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September 22, 2014
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Gone now are the first-week jitters. With week two in the books and a couple of games/matches already in the rearview mirror, local football, soccer, cross-country and volleyball teams can assess their initial progress and move forward with an eye toward maximizing their success. Sullivan West, Liberty, Eldred and Tri-Valley all improved to 2-0 in football.

Fast start

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Nothing builds confidence like a win to start a season, and for five of the seven Sullivan County football teams, that is just what the first week of action yielded. Considering that the only two teams to suffer defeats were playing other county teams, it would have been impossible for all seven to be victorious. Sullivan West registered a 14-6 non-league win over James I. O’Neill, the two-time defending Section IX Class C champion.  Read more

New beginnings

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Summer wanes but fall is impatient to assert itself as legions of autumn athletes have taken to the fields and courts in preparation for the 2014 campaign. And consequently, this sports column resumes after a summer hiatus. Its autumnal mission is to keep readers apprised of the highlights of football, soccer, cross-country, volleyball and girls tennis. Each sports season has its unique allure, but fall has the added excitement of the newness of the school year.  Read more

Western sunset

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—And so the sun sets on Sullivan West’s momentous spring. And in honor of that occasion, athletes, school staff, administrators, parents, coaches and community members gathered on June 19 to laud the accomplishments of the most outstanding contributors to this spring’s cavalcade of teams, as well as those rendered by the inimitable seniors who concluded their school athletic sojourns, many of which covered from 2008-2014. End-of-year ceremonies such as this one evoke a mélange of smiles and tears, but as Mr.  Read more

Spring standouts

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — What a glorious spring it was, even with the exigencies of the weather. Before taking my much-anticipated and well-deserved summer hiatus, I wanted to celebrate in photos some of this past season’s iconic warriors. Their accomplishments have been assiduously anecdoted in issues of The River Reporter, so I will not take up space with repetition thereof. There were many, many more deserving of such photo recognition, and before the summer, I will post an album on www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com with a panoply of county superstars.

The greatest rewards

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — The days of school are winding down to a precious few and now the athletic fields stand silent, bereft of the legions of young men and women who worked assiduously on them this spring. Now in the afterglow of this glorious season, comes the time for awards, as each school lauds its special athletes and teams. And of course, for this writer, who has focused this year on Sullivan West and Tri-Valley, those awards-night recipients will find their names and pictures emblazoned in my column as I am about to do for the T-V Bears, who held their spring awards night on June 4.  Read more


SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — “Excelsior,” the motto for the state of New York, is a Latin phrase that means Ever Upward. For those special athletes regardless of their age or experience, be they young gymnasts or high school senior ball players, track and field mavens or golfers, aspiring for success, particularly at the state level means much more than wishing or dreaming about attaining such lofty goals.  Read more

Emergence of the elite

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Althea Gibson’s quote (at right) says it all. To become a champion takes enormous sacrifice, dedication and the unflagging nurturing support from coaches, teammates and loved ones along the way. In track and field it’s hard enough to win an event; harder yet for a team to marshal a team title. But to do so for years on end is simply uncanny. Such is the achievement of the Eldred girls and boys track teams, which garnered their seventh and sixth consecutive Section IX Class D championships this past week.  Read more

Ascending stars

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—If you’re patient on a clear night you might just see a shooting star up in the heavens. But in the universe of local high school athletics, stars aplenty can be seen in broad daylight this time of year. This past week at the Donna Deppa Meet of Champions, it was the Sullivan County galaxy on display. Sullivan County Meet of Champions was renamed for the late Donna Deppa, a Sullivan West parent extraordinaire who exemplified unflagging support for her children and the teams they competed for.  Read more

Crucible of championships

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — This is Championship Week One in the glorious realm of Section IX high school track and field. In the span of a single week, heated OCIAA division rivalries resulted in titles, the Sullivan County championships (aka, the Donna Deppa Meet of Champions) unfolded at Sullivan West, the electrifying OCIAA Throwing Pentathlon and Hammer Championships were staged at Monroe-Woodbury and the vaunted two-day OCIAA League Championships will be played out at the gorgeous Warwick track and field venue.  Read more

