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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 8, 2007

Cadets steal win away from Dutchmen in final seconds

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND - As tears rolled down their cheeks, it was hard to tell that Guilderland had been the dominant team in Friday's football game.

For the first three quarters, the Dutchmen had control of the Section II Class AA Super Bowl and felt on top of the world.

It all came crashing down in the fourth and final quarter.

The Dutchmen were reduced to tears after the LaSalle Institute Cadets scored 28 unanswered points to pull out the 28-17 win on Friday night at Colonie High School.

Guilderland had a 17-0 lead after three quarters.

But the Cadets' offense took control in the fourth quarter, producing two scoring drives off Guilderland punts, and two turnovers resulted in the final scores for LaSalle.

"You could feel the momentum shift," said Guilderland Coach Dan Penna. "The fumble gave them great field position and we gave them a good kick return. You can't do that against a good football team."

LaSalle went up, 21-17, taking advantage of a Guilderland fumble and getting a one-yard plunge into the end zone by junior running back Marquis Terrell.

But the Dutchmen gave it one last effort.

Guilderland started at its own 36-yard line but lost 11 yards on first down. But Guilderland chipped away and got those yards back.

Senior quarterback Drew Smith connected with classmate Paul Booker for a nine-yard pass. Smith them picked up nine yards on a run to put the ball on Guilderland's 45-yard line.

Facing a fourth down, Smith completed a pass to Parker Wolff for seven yards to put the ball in LaSalle territory, giving the Dutchmen a fresh set of downs.

Smith then picked up seven yards on a run and added 11 more to move the ball to the 39-yard line. A face-mask penalty on the second run moved the ball another five yards and Guilderland was in good scoring position at the LaSalle 25. With the score 21-17, a touchdown would give Guilderland the win.

Smith picked up nine more yards on a run. And on the next play, he ran again and picked up some tough yards to get near the five-yard line. Then, all of a sudden, the ball was going the other way.

LaSalle's Brian Beaury grabbed the ball from Smith and ran down the far sideline; he went untouched all the way to the end zone for a touchdown.

The coaches and players, in confusion, were hoping that a referee's whistle had blown or that Smith was down, but Beaury was awarded a touchdown and the Dutchmen's dream of being Super Bowl champions was dashed.

"Big plays"

"He makes plays with his legs," Penna said of Smith after the game. "He fights to pick up extra yards and certain times this year he's made big plays. We have confidence in him. He played a great football game."

The Dutchmen scored first in the contest. Guilderland took the opening kick-off and moved the ball down the field and even overcame two penalties - one for holding and one for a block in the back - to score a touchdown.

The big play of the drive was a 33-yard pass play from Smith to Booker that started on the LaSalle 43-yard line and moved the ball to the 10. Smith lofted a beautiful pass over the shoulder of Booker who made a nice catch and ran down the sideline before being tackled at the 10.

Smith scored on a run on the next play to put the Dutch on the scoreboard. E.J. Genzano kicked the extra point to give Guilderland a 7-0 lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter.

The Dutch were moving the ball on its next possession after forcing a LaSalle punt. They had the ball at the LaSalle 28-yard line after a nice 20-yard run by senior Nick Ranalli. But a fumble was recovered by the Cadets, ending the Guilderland threat.

The Dutch stopped the ensuing LaSalle drive early in the second quarter. The Cadets turned the ball over on downs and Guilderland took over at its own 37-yard line.

Again the Dutchmen moved the ball - with the help of a 38-yard run by Smith - but could not get into the end zone.

Genzano kicked a 26-yard field goal to give Guilderland a 10-0 lead about midway through the second quarter.

The Dutchmen got the ball back quickly as Smith intercepted a pass by LaSalle quarterback Jared Henkel. It was the first play from scrimmage, negating a good return by Terrell.

Guilderland took advantage of the turnover, moving the ball and using up time on the clock. Smith capped the drive with a five-yard run and leaped into the end zone for another six points. Genzano's kick was good and the Dutchmen led, 17-0, with 1:20 left until halftime.

