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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

Classic Week

May 22, 2014 -- 2:53pm

The week leading up to Memorial Day Monday is one that has always brought back very fond memories for me.

I called it “Classic Week,” much like everyone else who lived in the Twin Tiers, where thousands of us would gather at the Corning Country Club, watching some of the best golfers in the world.

When the LPGA Corning Classic ended its run five years ago this week, it really was the end of an era.  For thirty-one years, it was one of the true staples and gems of the professional circuit.  Golfers were sad to see it leave – after all it had been one of the longest running events in LPGA history – but it undoubtedly played with the emotions of the community even more.

A celebration from the tournament's final year in 2009 (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

It all depends on who you ask, but I guarantee everyone has at least one fond memory of the Classic.    

I know I have plenty.

When I was younger, I felt like the most stylish seven year old wearing my full-week pin pass, giving me access to attend any day of the tournament. 

I loved exploring different areas of the course, but had a soft spot trying to watch golfers nail an ace on No. 15.  The tee box was in prime location to also catch some of the action at No. 8, No. 9, and No. 10. 

I still remember watching Rosie Jones become the Classic’s most beloved player, winning back-to-back titles in 1996 and 1997, to which she would affectionately be known by fans as “the Queen of Corning.”

Sometimes, I even think that my start in media began at the Corning Country Club, as my local high school, for whatever reason, got to work closely and extensively with The Golf Channel and its broadcast production.  They would station students at certain holes or with certain pairings.  You were assigned to be either a spotter or a microphone operator.  How crazy it was – and still is to me today – to trust a bunch of teenagers to help put on a live, professional TV broadcast.

(For what it’s worth, I’ll never forgive Annika Sorenstam for accusing me of being wrong when I told her that her tee-shot landed in the rough on No. 18.  I “clearly didn’t see where your shot went,” you say?  Guess whose ball landed in the rough on No. 18?)

To this day, I’m still kicking myself about not attending the final round of the event in 2009.  It was a broadcast I still remember watching on TV and one that had me feeling pretty nostalgic, a little sad, yet a bit optimistic at the same time.  I was confident that after Yani Tseng gave her post-win speech, it would just be a temporary breakup between the LPGA and the tournament’s title sponsor, Corning Incorporated, and that a few years down the road, “Classic Week” would make its much-anticipated return.

Yani Tseng hoists her Corning Glass winnings after the final round in 2009 (Golf.com)

And right now, I think the time is right for a return.

I’m not a businessman by any means and I have no idea what sort of costs go into the event – aside from the purse that’s awarded to the tournament finishers.  What I do know is that The Corning Classic brought a sense of pride, excitement, and anticipation to the Twin Tiers community.  The tournament was the unofficial kickoff to summer, inviting some of the best women golfers in the world to visit a small city in upstate New York with a population of less than 12,000 people.  How many other places around the country get to do that?

For the last few years, in place of the tournament being lost, Corning has hosted GlassFest, celebrating the art and industry of glassmaking that has made the city a unique destination for visitors and businesses around the globe.  If it could realistically be done, imagine a return of the Corning Classic during the same week of the festival; a dream come true for downtown businesses, residents and guests of the area.  Market Street would be booming, full of food, vendors, and fun for all.

I’m not saying it can be done; in fact, I have no idea if The Corning Classic will ever return.  But let me say this…

If it ever does return, you’ll find me on No. 15, having a blast with thousands of my newest friends.


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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