Scotties beat 'Toga In thriller

BY SAM CAPUANO
sam@theballstonjournal.com

Over the past few years, anyone going to a Ballston Spa vs. Saratoga Springs football game knows they will be entertained. The Battle Of Route 50 has become one of the best rivalries in Section II, and last week’s thriller at Saratoga was no exception as the Scotties held on for a 34-29 win, which was not settled until the game’s final play.

A see-saw final quarter, which saw three lead changes, almost had a fourth, as Saratoga’s Jesse Spencer with one second remaining, on a hook and lateral from midfield, raced down the sideline and it appeared for a heart-stopping moment he might score. It was only when Ballston’s Jordan Davis and R.J. Borgolini pushed him out of bounds at the 7-yard line that the Scotties could exhale, and claim the victory.

“We knew they might try the hook and lateral, so it was in the back of our minds as we defensed the last play,” said John Bowen, Ballston’s head coach.

Davis was the offensive star of the night for the Scotties, as he ran for 270 yards, and caught two passes for 51 more, to go along with making the defensive play as time expired.

“We came out hard in the second half,” said Davis. “It wasn’t just me, the blockers did a great job tonight.”

Spencer’s effort for the home team was almost as impressive, as he rushed for 151 yards, including three touchdowns, to go along with the 43-yards on the aforementioned hook and lateral as the game ended.

The game was well played on both sides, with very few penalties. This contrasted greatly to the Scotties last visit to West Avenue two years ago. In that contest, they hurt themselves greatly with countless false start penalties, and lost their only regular season game.

“We have worked very hard to get more discipline,” Bowen said.

Davis started the scoring for the night on the first play of the second quarter, cashing it in from the three. He also set up the winning score by taking a pitch and breaking off a 53 yard run. Saratoga blocked the extra point attempt.
The teams then traded touchdowns, and the Scotties took a 13-7 lead into the intermission.

Saratoga came out strong in the second half with a pair of touchdowns, due to the running of Spencer, and helped by a fumble from Ballston quarterback John DeGuardi.

Down 21-13, the Scotties got back into the game on the first play following the second Saratoga touchdown, courtesy of an electrifying 63-yard scoring run from Davis. Then, in the fourth, he did it one better, with a 64-yard score. After a successful two point conversion, Ballston had their biggest lead of the game, 28-21, with just under five minutes to play.

Undeterred, the Streaks drove right back down the field, and Spencer’s six yard touchdown, followed by a two point conversion, gave them the lead.

Ballston ran the ensuing kickoff back to their own 35, and had 2:29 left, with no timeouts. No matter, as the combination of some more nice running from Davis, and passing from DeGuardi moved the ball to the 12 with 26 seconds remaining. DeGuardi ran it in from there.

This set up Saratoga’s valiant attempt to win the game at the end, which left players from both teams laying on the ground.

“You can throw away records when these two teams play,” Bowen said. “Saratoga is a lot better than their record.”

The Scotties’ win, combined with Shenendehowa’s shutout over Christian Boys Academy last Saturday gives Ballston the potential for the number two seed in the Empire Division. Ballston and CBA square off next Friday for the Scotties’ Homecoming game. Each team has lost only once, to Shen.

“We expect much of the same from CBA, with their power running,” said Bowen.

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Boys' soccer ready to set pace

By DAN SABBATINO
dan@theballstonjournal.com

After a 10-6-4 season last year, boys’ varsity soccer Coach Garry Preece said this year he expects more of the same, touting his goalie and returning runner up for Section II player of the year Connor Preece.

Now in his third year as varsity head coach, Precce said if his team can stay healthy, they expect a successful season.

“I think well have a strong team. I think we have the best goalie in section II,” he said.”I have a core of seniors coming back who played last year, didn’t start, but played a lot of minutes.”

In addition to his son, Connor and Evan Mendez, who was selected for the Suburban Council all-star first team and named to the Capital District Section II All-Stars Class “AA” Team in 2010, Preece said his team has a lot of weapons and will win game primarily by controlling the tempo.

