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October 30, 2014 - 8:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

For the fourth time this meet, Batavia Downs leading driver Kevin Cummings won five races on one card Wednesday night (Oct. 29) to extend his insurmountable lead there in the dash category.

His pentamerous outing included visits to the Purple Haze winners circle with Western Heart ($2.90), Serendipitous ($4.80), Outoftexas ($4.70), Aberarder Smitty ($11.40) and Tymal torch ($6.10).

For the current Batavia Downs meet, Cummings has 122 wins, almost double his nearest competitor, along with a gaudy UDR of .386. For the year he has 298 wins and is currently 12th in North America for UDR with a .360. His current win total, UDR and just under $1.4 million in earnings are all career bests.

October 28, 2014 - 9:39pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in GCC, sports, soccer.

The Genesee Community College women's soccer team will play for the 2014 Region III Division III Group B title this Saturday after winning in shutout fashion in the semifinals on Tuesday night, 4-0 over visiting Mohawk Valley Community College.

It took less than a minute for the second-seeded Cougars to grab the lead in the first half against the No. 7 seed. Kathryn Springsteen found the back of the net just 39-seconds in off of a corner kick to give GCC a 1-0 advantage. Kayla Doyle was credited with the assist on Springsteen's fifth goal of the year.

It remained 1-0 until the 30th minute when Ashley Makowski struck, heading one in off of a corner kick by Springsteen to give Genesee a 2-0 lead.

The Cougars continued to roll in the second half, grabbing a 3-0 lead in the 46th minute. Doyle buried her 14th goal of the fall off of an assist by Makowski.

Makowski ended the scoring in the 59th minute with her second goal of the game to give GCC a 4-0 lead. The goal came off of a free-kick.

The Genesee defense was solid again, allowing just four shots by the visitors. Maddie Potter made four saves in net to earn her 10th shutout win of the season.

GCC advances to the regional finals which will be held on Saturday at Tompkins-Cortland Community College. The Cougars will take on Broome Community College, which defeated Jefferson Community College 1-0 in the regional semifinals on Tuesday night. Game time is set for 10 a.m. and the winner will advance and represent Region III Division III Group B in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.

Ashley Makowski (#11 white) works towards the net in the regional semis vs. Mohawk Valley CC on Tuesday night. Makowski scored two goals in the game for GCC

 

 

For the fourth season in a row, the Genesee Community College men's soccer team will play for a regional championship after the fourth-seeded Cougars knocked off visiting No. 5 Tompkins-Cortland Community College, 2-0 on Tuesday night in the Region III Division III semifinals.

Darius Johnson put an end to just over 25-minutes of scoreless play in the first half with what would prove to be the game-winning goal, off of an assist by Ikuma Hirano. The goal was his seventh of the season.

GCC did not need any more offense as the defense stepped up and held the Panthers in check. Although TC3 managed 13 shots on the night, only five were on net and Connor Halsted made all five saves.

Johnson added an insurance goal in the 76th minute to give Genesee a two-goal cushion, and the Cougars held off the Panthers the rest of the way to advance to the regional finals.

GCC will take on Herkimer County Community College, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and the top-ranked team in the country. The Generals defeated Finger Lakes Community College 8-0 on Tuesday night in the second semifinals match.

The finals match will take place at Tompkins-Cortland Community College on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., with the winner representing Region III Division III Group A in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.

 Genesee lost its only regular season matchup with Herkimer on Oct. 18, 4-0.

October 28, 2014 - 1:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, Batavia Ramparts, sports, GAHA.

Press release:

This Saturday, Nov. 1, is Homecoming for the Batavia Ramparts Youth Hockey Association. The theme of this year’s event is “Pink the Rink.” Special festivities start at 9 a.m.

Games start at 10 and our State qualifying Midget 16U team plays at 8 p.m. against Rochester Youth for 1st place in the division.

According to the Genesee Amateur Hockey Association, (GAHA) parent organization of the Batavia Ramparts, all of the Batavia Ramparts youth hockey teams playing home games will be showcased. Games will be played at all levels all day long so please join us at Falleti Ice Arena, 22 Evans St., Batavia for some great hockey.

There will be basket raffles and a photo booth for all to partake in. Each team can make a “team” poster and it is a fun day for the players to show the community how much they love their sport.

As part of our theme – “Pink the Rink” – each team is encouraged to wear pink, along with their families and fans. GAHA will be having two special fundraisers, selling pink items, to benefit Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc. It's a community-based, volunteer organization dedicated to assisting cancer patients and their families. They strive to improve the quality of life while helping to diminish suffering through their services and financial support. Genesee Cancer Assistance provides services to residents of Genesee County with any type of cancer.  All monies raised stay in Genesee County.

GAHA is a local organization that depends on the local community. In that light, we want to set the example to our players of “giving back.” Our organization doesn’t exist without the support of the community and it’s families so we want to show the importance of giving back and raising funds for a local volunteer organization.

