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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 22, 2007


A nice surprise for two Dutchmen wrestlers

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Kyle Hussey won’t be alone at the state meet after all.

After Hussey was the only member of the Guilderland wrestling team to win his weight class at the State Qualifier at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday, he appeared to be the only grappler representing the Dutchmen.

But on Wednesday morning, Guilderland Coach Regan Johnson found out that the Dutch’s other two finalists — Ian DeSol and Matt Cubillos — will also be heading to the state meet at the Times Union Center in Albany on March 2 and 3.

"Matt and Ian both wrestled tough kids," Johnson said. "They both lost to kids that placed in the state last year. Both are excited to keep on wrestling."

Cubillos and DeSol qualified for the state meet because, for the first time, all 16 slots in each weight class will be filled. There will be no more byes in the first round.

The at-large bids, for wrestlers who did not automatically qualify by winning their weight class, are based on a point system. The power-point system include points for a wrestler’s placement at sectionals. The top four point-winners at each weight go to the state tournament.

"We went from having one guy going to three guys going in a span of two days," Johnson said.

Cubillos and DeSol won Class A Section II championships and finished second at the state qualifier, losing to Class B champions in their respective 119- and 145-pound weight classes.

Hussey won the 275-pound weight class at the Class A’s and then followed that up with a win at the State Qualifier Tournament. He beat Garrett Moldoff of Columbia in both matches.

"The kid from Columbia got an at-large bid," Johnson said. "He lost just two matches and both were to Kyle. He wrestled good. He made adjustments from the week before. He really didn’t want to do too much. He waited for Kyle to make a mistake, and Kyle didn’t make a mistake.

"I’m happy for all the kids," Johnson added. "Especially for Kyle, for what he’s had to go through the last two seasons. He was injured, sick, and his father died. It makes you smile for the kid. He definitely wants to win the tournament."

The first practice for the Section II team was Wednesday at Shenendehowa High School.

"We have 50 kids representing Section II," Johnson said. "We had 20 at large bids added to go along with 30 champions."

As of Wednesday, Johnson had not looked to see where Cubillos and DeSol would be placed, as he had Hussey.

"I haven’t looked at their draws," the coach said. "I looked at Kyle’s because I knew for sure he was going to the state tourney. The other two I didn’t know.

"I called Matt this morning," Johnson added. "He knew I would be calling. He was waiting for the phone to ring this morning."

Johnson will have an even bigger role for the tournament and is happy that it is in Albany this year.

"My brother and myself are going to coach the Division I kids," Johnson said. "Usually, the coaches of the team stay at the hotel because they are in charge of the kids. But, because it’s in Albany, not too many of the kids will be staying in the hotel. That’s nice."

Johnson’s brother, Rory, is the head coach at Queensbury.

This will be the last tournament run for Johnson as a coach. He was named the new assistant director of athletics, physical education, and health for the Guilderland School District and will take over that role full time after the state meet.

Johnson has never coached three Guilderland wrestlers in the tournament, and is proud that he is. Two years ago, two Dutchmen went — Joey Wyld and Roger Sawyer.

"I just looked at the roster," he said on Wednesday. "Shen’s got four kids and we got three. We’re right behind them. The most I’ve had was two go the last time they were at the Pepsi."


Skating Dutchmen come back for biggest win

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — The Guilderland ice hockey team has been to the sectional semifinals before. But Friday’s win, which put them back into the round of four for the first time in a couple of years, might have been the biggest in the program’s history.

The Skating Dutchmen came back from a three-goal deficit to beat Niskayuna-Schenectady, 4-3. Guilderland, however, lost the next night in the semifinals to Shenendehowa, 5-4, a team the Dutch lost to a couple of weeks earlier, 10-2.

"This is the biggest win we’ve had," said Guilderland Coach John DeRubertis after Friday’s game. "We’ve won sectional games before. But we were picked to come in last in the coaches’ poll, seven out of seven. That stuck with us. We came in here in fifth with a 9-6 league record.

