Leading off today:
Fayetteville-Manlius girls tennis coach Phil Rudolph reached 400 career victories Monday when the Hornets beat Liverpool 7-0.
Four hundred wins is an astonishing number in itself, but it pales in comparison to 98.5.
What's that, you ask?
With a record of 400-6, that happens to be Rudolph's astonishing winning percentage -- helped in great measure by F-M's current 308-match winning streak.
“I felt nervous last year because we were getting close to 300,” Rudolph told The Post-Standard. “But this year I told the kids there really isn’t any special number that we’re worried about. If it ends at 308 or 310 or 331 or whatever, I don’t think anyone 10 years from now is going to care that much what that number was. It’s going to end at some time because everything comes to an end.”
You're too good for us: What happens when you put the Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep football team -- sporting a 2-0 record and a scoring margin of 118-13 -- on the field against Kearny (N.J.), which has been outscored 90-8 in a pair of losses?
Well, we never did get the answer. So concerned by the disparity in skill levels between the two teams, Kearny administrators opted to forfeit last weekend's game rather than watching their 45-player team take an almost-certain battering on the field.
"The Board of Education and the superintendent made a decision not to play the game for safety concerns," Kearny AD John Millar told the Star-Ledger. "I was informed by the superintendent this morning that I should call St. Peter's and cancel.
"Let's face it, we are extreme opposites in terms of competitiveness. They're very good and our program is not. There was concern over potential for injuries. And if we had too many players injured today, there was a question about going forward with the rest of our season and whether we would be able to play it or finish it."
St. Peter's officials were not pleased, if for no other reason than they had been assured on the Monday before the game that the contest would go on as scheduled.
St. Peter's Prep coach Rich Hansen ended up notching career win No. 200 by forfeit.
For what it's worth, I don't think it's wrong for a school to back away from a game it has no chance of winning, but the timing was awful at best. Kearny administrators owed it to SPP to convey the decision much sooner.
Going forward, though, this matter needs to be addressed by the league. If Kearny, or anyone else for that matter, feels too overwhelmed, then it's the league's responsibility to help that school find suitable opponents while also assuring that the better teams do not miss opportunities to play a full schedule.
Time to merge sections? With Section 4 down to four teams in Class AA and three in A, the football postseason in the Southern Tier can be a bit anti-climatic.
That's inspired Bob Benz of The Leader to brainstorm some ideas on how to get around the awkwardness of the top-seeded Class A team getting a bye into the sectional final, among other issues.
His current line of thinking is that Section 4 should consider moving its large-school teams in lesser-played sports like football and lacrosse into neighboring sections -- Sections 3 and 5 to be specific.
The idea isn't totally without merit, but there's an awful lot to consider. First, Section 4 isn't alone in this respect -- not even in football -- so you have to wonder if this is the sort of issue everyone should be working on together or not at all. Sections 1 and 9 have just four Class D schools