GAHA has been providing the youth of our communities an opportunity to play hockey for more than 35 years. With teams at all levels -- Empire, WNY and MOHL, along with a beginners program -- we offer something for every age child who wants to play. Don’t go through life without goals – play hockey!

October 27, 2014 - 3:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Fireyourguns with driver Mike Caprio

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

With three horses scratched in an already short field, Fireyourguns had it pretty much his own way while winning the $9,500 Open pace at Batavia Downs on Saturday night (Oct. 25).

Starting from post four in the four-horse field, Fireyourguns (Mike Caprio) immediately went to the front and held the lead through fractions of :27.1, :56.4, 1:25.4 before holding off a late challenge from Unicorn Hanover (Dave McNeight III) to win in 1:54.2 by half a length. The winner paid $3.40.

It was the 14th win of 2014 for the 5-year-old son of American Ideal and it boosted his annual earnings to $95,560 for owners Robert and Jennifer Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains the horse.

Leading Downs driver Kevin Cummings had a driving double along with John Cummings Jr., Drew Monti and Jim McNeight.

The next card of live racing at Batavia Downs will be held on Wednesday night (Oct. 29) with post time set at 6:35.

October 26, 2014 - 8:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports, alexander.

Above are three pictures that illustrate the problem Alexander faced Saturday in its Class DD Section V semi-final playoff game against Avon in Honeoye Falls.

The problem's name is Joe Sotak, the 155-pound, 5'9" stick of butter who led the Avon offense to a tally of 26 points over four quarters of whack-a-mole.

When Sotak could be caught, he proved impossible to hold.

The senior QB was seven for 10 passing for 96 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 147 yards and two TDs on 22 carries.

In the sequence above, Sotak pumps but doesn't throw as Rick Amico and Derrick Busch appear to be closing in for the sack. Sotak glided a step or two forward, causing Amico and Busch to whiff, then lofted a pass just over the heads of Tristan Aldinger and Cody Trzecieski to where only Avon's Zack Loomis could catch it as he stood on the three-yard line. Loomis needed only turn and take a couple of steps into the end zone.

The Trojans managed to cross the goal line once all afternoon, and that score didn't come until the 4th quarter.

A bad snap prevented Alexander from putting at least three on the board in the first half.

Final, 26-7.

Alexander finishes with a 5-3 record while Avon advances to face Clyde-Savannah in the Class DD final next week.

"It wasn't the result we were expecting tonight," said Head Coach Tim Sawyer. "We had a good week of preparation; however, Avon controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage. Avon played physical and fast tonight.

"Our overall body of work for the season has been quite good," he added. "We won some big games along the way. I hate to see the seniors go, but they have left their foot print on this program over the past two years."

Just before the end of the half, with the Trojans down 12-0, an Alexander player got a hand on Joe Sotak and nearly dragged him to the ground, but Sotak spun away and turned what looked like a certain sack into about a 30-yard gain, all the way down to the two-yard line. The gain, however, was negated by a block to the back foul later in Sotak's run.

Tristan Aldinger scores for Alexander

Tristan Aldinger with the ball

Jared Browne at QB

Action early in the second half

Jared Browne with a pass

Avon's star running back Brandon Mynter was mostly contained by the Alexander defense.

Head Coach Tim Sawyer

Alexander HS grad Matt Szymaski, home on leave from the Marines, attended Saturday's game.

To purchase prints, click here.

October 25, 2014 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports, Le Roy.

As it has all season, Le Roy dominated its opponent in the first round of sectional play Friday night, beating Wayland-Cohocton 54-8.

Tom Kelso scored four touchdowns to help power the Oatkan Knights' offensive. Kelso carried the ball 11 times and gained 90 yards.

QB Mike McMullen was 7 for 13 for 85 yards and a TD.

Nate Flint carried the ball 12 times for 66 yards and a TD, and Anthony Natrigo had 12 carries for 63 yards and a TD.

Nick Egeling also scored on the ground, gaining 22 yards on three carries. 

Photos by David Boyce.

October 25, 2014 - 9:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, high school sports, Batavia HS.

QB Greg Mruczek celebrated Batavia's first home sectional game in 18 years by tossing five touchdown passes, helping the Blue Devils crush Palmyra-Macedon 47-14.

It was pretty much a flawless performance for the junior who hit 13 receivers in 16 attempts for 227 yards without a reception.

Head Coach Brennan Briggs attributes Mruczek's success to hard work.

"He competes every single snap," Briggs said. "He wants to get better. It's not about any of the coaches or anything like that. It's about Greg wanting the ball in his hands and putting in that time and putting in that effort, asking to watch extra film, asking about the defensive coverages."

It helps that he's got some weapons on the wings and in the backfield.

Offensively, the Blue Devils feature three wideouts each with more than six feet in height -- Ryan Hogan, Malachi Chenault and James Cryer -- and speed with Dominick Mogavero, Jarrett Lasket and Anthony Gallo.

