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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 17, 2007

BKW runners are queens of the WAC track

By Tim Matteson

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ track-and-field team won the Western Athletic Conference title with an impressive victory at the league championships last Tuesday.

The team placed first out of 13 teams at the Maple Hill Invitational, first out of 10 teams at the Middleburgh Invitational, and first out of 10 teams at the Cherry Valley-Springfield Invitational. BKW also won all five of its dual meets this year. The girls’ team has not lost a dual meet since 2003.

The team has been led all season by Ada Lauterbach who runs three or four distance events in big meets. Lauterbach set the school record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase earlier this year and was named Athlete of the Meet at Middleburgh and Cherry Valley.

"Ada seems to be getting stronger as the year goes on," said BKW Coach Bill Tindale. "She’s run some very good times in races where she has had no competition. I’m excited to see what happens when she is pushed a little bit."

Senior Sarah Hannay has already bettered her school records in the shot put and the discus while winning several invitational meets.

"We can always count on Sarah for 18 to 20 points in big meets," Tindale said. "She’s also a great leader who has helped us build a solid group of throwers. At Middleburgh, we had four girls in the top six in the shot put."

Allyson Bates, Faith Carney, and Ruby Moseby also placed in the meet.

Michelle Raymond has had a big year for the Lady Bulldogs. Raymond runs on the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams that are both near school records. She also was league champion in the 800-meter run.

"I am very happy for Michelle," Tindale said. "Injuries have kept her from reaching her potential in the past, but, if she stays healthy this year, she’s going to be a part of some great relay teams."

Strong newcomers

Some newcomers have made the girls’ team even stronger. Senior Cara Swain and sophomore Amber Pitcher and Kayla Lee have had an immediate impact.

Swain runs on all three relay teams, which have won big races at major invitationals.

"We had Cara run four events at WAC, and she came through big," Tindale said. "She hates to lose and that makes up for her lack of experience. We wish we had her for the last three years."

Pitcher is the team’s best 400-meter runner, Tindale said. She won the Middleburgh Invitational and the Maple Hill Invitational in that event. She also runs on the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.

"Amber has a lot of natural talent," Tindale said of Pitcher. "But she backs it up with hard work. We think she has a chance at the school record by the end of the year."

Kayla Lee had battled pneumonia for a part of the season but she came back for the league championships. She ran a vital leg on the winning 1,600-meter relay team.

"She’s fun to watch," Tindale said. "She has a great stride. She’s still not feeling great, but we hope she’s ready to go full speed by sectionals."

Two hurdlers have also scored big points for the Bulldogs this season. Anna Kusler and Kristine Skinner have several top-three finishes at big meets. Tindale has been impressed with Kusler’s work ethic.

"She always works hard to improve," the coach said. "She knows the event and is willing to work on the little details."

Skinner is just a freshman and placed second at Cherry Valley in the 400-meter hurdles last Saturday.

BKW is strong in the sprints as well. Jessica Squires and Sabrina Stoutt provide the team with a one-two punch in the 100- and the 200-meter dashes. Tindale attributes their success to a more focused attitude in the last month.

"These girls have really come on strong in the last couple of weeks," the coach said. "They are getting faster as the season progresses."

Alyssa Wetterau set a school record in the pole vault earlier this year and has been placing in the big meets. She is also the team’s best high jumper and runs on the 400-meter relay team.

"Alyssa is invaluable to us," Tindale said. "She makes our relay a sectional contender."

"We have so many good athletes it’s tough to mention them all," Tindale added. "Christina Bartonicek often runs in the shadow of Ada, but she has a couple of top three finishes in the big meets. Jocelyn Mann and Danielle Willsey did the pentathlon for the first time on Saturday and both placed in the top five."

What explains the Lady Bulldogs string of success"

"I think it has a lot to do with good leadership," Tindale answered. "Sarah Hannay, Michelle Raymond, and Claire DellaRocco are our captains. They’ve been around for four years and have gotten used to winning. Claire won the Will to Win award at the Cherry Valley Invitational and for good reason. She’s a total team player. She has worked so hard to improve herself. Other girls notice and follow in her footsteps. You won’t see her name in the headline, but we wouldn’t be half as good without her."

