Long Beach: Title town again?
Long Beach is hoping for a little bit of history repeated.
When the Marines (15-1-3) won the Small Schools state championship in 2004-05 they hosted the tournament. This year, hosting duties happen to fall to Long Beach again, and the team, the No. 1 seed in Nassau's Michelino division, is ready to hold up its end of the bargain.
"We kind of had this year identified a few years ago," coach Joe Brand said. "We're as deep or deeper than we've ever been this year."
And that's saying a lot considering that in the last 10 years the team has captured six county titles and was runner-up for two others.
"We have a very nice talent pool here in Long Beach," Brand said. "We have a rink in our backyard that, let's face it, bring a lot of kids to the sport."
Brand, a former defenseman, has built the team based around defense, which certainly shows with a league leading 27 goals against.
"The only two columns we care about are wins and goals against," he said. "We're led very much by our goaltending, we have three awesome goalies. They set the tone, don't give up any soft ones, and we do a good job in front of them."
Sam Mignoli leads in goal with a 7-1-2 record in 11 games, posting a 1.53 GAA. But young talent like sophomore Harris Pittinsky (4-0-1, 1.45 GAA) and up-and-comer Joe Brand have the team well placed for the future.
Friars vie for first CHSAA title Sunday
St. Anthony's won the regular season for the first time in school history this year and on Sunday will challenge for its first CHSAA Intersectional title. Last year the Friars lost to Fordham Prep by just 17 points.
"As far as last year and this year, my guys are definitely a little bit faster," coach Dan McBride said. "Fordham graduated a bunch of good swimmers, so overall their times were probably a bit weaker than some of the championship teams."
Depth wins championships in swimming, and St. Anthony has it in spades. But the team also has a great deal of versatility led by captain Mike Forgione.
"He's the fastest sprinter that we've had on the team, fastest in the 100 freestyle at least," McBride said. "And him being able to move around, he's probably the No. 1 go-to-guy that we have."
After Forgione that championship-caliber depth kicks in, where standout swimmers like Monte Jiran will shine.
Titans take the cake
To the victor go the sweets.
Top-seeded Holy Trinity (11-1) defeated rival St. John the Baptist, 51/2-31/2, to win the CHSAA boys bowling title on Thursday. It was the Titans' first championship since 2006, when they completed an undefeated season.
A December loss to No. 2 St. John the Baptist denied them perfection this year, but they avenged that stumble by ending this campaign with Champagne . . . substitute. Holy Trinity celebrated with assistant coach Mary Messina's "bowling cake" and popped bottles of sparkling cider at Farmingdale Lanes.
"Since we can't have Champagne," coach Frank Messina chuckled. "We were going to celebrate whether we won or lost because the kids had a great season. Winning just added to it."
And it was done in somewhat dramatic fashion. The Titans, who lost to Chaminade by 21 pins in the final last year, pulled this one out by 38 pins.
"There has to be a winner and loser and you feel bad for the other team when it's that close," Messina said. "But you feel great for your team. They rose to the occasion."
In particular the 'B' team. Anthony DellaRatta rolled a 659 series - and was named tournament MVP - and Sal Rivieccio shot a 628 to anchor that crew. Luis Christie led the A-Teamers with a 639 series.
The pastry, if you're wondering, is a white vanilla cake shaped as a bowling pin with red icing for the stripe and it's served with an auxiliary chocolate cake in the shape of a ball.
Nassau winner a toss-up
The difference between the top teams and the top gymnasts in Nassau this year is thinner than the breadth of a balance beam.
All the more reason why this week could flip the high school scene (literally) on its head.
The team championships Tuesday at Oceanside will have the top two teams, Oceanside and Plainview JFK, competing for the coveted crown - with some heavy competition from dark horses like Sewanhaka District and Hicksville.
"It could be anyone," Plainview coach Debbie Rut said. "It could be someone falling, injured or being ill and you don't even know until you get there."
This year, the biggest rivalry is Oceanside (winners in '07-08) and Plainview (winners in '08-09). The rivals met for the first time this season on Feb. 1. Plainview, helmed by Victoria Vitale, won, 170.65-169.85.
On the individual side, the state qualifiers will be Thursday at Bethpage. Favorites include Vitale (Plainview), Paige McCarthy (Oceanside) and Allison Osmundsen (Hicksville).
"Victoria has work ethic and spirit," said Rut, who helped coach the state team last year. "Allison is just a tremendous competitor."
TRACK & FIELD
Meets move around
The Nassau Class A championships, originally scheduled for Saturday, will be held Wednesday at Suffolk CC-Brentwood, Nassau officials announced. The Nassau state qualifier, originally scheduled for Wednesday, will be either Thursday or Friday.
The Nassau Class B championship is at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.