"It’s huge for our program," DeRubertis added. "We have a lot of younger players. Hopefully, this gives us something to build on. Hopefully, more kids will come out for the Guilderland team now, instead of jumping to travel programs."

The Dutchmen got the two biggest goals of the season from a sophomore and another from a freshman as the Dutch were able to come back.

The Dutchmen trailed, 3-1, as the third and final period began. The Dutchmen went on the attack.

Guilderland senior captain John Potts blasted a shot on net that deflected off freshman Greg Warnken’s stick into the net to cut the lead to 3-2 with 12:53 left in the game.

"I really believe the game changed with the second goal," DeRubertis said. "We’d come out and go hard, and then we were back in a huge way. At that point, everyone on the bench felt it."

"Huge"

The Dutch had all the momentum and even scored on a rare opportunity.

Guilderland was trying to kill off a penalty and was down one player, when senior Luke Diamente made an aggressive play that ended with good results.

"That was huge," DeRubertis said. "They probably don’t score on the power play, but we start running out of time. That sparked us. The penalty killers usually stay back, and we caught them in a lull. We come out, and a third-line senior goes after it and goes to the puck and see what happens."

Diamente raced down a loose puck in the Niskayuna-Schenectady end. He got the puck along the boards behind the net and passed the puck to the front of the goal where Collin Burg was waiting and put the puck past Mohawk’s goalie Scott Hartz.

"Luke Diamente is a third-line guy, and a penalty killer," DeRubertis said. "He made a play, and got the puck to Collin and we picked up the goal. Collin Burg was huge."

The spotlight would shine more on Burg, as, with 2:01 left, he scored the winning goal.

Warnken passed the puck from behind the net to the front of the net, and Burg was there again, crashing the goal. Burg got to the puck and snapped a shot by Hartz to give the Dutchmen the lead, 4-3.

Guilderland was able to hold on, despite a scramble in front of its goal in the final minute, and advance to the Division I semifinals.

Niskayuna-Schenectady led 1-0 after the first period. Steve Cardinal hit a shot that clanked off the post and into the net for the Mohawks.

Cardinal gave his team a 2-0 lead on a breakaway goal early in the second period. Nick D’Amario gave the Mohawks a 3-0 lead after getting an assist from Mike Pasley, with 5:05 left in the middle stanza.

Guilderland’s Dan Dickinson cut the lead back to two 20 seconds later. Potts assisted on the tally for the Dutchmen.

Niskayuna-Schenectady finished the game with a 25-21 advantage in shots, but the Mohawks got 21 saves from Hartz. Guilderland goalie Brendan Glennon made 18 saves.

"This is unbelievable," DeRubertis said. "The first game we played them, it came right down to the wire. This was a great game. It was the same fashion as the time we played a few weeks back. We were down, 4-1, and this time we were down 3-1. I told the guys that we scored three goals in the third period last time; if we just get one goal, we’ll be in the game. Sure enough, we picked up a goal, and the momentum went from there."

Saturday’s loss ends the improbable season for the Dutchmen. They finish just short of upsetting the top-seeded team in Shenendehowa.

The back-to-back strong performances will bode well for the future of a young team.

"We don’t have any seniors from the blue line back," DeRubertis said. "And four of our six forwards are freshmen or sophomores. This is something we can take with us into the next season."


Despite fantastic four, Dutch gymnasts suffer first loss

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — It was a bittersweet day for the Guilderland High School gymnastics team last Thursday.

The Lady Dutch came into the Section II meet as the top team, after going unbeaten in eight dual meets this season and winning the Suburban Council title. The Dutch left the meet as the number-two team in Section II after falling to Saratoga by a score of 170.875 points to 168.100.

However, the Guilderland squad had three girls qualify for the New York State meet and a fourth qualify as an alternate for the meet slated for Rush-Henrietta High School in the Rochester area, March 2 and 3.

"We didn’t have our best day," said Guilderland Coach Brenda Goodknight at practice on Monday. "It had a lot to do, I think, with the older girls having an off day and the younger girls being a little inexperienced at this level of competition. I think it was those two things together. I can’t complain; it was an awesome season. I’ll take what we did this season to who was best at 4:35 on Thursday, Feb. 15."

