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Thursday, May 22, 2014: Manhasset rallies past No. 1 Garden City

   Leading off today: Manhasset held Garden City scoreless for the final 33:30 of Wednesday's Section 8 Class B semifinal and registered a 4-3 upset of the state's top-ranked boys Class B lacrosse team.

   Manhasset, ranked 15th in Class B, avenged a 9-8 setback to the Trojans on May 3, one of five one-goal losses this season. The Indians also ended Garden City's run of eight straight Nassau County championships.

   "We definitely learned from those five one-goal losses. It's the worst feeling ever," sophomore Matt Gavin told MSG Varsity. "We lost a bunch at home in front of our fans and it just couldn't happen again. We rallied back."

   Gavin completed the comeback from a 3-0 hole with a goal with 6:05 left in the fourth quarter, cutting around a pick set by Charlie Malhame and converting a pass from James Farrell.

   "I was running back and forth looking for a cutter," Farrell said. "Matt Gavin did a great job moving without the ball and was wide open, buried the ball and the rest is history."

   In the final, Manhasset will take on Lynbrook, which beat the Indians 8-7 in overtime last month.

   Sec. 2 calls an audible: James Allen of The Times Union noted this week that it looks as though Section 2 went against its own policy while filling out the field for its softball playoffs.

   Section 2 doesn't hold "open" sectionals in softball, so teams have to meet criteria to qualify for the field. Allen says Shaker (3-13) and Catholic Central (2-8) didn't meet the standard but were nevertheless seeded ninth and 10th, respectively.

   Allen reported that both schools petitioned the softball committee for inclusion into the tournament, and both were allowed in. In the grand schemes of things it doesn't seem like a big deal to add two teams to the tournament, but there are legitimate concerns.

   First, was the opportunity to petition for a spot made available to everyone? Was the extra expense for umpires budgeted -- and approved by the section?

   Secondly, Allen correctly wondered if the potential weather implications of adding a fourth round of games was factored into the decision. It's less of a factor in softball, where pitchers routinely throw both ends of a doubleheader, but a stretch of bad weather in late May can throw the schedule into chaos. In fact, that's happened several times across the state in recent years -- a big issue because exam and graduation schedules in June make extending the state tournament schedule all but impossible.

   The reclassification frenzy: I'd forgotten that I had set this story about lacrosse aside for a rainy day after reading it on Deadspin awhile ago, but it's still worth sharing.

   Here's the nut graph:

   "Nineteen used to be more an age for college kids, but anecdotal evidence abounds that private school students are being held back a grade, or redshirted, a whole lot more than they used to be. It's so commonplace now that the parents of prep athletes have come up with a new word,

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free of any unseemly connotations, to describe the practice. Bluebloods, it turns out, don't 'redshirt' their kids; they 'reclassify' them."

   Whereas the rule of thumb for public schools in many states (including New York) is that students have only eight semesters of athletic eligibility from their first day of ninth grade, private prep schools routinely allow students to repeat a grade in high school in order to gain an edge upon entering college.

   "It used to be if you got held back, it was a scarlet letter, something you would never want," one parent told the website. "Now, it's being done as a badge of honor."

   Cheerleading update: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association cheerleading committee met this week to start mapping out the future now that cheerleading has been recognized as a sport.

   Proposals on coaching certifications and other topics were discussed and will be forwarded to the NYSPHSAA Central Committee at its summer meeting. If approved, cheerleading squads would be limited to 12 competitions per season beginning with the upcoming school year.

   Schools would be broken down into Division I or II based upon enrollment figures and further classified as small (five to 16 cheerleaders) or large (17-32) squads. There will also be a co-ed division.

   The NYSPHSAA will once again conduct a pair of regional championship meets next winter and consider a state championship tournament in the 2015-2016 school year.

   There are still some tough decisions to be made, not the least of which is defining the fall and winter seasons and revisiting the State Education Department's mixed competition guidelines for certifying boys as eligible cheerleaders.

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