Before recognizing individual teams and athletes, Athletic Director Dave Sunkes announced that all nine of the district’s fall varsity sports teams were named New York State Scholar Athlete Teams. The distinction is awarded to teams whose grade point average is greater than or equal to 90 percent.
Sunkes went on to recognize the High School Girls Varsity Volleyball Team for their achievement this season, as they reached the Section II Class AA championship match this season, ultimately losing to Shenendehowa.
“We had many, many individual accomplishments, but if you were at the sectional championship game, we played Shenendehowa at Saratoga High School, there was a feeling there. It was electric,” he said.
“We had a great showing, in a program that has been building for years and years and years and has now reached a pinnacle. Now we are playing for sectional championships. Now we are doing things that we had hoped for a few years ago, and that has a lot to do with the ladies in the back, the work that they put in and our coaching staff.”
Sunkes also recognized the five members of the Girls Varsity Swimming and Diving Team who qualified for the New York State meet this year. The five athletes are Tierra Damico, Emma Hoffman, Annalise Pepper, Corinne Pepper and Emma Swistak.
Lastly, Sunkes recognized five students who reached first team all area, first team Suburban Council status in their individual sports.
The students are sophomore soccer player Caitlin Wania, junior football player Jake Cook, senior football player Elijah Washington, senior volleyball player Laiken Fox and senior soccer player Schuyler Mann.
Sunkes went on to announce that Mann had been named to the first team for all of New York State on Tuesday.
Board of Education President Kevin Schaeffer congratulated the students saying, “I think it’s wonderful that all of our teams are student scholar athletes.”
Schaeffer noted that the success of the teams and individual players comes not just from skill, it also comes from their desire to succeed, which he said will carry them to future successes.
Following the student recognition, district officials recognized seven teachers from three buildings for their effort and achievements.
Three teachers from the Ballston Spa High School were recognized for being selected to the New York State Master Teacher Program. The program is offered to the highest performing science, technology, engineering and math teachers.
The program creates a network of teachers and offers a number of professional development experiences to deepen teacher’s understanding of STEM content and the best methods of teaching their students in their particular communities. The goal of the program is to attract students to STEM related careers.
The three teachers named to the Master Teacher Program include John Balet, Matthew Glogowski and Ank Meuwissen.
Marissa Bongo from the High School was recognized for her innovative teaching methods and her willingness to utilize technology to impact learning. Bongo was recently asked to give a presentation to master’s students on the subject.
Cailin Rabideau of Milton Terrace Elementary School was recognized for planning and organizing the Veterans’ Day Assembly hosted at the school. Many veterans from all branches of the military and their families attended and participated in the event.
Another Milton Terrace teacher, Megan Haessig, was recognized for her work supporting her colleagues with professional development. From the summer to December Haessig provided or arranged 14 professional development sessions that 201 teachers participated in.
Finally, Wood Road Elementary School Psychologist Jana Miller was recognized for her work providing support to students, families and staff members alike on a day to day basis and in times of crisis. Miller helps teachers develop behavior plans, discusses strategies to help students succeed in the classroom and listens when the teachers simply need someone to talk to.
ST. JOHNSVILLE, NY– Daniel M. Tourtellot, 46, of Crum Creek Road, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, December 16, 2013. He died at the Ellis Hospital due to medical complications. [Read more…]
The NYS mandated curriculum “Common Core” is the NEW SLEEPING GIANT pertaining to the Federal Governments TAKEOVER of 45 states education departments in the public school arena via the federal “Race to the Top” program from the Obama Administrations 2008 Stimulus package. [Read more…]
A valiant defensive effort was not enough for the Ballston Spa Scotties varsity girls’ soccer team as they dropped to 0-3 (0-3) after a 3-0 loss to the Shenendehowa Lady Plainsmen (2-1, 2-1) on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
Shen controlled the ball for the majority of the game and was able to compile a total of 26 shots. Ballston Spa was only able to get off three. Despite the onslaught, Ballston Spa’s defense was able to contain most of Shen’s scoring attempts and not allow many clean looks at the goal.
“The defense played great,” said Betsy Drambour, Ballston Spa head coach. “They stopped many potential attempts at goal and contained [Shen captain] Kristen Connors. Demi Feder also played great.”
Freshman Abby Mensler started for the Scotties at goalkeeper and saved 14 of Shen’s 17 shots on target, three of which were diving at full extension.
“Abby [Mensler] came to us after attending Saratoga Spa Catholic,” said Drambour. “She is a freshman and started her first soccer game since she was 12-years-old. That was two years ago. She is a basketball player turned goalie and did great.”
Shen controlled the ball to start the game but the contest remained scoreless until Jaclyn Romano found a loose ball in the corner of the box. She scored on the open shot about midway through the first half.
“It was near the far post and I saw the defense was a little discombobulated,” Romano said. “There was no mark on me so I came across the box. Everyone missed me so I followed through and got the goal.”
“Romano played a great first half with her goal and giving us chances to score,” said Shen head coach Holli Mulholland. “In the second half she had to leave the game due to an ankle injury.”
The score remained 1-0 until about midway through the second half, when Sara NasserElgrgawi scored on an open shot off the pass from Amanda Underhill from about 15-yards out to give Shen a 2-0 lead.
NasserElgrgawi would later connect with Meghan Cavanaugh on a long pass off a free kick. Cavanaugh fired a hard low shot from just inside the box that slipped through Mensler’s fingers and sealed the win for Shen.
“Coming off our loss to Niskayuna we focused on reinforcing good positioning and concentrated on creating quality chances,” Mulholland said.
Ballston Spa’s best chances to score came in the second half. On two occasions the Scotties produced two well executed crosses through the box, but the timing was just off and the passes did not connect with the intended shooters.
Late in the game Cori Winslow had a long open shot from about 25-yards out that sailed over the crossbar by inches.
“I’m very proud of how we played,” said Drambour. “Our backfield did great in a big game. We were in it for 70 minutes.”
Killeen Schmitz, Morgan Zegers and Augusta Hayner started in the backfield.
Ballston Spa plays next at home against Guilderland on Thursday, Sept. 20 and on the road Monday, Sept. 24 at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake. Both games are at 4:15 p.m.
Scotties lose nail-biter to G’land
BY TONY PASTORE
Despite three touchdowns from John McDonald, the Ballston Spa High School varsity football team dropped their third straight game in the fourth quarter to fall to 0-3 (0-2), this time to Guilderland High by a score of 21-20. The Dutchmen improved to 1-2 (1-2).
“We’ve had three heartbreakers this season,” said Ballston Spa head coach John Bowen. “Right now, these guys are hurting and I feel for them. The scores have indicated they are as good as anyone in Section II. We just have not created the breaks.”
Guilderland opened with a 54-yard drive on the first possession, led by quarterback Frank Gallo, who completed all four of his pass attempts. After driving to Ballston Spa’s 8-yard line, back-to-back tackles for a loss knocked the Dutchmen back and ended the touchdown threat. Neel Nayak connected for a 29-yard field goal, giving Guilderland a 3-0 lead with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Scotties put together a 65-yard drive culminating in a three-yard McDonald touchdown on fourth and goal with 8:22 remaining. Ryan Keefe connected for the extra point for a 7-3 lead, but Brad Johnston returned the ensuing short kickoff 72 yards for a Guilderland touchdown. Will Oates blocked the extra point attempt, keeping the score 9-7.
“The big play that really hurt us was the kickoff return,” Bowen said. “We did not win the special teams or turnover battle tonight. You‘d like for the game to hinge on offense or defense, but obviously it came down to those two areas.”
Later in the second quarter, the Scotties caught a break when Guilderland fumbled the punt. Kiernan Mack recovered for Ballston Spa at the Dutchmen 25-yard line.
On the very first play following the fumble recovery, McDonald connected with a wide open Sam Graves for a 25-yard touchdown with 1:11 remaining in the half. Keefe added the extra point and the Scotties took a 14-9 lead into halftime.
The score held through the third quarter until Josh Lamb recovered a fumble for Guilderland at the Ballston Spa 36-yard line. An 8-yard touchdown pass from Gallo to Joe Cornell then put the Dutchmen ahead. A failed two-point conversion left Guilderland with a 15-14 lead with 29.5 seconds remaining in the third.
Then with around eight minutes remaining in the contest a low snap out of the shotgun formation hit the ground before reaching Gallo, allowing Oates to recover the ball for Ballston Spa at the Guilderland 20-yard line. Graves started the short drive with a 15-yard rush, putting the Scotties on the Guilderland 5-yard line.
On second-and-goal from the 4-yard line McDonald’s quarterback sweep fell just short of the end zone, but the signal caller then punched the ball in on a quarterback sneak for a Scotties lead with 5:48 remaining. After a failed two-point conversion Ballston Spa led 20-15.
Guilderland started their next drive at their own 40-yard line after a solid return from Stephen Polsinelli. On the first play from scrimmage, Guilderland again fumbled the snap out of the shotgun but this time Gallo fell on it to maintain possession. Gallo connected with Jacob Smith on the next play for a 70-yard touchdown pass to regain the lead at 21-20 with 4:35 remaining. The two point conversion attempt failed.