"It was disappointing," Senior Dana Goodknight said about the team loss. "But it’s not a big deal. It was kind of bittersweet. I’d rather win the Suburban Council title than Section II. I think it’s more important to go undefeated for the season."

Dana Goodknight, the coach’s daughter, won the individual all-around title with a final score of 36.575. She has won 11 straight all-around titles this season.

"Individually, I did well," Goodknight said. "Vault still haunts me to this day. There’s nothing I can do about it now."

Vault was the only event that Goodknight did not win at the sectional meet.

Eighth-grader Alexa Patnaude came in fourth in the all-around with a score of 34.375. She will be an alternate for the state team.

Patnaude did qualify for the state meet in the uneven bars with an 8.8 and in the vault after she finished third, also scoring 8.8 points.

"My bars makes me more confident for the rest of the meet," Patnaude said. "If I do one thing well, it gives me more confidence."

Senior Toni Whitbeck qualified for the state meet on the uneven bars. She scored 8.125 points to come in fifth.

"Bars and floor are my favorite," Whitbeck said. "I did not do well at sectionals. I felt my routine was pretty good. But I’ve had higher scores throughout the season."

Kristi Russell, an eighth-grader, made the state team as an alternate in the floor exercise. She finished seventh with 9.10 points.

The top three all-around scorers qualify for the state meet, as do the top six in each event.

Young talent

"It is unusual to have younger girls qualify for states," Brenda Goodknight said. "They are talented, but the season is dependent on one meet with a high level of competition. There are a lot of talented seventh- and eighth-graders in this section."

"We’ve been doing gymnastics for a long time," Patnaude said.

"It is really cool we made it as eighth-graders," Russell added.

What the two middle-school students accomplished surprised some people.

"No one expects us to be good," Patnaude said.

"And that young," Russell added, finishing the sentence.

"I definitely couldn’t be any prouder of these girls," Dana Goodknight said. "They stepped up when it was unexpected. It’s cool to see everyone succeed."

Patnaude has been doing gymnastics since she was 3 years old and Russell started when she was 2. Both compete at the club level as well, for Northeast Institute of Gymnastics in Albany.

"This is a lot different than club," Russell said. "That is more individual and there isn’t much of a team. Here, it’s more about the team."

"You’re hanging out with the whole team," Patnaude said. "Not just girls at your level. This is more fun than club gymnastics where you are just focused on what you do."

"You’re thinking about what everyone is doing," Russell added about the varsity team. "And not just what you are doing. And you are cheering them on."

"It’s been a long time since Guilderland had four kids at the state meet," Goodknight said. "It was definitely nice to have that happen."

"We didn’t have a good meet as a team," Russell said. "We’re not too uspet. We had a good all-around season. "It’s just one meet."

"It’s not worth getting all upset," Patnaude added. "But I knew, as myself, I did good."

Looking ahead

Goodknight is proud of her team’s accomplishments this season. She is also looking forward to the future, despite losing three talented seniors in Whitbeck, Dana Goodknight, and Jen Diana.

"They are a great group of girls," Coach Goodknight said. "We’ll miss Dana, Toni, and Jen, especially on the uneven bars. But the group we have coming up is very talented. We should be very, very good."

Dana Goodknight plans on competing in gymnastics in college, though she hasn’t decided where she will go to school.

"I’m still deciding," Goodknight said. "It’s a tough choice. I want to compete for a team I like. It has to have what I want academically and sports-wise."

Whitbeck will be diving in college. She hasn’t made a decision as to where she will attend school, but one school is the front runner.

"I’ll be diving, but I would like to do club gymnastics," Whitbeck said. "I haven’t decided but I’m thinking [SUNY] Geneseo. I’m not sure. I’ve talked to coaches about diving, and told them I was doing gymnastics and most were happy to hear that. It’s nice to hear that enthusiasm."

