A Cooperstown Central School junior achieved his goal of running a marathon before his 16th birthday.
Fred Hodgson, who turns 16 Friday, Oct. 22, finished the Syracuse Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 17, in 3 hours, 55 minutes and 13 seconds. His time placed Hodgson 58th out of 178 runners. He placed first in his age bracket, but that was expected, he said.
“I was the youngest person in the race by about four years,” he said Monday.
Years ago, when I began covering high school sports here, I coined a truism about New York State Public High School Athletic Association seasons.
If you are playing in the spring season, you need to be playing in June to have a successful season.
If you are playing in the winter season, you need to be playing in March to have a successful season.
If you are playing in the fall season, you need to be playing in November to have a successful season.
I mention this because I have been trailing around the Cooperstown’s boys soccer team this fall. My son is a reserve on the team and I had a small hand in training these boys — specifically for this season — and perhaps a larger hand as their cheerleader.
It’s hard to believe but Oct. 16, is right around the corner. It’s a day I like to call “Soccer Saturday” as the Tri-Valley, Delaware and MAC leagues all hold their conference championship games at the Wright National Soccer Campus fields in Oneonta.
It is a great way to see some of the top teams from our area all in one location. Let’s take a look at how things are shaping up in the TVL as I am writing this Oct. 4.
The last 18 months have been hard for all of us, but it has been especially difficult for high school athletes. The coronavirus pandemic ended playing careers early, dashed championship dreams and changed local record books forever. However, as this fall season begins, it feels like maybe we are getting a fresh start.
Sure, we know it could all come to a crashing halt at any moment, but with the return of certain rituals like the first day of practice and getting in shape for pre-season, we can only hope that this fall will bring back a bit of normalcy.
With the new season now upon us, here are a few things I am looking forward to:
• While some Otsego County fall teams didn’t get to play last school year, one of the teams that did was the Schenevus girls soccer team. With an undefeated spring season under its belt, this team will be the one to watch. Led by junior scoring phenom Angelina Competiello, the Dragons appear to be one of the favorites in the Tri-Valley League and in Section IV, Class D. Competiello has 81 career goals and is already the all-time leading goal scorer in school history with two seasons left to play. She is surrounded by a very solid supporting cast, including Taylor Knapp and Lily Competiello, who are two of the best-kept secrets. If you are looking to watch small school soccer of the highest quality, make sure you make the trip to Schenevus.
• Staying on the theme of must-see soccer, I am also excited to check out the Oneonta boys and the Cooperstown boys teams. Oneonta lost a lot of talent to graduation, but they return with one of the best goal scorers in Finlay Oliver. There is no doubt that Oliver is ready to put on a show for local fans. His work with high level off-season travel ball should propel him to be arguably the best player in the area.
On the flip side, the word out of Cooperstown is the Hawkeyes will have one of the most balanced teams in recent memory. A group that has been coming up together since grade school, CCS could be ready to make Coop a soccer town for a few months this fall.
• Another team I want to watch as the leaves turn is the Unatego girls soccer squad. The Spartans are a team that made the Class C state final in 2019 and are led by legendary local coach, Sue Herodes. Have they graduated a lot of talent? Yes. But can the Spartans reload? They have done it so many times in the past and I think they can do it again. As Delhi Coach Matt Albright recently told me, “the road to the MAC championship game always goes through Unatego.” I couldn’t agree more. With key players like Alexa Lucia, Kylie Mussaw and Anabel Rommer back, I wouldn’t count out UCS just yet.
So, as our local athletes prepare to get back to competition, make sure you get out and cheer them on. Nothing goes faster than the career of a high school athlete. As many kids have said to me over the years, “you think you have all this time then you blink and it is all over.” That is true now more than ever. These student athletes never know when their seasons might get cut short again, but for now it seems like our old rituals are back and we can focus on the promise of the season ahead.
Nate Lull is the sports director for WCDO in Sidney.
One of the top swimmers in the region has been training for his college senior season with a goal in mind, the NCAA Division III championship.
Ted Mebust, a 2018 Cooperstown Central School graduate, missed almost a year of swimming at Bowdoin College because of the coronavirus pandemic, but he and his fellow 2021-22 captains have been planning to make up for it their senior year.
“We’re all living together. We’re all close as a team. So, we have been talking about how to establish or reestablish a team camaraderie, so to speak,” Mebust said in the phone interview with The Freeman’s Journal on Monday, Aug. 2.
When he was last in a competitive meet — Bowdoin, in Brunswick, Maine, had students on campus in the spring and the Polar Bears had a short training season, but no regulation competitions — Mebust had the best meet for his team at its conference tournament, the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championship, Feb. 20 to 23, 2020, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Mebust placed second in the 50 backstroke, third in the 100 back and seventh in the 50 freestyle.
