Monday, April 29, 2013

NYS Boys Lacrosse Rankings - 04/29/13

Monday is apparently ranking day at the NYSSWA.

Right on the heels of typing up the softball rankings, here are latest NYS boys lax ranks. Same drill as usual: top five teams in each class as well as the standings of all our local squads. To see the entire list (with records THROUGH the 28th) go ahead and click here.

Happy Rankings-Monday. I'm totally calling it that from now on.

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NYS Softball Rankings - 04/29/13

I've got raaaaankings. Fresh off the metaphorical presses of the New York State Sportswriters Association's metaphorical office, I've got the latest NYS softball rankings for you.

A pretty good showing here by Section II, so under the cut check out the top five in each class and the rankings for our local squads. Also. These records are THROUGH the 28th, so it doesn't count today's games.

Too see the entire list, just click this link.
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Social Media, the Student-Athlete and Finding Some Sort of Balance

Let me start off by saying, I realize the humor in posting about this story on a blog.

I've been doing a couple of different stories recently and I've tapped into something I find particularly interesting; social media and the student-athlete.

It sounds like a bad after school special, but let's be honest with ourselves, social media and student-athletes don't always go hand in hand. We are an age and a generation of immediacy. We want people to see all the awesome things we're doing, all the fun we're having and the best way to do that is through social media. Update your status, post a new Tweet, upload a photo to Instagram and suddenly you can show to the entire world just how cool you are.

I tweet. It's part of my job and part of my life. But, there is a fine line between tweeting and over-sharing. Every single thing we do is uploaded to the internet, a great wide web of invisible wires joining people who would otherwise have no idea what we're doing with our lives. So, with all that information out there available to anyone willing to Google our names, doesn't it make sense that eventually some of that might come back to haunt us?

The question of course is, what are the new rules? There have been plenty of stories about officials looking into athletes' social media profiles and forming a brand-new opinion solely base on what they find on the internet. Heck, even the University of Michigan has admitted to "catfishing" its athletes in order to see what they're posting online.

Yes, these are student-athletes, and the key word of course is students, but is there a new limit to the amount of information we want to put out there about ourselves? Do we run the risk of losing a potential scholarship opportunity because we uploaded a particularly boozy picture from last Saturday night? Or can we simply chalk it up to kids being kids and, in fact, the schools and officials are the ones overstepping some sort of unwritten boundary?

This is where you guys come in. I want to know your thoughts, your concerns and your questions about how social media and sports can fit together. Do you worry about what you post online? Do you keep your profiles private or are your Instagram photos available for anyone to like - and possibly judge? There's no easy answer to any of this, but with the "rules" of the world changing every single day, it's important to have some kind of opinion. I want to know what that opinion is.

So, because it's a story about social media, respond here with a comment or e-mail me ( or tweet me (@LauraAmato). You've got plenty of options, so think about it and let me know.

The Latest Section II Baseball Standings From the League

Happy Monday all. Have some baseball records to start a brand-new week in Section II.

Now, under the cut you can see the league and overall records for our local squads. This time around, I'm going to include what class they're playing in as well, so you guys can compare and contrast teams that will see each other in sectionals.

If you guys do see anything that is incorrect (some of the Big 10 schools allegedly didn't report), let me know and I'll fix it. We're pretty much right at the midway point of the section, so these records are starting to get interesting.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The NYSSWA All-State Boys Basketball Team

After several postponements, the New York State Sportswriters Association has released its all-state boys basketball team.

With three state championship teams, it isn't too much of surprise to note that Section II did pretty well for itself on the overall list. Both Lake George's Joel Wincowski (who is only a SOPHOMORE) and Argyle's Joey Lufkin were named players of the year in Class C and D repsectively.

Under the cut, check out the players of the year in each class and where our local kids ranked. To see the entire listing, click here for Class AA-A and here for Class B-D. Congrats again to everybody on a pretty awesome season.

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NYS Baseball Rankings - 04/24/13

We've got a brand new set of baseball rankings for y'all. Or rather, the New York State Sportswriters Association does.

Under the cut, you can see the top five teams in each class and the rankings of all the Section II squads. Now, keep in mind these records only THROUGH APRIL 22ND. So the last two days aren't part of this.

To see the entire list, just click this link. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Great Mask Debate: Softball Safety in Section II

Every day throughout Section II, softball pitchers walk into the circle and stand 43 feet away from home plate. They throw fastballs and sinkers and every pitch in the book and when they do give up a hit, they're only 43 feet away.

At first glance, 43 feet seems like a pretty significant distance, but when a line drive comes off the bat, there's less than a second of reaction time available to pitchers to protect themselves.

Now, mask aren't required for Section II pitchers. In fact, wearing a mask isn't even addressed in the softball handbook. But, I'm curious as to y'all think about it. Should masks be required equipment for pitchers (and even some of the infield, for that matter) or should it be up to the athlete? If you do wear a mask when you pitch, what do you think the benefits are? What are the disadvantages? Is it more difficult to see and do you have to kind of "pitch through" the mask?

