Jack Andrejko, Josh Foley, Brandon Nguyen, Ian Denny, Julien Brownlow, Curtis Merrick, Griffin Merkling
R.J. Romeo, Luke Valenti, Chris Catalano, Colin Kelly, Will Mackenzie, Jason Boule
Here is a top 10 for the Web site for the Inside High School Sports show for the week of April 10…
1. This first full week of April began with two massive developments in area girls volleyball. Two long win streaks were snapped in the same Monday night, one of them by Marcellus, who outlasted Westhill in five sets to break up the 44-match win streak of the reigning two-time state Class B champions as Bronte Stahl got 18 kills and 18 digs and Jenna Mattison dished out 42 assists. As that went on, Fayetteville-Manlius went to Baldwinsville and knocked off the Bees in four sets, something no Section III team had done in a head-to-head match since Liverpool did so way back in September 2013. Molly McNany’s 17 digs, Morgan Napier’s 37 assists and 17 kills apiece from Amanda Groesbeck and Harper Stoppacher helped the Hornets pull off this landmark victory.
2. On the boys volleyball side, the showdown between Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool proved that the Northstars were still the top side, but the margin between the rivals was no longer a canyon. The Northstars easily won the first set but then had to battle hard to win the second set, and then the Warriors won the third set before C-NS took over again and won the fourth 25-15. These two teams will meet again at the end of the season April 21 in what promises to be an exciting regular-season finale. In the meantime, Liverpool had to deal with a strong first-year team from East Syracuse Minoa on Tuesday night but pulled out that match as it looked forward to another tough match on Thursday against a solid team from Fayetteville-Manlius.
3. This unusual spring football season included, last week, the return of Skaneateles after a cascade of off-season headlines, which only seemed to motivate the Lakers more on the field as it handled traditional power Cazenovia 18-0 in the season opener, though the two sides would meet again later this month. Other local rivalries roared back to life including the one between VVS and Oneida, with the Red Devils getting the best of it 20-6 over the Indians as Whitesboro got the best of Rome Free Academy 42-7 to move to 2-0 ahead of facing its main all-sports rival, New Hartford, this weekend. There’s also East Syracuse Minoa, having started 2-0, facing 1-1 Fayetteville-Manlius late this week and eight-man football power Weedsport outscoring Bishop Grimes 60-36 last weekend.
4. Yet all football games this week take a bit of a backseat to Friday night’s long-awaited battle between Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool at Bragman Stadium. Everyone on both sides remembers the 2019 sectional Class AA semifinal and the 21-point second-half comeback the Northstars made to shock the Warriors 35-28 and continue its run to a third straight sectional title. Liverpool was able to return from its COVID-19 pause on Monday and make up one of the two games it lost, overcoming a slow start to handle Corcoran 41-12, but now it must try and solve a C-NS side that, in its three victories this season, has not allowed a defensive touchdown and has put up 124 points with all of its starters on the bench by the third quarter with those games well in hand.
5. Among the large-school football teams, the close competition continues. Fayetteville-Manlius won an overtime game over CBA but then lost in overtime to West Genesee a week later, the Wildcats having beaten the Brothers on the last play of regulation before all this. CBA finally got a win over Central Square and takes on its neighbors from Jamesville-DeWitt this weekend. We also got to see Lowville, the reigning sectional Class C champions, featuring many of the same star athletes who romped through an unbeaten basketball season in the winter, outlast Watertown 48-36 in a wild season opener as it takes on South Jefferson this weekend. Solvay, who won the sectional Class B title a year ago, dropped its opener 27-20 to Bishop Ludden and had to challenge Skaneateles this weekend.
6. Last weekend brought us the Journeyman/Rudis New York State Wrestling Championships….which were held in Pennsylvania because New York State wrestlers did not have a winter state tournament like is usually held in Albany each February. More than four dozen Section III wrestlers were in the field in various weight classes – and two of them won. In fact, Central Square’s Kole Mulhauser, on his way to the 182-pound championship, won all five of his bouts and took home Most Outstanding Wrestler honors, with Homer’s Sam Sorenson triumphant in the 202-pound division. Of course, most of Section III’s wrestling teams will still have a regular season during the spring in May and June, though a handful did compete in February and March.
7. This is a big week in high school girls swimming. Part of it is due to a pair of showdowns involving the 5-0 Liverpool Warriors, who would put its deep lineup to the test Tuesday against a CBA side boasting star power in Kayla Newman, Lauren Kelly and Darien Tompkins, and then later in the week challenge another undefeated side from Fayetteville-Manlius who has won each of its first three meets this spring. Indeed, CBA did defeat Liverpool 94-92 to stake its place atop the local ranks, while on the same day Skaneateles beat Syracuse in a meet where the Lakers’ new star, Hana Spaulding, was part of three school records, set in the 50 freestyle (24.06) and 100 butterfly (58.38) along with a part in a record-setting 200-yard freestyle relay that went 1:42.58.
8. There is also some basketball still going on as some teams are playing into April. Utica Academy of Science did not start until March 12, but the Atoms built up a 6-1 record capped by back-to-back victories over a Class B school, Mount Markham. On the other hand, Mount Markham’s girls team got off to a 9-1 start, took a few defeats late in the season (two of them to Poland) before closing in April by routing Frankfort-Schuyler 60-23. When the Salt City Athletic Conference announced girls all-star teams, Cicero-North Syracuse’s Jessica Cook was Metro division Player of the Year and those same honors went in the Empire division to Central Square’s Julia Mann, who is her program’s all-time leading scorer.
9. There are also some boys and girls soccer teams having their seasons right now because their schools did not have sports in the fall. Hamilton, for example, is a famous boys program with a couple of state championships in its past, but did not play in the fall. So far the Emerald Knights have won both of its games, handling Waterville 5-0 on Monday afternoon. Moving to the girls side, there’s the McGraw Eagles who have played four times and won three of them, most recently handling DeRuyter 2-1. But the more famous teams playing right now includes the Fulton Red Raiders and a combined team from Syracuse, who both opted out in September and October and will get a couple of games in now before hopefully joining everyone else in the fall of 2021.
10. Amid all the talk about college basketball players entering the transfer portal, local fans got some genuinely good news when one-time Syracuse Academy of Science star Symir Torrence announced that he was coming back to Central New York and heading to SU. Last season, Torrence played at Marquette, but after Steve Wojiechowski was fired and replaced by former Texas coach Shaka Smart, Torrence opted to make his way back home. At 6-foot-3, Torrence likely projects as a guard, and whether he helps SU immediately next season is an open question since two other Upstate New York heroes, Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard, are set to return as well, with the Orange’s success in 2021-22 likely hinging on how they follow up this winter’s NCAA Sweet 16 run.
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