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Dec 03, 2014 -- 2:54pm

As cliché as it probably sounds, I’m floored that the Section IV Boys Basketball season is finally here.  It feels like Sectional champions were crowned only a few short months ago, and here we are, starting up a new season. 

There are plenty of storylines to follow, but of course, the biggest question is who has the best chance of winning and making a nice run in the playoffs.  Hopefully, I’m your guy with the answer.  I could be completely wrong.  I could be completely right.  That’s the fun part about making predictions as the season starts!   Let’s have some fun…


Whitney Point Eagles

The Eagles nearly earned a spot in the IAC Large School Championship last season, but missed out after falling to Lansing in a divisional tiebreaker by two points.  This year, however, the Bobcats are without 6-6 forward Thomas Towner and 6-6 forward Ben Rourke. 

This is the perfect opportunity for the Eagles to win back the division.

With just one player lost to graduation, Whitney Point has a strong veteran presence with senior big-man Gabe Shrauger leading the charge.  I expect the same dominating performances he brought last year when he averaged nearly 20 points per game.  Zach Marsh also returns for his senior season and is a threat to score if you give him any open space. 

Other players to watch: Brady Harrington and Jared Bieber; both are effective shooting the deep ball.


Watkins Glen Senecas
John Fazzary’s defense is always an absolute blast to watch.  The Senecas aren’t a “showy” team on paper, but are they gritty and very athletic.  Last season, not one player averaged double figure scoring, but they all had the ability to recognize who had the hot-hand that night. 

Returning for the Senecas are starters Keith Rekczis, Colin Gates, Joe Palumbo and Luke Flahive.  I’m especially looking forward to watching a healthy Luke Flahive act as the floor general this year.  He has the ability to control the tempo of a game with clutch shooting and incredibly aggressive guard defense.     

Why does “The Glen” have the best chance of winning the division?  They’re a talented team that returns a lot.  Last year’s winner, Elmira Notre Dame, returns only one true impact player – Darius Garvin.  He’s arguably the top player in the IAC, but he lost four supporting cast members that helped the Crusaders win a Section IV Championship.


Moravia Blue Devils

Plain and simple, Moravia loves its basketball.  It’s a basketball town.  The environment during a big-time game is like no other in the conference.  Oh, and the players aren’t that bad either.

Since the 2009-2010 season, the Blue Devils have won four (of five) division titles, and have also won the overall small school championship in those years.  They’ve also made two trips to the NYSPHSAA Final Four.  This is a team that’s built on a winning tradition, despite losing some key players from over the years.

The most obvious missing piece to this puzzle is center Chandler Benson, who is playing at LeMoyne College.  He graduated from Moravia as the program’s all-time leading scorer and averaged close to 25 points per night as a senior.  But it wasn’t just him doing all of the work.  Three-point sharpshooter Brett Denman is gone, and so is Chase Walker.

Still, I fully expect the Blue Devils to breeze by the division, and make another run for a Section IV championship.  Junior Jared Lyon has the potential to cement himself as the IAC’s top point guard.  The question is, what will it take to get this team to have big point totals every game?  It’s the uncertainty of some unknown players that leaves people wondering.


Newfield Trojans

Three seasons ago, the Trojans won just four games.  Two seasons ago, they doubled that number.  Last season, they nearly doubled that number, winning 15 games.  Duane Barrett has done a sensational job building this group of players into contenders.  They will look to repeat as division champions, and I think there is no question that they do just that.

Point guard Chris Byrd has graduated, which hurts Newfield offensively (10ppg), but their size and quickness is still there.  Devin Cooper, and Dekhari Stewart return but Brian Barrett will likely have the biggest impact for the Trojans.  The senior averaged right around 10 points per game, and if you give him room to work with, he’ll beat you with the dribble-drive or the open jumper. 

When this team is good, they’re fun to watch.  Something tells me they might put on a few shows for us this year.


Watkins Glen beats Whitney Point (barely)

Moravia beats Newfield (barely)

Team with the best chance to win a Section IV Championship

Teams to watch:
Ithaca (STAC), Dryden, Elmira Notre Dame, Marathon, Lansing


Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen.  Hoops season is here!


Nick Karski is a play-by-play voice, reporter, and host of "Gameday" on ESPN Ithaca and ESPNIthaca.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Karski

Groton Football Hazing Statement from Superintendent, Mr. James Abrams

Sep 12, 2014 -- 3:43pm

Yesterday the Groton Central School District became aware of a serious violation to our code of conduct involving hazing by student-athletes on our Varsity Football Team.  The District has been guided in our investigation by the Code of Conduct and Board of Education Policy.  Furthermore, we have been working cooperatively with the Groton Police Department.  As with all violations of the Code of Conduct, we will hold students involved accountable for their actions.  At this time the investigation is ongoing and focused on determining the scope of the misconduct.  Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, we are not able to release any additional information at this time.  Furthermore, the law prevents us from offering information that may lead to the identification of specific students.

