SCHOLASTIC SPOTLIGHT WITH MARC MATURO, August 25, 2016 Edition

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Red Raiders cross country looking for another run to a championship

BY MARC MATURO

IMG_0318He’s not a new sheriff in town, nor even a new coach or new to North Rockland High School, but Chris Lent does have a new title: varsity coach of the Red Raiders’ boys cross country team.

 “We’re looking pretty good,” said Lent on Monday, following the team’s first double session. “We did a 5k time trial to get a base after the summer. Some did pretty good, some need more work. I expect a resurgent year for North Rockland, to make a championship team.”

Lent, who ran cross country and track and also wrestled at North Rockland, succeeds Barry Baloga — who himself put together some very-fine squads — after five years as co-coach of the modified team.

A seventh-grade social studies teacher at Fieldstone Middle School, Lent is a graduate of Binghamton College, where is competed on the mats for one season. With a wrestling background to go with his running experience, Lent wants to incorporate some strength techniques that will boost his runners’ aerobic as well as anaerobic power.

“I encourage the kids to play year-round and stay in shape, whatever the sport,” continued Lent, who was among the top runners for Coach Gene Dall in 1995-96.

“In high school I started running to stay in condition for wrestling — and it stuck,” Lent recounted.

As for the Red Raiders’ chances this season, Lent has a core group of five scorers coming back, on a squad of some 30 thinclads.

The top trio, all of whom earned all-county honors in the fall, winter and spring, consists of Dylan Serino, Ryan Guzinski and Patrick Tuohy.

“I’m counting on them,” Lent said, who is also looking for top efforts from Victor Carrano and Nevin Mathew.

One or more than one of the top five needs to produce, especially in the absence of graduate T.J. Morales, who is now running at the collegiate level.

The season kicks off in earnest at Bear Mountain State Park on September 9, when North Rockland hosts the annual Red Raiders Run, which is slated to start at 4 p.m.

“For me personally, this is a big season, and for the juniors and seniors too,” Lent notes. “This is the first group I coached at the middle school level and now it will be the last time before graduating North Rockland. So, it’s especially important for me.” 

IMG_3828HAIL TO THE OTB PIRATES: Hard as it may seem to believe – Coach John Greeley of Stony Point calls it “unbelievable” – the rejuvenated OTB Senior Pirates won the American Legion state championship by beating McKeever, their counterparts from Buffalo, 4-2 in Utica to punctuate an unblemished, hard-to-believe 29-0 season. “It was unbelievable, and the games are tough, we got through it. It’s hard to win 29 games in a row, especially in baseball,” said Greeley, who played at Rockland Community College and Manhattan College in the 80’s. In the title game, North Rockland HS senior Kenny Hoppe of Thiells snapped a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning with an RBI triple, and then scored on a single by center fielder John Baly of Tappan Zee HS.

Right-handed pitcher James Reilly of Garnerville, an Albertus Magnus alum bound for James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., was the winning pitcher. Southpaw Chris Dodrill, also of Garnerville, who is headed to SUNY Cortlandt – which won the national championship two years ago – pitched two scoreless innings for the save.

The Pirates’ magnificent run ended at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships in Leesburg, Va., falling to opponents from Maryland and Virginia.

The Pirates, recalls Greeley, went through a couple of years where things didn’t work out, but the program appears back on track.

“It’s a good league, an important part of the community and it’s really good baseball,” Greeley said. “It was great and we want to keep it going. We already have a couple of young guys coming up (next year).”

Coach Greeley also recognized the input of his staff, namely Tom Bohlander, Phil Fratello and George Nicks, all of Stony Point.

Nicks specialized in helping the players handle two-strike counts, when they needed to concentrate on just meeting the ball and force the opposition to make the play, and perhaps help the team.

Other roster members: Frank Nigro, Stony Point, catcher, bound for Wilmington University; Stephen Greeley, catcher, Albertus Magnus HS senior; state tournament most valuable player Robert Ottaviano, pitcher/third baseman, already at Oneonta; Joseph Ottaviano, pitcher/outfielder, Albertus Magnus junior; District most valuable player John Mesagno, left fielder/third baseman, Tappan; Billy Rotella, second baseman/outfielder, Stony Point, North Rockland graduate; Pat Bateman, second baseman/outfielder, Pearl River graduate; Bryan Borrusso, first baseman, Tappan Zee graduate; Eric Sandusky, left-handed pitcher, North Rockland grad bound for Cortlandt; Peter Lombardi, Stony Point, outfielder, senior at St. Joseph’s; Brian Bohlander, Stony Point, first baseman/third baseman, North Rockland graduate; Billy Manzo, Suffern, southpaw pitcher; Christian Nicolosi, pitcher/outfielder, already at Quinnipiac.

CHARGERS LAND A NUGGET OR TWO: The Dominican College men’s cross country and track programs have been greatly upgraded with the addition of Olympic Trials steeplechaser Michael Jordan, as a high-profile assistant coach under Jamie Kempton of Nanuet. The Chargers also landed Rollens Florvil, a freshman out of Ramapo H.S., who will run both cross country and track. Jordan, a five-time all-American at the University of Southern Indiana, runs professionally for the New Jersey-New York Track Club. He competed in the recent Olympic Trials in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, with a personal best of 8:35 that was just 3.47 seconds away from an Olympic berth.  He was Penn Relays champion in that event this past April.

COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Chris Estevez of Garnerville, a sophomore forward, and freshman back Nicholas Fiore of New City will help the men’s soccer team at St. Thomas Aquinas College inaugurate its season with two home matches against Georgian Court University at 2:30 p.m. on September 1 and nearby rival Nyack College at noon on September 3. Both games are scheduled at the Spartans’ field off Route 340 in Sparkill. … The Dominican College women’s soccer team opens its season on the road at the Merrimack College Kickoff Tournament in Andover, Mass. The Lady Chargers are to meet Bentley and the host school before opening their home season on September 7 at 4 p.m. against New York Institute of Technology. Dominican stays at home on September 10 to host Wilmington University at noon.

 

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