College Sports Notebook 12/20

The College Sports Notebook is compiled by veteran sports writer and columnist Marc Maturo, a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). The notebook will be published every Thursday. Please send items of interest to marcmaturo@aol.com.

Kurisko, Hawks soar into the holiday break

All I want for Christmas is a ticket to the national championships.

So says ninth-year Rockland Community College men’s basketball coach Bill Kurisko of Nanuet, whose once-beaten Hawks share the Region XV leadership with equally once-beaten Sullivan County CC as all teams approach the holiday break.

Bill Kurisko in action at Wagner College

(The Hawks’ last game until the New Year is Dec. 20 at home against Sussex County CC at the Eugene Levy Field House in Suffern at 7:30 p.m.)

“I’m excited,” Kurisko said, calling this season’s 9-1 start “the best ever since I’ve been here. We’re on pace to pass the 23 wins we had three-four years ago; we’re averaging 90 (points) a game; it’s going really, really good. We’re excited about it.”

The Hawks showcase a fast-paced, up-and-down attack that has proved not only entertaining to date, but successful.

Leading the charge is Jason Quijada of Spring Valley, 2-guard Tommie Starkes of the Bronx, and Justin Guzman of Suffern, plus newcomer Marcus Cruz out of Cardozo HS in Queens.

Quijada is averaging 19 points per game, and Starkes will soon surpass the 1,000-point plateau; Guzman’s norm is 17 a game.

RCC, which is expected to battle Hostos CC of the Bronx and Sullivan CC for Region XV supremacy, will take some time off before resuming practice either on Dec. 28 or Dec. 29.

“We’re optimistic, really happy, everything’s going good,” notes Kurisko, the second-leading all-time scholastic scorer in Rockland County behind only Brendan McManus of Pearl River, who enjoyed the benefit of playing when the 3-point line was installed, after Kurisko had graduated from Nanuet HS in 1987.

“I want to go to nationals,” repeated Kurisko, a 2003 inductee into the Rockland County Hall of Fame who is also a member of the Wagner College Hall of Fame. Kurisko was a starting guard for the Seahawks in all four seasons. “I think we’re an exciting team to watch, enjoyable.”

Kurisko, an all-state selection at Nanuet HS, and his troops have an added incentive this season, one that goes right to the heart of the coach.

“My father (Lenny) has been with me seven years,” said Kurisko the Younger. “He’s 85, and in great shape, looks like 60, but who knows how much time we have together. I would love to get to nationals for him – that’s the best thing about everything right now, having him around.”

Should the Hawks make it, the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national championship tournament is scheduled March 14-16 at Sullivan County CC in Loch Sheldrake

Chargers forge ahead

Senior center Cory Quimby led four players in twin figures with 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as The Dominican College men’s basketball team made it six straight victories in 78-70 fashion over local rival St. Thomas Aquinas College at Aquinas Hall in Sparkill.

RCC coach Bill Kurisko

Quimby added three blocks and three assists as the Chargers lifted their overall mark to 9-2 while dropping the Spartans to 1-6.

Junior guard Khaleev Ginyard of Brentwood added 12 points, while Johnathan Brown of Central Islip had 11 points coming off the bench.

Senior guard Justin Brown of Uniondale led STAC, sharing game-high scoring honors with Quimby with 21 points.

The Spartans will travel to Virginia State and Virginia Union on Dec. 29-30, respectively, to close out the calendar year before hosting Roberts Wesleyan in an East Coast Conference game on Jan. 5.

The Chargers returns to action Jan. 2 when they host the 7th annual James Clancy Memorial Tournament on Coach Baxter Court at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg.

Off and running

Bernard “Kip” Lagat, an eight-time Wanamaker Mile champion, hopes to continue his Millrose Games prominence when he tries to reclaim his American indoor record Feb. 16 at The New Balance Armory in upper Manhattan in a two-mile event against some of the country’s finest track & field athletes.

