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Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015: Syracuse CSD consolidates more sports programs

   Leading off today: Hillary Clinton was wrong. It doesn't take a village, it apparently takes an entire city.

   That's the take from Syracuse.com's story Thursday that the Syracuse City School District is combining even more of its sports into single teams. Baseball, boys lacrosse and softball players from the five city high schools will be lumped into district-wide teams this spring. The moves are being made to offset declining participation numbers, a district official said.    Last spring, the baseball programs were split into Syracuse East and West. The district previously combined its girls lacrosse teams into one participating program.

   Henninger (1,329), Corcoran (1,118), Nottingham (1,018), Fowler (692) and ITC (406) will have a combined BEDS figure of 4,561 next school year; Brentwood is the largest school in the NYSPHSAA with a 2015-16 BEDS figure of just 4,406.

   I don't think it's unreasonable to note that Syracuse high schools were among those that bolted from the Onondaga High School League in 2007 to form the Central New York Counties League, in the process abandoning Syracuse CBA and Bishop Ludden ... you know, those private schools that beat up on public schools because they are able to field all-star teams of athletes from a wide geographic area.

   Nice touch: All-CNY guard Connor Evans of Cicero-North Syracuse, out all season due to a knee injury, will be a ceremonial starter in Thursday night's boys basketball (and senior night) game against Auburn.

   According to Syracuse.com, the plan is to allow C-NS to "win" the opening tap to set up Evans for a layup. CN-S will then turn around and allow Auburn a gimme basket to tie the score, after which the more conventional version of the game will kick in.

   Auburn coach Tim Darnell said he had no problem with the plan. "It's a nice thing," he said. "It'll be a good, enjoyable moment. He would have been one of the best players in the league."

   While Evans is under strict orders to make a layup and then leave the game, he's had fun with coach John Haas.

   "I was joking with him today. I said, 'Coach, you know me. I'm going shoot a three,'" he said.

   Gatorade awards: St. Anthony's senior midfielder T.J. Butzke was honored Thursday as Gatorade's New York player of the year in boys soccer. The Boston University recruit scored nine goals and added seven assists in the fall to help the Friars to their second straight state CHSAA championship.

   Earlier this month, Keri Cavallo of Rockville Centre South Side was honored as the girls player of the year for New York. The senior forward scored 19 goals and passed for nine assists to help the Cyclones reach the NYSPHSAA Class A championship game. Cavallo will continue her soccer career at Yale this fall.

   A learning opportunity: Section 3 is offering an academic seminar entitled "Preparing for a Collegiate Athletic Career"

  
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twice in the coming weeks. The sessions are slated for Feb. 24 at the sectional conference center in East Syracuse and March 4 at Mohawk Valley Community College.

   The seminars are geared toward athletes, parents, coaches and guidance counselors with a focus on academic preparation for college, understanding the NCAA Clearinghouse and identifying what college coaches are looking for in a prospective recruit.

   Admission at the door is $5 per person. Proceeds will benefit academic scholarships presented during the Section 3 Scholar Athlete dinner in June. For additional information,contact John Rathbun or Richard D. Hunt.

   Extra points: Greece Odyssey senior Karissa Birthwright enters Thursday's girls basketball game vs. Eastridge just 17 points shy of 2,000 for her career.

   Michael Corona, 33, an assistant coach at Washington, D.C., Bishop O'Connell, has been named the new football coach at St. Joseph by-the-Sea. Rich Clark resigned last month after four seasons, citing an inability to dedicate enough time to the program.


  
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