Blackbirds clawing for a playoff berth

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville baseball team picked up a much-needed win on Friday, and did it with solid play.

The Blackbirds played strong defense behind pitcher Joe Berschwinger to beat Cobleskill, 5-2, on a game that was moved to the satellite field because the Birds’ regular field was not playable.

"I expected this from this team from the beginning of the year," said Voorheesville Coach Hank Czerwinski. "We got solid defense and timely hitting."

The win was a big one for the Blackbirds and was the third in a row after they dropped six straight games before that. Voorheesville beat Broadalbin-Perth in a non-league game last Tuesday and beat Albany Academy last Wednesday.

However, the Blackbirds lost to Lansingburgh, 8-0, on Monday. The Knights clinched the Colonial Council championship with the win.

The loss dropped the Blackbirds’ record to 7-9-1 overall and 6-9 in the league.

"A quick game"

But on Friday, the Blackbirds looked like one of the top teams in the Colonial Council.

"We took advantage of situations," Czerwinski said. "We have a nice little roll going."

After Cobleskill scored a run in the top of the first inning, the Blackbirds scored four runs in the bottom half of the frame to answer.

Bryce Gray led off the inning with a single and moved to second when Jay Conde walked. After a flyout, R.J. Curreri reached base on an error by the Bulldogs’ third baseman.

With the bases loaded, Chris Massaroni was hit with a pitch and Gray scored from third.

Dan Healy then hit the ball to second base and a throwing error allowed Conde and Curreri to score and move Massaroni to third.

Justin Arico’s groundout drove in Massaroni for the fourth run of the inning.

The Blackbirds scored their fifth and final run in the second inning.

Tommy Pasquali led off the inning with a single. He later scored on Curreri’s RBI single.

From then on, it was about pitching and defense for the Blackbirds.

Berschwinger was solid as he struck out four Cobleskill batters. He gave up just six hits and stayed out of trouble by just walking three batters.

"Joe’s been our hard-luck pitcher," Czerwinski said. "He’s been the recipient of some of our bad play. This will be good for his confidence, especially for a 10th-grader."

The defense also helped him out. The Blackbirds committed just one error and avoided big trouble in the first inning with a third-basemen-to-second-to first double play.

"It was a quick game," Czerwinski said. "Joe was throwing strikes. It was a huge game for momentum going into the end of the season."

Pete Collings had an RBI single in the first inning for Cobleskill. His hit brought in Dunea Lockwood who hit a double. Chris Pietrowski drove in the other Bulldogs’ run with a single to score Adam Booker.

"We need to win our last two"

The Blackbirds started the season strong but it has been a roller-coaster ride ever since mid-April.

"From the beginning of the year, we’ve had a lot of injuries," Czerwinski said. "We haven’t had any consistency. Between the schedule and our health, we haven’t had a steady line-up. We’ve been unsure of who’s playing, why they are playing, and what to do."

The mid-season swoon might hurt the Blackbirds when it comes to sectional play. The Lansingburgh loss will hurt as well. Teams need to finish with a .500 record to qualify for the playoffs.

"We have two games left," Czerwinski said on Friday. "We are 7-8 overall with one tie. We need to win our last two. If we go one and one, we’ll be under .500. We’re trying to get another non-league game but it’s hard to find anyone that wants to schedule a game this late. But we want another game to balance out the schedule."

Voorheesville’s last scheduled game is on Thursday at home against Albany Academy.

In the meeting last week with Academy, Pasquali had two singles and drove in two runs for the Blackbirds. Conde pitched a complete game and gave up seven hits. The Birds did commit five errors in the contest. Conde struck out 10 Academy hitters.

The Blackbirds have their backs against the wall but will try to claw their way into the sectional playoffs.

"It’s not what we expected," Czerwinski said. "But we’ll deal with it."

Guilderland flushwith kings of the diamond

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Two down, one more to go.

The Guilderland baseball team accomplished two goals in one day on Monday and has one more big goal ahead of it.

The Dutchmen defeated Columbia, 7-4, on Monday to clinch the Suburban Council title and a first-round bye in the upcoming sectional playoffs as the probable number-one seed. The next step will be winning the Class AA Section II championship.

