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Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013: Rockland County schools may rejoin Sec. 9

   Leading off today: It's not so much "a bridge too far" as it is "a bridge too congested" that may drive 11 Rockland County high schools to leave Section 9 and apply to rejoin Section 1.

   Multiple reports Monday said the schools -- Albertus Magnus, Clarkstown North, Clarkstown South, Nanuet, North Rockland, Nyack, Ramapo, Pearl River, Suffern, Spring Valley and Tappan Zee -- are considering the move for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which (for the moment) is the impending replacement of the heavily traveled Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects Rockland and Westchester counties.

   The bridge project, which is likely to cost more than $5 billion, is complicated by the fact that the span crosses the Hudson River at one of its widest points. If you subscribe to the construction-industry joke that the first half of a project takes 90 percent of the time and the second half takes the other 90 percent of the time -- Rockland schools could easily be looking at more than five years of inconvenient travel to play against schools on the other side of the river.

   We have been talking about it, but its not a reactive move, Tappan Zee AD Liam Frawley told MSG Varsity. There are a few reasons; the bridge has always been an issue and now with the new bridge coming in the future, we have to look at things like traffic and scheduling.

   "Filling schedules has been a problem for teams in the past with the river being a deterrent, so were looking into the possibility of traveling north as opposed to east. Were really just bouncing around some ideas as a group on how can we make things better for ourselves.

   The schools' move would take effect before the 2014-15 school year. The Rockland schools face a November 2013 deadline for committing to make the jump, which would require approval from Section 9.

   Thanks in no small part to the 1983 defection of Rockland schools, Section 1 currently has 83 high schools and Section 9 has 44 according to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association handbook.

   If its beneficial for them for educational purposes, then its fine with me, Sleepy Hollow AD Chuck Scarpulla told The Journal News. "Well still have 50-plus teams over here, so well have plenty. Im sure we could still get some games with people over there.

   Here are some stories on the issue from downstate media:

    • Poughkeepsie Journal
    • MSG Varsity
    • The Journal News
    • Times Herald-Record

   F-M names new coach: Former Fayetteville-Manlius star athlete and assistant coach Damien Rhodes is the school's new varsity football coach.

  Rhodes, a football assistant for five seasons who also assists in track and field, replaces Paul Muench, who stepped down after 13 seasons.

  In 2001, Rhodes was a first-team all-state selection at running back and the Central New York Player of the Year after leading the Hornets to the Section 3 Class AA sectional title. He went on to play at Syracuse University, gaining more than 3,000 yards of total offense and scoring 27 touchdowns.

   New twist for Millrose Games: The boys high school pole vault will make its Millrose Games debut Feb. 16

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during the 106th installment of the meet, The New York Daily News reported.

   The decision came about after a late-November clinic at the Armory Track and Field Center in Manhattan attracted close to 200 vaulters.

   More indoor track: Northeastern Clinton's Mallory Honan has broken the Section 7 record in the girls 55-meter hurdles for the second time this season. Honan won her trial heat and then ran in :08.62 in the prelims of the 44th-Annual Dartmouth Relays over the weekend, topping her recent :08.7 effort.

   Honors coming up: Two Long Island basketball greats who combined for nearly 6,000 points on the basketball court are having their jerseys retired.

   Ryan Creighton, who moved to second on the state's all-time boys list in 2009 with 2,799 points, will be honored the night of Greenport's Jan. 30 home game vs. Southold. Longtime Greenport coach Al Edwards is the only other player to have been so honored by the school.

   Four days before Creighton's No. 34 is retired, Garden City will hold a similar ceremony for No. 23.

   Bethany LeSueur, second in state girls history with 3,167 points (see all-time list) in a career that concluded in 2001, will be honored Jan. 26 as Garden City plays Roslyn.

   LeSueur was named Miss New York Basketball as a senior and was a two-time Gatorade state player of the year before playing collegiately at Virginia and Georgetown.

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