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   Leading off today: Two large upstate city school districts. Two large problems related to athletics.

   And only one organization moving in the right direction.

   First the good: The Buffalo Public Schools' Syracuse Cup swimming league had long conducted its season in the winter. Because the Section 6 and NYSPHSAA official season is in the fall, female swimmers from Buffalo schools were unable to compete in sectionals or the state meet.

   That's about to change. The Buffalo Public Schools has formed a single district team under the City Honors banner. The Buffalo News reports there are 28 girls from four high schools and two junior highs taking part.

   In the first event of their first meet last week, the Centaurs' 200 medley relay quartet of Mei Brenner-Herkey, Julia Penchaszadeh Robert, Isabelle Brown and Cecilia Brown qualified for sectionals in early November with a time of 2:13.79.

   "It means so much," said Isabelle Brown, a senior. "I'm really excited to go out there and show them what we're made of."

   And then there's the other extreme in Syracuse, where athletes in multiple sports are closing in on going what might be a decade of being unable to show what they're made of -- at least not on home turf.

   Last week, updated a story it's reported on several times over the years. The latest update is that Fowler High, which hasn't had a home football or soccer field since 2009, will not be clear of construction until (at least) 2018, a year later than previously estimated.

   Today, the editorial board took the bureaucrats to task.

   "That would make nine years and two generations of high school students who have never enjoyed home-field advantage, who have traveled to every game, who have always had to import cheerleaders and fans, and who have been made to feel 'lesser' for seven years -- and counting.

   "That in itself is a shame.

   "The probability that Henninger High School will replace one of its two turf fields before Fowler gets any field adds insult to injury. At its Sept. 14 meeting, the school board is set to vote on spending $2.6 million from its reserves to renovate Henninger's playing field. The school board wants you to know it's not a matter of choosing one school over the other ... but it sure feels that way."

   With a BEDS figure of 740, Fowler is less than half the size of Henninger and seems to be getting none of the love.

   Following up: Speaking of public school districts with problems, the situation at Grand Street Campus, the defending PSAL football champion, remains mostly unclear and completely unresolved.

   Coach Bruce Eugene continues to maintain he does not know why he was suspended Aug. 31. Players and supporters rallied last week at the Department of Education's Manhattan office. They called on city officials to remove school head Dr. William Jusino, alleging he took money raised for the football program.

   Grand Street parents expected to meet with school officials last Friday. Administrators subsequently canceled the meeting. football site

   "This program can't be shut down, and the kids, they love Bruce," said Shakeba James, who has three sons in the program. "Bruce is like a father figure. A lot of our kids come from single-parent homes, and so the Grand Street coaches are the only male role models they have."

   Recruiting news: Heuvelton girls basketball star Paige McCormick has committed to continue her career at UMass next fall.

   The two-time New York State Sportswriters Association player of the year made the announcement on Twitter last night.

   More to come: I hope to be back tonight with a bonus blog tying up loose ends on two matters -- one from last week and another that's chewed up some time for more than a few folks (myself included) this week.

   Extra points: Hudson Falls scored a 2-1 girls soccer victory Friday over Glens Falls behind second-half goals by Bryana Titka and Abby Swartz. According to The Post Star it was Hudson Falls' first varsity win since the 2011 season. The Tigers dropped their varsity team last season to rebuild. Before that, they had lost 46 straight league games and 49 in a row overall.

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