"This was our first goal," said senior Nick Polsinelli after Monday’s game. "But we can’t stop from here. We need to keep progressing, winning, and getting better."

Polsinelli knocked in the leading run in the fourth inning on Monday, then pitched a two-hit shutout on Tuesday against Niskayuna, the team with the second best record in the Suburban Council this year.

"They put in all the hard work and effort," said Guilderland Coach Doug LaValley, who is in his sixth year of coaching the varsity. "It’s all about the kids in the program. They’ve come a long way."

LaValley, who was wet from getting doused with the water bucket by a couple of players after the game, thinks the last time Guilderland won a Suburban Council title in baseball was in 1983.

Monday’s game was the last league game of the season for the Dutchmen. They have two non-league games scheduled — Suffern of Section I on Wednesday and then Colonie on Saturday.

Then the Dutch will have to wait for the sectional seedings to see who they will play in the quarterfinals on Saturday, May 26.

"We don’t want to lose," said senior Greg Barcomb on Monday. "We want to win every game, though we knew we weren’t going to go undefeated."

The Dutchmen have just two losses this season. They lost a league game to Shaker and then lost a non-league game to Queensbury on Saturday.

Comeback Dutch

But on Monday, the Dutchmen clawed their way back from a early deficit.

The Dutch fell behind, 3-1, in the second inning. Guilderland starter C.J. Sohl struggled with his control and then gave up big hits to Patrick Puentes, Chris Shaver, and Sean Weber in the inning.

Polsinelli had given the Dutch a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He drove in Mike Goldstein with a sacrifice fly to right field in the first frame.

Columbia took a 4-1 lead in the third inning as Rose scored his second run of the game on Puentes’s second double of the contest.

Guilderland came back with a run in the bottom half of the stanza. Goldstein scored for the second time on a sacrifice fly. This time, Jake Colavito flied out to centerfield for the RBI.

Guilderland took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Designated hitter Steve Anderson led off the inning with a walk and moved to second when Joe Lima walked. After a strikeout, Nick Ranalli was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded.

Goldstein grounded out to first base, but Anderson scored to cut the lead to, 4-3. Lima then scored from third base on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Polsinelli then singled to drive in Ranalli and give the Dutchmen the lead. Polsonelli stole second base and Henderson walked to put runners on first and second. Colavito drove in Polsinelli with a single and Henderson scored on an error by the Columbia catcher on a throw to second.

"Coming through"

Barcomb pitched the final four innings to get the win for the Dutchmen. He shutout the Blue Devils. He gave up just two hits, struck out six batters and walked just two.

"Greg came in and did a great job," LaValley said. "He’s been solid all year. It shows hard work pays off and he deserves all the credit for that.

"C.J. struggled a bit," LaValley added. "The strike zone was a little tight. But you have to make adjustments to the umpire, good and bad. In a tight game he had to groove a couple in there."

"We have a lot of guys come through," Barcomb said. "We have guys that keep coming through in clutch situations."

"When one guy struggles, we have others that can pick it up," Polsinelli said. "And that’s what it is all about."

The Guilderland team does have a lot of depth and it shows in almost every game.

"One through 19," Barcomb said. "All 19 guys on the team can play. We have a bunch of pitchers that can more than play out there."

Polsinelli performs

On Tuesday, it was all about Polsinelli’s pitching performance. Backed by a solid defense, he pitched a complete game two hitter and allowed just four runners to reach base and one to get to second — on a double.

Polsinelli struck out eight Niskayuna batters and walked just two.

The Dutchmen offense was led by Anderson who hit a two-run home run that also scored Andrew Simpson who was hit by a pitch.

Ranalli also appeared to hit a home run but was called out after the Niskayuna center fielder dove over the fence to make a catch, even though he appeared to drop the ball.

Ranalli was called out and the Dutch were denied an insurance run.

The Dutch wrap up the league season with a 12-1 mark and look to finish the season on a strong note, heading into the playoffs.

Though the Guilderland coach and players were happy with what they have accomplished they know there is more ahead for them.

"We have to keep trying to get better every day," LaValley said.

"We have to keep battling as a team," Polsinelli said. "We have to go out and play every game like it is game seven of the World Series."

