Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

State championship Saturday: Will North field hockey wins state title; girls volleyball trio makes finals; Fredonia football, Clarence, Akron soccer fall

It's a big day for Western New York teams and athletes throughout the state.

I was at Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium, where Fredonia fell to Section III (Syracuse area) champion General Brown, 19-14, in the Class C state semifinals. Check out a running account of the game and video at Prep Talk Live.

Correspondent Tyler Dunne reports from at Cicero-North Syracuse that Williamsville North beat Section I (Westchester County) champion Mamaroneck, 1-0, to win the Class AA field hockey championship. Very impressive job by the Spartans, who lost standout player and Michigan State recruit Allie Ahern to injury before the season.

Dunne emailed these details: With less than a minute left, Nikki Atkins scored on a penalty corner; goalie Jess Wess made eight saves for the Spartans, setting a school record with only three goals allowed all season.

In Class AA boys soccer at Middletown High, Clarence (18-2-1) lost, 2-1, in overtime to Section III representative Baldwinsville (19-2-1). In Class B, Akron (18-2-1) trailed another Section III team in Skaneateles (20-0), 4-1, in the final minutes. Check out details from the games at the Middletown Record's Varsity 845 blog.

The volleyball final fours are at the Glens Falls Civic Center, with Eden (Class B), Falconer (C) and Randolph (D) all advancing to Sunday's state championship matches. The top two teams in each four-team class advanced to the final.

Eden went 5-1 in pool play to advance to Sunday's noon championship match against Hendrick Hudson. The Raiders split their matches with Hudson, 25-17, 19-25, swept Ravena, 25-15, 25-12, and swept John Glenn, 25-21, 25-17. Eden already owns the state record with seven state championships.

Falconer went 4-2 in pool play and will meet Voorhesville (5-1) in the Class C final. Randolph will take on Haldane in Class D after both went 5-1. The Class C and D finals are at 2 p.m. Sunday.

You can review the details from the day at the excellent Glens Falls Post Star site.

Looks like I'm headed to Glens Falls for tomorrow's finals. I was going to head to Middletown if a soccer team won.

We'll provide more updates as we get them. If you have updates or details, email me at

---Keith McShea

Jantzi steps down at NT football

Eric Jantzi, who has presided over one of Western New York's best football programs for the last decade, has stepped down as coach at North Tonawanda.

Jantzi told The Buffalo News that he was relinquishing his spot to spend more time with his young family.

     "My family and I are moving to Orchard Park to be closer to our parents and brothers and sisters, and our kids don't get see them enough," he said.

     "We wanted to be closer to our family, the amount of time I have to put into coaching I don't think I could put in the time with my kids, or spend every day with the kids up here."

Jantzi said his commute would make it difficult or impossible for him to be available for daily weightlifting and other workouts that make coaching a 12-month job.

 "I have only one speed, and I don't think it would be fair to the kids [to reduce his time with them}."

He informed the Lumberjacks team Thursday night that he was stepping down.

He teaches at North Tonawanda and will keep that position, but the rest of his plans are up in the air.

 "I think I will coach again," he said. "I don't know if it will be right away. I'll discuss it with my family since they are the ones who make the sacrifices. ... I don't have any plans right now."

Jantzi, a Springville native, coached NT for 11 years, winning eight Class AA North divisional titles. Last season, he led NT to the state championship in Class AA, the first football state championship for the school and for Niagara County.

It is the third high-profile departure for NT's athletic department in the last several months. Basketball coach Erik O'Bryan went to Niagara-Wheatfield while athletic director Greg Whitman is leaving NT for Hamburg.

-- Keith McShea

Live chat Nov. 17: A look back at football regionals and the ESGs (!?!?!), who's No. 1?, Clarence & Strong Island soccer and a hoops look upcourt

Our weekly chat is tonight at 9 -- we've pushed it back a half-hour since the last few chats have gone on and on (like having too many good quarterbacks, it's a good problem to have). As always, anything in the world of high school sports or our coverage of it is up for discussion.

[Note: We've now pushed it back to 9:45 due to a story we're writing -- I'll be chatting away after the radio appearance. My apologies.]

