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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 19, 2007

Seth Rarick proud to be a Mototcross rider

By Tim Matteson

CLARKSVILLE — Seth Rarick is lured by a loud sound.

The noise of a running motor has drawn the 15-year-old Clarksville native to places all over the state of New York and as far away as Florida.

The sound of a Motocross bike engine has been planted firmly in Seth Rarick’s brain and will take him to places that everyone in his sport dreams about.

Next up for Rarick is the biggest race of his young life. He will travel to Tennessee to compete in the 2007 Air Nautiques AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships in Hurricane Mills, simply called Loretta Lynn’s, because they are held on the country-singing star’s ranch, 65 miles west of Nashville.

Rarick will compete in the Mx Lites B Modified and the Mx Lites Schoolboy divisions. The schoolboy division is for competitors between the ages of 14 and 16 and the B Modified is for competitors who have reached the B-level of amateur status.

Starting the engine

Rarick first climbed on a bike when he was 4-years old.

"My dad was into it," Rarick said of his father, Marty. "He had been racing for a number of years, and he got me into it when I was real young. I didn’t want to race at first. I was just doing it for fun."

In 2001, when he was 9, Rarick decided he wanted to compete.

"One day, I just decided I wanted to do racing," he said. "I’ve been getting better and getting better, and here I am."

Rarick is at the point where his dreams have turned into goals. Instead of daydreaming of riding in the professional ranks, it’s something he can see ahead of him.

"I want to, in a few years, turn pro," Rarick said. "It’s been a dream of mine to ride in the Pro Nationals. I am working hard to achieve it."

Motocross is a form of racing motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles on enclosed off-road circuits. It is distinct from other forms of mass-start racing because competitors all line up alongside each other and start simultaneously.

Pro Nationals or the AMA National Championships is what Rarick strives to reach. It’s the top level of the sport.

Rarick is a B-level driver in the AMA’s amateur series. It’s the middle level of three, with A (expert) being the highest and C (novice) the lowest.

"I rode last year at Loretta Lynn’s in the C class," Rarick said. "I’m hoping to do one more year in B and get a top-five finish at Loretta Lynn’s in the A class. So far, this has been my best year to date."

Motocross takes Rarick all over the country and, due to that, he is home-schooled. He spends most of his winter in Florida, riding in the Winter Am Series. He finished in the top 10 in the B class in the Sunshine State this past winter.

"I did well in Florida," he said, "then I came back here and started racing all the qualifiers for Loretta Lynn’s."

Rarick had to compete in a number of qualifiers to reach a big amateur race. There were eight local qualifiers that riders can compete in. Then it’s on to the regional qualifier.

Rarick competed in four area qualifiers and two regional qualifiers.

"I qualified in both classes," he said. "I’m ready to go to Loretta Lynn’s."

While in Tennessee from July 31 to Aug. 4, Rarick will be riding all day, every day.

"My goal was to make it in both classes," Rarick said. "I’ll be riding almost every day. I really want to make it in the top 15. I’d be happy with that."

There will be a practice day on Monday, July, 30, and then he’ll be riding every day.

"I love it," Rarick said. "It’s the biggest event in the world."

After his trip to Tennessee, Rarick will get a nice break for the rest of the summer, before the season picks up again.

"There’s not much going on," Rarick said, "until September and October; those are two busy months."

Around Labor Day weekend, Rarick will compete in New Hampshire at the New England Regional Championships.

"After New England," Rarick said, "I have the New York State Championships in Tioga near Binghamton."

Then, after that race, Rarick will be competing in New Jersey at the Kawasaki Race of Champions.

"It’s a big national amateur event," Rarick said.

And then, as the weather turns cold and the Thanksgiving turkeys are being bought, Rarick will be back in Gainesville, Fla. for the Mini-Olympics.

It’s the same thing as Loretta Lynn’s," Rarick said. "But it’s not as prestigious. But they are the two biggest races in the country. A lot of factory teams will be there, looking for younger stars coming up."

If a factory team is interested in a racer, a lot of money from a bike manufacturer like Kawasaki, as an example, can follow along with sponsorships.

Motocross rules

The three amateur classes are open to anyone ages 4 to 45 or slightly older.

