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Saturday, July 25, 2015: Kicker Haubeil commits to Ohio State during camp

   Leading off today: Blake Haubeil didn't just pick one new school this summer, he picked two.

   Haubeil, an all-state honorable mention placekicker in Class B for Amherst last fall, previously made the decision to transfer to Canisius High this fall, where he is all but certain to handle kicking duties for the defending state CHSAA champion.

   On Friday, Haubeil got his college decision out of the way a year ahead of schedule. The rising junior verbally committed to Ohio State as part of the defending national champions' 2017 recruiting class. He disclosed his decision shortly after taking part in Ohio State's marquee recruiting camp, Friday Night Lights, The Buffalo News reported.

   Haubeil went 7-for-9 on field-goal attempts as a sophomore, including a 49-yarder. He recorded touchbacks on 65 percent of his kickoffs.

   At Canisius, he'll be following all-state kicker Michael Tarbutt, who signed with UConn in the spring.

   Rochester situation improving: The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the Rochester City School District continues to rebuild its athletic program after allowing it to deteriorate badly for more than two decades.

   Nearly half of all city students in grades 7-12 will play a sport in the upcoming school year, district projections show. That is up nearly 40 percent from just four years ago, and the district's $3.4 million athletic budget is double what it was for the 2011-12 school year, when Bolgen Vargas took over as superintendent.

   "It's more than the sport,” Vargas said, telling the paper students must meet certain requirements in grades, attendance and character or citizenship to be eligible. "There is a strong association with playing a sport as a student and academic success. ... They are more likely to behave. They are more likely to have a better GPA and, most important, they are more likely to be successful in life."

   Only four of 12 Rochester high schools will field varsity football teams this fall. The district has changed school configurations over the years -- adding and subtracting junior-high components seemingly on a whim. Monroe High is one of three additional schools that could reach varsity status soon as coaches patiently build out the modified and JV structure. Most of the players arrive to junior high with little or no youth-league experience.

   "Everything is new to them," coach Jason Muhammad said. "Cleats are new to them. The practice jersey is new to them. A mouthpiece is new to them."

   Conspicuous by its absence in the story, though, is a status report for girls sports. The RCSD has never been very strong in girls sports and the offerings were so slim by the turn of the century that I would argue the district was a Title IX complaint just waiting to happen. Again, they've been ramping up the offerings, but the RCSD still has far to go.

   Ludden legend retires: Bishop Grimes teacher Barbara Pfefferle retired from the Syracuse high school recently after 46 years, but reminds us her legacy in girls basketball will live on.

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   Pfefferle, 74, started coaching basketball in 1969 -- three years before Title IX was enacted -- and coached the Cobras to 183 wins in 12 seasons.

   "We still consider it to be her program," said John Cifonelli, Bishop Grimes' athletic director and current girls basketball coach. "It was her baby, she started the program. She's the woman that made all of this possible."

   "As we continued our careers we looked for someone like Ms. Pfefferle to guide us in the right direction only to realize there was no one like Ms. Pfefferle and that's why she continues to be a constant in our lives today," said Ruby Black, a 1974 graduate. "Eventually many of us strove to be our own versions of Ms. Pfefferle to those we mentored."

   Coaching changes: Cicero-North Syracuse promoted Joel Hurd to head hockey coach. He replaces Kyle Bailey, who resigned in June after leading the program since 2005.

   Add Brian Briggs (Holland Patent) and Keith Kempney (Clinton) to the list of new Section 3 football coaches.

   Briggs, who spent the last two seasons as a Holland Patent assistant, replaces Pete Alvanos, who recently moved out of the state after coaching at Holland Patent just last year. Kempney, the head coach at Sauquoit Valley from 2002-09, most recently spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Clinton. He replaces Henry Frasca, who also left after just one season in charge.

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