We've got nine teams and many other athletes still competing for state championships for the fall season, while the winter season is already underway (we got some hockey and bowling scores last night) and the Empire State Games are gone again.

We'll again call a chat timeout to appear on The Late Nick Mendola show on WECK (1230 AM) at 9:30. 

I promise I'll get to your question or comment in the chat -- but please be patient. It can get busy fielding all of the questions and I can only answer one at a time. And PLEASE don't enter your question/comment multiple times -- that only makes things crazier.

Here are this season's previous chats: Nov. 10, Nov. 3, Oct. 27, Oct. 20, Oct. 13, Oct. 6, Sept. 22, Sept. 15, Sept. 8 and our kickoff (Sept. 1). Here's a link to the final session of the spring (which also includes last school year's spring and winter archives).

As always, if you have a question but you won't be able to make the chat, post one in the comments section or email me and I'll do my best to address it.

---Keith McShea

Empire State Games canceled, again. Albany blows it, again.

Since this is a blog, we'll start with a short Web exercise.

Try going to

Short trip, huh?

The Empire State Games' Web site is down because the Games are down and out.

A letter was sent to ESG athletes. Regional directors heard the news at a conference call.

The 2011 Games, scheduled to be hosted by Rochester, have been canceled. The Games' budget has been eliminated. Staff members have been laid off or reassigned.

Ralph Galanti, chairman of the local organizing committee for this past summer's games in Buffalo, heard it in a phone call Tuesday night from one of the major members of his team, Pete Harvey of the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Galanti used words like "a shame" and "a travesty" and a "nightmare" to describe the decision. It's completely understandable considering what happened here this past summer.

Galanti had the unenviable job of helping ressurect the Games in Buffalo after they had been canceled in 2009 -- that's when the state came up with a blockheaded plan to charge participants exorbitant fees to participate in the 2008 Games scheduled for the Hudson Valley. 

The locals had to work hard to convince competitors and sponsors that the 2010 Games would indeed go on. First Niagara came on as a major financial supporter: $500,000 of its own sponsorship, an additional $500,000 to aid the overall budget, and the bank helped convince other Western New York sponsors (from BlueCross/BlueShield to the Bills and Sabres and many others) to come on board.

Despite the year off, it turned out to be the Empire State Games at their best, as they had always been for their 31 previous editions: a host area shows off its region to visitors throughout the state and enjoys the economic impact, the host schools show off their campuses to thousands of high school athletes, visiting athletes form friendships and gain experiences on a field trip many will remember their entire lives.

And oh-by-the-way: There was some pretty outstanding athletic competition enjoyed by fans as college-age and older athletes returned to the athletic arena once again while high school athletes polished their game and gained experience and exposure that will help their college recruiting.  

Throw in a big crowd at a successful Opening Ceremonies and even a profit turned by the local organizing committee (that it had dedicated to scholarships and future sporting events in Buffalo), the story of the 2010 Games in Buffalo turned out as warm-and-fuzzy as it could possibly be.

Until Tuesday.

According to reports, Rochester mayor and Lieutenant Governor-elect Robert Duffy "said he was aware that the Games had been canceled, but said it was premature for him to offer an outlook on their future under Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo."

Duffy was quoted as saying: “I can’t offer a definitive answer today but am certain that the incoming administration will revisit this decision after Jan. 1."

Ahhh, an optimist says, there is hope. From the open or scholastic divisions, chose your own metaphor: There's still time on the clock, still a chance for a last-inning rally, a last-second reversal.

But how much hope can there be when Albany keeps bobbling the ball, falling off the balance beam and flipping its canoe (or kayak).

"The biggest hurdle was the public perception and that of the businesses," Galanti said of Buffalo's challenges leading up to this past summer. "'Why should we give you money when we don't even know if the state putting is it on?' It caused a lot of problems. Kids would keep asking, 'Are we going to have it? Are you sure we're going to have it?

"Now, people won't believe anything that the state says."

There exists a great event with a great brand and a great history which benefits the state and its residents in a great many ways. It would be nice if the state was a proper caretaker.