Dutch laxmen’s play as electric as a lightning storm

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — What a long, strange trip this season has been for the Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team. It got even stranger on Tuesday.

After losing their first two games of the season — including a blowout to Niskayuna, 14-2 — the Dutchmen hit their stride by winning their last five games and seven of their last eight. Their only loss has been against non-league foe Lakeland.

After playing several of those eight to one-goal outcomes, the Dutchmen have blasted the past three teams they’ve played by using a thunderous defense and a lightning quick offense.

The only thing that has been able to stop the Guilderland team is the thunder and lightning.

On Tuesday, the Senior Night regular-season finale against Saratoga had to be stopped with 3:34 left in the third quarter because of a lightning storm. The game will be finished on Friday on Guilderland’s Don Snyder Field at 4:15 p.m. Guilderland played Shaker on Wednesday.

Shot at league championship

In their past two games, Guilderland beat Bethlehem, 16-3, and beat Ballston Spa Saturday in a non-league game, 19-4. The Dutchmen also blasted Burnt Hills’ first-year varsity team last Tuesday.

Wednesday’s and Friday’s games will be the last two of the season for the Dutchmen. They lead the Suburban Council Blue Division and are looking to win the league and earning the number-one seed in the sectional playoffs.

"We are not too concerned," Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy said after Thursday’s game. "We got two points today and haven’t dropped any points since we lost to Niskayuna. We win two more games and we have a shot at being the number-one seed and being league champs. We have two games left and we need to win them."

Niskayuna handed the Dutchmen their only loss in the league so far this season. The Dutch avenged that loss with a one-goal win against the perennial power Silver Warriors late last month.

Bethlehem beat Niskayuna early last week, and Thursday’s contest against Guilderland was billed as a big match. Bethlehem beat the Dutch in a non-league game to open the season in early April.

New team

But Guilderland showed it was a much different team now. The Dutch jumped out to an early lead and cruised to an easy win.

The Dutchmen shut out the Eagles in the second half and McConaghy was able to get just about everyone on his roster into the game.

"We got kids that have not been playing some time," the coach said. "And we did not give up a single goal and got the win. Those two things are a positive for us"

"The defense always shows up," McConaghy added. "But the offense came to play today."

Junior Brian Linehan got the scoring started with a goal 10:27 into the game. His tally was assisted by classmate Quinn Connell.

Senior Uriah Myrie scored with an assist from sophomore Rory Nunamacher and Connell was credited with a goal after the Bethlehem goalie lost the ball into the goal while trying to clear it from the crease.

The Eagles got two goals — from Terry Daley and Matt Johnson — to cut the Dutch’s lead to one. But Guilderland scored two more goals in the first quarter.

Aaron Cahill scored on a rocket shot near the restraining line. Myrie assisted on the goal.

Connell scored again with an assist from defender Scott Raffensperger on a fast-break attempt.

Guilderland dominated the second quarter. Matt Stillman scored two goals — the first assisted by Cahill, the second by Connell — to start the quarter strong.

Bethlehem got a goal from Andrew Vincent after Stillman’s first tally with 5:46 to go until halftime. They would not score again.

Myrie scored to make the tally 8-3 with 54 seconds left until halftime.

Nunamacher, off an assist from Connell, scored the first goal of the second half. Cahill then had back-to-back goals — with assists from Travis Moore and Connell — to make the score 11-3.

Freshman Paul Jones scored two goals in a row — assisted by Stillman and Moore — to put the Dutch up by 10, 13-3.

Senior Chris Conway scored the final goal of the third quarter off an assist by Moore.

Stillman and Moore scored in the fourth quarter for the Dutchmen. Stillman was assisted by Myrie and Moore was assisted by Conway.

Junior Nick Koss made seven saves in the goal for the Dutch. Senior Nick Stefani also played in goal but didn’t see any shots.

The face-off battle was close, 11-10, but the Dutchmen were tenacious on ground balls, scooping up 54 of them.

"That should be the way we’ve been playing all year," McConaghy said. "We played a great, great game. It’s a big difference when we put a whole game together."

McConaghy has been stressing to his team about playing a full 48 minutes and he got it on Thursday.

