Pirates on the prowl following county championship
Pearl River, North Rockland et al vie for Section 1 titles on Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls
The Rockland County champion Pearl River boys cross country team and the Pirates’ girls team, fresh off a runner-up finish to the powerful Kate Tuohy-led North Rockland Red Raiders, are realistic but hopeful going into Saturday’s Section 1 Championship Meet at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.
“North Rockland has always been up there,” notes 39-year veteran Pirates Coach Dan Doherty of Pearl River. “Right now they are out of our league. They have several very, very good runners. It takes five to have a great team, and they have them and more than five. We’re good, just not in their league right now.”
On the boys side, Pearl River graduate Mike Kiernan of Tappan, who ran three seasons as a schoolboy and again as a collegian at Albany, has a young, highly talented squad whose only detriment might be inconsistency.
The Pirates, who outdistanced the Red Raiders at the county meet at Bear Mountain for a third straight crown, are powered by county king Matt Politis and are the reigning sectional champions.
The team also features Pat McCann, one of five star sophomores, who was sixth at Bear Mountain; Brian Mahoney, who was second at counties last year; sophomore Jack Reynolds and junior Shane Veirun. Two other sophomore standouts are Hugh Durcan and Brendan Harding, who, said Coach Keirnan, ran the race of his life last year as Pearl River defeated Somers at the Section 1 Championships.
“We would not have won without him,” Kiernan stated, referring to the Pirates’ one-point victory.
Surprises may be in store
Yet the coach is not about to make any predictions going into Saturday’s rematch.
“We can be pretty good when we put it together, but we are young and can be inconsistent,” he added. “I don’t know what I’m going to get Saturday.”
Doherty, who always seem to put together a formidable squad – the Pirates once put together a string of nine county titles – admitted it was not a surprise to finish behind North Rockland at the county meet.
“Actually, it was a bit of a disappointment – not because of the second-place finish, but the individual performances were not up to expectations,” Doherty said in giving a typical unvarnished opinion.
“Hopefully at sectionals we’ll be up to expectations, but we won’t know until the (starter’s) gun goes off.”
Leading the team is sophomore Mary Borkoski, who is joined by eighth-grader Niamh Durcan; college-potential runner and senior Kaitlyn Harding; sophomore Jessica McDermott; and juniors Erin Clinton and Ann McCormack.
Politis, the boys’ spark plug, had a solid freshman season on the track but injured his back when he went out for cross country.
Politis on a personal roll
In late September, Politis jogged through a pre-state-meet course at Shenago Valley State Park.
“I only wanted him to stay healthy,” said Coach Kiernan. “His first real, hard race was in October at the Manhattan Invitation at Van Cortlandt Park. He ran 13:02 and finished second. Since then he has been unbeaten at the Section 1 Coaches Invitational and the league and county meets.
North Rockland goes into sectionals after a runaway showing at Bear Mountain, as Tuohy clocked 16:55 and led the three-mile race from start to finish, but is going against defending sectional and state champion John Jay-Cross River.
Other Red Raider stars include Alex Harris and Haleigh Morales, who clocked 17:35 and 17:47, respectively, on a wind-blown day, while Kerry O’Connor placed seventh and Noelle Feeney 10th.
Rachel Ludwikowski and Kamryn McIntosh finished fourth and fifth, respectively, for Suffern. Borkoski was sixth for Pearl River, with Tappan Zee’s Alexandra Thomas eighth and Nanuet’s Kyra Guerci ninth.
New Rochelle 27, Clarkstown South 0: In a Class AA semifinal, the second-seeded host Huguenots advanced to Saturday’s championship game at Mahopac High School by outgaining the Vikings 441-71. The Huguenots, ranked second in the state with an 8-0 record, will meet No. 5 Scarsdale in a rematch of a game on September 16 when New Rochelle prevailed, 34-0. Clarkstown South (6-2) quarterback Matt Jung was 13 of 30 for 88 yards and Bodhi Gallo contributed an interception.
Nanuet 36, Albertus Magnus 6: In a Class B consolation bowl at Valhalla, Connor Breit rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and defensive MVP Umar Ajaz had five sacks. Jake Stein added three touchdowns.
Clarkstown North 20, Mamaroneck 0: The visiting Tigers managed to hold the Rams scoreless in the first half, but Eric Maurer’s touchdown and 105 yards on the ground sparked the Rams.