Without a complete picture of the scope of the misconduct, we have decided to cancel tonight’s home football game vs. Spencer-Van Etten.  We anticipate being able to understand more fully the scope of the incident by next week, provide consequences as appropriate, and reevaluate the impact of those consequences on the remainder of the football season.


2014 NYSSWA All-State Baseball

Jul 23, 2014 -- 12:37pm

Here is the 2014 NYSSWA All-State Baseball list, featuring all 40 Section IV selections.  This list has come directly from the NYSSWA.

Class AA

First Team:

Zach Sullivan, Corning, Senior OF


Second Team:

CJ Krowiak, Union-Endicott, Senior SS


Fourth Team:

Nathan Grant, Corning, Senior Pitcher


Fifth Team:

Roman Wild, Elmira, Senior Pitcher


Sixth Team:

Zach Nierstedt, Elmira, Senior SS


Class A

Second Team:

Nick Wegmann, Vestal, Senior Pitcher/1B


Third Team:

Matt Marsili, Owego, Junior Pitcher/OF


Class B

First Team:

Dave Matthews, Susquehanna Valley, Junior OF/Pitcher


Second Team:

Matt Personius, Chenango Valley, Senior Catcher


Third Team:

Brian Colbert, Dryden, Senior Catcher

Chandler Coleman, Union Springs, Senior 2B


Fourth Team:

Cody Barnes, Norwich, Senior Pitcher

Brian Caroway, Susquehanna Valley, Senior Pitcher/SS


Fifth Team:

Dylan Perry, Waverly, Senior Pitcher/SS


Sixth Team:

Rich Hurd, Union Springs, Senior 3B

Skyler Jennings, Union Springs, Junior Catcher

Alan Davis, Dryden, Senior CF


Seventh Team:

Bruno Bugliosi, Dryden, Senior 3B

Blake Novi, Newark Valley, Junior SS/Pitcher


Class C

First Team:

Michael Korchak, Seton Catholic, Senior Pitcher/1B

Bill Kozak, Sidney, Senior Pitcher/SS


Second Team:

Alex Schutz, Lansing, Senior SS

Neil McCormack, Seton Catholic, Senior 3B


Third Team:

Tyler Troccia, Thomas A. Edison, Senior SS

Hunter Thomas, Elmira Notre Dame, Senior SS/Pitcher


Fourth Team:

Dakota Skinner, Tioga, Senior 2B

Parker May, Elmira Notre Dame, Junior IF/Pitcher


Fifth Team:

Peter Simmons, Tioga, Senior Pitcher/1B


Sixth Team:

Dylan Perry, Waverly, Senior Pitcher/SS

Kellen Komenda, Unatego, Senior IF/OF

Cam Lueder, Trumansburg, Senior Pitcher


Seventh Team:

Adam Layman, Tioga, Junior OF

Brendyn Stillman, Waverly, Freshman OF

Lucas DeJoy, Unatego, Senior IF/OF

Colin Fellows, Trumansburg, Senior 1B


Class D

First Team:

Ryan Smith, Hancock, Senior Pitcher/1B

Eli Holton, Hancock, Senior Catcher/Pitcher


Second Team:

Brad Dreher, Downsville, Senior Pitcher/IF


Third Team:

Mike Clark, Edmeston, Senior Pitcher


Fourth Team:

Anthony Savasta, Windham, Sophomore Pitcher


Nick Karski is a play-by-play voice, reporter, and host of "Gameday Tompkins County" on ESPN Ithaca and ESPNIthaca.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Karski

NYSSCOGS 2014 All-State Softball

Jul 15, 2014 -- 7:44pm

Here is the NYSSCOGS 2014 All-State Softball list, featuring all 34 Section IV selections.  The 34 picks were the second most of any Section in New York State this season.

Class AA

Third Team:

Katie Snyder, Elmira, Senior 2B


Fourth Team:

Jessica Rutherford, Horseheads, Senior 2B


Fifth Team:

Alexis Eastman, Union-Endicott, Senior Pitcher


Class A

First Team:

Taylor Chidester, Maine-Endwell, Senior SS


Second Team:

Kim Jones, Maine-Endwell, Senior Pitcher


Fourth Team:

Hailey Blencowe, Corning, Senior SS


Fifth Team:

Megan Lewis, Corning, Senior Catcher


Class B

First Team

Emma Benson, Windsor, Senior SS

Chelsea Henige, Chenango Valley, Junior Catcher

Paige Rauch, Windsor, Freshman 2B/Pitcher

Brianna Baker, Oneonta, Junior Pitcher


2nd Team

Mara Kohlbach, Windsor, Sophomore Pitcher

Allison Lockwood, Windsor, Sophomore Catcher


3rd Team

Sam Mennig (Waverly), Junior Pitcher


Class C

NYSSCOGS Co-Players of the Year: 

