[Return to Home Page] [Subscriptions] [Newsstands] [Contact Us] [Archives]

Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 22, 2006

Bob and Mike all-Americans

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — They took different paths to reach the thing they both love the most.

And now it has taken them to high levels of success.

When Guilderland’s Bob McIver and Mike Camardo first touched lacrosse sticks, they fell in love with the sport and now the sport has given back to them. Both were named high-school All-Americans by U.S. Lacrosse and both will be moving on to play at Division I colleges next year.

"The first time I held a stick in my hand," Camardo said, "I couldn’t put it down."

"You get to hit someone with a stick," McIver said. "Kids love it because its so fast."

And now Camardo and McIver are awarded for doing what they love.

"It’s a good way to end a good year and career at Guilderland," said McIver. "It’s kind of cool to get some recognition."

"This is pretty much the best recognition you can get in high school," Camardo added. "It’s really exciting. It’s incredible. It’s what every kid that plays lacrosse strives for."

The pair were honored at the U.S. Lacrosse Adirondack Chapter banquet last Thursday.

Camardo earned the All-American status for his play as a midfielder for the Dutchmen this season against Section II competition. McIver was named one of two Academic All-Americans in the area.

"Great kids"

"They both are great kids," said Guilderland Coach Sean McConaghy. "And it’s not anything to do with lacrosse. They are great kids. They are very coachable and are very hard working. They take a lot of pride in everything they do and it has surely paid off for them. They put in the work and the benefits have been great for them."

Camardo is the first Guilderland All-Amercian since Bryan Adams was named in 2002 and McIver is the first Academic All-American since Evan O’Donnell in 2004.

"I remember watching Bryan Adams," Camardo said. "We were in the eighth grade and he was just amazing. I was always looking up to him."

Camardo, who missed a handful of games due to an injury during the season, was surprised that he was given the award.

"I had no clue," Camardo said. "I was very excited, especially since I missed a lot of the season."

McIver was equally as surprised.

"It always is when you get that kind of recognition," he said. "You look at the kids who got it before — Evan O’Donnell and [Niskayuna’s] Nick Sapia. They were remarkable student athletes. To have my name on the list with those players is quite an accomplishment."

McIver and Camardo were shocked to just be named with the top kids in Section II this year. Niskayuna goalie Noah Fossner and defensemen Dan Halyako were honored, too, as well as Greenwich’s Trever Sipperly. Josh Sweeney of Christian Brothers Academy also earned the academic honor.

"You knew that the Nisky kids were penciled in before the year," McIver said.

The next level

McIver and Camardo will now take their lacrosse prowess to college and will play at a high level. McIver will play at Binghamton University and Camardo at the University of Mayland-Baltimore County.

"I didn’t think about playing in college until I made Empires [State Games] after my sophomore year," said Camardo. "Before, I was just playing for fun."

"Making Empires, a lot of doors opened for me," McIver added. "There were a lot of coaches there."

"When I started to get letters from D-I colleges," Camardo said. "I decided to go for it."

Though they will be leaving Guilderland, and looking forward to moving on to college, they have fond memories of their alma mater, especially lacrosse.

"We made the finals two years in a row," Camardo said of playing in the Section II title game. "It’s getting really big."

"It was great playing for coaches like Coach McConaghy and Assistant Coaches Bremmer and May," McIver said. "They improved each individual player and you’ll see more and more college players coming out of Guilderland."

They also feel they are adding to the legacy of Guilderland lacrosse.

"It’s great to have an award in the trophy case with Cort Kim and Bryan Adams," McIver said. "It’s nice to leave a piece like that behind."

The one thing that hurts is the 9-2 loss the Dutch suffered to Niskayuna in the Class A Section II title game on June 1 to end their high school careers.

"It hurt," McIver said. "I felt like we ran out of gas. The whole game they had more depth. They had guys that had roles on just offense and defense. They were able to divide Mike’s job into four people. They had a larger group of better athletes."

Camardo played all over the field during the season, playing mostly midfield on offense and defense, but would also play defense on man-down situations after the team had a penalty.


Camardo and McIver met as students at Altamont Elementary School and they played basketball for a recreation league.

They grew up together — along with most of the seniors on the team — which led to the success of the high school team.

But they had different ways of starting their love affair with lacrosse.

McIver first picked up a lacrosse stick when he was in kindergarten. Camardo didn’t start playing until the sixth grade.

