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December 27, 2014
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SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — There are two possible directions for teams: To head north means to be on the upswing toward success, while heading south stands for the opposite tendencies. Indeed, the ultimate goal is to reach the Northern Lights, that glowing cascade of stunning beauty, which can only be seen by teams that can survive the arduous journey to postseason brilliance.

Winning ways

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—Though the season’s most dramatic encounters will be staged after New Year’s, these waning days of 2014 will also figure strongly into the final hierarchy. Wins now, albeit in the early part of the season, could make a difference when it comes to determining whether or not teams make it to sectionals.  Read more

Opening salvos

WALLENPAUPACK PA and SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — Within the confines of area gyms, you can already feel the electrifying pulse of the new basketball season. Given the intensity of the sport, which provides riveting non-stop action and compelling drama, it is no wonder that year after year the start of the new hoops season generates such fervor.  Read more

Unrelenting hunger

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — These days there are far too many people going hungry, and as the words of Simone Weil remind us, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to allay that terrible deprivation.  Read more

Simply exceptional

NEWBURGH, NY—Imagine the joy of playing your last high school football game among the elite players of Section IX, having been selected as an Exceptional Senior All-Star, and to compete in a game you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Such was the privilege of 17 Sullivan County seniors who were selected by coaches to play in the third annual Section IX Exceptional Senior Game on November 23 at NFA’s Academy Field.  Read more

Dawg stars

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — In a celebration replete with laudatory praise from coaches, awards and a slide show presented by this photographer that elicited loving memories of this past fall, Sullivan West consigned its impressive autumn campaign to history with its fall sports awards presentation on November 12.  Read more

Fall’s finale

KINGSTON, ALBANY AND CANTON, NY—Fall will not officially end until December 21, but as far as the autumn athletic campaigns of Sullivan County teams are concerned, November 8 marked its coda. Hopes that the season could be extended for the Livingston Manor and Sullivan West football teams in their respective Section IX Class D and C title games were sadly sundered by shutout losses.  Read more

Yellow Jackets’ jubilee

MIDDLETOWN AND BEAR MOUNTAIN, NY — Great news overshadowed the negatives for Eldred, which though it found itself in the spotlight vis-à-vis its varsity football hazing revelations, handled the matter in a proactive and commendably decisive fashion. But for this writer/photographer on hand to witness the Yellow Jackets Section IX Championships in girls soccer, girls cross-country and the first place finish of Kayla Maas and Dave Powers in their respective Section IX Class D races, it was a week to reaffirm the positives and to celebrate the success of Eldred’s teams.  Read more

Tickets to ride

LIBERTY, NY — The most valuable and enduring reward from participating in athletics is a sense of satisfaction derived from knowing you have given your best. That fulfillment of having made great strides by dint of hard work and dedication represents the “gold” that is available to any and all competitors. More importantly, that enduring benefit is not subject to the measure of winning or losing. But now looms the coveted postseason and the allure to vie for a title.  Read more

The warm bright lights of home

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY—Our lives are journeys forward, a search to establish one’s place in the world—a career, a family and a home to call our own. But we never forget our roots. Though our gaze is essentially forward in its view, we find ourselves at times also looking back. Back to where we came from. Back to the places and people who formed the bedrock of our lives. Part of that ritual each year are homecoming weekends on which pilgrims return, legions of alumni, many of them former athletes, drawn to the brightly lit fields on which many memories were made.  Read more

Fortune favors the bold

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — At the outset of a season’s journey, teams set sail from a common harbor and venture into the perilous seas of competition. With banners held high and lofty words of encouragement, they aspire to reach the golden shores of success. But what awaits them are waters fraught with turbulence and upheaval. Most will be sundered, some sooner, others later. But even against such odds, some seem inured to onslaught, and onward they go, bound and determined to come through the maelstrom or go down gallantly with the ship.  Read more

Saturday night special

LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — Riveting, heart-stopping and monumental. Those three words chosen from this writer’s extensive lexicon of adjectives aptly sum up Sullivan West’s 20-12 league win over rival Millbrook on October 4. Indeed, the story I penned on www.sportsinsightsny.com, entitled “May the Fourth Be with You,” references not just the date, but also the fact that the Bulldogs, who trailed 12-0 at the half to the mighty Blazers, a team that pummeled them 51-14 a year ago, rallied on fourth down with 40.4 seconds remaining in the game to pull off the epic victory.  Read more

Cream rising

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—In life, as in un-homogenized milk, cream rises to the top. Midway through the fall season that is certainly the case. In girls soccer, the Eldred Lady Yellow Jackets (7-2, 2-0 OCIAA) warrant an “A” grade thus far, especially behind last week’s triad of wins including a 7-2 win over league rival Chapel Field and 2-0 and 7-1 wins over Class A Port Jervis and Monticello respectively.  Read more

Turning heads

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—When it comes to predicting outcomes in sports, there is no shortage of “experts,” including some sportswriters (present company excluded) who will look at a team’s record as a divining rod to foretell what will happen next.  Read more

Gathering momentum

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.  Read more

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

Excelsior

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