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Monday, June 22, 2015: Benjamin lowers state record, wins at nationals

   Leading off today: Rai Benjamin finally went sub-50 on Sunday, lowering his state record in the boys 400-meter hurdles while winning at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals.

   The Mount Vernon senior, who'll run for UCLA next season, hit the finish line in 49.97 seconds in Greensboro, N.C., breaking his state record of :50.45 set last month.

   Benjamin's time is No. 7 on the all-time U.S. scholastic last.

   In girls action, Rush-Henrietta sophomore Sammy Watson won the 800 meters in 2:07.02 -- thanks to a wicked negative split -- a day after anchoring the Royal Comets' sprint medley relay to a U.S. high school record.

   The seeded heat started off with a tactical 65-second lap, and Watson picked up the pace in the final 200 to win by seven-tenths of a second.

   In relay action, Corning's four-mile relay won the boys championship in 17:32.88.

   Colorado tragedy: A high school baseball standout in Colorado had died from the plague, various media reported Sunday.

   The announcement of the cause of Taylor Gaes' death came from the Larimer County Health Department. Spokesperson Katie O'Donnell said Gaes, 16, likely contracted the plague when he was bitten by, fleas on a dead rodent or other animal on the family property.

   Gaes was a starting pitcher and first baseman for Larimer, Colo., Poudre High.

   It's just the third case in Northwest Colorado in the past 30 years, USA Today reported. The form of the disease he contracted is not communicable between humans.

   Nickname being changed: After 112 years as the Orientals, Rochester East will be assume the "Eagles" nickname this fall to correspond with the logo that's already been in use for a number of years.

   The change was OK'd Thursday by the Rochester school board in response to a unanimous vote by the new East planning team that is launching an overhaul of the school in the wake of a state mandate to fix the failing school.

   Though there are some quasi-politically incorrect connotations to the Orientals nickname according to various sources, there was minimal if any clamor to change it in recent years. When the name was adopted early in the 20th century, Rochester had two high schools whose Latin-derived nicknames were a nod to their geography -- East High Orientals and West High Occidentals. West closed in the 1970s and was eventually resurrected as Wilson Magnet.

   "We're just trying to model for our students what we expect from them," Shaun Nelms, the incoming deputy superintendent, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "Changing the name to reflect our community's values is


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  • important."

       Updates in progress: Mid-June (late-June?) is here, which means my next week or so will be consumed with updating this site's reference section.

       One of the first updates made was to our list of longest boys basketball winning streaks. The page was inspired by Scotia-Glenville's amazing two-season run, and Rich Alyward recently unearthed several streaks worthy of the list.

       A few of the other popular pages on our site that have been updated with the help of NYSSWA editor Neil Kerr:

       If you spot any errors or omissions, shoot me an email and we'll take a look.

       Coming in the next blog: I've been threatening to do this awhile, but I think I'm just about ready to roll out my first effort to start explaining the Athletic Placement Process, which replaces Selection/Classification as the mechanism that allows junior-high athletes to play for the JVs or varsity.

       There are significant changes in the procedure, and we'll probably see fewer seventh- and eighth-graders certified to move up.

       Hopefully, I'll roll that blog out on Tuesday.

       Extra points: Kennedy Catholic girls basketball coach Lance DeMarzo has stepped down after a 41-34 record in three seasons. The former Mahopac boys coach told The Journal News he'd still like to coach if an opportunity arises.

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  • 5/27: Football gets approval to add a game
  • 4/29: Officials turning focus toward the fall
  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
  • 4/22: Westhill hoops star dies in crash
  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
  • 4/8: LuHi girls coach Slater steps down
  • 3/24: NYSPHSAA ends winter sports season
  • 3/18: Davis, Poole capture BCANY honors
  • 3/18: Weekly NYC boys basketball recap
  • 3/13: Dutchess Co. teams idle until April 30
  • 3/12: A day unlike any other in H.S. sports
  • 3/11: Coronavirus hits hockey, hoops plans
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