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Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014: F-M defeats Liverpool in early-season dual

   Leading off today: Fayetteville-Manlius won its boys cross country battle with Liverpool 19-37 on Wednesday as two of the state's top programs went head-to-head.

   Bryce Millar, the reigning NYSPHSAA Class A individual champion, and Peter Ryan beat the course record at Long Branch Park in Liverpool in 15:12.1 and 15:14.3, respectively. The Hornets took four of the top five places.

   The previous course record was 15:37 by Dominick Luca of Tully in 2002. Liverpool's Ben Petrella also eclipsed that mark, finishing in 15:32.4 to take the third spot.

   Interestingly, F-M coach Bill Aris declined to speak with or make his runners available after the race, the website reported.

   Back in action: When Brett Rodriguez was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome when doctors detected blood clots in his right lung and shoulder in the spring, it appeared he'd miss the 2014 football season after being selected third-team all-state as a sophomore running back.

   Well, Rodriguez is back on the field for Queensbury, The Post-Star reports, thanks to the combination of surgery and blood thinners. He played in the 49-0 win over Niskayuna in Week 1.

   Not back in action: Odessa-Montour didn't play its scheduled football season opener last weekend because Trumansburg dropped the sport during the preseason. The Indians will also sit out Week 2, with the Press & Sun-Bulletin reporting injuries have dropped O-M below the was minimum of 16 players. The forfeit will leave Moravia without a game.

   Road trip: Barring a basketball trip to Hawaii over the holidays, it looks as though Cornwall will have the longest New York high school road trip of the year when the boys and girls cross country teams compete at the Stanford Invitational on Sept. 27.

   Coaches Dave Feuer and Brian Creeden planned the trip as a reunion of sorts with former Cornwall distance-running great Aisling Cuffe, now a senior at Stanford.

   "Brian and I have said we want to get out to Stanford, some place we wouldn't go on our own without knowing anybody there," Feuer told the Times Herald-Record. "Where better to go than where our all-American champion is?"

   Cuffe is a seven-time NCAA All-American and is the defending Pac-12 cross country champion. She was also the 2014 NCAA runner-up at 5,000 meters indoors and outdoors as a junior.

   There is no school funding for the trip, and each of the 14 runners will pay a fee to offset costs that weren't covered via several fundraising events.

   Name game: In this era of mostly shrinking school districts, consolidations of sports teams from two or three schools into a single program are routine, even if word doesn't travel quickly. This week, for instance, one of our longtime NYSSWA helpers discovered that the football committee in one New York section apparently wasn't aware of a recent consolidation.

   That, though, was the exception rather than the rule. Quite often, the bigger question is what to call these multi-school beasts. Greg Brownell of The Post-Star wrote this week that he learned a lesson along those lines recently after Bolton and Warrensburg joined forced for soccer. football site

   The Post-Star started the season referring to the team as Bolton, since that's where they were playing home games, and the paper was under the impression the team was using Bolton uniforms..

   "This decision met with a good deal of resistance on the part of both schools," Brownell wrote. "It was pointed out that the girls team will wear uniforms that have both school's names, so I relented. We will call the team Bolton-Warrensburg."

   That was the latest example of one truism in small-town life. He who tries to close the local post office or school will meet with stiff resistance 100 percent of the time. Take either of those institutions away and people fear the identity of the town will also vanish.

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   So what we end up with in these mergers is usually "hyphenation nation" in a bid to preserve the local identities. As Brownell notes, though, there's plenty of potential for the very identities schools are trying to protect to get lost.

   "Take the example of Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville from down south," he wrote. "I don't know the history there, but I would imagine all three towns have taxpayer money going into the teams, and therefore all three towns want their name attached. The resulting amalgamation is so long that virtually everyone goes with OESJ, an acronym that says nothing about anybody's hometown.

   "I can envision a day this fall when we have a page with IL-LL, M-N and B-W showing up in headlines. If you're from those schools you know who you are. But for the casual reader, it's harder to make a connection with the communities involved, and high school sports becomes a little less relevant to the general public."

   New kings of the CHSAA? Cardinal Hayes may have the final piece in place to dethrone Christ the King in boys basketball this winter now that 6-foot-6 junior Armaveer Singh has transferred in from St. Peter's Prep in New Jersey according to

   Hayes graduated a pair of all-state players in the spring, but guards Baron Goodridge and Clive Allen as well as big man Ak Ojo are back from last season's 26-2 squad.

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