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Thursday, July 23, 2015: Wappingers Falls' Adams, 16, scores goal vs. Chelsea

   Leading off today: So, what's been your 16-year-old's big moment so far this year?

   Going to the junior prom on Friday and acing the AP history exam three days later?

   Getting his or her learner's permit and passing the road test on the first try?

   Landing a job as a lifeguard for $11 an hour and an unlimited supply of sun block?

   Well, Tyler Adams may have had a better 2015 last night than any other 16-year-old in the state.

   When last we mentioned Adams, the Wappingers Falls soccer player was signing a contract in March to play in the development program of the New York Red Bulls organization in MLS.

   Last night, the Red Bulls hosted English Premier League champion Chelsea and opted to use a roster full of reserves because the fielded their full-strength lineup 24 hours earlier in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal loss. That meant Adams got called up to play against one of the world's best teams, and he made the most of it by scoring a goal in a highly surprising 4-2 victory.

   After Chelsea scored first, Red Bulls midfielder Franklin Castellanos tied the match early in the second half, then Adams headed home Castellanos' cross in the 69th minute to put his side ahead for good against Chelsea, which is just starting its preseason and didn't field a full "A" lineup.

   All four Red Bulls goals came from products of their academy program.

   "We've talked a lot about what the future of this club will be, and that it'll involve investment in the youth, the investment in the academy," coach Jesse Marsch told The New York Post. "They got a chance to showcase a lot of the hard work that's been put in, and the kids go out and they play fearless and they go after the game, and gain confidence and get an incredible result against an incredible team."

   Ready for college? Possibly not: I started thinking last night about Cedric Walker, a fabulous track and field coach both in Section 5 and on the national and international scene as well as a great friend to many of us.

   Cedric died too young more than two years ago, and before that the two of us had already been talking for at least 18 months about an NCAA eligibility changes coming down the pipe. Cedric's warning back then was the high schools -- not only the athletes themselves, but also the coaches and administrators -- were woefully unprepared for the new standards and that a lot of school districts would prove themselves incapable of making the transition to the new standards.

   We're about to find out if he was right, and I fear it could get ugly out there fairly soon.

   The reason my discussions with Cedric became top-of-mind again is that The Arizona Republic did a story Wednesday about NCAA initial eligibility rules that kick in for the high school class of 2016.

   Instead of the old 2.0 core grade-point average, Division I hopefuls must have a 2.3 GPA. They also need to have completed 10 of their 16 core courses before their senior year, with seven of those coming in English, math and science.

   And that's a best-case scenario for a lot of athletes. If a student's SAT score is only 1,000, he or she is going to need a 2.5 high school core-course GPA to play and a 2.0 just to be able to accept scholarship money and practice.

   If athletes, parents, coaches and guidance counselors are scrambling now, they shouldn't be. It's already too late to help some kids who are short of core courses. Besides, everyone has had plenty of warning; the NCAA Division I Board of Directors passed the new standards in 2012 and has layered in gradual changes to its standards, particularly the GPA, along the way.

   Bill Counce, the father of a football prospect in Arizona, told the paper the core-course requirements will trip up more prospective recruits than the GPA might.

   "What the kids need to understand is the academic process," Counce told the paper. "If they're waiting until the last semester to pack them in, they won't qualify. I think that will catch more kids than the GPA.

  
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   "The NCAA did that on purpose. Colleges don't want to waste a spot that they could have given to someone else. Now they can find out before Signing Day if they're a qualifier."

   Road trip: Mahopac's ice hockey team got to play host to a touring Centennial High School team from Minnesota, and the experience was an eye-opener.

   "Nobody around here is close," Indians defenseman Joe Mastracola told The Journal News. "They would easily outskate any team in Section 1. I think Centennial is the best team we'll ever play. They're all big. They're all physical. They're all good. It was fun, though, for us to play against kids like that."

   Centennial, which has won its sectional championship three straight seasons and has an on-campus rink, won the scrimmage 7-1 over Mahopac, which used a few players from other local teams to full out its lineup.

   "They did all the little things right," Mahopac coach Chris Lombardo said. "They do everything with a purpose, there's no wasted activity. They don't just shoot the puck for the sake of getting shots."

   Centennial raises funds to make a summer trip every year. The 21 juniors and seniors were up at 4 a.m. Wednesday to catch a flight to New York to start their visit to New York City and the surrounding area.

   Glens Falls coach steps down: After 25 years leading the Glens Falls boys basketball team and a year away from retiring as a teacher, Tony Hammel is stepping away from coaching.

   Hammel, who has 373 career wins, told The Post-Star he decided not to reapply for the position.

   "This is going to be my last year teaching," said Hammel, a sixth-grade teacher at Glens Falls Middle School, "and I was going to stop coaching after that, but I didn't want to be a lame-duck coach. Hopefully they'll get someone in to this position who'll be able to stay with this young group coming up. And I think this is going to be a good group."

   Hammel's teams played in NYSPHSAA state finals in 2003 and 2007. They won three Section 2 championships and appeared in the finals three other times.

   Glens Falls was 9-11 last season led by eighth-grader Joe Girard, who averaged 21.7 points.

   "The JVs had a good year and the seventh- and eighth-grade team was undefeated," Hammel said. "It's the right time for me to get out. The program is in good shape."


  
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  • 7/18: Vestal's Stepanovsky stepping down
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  • 7/14: Retired Sweet Home coach Faller dies
  • 7/12: Catching up on coaching changes
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