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Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015: Sec. 5 private schools targeted by superintendents

   Leading off today: Superintendents of 18 suburban Rochester school districts have asked the NYSPHSAA to consider removing private schools from future postseason competition, the Democrat and Chronicle reported Tuesday.

   The Monroe County Council of School Superintendents represent schools which are members of the Monroe County Public School Athletic Conference. The group has asked the New York State Public High School Athletic Association if Section 5 can change the structure of its postseason competition to remove private schools.

   Section 5 Executive Director Ed Stores said he received a copy of the superintendents request Nov. 4. NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas confirmed to the paper he had also received a copy.

   "There is no pre-determined timetable, but if not (discussed) now, then when?" Brockport Superintendent Lesli Myers said. Myers also emphasized that the proposal is not "a pre-conceived notion, it's not adversarial."

   The next Section 5 Athletic Council meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17, at which time its possible sectional officials might be brought up to speed after initially being bypassed by the superintendents. A plan of action could be developed at subsequent meetings.

   Even then, the matter is not fully in their control.

   "If any changes are going to take place, they are going to be initiated by the membership of the association, and that's the entire membership of 11 sections," Zayas said. "At this point, I've only received a request for any change of this type from Section 5.

   The issue of private schools competing alongside public schools has been discussed for decades. Zayas said that of the 783 members of the NYSPHSAA -- the state's largest sanctioning body for high school sports -- about 10 percent are non-public schools.

   "The conversation has really been limited to Section 5," Zayas said regarding New York. He added that the topic does exist in every state.

   The Section 5 conversation invariably heats up during the playoffs. Aquinas won its ninth Section 5 football championship in 10 seasons Sunday by beating Rush-Henrietta 17-14.

   "Our school and students have an equal right to participate in sectionals and states," Aquinas President Mike Daley told the paper. "Our parents pay a school tax in the communities they live in and have chosen to send their children here and pay a tuition."

   Said Stores: "I've done this for almost 30 years. I've never seen us closer to making a move than we are right now. Some people would say that's a good thing, some people would say it's a bad thing."

   Pittsford Superintendent Michael Pero said the letter does mention the creation of parallel postseason competitions for the private schools alongside their public counterparts.

   "That does not mean that's the end result," Pero said. "It's where we'd like to begin the discussion."

   Interesting situation: The Journal News had excellent details on an unusual situation involving one of the Section 1 schools last weekend in the NYSPHSAA boys soccer tournament.

   Solomon Schechter is a conservative Jewish day school in Westchester County for students in grades K-12. Though the postseason schedule worked out fine until then, having to play last Saturday in a state quarterfinal presented a challenge.

  

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  •    Determined to adhere to religious tradition, the team booked a hotel within walking distance of the stadium and drove to Middletown on Friday before sundown.

       "The team and I, along with roughly 75 other friends and family, came up on Friday night to spend Shabbat together and walk to and from the field," Schechter coach Bryan Lamana told the paper. "It was an amazing experience from start to finish for this community."

       The Lions observed Shabbat while continuing the best run in school history with a 1-0 win over Webutuck. Noam Goldberg scored in the 50th minute and the Schechter defense allowed just three shots on goal.

       The Lions get to do it again this weekend in Middleton, They'll play Geneseo at 11 a.m. Saturday.

       "To win and still observe our Jewish roots is amazing," Lamana said. "We haven't really been able to get over the hump in recent years, but the program is improving every year and this team is in it to win it."

       Venue change: The site for Saturday's NYSPHSAA girls Class D soccer games has been changed. Those semifinals have been moved from Homer High to SUNT Cortland.

       You can see updated brackets for soccer and football here.

       Cross country preview: The always-informative TullyRunners.com website has posted projected team results for this weekend's NYSPHSAA boys and girls cross country championships.

       Based on his past work, I wouldn't put it past Bill Meylan to have at least seven of the team champs correct while also correctly identifying most of the top three teams in each race.


      
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