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Saturday, July 23, 2016: Teemer, Gissendanner capture Cadet championships

   Leading off today: Multi-time New York State champions Jacori Teemer (Long Beach) and Frankie Gissendanner (Penfield) captured USA Wrestling ASICS National Championships titles in the Cadet freestyle competition Friday in Fargo, N.D.

   Teemer and Gissendanner were NYSPHSAA champions in Albany last winter as sophomores at 126 and 145 pounds, respectively. They were Teemer's third title and Gissendanner's second.

   Teemer defeated Mason Phillips of Washington 12-10 in Friday's 132-pound final. He led 6-1 before giving up eight unanswered points. After scoring a takedown in the final minute to close within a point, Teemer scored another takedown in the final 10 seconds.

   Gissendanner triumphed at 152 pounds, scoring a forceful 9-2 win over Michael O'Malley in the final.

   "This kid dominated the nationals," Penfield coach John Leone told the Democrat and Chronicle. "They got into a flurry and Frankie picked him up. This is Frankie's first national age-group title. He's a two-time state champion, which is a nice accomplishment, but America is a big place."

   Tyler Barnes of Ballston Spa lost the 170-pound final after registering five straight technical falls in earlier action. Barnes lost to Travis Wittlake Jr. of Oregon in a rematch of Monday's Greco-Roman finals.

   Recent Shenendehowa graduate Kevin Parker, another two-time state high school champ, placed second in the Junior Freestyle 182-pound class.

   Coaches honored: Rick Gumble of Chenango Forks has been named the 2016 USA Wrestling Kids/Cadet Person of the Year. He was previously selected the Developmental Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling in 2009.

   "It's one of the highest honors a high school coach can receive from the national governing body," Gumble, 57, told the Press & Sun Bulletin. "It's definitely a highlight of my professional career."

   Gumble has coached multiple state champions, including Chenango Forks graduate Troy Nickerson, who went to win an NCAA Division I title for Cornell.

    • Elmira Notre Dame was one of five staffs nationwide to be named as a Regional Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Crusaders head coach Steve Weber and assistants Bruce McMail, Stacy McMail and Megan Weber received the honor for the East Region after coaching the Crusaders to the NYSPHSAA Class C championship. It was the second state title in six seasons for Notre Dame.

   Following up: Rich Thomaselli of Hudson Valley Sports Report was busy this week trying to get to the bottom of why Brian Laffin isn't being brought back as boys basketball coach at Poughkeepsie.

   It doesn't draw a very pretty picture of the school board. That's not a surprise since literally 90 percent of all controversial departures are the result of school board members intervening where they shouldn't.

   You can read the full story here.

   Summer reading: Stories about how young lacrosse players announce college commitments at such early ages has been done before, but Newsday wrote about the subject this week better than just about anyone -- beginning with a telling quote from Duke men's coach John Danowski.

   "I miss the days when we only talked to juniors and seniors," Danowski told the paper. "Coaches are like businessmen, always looking for an edge, a competitive advantage."

   The Newsday story starts with the case of Brennan O'Neill, who'll be a Bay Shore freshman attacker in the fall. O'Neill, all of 13 years old at the time, said in March that he would enroll at Penn State in 2020. Believed to be the youngest male lacrosse athlete to make such a commitment, he showed great promise in his first varsity season last spring with 60 goals and 98 points.

   Syracuse-bound Caitlyn Wurzburger, then a 14-year-old eighth-grader in Delray Beach, Fla., was believed to the first grade-school lacrosse player to make a college commitment, doing so on Jan. 13. She's the daughter of

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former West Genesee great Rob Wurzburger.

   Two other Long Island grade-schoolers from Long Island -- attacker Isabelle Smith of Westhampton (Boston College) and midfielder Justin Brown of Half Hollow Hills West (Michigan) also announced this spring.

   Under current NCAA rules, college coaches cannot initiate communication with a prospective student-athlete until Sept. 1 of his or her junior year. The rules do not prevent recruits from communicating through their parents or their scholastic and club coaches.

   "It's supply and demand," University of Maryland coach John Tillman said. "On the kids' side, there are only so many (scholarship) spots at the table and no one wants to get caught without a seat. On the coach's side, it's trying to find the pretty talented kids relative to their peers. Then we have to decide, 'Do we want to wait?'"

   Neither the college's offer nor the recruit's commitment is binding until national signing day in the athlete's senior year. As Tillman points out, a program can survive quite nicely if even half of the dozen or so players who commit to a college as high school freshmen or sophomores ever make it to campus.

   "If six don't work out, you've still got six good players and that's 24 good players on your team. You can win with that," he said.

   The NCAA has received several reform proposals from coaches' groups but has been typically slow to act.

   "It's highly unlikely that an eighth-grader has done all of the necessary work to evaluate their options and understand where they fit in to college programs at that stage of both their academic and physical development," Harvard AD Bob Scalise said. "We're not doing what's best for them by having them commit to go to schools at that age."

   Coming up: Our next blog will preview the New York State Public High School Athletic Association's annual Central Committee meeting slated for Tuesday through Thursday at the Turning Stone Resort.

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