I've also heard from a few coaches that the circle distance and pitching masks aren't the problem. It's actually the bats. With the brand-new bats through Section II, hits seem to come off much quicker and much harder, so is that the root of the problem?

Go ahead and sound off here with thoughts, musings or tweet me a response @LauraAmato or you can even e-mail me at There are plenty of avenues of communication open to you. It's a particularly interesting topic since we put so much focus on safety in other sports like football and basketball, but no one really thinks about spring sports until something happens on the field.

Go forth and comment.

Monday, April 22, 2013

NYS Boys Lacrosse Rankings - 04/17/13

I missed last week, so I apologize for that - but I hope to make it up to y'all now.

The latest NYSWAA boys lax rankings are out and I've typed them out for your viewing pleasure. Top five in each class and the standings of all our local squads. I've also got links for you.

To see last weeks rankings, click here. To see the entire list for this week, click here. Enjoy 'em.

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NYS Softball Rankings - 04/21/13

We've got a brand-new set of sports rankings to talk about.

The New York State Sportswriters Association released their first softball rankings of the season yesterday and because I like all of you, I typed them up.

Under the cut, check out the top five in all the classes and the standings of our local squads. If you're interested in seeing the entire rankings go ahead and click here. Also, keep in mind, these records are THROUGH APRIL 21st, so remember that. Enjoy!

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Understanding the New Coaching Culture in Sports - Opinions From Section II

After several weeks of research and calling and interviewing my story on the changes in coaching culture is in print and online today.

It's very exciting.

But wait; there's more! I talked to dozens of people over the past few weeks and everyone had some really fascinating opinions on the changes in what is acceptable coaching behavior. Now, in print, I'm slightly limited by space and the flow of the story but here on the blog, I've got some space to share what everyone is thinking.

It only seems fair that if someone gave me their opinion, it should be shared with the readers, so here we are. Under the cut, you can check out some extended quotes from people who were mentioned in my story as well as quotes from athletes who answered my call on Twitter (thanks guys!). This whole process has been really interesting and it's incredible to see how much things have changed and haven't changed all at the same time.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

NYS Boys Baseball Rankings - 04/17/13

The New York State Sportswriters Association released their first state baseball rankings yesterday afternoon.

Now, keep in mind that these records are only through April 15, so anything that happened on Monday or Tuesday isn't included in this.

Under the cut check out the top five in each of the five classes as well as the rankings of our local squads. If you want to check out the entire list, go ahead and click here. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Laxin 4 Life

Cool name, even cooler event.

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls lacrosse team is sponsoring the event Laxin 4 Life this Saturday at the high school from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to support fundraising efforts for blood and childhood cancer survivors.

The event will bring together five different levels of girls lacrosse as the Spartans take on Scotia. The schedule for Saturdays' events are as follows:
Modfiied - 10 a.m.
2-4 Youth - 11:15 a.m.
JV - 12:30 p.m.
5-6 Youth - 1:45 p.m.
Varsity - 3 p.m.

The teams will be selling apparel, hair extensions, gift basket raffles and concessions as a means of fundraising for cancer awareness and education. Free ACL screenings will also be available.

Monday, April 15, 2013

High School Baseball Standings - as of Sunday 04/14/2013

Before we head straight into another week of baseball, I have exciting news.

Under the cut, are the most up-to-date baseball standings. As the title suggests, these are the standings through Sunday night. So, if you're curious how your team is doing or where they stand in relation to other squads around Section II, go ahead and take a look.

The records are listed by league and then over all. 

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NYS Boys Lacrosse Rankings - 04/15/13

It's Monday and therefore the New York State Sportswriters Association and I come bearing boys lacrosse rankings.

The usual routine: under the cut check out the top five teams in each class as well as the rankings of our local squads.

If you want to see the list in its entirety, go ahead and click right here. Enjoy the rankings!

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Have an Opinion on Coaching Culture and Abuse? Share it - and Answer Some Questions

Alright, so at this point I'm sure y'all have heard that I'm writing a story on the changes in coaching culture throughout the sports world and in the Capital District.

Now, if you haven't shared your opinion on what does or doesn't qualify as coaching abuse, check out exactly what I'm looking for here and let your voice be heard. If you'd like to help another way - I've got an answer for that too.

Under the cut, check out a few questions regarding the story and what does and doesn't qualify as abuse, what schools should do in cases of abuse, and so on. There are only six questions, so it should take a few minutes and it would be an enormous help to me.

If you read the questions and have anything else you want to add, don't hesitate to e-mail me at

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Football Combo in the Works Between Stillwater and Hoosic Valley

Sources have confirmed that the football programs at Stillwater and Hoosic Valley are looking to combine teams going into the 2013 football season.

