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Friday, March 4, 2016: Mahopac player's father convicted on 2 charges

   Leading off today: A lacrosse player's father could be sentenced to 90 days in jail following his conviction Thursday on two charges in connection with his attack on the Mahopac girls coach who cut the man's daughter from the varsity last spring.

   In a one-day bench trial, Carmel Town Justice Thomas J. Jacobellis found Alfonso DiFusco Jr., 47, guilty of criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, and harassment, a violation, The Journal News reported. He was acquitted of misdemeanor assault as Jacobellis determined there was insufficient evidence DiFusco intended to injure coach Jim Lieto.

   Defense attorney Joseph J. Tock had argued that what occurred was not a crime but an argument between "an emotionally charged parent and a hyper-sensitive coach, who does not want his authority ever questioned," the paper reported.

   During his opening statement, Assistant Putnam County District Attorney David Bishop said Lieto had been "accosted" by DiFusco and "a devoted teacher and coach should not become a target."

   Jacobellis set sentencing for May 3 for DiFusco, who left the courtroom without comment.

   Gabrielle DiFusco and her mother have filed a notice of claim against the school district, alleging she'd been bullied in school and by the coach, the paper reported.

   Saturday primer: Milesplit's awesome preview of the weekend's NYSPHSAA indoor track and field championships at Cornell University -- the final appearance in Barton Hall before the meet moves to Staten Island in 2017 -- has been posted.

   One of the races to watch figures to be the girls 600 meters between Kamryn McIntosh of Suffern and Sammy Watson of Rush-Henrietta.

   McIntosh has only been back to racing for about a month after being diagnosed with a benign tumor in her knee but already has a 1:31.00 to her credit while Watson has gone 1:29.53.

   They should be embarrassed: The latest in the never-ending string of click-bait crapfest contests run by USA Today concludes this afternoon as voting ends for the title of "New York's Best Athletic Program," which is a preliminary for the national honor -- if that's the right word.

   I haven't mentioned any of their silly contests along similar lines in a couple of years because they have the same nutritional value as a bag of rocks. USA Today wants page views and these popularity contests are a means to the end even though they're monumentally useless.

   The criteria for qualifying this time is rather generous: All schools having won a state championship in the last three academic years are eligible ... allegedly. Some 137 schools are listed, though I can't tell how many actually deserve to be there -- case in point, the Aquinas they list on the ballot is not the co-ed Rochester school that would have qualified based upon its 2013 football championship but rather the girls school of the same name from the Bronx.

   (BTW, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake appears to have approximately three times as many votes as the rest of the schools combined.)

   Update (Thursday, 9:45 a.m.): One of this blog's co-conspirators points out that Canisius is among the qualified -- highly qualified, actually -- schools completely omitted from the list. Sigh.

   Coach dismissed: Babylon baseball coach Anthony Sparacio is out of a job after a four-minute meeting of the school board Monday night, Newsday reported.


  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA girls basketball brackets
  • 2016 NYSPHSAA boys hockey brackets
  • 2016 N.Y. complete wrestling brackets (PDF)
  •    Board members voted 7-0 to replace Sparacio as coach but retaining him as a health teacher. According to the paper, Sparacio apparently violated a district policy on gifts and donations in January when he started an online fundraiser for baseball equipment without seeking the district's approval.

       Sparacio began teaching in Babylon in 1992 and worked as assistant coach for five years before taking

    the head coach spot in 2008. He led the team to a Long Island championship in 2012 and an 18-6 record last spring.

       Parents say Sparacio raised about $2,700 from donors including the rock star Jon Bon Jovi, a friend of some players' parents. He shut down the fundraiser at the district's behest and returned the money to donors earlier this year.

       More than 1,300 people had signed an online petition in support of Sparacio.

       Sparacio "has been a stand-up guy in all my dealings with him," said Anthony Vano, whose son plays on the team. "I'm trying to teach my children that you respect a man like that, and you stand by him when he's under fire."

       She's Dunn it again: Coming on as a second-half substitution, former Rockville Centre South Side star Crystal Dunn scored in the 72nd minute Thursday and the United States defeated England 1-0 in the SheBelieves Cup in Tampa, Fla.

       Dunn, who entered in the 67th minute, made it 1-0 with a shot into the upper corner to help the U.S. Women's National Team to improve to 7-0 this year with a 29-0 goals margin.

       Dunn scored five goals in a World Cup qualifying game last month.

       The U.S will play France Sunday in Nashville.

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