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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, July 15, 2010
By Jordan J. Michael
After a riveting fall sports season, the winter months came and went with a moderate amount of excitement. The spring session was played out at a diligent pace and wound down with a Cinderella story from the Guilderland baseball team, who made it all the way to the state championship.
It was all over on June 12 in Binghamton when the Dutchmen baseball team lost a lopsided affair in the state final. The 2009-10 sports season closed and all the varsity teams from Guilderland, Voorheesville, and Berne-Knox-Westelo will undoubtedly be different next year.
High school varsity sports are a never-ending cycle. Seniors graduate and new faces arrive a year later. It’s always fresh and that’s the beauty of it.
The Enterprise covers all sorts of teams and athletes. Here is an analysis of the winter and spring of 2009-10 with current reflections from student athletes who just graduated.
The Guilderland baseball team provided the best story of the year with its refusal to lose in the playoffs, despite having several doubters in the Suburban Council. The Dutch entered the Class AA sectionals as a sixth seed and steamrolled all the way to Binghamton for the state championship.
Guilderland was an underdog in basically every Class AA postseason game wins against Queensbury (4-1), Shaker (7-4), LaSalle (7-5), and Saratoga (4-3) in the final. The Dutchmen believed, and won two more games against Auburn (2-0) and McQuaid (8-3).
“Every win was something more to believe in,” said Luke Stark on Monday. Stark had a spirited pitching performance against Queensbury in the first round. “No one gave us a chance, but we beat all the teams that counted us out,” he said.
Head Coach Doug LaValley frequently asked, “Why not us?” in post-game interviews during the playoffs. Soon enough, Guilderland fans were holding signs in the stands with the same question.
Stark, who will attend Ithaca College next fall to study business and play baseball, told The Enterprise that “a lot of heart” kept the team going. “We wanted to do something that would have a lasting impact, so we refused to lose,” he said.
The playoff run was a surprise to the public because the Dutch had had an average regular season with a few standouts. Senior Matt Zanotta set a Section II record with 16 home runs and Chris Gareau had a near no-hitter against Averill Park.
“We had so much talent on the team, but the mentality didn’t come until later,” said Stark. “LaValley said we were a ‘diamond in the rough’ and I believe that was true.”
Guilderland eventually lost, 15-2, to Lindenhurst in the state championship, but Stark said there was no disappointment because it was the furthest the team had ever gone in its half-century history.
“It was the best possible way to end our senior season,” Stark said. “We went as far as we could ever go.”
Caitlin Abelseth of Voorheesville, and Brandon Kallner and Courtney Tedeschi of Berne-Knox-Westerlo had fine performances at the New York State Track and Field Championships.
Tedeschi, now a rising sophomore, won a medal for her fourth-place finish in the 2000-meter steeplechase. She also had a time of 2:18.67 in the 800-meter for 11th place.
“I love to train and I love being around all the other athletes,” said Tedeschi on Wednesday. “It’s rewarding, competitive, and enjoyable work.”
Tedeschi had been to states for cross-country twice before, but this was her first appearance for track. “It felt the same,” she said. “But, I was there for two days instead of one.”
Abelseth qualified for the 400-meter at states and had a time of 1:00.80 for 13th place. She’ll be a senior next year.
Kallner, going into his senior year, has competed in pentathlon since ninth grade, but made his first trip to states this year by qualifying first in Section II with 3,016 points. Kallner finished eighth at states with a score of 2,872.
Pentathlon is a combination of five track and field events 110-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, and a 1,500-meter run. Kallner broke the previous BKW school record in the first meet of this season with a score of 2,756 and then broke his own record by 260 points at state qualifiers.
“My coach was really surprised when I broke the school record,” said Kallner on Wednesday. “I didn’t even do pentathlon in the previous year. I really focused on it after I broke the record.”
Kallner told The Enterprise that he prefers the 110 hurdles and the high jump to the other three. “Hurdles are an adrenaline rush and I probably could have qualified for that, too,” he said. “My times were pretty low.”
An eighth-place finish at states didn’t seem to thrill Kallner too much. “It could have gone either way, I guess,” he said. “I didn’t have the best first day.”
However, Kallner likes the idea of getting the Bulldogs’ name up on the scoreboard.
“It’s my favorite thing to do, so I’m going to stick with it,” Kallner said. “All the hard work and time is worth it in the end.”
Despite falling one win short of another trip to the state semifinals, the Lady Dutch lacrosse team still overachieved in 2010. Guilderland won its fourth Class A title in a row after losing a cash crop of goal scorers from the previous year.
Sure, the Lady Dutch still scored, but not nearly as much. The team won another championship with comprehensive defense and top-notch goaltending from Amanda Santandrea.
“We looked at strengths and weaknesses and noticed we lost big scoring and some midfield transition,” said Santandrea on Wednesday. “Our plan was to make sure other teams didn’t score as much as us because we knew we would score fewer goals.”
Santandrea, who will attended Drexel University next fall to play goalie for its Division I team while studying psychology and English, told The Enterprise that the Guilderland defense was “always on the same page.”
“Everyone saw what the others couldn’t,” she said.
Guilderland’s last two seasons have ended with bad luck. In 2009, the team lost the state final on a last-second free-position goal by Farmingdale after a questionable penalty. This season, the Dutch went to double overtime with Lakeland-Panas in the regional final and lost on a sudden-death goal.
“It wasn’t bad karma because we never did anything bad,” Santandrea said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Even though the Lady Dutch had some bad luck, it still hasn’t lost a game in Section II since 2007. The team is a living dynasty and it shows no signs of stopping.
“At some point over the last four years, we decided that we wanted to be better than everyone else,” said Santandrea. “We really picked it up and took lacrosse more seriously than any other team.”
The BKW girls’ basketball team only had one senior on its roster, but made it all the way to the Class C final in March. Freshman Liz Harvey emerged early in the season and led the team in scoring.
The Lady Bulldogs lost by a large margin to Greenwich in the final, but the team already climbed above expectations with its young lineup. Head Coach Tom Galvin was overjoyed when BKW beat Lake George in the semifinals.
“This is special,” Galvin said after the game.
Kristin Depeaux was the lone senior, so the Lady Bulldogs will be returning the majority of its roster next season: Liz Harvey, Sam Harvey, Marian Bates, Tuesday Bishop, Tiara Conklin, Jean Farnam, Chrsitina North, Nena Ruiz, Victoria McCormick, and Mary Salo.
“We need to get back to this point,” Galvin said after losing the championship.