Leading off today:
Mary Cain ran into the record books in huge fashion Saturday at The Armory.
The junior from Bronxville ran the mile in 4 minutes, 32.78 seconds in the New Balance Games to break the long-standing national high school record for the distance by nearly six seconds. She beat the 1972 mark of 4:38.5 by Debbie Heald and along the way also snared Lynn Jennings' 1978 high school record of 4:18.9 for the 1,500 meters.
Cain actually "only" finished third in the race, but she was running in the elite women's field. Sarah Bowman Brown won the race in 4:31.61.
She narrowly missed the U.S. under-19 mile mark of Darlene Beckford, who ran 4:32.30 in 1980.
Cain opted to leave high school competition in the fall to train with Alberto Salazar. What makes the latest breakthrough even more interesting is that she began her day by taking her SATs earlier in the day in Scarsdale, arriving at the meet with only about an hour to spare.
She is scheduled to return to The Armory Feb. 16 for the women's Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.
Impressive win: Here's why I try to avoid falling into the trap of playing the "compare the scores" game when trying to assess how two teams might fare in a head-to-head battle. It's also why the "compare the scores" game is irresistible.
On Nov. 30, Oracle Charter opened its boys basketball season with a 71-45 loss to Clarence. That's the same Clarence that Buffalo Mckinley, ranked 15th in the state in Class A by the NYSSWA, beat 88-62 on Jan. 9. So -- in theory, anyway -- Oracle, unranked in Class C, should have had no chance against McKinley, the defending Yale Cup and sectional champ, right?
Well, the teams played Friday and Oracle, in its fourth season as a varsity program, came away with an 80-75 win on McKinley's court. The game featured 12 ties and 25 lead changes. Jamarr Cunningham scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of the victory, and Eric Waters and Gerald Bibbs scored 18 apiece.
Following arguably the biggest win in school history, Oracle is 13-1 and looking like a threat in the Class C sectionals next month.
More Class A boys: Aquinas avenged an earlier loss and rode Kyron Allen's 19 points to a 62-58 victory against Rochester Charlotte, ranked 19th in the state.
The Little Irish, who start four juniors and a sophomore, are 9-4. They raced to a 44-30 lead at the half only to see Charlotte rally and take a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.
More boys basketball: Batavia Notre Dame's 83-52 victory over Holley was No, 599 for coach Mike Rapone, Section 5's all-time winningest basketball coach. The Fighting Irish, ranked eighth in Class C, play Kendall on Tuesday.
What's it mean? The U.S. Education Department has ruled that schools must include students with disabilities in sports programs or provide equal alternative options -- a directive reminiscent of the Title IX-inspired expansion of opportunities for female athletes.
As is often the case with government decrees -- how many people genuinely understand the Affordable Care Act? -- the implications for budgets and the makeup of high school teams are murky, beyond schools being required to make “reasonable modifications” for students with disabilities. That could mean the creation of new athletic programs operating alongside existing teams.
U.S. Education Department officials said they did not intend to guarantee students with disabilities a spot on competitive teams. Rather, they insisted schools cannot exclude students based on their disabilities if they can keep up with their classmates.
“It’s not about changing the nature of the game or the athletic activity,” said Seth Galanter, acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department.