Here are the top 10 topics for the May 4 edition of the Inside High School Sports Show.
1. Heading into the long and decisive month of May, Class A boys lacrosse has a fairly clear front-runner in Baldwinsville, who at its best has flattened some really good opponents – West Genesee and F-M – at home. But the Bees also lost at home to Liverpool, whom it meets in a rematch this Thursday after a Tuesday where two big rivalries – West Genesee vs. F-M, and Liverpool vs. C-NS, takes place. As the overwhelming Class B favorites, F-M, thanks to its 8-1 record, has stationed itself at no. 4 in the latest state rankings, not moving up or down, and perhaps headed for a long, quiet post-season except for a challenge from Watertown, who got an impressive win over ESM late last week.
2. The Class C boys lacrosse picture got a lot more interesting late last week. ESM, despite losses to Oswego and Watertown, nearly upended unbeaten, state no. 2-ranked J-D, the Red Rams hanging on to win 11-10 after it handled the Spartans by a much bigger margin late in March. Combine them with state no. 4-ranked CBA and no. 7-ranked Westhill, and the sectional playoffs promise to be classic no matter who wins it. General Brown’s impressive win over Chenango Forks late last week moved the Lions all the way to no. 2 in the state Class D rankings, ahead of no. 3 Skaneateles, with Marcellus at no. 5 as even unranked LaFayette impressive last Saturday when it routed Liverpool 19-9.
3. Two classic girls lacrosse games between Baldwinsville and F-M ended in a split. B’ville won the first meeting, but the Hornets claimed the rematch 9-7 last Thursday, fending off a late Bees rally. Despite this first defeat of the season, B’ville is still atop the state Class A rankings, and only one other team, West Genesee, is even ranked, at no. 19, and that’s despite a 4-4 record since it nearly knocked off B’ville when they first played each other. Meanwhile, F-M moved up to no. 2 in the state in Class B, helped also by a win over Auburn in a rematch of last May’s sectional final, the Maroons holding the no. 15 state ranking as Doug Rowe’s Rome Free Academy is 6-2 and has nearly reached the state top 10.
4. Nothing changed in the state Class D girls lacrosse rankings – Skaneateles and Westhill are still 1-2 after comfortable wins last week. The marquee game in Class D this week is on Friday night, when the Warriors face no. 6-ranked Marcellus, who has rolled through opponents the last few weeks as defending sectional champion South Jefferson is in the no. 7 spot. Again, they chase J-D in Class C, with the Red Rams having its own no. 7 state ranking. A fun pair of local games take place late this week when both CBA and J-D have games at F-M, determining local bragging rights among three defending sectional champions whose players have often joined together in club competition beyond their school ties.
5. Despite their quick starts, Baldwinsville and West Genesee baseball have now found out it’s not a two-team Class AA race. After the Bees won the first two games of its series with Liverpool, it lost the third game in eight innings even though ace Jason Savacool was pitching, and then Liverpool turned around and won the first game of its series with the Wildcats Monday at NBT Bank Stadium. Proving that its no. 3 state ranking was far from a fluke, J-D, who took its first loss of the season to Auburn last week, avenged that defeat and then handled defending sectional champion ESM 15-6 early this week. Holland Patent’s 8-0 start pushed the Golden Knights up to no. 7 in the latest state Class B rankings.
6. No team in softball had a bigger win last week than Oneida, who knocked off undefeated C-NS 7-3 last Thursday afternoon as Lauren Skibitski and Emily Marshall each drove in two runs for the Indians, who rode that big win up to no. 4 in the state Class B rankings, tied for best among Section III teams with Sandy Creek, who is still no. 4 in Class C, and Fabius-Pompey, who is no. 4 in Class D. It’s more difficult to rise up the large-school ranks, and C-NS wasn’t helped by the postponement of last weekend’s Northstar Elite Tournament by bad weather that included snow. J-D pitcher Shayna Myshrall hit four home runs last week for the state Class A no. 8-ranked Red Rams, who still haven’t lost yet.
7. What a week in girls track and field. The best from this area went down to the 125th edition of the legendary Penn Relays in Philadelphia and came back with a pair of victories in nationally televised races. Brooke Rauber won the 3,000-meter run and, on the same night, F-M’s quartet of Claire Walters, Phoebe White, Susan Bansbach and Fiona Mejico won the distance medley relay, an event the Hornets also captured in 2011. A day later, the massive Chittenango Invitational continued through heavy rains, and Walters and White both won races, helping the Hornets finish second behind Liverpool, with the Warriors’ Sydney Carlson winning the featured Fleet Feet Mile over teammate Windsor Ardner.
8. Nothing comparable to the Penn Relay wins happened in boys track and field last week, but the invitational meets revealed plenty. Liverpool claimed the boys portion over its rivals from Baldwinsville and C-NS, even though the Northstars’ Jeremiah Willlis had season-best efforts in the 100-meter dash and long jump. Nathan Reeves won the featured Fleet Feet Mile for the Warriors, with Faith Heritage’s Hans Matzal running 800 meters in 1:57.78. There was also the Ed Wadas Invitational at Whitesboro, where Utica Proctor took the team title and Rome Free Academy finished seconds. Events this week include large-scale meets at New Hartford for the boys, ESM and the Copper City Classic at VVS for the girls.
9. Now we’re in the heart of the Section III girls golf regular season. We start to find out this week if anyone can match the depth and quality of F-M among SCAC Metro division teams. The Hornets are already 4-0 and has wins over West Genesee and Baldwinsville in recent outings, with only Liverpool and the Avotins sisters still in front of them. Moving to the SCAC Empire, the group matches have revealed no clear favorite, while in the OHSL an early-season first-place showdown had CBA defeat Skaneateles. On the boys side, undefeated teams from New Hartford, Marcellus and Manlus-Pebble Hill continue to domiante its opposition in their respective leagues.
10. There is a very crowded agenda when the NYSPHSAA has their quarterly meeting late this week. Everything from shifts in the calendar and the starts of the fall, winter and spring seasons to specific rule changes in the sports and determining sites for the state boys and girls lacrosse championships are there, but so is an unusual vote to determine whether rules set by the National Federation of State High Schools Associations will be done by the state. Why is this a big deal? Well, in girls basketball, if they adopt NFHS rules, then there’s no shot clock, something that players and coaches do NOT want here. It likely won’t get to that point, but just the fact that it’s on the agenda is strange enough.