"My dad liked it," McIver said. "He didn’t play until after he got out of college. He entered me into a winter league and I really liked it. I worked really hard at it to get to where I am now."

McIver also had a practice partner at home. His brother, Doug, played the sport and was an outstanding goalkeeper at Albany Academy and is now playing at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, the Division II national champions.

"He is great to go to games with," Bob McIver said. "And it’s great to have someone to throw with. We play at games and tournaments, but it doesn’t stop when you go home."

But the home practices have their own little twist.

"He shoots at me a lot," McIver said. "He says he gets sick of people shooting on him at practice so he takes it out on me. But I’ve put my little brother into the net."

McIver did have some influence in getting Camardo to play lacrosse.

"I played in the town league," Camardo said. "And I talked to Bob and Colin Brunk and they wanted me to play. Me and Colin were always hanging out. I picked up a stick and stayed with it. My dad didn’t know what lacrosse was."

A natural athlete — Camardo also played soccer at Guilderland — Camardo took to the sport quickly and with hard work became really good.

Camardo made the team as a freshman and McIver was on the varsity team as a sophomore.

McIver finished this season with 90 points and finished fourth in Section II. Camardo finished the season with 44 points but scooped up an amazing 88 ground balls. Both are in the top 10 for all-time point leaders at Guilderland.

"It’s a great honor for both of them to have," McConaghy said. "Both are going to play in college — Mike at UMBC where there will be 20 All-Americans and Bob at Binghamton where it’s the same thing.

"They will represent Guilderland well"When people look at the All-American list and see two players from Guilderland, they see that we have great kids and great lacrosse players. And that’s nice to see."

Camardo and McIver said that they would come back and watch the Guilderland team next year.

"We want to wish luck to the upcoming players," said McIver. "There are some good players coming up and there’s a great coaching staff. I know they will do well."

Ray Gilman story

By Tim Matteson

KNOX — Ray Gilman sits sprawled out on the couch in his parents’ house in Knox.

Though he appears comfortable, he is uncomfortable talking about himself and injuries and illness that have haunted his career as a member of the track-and-field team at the University at Albany.

Gilman, a Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School graduate, is coming off the best year of his young athletic life, but he’s still on the long road to being fully recovered.

"It was a pretty good year for me," Gilman said with a modest tone. "I just wonder what could’ve been. I missed half the indoor season. I came back early from mono and I had some issues with my feet."

But there is more to Gilman’s story than just fighting off mononucleosis and foot problems. He was recovering from an injury before the mono set in and sat him down for half of the indoor season.

Gilman came back and, without much practice during the season, won the America East Conference Championship in the triple jump and earned a spot in the NCAA Eastern Regionals.

"Ray has been one of those athletes that is a pleasure to have on the team," said UAlbany’s head coach, Roberto Vives. "He is a hard worker. He loves to be on the team. He has come through and been very competitive and to win the conference championship with a jump of over 49 feet is amazing."

And this was after missing the entire year before.

It was the winter break during his sophomore year when Gilman went to help his 86-year old uncle repair a second-floor deck and fell down a set of steps.

"I went down the steps and smacked onto a deck," Gilman said. "I got up but my mom said we might as well go to the hospital."

And it was a good thing he did. Gilman had ruptured his spleen, and, though doctors left the organ in, he spent a week in the intensive-care unit.

"He didn’t know where he was," said Gilman’s mother, Debbie. "His coach said he wanted to see Ray for awhile and said he would stay for an hour. He ended up staying for four."

Gilman had to miss his entire sophomore campaign while recovering from the accident and, when he was about fully recovered, he started feeling the effects of the mononucleosis.

"Last summer, I wasn’t sleeping well and not eating right," Gilman said. "I went into the pre-season [in September] and the doctors told me I shouldn’t do anything. I didn’t have a pre-season. So I’ve had to catch up with everyone. But I might have come back too early. I’m still not quite right.

"I missed almost all of the first semester just working on trying to get healthy," Gilman added.

Gilman came back after the new year but still did not feel right.

"I struggled a little," Gilman said. "But I didn’t want to miss anything. You work toward the end of the season so you peak."

While Gilman was out, he traveled with the rest of his teammates to meets and helped out where he could. And, when he came back, he could not find the energy to practice and could not work on technique.