Mruczek said the height and athleticism of his receivers makes his job easier.

"I can throw with a lot of confidence with those guys," Mruczek said. "There's a lot of height. I can throw up the ball and they're great athletes. I've got a lot of confidence they're going to make plays."

Cryer led the receiving corps with four caches for 77 yards and three touchdowns.

Mogavero anchored the running game Friday night. He rushed for 124 yards on 24 carries.

"He's the back who has to get some tough yards, but he's also deceiving with the vision that he has," Briggs said. "He finds some holes and gets some big, hard yards for us. Defensively, his nose is always in there. He's a tough kid, a hard-nosed kid. That's how wrestlers are. He's a wrestler and that's how wrestlers are built. Not a big kid, but we have a lot of kids who aren't big or many not have a ton of mass to them, but their hearts are pretty strong."

The Blue Devils will need to call on those big hearts, hard work and focus as they take a big step in the recent history of Batavia's football program -- a second-round playoff game, something that hasn't happened in about 20 years.

Next Saturday they'll face #3 ranked Penn Yan (6-2), coming off a 24-0 victory over Waterloo. 

Even with a record of 7-1, Briggs said the Blue Devils have yet to put together a complete, well-balanced game, but they're getting closer.

That is what it will take to advance.

"We need to tighten up the defense," Briggs said. "We need to be able to run the ball and throw the ball on a given night. We can't just rely on just the passing game or just the running game. We still have to put that all together for us to take that next step."

Top Photo: Cryer with a TD reception.

Trevor Sherwood, another of Batavia's tall receivers, uses his height for a reception in the third quarter.

Malachi Chenault goes up for the ball to haul in a TD reception in the first quarter.

Cryer with a long run after a reception for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Danny Williams scores on a running play.

The Batavia Cheerleaders introduced a new routine at halftime.

To purchase prints, click here.

October 24, 2014 - 4:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, high school sports.

The Batavia Blue Devils JV team recorded another undefeated season with a victory yesterday evening over Le Roy, 29-16.

The varsity squad opens post season play tonight with a quarterfinals sectional playoff at home against Pal-Mac (3-4). Batavia enters sectionals with a 6-1 record and the #2 seed in Class B.

Le Roy, the #1 ranked Class C team in the state, opens sectional play with a home game against Wayland-Cohocton (2-5).

Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow in Class D, #6 seed Elba/Byron-Bergen (4-3) travels to Bath (6-1) for a 5 p.m. game against the #3 seed.  

In Class DD tomorrow, Alexander (5-2 and the #2 seed) plays Avon (5-2 and the #3 seed). The game is in Honeoye Falls at 4 p.m.

Reader submitted photo.

October 21, 2014 - 8:40pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in GCC, sports, volleyball.

For the 19th straight season, the Genesee Community College volleyball team is the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region III Division II champion. The Cougars took down Mercyhurst North East on Tuesday night and broke a 12-year-old school record in the process. 

Strong serving by Nohema Garcia Torres paced the four-set match for Genesee. Her serving was so strong, in fact, that she set the single match record for most service aces in GCC history. The sophomore recorded 14 aces on the night, which broke the previous record of 13 which was held by Karen Bakos (set in 1992).

The Cougars fell behind early in set one, but fought back and took an 11-7 lead after a stretch of 7 out of 11 points won. Tied at 20, GCC was able to hold off MNE and took the opening set, 25-23. 

Genesee fell behind again in the second set and faced a 6-1 Saints lead early on. Back to within 9-6, Garcia Torres led the charge back for the Cougars, serving to eight consecutive points which included two aces. GCC pulled away and took the second set, 25-16.

Mercyhurst N.E. took the first lead in the third set and held a lead as high as five at 18-13. Garcia Torres then rattled off five straight service aces and was on serve for seven consecutive points to put the Cougars in front by two. Despite giving up the lead, the Saints responded and won the third set 25-23. 

In the deciding game, GCC was out to a 4-2 lead before falling behind 5-4. The Cougars came right back to take a 6-5 lead and did not look back. Genesee led by as much as five on a number of occasions throughout the rest of the set and claimed its 19 straight title with a 25-16 win in set four.

Stephanie Toledo ended the night with 15 kills and six aces, Ai Miyazaki tallied seven kills and five aces and Haley Case and Kelsey Wright finished with eight kills apiece. 

Miyazaki was named the Region III Division II Player of the Year and Yu Shimizu, Toledo and Garcia Torres were named to the All-Tournament team for Genesee. GCC interim head coach Jamie Hugelmaier earned Region III Division II Coach of the Year honors.

Genesee (21-17) will now move on to compete in the Western New York Athletic Conference (WNYAC) tournament which will be held at Mercyhurst North East on Saturday. The Cougars will then host a NJCAA Districts tournament on a day and time to be announced. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

(Members of the 2014 GCC volleyball team pose after winning the 2014 Region III Division II championship. Genesee has won the title every season since 1996)

October 20, 2014 - 11:20am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, youth sports, Batavia Junior Blue Devils.