"Toni missed going to the states for diving by an eighth of a point or something like that," Brenda Goodknight said. "I was hoping she would go to states for gymnastics. She loves diving. It’s her first love; she’s doing that in college. This is a nice way to finish off her career."

The four competitors are looking to do the best they can at the state meet. They are not worrying about where they place, but continuing to improve or have their best scores before the season ends.

"I kind of expect to place in the top 10," Dana Goodknight said. "I want to do well."

"I don’t want to get four on the bars," Whitbeck said of avoiding a low score. "I want to try to get my highest scores this season."

The Lady Dutch gymnasts have improved all season, their coach said.

"Overall everyone improved skill-wise, with their attitude, and with their conditioning over the year," Coach Goodknight said. "They continued to work from the opening meet, the Shaker Invitational, until sectionals. I’m very pleased with the season."


Dutchmen lose game, sectional game

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Up by 12 points with about five minutes to play, the game looked to be in the Dutchmen’s hands.

But then a came the fall for the Guilderland boys’ basketball team. LaSalle Institute went on a 13-1 run over the next couple minutes to take the lead and then held on for a 58-56 win in the first-round of the Class AA Section II tournament.

The Dutch had a couple of chances to tie the game in the final seconds but couldn’t get a shot to fall and LaSalle was able to celebrate on its home court in South Troy.

Guilderland was leading 51-39 with 5:05 left in the game. But LaSalle took control, with the aid of a technical foul called on Guilderland junior Drew Smith, and took the lead with 1:07 left on a fast-break lay-up by Khaliq Gross.

The loss ends the season for the Dutchmen. They finished as co-champions in the Suburban Council Gold Division and third in the league tournament. They were the sixth seed from the Suburban Council and LaSalle was the third-seeded team from the Big 10 Conference.


Blackbirds clipped in sectional playoffs

By Tim Matteson

VOORHEESVILLE — Upset.

It has many meanings. It was the way the Voorheesville boys felt after they were beaten by a lower seeded team in the first round of the Class B Section II basketball playoffs.

The Blackbirds, who were seeded sixth in the tournament, had difficulties with Berkshire and it resulted in a 62-61 upset win for the Bulldogs on Tuesday night.

"It’s a real tough match-up to play them in the first round," said Voorheesville Coach Don Catellier after the game. "We tried to keep it within ourselves and we did not do that. We tried to force things and tried to run with them. And we can’t do that."

Instead of using their height advantage, the Blackbirds tried to fast break with the more athletic Bulldogs. And the Blackbirds didn’t match up well with Berkshire.

"We’re real tall," Catellier said. "They had us athletically, but they had no true big guys that could match up with Evan [Christner] and our other guys. The game plan was to go inside and, in the second quarter, we lost our focus. In the first, we went inside. The second quarter, we didn’t."

Back and forth

Voorheesville led, 18-13, at the end of the first stanza, and, after Justin Arico’s jumper gave the Birds a seven-point lead to start the quarter, Berkshire took over.

The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run to claim the lead.

Voorheesville stuck around, getting a jump shot from Tim Robinson and a foul shot from Arico, to remain just a point behind, 24-23.

Berkshire then rattled off another eight consecutive points as part of an 11-1 run for the next two minutes to lead, 35-24.

Only four points by Robinson at the end the second quarter kept the game close at halftime. The score at the intermission was 36-28.

The Birds came out flying in the beginning of the second half and clawed their way back into the game.

After the teams traded baskets to open the third frame, the Blackbirds went on an 8-0 run to even the game, 36-36.

Arico made a jump shot and a fast-break lay-up by Christner got the Birds back into the game. An inside basket by Joe Klembczyk and a lay-up by Arico after a steal, evened the game.

A jump shot by Berkshire’s Daquan Smith broke the tie and set up a quarter-and-a-half of frantic basketball.

Berkshire led, 46-45, at the end of the third quarter as the teams continued to trade baskets for the rest of the frame.

The war on the floor continued as both teams battled and neither could pull away.

Kevin Klembczyk made a runner in the lane to make the score 58-56 with 3:25 left in the contest.

