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Thursday, July 21, 2016: R-H runner Watson wins IAAF Junior Worlds title

   Leading off today: Sammy Watson has added another accomplishment to her staggering track and field resume -- and she gets to type this one in bold caps.

   Watson, a rising senior at Rush-Henrietta and multi-time state champion, placed first in the final of the girls 800 meters Thursday during the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

   Watson's gold-medal time was 2:04.52. Teammate Aaliyah Miller from Texas gave the U.S. a sweep with a second-place showing in 2:05.06. The entire eight-girl field crossed the line in 2:06.32 or faster.

   Watson and Miller finished first and second in the U.S. Juniors last month and posted the two fastest times Wednesday in the semifinals. Their finishes in the final were especially significant since Watson was running against competitors as much as two years older and the U.S. team was unable to advance anyone beyond the prelims in 2014.

   Watson won the 800 title at the IAAF World Youth Championships last summer.

   Leading off today: Mike Toro is returning to the CHSAA girls basketball scene with an interesting new challenge.

   Toro, who was highly successful at Bishop Ford for seven seasons before taking over the Medgar Evers PSAL program in 2013, tweeted Thursday that he will be coaching at St. Joseph High in Brooklyn this winter. St. Joseph is moving up from JV to varsity this season.

   "I am forever grateful and thankful for everything Medgar Evers have offered me and done for me as a person," Toro wrote inline. "Very humbled and thankful. I want to thank the principal and athletic director at Medgar Evers for providing me the opportunity to coach those great young ladies."

   Toro left Bishop Ford in May 2013, two months after the team when the Federation Class AA championship while he was under suspension during a school investigation.

   Is this smart? New York city softball coaches are upset that their predominantly female youth leagues are not being provided with the free defibrillators that have been distributed to their baseball counterparts.

   Legislation signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio this spring provides a free automated external defibrillator (AED) for baseball leagues playing on city fields in case an athlete is struck in the chest, the New York Daily News reported.

   "The law should cover all sports," Peter DeMauro, a longtime youth coach in Brooklyn, told the paper. "It's only called softball. It's not a soft ball. It's the same density as a regular baseball."

   Robin Vitale, a spokesperson at the American Heart Association's New York branch, said she testified in "cautious support" of the new law, but would like it broadened to include AEDs for other sports.

   Kerr Cup follow-up: I didn't think much of it last week when Charlie Miller of Syracuse.com contacted me to obtain more detailed scoring from the eighth annual Kerr Cup All_Sport Championship. I figured the staff there intended to highlight the results of local schools in a longer-than-usual story.

   Instead, the Central New York website went above and beyond with an amazing photo gallery highlighting all of the top finishers from around the school.

  
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    • It doesn't affect the standings, but I did unearth a minor scoring mistake Tuesday night while tidying up some of the Kerr Cup. Because it supplied players to a combined team with Highland that played in the state quarterfinals, Marlboro should have been credited with an additional 1.25 points.

   That pushes Marlboro to 50.75 points in the final combined standings.

   For what it's worth, combined teams are the biggest annual challenge I now face in compiling Kerr Cup scored each summer. When I did the grunt work for the first time in 2009, there were only two instances in which I had to split points between two schools that were combined into one team. When I researched this year's results, there were more than 20 such situations.

   Commitment news: Former Guilderland basketball star Andrew Platek has given the University of North Carolina a verbal commitment.

   Platek, a 6-foot-4 guard, left Guilderland for Northfield (Mass.) Mount Hermon after leading the Dutchmen to their second straight Section 2 Class AA final in his third varsity season. He'll spend one more year at Mount Hermon and arrive at Chapel Hill in 2017.

    • Oliver McCarthy, the only sophomore on the NYSSWA New York City all-state team this spring, has committed to Duke.

   McCarthy was 8-1 with a 1.58 ERA for Poly Prep as a sophomore.

   "Playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference has been a goal of mine for a long time," he said. "The team I'm playing on this summer -- Team Elite -- a lot of the guys are playing on ACC schools. We've all become close friends and it's going to be awesome competing against some of the best players in the country after playing with them this summer."

   Extra points: Robert Burnside, who coached baseball at Eden for more than 40 years, died July 10 at the age of 73. Burnside's teams won 414 games from 1970-2002.


  
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