LaSalle's defense tightened in the third and fourth quarter, forcing the Dutchmen to punt the ball.

The Cadets got the ball late in the third quarter and scored early in the fourth as Henkel connected with Lou DiNovo for a 11-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down-and-goal play.

LaSalle forced another punt and the Cadets took advantage as Terrell scored on a 39-yard run; with the extra point, the score was 17-14 with 5:48 left in the game.

Guilderland fumbled on its next possession and LaSalle took advantage and was able to continue its comeback. Terrell gave the Cadets the lead with a one-yard dive into the end zone.

Smith had an amazing final high-school football game.

He finished the game with 157 yards rushing on 27 attempts. He also threw for 129 yards on eight completed passes.

Terrell finished with 119 yards on 21 carries.

"Dedicated everything"

The loss dampens the spirits of a talented and highly successful senior class and team. The Dutchmen accomplished more this year than any other Guilderland football team since 1971.

It was Guilderland's first trip to the Section II Super Bowl since the game was started in 1978. The Dutchmen finished with eight wins, the most ever for any Guilderland team.

"I'm proud, we had a lot of accomplishments," Penna said after the game. "This is a good thing that will help our football program."

Penna praised his senior class, which includes Booker, and linebackers Paul Malamood and Pete Stanish who have been a big part of bringing the Dutchmen to the title game.

"They've dedicated everything to the game," Penna said. "They looked back at last year and the breakthrough we had and wanted to be even better. They led us to the Super Bowl. This is a successful group of guys. I'm proud of these kids"

"It's hard to believe the season is over," Penna said. "It feels like a lifetime. The kids played with everything they had tonight."

Lady Dutch take strides to re-write history

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND - The Guilderland girls' cross-country team came into Friday's Class AA Section II race with two goals.

Both were accomplished and the Lady Dutch did something they haven't done since 1993.

Guilderland finished third as a team in the race behind perennial powers Saratoga and Shenendehowa for the first time since 1993. The Lady Dutch are now hoping to earn a spot in the prestigious, invitation-only Federation meet in Wappingers Falls next weekend.

The Lady Dutch also had all five runners break 19 minutes on the Saratoga Spa State Park course.

"That was a best case scenario," Guilderland Coach Dave Kosier said. "Saratoga is one of the best teams in the country and Shen has been running phenomenally. They are ranked third in the state. We were looking at third and, if we ran well, we would have a shot at it. We knew Colonie would be real tough and Niskayuna would be tough. They beat us the week before and we squeaked by Colonie by a couple points. I knew it would be a battle between us, Niskayuna, and Colonie.

"Our girls' ran phenomenally," Kosier added. "Running 19 minutes on Saratoga's course for girls is a good mark. We've had one girl achieve that in the past couple of years. Two years ago, Jen Madsen ran 18:59. We wanted an average of under 19 minutes and that would help have a chance at the Federation meet. Our top five girls ran under 19 minutes."

Everybody clicks

The Lady Dutch came in third with a combined score of 81 points to beat Colonie by 10. Shen finished second with 73 points and Saratoga won with 30 points.

Ninth-grader Erin Mossop was the first Guilderland runner to cross the finish line. She came in 12th overall with a time of 18:34.1.

Lynley Joynt, a junior, finished 13th with a time of 18:36.8. Lea Cure, an eighth-grader, ran 18:39.4 to finish 14th.

Kelly Camardo, an eighth-grader, finished 19th with a time of 18:51.2. Classmate Anna Pickett finished 23rd in a time of 18:57.3.

Juniors Jen Madsen and Allie Di Mura were the next two Guilderland finishers, but only the top five runners count toward the team score. Madsen was 33rd in 19:30.4 and Di Mura finished 35th in 19:32.6.

"I knew they had the ability to do it," Kosier added. "It's something that is tough to do in sports, especially in cross-country. It's hard to get everybody to click."

No Guilderland runners qualified to run in the state meet that will be held this weekend. However, the bids for the Federation meet will be held at the conclusion of the state meet race, so Kosier will have to wait until Saturday night to know if they made it or not.