“We were sputtering all night offensively and I think that long pass to Smith got the charge going,” said Guilderland head coach Dan Penna. “You have to credit Ballston Spa’s defense. They were on us all night, but our kids stayed with it. It was designed to be a long completion. We wanted to pull their safety in and create an open receiver and we did.”
The Scotties got one last chance, starting their next drive at their own 28-yard line with 4:22 remaining. Kiernan Mack contributed a 23-yard rush to keep Ballston Spa’s hopes alive. Four more runs, including an 11-yard rush from Graves, brought the Scotties down to Guilderland’s 30-yard line with less than a minute to go.
But on first-and-10 from the 30-yard line the Scotties fumbled the ball away. Cornell recovered for Guilderland with 29.9 seconds left.
“This was a big win for us,” Penna said. “Ballston Spa is always gritty and well coached. We knew it was going to come down to the wire. For us it was a character-building win, an important conference win for the playoffs.”
Gallo finished the day 13-for-20 for 187 yards and two touchdown passes for Guilderland. The Dutchmen rushed for 33 yards in the game.
“We knew they liked to throw the ball but we have a very good run defense and I think we got them to throw the ball,” Bowen said. “It was nothing unexpected. We just need to shut that passing aspect of the opponent’s game down.”
McDonald finished with 69 yards on 16 carries with two rushing touchdowns and went 5-for-6 passing for 64 yards and a touchdown. Will Oates chipped in two sacks in addition to the fumble recovery and blocked extra point.
“John [McDonald] played real courageous for us tonight,” Bowen said. “I was pleased with how he let the game come to him and the two big sacks by Will certainly were timely. We hoped to get hits on their quarterback tonight. Both are talented football players.”
Ballston Spa’s next game is on the road Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. against defending Section II champion Shenendehowa. The Plainsmen notched blow-out victories in all three of their games thus far this season.
Ugalee Oates(top) fights for control in his first ever varsity wrestling match against Shen’s Zach Weber. Photo by Jesse Jacobs.
BY JESSE JACOBS
Shenendehowa entered the Wednesday, Dec. 22 meet on a 10-game season-opener win streak, and once further solidified their status as the team to beat in Class A wrestling. The Plainsmen built their momentum, surging forward with a punishing 64-6 defeat of the Ballston Spa Scotties.
Shenendehowa reeled off fourteen victories against the Scotties, five coming via pin-fall. The Plainsmen have propelled themselves to the top of the Class A ranks with their eleventh consecutive win to start the season. The total win streak is now at 50 in a row for Shenendehowa dating back to last season.
“The kids are happy to get the 50th, but it wasn’t a big priority,” said Shenendehowa coach Rob Weeks. “We did as well as I thought we would. They didn’t have a full lineup today, so we were able to take advantage of that.”
Ballston Spa’s short handedness cost them early as Shenendehowa’s Dave Almaviva received a win at 140 via forfeit. Shen’s depth created match-up obstacles for the Scotties throughout the evening. The Plainsmen earned decisions over Ballston Spa’s best match after match. Consistent performers such as Tyler Michel, Connor Hersch, and Spencer Thomas all lost their respective matches for Ballston Spa as Shen’s talent at each weight class overwhelmed the Scotties. Despite Shen’s lopsided margin of victory the Scotties battled till the end, losing three of their matches by two points or less.
“We’ve got young guys,” said Ballston Spa coach Harvey Staulters. “I talked to Rob before the match and said ‘we’re going to give you a match.’ A few of our guys were competitive in their matches. We have to go beyond this and look at the rest of the season. We have good competition with the Columbia tournament next week and we’ll step up from here, even if it won’t be easy.”
Ugalee Oates (171) gave the Scotties their first chance at victory in his first varsity action against Shen’s Zach Weber. Oates actually led the match midway through the second round on the strength of a first-round takedown. Weber was able to battle back and win the decision (3-2) following an escape and takedown of his own in the second round.
Chris Ohsman (189), a Section II finalist from a year ago, normally represents Ballston Spa’s best chance for victory. Shenendehowa’s 189-pound representative, however, happened to be Ohnsman’s opponent in last season’s Section II final, Tony Fusco. Fusco earned the decision in last year’s sectional final and he would once again earn the decision (3-2) over Ohnsman on Wednesday night. Fusco landed a takedown on Ohnsman late in the second period which provided the difference in the match.
“Its going to be a coin flip,” said Staulters referring to the match up between Ohnsman and Fusco. “Both coaches are picking up things. The kids are picking up things. Ohnsman’s a smart kid. He’ll learn from that match.”
