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Friday, July 1, 2016: Walkers get NY off to flying start at track trials

   Leading off today: Which state is off to the best start this week in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials? It's New York ... in a walk.

   Two women from the Empire State earned spots Thursday in Salem, Ore., to compete for Team USA in the 20-kilometer racewalk in Brazil this summer. Former Sachem star Maria Michta-Coffey and Miranda Melville, who competed for Rush-Henrietta, took the top spots in times of 1:33:41 and 1:34:11, respectively. Katie Burnett of Rochester was third in 1:41:12 but did not qualify for the Rio Games.

   Melville had narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

   "It's going to be floating on Cloud 9 and then getting down to business," Melville said. "We have just about seven weeks now until Maria and I race in Rio. We're ready to keep showing them that the U.S. is going to keep moving up in the ranks of race walk and make it better."

   Michta-Coffey was a three-time NYSPHSAA champion in the indoor 1,500-meter racewalk for Sachem from 2002 to 2004. Melville's best showing in the state meet was a seventh-place showing as a senior in 2007.

   The Olympic Trials meet continues Friday with running and field events in Eugene, Ore.

   On the fast track: Paul Woods hasn't played a football game for Canisius High School yet, but he'll enter his junior year with at least one scholarship offer in his pocket.

   Woods, a receiver who transferred to Canisius from Sweet Home late last year, tweeted this week that he has been offered by Boston College. The Buffalo news reported Woods attended a camp recently at BC and received a subsequent offer.

   Woods made 16 catches for 233 yards and three touchdowns for Sweet Home as a sophomore. He also made four interceptions on defense.

   A year ago, kicker Blake Haubeil of Canisius, a transfer from Amherst, verbally committed to Ohio State without having yet played a down for the Crusaders.

   Mahopac honored: The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has selected Mahopac as the 2016 winner of its Community Service Challenge program.

   Established in 2010, the program promotes student involvement in the community and beyond. Students and schools determined and executed a project, then submitted a summary to the sectional and NYSPHSAA offices for review.

   The Mahopac athletic program won the award based on the success of a "Senior" Prom, a lunch and dance put on by the student athletic council for local senior citizens. The event is conducted the Sunday before Thanksgiving each year and takes place in the Mahopac gymnasium. Since 2002, the event has been a themed catered lunch with a DJ playing music for nearly 200 senior citizens attending.

   "This is an award that means a lot to us and says a lot about what our school can accomplish," Mahopac AD John Augusta said in the NYSPHSAA release. "It's an honor to win. We preach excelling in the classroom and in the community and the kids will really take hold of this award when they realize what they accomplished and the honor they are receiving."


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  •    Mahopac will be presented a plaque and recognized at the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting July 26th in Verona. Kings Park was the 2015 recipient.

       Back in the game: The Perry school board voted Monday to approve a football merger with Mount Morris. Pending league and Section 5 approval, it sets the table for Mount Morris' first appearance on the football field since 1974.

       Switching roles: Dover football head coach Chris Lounsbury announced this week that he is trading responsibilities with Casey Lorenz, who was hired last winter to be his assistant, according to the Hudson Valley Sports Report.

       Lounsbury began coaching in 2007. Lorenz worked as a football assistant at Marist College from 2006-2010 before coaching at Dover in 2011. He then assisted at Roy C. Ketcham and Poughkeepsie before returning to Dover after last season.

       Lorenz told the Poughkeepsie Journal the plan had been for him to succeed Lounsbury in 2017. But Lounsbury, whose son Ethan is Dover's starting quarterback, recently proposed a more rapid change.

       "It's something I had thought about for a couple years," Lounsbury said. "I had to evaluate why I was still hanging on to being head coach. I figured there wasn't a good reason to continue waiting."

       Both of Lounsbury's children are high school athletes who play in summer travel leagues. He said the required travel wouldn't allow him to dedicate the desired amount of time with both th football program and his family.

       The change is pending the approval of the Dover's school board before the start of fall practice.

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