"The girls are extremely excited," Kosier said. "They got a sectional patch there. And we're practicing this week, as though we're going."

"Team effort"

Although he's coaching a lot of talented runners, Kosier is not surprised that no one qualified for the state meet.

"That's the kind of season we've had," he said. "We haven't had a front-runner that's won races. It's truly been a team effort with us. We haven't had a runner that gets a top five at big invitationals. But we finish in quite a pack.

"Our runners finish less than 30 seconds apart," Kosier added. "That's obviously something you have to have in cross-country. We want a close gap between one and five."

Kosier and his assistant coaches have been keeping an all-time top-25 runners at different courses in the area, including at Saratoga.

"We always run championship meets at Saratoga and had some great runners come through here," Kosier said. "We re-wrote the list. At the sectionals on Friday, we had the sixth, seventh, eighth, 12th, and 15th times on the all-time top-25 at Saratoga. Most of the lists go back to 1998 or 1999 and Saratoga goes back a lot longer."

It was the first time since 1993 the Lady Dutch finished as high as third at the Section II meet.

"This section is so strong in distance running," Kosier said. "The girls were excited about doing something that had not been done in a long time."

And none of the runners is a senior.

"Of the 10 people who ran and the two alternates," Kosier said, "they are all underclassmen. The highest were 11th-graders".

"We're excited about that," Kosier added. "We have a future, too. I'm hoping that we get any invite to Feds this year. You never know about next year. We're running great now, so let's keep it going."

Dutch hoping to get the call for Fed meet

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND - Friday was a bit of a disappointing day for Coach Bob Oates and his Guilderland boys' cross-country team.

The Dutchmen finished fourth in the Class AA Section II race held in Saratoga. The Guilderland team had a goal of finishing in the top three, but finished three points behind Niskayuna for third place, 96-99.

Shenendehowa won the Class AA race with 39 points and Shaker was second with 44.

"Seven out of 10 guys did not run their personal best," Oates said on Tuesday. "Seven out of 10 could have been a little better. I would have liked if it was five out of 10 did not run to what they were capable of.

"Checking back at the numbers," Oates added, "to see where we did not do well. I have to look at the workouts and see when did I go wrong. The kids have worked hard and have the desire."

"You never know what's going to happen," Oates said. "We beat Niskayuna during the year so we might have been overconfident. They were running hard and they raised the bar much like Shaker did."

What might be at stake for the Dutchmen is a spot in the Federation meet next weekend in Wappingers Falls. Oates and his team will find out if they qualify for the state-wide by -invitation-only meet after the state meet is held on Saturday in Norwood in the North Country this Saturday.

"We were in a good spot for a Fed bid prior to Friday," Oates said. "Losing to Nisky hurt us. We're sixth in the merged standings. I don't know if they will take six teams from Section II. They've done it before, but they take only 16 teams total. And there are a lot of good teams. Anything is possible.

"We'll find out on Saturday at 4 p.m," Oates added. "But now the odds are less in our favor. If it comes down to one spot, Niskayuna, by beating us, should go."

Graves goes to states

Oates will have a race to coach on Saturday at the state meet. For the second year in a row, senior Roland Graves qualified to run in the state meet.

Graves finished seventh overall in the Section II race with a time of 15:42.1. He was the fifth runner to qualify. The top five runners not from the winning team - in this case Shen - qualify for the state meet. The Plainsmen had two runners in the top six, opening a spot for Graves.

"Roland ran a 15:34 last year," Oates said. "He has run 15:42 in back-to-back races, the Suburban Council's and the sectionals. We were looking to have him run between 15:15 and 15:10 this year. He led at the mile, but some guys got ahead of him. And what happens in distance running is, when someone goes ahead of you and you do not respond, you start fighting with yourself. It goes to your head.

"Running 15:42 is a respectable time," Oates added. "But it's not where he wants to be. We're working on dealing with pressure. He's got the spotlight now and he is on the front page of The Enterprise and things like that.