Oneonta’s run at a state title in Legion baseball ended Tuesday, July 27, in Saugerties.
The Green Wave lost to Smith Post of Rome, 6-1, Tuesday, to end its tournament.
After losing its first game of the day Monday, in the double-elimination, eight-team tournament, Oneonta rallied to defeat Schenectady, 7-6, to make it to the final four.
Tanner Russin had a walk-off double to keep the Green Wave alive in the tournament.
Oneonta lost to Hamburg, 16-6, in Monday’s opener. It beat Clinton County in the opening game of the tournament, Sunday, July 25, 8-0, Jordan Goble got the win Sunday, pitching six innings. Cole Platt had an RBI double and Aidan Breakey had a triple and two RBI.
The Green Wave went 2-1 in the opening days of the state tournament, a week after winning a District 6 title last week.
The Green Wave swept two games from Harpursville-1596 on Monday, July 19, at Conlon Field in Binghamton to win its third District 6 championship.
Oneonta won, 1-0, and, 19-1, in a mercy-rule win in the finale to secure the title.
The 2021 All-State team for softball honored a trio of Schenevus players, two players from Worcester and one player from Cooperstown and Morris.
The Dragons won the Section IV Class D title for the second time in school history, and first time since 1978. It was also the first time since 1995 that a team other than Afton or Deposit won the Section IV Class D softball title. The Dragons beat Marathon, 7-1, in the title game Friday, June 11, in Schenevus.
Schenevus senior shortstop Hannah Osborne led all area players, making the first team in Class D. Osborne plans to play college softball at Cobleskill.
Her fellow senior, Cassie Snyder, made the second team, and sister Sam Osborne made the third team for Schenevus. Snyder, the Dragons’ pitcher, plans to play college softball at Wells College.
By CHARLIE VASCELLARO • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
It came as a surprise to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the baseball community at large when Tim Mead stepped down from his position as President of the Hall of Fame after less than two years on the job.
What would seem to be the dream job for almost anyone who works in the baseball industry was never fully realized for Mead whose brief tenure coincided with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and was marred by the unprecedented passing of 10 members of the Hall of Fame in about a year.
“What Dale and Jeff (former presidents Petrosky and Idelson, respectively) had been able to accomplish in terms of the travel and all, obviously we had 10 Hall of Famers pass away and we weren’t able to attend those services, the only one I was able to go to was Whitey Ford’s mass and Jeff was able to fly in from San Francisco for that one,” Mead said in an interview before his departure from the Hall on May 15.
With the 2021 baseball season underway and the Hall of Fame announcing its decision to hold this year’s induction ceremony indoors in a custom-made television studio*, and without fans in attendance, Mead announced his decision to step down from his post on April 16.
“It’s particularly tough with family being back (in California),” he said. “I have a grandson that is 30 months old and a granddaughter coming in September. That aspect of things has been a bit more challenging than perhaps I allowed myself to believe it would be.
Mead was hired to replace Idelson in June of 2019, presiding over the Hall of Fame’s 2019 Induction and represented the Hall of Fame at the Major League All-Star game in Cleveland.
As we wrap up the first month of under-new management at Iron String Press, I am sure you have seen some changes, big and small, in the newspapers and perhaps on the website. And while all of them were needed in my opinion, the one I am most – excited about, proud of, nervous about, all of the above – is the sports page.
I am, after all, an old sports guy. And for some reason, old sports guys end up editors. This is my third time becoming editor of something more or less based on being an old sports guy.
There is a newspaper truism about old sports guys becoming editors: we’re insufferable about our sports pages. We miss them. Gazing at an editorial page makes my brain hurt and my heart sink, but I could spend an hour with the sports pages, even in these days of shrinking newspaper products, because of the corporate newspaper death cycle.
However, like all old sports guys, I am critical. It is hard to let go of the way I would do sports and let some entry level cub reporter mess up the look and style of the page or section.
At the pension fund, the ratio of sports people who listened to old sports guys vs. those who tuned them out was probably a wash. The long-time sports editor and his assistant mocked their old sports guy editor endlessly with a falsetto imitation that still makes me laugh.
Of course, their old sports guy had some points. No one on any court, pitch or field is literally on fire. And my family can attest, from hearing me yell at the TV, there is no dial. Therefore, nobody in sports, other than maybe a baseball manager in an era before push button phones, is dialing anything, let alone in an upward direction.
BASEBALL DISCUSSION – 11 a.m. Join Baseball Hall of Fame for conversation with former Major Leaguer Al Oliver on his career including playing at world cup with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then his post baseball career as a motivational speaker. Free, registration required. Visit baseballhall.org/events/geography-baseball-to-coast-20?date=0 for info.
By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Families across Otsego County are working to adjust to a new normal of “social distancing,” and for many that includes having their school-age children at home.
Fears about the COVID-19 virus and its contagion have brought a massive and rapid change to how we live, and it isn’t yet clear what impacts that will have on routines students and families have lived by for decades.
• How long will the schools remain closed?
• What will happen if students can’t prepare or take state mandated tests?
• Will summer vacation need to be cancelled if students miss two months of school now?
• What will happen to spring athletic programs?
These are some of the questions that still remain unanswered as schools in the Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES and beyond stand shuttered under quarantine restrictions related to the COVID-19 virus.
“Each of the BOCES and each of the schools have to work off-site as much as possible to be congruent with the idea of social distancing as a means to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said ONC BOCES Superintendent Nick Savin. “The main effort right now is to develop a structure in a very different way than we have worked before.”
The decision made late Friday afternoon, March 13, to close for two weeks among the 18 districts that constitute the BOCES group.
Then, on Monday the schools announced they would remain shuttered at least through April 13.
Savin said he and other school officials had been aware for some time that school shutdowns might be necessary, and had been planning. The situation escalated a bit faster than they expected, but they were largely ready, he said.
“I would encourage everyone to adhere to social distancing,” he said, referring to the practice of keeping physically separate from others as much as possible to prevent contagion.
Ensuring that students continue their education, even if they can’t be in school buildings is a primary objective he shares with area school district leaders.
Both Cooperstown Central School District and the Oneonta schools had prepared learning packets for all students by Monday morning, and were distributing them later that day.
CCS Superintendent Bill Crankshaw was outside Cooperstown Elementary Monday, where bins for each grade were set out and filled with packets bearing each child’s name.
The packets for a third-grade class, for instance, included a schedule for 14 days of assignments for every subject, and books for each student to read.
Oneonta Superintendent Thomas Brindley said his schools were doing the same.
“It is moving to see how many of our faculty and staff members are here tonight and the work that has gone into gathering and distributing materials to our students,” Brindley said.
Crankshaw spoke of the complexities of charting a course for his district in this uncertain time. “There are many unknowns at this point,” he said.
He stressed that his primary goal is to ensure the safety of students and staff in the ways that he can. Doing that, however, places schools at odds with the laws that guide teaching programs, he said.
Under the law, New York State schools must provide 180 days of instruction. Governor Cuomo has waived that requirement, but what will the schools need to provide?
“We don’t have a lot of clarity,” Crankshaw said, adding that it’s unlikely these issues will be resolved quickly.
“There is no way we will give state tests as scheduled,” he said. Tests for grades 3 through 8 had been set for late March, but now the schools will be closed during that period.
Regents examinations for high school students, which are required for graduation, are also in limbo, he said.
“We are concerned about preparations for those,” Crankshaw said.
Whatever decisions are made about academics and testing must follow those made by the rest of the state, because they involve established state laws.
“Making decisions unilaterally can be dangerous because you don’t know how they will pan out,” he said. “What is going to be forgiven? What are the grace periods? We have to be protected as a school district from expectations that are, frankly, law.”
Brindley agreed. “We are all waiting for some comprehensive guidance from the state,” he said.
Athletics is another area school districts are concerned about.
“How do we salvage a spring season for our athletes,” Brindley said. “Many of these kids wait all year to play a spring sport. For them to lose it would be unfortunate.”
Both Cooperstown and Oneonta will be providing school lunches and breakfasts for students in the assisted food program.
In Oneonta, each school district will have a food distribution point where two meals will be provided, a lunch for that day and a breakfast for the following day. The schools will continue to observe protocols about allergens in food, such as peanuts, Brindley said.
“We are planning to maintain a meal program for anyone who wants it,” Crankshaw said.
Cooperstown student meals will be available Mondays and Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. outside the high school. The school will deliver meals to any family that cannot pick the meals up themselves.
Over the two days, families can pick up meals for five days’ worth of breakfasts and dinners.
3-D PRINTING – 10-11:30 a.m. Design a keepsake heart box for someone special. Fee based on weight Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info, hmloneonta.org/calendar/
YPN NETWORKING – 6-8 p.m. Come meet young professionals from the Otsego area. The topic for this evening is community involvement. The Beverage Exchange, 73 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, www.facebook.com/YoungProfessionalsNetworkYPN/
FUNDRAISER – 7 p.m. Live music will be performed. The public may donate for the opportunity to perform. Donations go to the Cooperstown Lion’s Club fund to support area residents to lessen financial stress. Mel’s at 22, Cooperstown. Info, www.facebook.com/Melsat22/