Leading off today:
Cheerleading took a step forward in its journey toward being recognized alongside sports such as basketball or soccer Saturday as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association conducted its inaugural regional championship
Some 51 teams competed at Arlington High School as the latest step toward cheerleading becoming a recognized varsity sport in the state.
John Jay East Fishkill won the large team division, Hyde Park FDR took the medium squad title and New Rochelle placed first in the small-team bracket. Mepham's squad of 17 girls and three boys, fresh off its first championship of any sort a week earlier in the Hudson Valley tournament, captured top honors in the co-ed team division.
(Update, Monday, 4 p.m.) The NYSPHSAA pegged paid attendance at 1,070.
"We've been fighting for years to get cheerleading to where it is now, to get that respect," Long Island Mercy coach Connie Bedson said. "Our team actually came up and slept over because it's so exciting to finally be involved in something like this."
Said competition director Marsha Tessler: “We’ll see how successful it’ll be regionally first and then go from there. We hope it continues to evolve and become a sport."
A Western state regional is scheduled for March 9 at Rochester Institute of Technology and could serve as an interesting barometer for cheerleading's public profile. The event date sits late in the schedule of state winter sports playoffs with NYSPHSAA basketball quarterfinals and the boys hockey semifinals scheduled for the same day but nearly everything else over for the season.
The 36th annual Greater Rochester Cheerleading and Dance Championships, which attracted 104 teams over more than eight hours of judged routines, were held Saturday before a crowd of approximately 4,000 at Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester.
Wantagh keeps rolling: Wantagh, the state's top-ranked large school, earned its third straight Nassau County dual meet wrestling championship with a 45-16 victory over No. 14 MacArthur on Saturday.
It ran the Warriors winning streak in duals to 39 matches.
"Our whole team is a group of solid guys and this is a special team," 145-pounder Nick Vines told Newsday. "We all worked so hard to get to this point and it's just really exciting to win a county title in this fashion and just blow them out of the water like that."
By the way, Vines has been wrestling with a torn ACL that will require surgery after the season ends.
Quite a weekend: Ryan Talty second goal of the game, off a rebound 1:45 into overtime, gave McQuaid a 4-3 hockey victory over Fairport in Section 5 league hockey action.
Fairport is ranked seventh in the state in Division I. McQuaid, which defeated No. 5 Pittsford 7-3 a day earlier, is ranked 13th.
Fairport's Max Gerling scored a power-play goal to complete a rally from a 3-1 deficit and tie the game with 5:01 left in regulation. In OT, Talty knocked home the rebound of Jack Dugan's shot.
Barrier broken: Williamsville South junior Devon Patterson broke the Section 6 indoor shot put record for the second week in a row, also cracking the 60-foot barrier at the fifth annual Rock N Roll Throw Offs in the Lancaster Fieldhouse.
Patterson unleashed a throw of 60 feet, 4.75 inches on his second attempt. A week earlier, he threw 59-1.75 at a meet in Brockport.
“I just hit it, and off it went,” Patterson told The Buffalo News. “This is my favorite meet of indoor besides states. I’m always so amped. I was looking forward to this all week, and I’m happy that I threw 60.”
Milestones: Massapequa gymnastics coach Mike Capone collected the 300th win of his 37-year career Friday in a girls meet vs. Hicksville.