An inside basket by Smith built the Berkshire lead back to four but Christner answered with an inside basket of his own to make the core 60-58.

Osei Austin scored on a runner to build the lead back to four points. But that lead was cut by three as Arico made a three-point basket from the left side with 46 seconds left.

The Blackbirds got the ball back after a missed shot and called timeout with 14 seconds to go in the game.

But the Birds couldn’t get a good shot at the basket; the upset was complete and the players left the court with upset looks on their faces.

"The kids fought their hearts out," Catellier said. "It’s a tough way to lose. But you can’t ask for anything more."

Christner led the Blackbirds with 15 points. Arico scored 14, Robinson added 11 and Joe Klembczyk chipped in with 10.

Looking ahead

Arico, Robinson, and Klemczybck led a solid group of seniors who will graduate. Also in the mix are Chris Thompson, Greg Carson and Pino Ragonese.

"What can I say about that group," Catellier said. "Justin, Joey, Greg, Pino, Timmy, and Chris are great kids. They are very hard to replace. They are just great kids and this senior group is special. I thought it would be hard last year with my son playing, but this is just as hard."

But all is not lost with this group of seniors. Christner returns, and so will a couple of other contributors in Kevin Klembczyk and Jordan Murphy.

A group of talented players from the junior varsity will also be in the mix next year.

"We have a great group coming back," Catellier said. "We’ve got juniors in Evan and Kevin and we hope to have Mackey Lloyd healthy for all of next year. And Jordan Murphy should come along. We have a group of kids that were successful on the junior varsity and we expect them to be successful on the varsity."

Catellier also expects the program to be built up to the point where the team can compete for Colonial Council and sectional championships for the next few years.

"The kids are working hard," the coach said. "We have a good program and kids respect it. They are working hard at it. Voorheesville basketball has come a long ways."


The longer the distance the better for Slingerland

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Late in the indoor track season this winter David Slingerland, a Guilderland junior had a change of plan — with good results.

He and his coach, Pete Wachtel, decided to change up what Slingerland was training for this season. Slingerland had been running the 300-meter sprint and the 4x400 relay but, as sectionals neared they decided he would run the 600 meters instead.

The first big competition he ran the event in, was sectionals, though he had dabbled in it before.

"I didn’t think I’d be that good at it," said Slingerland. "I thought it was too long of a distance for me. It really surprised me I could be that good at it."

"He ran the 600 once at Union [College] and we thought he had a better chance placing in that event and he took third," Wachtel said. "And, all of a sudden, he’s got a sectional patch. We entered him in multiple events but saw the 300 card and that he might not have a chance and to just focus on the 600.

"We weren’t shooting for number one," Wachtel added. "But we thought he could be number two. And he hung onto second, but he found the guy was a little speedier at the end."

The third-place finish gives Slingerland a chance to go to the state meet March 3 and 4 as a member of an intersectional relay team.

Slingerland had never ran track during the winter but has been running for the Dutchmen for the past two springs. He is mainly a sprinter and has run the 100, 200, 400, and 800 meters. The 4x800 relay team he was on holds the freshmen school record.

But Slingerland took to running the longer distance.

"Push him"

"We had him work out with distance runner Corey Leggerio," Wachtel said. "We wanted to sort of push him. He ran his first 3,000 meters and he wasn’t breathing hard. So we knew he would be tough to beat at this distance [600]. It’s due to his good work ethic, he can have the cardio-vascular strength that he has."

It also shows Slingerland’s willingness to learn how to run a race that is a little longer than he is used to.

"I kept asking Coach how to run it," Slingerland said. "He said to just follow the leader and in the last lap try to sprint by him."

Slingerland took third in the Class A meet at the University at Albany two weeks ago and also came in third at the state qualifier, which includes all classes. At the Class A meet on Feb. 10, he finished in a time of 1:29.17. He ran faster the next week, clocking 1:28.78 at the state qualifier last Saturday.

He knew going into Saturday’s race that he could qualify for the state meet if he had a good finish.