The Batavia Junior Blue Devils Boys Basketball program, for grades one through six in City Schools, opens Nov. 8.

The Saturday programs at John Kennedy School are free, though there is a fee for league play.

The program is coached by Jim Fazio, youth coaches, and current Blue Devils varsity players. It will focus on offensive fundamentals, including shooting, passing, dribbling and ball handling. There will be contests with full and half-court games. 

Participants will have the option to join league play, which runs January through March.

For more information, contact Jim Fazio at (585) 356-0901 or [email protected].

Download: Sign-up form (pdf)

October 19, 2014 - 2:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

Bolt The Duer with driver John Cummings Jr.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

It was the biggest night of the year at Batavia Downs Saturday (Oct. 18) as the track presented the 12th edition of the $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace. One of the largest live crowds was on hand to see the action and after the most anticipated race of the season hit the wire, world champion Bolt The Duer bested a stellar field of top Open pacers to take the trophy.

When the car pulled away, the Ron Burke stablemates Aracache Hanover (Kevin Cummings) and Easy Again (Aaron Merriman) found themselves sitting one-two at a :26.3 quarter with Bolt The Duer (John Cummings Jr.) tracking a close third. The positions remained unchanged to the half when Apprentice Hanover (Anthony MacDonald) pulled first over and led Aslan (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Wazzup Wazzup (Drew Monti) in the outer flow.

Apprentice Hanover cleared and took the lead at the three-quarters in 1:24.1 when Aslan and Wazzup Wazzup fanned three-wide to take their shots around the turn. But Bolt The Duer, who had been riding the pylons waiting for his chance, got it at the top of the stretch when the passing lane opened up and Cummings Jr. shot him through the gap and outpaced a game Aslan to the wire to win in 1:53.4. Aslan finished second and Wazzup Wazzup finished third.

It was the fourth win in 18 starts this year for Bolt The Duer ($11) and pushed his career earnings to over $1.82 million for owners All Star Racing, Inc. The 5-year-old son of Ponder is trained by Peter Foley.

After the race driver John Cummings Jr. said “I was hoping to be on the lead or have the two-hole but I got away third. But we were following the two best horses in the race and we were lucky to slide out up the backside and get back to the rail at the head of the lane and then he did the rest. There is no question this is the best horse I’ve ever driven and I would like to thank Pete (Foley) for giving me the drive.”

You can watch the replay of the race by clicking here. Insert this link http://youtu.be/i2GjbuZY3hk

BZ Glide with driver Mike Caprio

The co-feature of the night was the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial trot that was won by local star BZ Glide. After the heavy favorite Money On My Mind (Aaron Merriman) made a break, Sailer Eddie (Jack Flanigen) took the lead and dictated the race until BZ Glide (Mike Caprio) pulled at the half and started his trek on the outside. He overtook the lead at the three-quarters and trotted away to an easy three-length victory in 1:58.2.

It was the eighth win in 20 starts for BZ Glide ($5.90) and inflated his bankroll to $60,667 for the trainer/driver team of Alana and Mike Caprio, who owns the horse.

It was an emotional winners circle after the race as Caprio, who was a friend of the late Schroeder, commented “It was an honor for me to win this race because Brian (Schroeder) was a good friend of mine. He helped me straighten out some horses years ago and was always willing to help anyone out.”

In the overnight feature $10,000 horse and gelding Open pace, Caprio doubled his pleasure by winning with Fireyourguns in 1:55. After getting away fifth, Fireyourguns waited until the top of the far turn to pull and swing wide before unleashing his patented pacing flurry down the lane. After making up about five lengths while streaking down the center of the track, Fireyourguns beat Best Ears (Jack Flanigen) who was on the rail, by a nose. There were four horses across the track at the wire and a mere neck separated first through fourth place.

It was the 13th victory of the year for Fireyourguns raising his earning total to $90,335 for owners Jennifer and Robert Lowe and Terrence McClory, who also trains him.

Aaron Merriman, who is currently the leading dash winning driver in North America, made a rare western New York appearance and put on a driving clinic for the fans. He registered a grand slam winning with Set Me Up ($4.40), Whata Donato ($3.10), Cheyenne Cam ($19.40) and Mondatta ($13).

And not to be outdone by the National season’s leader, local driving favorite Drew Monti also scored a four-bagger with Rock To Glory ($5.90), Deuces And Jacks ($16.20), Machman ($5.50) and Bandicoot (6.50).

Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Oct. 22) with post time set for 6:35.

October 19, 2014 - 10:53am
posted by Rhonda Pangrazio in sports.

Head Coach Jeff Bower smiles with pride as he reads a note he received from United States House of Representatives Congressman Chris Collins.

Congressman Collins, of New York’s 27th District, sent a letter to Coach Bower congratulating him and his team on their championship win over Brockport.  Congressman Collins’ letter contained praise for the team’s performance and wished the Reed Eye Associates Batavia Ramparts Pee Wee III team continued success.