"It's a lot of pressure for a 17-year old. He's starting to realize what's the worse thing that happens when you don't do well. You didn't do well and you feel worse about it. But the sun comes up the next day."

Senior Jake King finished 17th overall in the race. He clocked a time of 16:07.8.

Justin Veldhuis ran 16:29.3 to finish 23rd overall. Will Russo was 24th with a time of 16:30.4 and Kevin Sheehan was the last point-scorer with a 28th-place finish in a time of 16:41.6.

Fabio Ritmo and Gianni Vissat also ran for Guilderland in the race, but sixth and seventh on the team and only the top five scores count to the team's score.

"Jake King ran incredible," Oates said. "He took 26 seconds off his time. Will Russo took 39 seconds off his time and Ritmo took 15 seconds off his.

"Those guys came up big," Oates added. "King has settled into being the second man. He has his ups and downs. He'll run a great race one day and another day he'll run a bad race. We're working to get his confidence high on a more consistent basis. And it's helped him. He ran a personal best at the Suburban Council meet."

Oates would like to give all his runners one more race to run. Graves will run as an individual at the Federation meet.

"I want to be at Federation," Graves said. "Last year, a number of our runners went and I would like another shot at Bowdoin Park."

FMS modified team goes undefeated

GUILDERLAND - On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the Farnsworth Middle School modified football team wrapped up its season with a 46-8 victory over Albany, capping off a perfect record of 7-0.

Scoring touchdowns for FMS were Matt Breton, Malcom Neson, Mike Garcelon, and Tanner Brandt.

The team played excellent defense all afternoon, including posting its first goal-line stand.

"I am very proud of this group," Head Coach Marty Curro said. "They gave us everything they had in every practice and never stopped working to get better. It's too bad the season had to end. This is the kind of group you want to keep forever."

With 46 players on its roster, one of the biggest teams in recent memory, Curro said, there was plenty of talent to go around both offensively and defensively.

"We had a great turnout with a large number of kids who played Pop Warner last year," Curro said. "This is always a plus because those kids come in with football experience. Plus, having coaches [Mike] Cahill and [Bryan] McLachlan who knew a lot of the kids was huge."

The modified team also fed off the success of the Guilderland varsity team.

"We kept reminding the kids about the varsity team who went undefeated when they were down here four years ago," Curro said. "Names like [Drew] Smith, [Paul] Booker, and [Paul] Malamood were heard at every practice. These kids know who their role models are."

The team played some of its best football against Shenendehowa, Schenectady, Saratoga, and Amsterdam, posting three shutouts and giving up 38 points all season.

Often undersized, the team had big assets in its execution and discipline, Curro said.

"I give all the credit to the kids and the coaching staff," he said. "Everyone was willing to put in the time and effort necessary to have a season like this. Again, it's too bad it had to end."

Blackbirds' season has controversial ending

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE - It was a disappointing end to the season for the Voorheesville boys' soccer team. But the future looks bright.

The Blackbirds lost to Galway, 3-2, in a Class CC semifinal game last Wednesday in Glens Falls.

Galway won the Class CC title on Saturday in Colonie and is unbeaten this season and ranked number-one in the state in Class C by the New State Sportswriters Association.

Voorheesville was seeded fifth for the tournament and beat number-four seed Lake George to earn a spot in the semifinals.

The Blackbirds had the Eagles on the ropes in the second half of their contest and, if not for a controversial missed call, the outcome might have been different.

With Galway leading, 2-1, in the second half, a Voorheesville player took a shot on goal. The Galway goalie was out of position but an Eagles defender stopped the ball with his hands. A penalty for a handball should have been called, resulting in a penalty kick, but no call was made.

A few minutes after the missed call, Galway scored to essentially ice the game and give the Eagles the spot in the championship game.

"I don't like to make excuses," said Voorheesville Coach Willie Sanchez, "but the refs blew some calls. I don't know how he could not be looking at that play. And, in the first half, there was a tackle in the box they didn't call. But that's what happens. We made it a game."