While some teams in the Suburban Council tend to “ram” the ball, Preece and his squad play a more finessed game, he said.

“We’re a ball control team, control it pass around and create opportunities that way,” Preece said.

Last year marked the first ever Section II title for Ballston Spa, according to information from the team, as the boys’ squad finished as 2010 co-champions.

“This was the second consecutive winning season for the team and the first year that Ballston Spa has appeared on the New York state Class AA poll, ranked 16th in the state at the halfway point in the season, as it was undefeated after the first eight games,” according to a release from Preece.

Last year’s team averaged three goals a game, he said in a statement.

Preece said the team will use a few sophomores as starters to fill some gaps left by graduating seniors, but for the most part, he is expecting a balanced attack.

“Gaps left by last year’s departing seniors will be filled by an exceptional group of returning and new players. The team expects to compete for the Suburban Council Northern Division regular season title,” he said in a statement.

Among some players he said to keep an eye on are; Lucas Audi, senior, midfielder, returning starter, Chris Robertello, senior, defender and Dylan Prehoda, senior, forward.

Preece said, though, all of his players will contribute and there will be plenty of excitement as the team hunts for a run at a title.

He also pointed out the tremendous crowd the team drew last year and thanked all the parents, teachers, staff and fans who came out to support the team.

Chris Ohnsman represents Ballston Spa at Carrier Dome

By JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

The Upstate-Downstate Football classic for senior New York state all-stars represented more than a win or loss for the four representatives from Section II. Ballston Spa’s own Chris Ohnsman joined a class which included Class A Co-Player of the Year Evan Nusbaum (Burnt Hills), Section II Co-Player of the Year Bronson Greene (Shenendehowa), and Section II Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Smith.

All four seniors are set to play football in the NCAA in the fall. Ohnsman will head to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Nusbaum will venture to SUNY Albany, Greene will play for Cortland and Smith will be the lone Division I-A representative as he heads to Colgate.

The game itself was a wash as the Downstate squad ran away with a 41-7 victory. Syracuse-bound Tyrell Goodmen stole the show for Downstate with 91 yards on the ground and 38 through the air. Goodmen completed four of his six passing attempts.

While the Upstate unit made less of a dent in the box score, it was Guilderland’s Ryan Smith who delivered a 74-yard strike to wide receiver Kelvin Amparo for six. Smith temporarily stole the spot light from Rush-Henrietta’s star quarterback Ashton Broyld who will suit up for Syracuse next season.

Ohnsman saw the majority of his snaps at defensive end. Ohnsman was listed as a defensive lineman on the Upstate roster, though he started on both the offensive and defensive lines for Ballston Spa. Ohnsman got a taste of upper echelon competition in preparation for his collegiate career at RPI.

The balance of the Upstate-Downstate classic still remains weighted heavily in favor of the Downstate side, but the Section II players hope to set a precedent for future sucess.

This Week in Scotties Sports

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

Connor Doud helps B. Spa cruise through first round of tennis sectionals

Connor Doud’s 6-0, 6-0 straight sets victory helped Ballston Spa breeze past Colonie in the opening round of the Sectional playoffs on Monday May, 9. The Scotties number-one singles player Doud was just one cog of Ballston Spa’s 8-1 victory over the Garnett Raiders. Ballston Spa was hosting Colonie for the second time in less than a week and came away with an even more impressive victory in playoff competition. The Scotties will take on their next opponent in team sectionals play on Wednesday, May 11.

Ballston Spa bats catch fire in Scotties’ softball win over Burnt Hills

The Scottie girls have pushed through highs and lows this season, but still have one goal in mind: a Sectional playoff berth. The 8-2 win over Burnt Hills is a large step in the right direction as the Scotties were the beneficiaries of an offensive explosion. Ballston Spa belted out 12 hits, although Alicia Crandall provided the only extra base hit with a double to compliment 11 Scotties singles. The win on Monday, May 9, pushed the Scotties closer to a return to .500, now at 6-7. Ballston Spa will get their much awaited rematch with Shenendehowa on Thursday, May 12.

