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Saturday, March 12, 2016: North Rockland girls set national DMR record

   Leading off today: The event is admittedly a bit of an odd animal indoors -- a long haul on a short track -- but, hey, a record is a record.

   North Rockland set the U.S. high school record in the girls distance medley on Friday at the New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory in New York. Alex Harris, Camille Cameron, Sydney March and Katelyn Tuohy finished in 11:34.85.

   The record of 11:35.43 had belonged to Orem (Utha) Mountain View, which set the mark in 2004 at The Armory.

   "We really wanted to break the record," Tuohy, an eight-grader who ran the 1,600-meter anchor, told The Journal News.

   Coach Brian Diglio said he had each girl write down her goal time for the race. Upon adding them up, he told the quartet they would be record-bound if they hit those marks.

   "I just wanted to show them how good they were. ... I had a suspicion they had a chance," Diglio said.

   Growing pains: The Daily Gazette reported Friday on a conundrum that the NYSPHSAA is now facing at some of its many championships -- demand exceeds supply when it comes to media accommodations.

   More reporters than ever are covering high school championships -- and covering in more ways than were imaginable 20 years ago when the commercial Internet began gathering steam. Gone are the days when "media" was mostly synonymous with newspaper guys toting a pad and pencil and a few local TV cameramen lugging around Sony gadgetry that recorded on bulky three-quarter-inch cassettes while the intern dutifully helped log the footage.

   Nowadays, even the men and women who cut their teeth as print reporters 20 years ago are tweeting game action from their laptops, compiling stats on smartphone apps plus recording video during the game and audio after it. With laptop software, the editing can be done so easily that even I tossed up three audio clips in this morning's blog with so little effort that I was making coffee and calling home at the same time.

   But with technology comes lots and lots of equipment and plenty of people capable of operating the gadgets. And that's when things get crowded.

   Case in point: The usual two rows of tables (about 175 linear feet) alongside the basketball court at the Glens Falls Civic Center were already close to full by halftime -- that was 9:30 a.m. -- of the first of Saturday's seven games. The number of requests for access last week was unprecedented, as was also the case this month for the NYSPHSAA wrestling championships this month.

   Joe Agostinelli, who coordinates media for the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, found himself in the difficult position of having to turn down some requests. Among them was, the brainchild of 17-year-old Maple Hill student Dylan Rossiter.

   Before you roll your eyes at the thought of a teen's start-up as a real media operation, remember that even Apple started in a garage and Facebook in a dorm. The 518sports site is robust and informative -- and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference school credentialed 518sports for that conference's recent tournament, one more reason it pained the NYSPHSAA to say no.

   "We covered the NCAA. We just covered the MAAC Tournament," Rossiter told the paper. "I would expect this as we got higher, not lower."

   Thankfully, the NYSPHSAA was able to cobble together enough of a solution. Rossiter was given access to the floor and and to interview areas, though not a seat on press row. It's not a perfect solution -- there is no such beast when demand exceeds supply -- but at least he could perform the job hed been doing all season long.

   Beyond the high school student's site, there's other "new media" out there as well. Chad Andrews of The View From Center Court watches and reports on more basketball in Sections 5 and 6 each winter than most newspaper reporters could ever dream of finding time for. When Andrews wrote in


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  • mid-December that Olean was on its way to carrying a perfect record into tonight's state boys Class B final, he wasn't guilty of fan-boy hyperbole; by then he'd seen enough of Olean and the sport in general to project that the Huskies were really that good.

       In short, high school sports and fans of scholastic teams win when we have more guys like Rossiter and Andrews turning their passion into high quality information and entertainment.

       For its part, the NYSPHSAA is gathering information from other state governing bodies across the country as a first step towards figuring out how best to allocate space now that the challenge appears to be here to stay.

       Old-school justice: Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, normally the sports medic critic but also a guy who chronicles the ills of sports, wrote up an amusing story a couple of weeks ago based on either a conversation or correspondence with the retired girls basketball coach at Fallsburg.

       Mel Feldman recalled the trials and tribulations of his 1982-83 team, which went 19-3 but took a beating at the hands of a tall, tough and talented school not identified in the column (but by all accounts appears to be Tuxedo in Section 9.)

       "During the first half they maintained their full-court press and kept in all their starters. They ran up the score. They were up at the half by about 40," Feldman said. "In the locker room I told the girls that no one deserves to be humiliated like that in any ball game.

       "So I told them that in the second half, if they came out with their starters and were still playing a full-court press, we were to score two layups into their basket. If beating us by as many points as possible was that important to their coach, the least we could do was help him out."

       Not surprisingly, the full-court press resumed in the third quarter. So Fallsburg, in what would become a 60-point loss, scored twice on uncontested layups into the wrong basket.

       The next time we played them, we again lost by a lot, but things were different -- no attempt to run it up or press all game, and he played his subs a lot. From no sportsmanship to total sportsmanship."

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