Marc My Words!

Marc Maturo’s official sports column

Alumni ready for another run at Bear Mountain

Come one, come all. Come rain, shine or, as in 1983, come hail, sleet and gusty winds. In other words, come once again to Bear Mountain State Park on Nov. 30 for the 31st edition of the annual Bill Markiewicz Memorial Alumni Cross-Country Run.

The race —  named after Bill Markiewicz, a 1967 Albertus Magnus graduate and former longtime Clarkstown North cross country and track coach who died of cancer in 1991 – is the brainchild of famed Tom Doherty, who readily gives credit to others for lifting the event to a staple on the Saturday following Thanksgiving – among them the tireless Ralph Coleman of Stony Point, dubbed “The Track Czar,” and his brother Dan, longtime Pirates coach and equally longtime and dedicated Alumni Race director.

Tom Doherty, gem of an idea
Tom Doherty, gem of an idea

Tom Doherty, a legend in Pearl River where he spent 33 years at the high school, coaching and teaching and serving as athletic director, came up with the idea to gather former runners in a countywide event, and thus was born the 3-mile run around Hessian Lake.

The concept was more than a lark, notes Doherty, the father of four children who competed in the sport as a schoolboy in Queens.

“I’m proud of what this has become, but it really runs itself,” offers Doherty. “My brother was a big help until the last few years when he could not be there due to a conflict with the state qualifier (Bowdoin Park, Wappingers Falls).”

Doherty also deflects much credit to Coleman, a humble former Suffern HS coach who wears many hats.

“He does all the work behind the scenes, but we complement each other well,” notes Doherty. “He was always away over Thanksgiving with his family, but around year five we got him on board and the rest is history.”

The history began in 1983 in brutal weather conditions, with just 22 runners crossing the line, led by Albertus Magnus HS alum Pat Chambers, who clocked 16:04 to hold off former Falcons teammate Jamie Kempton, who was timed in 16:10. Dan Doherty, who was to become a fixture as an official at the starting line, placed 10th representing Pearl River HS.

Pearl River graduate Eileen O’Shea was the only woman to finish, but her 21:02 clocking was good for 11th place overall.

“That first year we had snow, about two inches, and strong wind, a small turnout … but many more came the next year, and every year,” recounts Doherty. “We have more spectators now than runners but that’s part of what makes this a great day.

“As years go by, you’d think we had snow about this high,” Doherty continues, with an unmistakable smile, raising his hand about four feet off the ground, “and waves off the (Hessian) lake three to four feet!”

O’Shea repeated in 1984, leading a field of 17 women, while there were 148 men in the contingent as the race, in only its second year, gained a foothold in the running community.

Chambers and Larry Beckerle, another alum of Albertus Magnus HS, are the only runners who have heard and responded to the starting horn every year. Kempton, who has an astounding 23 top-10 finishes, opted out in 1987 to compete in the national cross-country championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Kempton faced another conflict three years later but this time, showed his true loyalty to the Alumni Race and showed up at Bear Mountain in lieu of running at the national championships.

The Alumni Race starts at high noon, with age-group races for children at 11:30 a.m.

Plea for help: Mike Rogan, a 1986 Clarkstown North graduate and one of the greatest runners to come out of the county, is recovering from a fall in July that caused a traumatic brain injury. Rogan, who was engaged just a few weeks prior to his fall and has a 12-year-old son, faces mounting medical expenses, and the Rockland running community hopes to help. At the Alumni Run, runners and spectators will have an opportunity to help a member of the Rockland County Track Hall of Fame. “The more runners and spectators that attend … the better chance of raising funds to help Mike with his struggles,” said former teammate Mike Coakley, Class of ’87. Coakley can be reached via email (coakleymj@hotmail.com) or by phone (201) 314-4763.

Panthers power

            Senior Jessica Bullock of Thiells scored 16 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds as the Purchase College women’s basketball team routed Bard College, 70-59, in its home opener.

Last season, the Panthers fell one point shy of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament, having stunned preseason expectations that had Skyline Conference coaches pick Purchase to finish last.