Ballston Spa graduate Drew Fitzgerald receives senior athletic Award from Bucknell

Fitzgerald was acknowledged by Bucknell on Tuesday, May 3, with the Edward W. Pangburn award for “sportsmanship, fellowship, and contribution to the University.” The senior standout is concluding his final year at Bucknell and second as a team captain. Fitzgerald is a four-time All-Patriot League selection and current Bucknell school-record holder in the outdoor high jump. Fitzgerald earned 20 points for Bucknell in his final Patriot League Championship meet contributing to a second straight championship for the Bison.

This Week in Scotties Sports

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

Baseball notches another win as Scotties take down Guilderland

The Scotties broke their skid in a big way with a 6-3 victory over Guilderland on the back of a 3-run Dalton Wheeler home run in the third inning. Freshman John Mueller continued to impress as well with a 3-for-3 day including two doubles. Chris Bradt earned the win for Ballston Spa pitching from start to finish and striking out six. The Scotties showed they can compete with a top team with Guilderland entering the game with a 4-1 record on the season.

Several Ballston Spa natives compete in Boston Marathon

Cole Hickland (4:03:55), Alleigh Marre (4:47:07), Heather Kurto (3:41:26) and, Gregory Moran, (4:55:11) all finished with admirable performances. Kenya’s Geoffry Muttai succeeded in humbling thousands of runners with a new world-record time of 2:03:02.

Ballston Spa girl’s lacrosse searching for first win

The Scottie girls are struggling and the schedule makers didn’t throw them any breaks in the near future. Each week the Ballston Spa girls seem to draw several of the top seeded teams in the Suburban Council. Ballston Spa dropped a lopsided 19-4 contest in their last game against Guilderland on Thursday, April 21. The Lady Scotties will face 6-1 Shaker on Tuesday, April 26, but finally land an out-of-conference opponent in Schenectady on Wednesday, April 27. Team-leading scorer midfielder Sam Schmitt will try to rally her teammates as the Scotties hunt for a victory.

Girl's lax looks to press forward after two-game skid

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

The Scotties girl’s lacrosse team hit a speed-bump on its road to success, dropping their first two games, but fortunately for Ballston Spa, players and coaches said the road appears free of any glaring obstacles as the program looks to press forward.
“My team this year has girls that are all striving for the same goal, ” said Coach Debbie Smarro. “They all want to play the best the can and have the chance to play at a sectional game.”
Smarro, the eight year coach of the girl’s lacrosse team, raved about her team’s athleticism and intelligence. She highlighted the team’s greatest strengths as their team unity and on-field communication.
The Lady Scotties players said the know they have their work cut out for them. They are confident, but are setting their goals modestly.
“My personal goals are in alignment with the team’s goals right now,” said Smarro. “Our goals are to achieve a .500 record and play in a sectional game.”
The girls had a tough season opener against one of the better teams in the area, the Niskayuna Silver Warriors. Ballston Spa fell by a score of 23-1. Niskayuna has the making of a juggernaut in Section II girls lacrosse for the season ahead. Their unit is athletic and experienced, making for a challenging and intimidating opponent.
Smarro went into the contest with a different approach. Though the Ballston Spa girls look to win first, they knew that they had to a different type of challenge ahead of them.
“We set our own agenda that game which included getting on the scoreboard and incorporating a new midfield transition,” said Smarro. “Our objective was to play as hard as we could. I believe the girls did just that.”
While Smarro’s comment could easily be dismissed as a coaching cliche, her words rang true in the very next outing on Saturday, April 2, against the rival Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks.
The Ballston Spa girls showed remarkable improvement in just a two-day gap between their first pair of regular season games. The girls were thrown out of the frying pan and into the fryer with back-to-back premium opponents to begin the season. The Scotties did fall to Saratoga but played the Streaks close and showed a renewed tenacity after the Niskayuna defeat, this time losing 12-6.
Goalie Logan Wollaber saved 13 of 23 shots attempted by Saratoga on Saturday. Samantha Shmidt led Scotties scorers with four unassisted goals. Carrie Manshir added a goal and four draw controls and Taylor Whyte added a goal as well as an assist.
“The girls made a lot of changes from Thursday to Saturday and the results were proven by the score,” said Smarro. “I was extremely happy with our performance. We have never finished that close to Saratoga. I believe we truly took a step up on our achievement ladder.”
The team is still finding it’s identity after graduating eight seniors a year ago, but eight of the current players have now entered their senior year nearly filling the void.
Smarro pointed to senior midfielder Carrie Mansir and junior midfielder Samantha Schmitt as players to watch in the season ahead. She expects them to battle for the team-scoring lead.
Ballston Spa is proving efficient with noticeable progress after less than a weak of competition. Their next opponent may be their hardest yet as they head to Shenendehowa on Thursday, April 7.