Obviously the state budget has huge problems. Huge as in billions ($9 billion, to be exact). The Empire State Games' budget was $2.7 million when it was slashed in 2009. The state's contribution to last year's Games was about $1 million.

If there was no way for an appropriation from the state, wouldn't it be time for reassessing? For reinvention? Last year saw the most private sponsorship of the Games and the first year of a registration fee. More sponsorship? Slightly higher fees? Fewer sports? A scholastic-only event? Transferring the Games or reconstituting the Games through another organization or a foundation of some sort? Scheduling them every other year? Calling a timeout for this summer's Games? Or even putting them on hold altogether? On hold, not hung up on.

But the letter has been sent, the news is out, the Web pages are "404: Not Found." The Empire State Games, the ones that bear Gov. Hugh L. Carey's name, the ones that started a nationwide trend of state games, are history all over again.

* * *

[Media watchdog sidenote: The Poughkeepsie Journal should have taken its "exclusive" tag off its story (and its link on its home page) a long time ago. It has been on there all Tuesday night. The Times Herald-Record of Middletown had its own free-standing -- and much more informative -- story up at 7:41 p.m. Tuesday. I'm not sure when Poughkeepsie's story went up, but the first comment on the bottom of the page was at 6:33 p.m. (I'm writing this well after midnight, if anyone cares). The exclusive tag especially should have been lost once the story was posted by news outlets under the same ownership as Poughkeepsie Tuesday evening -- which was when the story broke for most of the state.]

---Keith McShea

Who's the No. 1 large school?

It's been three years since no large school has made the state semifinals, so we've got quite a bit of time to debate who will finish No. 1 in The News poll.

The three teams which ostensibly have any sort of claim on the top spot are Section VI AA champion Clarence, Section VI A champion Sweet Home and Monsignor Martin Association League AA champion St. Joe's.

Research material: Here is the previous poll (taken after the Section VI championships but before the Msgr. Martin finals and Far West Regionals), my How The News voted blog post regarding that poll, as well as the Prep Talk Live page (where you can read stories and watch highlights the postseason games which are a big part.

The final poll will appear in our All-Western New York issue.


Let us know what you why you voted the way you did in the comments section, or visit Wednesday night's live chat at 8:30 p.m.

---Keith McShea

Who can win a state title?

The fall season isn't over yet -- especially for nine teams as well as the area's best swimmers and cross country runners.

Nine teams are still playing, with Fredonia football hoping to advance to next weekend's state finals at Syracuse's Carrier Dome and eight other teams hitting the road this week to try and return home with state championships.

The state meet in girls swimming is at Erie Community College's Flickinger Center this weekend while the East Aurora boys and girls cross country teams (already state champions) head to the state Federation meet downstate. 


Let us know what you why you voted the way you did in the comments section, or visit Wednesday night's live chat at 8:30 p.m.

---Keith McShea

Prep Talk Live's B regional replay: Alden vs. V-Hornell

Go to the Prep Talk Live page for blogging, video and photos from all of this weekend's Far West Regionals from All High Stadium.

Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments section.

---Keith McShea

Prep Talk Live's AA regional replay: Clarence vs. V-Rush-Henrietta

Go to the Prep Talk Live page for blogging, video and photos from all of this weekend's Far West Regionals from All High Stadium.

Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments section.

---Keith McShea

Fans headed to All-High encouraged to use NFTA lot

If you are attending today's Far West Regionals at All High Stadium, fans are being encouraged to use the NFTA Parking lot at the LaSalle Metro station just down Main Street. The available parking at All-High was full even before the day's first game was through -- though spots will open up before the 3 p.m. kickoff for the day's second game (AA matchup between Rush-Henrietta and Clarence). Follow all of the on-field action at Prep Talk Live.

Prep Talk Live's C regional replay: Fredonia vs. V-Letchworth

Go to the Prep Talk Live page for blogging, video and photos from all of this weekend's Far West Regionals from All High Stadium. Go here for Mark Mulville's photos from this game.

Let us know what you thought of the game in the comments section.

---Keith McShea

« Older Entries Newer Entries »

About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |