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Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016: Mourning Jordan-Elbridge wrestlers pull out win

   Leading off today: Jordan-Elbridge pulled out an emotional 42-41 victory over Port Byron in the team's first match since the death of wrestler Alex Parkolap on Monday.

   Down 5-2 in the third period, Jordan-Elbridge freshman 145-pounder Steve Tripp pinned his opponent with 1:11 remaining to close out the meet at Jordan-Elbridge Middle School. It was Jordan-Elbridge its first dual meet win over Port Byron since 2010.

   "I felt like I won the match for the team," Tripp told The Citizen. "and for Alex upstairs."    Parkolap, 17, had gone 14-7 with seven pins during his junior season and finished third in his league tournament last season. In the offseason, he was a volunteer youth wrestling coach.

   "He was our most experienced wrestler," Eagles coach Kurt Alpha said. "He helped this program survive the lean years. Alex stuck with the program. It's a huge loss."

   The J-E wrestlers met as a team Tuesday and then tried their best to settle back into a routine while keeping their teammate in mind.

   "Tuesday we had a meeting in our pit and spent three hours just crying it out," Alpha said. "There were a lot of tears and a lot of emotion. We played some games afterward and ordered some pizzas. Then we got back to work on Wednesday."

   The Eagles have canceled out of Saturday's Brett Dixon Memorial Duals at Central Square. They planned to spend Friday night together and then attend calling hours Saturday afternoon.

   "We're trying to keep them together and keep them close," Alpha said. "They're a tight-knit group — a great group of young kids who lost a great friend and teammate."

   Farrell does it again: Monsignor Farrell notched its second victory of the season over a state-ranked Class A boys basketball team by downing No. 12 St. Joseph-by-the-Sea 53-44. The Lions had previously defeated No. 6 Holy Trinity.

   Senior forward Steve DeCarlo drew a charging foul with Farrell clinging to a one-point lead and 2:02 remaining. The call wiped out Mike Matrangolo's driving basket, Tom Granello (16 points) hit a corner 3-pointer and Farrell converted on 11 of 12 free throws down the stretch for the CHSAA victory.

   Senior guard Eric Klayman scored a career-high 21 points as Farrell improved to 6-2.

   "We pride ourselves on defense," said DeCarlo, who had two of the team's four charging calls against the Vikings. "Defense is our top priority at practice."

   Streak remains intact: Heuvelton's girls basketball winning streak remains intact at 37 games following a rally for a 55-52 triumph against Hammond.

   Heuvelton trailed 42-37 after three quarters but outscored the Red Devils 18-10 in the fourth.

   Paige McCormick led Heuvelton with 18 points and Madison McCormick added 16.

   Milestone: Wayland-Cohocton coach Al Best, recorded his 500th victory in girls basketball with a 36-32 triumph against Caledonia-Mumford.

   Best is in his 36th season. He previously coached at Greece Arcadia (1977-87), Greece Athena (1987-2002) and Mynderse (2004-13) and has won seven Section 5 titles.

   Junior guard Alex Button, a Monmouth recruit, scored 20 points in the victory.

   Concussion investigation: Newsday has done it again.

   Little more than a year after an exhaustive investigation that led to numerous Long Island schools speeding up a move to more highly rated football helmets, the paper has now taken on the subject of concussions in scholastic sports.

   The headline finding: High school girls soccer trailed only football for the highest number of suspected concussions on Long Island for the 2015-16 school year.

   That was the conclusion after reporters analyzed concussion reports it received under the Freedom of Information Law for nine sports at more than 100 Long Island public high schools.

   There were 116 suspected concussions in girls soccer among more than 4,700 players, or one per 40.7 players and football had 383 suspected concussions, one per 22.6 players. Boys soccer had 66 such incidents, or one per 85.7 players.

   Four girls sports -- soccer, lacrosse, basketball and softball -- had a combined 278 suspected concussions, or one for every 56.7 players. The four comparable boys

sports -- soccer, lacrosse, basketball and baseball -- combined for 169 suspected concussions, or one for every 118.5 players.

   Experts told the paper the higher rate among girls is consistent with national trends and that the soccer community has been slow to recognize the risk of concussion.

   "We've known this for years, but parents are oblivious," said Tim McGuine, a sports medicine researcher at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "I hear parents say without batting an eye that they won't let their kid play football, and I always ask them, 'But will you let your daughter play soccer?'"

   The National Federation of State High School Associations reports the number of girls playing high school soccer has grown by 236 percent over 25 years to a total of 375,681 in 2014-15. In sheer numbers, no other sport has experienced an increase nearly as great.

   A study on soccer-related injuries published this fall in the American Academy of Pediatrics found emergency room visits for concussions by soccer players under the age of 19 rose by nearly 1,600 percent between 1990 and 2014.

   "The kids we're working with today are bigger, faster and stronger than what they were in the '60s and '70s, because they're training more today," Section 8 girls soccer coordinator Denise Kiernan told the paper. "They're getting much more training than just the high school experience, which makes them more physical and more aggressive going after the ball."

   Dawn Comstock, an epidemiology professor at the University of Colorado, said nearly a decade of research shows that most concussions in soccer occur from player-to-player contact. However, she also noted teenage girls may be more willing to self-report concussion symptoms than boys because there may be less of a stigma attached to doing so -- a view that some have come to dispute in recent year because of the increased attention to the issue nationally.

   You can read the lengthy Newsday story here.

   Extra points: I haven't had the opportunity to blog for a few days (I have a few more newsworthy items to roll out over the next few days), so it's worth mentioning that two more all-state teams from the fall season have been added to our reference section: Boys soccer, courtesy of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and boys cross country from

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