Ballston Spa throwers look to carry success to spring season

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

The Scotties Indoor Track and Field team has enjoyed several bright spots this season, but none brighter than the dominant performance of the boy’s shot-put team. The Ballston Spa hurlers consistently filled the top three leaderboard slots in a variety of different meets this season, including the sectional championships.
The close-knit group of guys recently capped off a dream run through the winter indoor season. Now heading to the spring, they will turn their focus to the outdoor throwing competitions. The boys attribute their success to their work ethic, camradarie, and coaching.
“Our hard work in the weight room has paid off,” said senior RJ Wait. “We’re always lifting — all the time. We had good coaching during indoor [track]. He coached us up with good technique. During outdoor it looks like we’re going to have the same thing going for us.”
RJ Wait, Anthony Russo, and Christian Meier placed first through third respectively in the Sectional Finals at Shenendehowa. These three individuals set the standard for competition in the shot put at indoor track meets this season, as Anthony Russo expounded on the teams success at sectionals and went on to break the Ballston Spa school record in Shot Put with a throw of 50 feet and 1.5 inches on Tuesday, March 1.
“I’ve been doing this since seventh grade,” said senior Anthony Russo. “I had a good coach in eight and ninth grade who really helped me with my spin technique. Ever since then I’ve done pretty well.”
Both Russo and Wait are being recruited by colleges to continue their impressive track careers. They drove each other with healthy competition throughout the season and each achieved personal victories along the way. Each time one of them gained an edge on the other, the two athletes would draw even again.
‘We expected to do well,” said Russo. “RJ and I both had our sites set on hitting 50. We were going back and forth trying to get the school record. I think I beat [RJ] in six meets and he beat me the other five.”
“Having Anthony, Christian, and other people on the team made for good healthy competition,” said Wait. “We always want to beat each other but we also help each other. It’s great to be able to work together.”
Dan Batista and Mike Obermayer both attested to the shared unity of the track team’s throwing unit. The two seniors are members of the Indoor track team as well and shot putters. Obermayer referenced the Incredible Hulk as a primary source of influence.
“We do play off each other,” said Batista. “It’s not all just hard work for us. In order to get good and reach our personal highs we have to mess around a little bit. In the end it has led to success for us.”
The team has enjoyed success in the weight throw event as well this season. Russo and Wait were both frequently featured on the weight-throw leaderboards. Their teammate Tom King is also a frequent face in the winning column.
The team is still practicing and pushing forward toward the spring season. They said don’t expect to miss a beat when switching to outdoor competition.

This Week in Section II Sports

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

Four Ballston Spa sports teams competing at the state level

The alpine ski team and swimming team have both distinguished themselves this season with their repeated success. The indoor track team has made it’s presence felt as well, especially with it’s trio of shotput standouts. All three teams will now be testing their will at the state level. The alpine ski team will head to Whiteface Mountain on Tuesday. The quartet of qualifying boys swimmers will venture down to Nassau Long Island and the indoor track squad will travel to the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.