After Steven Wilday scored his third goal of the game to give Galway a 3-1 lead, Voorheesville tried hard to get back into the game.

The Blackbirds pressured the Eagles but could not catch up until late in the game.

Junior Ryan Dimmit scored on a direct kick with 1:53 left in the contest, but it was too late as Galway was able to hold on for the win.

"I'm proud of my guys," Sanchez said. "Earlier in the season, we might not have fought back. We continued to play hard and create chances. And that's all you can ask for. They [Galway] are a good team and they played hard. They're physical, and it took us awhile to adjust to that."

Even play

Wilday put the Eagles on the scoreboard first in the first half of the contest. Wilday took a pass from Eduard Nevistic and buried a shot into the low, far corner of the goal to give Galway a 1-0 lead with 11:15 left in the opening stanza.

Wilday made it 2-0 early in the second half with an assist from Kevin Miller.

The Blackbirds answered back, putting pressure on the Eagles' defense. Voorheesville finally broke through on a long shot by Ryan Dimmit.

Dimmit connected on a long shot beyond the 18-yard marker and buried it into the upper corner with 33:07 left in the game.

Wilday gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead with another assist from Miller. Dimmit would cut the lead to one late in the game on a direct kick.

"We were diving in a lot," Sanchez said of his defense, leading to the three goals. "They have talented players from the midfield to the top. When you dive in, the next guy has to step up and, when that doesn't happen, your numbers are down. That can't happen against a good team."

The majority of the game was played evenly and the statistics show that. Galway finished with 18 shots to Voorheesville's 13.

Blackbird junior goalie Lee Fenner made 11 saves and Galway keeper Matt Almy made 18 saves.

The Eagles had six corner-kick attempts to two for the Blackbirds.

"We struggle against physical teams," Sanchez said. "It took us awhile to adjust."

The Blackbirds also had a great opportunity to score first in the contest. But a shot went off the crossbar.

"If we score in the first 10 minutes, it changes the game," Sanchez said. "We score and we feel pretty good. But they scored and it took the wind out of us.

"I thought we were in trouble when we went down 2-0," Sanchez added. "We continued to battle and we got it to 2-1. Then a penalty kick should have been called and we could have made it 2-2. Then, who knows what happens."

Only five players will graduate from the Voorheesville squad. So Sanchez will have a lot of players to work with next season.

There will be some key spots to fill as starters Kevin Vanderwende, Kevin Klembczyk, Noah Gorka, and Josh Glover will graduate. Reserve Anthony Loccisano will also graduate in June.

"We lose some good guys in Vanderwende, Klembczyk, Gorka, Glover, and Loccisano," Sanchez said. "Everyone else who comes back are talented guys. We'll be back."

Birds flying north after winning sectionals

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE - Even in what should have been its most tense moments, the Voorheesville girls' volleyball team stayed loose.

Even as they watched a two-set lead evaporate in last Saturday's Class CC championship match at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, the Lady Blackbirds kept dancing and cheering and having fun.

The end result gave the Voorheesville girls more reason to celebrate.

The Blackbirds held off perennial power Lake George to win, three sets to two - 25-16, 25-13, 22-25, 24-26, and 25-19.

"It definitely scared us when it got to the fourth game," said Alyssa Cave, one of Voorheesville's three captains, "even though we won the last two games. They've won it [sectionals] so many times. It was time for a change."

"I looked at the girls on our team," Taryn Smith, another of the captains, added. "There was no worry. It went our way. And now we get a banner in the gym."

"Every day we would be in the gym and say, 'We want a banner,'" the team's third captain, Kristen Lysenko said. "We're the first volleyball team to get one."

The Lady Blackbirds will have a chance to add more to that banner. Voorheesville beat Hoosic Valley, in another five-set affair, at the Class CC/C match on Tuesday night at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs.

At Skidmore, however, the tables were reversed as the Blackbirds were down two sets, but came back to win the final three. The Birds will be the Class C representative from Section II and will play a regional match against a Section X (North Country) team at Franklin Academy on Saturday.