Bullock was an asset coming off the bench a year ago, and will again be counted upon for key contributions.
Among the newcomers are forwards Jazmin Garcia of Peekskill and Deanna Jones of Tompkins Cove, who played four years at the varsity level at North Rockland HS, where she was a captain in her senior season.

Jones scored three points with one rebound in eight minutes against Bard College, but then played 24 minutes a 52-45 win over the United States Merchant Marine Academy, totaling two points, two blocked shots and two steals.

The Panthers are home again on Dec. 2 to meet the College of St. Elizabeth at 2 p.m., and then open their Skyline Conference season on Dec. 7, hosting Farmingdale State at 2 p.m.

Red Raiders roll

The North Rockland girls soccer team punctuated another outstanding season at 21-1-2 following a 2-1 loss to Massapequa in the Class AA state final at SUNY Cortland.

The decisive goal came with just eight minutes left to play, but did little to detract from North Rockland’s effort, noted Coach Vinny Apicella, who offered no excuses.

North Rockland had tied the score as sophomore forward Amber Alfonzo headed in a corner kick by Isabel Zayas.

The Red Raiders advanced to the title game with a 1-0 victory over Webster Thomas at Tompkins-Cortland Community College.

The goal was developed by junior Julianna Cabrera and sophomore Taylor Aylmer, with Cabrera converting a give-and-go in the game’s 68th minute.

Isabel McMahon signs letter of acceptance
Isabel McMahon signs letter of acceptance

QUICK HITTERS: Maeve Parahus of Congers is breaking into the lineup as a freshman guard on the Manhattan College women’s basketball team. Parahus, an alumna of Albertus Magnus HS, had three points and one rebound in 14 minutes as the Jaspers lost to Army, 66-52. The Lady Jaspers are home in Riverdale for three straight games against La Salle on Nov. 24, Delaware State on Nov. 26 and Holy Cross on Dec. 1. … Jemal Mosley of Spring Valley is a freshman guard on the University of New Haven men’s basketball team. The Chargers visit Bloomfield (N.J.) College on Nov. 30 at 2 p.m. … Sophomore volleyball standout Elizabeth Flaherty of Sloatsburg, a Suffern HS graduate, was named an all-American honorable mention by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. Flaherty was second on the team in kills (345) and digs (365), and helped Roger Williams University to a Commonwealth Coast Conference championship and its first NCAA tournament win in program history. … SUNY New Paltz senior forward Danielle Conklin of Suffern has been selected to the 2013 Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) NCAA Division III all-North Atlantic Region first team. Conklin set career program records in goals (35), assists (25) and points (95). … Zach Mager of New City, a Clarkstown South HS alum and junior guard on the men’s basketball team at Oneonta, earned SUNYAC player of the week honors. … Isabel (Izzy) McMahon of Bardonia, a senior at Saddle River Day School (SRDS) in Saddle River, N.J., signed a letter of acceptance to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she will join the women’s basketball team. McMahon will begin at West Point in the fall of 2014 and plans to continue her academic interest in criminal justice. … Freshman Andrew Garcia of Suffern helped Cortland win the 200-yard medley relay as the Red Dragons defeated visiting Buffalo State in a dual swim meet. Garcia also competed on the victorious 200-yard freestyle relay, along with sophomore Chris Leary, also of Suffern. … Guard Joe Clinton of Pearl River had a

Danielle Conklin, field hockey standout
Danielle Conklin, field hockey standout

game-high and career-best nine assists, and seven rebounds, as the Dominican College men’s basketball team improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) after upending host Nyack College, 67-63. Forward Nick Smith of Middletown scored 17 points for the Chargers, who return to action on Dec. 1 at home against Philadelphia University. … Cortland sophomore safety Frank Tucek of New City, an alum of Clarkstown South HS, had a game-high 13 tackles as the Red Dragons were defeated by Alfred University, 21-14, in the ECAC North Central Bowl Championship at Alfred’s Yunevich Stadium. … Danielle McEwan of Stony Point placed fourth at the QubicaAMF World Cup bowling championships in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. McEwan, a two-time athlete of the year at Fairleigh Dickinson University, posted a high game of 279 and total pinfall of 9,215 in 40 games. Caroline Lagrange of Canada, with a 300 and total pinfall of 9,674, was first, followed by Cherie Ten of Singapore and Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic.