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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, March 13, 2008
Last year a strike for Coach Dennis
By Tim Matteson
BERNE The final season for Berne-Knox-Westerlo bowling coach Don Dennis was a satisfying one.
Dennis will be retiring from coaching the bowling team after 19 years at the helm, but he will continue to coach the golf team in the fall.
Assistant Coach Matt Decker will take over next winter.
“I’m kind of regretful,” Dennis said. “I hate to give it up. But I’ll stick with one sport.”
Since Dennis started coaching in 1989, this might have been one of the better years. Though he has coached sectional winning teams and this year neither the boys nor the girls won a title both teams showed a lot of heart and determination this season.
“The boys’ team, we were looking to rebuild,” Dennis said. “We improved a lot during the year. The girls’ team could have been one of the strongest I’ve ever had. But we lost four of the top six. We had two that were injured, one moved, and one was ineligible. We pieced a team together and we ended on a high note.”
The girls’ team was led by state team representative Sammy Moak. The senior was also named the most valuable player in the Western Athletic Conference.
“We started disappointed,” Dennis said of the girls’ team. “We had to piece together a team. We had four girls that had never been in matches. I had to put them in. They then ended up averaging over 100 at the end of the year. We had a couple that ended with 120 to 130 or better.”
Moak was one of the few experienced bowlers returning and put together a good final campaign. She was joined by classmates Emily Pierce, Aurora Becker, and Sara Hallenback.
Joining the seniors were a pair of sophomores Katlynn Overbaugh and Christina Skinner.
The team finished fourth out of eight teams in the league and moved up a slot at the WAC tournament, coming in third.
At the Class C/D tournament, the Lady Bulldogs matched their finish in the WAC.
“We beat all the teams in our league,” Dennis said. “But we finished behind Mechanicville and Voorheesville. We came in third and that was a great accomplishment for the girls. At the sectionals, Pierce stepped up at the most important times.”
Pierce bowled a 207 game at sectionals and Overbaugh had a 183 game.
“They both bowled well above their average. That was a highlight.”
Moak bowled a 1,143 series to end with a 191 average. That score placed her on the Section II team.
“She made the all-star team that competed at states,” Dennis said. “She was the only girl from a small school to make it.”
The scores from all the class competitions are figured in and only the top six scores qualify for the state team.
“At states, the team finished fourth out of 11 teams,” Dennis said.
But Moak received another award at the state meet. She won the Sportsmanship Award for Section II.
“They pick one from each section,” Dennis said. “That was a nice honor for Sammy.”
The boys’ team finished sixth out of nine teams in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs improved during the year to finish fourth at the WAC Tournament.
The team was led by sophomore Tim McIntyre. His high game of the year was 279 and his high triple for the season was 723.
“He was a second-team all-star,” Dennis said.
Josh DeNyse had a high series of 692 and an average of 231 during the season. He also had a high game of 247.
The Bulldogs finished 10th out of 25 teams in the Class C/D tournament.
“We actually finished in third among teams in our league,” Dennis said. “We improved the whole year.”
McIntyre had a 199 average at the sectional meet. DeNyse and Dan White each bowled to 191 averages. Luke LeGodais bowled a high game of 254.
“This is a nice bunch of kids,” Dennis said. “All of them. The boys gelled together all year.”
White and LeGodais along with Brazilian exchange student Igor Silva are the only bowlers who won’t return to the team next year. White and LeGodais are both seniors and Silva will return to Brazil for school next year.
Chet Ferriero and Chris White Dave’s brother also competed at the sectional meet.
“I’ll miss the seniors,” Dennis said. “There is a nice team coming back. They are a lot of young kids sophomores and freshmen. The team has a lot to look forward to.”
Eighth-grader Mike Field, freshman R.J. Kelly, and sophomore Keith Newcomb will be contributors to the team next year, Dennis said.
Though he won’t be coaching next year’s team, Dennis feels good that he left a good foundation on both the girls’ and boys’ side for his long-time assistant Matt Decker when he takes over the head-coaching duties.
As he retires, Dennis expressed gratitude to those who had helped him coach.
“I want to thank Matt Decker, my assistant who will be moving up,” Dennis said.
Dennis was also grateful to some other people.
“Marty Van Buren is a parent that has helped out a lot,” Dennis added. “And the Cobleskill Bowling Center has treated us great every time we go there.”
With the future of the program set, Dennis will probably look back at the past season as being one of the most satisfying of his 19-year tenure.
“It was a real nice year,” the coach said “I enjoyed this year. They are a terrific bunch of kids. They were a pleasure to be with.”
Guilderville swimmers enjoy successful season
By Tim Matteson
The season for the Guilderville boys’ swim team ended on a high note.
The combined team from Guilderland and Voorheesville high schools had 11 swimmers and one diver qualify for the Section II competition held at the Niskayuna High School natatorium on Feb. 15 and 16.
The group was led by senior standout Vadim Yafayev and sophomore diver Sean Molloy. Seniors Michael Zemanek and Matthew Goodness, juniors Dan Lee and first-year swimmer Michael Pezze; sophomore Jonathan Wheeler; freshmen Kyungduk Rho, Michael Schaffer, Alex Relyea, and Tim Willox; and seventh-grader Reid Zyniecki also qualified for the sectional competition.
In contrast to the previous year when only three swimmers made the finals, this year Guilderville was represented in the finals of every single event by at least one swimmer.
“Guilderland-Voorheesville swimmers perform extremely well under pressure,” said Coach Vaclav Sotola, “and most improved their times. It was obvious that all their hard work during the regular season paid off and all of them are looking forward to next year.”
Yafayev and Molloy represented Section II at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championship meet last weekend. Yafayev competed in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Molloy qualified in the one-meter diving event.
Expectations are high for deep Dutch laxmen squad
By Tim Matteson
GUILDERLAND The Guilderland boys’ lacrosse team will be one of the largest in the Suburban Council this season.
There are 30 players on this year’s Dutchmen squad, by far the most players Coach Sean McConaghy has had on the varsity team.
“I’ve never kept over 25,” McConaghy said. “We have a big junior class and a bunch of sophomores. We’ve only kept one or two before.
“We have a ton of juniors and a bunch of sophomores that are new,” the coach added. “We have seven seniors that have been there before. We get our goalie back and a couple other players back.”
“A lot of guys”
Returning for the Dutchmen is goaltender Nick Koss, who is one of four captains on the team. Aaron Cahill will anchor the midfield. Cahill was a captain of the Adirondack Team at the Empire State Games last summer and is a captain for the Dutch this spring.
Brian Linehan returns to the midfield and Quinn Connell returns to play at attack. Paul Malamood, Andrew Barr, and Jon Fogel return to play defense.
“Having 30 kids is huge,” Koss said. “There weren’t a lot of cuts. We have a few kids back that took a few years off. They are looking to contribute.”
Two key juniors also return for the Dutchmen: Kip Stillman on defense and Rory Nunamacher in the midfield.
“Kip and Malamood are back on defense,” McConaghy said. “But we have two returning defensemen that did not see a lot of time. Fogel and Barr are expected to step up now.
“Our midfield is deep,” McConaghy added. “Rory and Aaron Cahill are both Empire players and league all-stars. Rory had a six goal night in the finals. Linehan will be helping us as a senior.”
“Rory and Kip are also seniors,” Koss said of the other two Dutch captains. “They have been around long enough, they are like seniors on this team.”
There are 15 juniors on the roster. Joining Stillman as defenders are Alex Trolenberg, Jake Burns, and Chuck Zajac.
Joining Nunamacher in the midfield are Dan Lee, Justin Bates, Bobby Davis, Joe Romano, Kevin Kost, and Collin Burg. Juniors on attack are E.J. Genzano, Anthony Powers, Matt Siracusa, and Travis Moore.
“We have more young guys than usual,” Stillman said. “It just shows what our program has gotten to be.”
“We got Kevin Kost back,” McConaghy said. “He played in seventh grade, but since he’s been playing basketball all the time. He’s a nice athlete to have. He’s a jock.
“We also got Collin Burg from hockey,” McConaghy added. “When they get their sticks and games on track, they’ll be great.”
Kost and Burg were big stars for their respective teams this past winter.
“It’s not like they guess they’ll play,” Koss said. “They want to contribute to this team. They’ve seen what we’ve been building and what we’ve built from last year.”
Sophomores on the team are midfielder Eugene Sellie, defender Kevin Murray, defenseman Cody Futia, goalie Christian DePersis, midfielder Marc Apicella, middie Taylor Muztafago, attackman Brian Dyer, and attacker Paul Jones.