Carmel 26, Spring Valley 6: The Tigers were unable to contain Kyle Shilling, who threw for 193 yards and two TDs and David Vega, who had 19 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Suffern 27, Nyack 0: The Mounties prevailed behind the strength of Lucas Sommers, who rushed for two touchdowns.
GIRLS SOCCER RECAPS
Pearl River 2, Somers 1: At Yorktown High School in the Class A championship game, the top-seeded defending champion Tuskers were upended by a defensive lapse, a nifty goal by Shaelynn Guilfoyle and by goalkeeper Katherine Carstenson, who made eight saves. On LoHud.com, Somers coach Paul Saia was quoted as saying, “Pearl River outplayed us in the second half and they deserved to win the game. That is the bottom line.”
Bronxville 1, Albertus Magnus 0: At Yorktown High School in the Class B championship game, the outcome was decided on a free kick by Mason Warble in the final minutes of a second mandatory overtime period. The Falcons defeated Bronxville last year in the semifinals.
FIELD HOCKEY RECAPS
Scarsdale 7, Clarkstown South 1: The host Raiders registered five second-half goals to pull away from the Vikings in a Class A contest. South had tied the game in the first half when Jenna Rogers scored on a rebound off a penalty corner, with senior Danielle Noia getting an assist. The defeat ended an impressive season for South at 14-3-1. Senior Colleen Geyer was quoted on LoHud.com as saying, “We’ve been playing together for more than six years, we play travel together, it’s just a weird feeling that it’s actually over.” The Vikings were coming off a brilliant 1-0 victory over powerhouse Suffern, which hadn’t been beaten by South in nearly 30 years.
Lakeland 8, Nyack 0: At Lakeland in a Class B semifinal, Elizabeth Lavender had eight saves for the fifth-seeded Indians. Lakeland, the top seed, will meet No. 2 Rye in the final on Saturday at Brewster HS at 5:30 p.m.
COLLEGIATE CLIPS: Junior defensive back Luke Kern of Stony Point had 15 tackles as the Catholic University of America football team lost to host Randolph-Macon, 21-0. Kern, a graduate of Albertus Magnus High School, is averaging a team third-best eight tackles a game, trailing the top spot by mere percentage points. The Cardinals (3-4) travel to Emory, Va., on Saturday to meet Emory & Henry College (3-4) at 1 p.m. … Clarkstown South HS alum Shane Cronin of West Nyack booted a 35-yard field goal and all six of his PAT kicks as the Red Dragons defeated visiting Morrisville State, 45-20. Cronin has converted 7-of-8 field goals, including a career-best 40-yarder, and earned Empire 8 honors for a second time this season. Cortland closes its regular season with a home game against Ithaca at noon on November 12. … Shayne Martinez of West Haverstraw is returning for his senior season as a guard on the men’s basketball team at Cortland. Joining Martinez are freshman forward Justin Rivera of Bardonia and freshman guard Andrew McGuire of Congers. The Red Dragons host Purchase College in the opener of the Cortaca Classic on November 18 at 6 p.m. The Panthers feature senior guard Michael Pelham of Spring Valley and sophomore forward Mezu Agwu of Ramapo. … St. Joseph’s Regional HS graduate Kenny Monfort of Spring Valley had two goals in 16 games (11 starts) as a sophomore forward/midfielder on the men’s soccer team at Felician University in New Jersey.
THIS & THAT: Legendary coach Ralph Cordisco is gone, but his memory will live on by inaugurating the “Coach Ralph Cordisco Memorial Rockland County Lifetime Achievement Award.” Reliable and tireless historian Tom Doherty reports that the first honoree is Coach Jerry Bonomolo, a Rockland County, Pearl River HS and Nanuet HS Hall of Famer. A 1951 Pirates graduate who was all-County in football, basketball and baseball, Bonomolo enjoyed a great teaching and coaching career for the Golden Knights. They won three Section 9 basketball titles in the 1970’s under his tutelage. An informal luncheon is set for Friday afternoon, Nov. 18, from noon-2 p.m., at Kennelly’s Grille House, 962 Route 9W South, Congers. Cost is $25 per person. Respond to email@example.com or 551-427-2951 (cell).