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Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017: All-state team in girls cross country announced

   Leading off today: North Rockland sophomore Katelyn Tuohy, who completed an undefeated season last weekend at Nike Cross Nationals, is the New York State Sportswriters Association's 2017 runner of the year.

   The all-state team was announced Friday.

   Fayetteville-Manlius, which won its 11th NXN championship in Portland, Ore., placed four girls -- seniors Sophie Ryan and Rebecca Walters and sophomores Claire Walters and Phoebe White -- on the first team in Class A.

   In Class D, South Lewis landed a trio of selections -- Lexi Bernard, Hali Ielfield and Hannah Ielfield -- on the first team.

   The boys all-state team will be announced early next week.

   The next big thing: I'd worked on the assumption for a few years that girls ice hockey would inevitably be the next sport elevated to state championship status by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championship status.

   I was still of that opinion a month ago when I updated my calendar for upcoming columns on PressConnects.com, where I've been contributing weekly pieces since the start of the current school year. But a funny thing happened on my way to finishing my latest column: I realized how far girls wrestling has come in a very short time. Nearly 50 girls from points all across the state wrestled earlier this year at the Junior and Cadet National Championships in Fargo, N.D., and 13 competitors eared All-America honors.

   Girls still compete as part of boys wrestling teams in the NYSPHSAA. Around 230 from the modified to varsity ranks across the 11 sections are certified to compete this season, so quite a bit of growth will be necessary to spin it off into a separate sport. But where wrestling has the advantage over hockey is that it's possible to field varsity teams with incomplete squads -- just ask your neighborhood boys coach if you doubt that.

   Alaska, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas and Washington have a girls-only division in their state wrestling tournaments. Wisconsin is showing signs of joining the ranks by 2020.

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   In order to be recognized as a state championship sport by the NYSPHSAA, hockey or wrestling would need each of at least six sections fielding four teams apiece. Hockey reached regional status in 2014 with four sections qualifying, but getting to six appears to be a long way off.

   Wrestling's path to the minimum numbers of teams and sections might be similar to what we've seen in the PSAL, which is the reason I've become bullish about girls wrestling. New York City's public schools started with 16 teams in 2013 and swelled participation by moving the freestyle season to the spring. There are 27 teams scheduled to compete next spring.

   Truman had 20 of the league's 350 girls on its roster last spring when it won the dual-meet championship over

  

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  • Wingate. Truman's Nia Crosdale is one of seven New York girls in the first-ever national girls ranking.

       Touchdown machine: California senior Kazmeir Allen broke the national high school record for touchdowns in a season with his 72nd Friday when Tulare Union lost to San Mateo (Calif.) Serra 76-43 during a CIF State 2-AA regional final.

       Allen, a UCLA commit, finished with 27 carries for 347 yards and two long touchdowns in his previously unbeaten team's 14th game of the season. He broke the record with a 79-yard sprint around the right side in the second quarter.

       "He may be the best high school player I've ever seen," Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. "I have a ton of respect for him and their team."

       The previous mark of 71 TDs was set by T.A. McLendon of Ablemarle, N.C., in 2001. Onondaga's Mike Hart is fourth on the list with 67 scores in the 2003 season.

       Blanked: A girls basketball game in Montana last weekend ended with a 102-0 final score. Down to five girls for its opener for various reasons including illness, Brockton lost by that score on its home court to Froid-Medicine Lake.

       "We had one eighth-grader, a first-year freshman and three sophomores. One sophomore was playing for the first time since sixth grade, the freshman had never really played ball until this year," coach Terrence Johnson said. "The ones who couldn't play were my upperclassmen; my ball handlers."

       To make matters worse, one of the sophomores turned an ankle early in the second half, which was played with a running clock.

       Froid-Medicine Lake coach Lance Brekke said he wasn't sure if he could have stopped the game as it got out of hand.

       The executive director of the Montana High School Association said the governing body will conduct an investigation and respond accordingly if necessary.

       On the move: Sara Pfeiffer, a first-team all-state pick last season as an Olean sophomore, left the state over the summer and is playing for two-time defending state basketball champion Seton Catholic in Chandler, Ariz. Pfeiffer had 1,492 career points at Olean.

       John Eberlein, who has 22 years of experience at the high school level, has been named McKee/Staten Island Tech's new varsity baseball coach. Mike Grippo, who coached MSIT the last 14 seasons, left in the fall to coach Tottenville.


      
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