Continued success is exactly what this team has had.  The team started their season strong with the tournament championship in Brockport.  Since then, they have continued to add victories to their undefeated record including the 9-0 win over the Niagara Coyotes last Saturday.

Yesterday, the Reed Eye Associates Batavia Ramparts Pee Wee III team hosted a rematch against the Brockport team they defeated in the championship round of the Tri-County Youth Hockey “Breakin’ the Ice” tournament a few weeks ago. 

The energy from the players, coaches, and fans packed the arena as both teams hit the ice craving the victory.  Both teams were solid, playing strong defense and offense, and taking shots on the opposing goalies.  The game was scoreless at the end of the first period.

Forward, Max Hutchins, changed the game when he outskated Brockport’s defense in the second and netted a hard shot, putting the Ramparts on the board.  With little time remaining in the second, Brockport pulled their goalie, allowing Hutchins to burst out of the pack and score on their open net.  Ramparts were up 2-0.

Late in the third period, defenseman Jedidiah Reese, lifted the puck to net a top-shelf slap shot from the blue line. 

Goalie, Joshua Barber, gave another exceptional performance for Batavia, blocking shots low, catching shots high, and diving to cover his net.  Barber picks up another shut-out with the 3-0 score yesterday and helps to add another victory to the Reed Eye Associates Batavia Ramparts Pee Wee III currently flawless season.

October 18, 2014 - 9:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, high school sports.

C.G. Finney 37, Pembroke 18. Pembroke finishes the season 0-7. No stats available. Photos from the Pembroke game by Rick Franclemont.

Notre Dame 40, Holley 13. Notre Dame scored 20 points in the second quarter to pretty much put the game away before the half. Joe Zickl was six of nine passing for 103 yards and two TDs. Peter Daversa rushed for 53 yards on 11 attempts. C.J. Suozzi gained 42 yards and scored on seven carries. Jack Sutherland had two TDs in eight carries for 42 yards. Josh Johnson had two receptions for 27 yards, including a TD. Luca Zambito had a six-yard TD reception. For Pembroke, Nick Passarell was eight for 21 passing for 87 yards. He was intercepted twice. Colin Papaj rushed for 87 yards on six carries. Touchdowns were scored by Nick Passarell, who had 43 yards on the ground, and Glenn Robb.

Alexander 21, Elba/Byron-Bergen 0. Game store coming.

October 18, 2014 - 1:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

The 12th annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Invitational pace will be held tonight (Oct. 18) and the star-studded group of Open class performers competing is led by Ron Burke stablemates $1.7 million winner Aracahe Hanover and Easy Again.

The race is named in honor of the former chairman of the Western Regional Off Track Betting Corporation (WROTB) and his vision for a defunct racetrack. In 1998 Robert Kane saw the opportunity for WROTB to keep harness racing alive in Western New York and convinced the group to purchase the shuttered Batavia Downs. He then worked diligently for four years to obtain a racing license from the State of New York in order to reopen the track in 2002.

With the improvement of the live racing product and the multiple expansions of the gaming floor in the years since the acquisition, what once was an empty building is now the preeminent attraction in all of Genesee County and that is due to the vision of Robert J. Kane.

The race has played host to many great horses over the years including the six-million-dollar man, Foiled Again, who won it twice. But it was also won by one of this year’s entrants and he set the all-time track record for pacers there when he did it.

Aracache Hanover (Dragon Again-Armbro Cachet 1:48.1 = $1,726,616) was a multiple stakes winner at two and three, including the $525,000 Confederation Cup. As an aged horse, he has been one of the most consistent free-for-all pacers in North America. He comes into this race off two consecutive wins at Yonkers Raceway and looks to be the one to beat. Although he is owned locally in Clarence Center by Bill Switala and James Martin, he has only ever raced at Batavia Downs once before. That was in when he won the 2011 Kane Memorial and set the all-time track record of 1:51.1. Aracache Hanover is 3-1 morning line and will be driven by leading Downs driver, Kevin Cummings.

Easy Again (Dragon Again-Kuklapanandollie 1:50.1 = $712,381) came into the Burke stable 10 months ago and immediately turned into a win machine. Since that time he has 11 victories in 26 starts and posted a lifetime mark of 1:50.1 at Scioto Downs while banking $264,360 in purse money. He currently has four wins out of his last seven starts, although he finished eighth last week. That was because he got parked the entire mile at Yonkers in Open handicap company. North American leading dash-winning driver Aaron Merriman makes the trip to the oldest lighted harness track in America to team Easy Again who was made the morning line favorite at 5-2.