Raffensperger shut down Johnson, the section’s leading scorer, and sophomore Kip Stillman did a good job of defense on Matt DiFrancesco.

But it was all aspects of the game that were on display Thursday. And the Dutch were able to relax instead of being in a tight game.

"Those are character builders," McConaghy said. "We’ve had them throughout the year. So, if we get a situation like that at sectionals, we will be able to handle it."

And this is the time of year the Dutch want to be playing their best lacrosse.

"That’s all we want to do," McConaghy said. "We want to be playing well in May when it counts."

Lady Dutch stars of lacrosse action show

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It was only fitting that Friday’s regular-season finale for the Guilderland girls’ lacrosse team was on television because the players were stars.

The game, shown on the local Time Warner Cable channel, was action packed as the Lady Dutch beat their nemesis, Bethlehem, 11-6, and for the first time ever won the Suburban Council championship.

"It definitely feels good," said senior goalie Jen Kaye after the game. "We want to leave our mark on Guilderland lacrosse and the section."

The outcome will provide something that the girls on the team have wanted for a long time — a banner. But they want the piece of cloth hanging in the gym to say more than Suburban Council Champions.

"There are two more things we want to go up there," Kaye said. "Sectional champions and state champions."

The Lady Dutch will start the road for those two goals a little later than originally planned. Guilderland will get a bye in the sectional quarterfinals and will head straight to the semifinals on Wednesday, May 23.

The Dutch are the number-one seed in the Class A Section II tournament and will host the event, weather permitting.

The win also came on a special night for the four seniors on the Lady Dutch squad — Kaye, Nikki Branchini, Julie Malkowski, and Lynn Tran.

"Doing this on Senior Night makes it much more meaningful," Kaye said.

Bethlehem handed the Lady Dutch the season’s only loss, 9-6, on April 19. It was a game that any Guilderland player would say she didn’t play well.

"Off to the races"

There were no problems with the Lady Dutch’s play on Friday. They moved the ball around with precision and used their tremendous team speed to swarm the Eagles on the defensive end of the field and to rush the goal on the offensive half of the field.

"That is the beauty of this team," said Guilderland Coach Gary Chatnik. "We get the ball and we’re off to the races. We have good team speed."

The Lady Dutch scored first as sophomore Amanda Best connected on a free position shot after a Bethlehem foul near the eight-meter mark. Best fired her shot high past the Bethlehem goalie.

The Eagles evened the game with 19:48 left when Tee Ladoucer tallied off a hard drive to the goal.

Guilderland took the lead on a goal by Abbey Fashoeur with 18:26 left in the opening half.

Danielle Tetreault added to the lead off an assist from Branchini. Branchini drove to the goal and found Tetreualt who was open and converted the pass into a score.

Branchini scored a goal of her own with 9:05 left in the first frame. She fired a shot that was saved but was able to scoop the loose ball into the goal for the tally and made the score, 4-1.

Branchini scored again for the Lady Dutch to make the score 5-1. Branchini was assisted by Fashoeur on the goal.

Bethlehem got the first goal of the second half. Erica Hill tallied an unassisted goal to cut the lead to three, 5-2.

Bridget Daley answered for the Lady Dutch with 21:58 left in the half. Tetreault found Daley wide-open in front of the goal and Daley was able to convert.

After Kayleigh Hynes kept Bethlehem in the game with a goal with 20:39 left in the contest, Guilderland scored the next three goals.

Chelsey Newman scored her first goal of the contest on a free position after a Bethlehem foul. Amanda Best scored an unassisted goal for the Lady Dutch to make the score, 8-3, with 18:49 left to go in the game.

Courtney Davis scored the third unanswered goal on a free position after a foul on the Bethlehem goalie, which forced the keeper to be out of the goal on the re-start. Davis easily scored on the open net and the goal gave the Dutch a 9-3 lead and was a back-breaker for the Eagles.

Hynes scored two goals around a tally by Fashouer. Hynes scored with 14:40 left and 8:33 left in the contest for the Eagles. Fashouer scored with 14:18 left off an assist from Jen Madsen.

Guilderland took a six-goal lead as Newman scored the final goal for Guilderland in the game with 8:05 left. Tetreault assisted on the score.

