After each big victory, Guilderland High School girls’ lacrosse coach Gary Chatnik is quick to pass along praise to the athletes who made defensive stops, excelled in transition and scored the goals.
Chatnik stayed true to form in discussing his recent induction into the US Lacrosse Adirondack Chapter Hall of Fame.
“You don’t do it without the kids,” said Chatnik. “You have to have good players, and they have to buy into the system to win.”
The Lady Dutchmen have won a lot, 196 times to be exact, since Chatnik took over in 2002. They have made eight Section II Class A title-game appearances in the last nine years, and have come out on top five times. This past season, they completed their sixth consecutive perfect run through the Suburban Council.
“I push them, but they do a lot themselves. That’s the trick. You can teach skills, but you have to have heart and desire. They want to do it, and they put in the extra effort,” said Chatnik. “Good ground work was laid by the early teams, and they want to perform and keep it going. They see the benefits, too. A lot of accolades come with success.”
The guy who has been urging them along, teaching skills, drawing up game strategy and consoling when needed for over a decade joined previous Adirondack Hall of Fame inductees Sue Hoffman and John Battaglino, who oversaw girls’ lacrosse dynasties at Saratoga Springs and Bethlehem before Guilderland’s emergence among the area’s largest schools.
Chatnik was honored late last month at the Franklin Terrace Ballroom in Troy for his coaching at Guilderland, his impact on area lacrosse as the founder of the Empire Elite program and as a four-year player at Siena College.
Chatnik, a graduate of Bishop Scully High School, had never played lacrosse before joining the Saints.
“A lot of guys were playing,” he said. “It looked like it would be a fun thing to do.”
Chatnik had earned a starting job as a defenseman by his senior year in 1979 and helped Siena put together the school’s first and only unbeaten campaign at 12-0.
“They were fun times. The year before we won four or five games,” Chatnik said. “A couple of freshmen came in and we had a transfer from North Carolina, and we just meshed.”
Guilderland was six minutes from perfection in the spring of 2009, when Farmingdale rallied from two goals down to win a 10-9 thriller in the state Class A championship game. Led by All-Americans Danielle Tetreault, Bridget Daley and Jen Madsen, Guilderland went 23-1 that season, and ended with a No. 6 national ranking by LaxPower.
The Lady Dutch captured the first of their two straight regional banners in 2008, and finished 22-1 after a 16-10 state semifinal setback against Farmingdale.
“That was a tough loss. That was an exceptional team. We were hoping to do it that year,” Chatnik said of his 2009 squad, before adding. “We try to do it every year.”
Guilderland made its first Section II title-game appearance in 2005, won the first of four straight championships in 2007 and added a fifth flag this past season with a 15-8 triumph over Shaker.
Guilderland lost to Shaker the year
before, 9-8, and to Niskayuna in the 2011 final, 15-14, in what many consider the best Section II large-school final in terms of drama, intensity and the skill displayed.
“When I first started, I made some mistakes, but I learned a lot,” said Chatnik, who had never directed a high school team
before joining the Guilderland athletic program. “I got a lot from a lot of good coaches. Everyone was willing to help and show me things. Lacrosse is like that.”
Chatnik is still learning.
“When we play, I like to see what the other team is doing,” he said. “You’re always seeing different things that might work for your team.”
Winkler sets records
Rudy Winkler of Averill Park set the national high school 12-pound hammer throw record with a launch of 260-5 last week at the Army Strong Hammer Meet at West Point.
Conor McCullough (Chaminade, West Hills, Calif.) set United States class records as a freshman in 2006, sophomore in 2007, junior in 2008 and senior in 2009. Winkler broke McCullough’s 2008 national record of 260-0, as well as his senior class record of 256-9.
At the same meet, Winkler established a national record in the 6-kilogram hammer throw with a 249-0. McCullough also had held that record (248-11) since 2008.
Winkler will compete at the Pan American Junior Track and Field Championships Aug. 23-25 in
Medellin, Colombia, before heading off to Cornell University. His 2013 resume includes victories at the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor Nationals and at the United States Track and Field Junior Championships.
Saints back in WAC
Saratoga Central Catholic is joining the Western Athletic Conference for varsity boys’ soccer after playing last fall as an independent.
The Saints last competed in the WAC in the 2007 season. The school did not field a varsity soccer team the next four seasons. Saratoga Catholic fielded varsity football teams in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
“I think we’re going to be a very formidable team in the league,” said Phonsey Lambert, Saratoga Catholic’s athletic director. “We’ve got some athletes.”
Lambert said Saratoga Catholic went 1-2 against WAC teams last season, beating Galway and losing to Canajoharie as part of its non-league schedule before Middleburgh ousted the Saints in the Section II Class C tournament’s preliminary round.
“When football died out last year, we went back to soccer, but the WAC schedule was already out. That was near the end of June. I got on the phone and spent four hours putting together a 14-game schedule,” said Lambert. “We played everybody from Tamarac to Schroon Lake to Doane Stuart, Loudonville Christian and Greenwich.
“I think we won three games, but we didn’t get blown out. We’re were competitive.”
Lambert was particularly pleased with the fact that the Saints did not receive an infraction card over the course of the season.
“In our last year, in 2007, we had a lot of cards,” said Lambert. “Last year, there wasn’t one. Not one yellow or red. That speaks volumes for our coach. He has them playing the right way.”
Duanesburg resident Tim Barnes, a state trooper who played at Texas A&M, will again direct the Saints as they transition to league play.
Here and there
Olivia Morrow, who as a freshman at Saratoga Springs earned all-state Class A third-team cross country laurels, is transferring to Holy Names.
Morrow was projected to be among the Blue Streaks’ top fall runners after placing fourth at the Suburban Council meet, 11th at the Section II championships and seventh at the Federation meet in 2012. She will join a loaded Holy Names lineup that includes all-state Class B first-teamer Kaylee Scott, second-team pick Lydia Williams and fourth-team selections Leah Triller and Estela Smith. Holy Names won Section II and state championships last season and placed second to Saratoga at the Federation meet.
Smith transferred from Saratoga to Holy Names at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year. . . .
Host New Jersey made a goal-line stand in overtime to hold off the visiting team that included Corey Acker (Shenendehowa) and Christopher Kurz (Bethlehem), 14-7, at the recent New York vs. New Jersey High School Football Classic in Palisades Park. Caleb Scepaniak (Union-Endicott) scored New York’s lone touchdown on a three-yard run in the third quarter. . . .
Players from Glens Falls, Hudson Falls and South Glens Falls will compete together as the Rivermen in the Capital Distict High School Hockey League in the 2013-14 season. The Rivermen will be part of the league’s Division I group, leaving Queensbury as the league’s lone Division II team.
Glens Falls was a Division II member in past years. Hudson Falls/South Glens Falls played in Division I since coming together in a merger before the 2009-10 season.