“A lot of excitement”
Having that many players on the team will provide the Dutchmen with plenty of depth, especially at the midfield. It also contributes to the vibe that is going around the team.
“There is a lot of excitement,” McConaghy said. “It’s in the locker room, in practice, and during tryouts. It’s nice to have 30 guys. They really put pressure on each other when we’re running and lifting.”
Having that many players also has other benefits in practices and when games start.
“There is a lot of competition in practice,” McConaghy said. “They are competing every single day and hopefully that competition carries over into games.
“[Assistant Coach Kris] Bremmer said the other day we always have nine middies. We’ll have more than that so we’ll have guys go up and down the field. Usually we have guys that specialized, but we are going to run these guys into the ground.”
Dan DePersis will also be an assistant coach this season for the Dutchmen.
The Dutchmen have played in the last three Class A championship games, though they lost all three to rival Niskayuna. The Dutch want to go a step further.
“This is the year we go past the finals,” Koss said. “That’s the goal. We want to get to the state semifinals at least.”
“Our team goal is to get past the sectional finals,” Stillman reiterated. “We want to get beyond that to states this year.”
But they have to understand it takes hard work, said McConaghy, who had to give his team an early season reminder.
“Yesterday [Monday] at the end of practice,” the coach said, “the guys were acting like we’re outside now, we’ll be in the finals. We got that attitude out of them quick. They weren’t being cocky; they were just forgetting the big picture.”
Though there is a lot of talent coming back, the Dutch will have to fill in some spots that were left open due to graduation.
“Every year, it seems we have losses at attack,” McConaghy said.
Gone on the offense are Uriah Myrie and Matt Stillman. Myrie is sixth all-time in scoring for the Dutchmen and Stillman had a breakout senior season, scoring 55 goals.
Also graduated from last year’s team is All-American defenseman Scott Raffensperger and face-off midfielder Jordan Dubose. Both are playing at the University at Albany.
“We are filling in with guys that are pretty good,” McConaghy said. “Travis, Paul, and Quinn all played last year.”
“We haven’t had that hard of a time finding people to fill those spots,” Stillman said. “We’re looking to get a lot of things out of this group.”
The Dutchmen are in their second week of practice and will get an extra week of practice before their first game on April 2.
“We’re going to enjoy having an extra week of practice in the pre-season,” McConaghy said. “Usually, we start at the end of March. We’ll use the extra week, especially after the way we started last year, losing to Bethlehem and getting crushed by Niskayuna.”
“We needed that last year,” Stillman said. “It taught us a lesson. That can’t happen and won’t happen this year.”
McConaghy will rely on the seniors to help guide this team.
“It’s tough only having seven seniors,” he said. “But they provide leadership in practice. They’re bigger, taller, and stronger, especially by the end of their senior season. They are young men.”
“There are a lot of expectations,” Koss said. “We know we have the ability, but we also know that it’s not going to come easy.”
Cubillos pins down fourth place in states
By Tim Matteson
GUILDERLAND Guilderland junior Matt Cubillos made the trek to Rochester as the lone wrestler representing his school.
Cubillos was going to compete in the New York State Wrestling Championships at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. And compete he did.
Cubillos finished fourth in the 125-pound weight class to earn a spot on the podium at the event.
“It was one of the toughest wrestling classes there,” said Guilderland Coach Korey Rogotzke.
Cubillos opened the tournament by facing the wrestler who won the 119-pound weight class at last year’s state event.
Cubillos lost the first match by one point, 9-8. But he bounced back to win four matches in a row in the wrestlebacks and earned a spot in the third-place match.
“I was upset that I lost the first match,” Cubillos said. “I lost my shot at the finals. Fourth place in the state is pretty good.
“He got a five-point move on me and it was hard to recover from that,” Cubillos added.
Cubillos then had to face a wrestler who ranked seventh in the nation in the weight class. He had been upset in the first round. Cubillos lost the match, 6-1, to place fourth.
“He is the sixth wrestler to finish that high,” Rogotzke said. “I’m really happy for him. He finished the season with 39 wins and a 39-5 record. That is a terrific record.”
“I was nervous going into my other matches but not my last one,” Cubillos said. “I was happy where I was.”
It was the second year in a row that Cubillos went to the state meet. He did not place last year.
Wrestling in a big arena did not bother the high school junior.
“It feels like it’s really big,” Cubillos said. “It’s exciting, especially when the warm-up music starts playing. That’s kind of cool.”
