SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — We learn so much in this life by dint of contrast. We appreciate warmth more for having suffered through the bitter cold. Likewise to fully embrace joy is even more exhilarating when we’ve had to reckon with sorrow. Sports create their own manifestation of life’s law of opposites in the yin-yang experience of victory and defeat.
For teams like the Tri-Valley Lady Bears, who began their season with a pair of non-league wins over Class D Chapel Field and Class B Ellenville before letting a potential win slip away at Class B Burke, winning has been a matter of course. Over the past two years under Coach John Tenbus’ care, the team sports a record of 36-4. But the Burke game, in which they led 28-17 at the half, went south to end up as a 56-42 defeat behind Burke’s intensified defense and deft shooting. For some of the younger Lady Bears that was tough to take. But that loss paled by comparison with the depressing aftershock of a 61-56 Division V home overtime loss to Chester on December 14. The Lady Bears 2-2 (0-1 OCIAA), who are the three-time defending Division V champs and who have been to the Section 9 title game three years running having won the title in 2011, will travel to Fallsburg (5-1, 1-1 OCIAA) on December 20 for a crucial league clash attempting to re-ascend to their former prowess. For their part, the Fallsburg Lady Comets improved their standing with a 44-17 win over Eldred (1-2), followed by a 55-38 win over winless Liberty. With a league win over Seward and a league loss to Chester, the Lady Comets are looking to finally vanquish Tri-Valley, something they’ve yet to do. The Lady Bulldogs of Sullivan West (1-4) are looking for a way out of their doldrums after losing 54-18 to Tuxedo.
In boys action, Monticello hit a high note with a 49-42 win against Class AA Minisink Valley, the first Montie win over the Warriors in the past six years. But the roller coaster took a rapid downturn with a 54-34 home opening loss to Division III rival Cornwall. Monticello travels to Port Jervis before hosting Burke for two more division games this week. For the Monties, wins against Port Jervis and Goshen will be crucial if they are to make it back to sectionals this year based on their league record.
Liberty (1-4) continued its struggles with a 51-47 home opening loss to Chapel Field, followed by an 89-32 Division IV thrashing at the hands of James I. O’Neill. Sullivan West (2-0) hosts O’Neill on December 19 and then travels to Liberty on December 21 for its two first league games of the season. Meanwhile, the Tri-Valley boys downed Chester in a league clash, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to grab the reins for a 70-61 victory. With other wins against Walton, Chapel Field and now Livingston Manor, the Bears are 4-0. Tri-Valley defeated Manor (1-2) 67-46 on December 17. The Wildcats’ sole win came versus Chapel Field, with losses to Sullivan West and T-V.
In the rigorous climb toward a successful season, each game represents only one step along the way; the route is rarely a level path. By season’s end, nearly every team will have inhaled some of the airy ethers of victory as well as the noxious vapors of defeat with, hopefully, a much larger dose of the former rather than the latter.
In indoor track at the developmental meet at West Point on December 8, several local athletes showed their ascension with fine performances. They included first-place finishes in the shot put by Tri-Valley’s Aric Boyes (45-11.5) and Mareena DiMilia (37-3), and a first-place finish in the high jump by Sullivan West’s Mitch Paciga (6-1). Second-place finishes were registered in the boys 55H by Paciga (8.6) and DiMilia (8.9), the boys 800 relay by Monticello (1:41.4), in the 1500 racewalk by Tri-Valley’s Mary Alongi (8:50.9) and in the weight throw by DiMilia (41-0.5).