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Sports highlights of 2012

January 15, 2013
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Red Storm hockey reaches final four

SARANAC LAKE - Determination, relentlessness, confidence, a no-quit attitude and a knack for being opportunistic.

Those were all parts of the formula that landed Saranac Lake's hockey team in the state Division II final four for the second time in school history.

Article Photos

Saranac Lake hockey players celebrate with home fans at the Civic Center following a 6-5 overtime victory on March 3 that earned the Red Storm their second trip to the state final four in the school’s history.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

The Red Storm punched their ticket to the New York state public high school Division II semifinals in Utica with a 6-5 overtime victory against Queensbury in regional playoff action on March 3.

Then, in the state semifinal game against Oswego on March 10, Saranac Lake fell behind by three goals early and was forced to play catchup the rest of the way before losing 6-4 in Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Oswego lost 6-3 to Kenmore East in the state championship game the following day.

Senior Devin Darrah played a major role in the Red Storm making the run to the state final four. He scored twice in the regional final and had a hat trick in the state semifinal.

Saranac Lake generated a lot of excitement during the run, beating Plattsburgh for a second-straight Section VII title and Tri-Lakes rival Lake Placid in the sectional semifinal. The Red Stormm packed the Saranac Lake Civic Center in the regional final against Queensbury and avenged a loss from the previous year.

"It's total elation right now on our part, on the part of our club," Saranac Lake head coach Will Ellsworth said after beating Queensbury on home ice. "How did we win? We won because we believed. When we were down 5-3 after the second period, we told the guys in the locker room we believe in them. We've come back from adversity, we've come back from two goals down before and we can score in bunches. I had no doubt we could come back."


ECACs slated to return to Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID - The Eastern College Athletic Conference announced on Aug. 14 that it finalized a three-year agreement with the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) that will bring the annual men's hockey championship to the Olympic Center beginning in March 2014.

The 1980 Rink in Herb Brooks Arena will be the fifth different venue for the tournament and sixth time the men's championship has experienced a location change in the league's history. The championship has previously been conducted at Boston Arena (1962-66), Boston Garden (1967-92), Olympic Center in Lake Placid (1993-2002), Pepsi Arena/Times Union Center in Albany (2003-10) and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. (2011-2013).

The elite ECAC hockey conference is comprised of 12 of the most prestigious men's ice hockey programs in the United States.

"We are thrilled to partner with ORDA for our men's championship beginning in March 2014," said ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell. "Lake Placid has always been one of the special hockey places in the U.S. The combination of the warm welcome from the surrounding community, aura of the venue and general support will be easily abosorbed by fans and students alike. The location serves as a prime choice for enhancing the overall student-athlete experience."

The 1980 Herb Brooks Arena is one of three ice surfaces at the Olympic Center and features an 8,500-seat multi-purpose arena. The surface, along with the USA Rink was built for the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Six different ECAC Hockey programs claimed championship titles when the event was previously held in Lake Placid, with Clarkson (1993 and 1999), Cornell (1996 and 1997), Harvard (1994 and 2002) and St. Lawrence (2000 and 2001) earning multiple Whitelaw Cups. Princeton won the school's first-ever title in 1998 and Rensselaer won in 1995.

The arena has been used several times for college hockey championships. It hosted the 1970, 1984 and 1988 men's NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, commonly referred to as the Frozen Four. The arena also hosted the NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Championship in 2007, as well as five men's NCAA Division III championships with a sixth taking place in March 2013.


Holcomb cleans up at World Championships

LAKE PLACID - The track here might as well have been called Steven Holcomb's track during the World Championships in February.

The Park City, Utah native made it a sweep of bobsled gold as he piloted USA 1 to victory in the four-man race in the finale of the 2012 FIBT Bobsled and Skeleton World Championships.

The gold was the third for Holcomb in as many races during the championships at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Prior to the four-man triumph, he won the two-man race on Feb. 19 and followed up later that day by helping the United States claim first place in the team competition.

Driving the Night Train, Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Langton and Curtis Tomasevicz posted a four-run total of 3 minutes, 36.83 seconds during the two-day race to cruise to a half-second victory over runner-up Germany 1.

Following the opening run, Holcomb stood in second place behind Germany 1 - driven by Maximilian Arndt - but took over the lead on the second heat and nailed down the win by posting the fastest finish times in each of Sunday's runs.

The win gave Holcomb four monumental victories on bobsledding's biggest stage since he broke a 50-year U.S. gold medal drought at the World Championships in the four-man when the event was last staged in Lake Placid in 2009. A year later, Holcomb and the Night Train won the gold medal at the Vancouver Winter Games to break a 62-year Olympic four-man winless streak for the Americans and last week, his two-man triumph was the first at the World Championships in U.S. men's bobsledding history.

"You just go out there and give it your best, do what you can, and hope it all comes together, and it has for the past few years" Holcomb said. "It's great to slide on your home track. I've been down this track a million times. You get great fan support. In Europe, when you cross the finish line, they'll still clap for you, but it's not like this."


Blue Bombers make boys soccer history

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid boys soccer team made school history this fall by bringing the school its first-ever sectional boys soccer championship. The historic run came just one year after the team finished the 2011 season with just five wins.

The Blue Bombers staked its claim to history with a 2-0 victory over Seton Catholic in the Section VII, Class C championship game. Lake Placid then traveled to Plattsburgh to take on Hoosick Falls of Section II and lost 1-0, with the only goal coming on a corner kick midway through the second half.

"You take a bunch of kids that people said had great talent and we made school history with a sectional banner," said first-year coach Stuart Hemsley. "That's a great year."


Three more inducted to Tupper Hall of Fame

TUPPER LAKE - Coach Fred Short and athlete Angie Kentile Fenlong were inducted to the Tupper Lake High School Sports Hall of Fame on Jan 20.

The ceremony took place during halftime of the Tupper Lake boys basketball game against Madrid-Waddington. Athletic Director Russ Bartlett led the ceremony for the 72nd and 73rd honorees for the hall of fame that is located in the hallway near the gym at the high school.

A former math teacher, Short coached girls soccer and baseball. He led the girls soccer team to a 186-107-22 record between 1987 and 2002.

During that time, he earned Champlain Valley Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors twice and led his team to Division II titles from 1992 to 1998.

His baseball coaching career started at the junior varsity level. He coached JV from 1974 to 1978 and from 1986 to 1993.

Short took over the varsity program from 1994 until 2003, when he retired from his job as a teacher. During that time, he had an 83-76 record on the varsity level.

The last five years of his baseball career, his teams were regularly ranked in the top 20 in New York state.

He led the team to two CVAC, Division II titles, three Section VII titles, a regional title and a final four appearance.

The 64-year-old Short lives in Long Lake, where he runs a landscaping business in the summer.

Kentile Fenlong played basketball and volleyball for the Lumberjacks in mid-1980s.

"I've seen great teams and great individual athletes, but there is one athlete in particular who should be in the Tupper Lake High School Sports Hall of Fame," said Bartlett, reading from an induction letter from former teacher and coach Tony Mercurio.

Kentile Fenlong played on a volleyball team that went 40-2 over two seasons. Her team won two Section X, Class D championships during that time and one overall title. During that time, Kentile Fenlong was a two-time All-Northern player.

As a basketball player, Kentile Fenlong was a captain on the 1984-85 team. She averaged 21 points per game, highlighted by a 33-point night against Massena and a 30-point effort against Malone. She earned All-Northern team for basketball also.

The 44-year-old Kentile Fenlong now lives in Russell, near Canton.

"I was very surprised when I got the call," she said. "I was pleasantly surprised - honored. It meant a lot to me. I had good times here and I'm proud to be a Lumberjack."


Potts dominates Ironman Lake Placid

LAKE PLACID - The Ironman Lake Placid triathlon brought in record numbers of contestants once again on a hot day on July 22.

Andy Potts, a 35-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo., dominated the men's race setting a new swim course record before going on to win the race by more than 21 minutes with a total time of 8 hours, 25 minutes. It was the third Ironman victory of his career.

Potts, who competed in triathlon for the United States at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, turned in the fastest times in all three stages of the race for a winning time of 8 hours and 25 minutes. He kicked off the day with a new swim mark of 45 minutes and 1 second.

Australia's Peter Jacobs, who was runner-up at the 2011 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, settled for another second place in his first trip to Lake Placid, finishing in 8:56:42. Romain Guillaum of France was third in 9:08:50, and Matthew Russell, a native of Canton now living in Arizona, placed fourth in 9:16:36.

"I have been thinking about this race since last November," Potts said after the race. "I chose it because it's the oldest Ironman in the United States next to Hawaii. This race is really important for the history of our sport in America. Having an American win it was the goal of the day."

Meanwhile, on the women's side, a mother of three who had never competed at the Ironman distance until this year, topped the field as Jessie Donavan won her first championship. Racing in her third Ironman, the 36-year-old from Shelburne, Vt. ate up a deficit after the swim with strong performances on the 112-mile bike leg and marathon run to win by a nine-minute margin.

"I had never done an Ironman when I volunteered here last year," Donavan said. "I told my husband 'I think I can do this.' I didn't even think about winning here, but I'm good on the bike and I'm a good runner. After three hours racing, I tend to get stronger."

There were 27 finishers from the Tri-Lakes and the surrounding area.


Undefeated Red Storm repeat sectional crown

WESTPORT - As good as it gets.

That's just about how the opening round of the Section VII Championship worked out for Saranac Lake's golfers on May 24 at the Westport Country Club.

After posting a 10-0 record in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference, the Red Storm backed it up by winning the sectional crown, something they weren't able to do a year ago after also going unbeaten in the regular season.

Not only did Saranac Lake finish well ahead of the rest of the 15-team field, all six Red Storm golfers survived the cut to reach the championship's second round to determine the individual champion and the make-up of the nine-player squad representing Section VII in the state tournament at Cornell University.

"You couldn't ask for much more," Saranac Lake head coach Chris Stevens said after the round. "We were undefeated last year and couldn't win the section. This year, we started with winning the CVAC and then to win Section VII, how great is that? It was an exciting day down there.

"Whether we won or lost, all our kids played good golf," Stevens added. "That made them happy, and seeing that made me happy."

In the team round, the lowest four scores are counted among the six golfers playing for each school. Saranac Lake won with a 321 total, which was 16 strokes ahead of runner-up Elizabethtown-Lewis. Despite the large margin of victory, the Red Storm only held a one-shot lead after nine holes. But on the back nine, Saranac Lake pulled away to claim its first Section VII title since 2008.

"Chipping and putting did it for us," Stevens said. "Anyone can get there in two shots, but you have to finish off. Every player on our team chipped well. They played good golf."

Sophomore Dustin Fischer led Saranac Lake with a 4-over par 76, which has him one stroke off the low rounds of the day turned in by defending champion John Hickey of AuSable Valley and Plattsburgh's Ethan Votraw. Senior captain Matt Clark turned in the next lowest score for the Red Storm, an 80.

Kyle Dora and Ethan Sawyer were also in the mix for a state team berth after carding 83s for the Red Storm. Teammate Devin Darrah was two shots back with an 85. Darrah, a senior, struggled with a 47 on the front nine but rebounded after the turn with a 38 on the back.

Blake Gregory was the final Saranac Lake golfer to make the cut with a 90.

This marked the second year in a row all six Red Storm golfers advanced to the second round of the Section VII championships.



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