Also in the race is $1.8 million winner Bolt The Duer (Ponder-Wonderbolt 1:47.4 = $1,801,995) Bolt The Duer won the $500,000 Adios and the $415,000 Messenger Stake at three and has faced the toughest older pacers each week ever since. This year he has battled Sweet Lou, Foiled Again and Captaintreacherous just to name a few. Last week at Pocono Downs he drew the rail after six consecutive outside posts, only to get locked in behind a stalled horse while the eventual winner was pacing away. He brings ability and back class to the table here and will be heard from for sure. John Cummings Jr. and his aggressive driving style will be in the bike for trainer Peter Foley.

Scoring from the outside is Aslan (Mach Three-Skyview 1:49.2 = $207,377). He does not have the lofty stakes resume or million dollar earnings of some in this field because he was lightly raced at two and three. But he does have a lot of speed and it would appear that he comes into this race in his best condition ever based on his performance at Pocono Downs on Sept. 20. He just got beat a neck in 1:47.3 and that clocking is two seconds faster than his lifetime mark taken in 2013. Plus this horse is handy; he can leave or he can come from behind. Ronnie Wrenn Jr. who is currently second in North America in dash-winning drives is at the lines for trainer Tony O’Sullivan.

Here is a look at the entire field:

1)              Wazzup Wazzup                   Drew Monti                        9-2-8      8-1

2)              Easy Again                            Aaron Merriman                8-1-4

3)              Bolt The Duer                       John Cummings Jr.           4-6-2      4-1

4)              Aracache Hanover                Kevin Cummings              1-1-2      3-1

5)              Apprentice Hanover              Anthony McDonald           1-6-3      7-2

6)              WhatTheSheik                    Dave McNeight III             3-1-3      12-1

7)              Aslan                                     Ronnie Wrenn Jr.              1-2-1      6-1

The Kane Memorial Pace is carded as the seventh race of the night. The program also includes the $12,500 Brian Schroeder Memorial Trot, a $10,000 horses and geldings Open pace and a $10,000 mares Open pace. Post time for the evening is 6:35.

October 18, 2014 - 12:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, football, sports, high school sports.

Batavia 49, Bath-Haverling 30. It was a seesaw battle through three quarters, and then Batavia put the game away with 14 unanswered points to close out the game. It was a big night for Anthony Gallo, who posted 265 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns. Malachi Chenault had four receptions for 128 yards and a TD. Jarrett Lasket had seven receptions for 94 yards, including a two-point conversion catch. Dominick Mogavero had 12 carries for 65 yards and a TD. Greg Mruczek was 18-27, 306 yards and two touchdowns. Trevor Rittersback had 10 tackles; James Cryer -- seven; Adonis Davis -- seven; and Noah Dobbertin had a sack and an interception. Bath came into the game undefeated.

Attica 49, Oakfield-Alabama 32. Alan Chatt was 21 for 52 passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. He had one interception. Reice Woodward had seven receptions for 134 yards; Sal Schwable, seven for 68 yards and a TD; Ryan Emery four for 15 yards and a TD; and Trent Stack, three for 34 yards and a TD. Jon Harris had eight tackles and Jake Valletta and Devin Schroeder had six each.

Pembroke, Notre Dame, Elba/Byron-Bergen and Alexander all play this afternoon.

For coverage of the Le Roy game and Coach Brian Moran's 200th win, click here.

October 18, 2014 - 8:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy, High School Football.

Coach Brian Moran will tell you, he feels fortunate to run a football program in a place like Le Roy, where the kids are tough, the community cares and parents understand he always has the best interest of their children at heart, even when he's trying to instill in them the discipline necessary to win at football and win at life.

He doesn't take credit for his career milestone of 200 wins. He shares it.

"It really is just a credit to our coaching staff," Moran said, after an emotional meeting with his team near the western end zone of the Perry football field following Le Roy's 45-6 win over the Yellowjackets. "I'm proud of everybody who's worked with us, our community, our school. You know, you don't get to 200 by yourself. We had great people along they way and I really appreciate what they've done for our program."

Moran is the fourth coach in Section V history to reach 200 wins, and only the second to get all 200 wins with the same school.

Gene MastIn, who retired after the 2012 season, is the Section V record holder at 236, and all his wins came at Hornell. Earlier this year, Fairport's Dave Whitcomb, who has coached five different teams, got his 200th win. Rounding out the 200 win club is Don SantIni, with 206 victories, including 50 notched in the years he coached Le Roy.

Moran's milestone victory was helped along Friday night by some of the same names who have carried the team all year. Mike McMullen, Ryan McQuillen, Tom Kelso, Nick Egeling and Jon Pierce, who all had big nights to help propel Le Roy to a rout of a young, but talented Perry team.

McMullen, who went over 3,000 yards passing for his career and set a new school record, said he was proud to be part of Moran's milestone victory.

"It feels great," McMullen said. "I've been with him four years. I can't put it in words right now. It's just awesome. I know it means a lot to him. It means a lot to everyone around here. Le Roy football. Coach Moran. You know, everyone knows who we are because of coach."

The Yellowjackets are a team with a couple of quick strike weapons in QB Andrew Hollister and RB Wisezear Pries, both juniors, so Moran came into the game knowing the Oatkan Knights couldn't afford to let Perry score early. (Hollister ended the season with more than 1,000 yards rushing.)