"Make yourself proud"

Last Saturday, Voorheesville dominated the first two sets and looked to be on its way to a three-game sweep.

The final point of the first game seemed to set the tone as Lysenko put an end to a long-played point to earn the nine-point win, 25-16.

The second set was just as impressive for the Blackbirds as they cruised to the 12-point win.

Then things took a turn.

The experience of the Warriors took over in the third set, and, even though they trailed for most of game, the Warriors scored the final five points of the set. They overcame a 22-20 deficit and closed out the game behind the serving of Candice Koenig.

The fourth set was dominated by Lake George as its big hitters, Kelly Fuchs and Chrissy Scanlon, finally got some good swings at the ball and made some big hits.

Voorheesville trailed, 17-11, but fought back and actually took the lead at 20-19 off four straight service points by Amanda O'Brien.

But Fuchs put the game away with a resounding kill and evened the match at two sets apiece.

"They're experienced and have staying power," Voorheesville Coach Sandy Vorse said. "I told the kids, 'Everything is in your favor. You'll be in the game right to the end. Make yourself proud. And take it one point at a time and see what happens.'"

"We always put ourselves in that position," Cave said.

The teams traded points early in the fifth and decisive set. The Blackbirds finally took the lead for good on a service point by Arielle Smith. Voorheesville had a 10-9 lead.

Smith dropped in an ace on her next serve, got a kill from Taryn Smith, then served another ace to give the Blackbirds a 13-9 lead.

Lake George cut the lead back to one, 13-12, but Voorheesville got a side out and another point - because of rally-style scoring - and added to its lead with the serving of Lysenko and hits by Alissa Hatch and Arielle Smith.

Voorheesville built an 18-12 lead before a kill by Fuchs returned the serve to Lake George.

But that possession was short lived, as Cave dropped a hit on the line for a side out and point.

The teams traded possessions, with Cave making a block to give her team a five-point lead, 20-15.

Lake George would get as close as 22-19. But the Warriors hit the ball out of bounds to give Voorheesville a four-point lead and make the score 23-19.

Lysenko then dropped in a point to make it 24-19, and O'Brien ended the match with an ace, giving the Blackbirds the championship.

"A great win"

"It was a great volleyball game," Vorse said. "This was our first time in a sectional final. Lake George had an emotional edge. They've been here so many times. They knew what signs to make and what cheers to do. I told the girls that, if we play our game, I would be proud.

"I think we made the Colonial Council proud," Vorse added. "It's a strong volleyball league. I feel like we don't get the credit we deserve in the Colonial Council. It's a great win for Voorheesville and for the league."

The Blackbirds came into the championship match with a game plan.

"Our philosophy was to attack them and get them out of their system," Vorse said. "We wanted to get the ball away from their big kids. We were giving them hard serves and getting them away from the ball. We had a good serving game today, and that helped."

Vorse was proud with how her team kept its cool after losing the two-set lead.

"We have very good seniors," the coach said. "They are amazing leaders. Even though we got down, we stayed positive. They didn't yell at the kids and kept saying, 'We can do this.'

"Twenty-one [Taryn Smith] was a little nervous after she hit the ball into the net," Vorse added. "I just told her to do what she does well and that is to lead the team and let someone else do the work. She has been working hard all season."

"We've always called ourselves 'The Comeback Team,'" Smith said. "We beat the number-two and number-one teams. This really hasn't hit me yet."

Blackbirds' legs carry them to sectional success

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE - Last Friday was a good day to be a Blackbird.

The boys' and girls' cross-country teams put on an impressive display at the Section II championship meet on Friday at Saratoga Spa State Park.

The boys' team won its second consecutive sectional title, this year in Class C, and the girls' team finished second behind powerful Greenwich.

Voorheesville's Mackey Lloyd won the boys' race to lead the Blackbirds to the title.

"It was a very good day," said Voorheesville Coach Kelly McHale. "Second for the girls is awesome. And for the boys, winning is great. They worked hard for that."

Lloyd won the race with a time of 15:52.1. Austin Lane of Greenwich was second with a time of 16 minutes.