"Coach told me before the race that, if I finished third or faster, I would qualify," Slingerland said. "I thought I could take second, but it was tough to do. I fell to third and I held on as much as I could. With two laps to go, I was catching everyone. I just tripped up and lost some momentum."

"Inner drive"

But Slingerland is looking forward to going to the state meet and being a member of a relay team with runners from different schools.

"It’ll be different," he said. "But the relay will be pretty fun. I’ve never done a relay with guys from other schools. I like running relays a lot."

This spring, Slingerland will be running the short distances again — mainly the 100 and 200 meters. He will also try to run on the 4x800 relay team and run with another accomplished Guilderland runner.

"I’ll get to run with Brian Rhodes-Devey," Slingerland said. "He’s a great distance runner and running with him will be a privilege."

That humble attitude shows the true nature of Slingerland.

"He’s the kind of guy that you want 25 of on a team," Wachtel said. "Because he’s always asking, ‘What do I need to do"’ And we’ll say, ‘Hey, we need someone for a relay.’ He’s willing to do things for the team. He has an inner drive. He’ll be working on starts for the 55 [meters] and he’ll ask us to look at his starts. He wants to know what he can do better and he works at those things."

Right after the state meet, the outdoor season will begin, but Slingerland is hoping to get a little break in between.

Right now, he is focused on running in the state meet.

"It’ll be an excellent experience for a junior at indoor states," Wachtel said. "It will build confidence for the outdoor season. It’ll be a great experience for him and I’m excited for him."

"It’ll be a great experience for me," said Slingerland, echoing his coach.


V’ville girls’, BKW boys’ sectional results

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville girls’ basketball team were in Hudson Tuesday night and almost came away with an upset win.

The 12th seeded Blackbirds gave the Bluehawks a fight losing in overtime, 64-59.

Hudson scored 23 points in the fourth quarter to force the extra session.

The Bluehawks outscored the Blackbirds 7-2 in the overtime to get the win.

Casey Beccera led the Blackbirds with 21 points. And Katie Prendergast added 10.

BERNE — The-Berne-Knox-Westerlo boys’ basketball team took the long trek to Washington County to take on Cambridge High School.

It was probably a longer ride back home to the Hilltowns as the Bulldogs lost to the Indians, 62-53.

Cambridge led after the first quarter, 12-7, and BKW couldn’t catch up though the teams played evenly for the next three quarters.

Matt Lounsbury led the Bulldogs with 21 points. Lenny Coons added eight for BKW.

Shea Bromirski poured in 33 points for the Indians.


Local athletes prepare for ESGs

By Tim Matteson

The 27th Annual Hugh L. Carey Empire State Winter Games will be held in Lake Placid this weekend and will have some local representation.

The games have recently been named in honor of Carey, who was governor when they started.

Athletes from the area will be trekking north to take part in events like alpine skiing, snowshoe, biathlon, and figure skating, among others.

The opening ceremonies for the games will be held on Friday, Feb. 23, and will be followed by the 11th Annual Winterfest. Olympic Gold Medalist Tristan Gale will headline the event.

The first day of competition kicks off on Saturday.

Nearly 1,400 amateur athletes will compete at many of the same venues that hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Events are free to the public and information can be found at empirestategames.org.

Here is a list of local athletes that will take part in the games.

— Alpine skiing: Travis Moore of Guilderland in the slalom and giant slalom.

— Biathlon: Laszlo Kolyvek of Slingerlands, open men’s; Darwin Roosa of Altamont, masters VI.

— Figure skating Gina DiNapoli of Slingerlands, intermediate; Christina Lombardi of Slingerlands, intermediate; Stephanie Lombardi of Slingerlands, intermediate.

— Ski orienteering: Susan Hawkes-Teeter of Berne and Phil Hawkes-Teeter of Berne.

— Speed skating: Rob Stevens of Guilderland, open male.

— Snowshoe: Michael DellaRocco of Altamont, masters III; Gale DellaRocco of Berne, open female; Taylor DellaRocco of Berne, scholastic male.


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