Katelyn Warren (Thomas A. Edison) and Lindsey Thayer (St. Lawrence)

NYSSCOGS Coach of the Year:

Rebecca Cooper (Thomas A. Edison)


First Team:

Katelyn Warren, Thomas A. Edison, Senior Catcher

Mckenzie Slaven, Thomas A. Edison, Sophomore Pitcher

Alivia Clark, Elmira Notre Dame, Sophomore Pitcher


Second Team:

Zoe Derr, Thomas A. Edison, Senior 2B

Connor Decker, Sidney, Sophomore Pitcher


Third Team:

Sam Wood, Tioga, Sophomore Pitcher


Fourth Team:

Jamison Valentino, Union Springs, Senior SS

Mackenzie Maloney, Elmira Notre Dame, Freshman 3B

Emily Lear, Thomas A. Edison, Sophomore 3B


Fifth Team:

Dannielle Callear, Thomas A. Edison, Junior 1B


Class D

First Team:

Kylie Papagelos, Deposit, Junior SS

Peyton Cutting, Afton, Senior OF

Cassidy Phillips, Afton, Junior P

Shelby Pettersen, Deposit, Senior Catcher


Second Team:

Kassi Cook, Deposit, Sophomore Pitcher


Third Team:

Brooke Sherburne, Hancock, Senior Shortstop

Katie Richvalsky, Richfield Springs, Junior Pitcher

Catherine Johnson, Edmeston, Freshman Pitcher

Sara Lawrence, Edmeston, Freshman Catcher

Tanya Hatton, Afton, Junior Pitcher


Nick Karski is a play-by-play voice, reporter, and host of "Gameday Tompkins County" on ESPN Ithaca and ESPNIthaca.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Karski

The Ride of My Life

Jun 27, 2014 -- 3:15pm


This tweet doesn’t lie.

As I suited up and placed a helmet over my head, the butterflies started. 

I’ve gone to countless races at Watkins Glen International, a place that’s practically a hop, skip, and a jump away from my house – or like most normal people would say, a quick 25 minute drive.

As a gorgeous looking Daytona Prototype quickly pulled up to pit road and made an abrupt stop in front of me, I knew it was my time to hop in for a fast and furious trip around the track.  There was no turning back.

I awkwardly tried to get in the car (after being coached on how to properly do it…trust me, it’s not at all like getting into your little Chevy Impala), and could feel my heart pound faster than Neil Peart hits the drums in “Tom Sawyer.” 

The Continental Tire Daytona Prototype that took riders around the world-class track.

I sat and waited.

Seatbelt on.  Deep breath.  A quick look at the people along pit-road that were watching.  A thumbs up to the driver to my left.

And we were off.

You know, over the last few years of covering races at “The Glen,” I thought I knew the track pretty well and had a good idea of where all 11 turns were.  My driver decided to prove me wrong.

As we juked through the twists, sped through straightaways, and cut corners that had me feeling sideways, I couldn’t help but smile through all 3.4 miles. 

I looked to my left and saw my driver pushing different controls, shifting gears, and steering the wheel, I was amazed how anyone could possibly do such a thing on a road course – let alone at speeds of close to 160 mph.   

My two laps around the track ended just as quickly as they started; five full minutes of wondering where we were turning next or how the hell we were going to turn left and right at such ridiculous speeds.  A thumbs up from the driver near the end of the last lap confirmed to me that this experience was something I’ll hardly ever experience again.

Until you experience something like this, you have no idea what these drivers go through. 

And for all of the talk I hear of racecar drivers not being athletes, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Between a quick reaction time, incredible hand-eye coordination, and the ability to keep composure during whatever situation arises around them, these guys and girls get it.  It’s something special and unique that doesn’t come easy.

The science that goes into making these cars drive do what they do is something I’ll never understand.  You could give me a week-long crash course on the subject and I’d still be lost.

Did I mention the amount of sweat I could feel starting to take over my body?  Was it nerves?  Maybe.  Was it the stress of going around the track at such a fast rate?  Probably.  But you would be amazed how much of it is merely because you’re sitting in such a powerful machine where temperatures can reach least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sometimes, these drivers don’t get enough respect for what they do and the risk they’re putting themselves in for the sake of crossing the finish line first. 

For years, I’ve always thought of racecar drivers as world-class athletes.  This experience on the track at Watkins Glen solidified that belief.

As we pulled into pit-lane, we quickly made it to our spot on the road.  All I could say to the driver was “thank you” over and over again and give him a couple of high-fives. 

