Leading off today:
If your lasting memory of Paul Lankford's athletic exploits is his decade-long career with the Miami Dolphins beginning in 1982, then keep on recalling him in that fashion -- because you can no longer think of the Farmingdale alum as the boys state record-holder in the 400-meter hurdles.
Mount Vernon senior star Rai Benjamin broke the record Sunday at the Westchester County Championships on Sunday at Byram Hills with a time of 50.45 seconds. Lankford had run :50.52 in 1977 in an athletic relic of the Cold War -- the USA vs. USSR Juniors dual meet in Richmond, Va.
Benjamin also sprinted to victory in the 100 meters and ran on the Knights' winning 1,600 relay.
Hall of Fame coach dies: Retired wrestling coach Stanley Riggs, who compiled an amazing record at Peru, died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a Columbia, S.C., accident several days earlier, The Press Republican reported.
He was 75 years old.
Riggs was also Peru's athletic director from 1984-97 and an official in three sports, but he was most often recalled for his teams' 245-5-1 record in dual meets before he stepped down in 1995. He was inducted into multiple halls of fame after finishing with 18 sectional championships and guiding Peru wrestlers to 23 podium finishes at the NYSPHSAA championships.
Among his inductions was the New York State public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
"I say he's on the Mount Rushmore of coaches, not just in the North Country, but in the state," said Scott Woodward, a former cross country and track coach at the school.
Could he be first pick? Garrett Whitley can't break the record for earliest selection of a New York high school player in the Major League Baseball draft, but the Niskayuna outfielder might just tie it if Baseball Prospectus is right.
The senior center fielder has been projected as a first- or second-rounder, but the mock draft released by the website May 11 projects Whitley as the No. 1 overall pick. The only other New York player to earn that distinction straight out of high school was Shawon Dunston, taken by the Chicago Cubs out of Thomas Jefferson High in 1982.
Baseball America's mock draft pegs Whitley going to the Tampa Bay Rays as the No. 13 pick.
The No. 1 pick on June 8 belongs to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who've scouted Whitley extensively this spring, with The Daily Gazette in Schenectady reporting 1993 World Series hero Joe Carter represented the MLB team at a recent game against Ballston Spa. That same week, Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart attended a practice to watch Whitley hit.
"The Diamondbacks are here all the time. They've been around a ton," Niskayuna coach John Furey told the paper. "They've been here a lot -- and their next pick (after No. 1) is 43rd."
If picked at No. 1, Whitley could command a signing bonus of as much as $8.617 million, the paper reported. However, Baseball Prospectus speculates part of Arizona's interest in taking Whitley at No. 1 is that he can be signed for a substantially lower figure.