Leading off today:
Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc (Mich.) repeated as boys champion and Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka (Ind.) regained her title Saturday in the Foot Locker
Cross Country Championships in San Diego on Saturday.
Fisher won his race by nine seconds in 15:03. Rohrer, a senior who'd previously won the Foot Locker championship in 2012, won by 10 seconds in 17:13.
Carmel's Benito Muniz was the top New York boys finisher, claiming 18th place in 15:47. Fellow seniors Jeriqho Gadway (Plattsburgh) and Jack Jibb (Monroe-Woodbury) were 35th and 40th, respectively. Ursuline junior Anna Flynn was 31st in the girls race in 18:45.
Interesting stat line: Solvay's Chelsie Delperuto registered a double/double in girls basketball Friday, but it was anything but conventional. Delperuto grabbed 13 rebounds and a school-record 16 steals to go with nine points as the Bearcats beat Jordan-Elbridge 50-38.
Taking care of business: Two recent initiatives by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association have the potential to save the state's largest high school sports governing body and its member schools some money with relatively little effort.
For starters, the NYSPHSAA recently released its request for proposals for an official ball for sectional, regional and state championship events in a variety of sports beginning in September 2016. Interested manufacturers have until Feb. 11, 2015, to reply.
All 11 sections provided permission to the state office to seek bids, but they do not have to commit until they see the terms and conditions of the proposals, which will cover a five-year term. The NYSPHSAA's 783 high schools would not have to purchase the official ball for regular-season play, but the NYSPHSAA and sectional tournament committees would use the official ball for postseason play.
Besides generating sponsorship revenue, the NYSPHSAA process encourages manufacturers to sell equipment at a competitive price that could be better than what schools could negotiate for individually. Taking it a step further, the NYSPHSAA will give additional consideration to companies that bid for official ball status in multiple sports.
The second initiative has real implications for the NYSPHSAA's postseason championships, potentially raising the bar on amenities for athletes and fans while also tightening the grip on expenses -- no small consideration for an organization that paid more than $350,000 on facility rents in the 2013-14 school year.
On the heels of Executive Committee approval last month of a revamped bid proposal document, the NYSPHSAA is embarking on a program to more aggressively solicit bids to host future championships -- ranging from cash cows like basketball, football and wrestling to traditional money losers like golf and boys tennis. The NYSPHSAA has begun reaching out to regional sports commissions and tourism bureaus to let them know there's an opportunity to bid on hosting its 27 sports championships.
Robert Zayas, executive director of the NYSPHSAA, said the more aggressive approach shouldn't be construed as a criticism of any recent or current venues. Rather, it's an opportunity to keep costs under control by encouraging more bids via proposals that demand painstaking attention to details right down to spelling out how much the fire inspection fee will be and what the swipe charge is on credit cards. Gone for good are the days of arenas springing four-figure fees for scoreboard usage on the day of the event or the NYSPHSAA unexpectedly having to pay extra to have the beer taps shut down at concession stands.
"Maybe some of the fees and expenses have caught my attention," Zayas said at the recent state football finals at the Carrier Dome. "Even the process caught my attention. With the old process, people would request a bid from us. Now we're sending out requests to every section and sports commission."
Though the respective high school committee for the sport, with a representative from each section, will continue to drive much of the selection process, the NYSPHSAA