Saratoga Springs headed deep into hockey tournament

Ballston Spa’s neighboring rival Saratoga Springs is heading to Potsdam on Saturday, March 5, for the regional round of the CDHSHL playoffs. The Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa Spartans know first hand how tough this year’s edition of the Streaks are after suffering two lopsided defeats. Saratoga even eliminated perennial favorite Shenendehowa from competition on Thursday, February 24. Saratoga is currently ranked fourth in the state.

Shenendehow girls basketball continues quest for perfect season

The Plainsmen girls added their 19th win of the season with a win over Niskayuna on February 26th. The  Section II tournament is still in it’s infant stage, but Shenendehowa looks poised to roll through to state-level competition.

This Week in Scotties Sports

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

Several Scotties stand out at Track and Field Sectional Championships

The Ballston Spa boys and girls finished 4th and 6th respectively in the Division II rank during the Section II track and field championships. Bailey Kowalczyk earned a second place finish in the 1500-meter run and third place in the 1000-meter for the Ballston Spa girls. Olivia Matthews also placed second in the pole-vaulting competition.

On the boys end, Phil Williams placed second in the 300-meter dash with a time of 38.22. Seniors Phil Williams and Ryan Grandeau finished second and third respectively in the 600-meter run. The boys shot put team also continued their dominance, claiming the top three spots.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa girls ski team bounces back with win at Niskayuna Invy

Demi Feder once again claimed the first place crown for the Spartans with a time of 26.35. Morgan Feder wasn’t far behind her as she coasted in for a fourth place finish with a time of 27.05. It wasn’t the widest margin of victory for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa girls, but the final point margin of 22-46 over Saratoga Springs was more than enough for the Spartans to attain another victory.

Boys and girls basketball endure a tough week against stiff competition

Both the boys and girls teams suffered losses at the hands of Shenendehowa and Shaker this week. On the girl’s side, Shenendehowa boasts an undefeated 15-0 record while Shaker isn’t far behind at 15-2. Geena Gallo was able to score 20 points in the loss to Shaker, but neither game was particularly competitive.

On the boys end, Shenendehowa is just as impressive with a merely blip in the “L” column and a 16-1 record for the season. Shenendehowa beat the Scotties by 40 points, but Ballston Spa was able to bounce back with a spirited effort against the Shaker Blue Bisons. Austin Stenglien poured in 22 points for Ballston Spa in large part due to five treys in the game. Stenglien was outdone however by a ridiculous 33-point performance from Shaker’s Casey Hall.



This Week in Scotties Sports

BY JESSE JACOBS
jesse@theballstonjournal.com

Ballston Spa boys swimming adds another win; beats Schenectady

The Ballston Spa swim team is quietly having an outstanding season as they seem to be rolling through all levels of competition. The Scotties put together another dominant showing in the 200 Medlay Relay, coasting to victory with a time of 1:47.70. Familiar faces Dave Gardiner, Phil Piombino, Chris Heckman, and Brandon Keating all won their respective individual races. Jeff Carminatti added a win in the 500 free for the Scotties as they downed Schenectady, 98.5-81.5.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa girls skiing places second in Ahearn Memorial Tournament

Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa saw their winning streak come to an end as Saratoga would take first place this time around. Morgan Feder pulled out a second place finish for Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa and Taylor Manderson added a third place victory. Unfortunately for the Spartan-Scotties, overall points gave the nod to their rival Saratoga Streaks.

Ballston Spa girls basketball tallies second win of season

The Ballston Spa girls played four games in six days between Thursday and Tuesday. Luckily, they were able to get one win under their belt early on. Geena Gallo matched her season high with 27 points as the Scotties rolled over Guilderland with a 54-40 victory.