in the season that I’m not really focusing on dual-meet record," Robinson said. "I’m looking for individual, personal bests. That motivates them. I think this is an excellent group of kids. They are easy to coach and are enthusiastic."

The Blackbirds lost to Albany Academy last Thursday by just one point, 37-36.

"We worked hard but we made a few mistakes," Robinson said. "We have a chance to grow during the season. This is a bunch of smart kids."

The Blackbirds split two matches in a tri-meet they hosted on Saturday. Voorheesville beat Schoharie-Middleburgh but lost to Ichabod Crane.


There are just two seniors on the team this year. Matt O’Brien will wrestle at the 160-pound weight class and Justin Pincheon will grapple in the 152-pound class.

"He is one of those kids that can come into his own this year," Robinson said of Pincheon. "It’s his senior year and he wants to have a good one. He is very motivated."

"Matt O’Brien is a team captain," Robinson said. "He is self-motivated, too. Matt has room to grow. It’s interesting, he’s always looking to improve."

Taylor Treadgold, an eighth-grader, will wrestle in the 103-pound weight class.

"He was certified to wrestle on the varsity," Robinson said. "He’s a go-getter."

Jeremy Rich, also an eighth-grader, will wrestle at 112 pounds.

"He’s a tough individual," Robinson said. "He’s a tough kid. He’s another one that wrestles hard all the time."

Freshman Frank Kaus will wrestle at 119 pounds.

"He needs to grow into his body physically," Robinson said. "He’s enthusiastic and ready to have a good season."

Classmate Andrew Clark will compete in the 125-pound weight class this season.

"He was a full-year varsity wrestler last year," Robinson said.

Jim Sheedy, another eighth-grader, will compete in the 135-pound weight class.

"He’s a product of our modified program," Robinson said. "He’s got a great amount of potential."

Junior Jason Pincheon will compete in the 135-pound weight class.

"He is one of the most dedicated wrestlers," Robinson said. "He worked hard in the off-season. He didn’t wrestle much last year because of an injury. He has a lot of potential. He’s going to be a good one."

Alex Zvinovsky, a junior, will wrestle in the 189-pound weight class.

"He’s a strong man," Robinson said. "He has a lot of potential a lot of room for growth. He’s a slow starter but he is learning fast and he is very consistent in what he does. He’s going to be exciting to watch at the end of the year."

Classmate Charlie McGrail will wrestle at 215 pounds.

"He has put in a lot of work and effort," Robinson said. "He is a good wrestler. He’ll be a solid performer this year.

"We have a bunch of guys that have room to grow," Robinson added. "He wants to be one of those guys that’s dependable. He’s going to be good. He’ll be up there in the 215’s in Class C."

Ninth-grader Jacob Marks will wrestle as the only member of the junior-varsity team.

"In essence, he is the j.v. team," Robinson said. "If he wins, the j.v. wins. If he loses, the j.v. loses."

Bright future

Robinson likes having such a young team to work with.

"It’s exciting to have three or four years to help them develop," Robinson said. "We have a solid feeder program in the New Scotland Youth Wrestling Program. Coach Pierce does an excellent job. I’m short one coach, but the two of us can pick up the slack.

"The kids make it easy and the parents help out. The parental support we get is great. Joe Sapienza gives us support and the administration has been great."

The school has given the team space in the basement to put together a wrestling room to hold practices instead of in the cafe- teria.

"We’re excited about that," Robinson said.

Robinson knows his team is a little low in the number of participants, but he also knows that he has kids who want to be at practice every day and work hard.

"We were low with numbers last year," Robinson said. "This is nothing new. What I have here right now is the type of team I want. We will forfeit a few matches but, if we wrestle 10 matches, we’ll win seven out of 10. It’s no different than in the past.

"The future looks bright," Robinson added. "Half the team is eighth- or ninth-graders. How can I be pessimistic about that" They come into the room every day energized. It’s a great place to be. This a phenomenal group of kids. They are good kids and hard workers."

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