I stepped out of the DP – not as foolishly as I looked getting into the thing – and could feel the sweat dripping down my face inside my helmet. 

“What’d ya think?”

I couldn’t find the words to describe it.  So I gave them two thumbs up and wanted nothing more than to do it all over again.

ESPN Ithaca's Nick Karski after his ride in a Daytona Protoype at Watkins Glen International.

Nick Karski is a play-by-play voice, reporter, and host of "Gameday Tompkins County" on ESPN Ithaca and ESPNIthaca.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Karski

Johnny Baseball

Jun 11, 2014 -- 3:00pm



The MLB First Year Player Draft is an event that gets little to no attention.  You know it.  I know it. 

Prove me wrong and tell me the names of three players who were selected in the first round.  The only time the draft really seems to garner any attention is when a player with local ties is picked by a team. 

Cornell’s Brent Jones became the highest Big Red player ever selected, nabbed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth-round because of his blazing fastball that can top speeds in the mid-to-upper 90s.

Zach Sullivan of Corning was selected in the 14th round, No. 407 overall by the Miami Marlins.  The outfielder/shortstop is a very athletic player who has a great bat that can hit just about anything in the strike zone.

What else is an attention grabber for the MLB Draft?  A team that pulls a publicity stunt for the sake of money making.

Cue the money fingers. 

(Thomas Campbell/USA Today Sports Images)


Cleveland Browns quarterback and sports-socialite  Johnny Manziel was picked by the San Diego Padres in the 28th round, No. 837 overall.  The signal caller – who’s arguably the NFL’s most popular player despite never playing a professional down – was picked following his junior year of college at Texas A&M.

Funny thing is, Manziel didn’t play baseball in college.  In fact, he admittedly hasn’t played organized baseball since his junior year of high school.

So what’s the reason behind picking the 2012 Heisman Trophy Award winner in the MLB Draft?  There has to be some sort of purpose to this, right?  Is it to serve the role as a motivational speaker for some of the young players in the Padres organization?  Hell, maybe Manziel has a change of heart and wants to lace ‘em up to be the next dual-sport superstar.  Or, maybe we can let Padres GM Josh Byrnes explain.

"It was kind of, 'Why not?'" 

It was kind of, why not?

Tell that to the kid who sacrificed hours of his high school career trying to live out a dream – waking up at 5am for an early workout, going to school for eight hours, practicing for two hours with his team, only to come home and take five-hundred more swings inside his make-shift batting cage in the backyard.

"It was kind of, 'Why not?'" 

Tell that to the kid who spends his summer vacation traveling from ball field-to-ball field, city-to-city, state-to-state; the same young man who probably spends more time on the road during the week than on the diamond during a weekend.   He sacrifices his summer, his job, and his friends to showcase his talent. 

"It was kind of, 'Why not?'" 

Tell that to the kid who, for four years, saw dozens of scouts watching him play in college.  As he tried to ignore them and focus on the game, he couldn’t help but acknowledge each cold hard stare, or hear each scribble of pen to pad.  His every move…calculated, analyzed, critiqued.

"It was kind of, 'Why not?'" 

Tell that to the kid who spent three days inside the family living room, pacing around, palms sweaty, heart racing, thinking that maybe he’d hear his name get called.  Turns out, he wouldn’t.

And just like that, for the young man who surrendered much his life for the game he loved, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not because Padres GM Josh Byrnes decided “why not?”  It was because he decided it was more important to make an extra buck or two.

I get it.  The likelihood of a late round draft pick, or any draft pick for that matter, making it to the big leagues is small.  But it’s ludicrous to waste a selection on a famous name for the sake of selling customized jerseys, rather than opting for someone who just might be a diamond in the rough.

You really never know what you’re going to find deep within the talent pool; we’ve seen plenty of late round picks blossom into some of baseball’s most recognizable names.  Mark Buehrle?  Selected in the 38th round.  Andy Pettitte?  Selected in the 22nd round.  Future Hall of Famer John Smoltz?  Selected in the 22nd round.  Future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza?  Selected in the 62nd round.

And now, Johnny Manziel of the San Diego Padres, has shattered someone’s dreams.


(USA Today)

I hope Byrnes is happy with his decision to draft Johnny Football.  It just adds more to the mockery that is the San Diego Padres –a team that happens to be 13.5 games back in the NL West with just 28 wins.  Rather than try and find a winning formula, you draft a NFL quarterback.  Makes sense.

If anything, I feel bad for the fans, having to deal with a continued playoff drought that has lasted close to ten years.  Evidently, things aren’t changing anytime soon.

You’re better than this, San Diego.


Nick Karski is a play-by-play voice, reporter, and host of "Gameday Tompkins County" on ESPN Ithaca and ESPNIthaca.com.  Follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Karski

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