John Bowen was named Schuylerville High School’s new varsity football coach this week.
Bowen announced just before Christmas that he was ending his 11-year coaching run at Ballston Spa, where he serves as the dean of students and teaches physical education. He was among five candidates who applied for the Schuylerville position vacated by Greg O’Connor.
“I had spoken with Greg and had planned on coming aboard to be a part of his staff,” said Bowen. “When we came back from the Christmas break and Greg indicated he was thinking about stepping down, there were some different conversations that needed to be had.”
The 42-year-old Bowen lives in Schuylerville and his three young sons, Tyler, Zachary and Joshua, attend school in the district and are involved in youth football.
“They’re excited about it,” Bowen said. “They were sad when I stepped down [at Ballston Spa]. They only know me as that guy.”
Bowen left the Ballston Spa post in part to spend more time with his family.
“In pursuing this, I talked to my wife [Stephanie] about my rationale for stepping down at Ballston Spa,” said Bowen. “I still plan to do that.”
Bowen guided Ballston Spa to a 60-40 record, with 10 of his teams reaching the Section II playoffs, and eight of them posting winning records. His 2009 edition made it to the Class AA title game, and his 2006, 2007 and 2010 teams made sectional semifinal appearances.
Ballston Spa had never won a playoff game before 2006, when the Scotties knocked off Queensbury, Bowen’s alma mater, in a quarterfinal contest. Bowen’s resume also includes three league championships.
“Coach Bowen is passionate, energetic and extremely knowledgeable, and he’s sure to connect with our student athletes,” said Matt Sickle, Schuylerville’s high school principal.
O’Connor’s Black Horses went 60-28 in nine seasons, including Section II Class C title-game wins in 2004 and 2005. Schuylerville also made it to Class C finals in 2007 and 2008.
Schuylerville’s 4-5 mark last season was highlighted by a 20-19 upset of top-seeded Lansingburgh in the Class B quarterfinals.
“I know what Schuylerville kids bring to the table as far as toughness. There are a lot of similarities with the Ballston Spa kids,” Bowen said. “I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Marini, streaks on top
Hailey Marini became Guilderland’s first all-around winner since Dana Goodknight in 2007, and Saratoga Springs extended its team title streak to 12 years at Wednesday’s Section II gymnastics championship meet at Shaker High School.
Marini scored 35.275 points to take first after a runner-up performance in 2012, and joined an elite list of Guilderland all-around champs that includes Goodknight, Erica Moreland (2002), Carolyn Wright (1999), Lori Newkirk (1994), Stephanie Sholtes (1986) and Beth Sholtes (1978).
Marini, a junior, placed first on the vault (9.05) and second on the balance beam and floor exercise.
Saratoga athletes Rema Bianco (34.828) and Morgan Winnie (34.675) took second and third in the all-around. Bianco was the 2012 all-around champ.
Winnie was first on the floor (9.30), Sophie Hrebenach of Saratoga was first on the uneven parallel bars (8.60) and Julia Van Horne of Saratoga was first on the balance beam (8.95). In all, eight Saratoga gymnasts qualified for the March 2 state meet at Smithtown East High School.
Saratoga (173.225) beat out Guilderland (167.850) for team honors. The Blue Streaks have won 15 of the last 18 team titles.
The top three all-around finishers, and the best three aside from them on the individual events, made the state team.
Section II State Team
All-Around: Hailey Marini (Guilderland), Rema Bianco (Saratoga), Morgan Winnie (Saratoga. Vault: Jaclyn Levy (Guilderland), Claire Levy (Guilderland), Sophie Hrebenach (Saratoga). Uneven bars: Sophie Hrebenach (Saratoga), Claire Levy (Guilderland), Kelsy Jackowitz (Saratoga). Balance beam: Julia Van Horne (Saratoga), Tessy Dirado (Saratoga), Mackenzie Ellor (Saratoga). Floor: Tori Shaffer (Saratoga), Tessy Dirado (Saratoga), Emma Drislane (Guilderland).
One more time
Niskayuna (3-15) and Ballston Spa (7-10) will tangle for the third time in one of tonight’s Section II boys’ basketball play-in games on the Scotties’ court.
The Suburban Council North Division representatives split their first two meetings, with the Scotties prevailing behind Jeremy Mendrick’s 19 points, 35-32, and the Silver Warriors getting even behind Aaron Gordon’s 15, 49-40. Tonight’s winner travels to four-time defending Class AA champion Christian Brothers Academy Tuesday. There are five boys’ and 10 girls’ play-in games tonight.
Joe Lufkin became Argyle’s career scoring leader with a 41-point outburst in Monday’s 71-47 victory over Salem.
Lufkin pushed his career total to 1,971 points and moved past Dave Frank (1.938) on the all-time Argyle list. The senior guard is 10th on the all-time Section II scoring list.
Sydney Rosales of Colonie, Kayla Hotyaling of Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk and Kaitlin Wood of Broadalbin-Perth reached the 1,000-point plateau this week, while Kara White of Fort Ann set a school record with seven three-point baskets in a win over Corinth.
Saratoga Springs forward Tyler Bullard and Christian Brothers Academy defenseman John Bassett are co-recipients of the Capital District High School Hockey League’s Player of the Year award.
League scoring honors went to Bullard, who collected 26 goals and 23 assists, while top goalie honors went to his teammate, Dakota Smith, who had a .924 save percentage.
The All-Section II team consists of forwards Brad Tardif (Shenendehowa), Mike Mineau (Shaker/Colonie) and Nick Winters (Saratoga), defensemen Brendan Wormley (Saratoga) and Clark Grabb (Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa), and Smith.