Ballston Spa’s lone win of the night came in another marquee match-up between Ballston Spa’s Bill Cook (215) and Shen’s Mike Almaviva. The match lived up to the billing through two periods as Almaviva landed two takedowns early in the second period, earning him a 4-2 lead. Bill Cook changed the momentum of the match, managing a reversal with thirty seconds remaining in the second period to tie the score at four. Almaviva appeared to be nursing his upper leg following Cook’s reversal, but decided to continue the match, and even reclaimed a 5-4 lead in the third period. With just under a minute left in the third period, the Plainsmen took an injury timeout and subsequently elected to forfeit the match giving Ballston Spa their first victory.
“You never coach for the shut out. We don’t want that,” said Weeks. “My concern is for Michael more than the 50th win or the possibility of a shutout. We prioritize getting him healthy and getting back on the mat as soon as possible.”
Almaviva’s coaches and teammates will be disappointed if they’re without him for an extended period of time, but Shen has the depth to compensate in his absence. The Plainsmen will head to Spencerport High School Tuesday for a two-day tournament while the Scotties travel to Columbia on Wednesday.
BY JESSE JACOBS
Ballston Spa Boys Bowling Falls on the Road
Shenendehowa was on the winning side of this contest, beating the Scotties by a score of 21-11. Corey Hammel led the Plainsmen with a score of 591 and a second-frame score of 206. Ballston Spa’s Phil Baker posted the match-high score of 209 and led the Scotties with a total of 575. Teammate Frank Miller wasn’t far behind with a score of 573.
Walkowiak Represents Scotties’ Diving at NYS Swim Meet
Addison Walkowiak has been a revelation for the Scotties’ diving team all season. The had freshman already won her third straight Section II diving championship earlier in the month. Walkowiak went on to compete in the state championships at Buffalo where she finished seventh in the state.
Troy and Schalmont Fall Short of State Championships
In a rare instance where not one, but two Section II teams were competing for New York State High School Football Championships, neither team could quite close the deal. The Schalmont Sabres were blown out at the Carrier Dome as Hornell was able to capture the Class B Football championship. Meanwhile, the Troy Flying Horses actually led over Rush-Henrietta at one point, but failed to hold on for the victory.
BY JESSE JACOBS
The Section II Finals showcased the competitive endurance that both Ballston Spa and Shenendehowa volleyball have played with all season. The rivalry match up boiled down to a decisive winner-take-all game five just as in the previous two match ups between these teams. No. 3 seeded Ballston Spa held a commanding 23-16 lead in game five, within shouting distance of game point, before No. 2 seeded Shenendehowa came thundering back for the semifinals.
Ballston Spa entered the contest expecting competitive play after falling to the Plainsmen twice earlier this season. The Scotties were able to force a game five in both of the previous match ups with Shenendehowa, but never did Ballston Spa hold a lead like the one they held Tuesday night in Scotia.
Ironically, Shenendehowa was the team initially in command of this contest, jumping out to an early two game lead with commanding 25-13 and 25-18 wins. The Scotties fired back with a dominating 25-13 win of their own in game three. The fourth game finally showcased the level of competition featured between these two squads when Ballston Spa forced game five at the wings of a fiercely competitive 27-25 victory.
Shenendehowa’s season-saving rally was led by senior Emily Gillich. Facing elimination and a large deficit, Gillich served to the tune of nine consecutive points and a championship. Gillich’s 15 service points led Shenendehowa. Senior Kelsey Kromer was the Plainsmen leader in kills with 14 and Lauren Rokjer led the team with seven blocks.
The Ballston Spa squad boasted strong showings from Amber Bass (10 kills and 15 service points), Danielle Groat (14 kills and eight service points), and Geena Gallow (10 kills, seven aces).
The Scotties will lose eight seniors to graduation this year, but have certainly provided the underclassmen with a taste for success. Ballston Spa’s tournament run is yet another bright spot in the steadily improving Ballston Spa athletic program.
BY JESSE JACOBS
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Heads to State Semifinals with Another Blowout
The Spartans have put together one of the most all-around dominant seasons in the area in years. The 42-0 rout over Potsdam places Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on a collision course with the State Finals. Only one game against Harrison stands in their way of a chance to play for the Class A championship.
Plainsmen Crowned Section II Volleyball Champions
Shenendehowa is accustomed to winning, but not as often in volleyball. With their defeat of Bethlehem, the Plainsmen successfully ended a volleyball championship drought which spanned two decades. Shenendehowa would go on to lose in the Regional finals against Baldwinsville.
Troy Football pummels Shenendehowa; defeats Monroe Woodbury
It took Ballston Spa and Shenendehowa four quarters to declare a victor in their semifinal football match up. It took Troy just over one quarter to establish their superiority over Shenendehowa in the Super Bowl. Troy’s 38-0 lopsided victory showcased their command of the Suburban Council. In an even more impressive feat, Troy would go on to defeat the number one team in the state, Monroe Woodbury, for a trip to the state finals.