"In each level, there are different types of races," Rarick said. "There are local races in every state. A lot of people do those just for fun. I started doing all local stuff."

It didn’t take long for Rarick to catch the Motocross bug.

"The more I did it," he said, "the more I started having fun at it. I enjoyed racing. I started progressing each year and I decided to go somewhere in this sport and make a career out of it."

Becoming a professional is a passion for Rarick, and something that he will work at as hard as he can. And it is something he and his father and Mario Darpino, the owner of On the Pipe Racing in Guilderland Center, believe he can do.

Darpino supplies Rarick with bikes and parts for racing and is one of Raricks biggest fans.

"He’s a great kid," Darpino said. "He has a lot of talent and a bright future in this sport. He’ll be at the professional level before too long. I do my best to support him and his family."

Rarick uses three to four bikes a year. He has one for practice and one for races, and changes them during the year.

"I get them at the beginning of the year and right about this time I’ll get another," Rarick said.

Changing bikes does not affect his racing because he uses the same brand, KTM, Rarick said.

"I’m comfortable with the same brand," he said. "You really can’t tell a difference."

Rarick rides a 254-stroke engine bike and will for the rest of the year. He is planning on moving up a size to a 450 for next year.

"I’ve practiced on them before," Rarick said. "The only major difference is the power delivery."

Rarick likes the bikes built by KTM, which sponsors a lot of racers and has one of the faster teams in Pro Nationals.

Rarick also gets help from Hannay Hose Reels in Westerlo.

"Roger and Elaine Hannay help out my dad and me," Rarick said.

The Raricks spend roughly $30,000 a year on racing. That includes travel costs, gas, and food, as well as registration fees as races.

Each race the Raricks go to costs money. Local races are much cheaper but Loretta Lynn’s has already cost them $425 in fees.

This also motivates Rarick to get to the professional ranks where costs will be cut.

The Raricks will have more travel costs next year as they have added a new race to their itinerary. After the winter series in Florida, Rarick will compete in Texas for a week at the Oak Hill meet, another top amateur competition.

"There are nine total amateur nationals," Rarick said. "My goal next year is to go to five of the nine."

In a couple of years, Rarick hopes to accumulate enough points to be able to turn pro.

Each amateur event has a point total that racers can earn. Some races have more than others.

"The series [Pro-Am] is about 30 to 35 races," Rarick said. "In each of those races, you can accumulate a certain number of points. You need 100 points in one year to be able to move up to the pros."

Rarick got the competitive spirit early in his life. That fire has been stoked by Motocross hero Jeremy McGrath and another hero on a different kind of bike — Lance Armstrong.

"I read his book and saw what he overcame to win in his sport," Rarick said.

"Jeremy McGrath, he’s the king," Rarick said. "He’s awesome. Everything about him and his style on the bike and the way he handles racing and is so dominating is awesome."

Rarick hopes to line up one day with McGrath at the top level of Motocross. He is determined to get there.

"Racing goes to my competitive nature," Rarick said. "Racing really helps you in life. It challenges you to get a competitive edge. You want to beat whatever you’re up against and not just give up but try and beat it."

Smooth sailing for 7th Pine Bush Triathlon

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Another year, another smooth race for Andrew Linehan and the Pine Bush Triathlon.

Linehan, the event’s director and founder, said the race got off to a good start and ran like a well-oiled machine the rest of the day.

"The race got off at exactly 8 o’clock," Linehan said. "That was the goal and we hit the goal this year."

That is an amazing feat since the race had at its maximum number of competitors.

"Registrations, for the fourth year in a row, were sold out," Linehan said. "And they were sold out earlier than last year. Considering that, we are going to expand the number of registrants next year."

Keith Murray, 33, of Wynantskill was the overall winner, completing the course in 55:15. Murray is the head coach for The College of Saint Rose swim team and a former swim coach at the Guilderland YMCA.

Barbara Sessa, 43, of Slate Hill, was the top female finisher. She finished seventh overall with a time of 58:46.

Matt Mallett, 30, of Ballston Spa finished second overall with a time of 55:36. Craig Tynan, 37, of Guilderland was third in a time of 55:44.

