Students from Saratoga Central Catholic and Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons will join up to play varsity football next season.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Phonsey Lambert, Saratoga Catholic’s athletic director and the man who brought varsity football back to the school in 2008 after a 19-year hiatus. “We have kids who still want to play. They have kids, but they could always use more.”
Saratoga Catholic did not field a team last season because it did not have enough players available. Bishop Gibbons didn’t win any games last season, which included forfeit loss to Cambridge due to low numbers brought on by injuries.
“We’ve talked about this before, and it never seemed to jell,” said Tom Pallas, who led Bishop Gibbons for the last four seasons and will be the head coach for merged team. “After last year, having a tough time with numbers, the time is right to see if this can go.
“We’re going in with a positive attitude. Hopefully, we can put a representative team on the field and win some games.”
Neither Lambert nor Pallas could say how many players from Saratoga Catholic are expected to join with the cast from Bishop Gibbons.
“For next year, we probably would have been in the high teens to maybe 22 or 23, The most we’ve had in my time is 26,” said Pallas. “We’ll probably have more than that. They have kids who want to play, and we’re happy they’ll be joining us and have the opportunity.”
Lambert said both school boards have approved the merger. The team will practice at Bishop Gibbons and use the Class D schedule that was put in place for the Golden Knights and released last month. A couple of home games could be played at East Side Recreation Field in Saratoga Springs.
“There are all sorts of little things that need to be ironed out,” said Pallas. “What do we do for uniforms? What do we call the team? We’ll figure it all out.”
Saratoga Catholic played full seasons in 2008 and 2009, did not have a varsity team in 2010, and forfeited three games in 2011, due to low player numbers.
“In the 90s, I coached hockey at Shaker, when we were with Watervliet,” said Pallas. “I have some experience with it.”
Columbia sophomore Nastasja Johnston moved up to No. 3 on the all-time Section II list with an 18-91⁄2 in the long jump Tuesday in a Suburban Council meet with Colonie and Shenendehowa.
Klarissa Ricks of Holy Names holds the top area mark of 19-103⁄4 (2011, Penn Relays), and Emily VanDenburgh of Shaker is No. 2 at 19-1 (2012, SC dual).
Johnston’s performance topped Liz Stevens’ Columbia record of 18-6 that had stood since 2006. Johnston’s best effort as a freshman was 17-91⁄2, when she edged VanDenburgh for the Schenectady Invitational title. . . .
Leah Triller and Catherine Maloy of Holy Names set records at Saturday’s Fleet Feet Lady Eagles Invitational at Bethlehem. Triller ran a meet record 2:52.45 in the 1,000, and Maloy ran a meet record 4:39.63 in the 1,500. Maloy’s time leads the state this spring season. . . .
Jay Navin of Saratoga Springs won the 3,200 in a meet-record 9:17.24, and anchored the Blue Streaks’ victorious 6,400 relay at last weekend’s New York Relays at Icahn Stadium.
Saratoga defended its 6,400 relay title (17:49.79) with Aidan Tooker, Travis Briggs, Evan Quinones and Navin. Navin ran his 1,600 split in 4:12.8 and overcame a 100-meter deficit.
Fort Ann senior Joe Foran moved to the top of Section II’s all-time hits list when he singled for his 189th in Tuesday’s 9-0 Adirondack League win over Whitehall.
Foran and Adam Cutspec of Fort Plain (2004-08) had shared the Section II career hits record with 188. The state hits record of 200 is held by Thaddeus Johnson of Frewsburg (2007-12).
A six-year varsity player, Foran will attend Siena College.
Eagles win showdown
Top singles players Nick Mashuta and Nick DeLuke set the tone with straight set wins, and Bethlehem went on to top Saratoga Springs, 8-1, in a matchup of unbeaten Suburban Council tennis teams Tuesday.
The Eagles improved to 7-0, and the Blue Streaks dipped to 6-1. Bethlehem went 15-0 last spring and won its third Section II title in four years.