Ladoucer scored the final goal in the game as she connected on an assisted goal with 2:26 left.

Kaye made seven saves in goal for Guilderland. Rae Mahon made four saves for Bethlehem.

"Play every game like its our last"

The Lady Dutch get an extended break as not all the teams in Class A decided to compete in the sectional tournament. Guilderland will get the bye and advance to the semifinals where it will be facing a tough team.

"We can’t get overconfident," Chatnik said Friday night. "We have to take them one at a time. This is a nice win. It’s nice for our confidence. It was a nice night."

The win was superb for the Lady Dutch’s confidence as Bethlehem has been the Suburban Council and sectional champion for the past eight years.

But the seniors on the Dutch and their coach are looking ahead and not taking any team lightly.

"We have more to accomplish," Tran said. "This is our last year and our last chance at sectionals. This year we want to go all the way."

"We can’t take anyone lightly," Kaye added. "We have to play every game like it’s our last game."

The league championship is just one of many goals the Dutch want to accomplish.

"This is just one step," Chatnik said. "It was the league championship and it means a lot to the girls. The sectionals will mean more. We’ve come this far; we want to complete it."

Four Dutchmen tear up the track

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland track distance medley relay team is setting new standards.

The team of Jeff Giesendorfer, Mark Domaracki, Brian Rhodes-Devey, and Roland Graves set a school record with a time of 10:12.24 in the event. It was also the second-fastest time in Section II history and the fastest time in the state this season. They set the mark at the Loucks Games in White Plains on Thursday.

"Roland and Jeff ran solid that day," Domaracki said. "And Brian was spectacular in the mile."

"We’re all good friends," Giesendorfer said. "We had a nice ride there. We were messing around. It was a great time."

The great times rolled on: Graves ran a 3:13.7 in the two-mile leg of the relay. Giesendorfer ran a 51.2 in the 400 meters, Domaracki ran 1:59.1 in the 800 meters, and Rhodes-Devey ran 4:08 in the mile.

"They are talking about possibly running at nationals," Guilderland Coach Pete Wachtel said. "They want to put together a team and pass on individual events. But, if we have anyone that qualifies for the national event, it will be hard to do multiple events."

"We want to go down to North Carolina in the middle of June," Graves said describing the site of the national championship.

"Ready to go"

The four runners came to the Loucks games with a little bit of a purpose.

"Not going to the Penn Relays and not getting an invite," Rhodes-Devey said, "we went into this meet to show what we have. We really came out ready to go.

"We’ve planned to run the DMR all year at this meet. It was the same day as one of our dual meets. Our coaches supported us in running down there and it was really nice of them to let us run there."

The Dutch runners got lucky as their meet was postponed because of lightning and still has to be made up. But the Loucks meet was not affected by the weather.

"It was perfect running weather," Graves said.

The four runners will be preparing for the Suburban Council meet this week as well as the Class A sectional meet, which will be hosted by Guilderland on Thursday.

The following week will be the Section II state qualifier.

Rhodes-Devey and Domaracki have the best chance of making a return trip to the state meet. Giesendorfer and Graves, who went to the state meet for cross-country in the fall, want to run their personal best and see what happens.

"I want to win states," Rhodes-Devey said. "In what event, I’m not sure yet. I’ve won a state title in cross-country and I would like to win one in track. I would like to do that."

Rhodes-Devey has run the 800 and 1,600 races during the season and has the fastest time in the section in both events. He will be running at the University of Texas in the fall.

"I would like to qualify in the steeple chase or the two mile," Graves said.

"I want to run a 47 [seconds] at states," Domaracki said. "I want to get under the 48 plateau. I’ve moved around a lot. The 800 is different. I’m just getting familiar with the race. The pentathlon was fun. I wanted to try some things that I do not normally do."

Domaracki will be focused on the 400 meters for the sectional meet. He will be on the track team at Boston College in the fall.

"I just want to get better times," Giesendorfer said. "It’s important to stay healthy and do my best for the 400 hurdles."

Then it will be onto the nationals and the DMR.

"I’ve been to nationals before," Rhodes-Devey said. "But it would be great for the other guys."

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