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Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014: Davenport's Preston give up soccer duties

   Leading off today: Holy Toledo! Who knew the first few days of August could be so chock full of news in the world of high school sports? I hardly knew where to start ... until I saw Dean Russin's notebook in The Daily Star ...

   Cutting back on the workload: Ray Preston is stepping down as girls soccer coach at Davenport after 426 victories and 24 division titles in 32 seasons. However, Davenport, 65, will be back for a 36th girls basketball season.

   "Last year in October, I got sick and I don't know whether soccer wore me down or if it was mostly winter sick," he told the paper. "I thought if I only did one (sport), I thought I might be better in the winter. I really love basketball. I love soccer, too, but if I really had to choose, it would be basketball."

   Preston, who has rolled up 631 basketball triumphs, said he first thought about giving up soccer late in the spring, then wrote a letter to Davenport Superintendent Mark Dupra in June to confirm his decision.

   "I feel kind of guilty that they're still looking for a coach," he said. "No. 1, we want to make sure we get a good coach. And No. 2, we still want to win and be competitive."

   Davenport AD Cheryl Butler said she expects a successor to be appointed at Thursday's school board meeting.

   Delhi's decision: The Daily Star also reports that two-year assistant Matt Newman will take over as football coach at Delhi, where Dave Kelly retired after 272 wins in 48 seasons. Newman played at Brockport State, where he also went on to coach.

   Two-sporter's choice: Santita Ebangwese certainly wasn't lacking for options, and the Pittsford Sutherland rising senior has waded through the offers to make her college decision.

   Ebangwese told that she will continue her career a year from now by enrolling at Syracuse University, where she will play volleyball. The 6-foot-3 standout only started playing that sport seriously two years ago but quickly garnered substantial attention from Stanford, Iowa and a host of others.

   However, basketball coaches weren't about to back off, and her stock continued to rise when she averaged 12 points and 15 rebounds as a junior and earned first-team all-state honors in Class A. reports she had basketball offers from a number of schools, including Davidson, James Madison and Rider.

   She was instrumental in the Knights winning New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in both sports.

   "I started playing basketball when I was really young, as young as I can remember," Ebangwese told the website. "Volleyball came along a lot later, but I progressed at it quickly and I grew to love the sport."

   For the record, she does not expect to try being a two-sported in college.

   "If I went Division II I had a few schools giving me that option, but I wanted to play and focus on one at the next level," Ebangwese said.

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   Underrated development: The weight throw gained approval this week from the NYSPHSAA as an event in its indoor track and field championships, which gives supporters of the javelin and outdoor hammer throw a reason for hope, The Times Herald-Record noted.

   State indoor boys track chairman Oscar Jensen made the case that the weight throw is one more way for New York athletes to attract notice, and a larger percentage of the thinly sliced scholarship budget, from colleges.

   Five sections already include the weight throw in their regular season, and several more are likely to adopt the event soon.

   Catching up: I completely whiffed on this when the news broke in mid-June, but rising senior quarterback Tyler Davis has committed to UConn. That makes the two-year starter Mepham's first Football Bowl Subdivision recruit since Amos Zereoue in 1995.

   MSG Varsity reported Davis had interest from 50 programs and offers from at least nine on the heels of his junior season in which he threw for 1,023 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 1,107 yards and 21 TDs. Davis expects to graduate in December and enroll at UConn for the spring semester.

   Extra points: With the promotion of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk coach Gary VanDerzee (193-100-4 in 31 seasons) to the role of NYSPHSAA state football chairman, Ravena assistant Bob Dorrance will move up to Section 2 coordinator for the sport. VanDerzee held the Section 2 position for 17 years before agreeing to take over at the state level after Dick Cerone's retirement.

   The Gazette reports Mike Lilac stepped down as the Section 2 boys basketball coordinator after 25 seasons and will be replaced by Ichabod Crane coach Will Ferguson.

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