Lagat, who holds seven American records, established the two-mile indoor mark at the Armory in 2011, with his 8:10.07 breaking a record that had stood for 21 years.

During last year’s 5,000-meter event in the Millrose Games, Lagat (13:07.15) held off training partner and University of Arizona standout Lawi Lalang (13:08.25) and in doing so surpassed Galen Rupp’s American 13:11.44 indoor standard.

Lalang, a three-time NCAA champion, will reunite with Lagat in the 106th Millrose Games, where they will be joined by Olympic finalist Cam Levins and Ryan Hill of North Carolina State University, who holds the American college record in the 3,000 meters.

For tickets and other information visit www.millrose-games.org, or call The Armory at 212-923-1803, at either extension 7010 or 7037.

KC Jentzen of Pearl River takes charge for the Lady Chargers at Dominican College

Mortarboard musings

• Alaina Walker of Pomona shared team-high scoring honors with 15 points as the St. Bonaventure University women’s basketball team reached the .500 level at 6-6 following a 66-44 victory over visiting Canisius College at the Reilly Center. Walker, an alumna of Albertus Magnus HS, also had seven rebounds and three steals for the Bonnies, who host North Carolina State (7-4) on Dec. 30 at 1 p.m.

• Michael Braithwaite, a Spring Valley HS graduate, is averaging 4.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12 minutes per game for the Purchase College men’s basketball team. Ramapo HS alum Taj Bridgers is expected to see more playing time in the second half of the season, said coach Jeff Charney. Braithwaite and Bridgers are Rockland CC graduates.

• Taylor Redmond of Nanuet, who spent 13 years with the Galaxy Gymnastics club team in Orangeburg, is preparing for her freshman season at George Washington University. The Colonials’ season and home opener is set on Jan. 13 when they host the Lindsey Ferris Invitational in Washington, D.C. Redmond is expected to compete in the all-around competition.

• Mount Ida College senior center Matt Bonomolo of Pearl River has added another piece of hardware to the trophy case. Bonomolo, who was named the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference offensive lineman of the year, has been selected to the D3football.com’s all-East third-team as one of the three best centers on the eastern seaboard. Bonomolo is the first player in the history of the Mustangs’ program to receive this prestigious honor.

• K.C. Jentzen of Pearl River had the game’s only double- double with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Dominican College women’s basketball team improved to 6-4 overall after defeating the visiting Purple Knights of Saint Michael’s College, 60-53, on Coach Baxter Court at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg. Senior guard Lindsey Lopez of Elmwood Park, N.J., netted 14 points with a game-leading five assists for the Lady Chargers while freshman Deja Gabbidon of Teaneck, N.J., came off the bench to net nine points and eight caroms. Dominican is back in action on Dec. 31, hosting Southern Connecticut State University at 1 p.m.

• Freshman guard Robert Tutein of Nanuet had three points and a rebound in 12 minutes as the Utica College men’s basketball team bowed to Union College, 82-61. The Pioneers (3-5) host Babson College of Wellesley, Mass., at 2 p.m. on Dec. 29, and open the New Year at home on Jan. 2 at 1 p.m. against SUNYIT.

• Samantha Pucci of Pearl River has played in every game at rearguard for the Utica College women’s hockey team, which goes into the holiday break at 4-5. Pucci, the younger sister of former Harvard University and U.S. World Team standout defenseman Josephine Pucci,has one assist for the Pioneers, who host Middlebury (Vt.) College on Jan. 2 at 3 p.m. at Utica Memorial Auditorium. Utica stays home on Jan. 5 to welcome Manhattanville College of Purchase.

Alaina Walker of Pomona, a standout for the Bonnies

This & That

• Weather and course conditions permitting, the Town of Haverstraw’s Philip J. Rotella Memorial Golf Course will remain open this season. For information call 845-354-1616.

• The inaugural On Deck Sports and Technology Conference,, presented by SeatGeek to spotlight innovation in sports technology, is scheduled Feb. 12, 2013 in New York City.