This winter season will be remembered for masks, virtual competition and near-empty venues among other pandemic-related items, but also for the diligence displayed and some cool and noteworthy numbers produced by our Section II athletes in a variety of sports.
Here are 10 of them already in the books, and over the next few weeks there are certain to be a bunch more as this one-of-a-kind campaign squeezes in basketball, hockey and wrestling events before its completion.
Pin total surpassed by five Columbia boys in a virtual Suburban Council bowling match against Niskayuna at East Greenbush Bowling Center. With their three-game production, Zack Bogholtz (773), Mason McDowell (760), Ryan Lemay (752), Thomas Stein (745) and Tyler Bogholtz (701) combined to down 3,731 of Columbia’s 4,318 total pins in one of the highlight performances this winter for the SC regular season and tournament champions. The Columbia girls’ superb season likewise included SC regular season and tournament titles.
Pins knocked down by Schalmont junior David Squires when he achieved perfection for the second time in his career in his teams’ first game of the bowling season against La Salle at Sportsman’s Bowl. In an interesting twist, Squires threw his first perfect game when he was a sophomore, and it also came in the Sabres’ first game of that season against Lansingburgh at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Bryce Henkel’s state-leading 100-yard butterfly time recorded in his home pool as part of the virtual Aqua League Invitational. The Albany Academy senior swimmer was just off his Section II record of 49.43 that he popped last season while winning the state championship, but did set a pool record and earned All-American consideration. Henkel also led off a winning 400 free relay with a 46.55 leg that broke his own pool and school records for 100 yards.
Points scored by Amsterdam senior basketball standout Antonia May in the Rams’ season-starting 78-16 win over Fort Plain. Her career-best scoring output included a school record-tying seven 3-point baskets — on eight attempts. The 6-foot UMBC commit also had nine steals.
Points scored by Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake senior AJ Giaquinto, a career-high, in a 64-52 Suburban Council basketball win over Ballston Spa. On a night when the Spartans’ 12th-graders were honored, Giaquinto was in attack mode and scored 28 of his points on eight drives and 12 foul shots. His lone 3-pointer and 12 of his points came in a game-altering 23-7 third-quarter run, and the Spartans went on to earn their first league win under second-year coach Kevin Himmelwright.
Consecutive seasons the Saratoga Springs girls’ gymnastics team has put together an unbeaten record against Section II competition after the Blue Streaks rolled to the title at the Suburban Council championship meet. Seniors Ava Dallas and Sophia Damiano placed first and second, respectively, in the all-around to anchor that victory which followed six dual meet league wins. Earlier in the season Damiano set the Section II vault record with a 9.65 and bettered it with a 9.75. Guilderland was the last Section II team to beat Saratoga, doing it twice during the 2006-07 dual meet season.
Number of boys’ basketball players from Mekeel Christian Academy (previously Schenectady Christian School) who have reached the career 1,000-point mark after senior Alex Barnhill joined the club in a 77-36 win over Hoosic Valley. The Daily Gazette All-Area first-teammer needed two points to reach the special plateau, and got it on a short jumper as part of a 23-point performance. As a junior he was named the Section II Class A tournament MVP after Mekeel’s title run.
Consecutive unbeaten dual meet seasons for the Shenendehowa boys’ swimming and diving team after the Plainsmen topped Saratoga Springs 103-71 to finish 10-0. Shenendehowa is 54-0-1 in the last five regular seasons, and put this latest one together with a youthful lineup that includes only three seniors — Ryan Eldred, Colin Fitzgerald and Chris Mace. The Plainsmen will look to complete a perfect season at the Feb. 26-27 Suburban Council championships.
Individual winners from Saratoga Springs at the Section II Alpine Ski League championships at Gore Mountain, with junior Matthew Moeckel placing first in the boys’ competition with a combined two-run time of 1:55.40, and senior Avery Waters taking the girls’ event with a combined two-run time of 1:55.08. Waters was the only athlete to crack 50 seconds (49.78) in the second run. Team titles went to the Saratoga boys and the Ballston Spa girls, who had four skiers in the top 10.
Finishing position for Madison Relyea and her Mayfield teammates at the Section II Nordic Ski League championships at Gore Mountain, where Relyea completed a two-year unbeaten streak against Section II competition. The UConn-bound Relyea dominated the 6.6-kilometer race in 24:11.7, and schoolmates Delaney Fontaine and Fianna Halloran placed third and fourth, respectively, for the Panthers’ eight-point total. Queensbury was second with 26 points. Relyea also led Mayfield to the Western Athletic Conference cross country title in the fall.