Making coach proud
It was a good end to the season for the Dutchmen; the team had six wrestlers place at the Section II meet in Glens Falls two weeks ago. The Dutchmen finished eighth as a team at the tournament. They finished third in the Class A meet the previous week.
Devan Van Auken finished third in the 285-pound weight class. He lost in triple overtime in the semifinal to fall to the third-place match.
“He beat three kids that placed at states during the season,” Rogotzke said. “He is right in the mix at the state level.”
Senior Josh Sawyer finished fifth at the sectional meet.
“He is a three-time sectional place-finisher,” Rogotzke said. “It was a great finish to his career. He is in the top 10 all-time in career wins.”
Eugene Sellie placed fourth at the sectional meet in Glens Falls. He lost in triple overtime in the third-place match.
Senior Robert Romeo advanced to the semifinals in the 130-pound class.
“He lost a heart-breaker,” Rogotzke said. “He lost a one-point match in the semifinals to a kid he beat twice during the year.”
That wrestler finished sixth at the state meet in Rochester last weekend.
“Robert would have been one of the top 130-pounders in states,” Rogotzke said. “He ended up with a great record, 35-6. That’s pretty outstanding. He provided us with great leadership. Him and Josh, and Matt were great leaders. Josh and Robert will be missed in the line-up.”
Travis Wolanski finished fifth in the 112-pound class at the Section II meet.
“He beat a kid that was second in the As,” Rogotzke said. “He beat him to place fifth. That was a nice finish to the season.”
“Devan and Robert definitely should have been able to go,” Cubillos said of making the state meet. “They had a setback in sectionals.”
Rogotzke was pleased how his team did at the sectional tournament.
“All the guys won matches,” he said. “We had guys that were close to placing. I am extremely proud of them. They were consistent throughout the year and went above expectations.”
With one more year left, Cubillos has a chance to add more to his legacy as a Guilderland wrestler. He was named a captain as a junior, but he has been on the team since the eighth-grade.
“I thought it might be because of my experience,” Cubillos said.
“He could be a four-time sectional place-finisher,” Rogotzke said. “And he’ll probably have a chance to be number-two on the all-time career wins list.”
Roger Sawyer is the all-time leader with 158 wins.
Cubillos will wrestle for the ATWA club during the off-season and will travel to Fargo, N.D. to wrestle in the national competition. Cubillos, who wants to wrestle in college, has set team and personal goals for next season.
“State champion,” he answered quickly when asked about his goal. “I definitely want to move up.”
Cubillos’s state tournament was the icing on the cake of a successful season, one which saw the Dutchmen win 10 dual matches.
“It was a pretty good year,” Rogotzke said. “It was my first year so I am excited about that. We get most of the whole team back. I’m excited for next year.”
Young Blackbird bowlers look to the future
VOORHEESVILLE The Voorheesville bowling team is looking ahead to next year.
And with eight team members planning to return, things should be good next winter.
“This year, we had a very young team and had only nine members,” said Voorheesville Coach Jim Duncan. “Three of my starters were eighth-grade boys. My other two starters were girls in 10th and 11th grade. The final starter basically moved around between my other team members.”
The Blackbirds finished tied for seventh in the Colonial Council with a 4-12 record. Schalmont won the league title with a 15-1 mark.
“I figured that we did fairly well since we were bowling larger schools with mostly 11th- and 12th-grade boys bowling on their teams,” Duncan said. “Since this was a rebuilding year after losing several seniors last season, it was a learning experience. Because of this lack of experience, we would only be competitive for one or two games and not the whole match.
“A number of them would bowl some high scores only to turn around and be way below their averages,” Duncan added. “Anthony [Scaccia] and Becca [Duncan] were the only two who had bowled a number of games last season in varsity competition.”
The lone senior on the team, Jon MacDonald, came out for the team for the first time this past season. He finished with a 100 average and bowled four match games.
Duncan, a junior, finished the season with a 190 average and bowled a team-high game 247 score. She is one of only two players to shoot a 600 series for the season. She was selected to the Colonial Council all-star team for the second straight season.
Brian Farley, also a junior, was on the team for the second year. He bowled a 150 average and had a game high of 223.
Alexa Dillenbeck, a sophomore, was also on the team for the second year. She had a 169 average and a high game of 199 this winter.
Freshman Will Smith was new to the team and new to bowling. He finished his first season with a 142 average and a high game of 199.
