Even as COVID-19 might finally be starting to slow down in New York State, schools remain closed through the end of the month. NYSPHSAA has to decide by April 27 whether to even have state championships for high school spring sports, but even if that did happen, the individual sections, including Section III, could stage their own abbreviated regular seasons should schools reopen in May. There would be six to 10 days of practices and then games well into June – a possibility helped by the canceling of state Regents exams, which normally follow the end of spring sports in June. Of course the season might never happen, but as of now the door to spring sports is not completely shut.
In the meantime, All-Central New York teams for the winter sports season were announced in the last couple of weeks. In boys basketball, the Large School first team included J.J. Starling, De’Jour Reaves, Damien Call, Payton Shumpert and Will Amica with Corcoran’s Jesse Long named Coach of the Year for leading the Cougars to its first sectional title in 20 years. As you would expect, Lowville had two players on the Small School first team in Aidan Macaulay and Chad Bach, joined by Herkimer’s Jordyn LaRoux, Cooperstown’s John Kennedy and Lyme’s 2,000-point man, Isaiah Wilson, with Lowville’s Zach Shambo snaring Coach of the Year honors for a team that was no. 1 in the state rankings for most of the winter.
When they made All-Central New York selections for girls basketball, at the top of the list for Large Schools was C-NS’s Jessica Cook and CBA’s Brooke Jarvis, who led their respective teams to sectional titles as J-D’s Momo LaClair, New Hartford’s Kaia Henderson and Bishop Ludden’s Amarah Streiff joined them and CBA’s John Niland was Coach of the Year. For the Small Schools, super sophomore Jackie Piddock from Class B sectional champion South Jefferson was joined by Oneida’s Sydney Lusher, Brookfield’s Jaelyn Vleer-Elliott, Cazenovia’s Lindsey Lawson and Weedsport star Suzie Nemec. Brookfield coach Doreen Rogers was Coach of the Year after a 23-0 season and Class D sectional title.
The All-Central New York ice hockey selections included, for Division I, Syracuse teammates Ryan Durand, Zach Delaney and Caleb Benedict, with Fulton’s Derek Schumaker and Jadon Lee joined by Coach of the Year Dan Bartlett, plus West Genesee’s Jake Kopek, Rome Free Academy’s Isaiah Nebush, C-NS’s Carter Wisely and Liverpool’s Connor Boland. Moving to Division II, where Skaneateles dominated, Garrett Krieger, Charlie Russell, Cam Lowe and Jack Henry all were first-team choices, as were Cortland-Homer’s Jed Brazo, Whitesboro’s Noah Scranton and Cameron Manley, Clinton’s Corbin Meilie and Dan Frank, with Whitesboro’s Pat Gaffney nailig down Coach of the Year honors.
Boys swimmers also had their All-Central New York honors, starting on the first team with Baldwinsville’s Nick Schultz, who broke the sectional record in the 100 breaststroke and finished second in the state in that event, and he was joined by teammate Bailey Ludden. Then it went on to Liverpool’s Griffin Merkling, Julien Brownlow, Jack Hyde, Curtis Merrick, Jack Andrejko and Ian Denny, all part of the Warriors’ sectional Class A and George Falwell Cup champions, along with standouts like sectional diving champion Lucas Dekaney from J-D/CBA and Watertown’s Nate Carlos, who in his senior season achieved a top-five state finish in the 100 freestyle while breaking a handful of school records.
A winter season in girls volleyball yieled its own group of All-Central New York selections. Class A champion Cortland had Kayci Olson and Grace Call on the Large School team with Carthage’s Mikenzie Martens and Liya Mace, while Class B champion Oneida had Jamie Jones and Zoey Fox and VVS’ had Karli Doig and LeeAnne Lowery. Moving to the Small Schools, Sandy Creek had two first-team selections, Deanna Hathaway and Sarah Balcom, with Class C champion Beaver River represented by Chelsea Greenwood and Makenna Boliver. Also chosen: Tully’s Emma Byrne, Morrisville-Eaton’s Arianna Hilliard and Kendra Waltz, joined by Remsen’s Madelyn McCormack and Onondaga’s Samantha Geis, among others.
At the forefront of the All-CNY boys indoor track and field team was not Henninger’s Kwamere White, though he was the state champion in the high jump. F-M had Sam Otis, Corey Gallagher, Ben Hutz, Owen Snyder and Ian Brown all selected, with the Utica Proctor contingent led by Saleh Eltayeb, who reached the state meet in the 55-meter hurdles. C-NS had R.J. Davis chosen, with Westhill well-represented, too, by the likes of Jacob Fricano and Skaneateles’ Caleb Bender chosen for distance running. And don’t forget about Sauquoit Valley’s Slater Constantine, the state’s second-place finisher in the pole vault, along with distance runners like West Genesee’s Matt Bartolotta and CBA’s Joel Gaffney.
When we move to girls indoor track and field All-CNY selections, the 25 girls included some very familiar to local fans like Claire Walters, Jenna Schulz and Brooke Rauber, but don’t forget about Liverpool’s Kali Hayes, who broke a school record in the 55-meter hurdles, or ITC’s Fannie Kumeh, a sprint specialist who could run track at LSU. A large Baldwinsville contingent includes state meet participants Lauren Addario and Karen Ekure, while F-M had its usual large group of distance runners led by Walters and Phoebe White. And C-NS freshman Kate Putman, who along with teammate Hannah Boyle broke plenty of school records, got honored, too, joined by fellow Northstar Brooke Blaisdell.
To fill out the All-Central New York team for Division I wrestling, they turned to the 15 sectional champions that made it to the state meet in late February. That included Fulton’s strong contingent of Fred Pagan, Dominick Hofmann, Andru Walts, Cole French, Camrin Galvin and Cuinn Burlingham. No other large school got close to that number, though Carthage did feature with heavyweight Collin Null and 195-pound Fombo Azah, who had a fourth-place finish at the state meet. Central Square’s Kole Mulhauser, who went 39-1 this season and was third in the state at 145 pounds, was joined by fellow Redhawk Peyton Rupracht, while Auburn put Luca Pirozzolo and Keyshin Cooper on this squad.
And to round out the winter sports All-Central New York choices, there was Division II wrestling with 19 selections that started with two undefeated state champions, Dolgeville’s Jacob Null and South Jefferson’s Tyler Mousaw, who between them won 82 bouts this winter without a defeat. There was also Mexico’s Dean Shambo, a state finalist, and the amazing Bush brothers, Mason and Marek, who have won more than 400 high school bouts between them. Dylan Price, from Onondaga (but wrestling for Marcellus) was chosen with Mustangs teammate Carl Santariello. Price and CVA’s Keagen Case were both fourth-place state finishers, while Holland Patent’s Bryce Care was fifth in the state at 195 pounds behind Mousaw.