Leading off today:
Death and taxes? Sorry, but those remain iffy propositions compared to Fayetteville-Manlius being money in the bank at the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore.
The Hornets once again dominated at Glendoveer Golf Course to win their 10th NXN girls team championship. They strolled past second-place Davis (Calif.) by a 41-181 margin for the team's best performance since winning with just 27 points in 2010.
Claire Walters was the top F-M finisher in 18:05.7, good for 20th place overall in the deep field and second among team scorers. Sophia Ryan (18:19.3) and Phoebe White (18:30.) were third and seventh, respectively, in team scoring.
Brie Oakley of Colorado easily won the individual title in 17:10.1 despite taking a fall late in the race.
"We just followed pretty much the same strategy we always use," F-M coach Bill Aris said. "Get out solid and strong, and just stay strong the whole way. It was a beautiful course. But it rained a lot here and it was very soft. We just ran a strength race."
Shenendehowa's girls placed 14th.
The state's individual entries could have formed a pretty spectacular team by themselves, with all five placing in the top 27 -- led by Kelsey Chmiel (Saratoga, fifth, 17:41.1), Jessica Lawson (Corning, eighth, 17:50.4) and Katherine Lee (Shoreham-Wading River, 10th, 17:57.1).
A year ago, Chmiel ran fourth overall in 17:15.4 under better course conditions.
Bozeman (Mon.) won the boys team title by a 105-141 margin over American Fork (Utah). Liverpool placed ninth and Fayetteville-Manlius 19th.
Individually, Casey Clinger became the first boy to repeat as the NXN champion. The American Fork senior turned up the heat at the start of the third mile and finished in 15:28.4.
Liverpool seniors Steve Schulz (15:49.4) and NYSPHSAA Class A champion Ty Brownlow (15:55.9) were 12th and 14th overall, respectively on a course softened up by rain throughout the week and then chewed up by the day's early races.
"Your wheels kept turning, but you weren't going anywhere," Brownlow said.
F-M, running a man down as sophomore Max Perry remained hospitalized following surgery for a staph infection, saw it's shot at a top-10 finish lost when No. 4 runner Jack Boltman, already suffering from a foot injury, lost a shoe early when he was spiked.
"I was just pleased the boys did not finish dead last," Aris said.
Curtis takes top PSAL prize: Junior quarterback Quincy Barnes converted a 4th-and-20 to keep the drive alive and then delivered a 44-yard TD pass to Amad Anderson for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:25 remaining to lift Curtis to a 24-21 victory over Erasmus Hall Friday at Yankee Stadium for its sixth PSAL City Division championship.
The Warriors had turned the ball over three times in the second half and five times overall before pulling together the decisive drive.
"The offensive line did a great job helping me out and letting me buy time. I have to buy them dinner tonight," said Barnes, who threw for three TDs. "They gave me as much time as I needed and I saw Amad one-on-one and what else would you want to choose than Amad Anderson one-on-one with anybody?"
• Lehman Campus secured the second-tier Bowl Division championship with a 30-0 win over Harry S. Truman.
• In the Cup Division title game, Eagle Academy III downed Frederick Douglass 12-6 in overtime to capture the program's second straight Cup title.
In overtime, FBA was stopped at the goal line on fourth down as Omar Morrisey stuffed QB Omari Hill's run. Three plays later, Eagle Academy quarterback Gary Newman snuck in for the game-winning touchdown from a yard out.
"We worked hard for this all year," Newman said. "In camp, we had four days where we were waking up 4 o'clock in the morning and grinding."
Parsing words: Schenectady reporter Michael Kelly was ahead of the field six weeks ago when he wrote about a proposal from the New York State Education Department. The question now is whether school district superintendents and other key players will chime in to derail the restoration of wording in a state regulation that was problematic before and almost certainly will muck things up going forward.
On the surface, Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia's proposal looks benign. It would allow more leniency for students seeking an extra year of athletic eligibility, all but cracking the glass face on the so-called "four-year eligibility clock" that commences with the start of ninth grade.
Follow along for a moment:
Currently, the NYSED Regulations have this to say about an athlete's request for an additional season of eligibility:
"If sufficient evidence is presented by the chief school officer to the section to show that the pupil's failure to enter competition during one or more seasons of a sport was caused by illness or accident beyond the control of the student, such pupil's eligibility shall be extended accordingly in that sport. In order to be deemed sufficient, the evidence must include documentation showing that as a direct result of the illness or accident beyond the control of the student, the pupil will be required to attend school for one or more additional semesters in order to graduate."
The new NYSED proposal
adds the phrase "other circumstances beyond the student's control" to the list of reasons that a students under the age of 19 at the start of the school year would be allowed an additional season in their sport.
In fact, that provision already existed until 2014 but for a long time it was more or less understood by all parties that "other circumstances beyond the student's control" still had to relate at least marginally to illness or injury.