Brittany Fahd, a ninth-grader, was on the team for the second year. She had a 154 average and a high game of 226.
Eighth-grader Anthony Scaccia was the team for the second year. He had a 183 average and a high game of 241 this season.
John Springer, an eighth-grader, was also on the team for the second year. He bowled to a 171 average and had a high game of 233 and a high series of 605 during the season.
Tim Stewart, an eighth-grader, was on the team for the first time. He finished his first campaign with a 167 average and a high game of 237.
“I knew that the sectionals would be a challenge and it proved out as we finished 19th out of 26 with 5,148 total pins,” Coach Duncan said.
Scaccia led the Blackbirds with a high game of 231 and a 1,199 pin total for a 199.8 average. Duncan finished sectionals with a 219 high game, a 1,144 total, and a 190.7 average.
Stewart was next for the Birds with a 167 average. Farley shot a 201 game for Voorheesville’s only other top score.
With several good young bowlers and some others with potential, Duncan sees bright things on the horizon.
“As I will hopefully have all eight of the remaining kids back next season,” Duncan said, “I hope that we will show even more improvement. While I know it will be a challenge, I hope to finish above .500 and have a much better showing in sectionals.”
Blackbirds go from one win to no losses
By Tim Matteson
VOORHEESVILLE It was quite the turnaround.
After completing the 2006-07 season with a 1-10 record, the Voorheesville boys’ volleyball team finished this past season with a 9-0 mark in the Central Hudson Valley League and won the league title with its unblemished mark.
“It was a nice surprise,” said Voorheesville Coach Tom Kurkjian. “We were league champs.”
The Blackbirds were seeded third in the Class C Section II playoffs and won their first match of the tournament. The Birds lost in the semifinals to the number-two seed, Coxsackie-Athens.
“The Patroon half was stronger,” Kurkjian said of the other boys’ volleyball league. “They played well against good teams. We were undefeated on our side, but their team was pretty seasoned and we struggled.”
The Blackbirds lost the first two games but came back to win the third game, 26-24. Voorheesville lost in the fourth game and was eliminated from the sectional tournament.
“We could not finish out and win it,” Kurkjian said. “We knew it would be pretty interesting. They were the best team we played this year.”
Even with the semifinal loss, it was a superb turnaround for the Blackbirds, who were rebuilding after losing a talented and deep senior class two years ago that featured the Michalski triplets.
“I was most pleased with this season,” Kurkjian said. “It was just one season removed from when all those great seniors left me.”
This year’s team featured just two seniors Jacob Vandervort and Mike Thamsen. Five juniors will return next year Conor Tompkins, Kevin Tesch, Dimitri Solovine, Nathan Bub, and Will Miranda.
Sophomore Garrett Wineinger and freshman R.J. Cave were contributors to this year’s team and will have bigger roles next year.
“Overall, the team improved on the court,” Kurkjian said. “Jake Vandervort was an offensive threat and an outstanding blocker. Sophomore Wineinger is a good setter. He’s an all-around good player.”
And to keep getting better, Kurkjian will have his team play a tougher schedule next winter.
“I told the kids that, if we had a decent record and we get to sectionals this year,” he said, “we’ll go away next Christmas to Vernon-Verona-Sherrill. Their tournament is on Dec. 31 and features a lot of B and C schools. The teams from that area are of a different caliber and it would be good for us to see schools from that area.
“I would like to go out there this year,” Kurkjian said of next season. “They play at a level better than us. That will help us to try and win a sectional title. We get everybody back that is a starter besides Jake. I hope to pull it off.”
“A game bunch”
Kurkjian said that a big reason for the change in success is that the kids have learned the sport and matured on the court.
“The year before, the kids were really new to the sport,” Kurkjian said. “I was tinkering with certain spots. The kids, last year, were learning the dynamics of volleyball and moving on the court.”
The team, Kurkjian said, came together and played as a total team unit.
“I got comments that we were doing the right thing,” Kurkjian said. “The parents that saw our matches said that we are better than last year. We grew as a team together. I hope next year, we’ll get out to Verona and schedule a couple of Patroon teams.”
Kurkjian did not know how this year’s team would play when it first took the court at the beginning of the season in November.
“I didn’t know how the team would be,” Kurkjian said. “Once we got some practice time under our belts. We never folded or played bad. We kept it going. I was surprised we didn’t get beat along the way. They were a game bunch of kids and we had fun.”