The girls' team had two runners qualify for the state meet. Senior Hilary Edmunds finished eighth overall in 19:17.2 but was the third highest finisher not from Greenwich. The top team and the top five runners who are not from the winning team qualify for the state meet.

Eighth-grader Michelyn Little finished right behind Edmunds. She came in ninth with a time of 19:17.4.

The Blackbirds finished with 36 points to claim the top spot and earn a trip to Norwood-Norfolk High School for the state championship meet.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo was second with 77 points.

Strong results

Conor Cashin finished fourth with a time of 16:28.3. Ian Powell was sixth in 16:42.2. Tommy Pasquali was 12th in 17:12.6; and Taylor Treadgold was 13th in 17:15.8. And though their times didn't count for the team score, Nathan Bub and Robert Kaus also ran great races.

Bub finished 16th in a time of 17:32.4 and Kaus finished in 17:47. Only the top five scores per team are counted for the overall team score.

"It capped a good season for me and the team," Lloyd said at practice on Monday. "I still think we have a good chance at states. We are going to try and win.

"It is so much better going with a team," Lloyd added. "It's great to have those guys behind you. This is my fourth year to states and the second with a team."

On to States

McHale said the Blackbirds were focused on getting back to the state race and have worked to be ready for the meet.

"Once Fonda lost its top three runners, it opened things up for us," the coach said of last year's Fonda seniors. "This year, the entire planning changed. We want to be peaking at states. For Mackey and the other seniors, we really want to do well at states. Every other year, we are peaking for the sectional meet and we do a good job of it. We want the confidence to do well at states."

The Blackbirds also have the experience of last year's meet and have grown from that experience.

"We're a more mature team," McHale said. "The entire team at the sectional meet, except for Tucker [Bourque] are 10th-graders or above. They've done harder workouts and gotten better throughout the year.

"I'm very happy with the game plan going into it," McHale added. "They've done everything I asked them to do and they haven't even peaked yet."

McHale is also proud of Lloyd's running at the sectional meet.

"Mackey's winning is exciting," the coach said. "I was hoping someone was pushing him a little bit because he runs better with competition. He was alone a lot of the race. He went out fast and kept it. He ran a good race."

"I went out a little fast," Lloyd said. "I thought two or three kids would stay with me. And they started catching up with me, and, when they did that, I started to kick."

Girls peak

Edmunds and Little were just as impressive to McHale.

"With the girls, we practiced to peak at the sectionals," McHale said. "Hilary and Michelyn worked well together that day. They both ran precision races that day.

"The girls have had an excellent year," McHale said. "We're taking 10 kids to states. That's pretty nice. We're taking the guys and two girls. It's nice we've been to Norwood. We're prepared for that course and we're excited for that."

McHale is looking to do a little better at the state meet this year.

"We would like to do well up there," the coach said. "Last year, we ended with a not-so-great performance. The weather was not good, and we did not know the course. This year, we have knowledge of the course and it looks like it is going to be nice and cool.

"I would really like a top-three finish," McHale added. "And I would like Mackey to get in the top 10. Anything above 10 is awesome."

"Awesome experience"

"I definitely have a plan for the race," said Lloyd, who is looking to run in college with one possibility being the University at Albany. "I want to go out with the leaders. I usually start slow because I'm nervous. I want to run a fast race, and, if I bomb, I bomb,"

McHale has a little different philosophy for the Edmunds and Little.

"Michelyn is an eighth-grader and we talked about how going to states is a privilege," McHale added. "You go to enjoy the run and have fun. You get to be around some elite high school athletes and that in itself is an awesome experience."

This trip to states adds to the impressive track record McHale has since she took over as coach.

"This is my third year as head coach," she said, "and I've had a team at states every year since I took over. I can't believe the progress that's been made. I was given a great group of kids to work with. They work well together and they run well together."

And the success should continue for McHale.

"We have two senior boys and two senior girls," the coach said. "We also have three eighth-graders that will be on the team next year. The seventh- and eighth-graders show promise. We'll be young, but we should continue to be a good team."