On Perry's first drive, a fumble on the Perry side of the field helped bat away that concern early. Two plays after Egeling recovered the fumble on defense, he was back to carry the ball 14 yards for a touchdown, giving Le Roy a quick 7-0 lead.

It was all Le Roy the rest of the half and the Knights built up a 42-0 lead by intermission. The scoring bonanza included a pair of TD passes from McMullen to the speedy McQuillen of 40 yards and 62 yards.

McMullen finished 5 for 5 passing for 138 yards and three TD.  

Through seven regular season games, McMullen did not throw a single interception and Le Roy has lost only one fumble all season, for a +16 turnover ratio.

Moran said he's proud of how McMullen has developed as a team leader.

"Obviously, from where he was three years ago to where he is today, I believe at the start of the season, he was 16-4, so add it up, put another 7 on that, so I think that's pretty good," Moran said. "That says a lot about him as a leader of our program."

Kelso had 11 carries for 74 yards. Kelso also had two catches for 23 yards. Pierce carried the ball twice for 72 yards and a TD. Egling, three carries for 32 yards and a TD, plus a 13-yard reception for a touchdown. 

Le Roy is the top-ranked Class C team in the state, but needed some help to go into sectional play as the #1 seed, which they got from the Batavia Blue Devils, who beat Bath in Bath 49-30.

While a lot of folks on the sideline were keeping up with the score in Batavia's seesaw battle with Bath, Moran downplayed the importance of seeding after the game. He said a team has to focus on the opponent ahead of it, whoever that might be.

"You get yourself focused and you really have to be ready to play next Friday night, because if you don't play well, you go home," Moran said. "I think that's something we'll really work on all week and get ourselves ready that way."

Pierce scores in the third quarter.

Hollister on his run that put him over 1,000 yards for the season.

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October 17, 2014 - 9:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy.

With Le Roy's 45 to 6 win over Perry minutes ago, Brian Moran became the fourth head coach in Section V history to notch 200 victories in his career.

Rather than celebrate the milestone in Perry, the players and coach are heading back to Hartwood Park to commemorate the accomplishment.

The entire community is invited to the celebration.

UPDATE: Photo added of Coach Moran back at Hartwood Park being honored for his 200th win.  

October 17, 2014 - 6:33am

It was just after 9 a.m. and Claudia and I were working our way between an already growing crowd of vendors and onlookers when we spotted Batavia Police officer Frank Klimjack. He was standing in a roped off area at the base of Bristol Mountain with several men in kilts -- some bearded, some bald and all of them about the size of NFL linemen. 

They are known as the Buffalo Heavies, so-called not so much for their size but rather for the physical contests they engage in. Officially they are the Buffalo Heavies Kilted Throwers Club. traditional Celtic athletes from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada. Their forte is throwing and heaving weighted objects around: they throw for height, distance and, in the case of the caber (pictured above), it's not so much the distance but accuracy -- pitching the caber forward as straight as possible.  

Frank Klimjack preparing to toss the sheaf, a straw-filled burlap bag weighing 16-18 lbs.

On this day Frank and his fellow Heavies were competing in the Bristol Mountain Fall Festival and Highland Games. The Highland Games are a series of athletic contests that originated in Scotland in the 11th Century. The events are the hammer throw, sheaf toss, caber toss, weight for distance, weight for height and weight over the bar, Braemer stone and open stone. The difference between the latter two is technique and stone weight.   

In one swift motion the sheaf is pitched upward....

and over the bar. After each round the bar is raised higher. It's kind of a last man standing deal.

Frank's interest in the Highland Games began a few years ago. "I was at Olcott Beach watching members of the Niagara Athletic Club competing when their athletic director said to me, 'you look big enough -- why don't you come out and give it a try?' A couple of weeks later at another competition they lent me a kilt and I was on my way." He fared pretty well on that first outing. "About middle of the pack," he said, "at least I wasn't at the bottom."

Frank Klimjack has moved up quite nicely since that initial outing. On this day he took second place overall. Competing in only his third full season, he is currently ranked #5 in North America in the Highland Games 45 to 49 age group.

A former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, he did a stint with the New York State Park Police before finding his niche with the Batavia PD, where he has served for the last 15 years.

Kellie Klimjack, left, watching her husband's efforts.

Nick Kahanic, Klimjack's friend and fellow "Heavy," is a world-record holder in the Braemar stone and Open stone.

Here's Nick competing in the Weight for Distance. He sent the 56-pound weight 87 feet on this try.

Bagpipers and drummers paying tribute to disabled vets. Whenever the Buffalo Heavies compete, all proceeds raised go to OASIS (Outdoor Adventures for Sacrifice in Service) a volunteer organiziation that provides sporting experiences to disabled veterans and their families free of charge. OASIS currently offers skiing, fishing, sailing, archery, ice skating, horsemanship, golf and rowing. This day's competition raised $4,500 -- awfully good considering admission was free.

