MIDDLETOWN, BEAR MOUNTAIN and KINGSTON, NY — In what could only be described as a Yellow Jackets’ joy fest, Eldred celebrated a pair of priceless Section IX soccer championships and then had four runners qualify for states at the Section IX cross-country championships. The Eldred gym wall, already rife with banners from its storied history, will now have some welcome new additions.
It all began with the girls 3-2 Class D soccer final win over defending champion and arch rival Livingston Manor. Last year Manor beat Eldred 2-0 for the title. This season the two schools split their regular season encounters and shared the Division V crown. Trailing 2-1, Eldred got goals from Rebecca Morgan and Lynzee Kelty within a span of 1:23 in the final 10 minutes of the second half to author the 3-2 win. It was Kelty’s second goal of the game. Manor’s goal came from Farrah Mills and Ami Calo. Eldred keeper Jenna Burns had eight saves while Manor’s Ashlynne Ratner recorded five. Manor ended its season at 9-9. It was Eldred’s first girls sectional soccer title since 1986. The Lady Yellow Jackets improved to 10-7-1. Eldred will play the Section Two champion in a state quarterfinal on November 9 in Middletown.
“Good things come to those who wait,” goes the adage. And for the Eldred boys soccer program that wait has been seemingly forever, as the school had never won a boys title since the program began in 1980. So you can imagine the jubilation when the Yellow Jackets broke a first half scoreless tie against Family School just 75 seconds into the second half as sophomore Francesco Merendino found the back of the net. Willis Mann and Dominic Roselli then contributed goals in the 3-0 win. Previously Eldred had only one other appearance in a title game, a 4-0 loss to S.S. Seward in 1988. Eldred improves to 9-6-2 and played Smithtown Christian in the Regional Round. At the Section IX Cross-Country Championships Eldred seniors Jake Willoughby (18:13.76) and Kevin Maas (18:49.06) took 10th and 12th respectively in the Class D race and qualified for states. Defending champion Mt. Academy garnered all of the top seven places and the team title. In the girls race, Eldred eighth grader Kayla Maas (20:39.06) was crowned Section IX champion and will return to states as her impressive running résumé lengthens. She will be joined by sophomore Sarah Malzahn (22:05.62), who qualified for states two years ago. The Tri-Valley girls won their third consecutive Section IX Class C title. It was their 21st in school history and the first in the post-Joe-and-Missy-Iatauro era. The iconic coaches retired in June. The Lady Bears’ seven runners will be going to states. They are listed with their place of finish first: 8. Autumn Bender( 21:00.62); 9. Alex Brooks (21:06.75); 10. Brittany Pennell (21:13.17); 11. Sabrena Smith (21:17.71); 12. Brooke Gillette (21:20.43); 13. Danielle Graham (21:27.99) and 19. Ali Reynolds (T-V) 22:30.34). Sullivan West’s Kelsey Dutton (20:13.68) finished third and will be returning to states for the second consecutive year. Teammate Courtney Meyerer missed a state invite by one place. She took sixth in 20:49.30. Other runners making the trip to Queensbury High School on November 9 to represent Section Nine include Tri-Valley junior Ian Kurzrock (17:05.68), who was sixth in the Class C race. Monticelllo senior Joseph Klein (16:28.53) was eighth in Class B. Monti sophomore Camryn Johnson (19:35.00) was seventh in Class B. Twin sister Sydney Johnson (19:56.02) took ninth and missed states by one place. In Class B boys soccer, number-five seeded Liberty followed up its 4-0 win over Highland by falling to top-seeded Spackenkill 3-0 in as semifinal fray. The Indians concluded their noble season at 10-6. Number six-seeded Fallsburg fell to number three-seeded Rhinebeck 5-0 in a Class C quarterfinal.
In football, Liberty lost a 24-19 Class C semifinal heartbreaker to John S. Burke. Senior Quinn Jackson had two rushing TDs for the 4-5 Indians. Jericho Male caught a pass for another. Liberty recovered a Burke fumble with just over two minutes to go trailing by five points, but a trio of incomplete passes gave the ball back to Burke, which ran out the clock. Burke will face two-time defending champion James I. O’Neill for the title. O’Neill downed Millbrook 22-16 in the other semifinal clash. For details of the Section IX cross-country championships and the Liberty football game, read stories on www.sportsinsightsny.com. For albums of photos from these events and countless others from this fall and seasons prior, visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com.