The new Holy Trinity football team is getting a boost from Muscle Milk.
A panel from the protein drink’s manufacturing company has selected Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons/Saratoga Central Catholic/Catholic Central as one of 22 high school programs from across the country that will receive a financial grant.
“One of the players’ aunts sent me the information. We made a video and sent out an application in November,” said Holy Trinity coach John Barber. “I got word three or four weeks ago that we were one of the finalists. Last week we found out of 600 schools, we were one of the 22 that got the grant.
“This is a great opportunity Muscle Milk provides. It’s great for all of the schools.”
Barber said the $11,000 grant from the Muscle Milk Recovery Program will go toward player equipment and upgrades in the Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons field house which includes the team’s weight lifting room.
“The kids are excited about it,” said Barber. “It helps the kids’ morale.”
The Muscle Milk Recovery Program (CytoSport is the manufacturer of the product) is in its second year, and has awarded $500,000 in grants. Five New York school programs benefited from the most recent grants, including Fort Plain soccer.
Barber said new uniforms for his three-school football program were purchased before news of the grant. The primary team colors will be purple and maroon.
Students from Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Saratoga Catholic joined forces for the 2013 season and competed in Section II’s Class D league. A merger with Catholic Central was approved earlier this year, and the team will be a member of the Class C Central Division.
First-year Schenectady lacrosse coach Matt Marotta has good numbers, and his cast of 25 is enthusiastic about playing the game. What they lack, though, is varsity experience.
“We’re young,” said Marotta. “We only have a handful of guys who have played a lot.”
That group includes goalkeeper James Schnepf, longpole midfielder Erick Campos and offensive midfielder and faceoff specialist Erick Aldas. Schnepf and Campos were selected Big 10 first- and second-team all-stars, respectively, in 2013, and Aldas was an honorable mention pick.
“I’ve got a real positive group,” said Marotta, who has been with the Schenectady lacrosse program for 10 years, the last seven as its boys’ junior varsity coach. “If something happens, they talk it out and learn from it. The kids are excited to play and excited to learn.”
Schenectady opened its season with a 10-3 non-league loss to Bethlehem when Schnepf made 21 saves. A 6-1 Big 10 victory over Troy followed, with Ethan Szemansco scoring three goals. The Patriots lost another non-leaguer to Queensbury Tuesday, 11-3.
“We’ve got one of the best goalies in the section,” Marotta said of Schnepf, a junior. “We lost to Bethlehem, 10-3, and it could have been a 15-, 16-goal game.”
Marotta realizes his team will be taking more hits as the season progresses.
“The only way we can hang with the other teams is to play year round,” he said. “We did intermurals, but there’s no youth league. I’ve talked to some former players who want to help out. It’s something we’re working on.”
Schenectady has been playing varsity lacrosse since 1989. The program’s greatest run came from 1997 through 2002 when the Pats won two Capital District High School Lacrosse League North Division titles and a pair of Big 10 championships.
Schenectady won 15 games in 2001 and a program-record 17 in 2002.
“I want to bring the program around to where it was, when 15, 16 wins was a regular thing,” said Marotta, the Patriots starting goalkeeper on the 1997 and 1998 teams. “I want to get that winning attitude back.”