Bulldogs harriers win WAC send two to states

By Tim Matteson

BERNE - Missing their number-one runner for most of the season, the runners on the Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys' team made big strides.

Without Jared Finke, the Bulldogs showed their teeth at the Western Athletic Conference meet a couple of weeks ago and again on Friday at the Class C Section II race in Saratoga.

BKW finished second, behind defending champion Voorheesville at the meet and watched David Haverly qualify for the state meet in the process. Ada Lauterbach qualified later on Friday in the Class C girls' race.

"I'm happy with it," said BKW Coach Bill Tindale of his team's finish. "It's probably what we should've done. Voorheesville is an excellent team. We've run most of the season without Jared, who's our top guy. He's been out with mono. Dave Haverly qualified for states and our team is still young. The guys who ran on Friday, none of them are seniors. That bodes well for next year."

Finke is a senior and he has missed out helping his team win the league championship and running for a spot on the state meet.

"I felt bad for him," Tindale said. "He's worked so hard."

Haverly, a junior, ran 16:46.6 to finish seventh overall in the race. He was the fifth finisher among runners that were not from Voorheesville. The top team and the next five runners qualify for the state meet. Voorheesville had three runners in the top six.

BKW finished with 77 points to Voorheesville's 36.

Following Haverly for BKW was Connor Devine. Devine, an eighth-grader, finished 11th overall in 17:07.4.

Jeff Moller, a junior, finished 15th overall in a time of 17:20.5; junior Josh Glick came in 17th in 17:32.7; Tom Della Rocco, a sophomore, finished 27th in 18:12.1.

Tim David and Ethan Crevates also ran for BKW and had good times, but their scores did not count as the top five runners score points for the team at sectionals.

Lauterbach finished 10th overall in the Class C girls' race. She ran 19:22.1 to qualify for the state meet for the fourth straight year. The top five runners were from Greenwich, the winning team.

WAC winners

Though the sectional meet was a good day for BKW, Tindale was just as happy to win the Western Athletic Conference boys' and girls' races.

"The WAC meet was a great day," Tindale said. "Dave won the individual race and the other guys really ran well. The next closest team was 43 points away. We had four league all-stars. We're really excited about that."

Tindale was impressed how well his team did after it lost Finke for the rest of the season.

"They really stepped up," Tindale said. "We knew in early October that Jared would not be back. Dave, Jeff Moller, Josh Glick, other guys really stepped up. I'm proud of the way they handled it."

Tindale was also proud of the girls' team after they won the WAC championship.

"We won it with just five runners," the coach said. "It's a great accomplishment for the team. It was a fantastic day, and it was not just Ada winning the race. We had the top four girls in the race."

Christina Bartonicek finished second at the league meet. She was followed by Courtney Tedeschi, a seventh-grader, and senior Katrina Yakel.

That was the same order of finish for the BKW girls' at sectionals as the team finished fourth overall in the Class C race.

"Rachel Raiti was our fifth girl," Tindale said, referring back to the WAC meet. "The number-five girl is a big part of the team and she ran a great race. We beat Duanesburg by 10 points and they will be one of the top two or three teams in the state in Class D.

"It was the best day of the year for us," Tindale added.

Best times

Last Friday was a good end to the season for Tindale's teams.

"I'm happy with sectionals overall," he said. "They ran their best times ever at Saratoga. We had considerable time improvements. Class C is competitive and we hung in there. I'm extremely excited with the way they ran."

The BKW girls' team will lose two seniors including Lauterbach. Lauterbach will be running in college and, Tindale said, is seriously looking at the University at Albany.

"She ran at the Proctor Invitational in Utica earlier this year and finished fourth out of 121 runners," Tindale said. "She is looking at Albany, which will be a good fit for her"

"Katrina Yakel is a senior as well," Tindale added. "She has been a great leader for us. Christina and Courtney will be back and, theoretically, will be the two top runners in the WAC next year. And ninth-grader Haley Matott will be a good runner for us and the modified team did well. A lot of them will move up to varsity and will be improved."

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