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SportsColumnistsGregg Sarra

Big 10 is honored territory for all

Hills West's Tavon Sledge (23) dunks against Bellport.

Hills West's Tavon Sledge (23) dunks against Bellport. (Jan. 25, 2010) Credit: Photo by John Dunn

The Big 10 is an all-inclusive club. It doesn't matter if you're on the school basketball team or the 4 x 400 relay in track - you matter. The Big 10 is about everyone who plays high school sports.

The Big 10 acknowledges outstanding teams from the regular season through the state tournaments. It is developed through a cooperative effort of dedicated people who funnel information to one source to make a list that recognizes greatness.

The climb to the top is no easy task. The South Side girls soccer team earned the fall championship in the Big 10 by winning the Class A state soccer title. Staying above the competition for an entire season is even more difficult. One misstep and you fall. And sometimes, you fall completely out of the rankings and find your team on the outside looking in.

Portledge boys ice hockey has been on the outside looking in all winter. It will make a well-deserved debut in the Big 10 in the final ranking next week. The Garden City girls track team has been in and out of the Big 10, but two national titles this weekend will move the Trojans back into the ranking - but how high?

The final week of the Big 10 approaches and we're left with two outstanding teams to be considered for the top spot. One has conquered the wrestling world and the other is marching on Glens Falls this weekend, looking to capture a boys NYSPHSAA basketball championship.

Glenn's wrestling team produced an undefeated dual-meet record, earned the Suffolk Division I team title at the county championships and crowned the school's first individual state champion when Nick Meinsen earned the 130-pound title in Albany.

The Knights' rise to the top is even more impressive when one considers its enrollment is less than half of most of the Class AA schools that it competes against.

They rolled ahead of two of Long Island's greatest bowling teams during the regular season. The East Islip boys had four bowlers averaging more than 222. But the Redmen were bowled over by Sachem East for the county crown and were knocked out of the Big 10.

The East Islip girls bowling team buried opponents all season with four girls averaging more than 201. Undefeated Middle Country upended the Redmen by 21 pins in the county final - and the Cougars earned a spot in the Big 10.

That's the beauty of the Big 10. It recognizes greatness.

Tennessee-bound Tobias Harris and junior Tavon Sledge lead Half Hollow Hills West into its first appearance at the state basketball level. This Big 10 is not Glenn's to lose - it is Half Hollow Hills West's to win. It can be measured against Glenn only by competing at the state level.

And this is what the Big 10 does. It gives a better view of what athletes across the board are doing. They could be swimming for county and state records - like the boys teams at St. Anthony's, Half Hollow Hills and Great Neck South. Or they could be fencing for a ninth straight county crown like Ward Melville's girls.

Where else can you compare a swimmer to a fencer?


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