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Friday, June 26, 2015: Hamilton, Morrisville-Eaton join forces again

   Leading off today: Hamilton's dwindling enrollment will result in the school's girls soccer team combining with rival Morrisville-Eaton this fall, the website reported.

   It extends the collaboration between the schools that already includes combined varsity squads in football and field hockey. Hamilton will continue to field its own modified girls soccer.

   Hamilton's BEDS figure falls from 130 in the just-completed school year to 115 next year.

   "We had 14 (girls) that signed up," AD Jennifer Dean told the website. "But six of them were freshman coming from modified and I had safety concerns with them playing varsity."

   Hamilton was just 2-14 last fall, finishing the season with just 12 players after losing five others to injuries. Coach Brian Rose will volunteer to coach the boys team this fall.

   Aquinas LB chooses Syracuse: The Syracuse football program has its first commitment from a Class of 2016 New Yorker. Outside linebacker Taylor Riggins informed the Syracuse staff of his decision after an unofficial visit on Thursday.

   Riggins has no other offers but interest was likely to pick up this summer with scheduled camp appearances at Penn State and Pitt.

   Riggins, who also plays running back, made 35 tackles with 2.5 sacks 2.5 sacks playing defensive end last season. He becomes the third Aquinas rising senior to commit to a school. QB Jake Zembiec committed to Penn State last fall and linebacker Jamir Jones picked Notre Dame this week.

   Girls basketball commitments: Floral Park point guard Kaela Hilaire will continue her basketball career at SUNY Albany after graduating next June.

   "I decided on Albany because my dad made a good point to me today," she told NY Girls Hoops Report. "He asked me if any new school offered (a scholarship), what school would take Albany off as No. 1? To be honest there wasn't a school that could do that because of how many different ways I fit in at Albany."

   Some of her other offers included Indiana, Providence and Western Kentucky.

   Meanwhile, guard Sierra "CeCe" Mayo, a rising junior at Shaker, committed to the U.S. Military Academy, pending formal acceptance at West Point.

   Mayo also had offers from Hofstra, St. Joseph's, and Virginia Commonwealth, with some Big East and ACC interest beginning to materialize.

   Coaches honored: Minisink Valley head coach Kevin Gallagher and assistant Scott Hendershot were honored recently by the National Wrestling Coaches Association as New York's top wrestling staff, and Gallagher was named the Region 1 coach of the year by the same organization.

   Region 1 includes New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

   The Warriors went 30-0 and earned their first No. 1 state ranking last winter.


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  •    Minisink Valley has crowned 27 Section 9 champions in Gallagher's 12 seasons. Hendershot is also an assistant football coach under Gallagher.

       “We both love Minisink Valley," Hendershot told The Times Herald-Record. "Everything that I wear is green and white. Every year it's been our goal to be the best in the state."

       Ouch: Former UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel confirmed what more than a few cynics suspected back in 2012. Speaking on his SiriusXM radio show, Neuheisel said he recruited Iona Prep cornerback Justin Combs in large part because of who the player's father is.

       Combs is the son of music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs, who was arrested this week after an altercation with a UCLA assistant coach.

       "When you're weighing the assets of what a youngster can do for your program, there's no question (being Diddy's son) had something to do with it for me," said Neuheisel, who was fired and replaced by Jim Mora after the 2011 season.

       Justin Combs is listed by various sources as between 5-foot-7 and 5-9.

       "Justin is a great kid. His problem was his size," Neuheisel said. "He's not big enough to be a dominant player. Could he be productive? Yes. The fact his father was an influential guy played into my decision to go ahead and offer him.

       Seeking baseball help: New York State Sportswriters Association baseball editor Tom Vartanian is working on the annual all-state team and on schedule to deliver it early next month. At this time, however, he could use a hand identifying candidates from Long Island's private and CHSAA schools.

       If you're a coach or administrator who can help, please email Tom at in the next few days.

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