This is Lou Iannone and I would venture to guess he's the sparkplug of the Buffalo Heavies. This was our first exposure to the Highland Games and we found the camaraderie between competitors evident and the athletes engaging the crowd with friendly banter as well as answering any questions onlookers may have had.

The atmosphere was festive, the scenery fantastic and with the chair lift taking an endless number of visitors leaf-peeping to the top of the mountain, the crowd was estimated at over 7,000.

The athletes were impressive, entertaining and outgoing. It was for sure a fun outing and Claudia and I look forward to attending the Highland Games again.

October 16, 2014 - 8:07pm
posted by Andrew Crofts in GCC, sports, volleyball.

The Genesee Community College women's volleyball team closed out its regular season schedule with a straight sets win over visiting Jamestown Community College on Thursday night.

Ai Miyazaki tallied 16 digs, 10 kills and two aces on the night, Stephanie Toledo added 10 kills and Haley Case had three aces for GCC.

Genesee closed out the first set on a 6-2 run after not leading by more than four in the opening game, winning 25-16.

A JCC service error gave the Cougars the first of six straight points to begin the second set and a 6-0 lead. Despite giving up nine out of ten points late in the middle game, GCC held on to win 25-18.

Miyazaki tallied two of her three aces in succession early in the third game to put Genesee in front 5-2. After a Jamestown CC timeout midway through, the Cougars took five in a row and held a 20-11 lead. The Jayhawks battled back to within five at 24-19, but GCC ended the night with a 25-19 win.

Genesee (20-17) will host Mercyhurst North East on Tuesday night for the Region III Division II title. The Cougars have won the championship in each of the last 18 seasons. The match will begin at 6 p.m.

(GCC’s Kelsey Wright (#12 yellow) goes up for the kill against JCC on Thursday night)

October 16, 2014 - 1:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia Downs, sports, harness racing.

By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs

On Friday, Oct. 17, Batavia Downs will look back and honor the careers of two longtime female trainers who plied their trade on the Western New York circuit for many years. Mary Ann Sarama-Luce and Brenda Ohol will have races named in their honor and presentations made with their families in the winner’s circle as the local horsemen pay their respects and remember their careers at Batavia Downs.

Mary Ann Sarama-Luce passed away in July of 2011 at 73 years of age after a long battle with leukemia. She ended her driving career in 1990 with 109 wins and $201,435 in earnings. At that point she started training full time and continued to do so until her passing. As a conditioner she sent 107 horses to the winner’s circle whose efforts earned $334,835. Some of the top horses Sarama-Luce trained included Gold Bandit N, Top Dog Alex, Top Dog Nicholas, Easy L Bar and Guy Lee Debbie.

After her passing, her son Carl and husband Richard have carried on with her stable.

“Harness racing was her number-one priority and passion” her daughter Lynette McGiveron said. “Her horses were the driving force behind her battle to recover. Even in her final days she worried more about her horses than herself.”

McGiveron continued “A passion of Mary Ann's was to have her mares bred and to raise the foals to race. She named them after her kids and grandchildren and had planned on doing so until every child and grandchild was named. The last foal to be born on her farm was "Top Dog Morgan" named after her grandson. Unfortunately Mary Ann never got to see it in person. He was born the night she went into the hospital for her final stay.”

Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, described Mary Ann as “A fierce competitor both as a trainer and a driver.”

After the fifth race, named the Mary Ann Sarama-Luce Memorial Trot, we will remember a great mother, person, horseman and friend to so many in Western New York.

Brenda Ohol died in August of 2013 after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

She was born in Batavia and raised in Akron, New York, and was around horses her entire life. She was always in the barn with her father Ron Lederhouse who campaigned his own stable for many years and then as an adult, married Mike Ohol who was an established trainer/driver on the Western New York circuit.

During her 22-year training career she sent 691 winners to post and amassed earnings of $2.85 million. Her most prolific year came in 2009 when she had 1,018 starters with 79 winners, 91 seconds and 122 thirds along with $396,953 in monies won. Some of her best known horses included Little Man Cam, Adelia’s Prince, Honeybee Hershey, Fundy Breeze, Collier St. Bobby and Sunray Kash.

She left a legacy of women in racing behind as her daughter Courtney and granddaughter Brittney are now currently active full time trainers at Batavia. Ohol’s sister Lisa Lederhouse is an accomplished trainer as well.

Bruce Tubin, president of the western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association, said “Brenda was a hands-on, hardworking trainer who left us way too soon.”

Jim Mulcahy, treasurer of the Western New York Harness Horsemen’s Association said “Brenda always had a nice stable of horses that were always competitive. She was one of the top female conditioners on this circuit.”

After the seventh race, named the Brenda Ohol Memorial Pace, we will remember our other great mother, person, horseman and friend to everyone who raced on this circuit.

Post time for the first race is 6:35 p.m.

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