Arthur Boyko, 41, of Poughkeepsie was fourth in 57:04 and Chuck Racey, 45, of Clifton Park was fifth overall in a time of 57:56.

Bridget Sherratt was the second female finisher. The 37-year-old from Fanwood New Jersey finished 1:01.57.

Mary Kogelmann, 41, of Guilderland was third in 1:04. 41. Tracey Delaney, 42, of Lake Luzerne was fourth in 1:06.25, and Julie Burke, 39, of Troy was fifth in 1:06.32.

Linehan said that he got a lot of support from the city of Albany and the town of Guilderland.

"The police force was tremendous and the whole Guilderland community was taxed," he said. "They had Countryfest on Saturday and then had to be out again at 7 o’clock the next morning. It was a long weekend for them and I appreciate all the support they gave us."

Linehan was impressed by some results from the race as well.

For the third year in a row, the City and Suburb Award went to a duo from Guilderland. This year it went to Tynan and Kogelmann.

Linehan was also impressed with Murray’s performance and the Scrub Oak Award winners.

Steve McQuide, Charles Reilly, and Hilaire Meuwissen formed the trio that brought home the award for a team with the highest cumulative age for the fifth year in a row.

"They’ve won it easily," Linehan said. "These guys are 65, 68, and 70-something and are tremendous competitors. It’s great to see out there. The swimmer was upset. He was not happy with his time. It was slower than the year before. He said that he is going to train harder and this gives him something to look forward to. That is the attitude I want in 20 or 30 years."

Linehan expects to allow 50 more registrants for next year’s competition, which takes place on July 13. He added that athletes still need to register early so the organizers can set up appropriately.

GBR 13’s reach Beacon with strong defense

GUILDERLAND — Last week, the Guilderland Babe Ruth 13-and-under team clinched a spot in the state tournament in the championship round of the districts.

Guilderland beat East Greenbush, 16-0, in the semifinal game.

Micheal Valletta and Tyler Hynes combined for a one-hit shutout from the mound. Anthony Scaccia, Matt Breton, Brett McNeil, and Jake Nussbaum each had multiple hits and supplied more than enough offense.

Zach Sicard at second, John Evans in left, Dylan Collett, in center, and Scaccia at first made play after play to aid in the win.

Guilderland’s defense has been the stingiest of all teams throughout the tournament as it only allowed a total of three runs in four games.

The win gave Guilderland the right to compete in this weekends’s state tournament to be held in Beacon. Guilderland goes into the weekend as the number-two seed in the district.

Guilderland lost in the final to Bethlehem, 9-8, on July 12.

Guilderland scored an ample number of runs for its normally tight defense thanks to the bats of catcher Ryan Ghizzoni, who went three-for-five; shortstop Tim O’Connor, who also went three-for-five with two doubles; and third baseman Matt Sand, who went four-for-five with four RBI’s.

The 13’s defense struggled in the contest.

The state tournament begins on Friday in the Dutchess County town of Beacon.

All-Star season

The Guilderland Babe Ruth 13’s began the All-Star season by competing in the Central Area Babe Ruth Tournament held July 5 through 7 in East Greenbush.

Pool play began on Friday night as Guilderland beat Schenectady, 4-0.

Tyler Hynes pitched a two-hit complete game shutout with battery mate Ryan Ghizzoni behind the plate.

Guilderland scored all the runs it needed in the bottom of the first when singles by Ghizzoni, Tim O’Connor, Brett McNeil, and Zach Sicard created three runs. The fourth run came in the fifth inning, when Matt Breton singled in Hynes from third base.

But defense kept coming up big for Guilderland as the fielders made play after play.

Anthony Scaccia at first base helped his infield with several heads-up plays, and outfielders John Evans and Michael Valetta took care of the fly balls to the deep part of the field.

On Saturday, Guilderland was matched against a tough Bethlehem team and prevailed, 2-1.

Left-hander Dylan Collett pitched a complete game gem for Guilderland.

Bethlehem had a potent offense but timely defensive plays halted any scoring threats. Zach Sicard and Matt Breton shared duties at second base, taking care of numerous infield shots, while outfielders Jake Nussbaum, Brett McNeil, and John Evans got the ball in quickly to prevent extra base hits and potential scoring opportunities by Bethlehem.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Matt Sand crossed the plate on a sacrifice hit by Anthony Scaccia.