"After practices, I would go to bed," Gilman said. "I wouldn’t eat"Then I started to have foot and leg problems. It was from coming back too early. I had to get orthotics."

Gilman said a high arch and coming back from the mono led to the foot problems. Though he might have been rested for meets.

"I would go to the meets and be fresh," Gilman said. "I think that helps me.

"If I rest over the summer," he added. "I should be fully healthy."


And that is another part of the story. Gilman, his parents, and his coaches feel there is more that Gilman can accomplish.

"He has a lot more potential," Vives said. "If he’s healthy for his senior year, he can come back and jump. He is just scratching the surface of potential. He can go 51 feet in the triple jump. The school record was set in 1991 and is 50 feet, 6 inches. He has a

chance to break it."

The adversities also gave Gilman reason to do well.

"I missed the beginning of the year and that gave me more motivation to do well," he said. "I knew time was running out."

And he had success throughout the season.

"It is nice to get a personal record at every meet," Gilman said. "I want to know that I was consistently able to score and be ready to pop one out there. I should hit 50 feet. I have all next year and the year after that."

Gilman started feeling good in jumping near the end of the indoor season.

"During indoors, at the IC4A’s I finished seventh in all the east," he said. "It was pretty exciting and going to Puerto Rico and competing there was great."

"We kid him a lot," said Gilman’s father, also named Ray. "But he has a lot of drive in him. He wants to do well. We felt bad because of what happened to him. He was getting good.

"Next year, he’ll be hitting 50 feet and be great for years. He had been second in the America East but he finally got by his teammate and he’s going for a repeat next year."


Gilman directly works with UAlbany’s assistant coach, Nadir Simohamed. Gilman can’t wait to work with him even more and learn from someone who has coached some of the top jumpers in the country.

Their bond goes even deeper.

"We would joke around," Gilman said. "I’d be hurting, and he’d say ‘Then why am I even out here"’ He expects a lot out of me. But he knows what’s going on."

"The coaches told me that Ray’s a special kid," Gilman’s father said. "Each opportunity, all season, that Ray needed a rest they gave it to him and it wasn’t a problem."

"The day Ray came home [from the hospital], Coach Nadir called and asked if he and some other coaches could come up," Debbie Gilman said. "They came up and most of the men’s and women’s team came up as well. They ordered pizza and hung out. There were so many people here you couldn’t see the walls."

From the moment Gilman signed on a scholarship to join the Albany program, his family became part of a larger family.

"Everybody loves to see you," the elder Ray Gilman said. "We travel to events as much as we can. They just love to see you. You feel like a part of a group as a parent. The parents are having fun."

"I know, when you’re not at a meet," the younger Ray Gilman said, "everyone asks where you are."

The family atmosphere is what attracted Gilman to the University at Albany when he decided he wanted to try to be a Division I athlete.

Ace in academics

Despite the rigors of participating in a Division I sport and the difficulty of overcoming his adversities, Gilman has done well in his classes. He has finished the work for his minor in business and is working on finishing up his dual major of criminal justice and psychology.

"It’s a lot of work," Gilman said. "You don’t realize until you start traveling. But my professors understand. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a test on the right date."

"He goes to a D-I school and is in the top of his event," Debbie Gilman said. "He still came through with his academics to have a good grade-point average. He’s done well in school."

"A lot of my friends say to me that you must go to school and party," Gilman said. "But I love that I am able to expand on the sport I love to do at a high level. At times, I wish I could be a normal student."

Gilman’s natural ability was seen from an early age. As a child, he was always jumping around and causing damage to himself or to the house, his parents said.

Gilman started jumping competitively in high school.

Debbie Gilman recalled, raking the jump pits and helping Coach Bill Tindale.

"One day, Tindale said, ‘Hey Gilman, you try that,’ referring to a jump. Ray did it, and no one had seen that before," his mother recalled. "Everybody had a look in their eyes of, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Then people came to see him jump."

And now jumping is what Gilman does and what he loves to do. It is who he is and provides an alter ego to the quiet, modest kid he is before he gets a foot onto the triple-jump runway.

But why does he do it"

"Because I can," Gilman said. "It’s something I always could do. I could always jump and then I would show off to my friends and do flips. So I just tried the triple jump and do what I do best in a positive way. And I guess I won out at the end. I found what I could do and I am doing something positive with it."

[Return to Home Page]