Nothing is 100% official yet, but according to sources this is something that's being taken very, very seriously.

Both Stillwater and Hoosic Valley are on the smaller side as far as participation, so combining forces between two schools that are 5.9 miles apart makes a lot of sense. Also, the Indians were forced to cut their season short last year after injuries took their toll on the already small team.

As of right now, the merger is entirely dependent on approval from both school boards. According to information provided to The Record, the next Stillwater board meeting is scheduled for May 7th and the merger is a potential hot topic.

Should both boards approve the merger, the newly minted Stillwater/Hoosic Valley program would have to formally apply for approval from Section II, according to football coordinator Gary Vanderzee. The league has already released the schedule for next season with Stillwater once again competing in Class C. Hoosic Valley, which competed as a Class D program in 2013, was not listed on the original schedule.

"There’s an application process," Vanderzee said. "They have to apply to become a combined program and then be approved by the Section. But that’s kind of a formality."

Should the merger happen, the new team would compete at a Class C level, using Stillwater's population numbers and 30% of Hoosic Valley's numbers.

There would be no restrictions as far as fielding a certain amount of players from both teams. The make-up of the team would be at the discretion of the coach following tryouts.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Athletes. I Want To Hear Your Story.

A coach can be your friend. They can be your enemy. Your mentor, your friend, heck, a coach can even be your parent.

But, in the last few months coaching scandals and problems have been all over the news - both nationally and even here in the Capital District.

Let's be honest, the idea of what it is to be a coach has changed over the course of the past few years. It may have even changed throughout your high school career. What once was an acceptable technique might no longer be deemed acceptable by school districts, parents and even athletes themselves.

So where am I going with this? Right here.

I want to hear your story of your relationship with your coach. Whatever sport you play - even if it's more than one sport - I want to know how a coach has affected you. Good or bad. How has a coaching technique affected the way you play or how you want to play? What do you feel is an inappropriate technique for a coach to use? Have an opinion on the national and local changes to what's acceptable in practice?

Share it.

There are plenty of ways to share that story.
Twitter: @LauraAmato
Or comment on this post.

Now, the story is going to run in about two weeks, so make sure you share as soon as you can. Go for it, guys.

NYS Boys Lacrosse Rankings - 04/08/13

The New York State Sportswriters Association is at it again.

The first boys lacrosse rankings have been released and Section II is making a pretty good show of it. Just like we did for football and basketball, you can check out the top five teams in each class under the cut as well as the rankings of our local squads.

If you want to see the entire list, go ahead and click here. Enjoy the first of many rankings!

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Academy's Teagan Ketchum Commits to Sacred Heart

Albany Academy senior Teagan Ketchum has officially announced that she is committing to Sacred Heart University, where she will join the women's ice hockey team.

Ketchum, who helped initiate the girl's hockey program at Academy, becomes the first player in school history commit to a Division I hockey program.

Sacred Heart plays in the Division I independent hockey league. To see the feature The Record  did on Ketchum earlier this year, go ahead and click the link.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Shen LAX Coach Officially Resigns

On Friday, April 5, Shenendehowa boys lacrosse coach Charles Holahan, who had been suspended earlier this week, officially resigned his duties as varsity boys lacrosse coach, effectively immediately.

Coach Jason Gifford will serve as the head coach of the team for the remainder of the 2013 season.

In a statement from Shen Superintendent Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, the school district reiterates its goal to "cultivate and foster an environment that is based on dignity, respect, and civility by and among students, staff and the community.

The e-mail sent to Capital District media concludes by saying that "No further comments will be grated on this matter. We wish our lacrosse team the best for another successful season."

To see the Community News story on Holahan's initial suspension go ahead and click here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holy Names' Hannah Friend Heading to CT Prep School

Holy Names standout Hannah Friend, a three-year varsity player, has been accepted to The Taft School, a prep school in Connecticut. She will be heading to the school in the fall, where she plans to continue her basketball career.

Friend, who was named to the first-team Colonial Council all-star team and The Record's all-area team, averaged 18.7 points and 10 rebound per game for Holy Names this season. She was named a Class A tournament all-star as well.

The Taft girls' basketball program, according to the school's website, was crowned the Founder's League Champions 2010-2011, the same year they competed in the New England quarter-finals.

Regardless of the move, Friend plans to continue to play for the City Rocks AAU team during the summer season.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The NYSSWA All-State Girls Basketball Team

The title should make this fairly self-explanatory. The New York State Sportswriters Association has released their annual all-state girls basketball team. Now, if you want to check out the entire list, go ahead and click right here.

Under the cut, I've listed the players and coaches of the year in all five classes as well as the rankings of any of our local players. Now, if you're wondering when the boy's team is set to be published, I don't have an answer. According to the NYSSWA website, they're still working through nominations and a publication date hasn't been set yet.

Until then, enjoy checking out the incredible talent on the girl's all-state team.

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