Glorious May

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — With its profusion of flowers and the onset of balmy weather at long last, May holds a special place in our hearts. Mothers Day and Memorial Day loom large as do the impending graduations that signal those momentous rites of passage. May also holds the distinction of being the most active month of the high school sports calendar, rife with its incomparable mélange of baseball, softball, golf, track and field, and tennis.  Read more

Triumphs of the will

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Though the weather felt anything but spring-like this past week, there were nevertheless a spate of heartwarming moments to offset the chill of the week’s outdoor athletic events. In some instances teams reached down to mine that extra determination and grit needed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In other stirring moments, success evinced itself as a product of sheer talent born of the rigors of unrelenting practice.  Read more

In loving memory

MONTICELLO, NY — Spring signifies the revival and affirmation of life. As Robert Frost noted in his poem, The Onset, “Winter has never tried/The earth but it has failed.” Even the harshest of winters like the one we just endured cannot stop the resurgence of spring’s colorful splendor. Every year no matter how long or unshakeable the winter may seem, nature’s remarkable palette transforms the bleakness that preceded it.  Read more

Fast start

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — When it comes to building confidence and momentum, there is nothing like getting off to a great start in a new season. And as warmer weather finally made its long overdue entrance, several local teams began their spring quests on an auspicious note. Sullivan West’s baseball team 2-2 (2-1 OCIAA) took two out of three from Liberty 1-2 (1-2 OCIAA) in an opening Division IV series. After their 10-6 home opener, they bested the Indians in game two 5-4 as Gavin Owen walked, with the bases loaded in a game that ended with five walks.  Read more

Play ball!

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY—I love to wax poetic about my love for this sport or that, as each has its allure and special appeal. The same holds true for the three sports seasons of the year. After a trying but captivating winter, we have all anxiously awaited the glorious arrival of spring.  Read more

Visions of spring

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Long about now I figure what my readers need most for their ongoing winter woes is a curative dose of spring fancy. And darn it, if the weather won’t cooperate to let our baseball and softball players loose on the diamond, our golfers afoot on the greens, our tennis players angling their shots on the court and our runners, jumpers and throwers evincing their speed, strength and agility in track and field, the least I can do is entice us all with pictures of what we hope to soon see. Thus this week find here a pictorial preview.  Read more

Winter dawg show

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY—Seasons come and go, though someone forgot to tell that to this lingering winter, whose belated passage will not eclipse the memories it imparted, nor the lingering impact rendered on the hardwood or indoor track. We are the sum total of all of our experiences and as such, not only what we do, but how much of ourselves we invest in that undertaking, alters us as we continue to learn and evolve.  Read more

Last rites

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — While winter seeks to hold on tenaciously, even forcing postponements of sports awards nights at Sullivan West and Tri-Valley, the lengthening days and the sounds of athletes already engaged in spring sports practice (albeit indoors) augur the last rites of the year’s longest season. With the conclusion of the state Final Four boys and girls basketball championships in Troy and Glens Falls respectively, one can for all intents and purposes declare winter over.  Read more

All things must pass

WHITE PLAINS, NY—Sports renders its share of life lessons, and one of the most salient ones is that triumphant runs often come to an end. We are also reminded that in the echelons of talent in any realm of human endeavor, there are always individuals or groups that are apt to be even more skilled and successful than those already deemed exceptional within their own particular context.  Read more

Champions once more!

NEW PALTZ, NY — Captured forever in a sequence of photos that records their unbridled emotions, the Tri-Valley Lady Bears converged in a jumping, swirling group hug replete with laughter and tears following their dramatic 59-54 Section Nine Championship win over talented, feisty Pine Plains on February 27. For the 18-0 Class C juggernaut and their coach Jason Closs, this crown was what they had sought all year long. That quest began a year ago with a stultifying semifinal overtime loss to Chester.  Read more

The steepest ascent

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Far below this high plateau of the winter basketball season lie the foothills where it all began. And along the steady rise of the trail that began with the start of the season are teams that fell by the wayside lacking what was needed to climb higher. But for those few teams who made it to the sectionals, from which only one boys and girls team can emerge as champion in each class, this final local ascent, namely the Section IX tournament, is the steepest and most arduous to date.  Read more