The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Ryan Ghizzoni and third baseman Matt Sand walked, to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Shortstop Tim O’Connor came to the plate and belted a line-drive single into left field, scoring Ghizzoni, which gave Guilderland its second win of the tournament.

Colonie was Guilderland’s third opponent for the weekend and once again, Guilderland came out on top, 3-2.

Tim O’Connor was given the ball and threw Guilderland’s third complete game in three days. O’Connor kept Colonie’s hitters off balance the entire game.

All three runs for Guilderland came in the top of the third when leadoff man, Ryan Ghizzoni singled, as did Matt Sand. O’Connor aided his own cause with a two run single deep to left field.

Shortstop Tyler Hynes notched the third run off a fielder’s choice.

Once again, Guilderland’s defense was solid.

In the fourth, Hynes threw a runner out at home while containing a run down at second. Brett McNeil caught two tough third outs in right field to thwart a Colonie scoring threat.

Catcher Ryan Ghizzoni saved a run by grabbing a high inside pitch and dove back to the plate for the hard tag off a failed suicide squeeze.

Matt Breton at second base turned a Colonie hit and run into a double play in the bottom of the seventh, and center fielder Dylan Collett displayed his range by making two incredible catches. One ended the fifth inning, and the second was for the final out of the game with runners on second and third.

GBR 15’s bash their way though district

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland Babe Ruth 15-year-old All-Star Team clinched the District 1 Championship last week.

Last year, the team of 14-year-olds advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Regional of the Babe Ruth league and came in fifth place.

The team continued its success as 15-year-olds.

The Guilderland team started the district tournament against Albany and jumped out to a four-run lead after the first inning.

Luke Stark, Steven Anderson, Jeremy Tobin, and Zack Caplan each had hits, with Anderson adding a triple.

Joe Berschwinger pitched five innings with Huston Govel and Alex Boccio pitching one inning each. Combined, they gave up three walks, five hits, and had five strikeouts.

The final was 11-1, in favor of Guilderland.

Guilderland then took on Schenectady Babe Ruth and, once again, Guilderland jumped out with a five-run lead after the first inning.

Schenectady played well until the fourth inning when Guilderland pulled away.

Stark, Tommy Sabbag, Tobin, Caplan, and Chris Heller each had one hit. Matthew Roth had two hits, Stark added a double, and Sabbag cracked a home run.

Kyle LaValley, Ethan Slupski, and Stark each pitched two innings, giving up only one walk and four hits, while adding 10 strikeouts.

The final score was 10-3.

The third game was against Rotterdam Babe Ruth, and had similar results.

Guilderland beat Rotterdam, 12-1, in a game that was halted after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Roth, Anderson, and Tobin each had two hits. Sabbag, Nick Blow, and Slupski each had one hit.

Tobin hit a double, and LaValley had three hits, including a double.

Caplan pitched one inning with Slupski and Boccio each pitching two innings. Combined, they gave up four walks, two hits, and added six strikeouts.

The win moved the Guilderland team to the semifinal game against Colonie Babe Ruth. Guilderland’s bats hammered Colonie in five innings, 13-3.

The offense was led by LaValley, who had four hits, including two doubles, and added five RBI’s. Anderson added a home run, with Roth, Sabbag, Tobin, and Blow each having two hits.

Stark and Roth each added a double.

LaValley pitched a complete game, only giving up three walks, five hits, and striking out five.

The championship game was against Bethlehem Babe Ruth.

Bethlehem took a two-run lead after two innings, but Guilderland’s offense once again took command.

LaValley led the offense with three hits, including a double and three runs batted in. Stark added a double and Berschwinger, Tobin, Blow, and Tim Flaherty each had a hit.

Berschwinger pitched five innings and Slupski pitched two innings, giving up only three walks, three hits, and adding five strikeouts.

Guilderland came back to post a 9-2 win.

Guilderland outscored its opponents, 55-10, in 30 innings of play.

Guilderland moves on to the state tournament in Clifton Park starting on July 20.

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