No matter which championship game, no matter what sport, the consensus was the same this spring season:
“Winning a championship is an awesome, amazing feeling.”
That sentence was uttered by Massena pitcher David Dubray, whose team captured the Section 10 Class A baseball championship over the weekend. But it was also said in one form or another by other athletes at the end of title games the last three days.
It was good to be playing for a title again.
This spring season was the first time area high school teams, in both the Frontier League and Northern Athletic Conference, have been able to play for section championships since March of 2020 when basketball and hockey teams had just clinched sectional champions right before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports for the next six months. Even when games started up again in the fall of 2020, meeting for far-flung sectional playoffs was out of the question.
And, so, area athletes waited and waited until this spring, when they competed in a normal season, albeit a later start than usual, once again.
“Winning this game meant everything to us because we had great teams in soccer and basketball but there was no sectionals,” said Hammond senior Avery Kenyon after the Red Devils won the Section 10 Class D title over Heuvelton in a nine-inning battle Saturday.
The ability to play for championships again has felt so good for Section 10 squads that the baseball and softball teams will continue playing this week in the first overall tournament in more than 30 years in the respective sports. Once the mainstay of the basketball season, Section 10 has added the diamond tournaments in place of the state tournament that normally takes place in June but was scrapped again this season because of COVID precautions.
“It feels amazing because I did it with guys who come in every day and do the work,” said Heuvelton pitcher Adam Calton after the Bulldogs won the Section 10 baseball title. “Now we get to go on which should be fun.”
Section 10 lacrosse teams just started their sectional playoff runs and will continue this week with semifinal games Tuesday and championship games Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Section 3 schools have concluded their seasons with a one-week tournament of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Beaver River’s baseball team emerged as the sole Frontier League squad to win a sectional title, taking the C-2 crown in Newport on Saturday, and becoming the first Frontier League team to win a sectional championship since the Lowville boys basketball and South Jefferson girls basketball teams won Section 3 crowns in March 2020.
“It feels so good bringing (a title) back to Beaver River,” said Beavers pitcher Jordan Shearer after winning the Section 3 clincher. “It’s such a thrilling experience.”
So congratulations to Beaver River baseball, Massena, Gouverneur, Lisbon and Heuvelton baseball, and Massena, Canton, St. Lawrence and Hammond softball for reintroducing that championship feeling to local high school sports after so many months without it.
Finally, a season that ended on a high note.
Section 3 announced Friday its scholar athlete awards for each participating Section 3 school for the past school year.
Twenty-nine Frontier League athletes were selected as scholar athlete winners and each will receive a $100 scholarship, plaque and commemorative program. An awards program will air at 6 p.m. Monday on CNY Central (CW6) and on their website at www.cnycenteral.com
Award winners from Frontier League schools are as follows:
Alexandria: (name, sports, college plans) Rebecca Davis; basketball, softball; SUNY Canton; and William Bachop-Delosh; soccer, basketball, tennis, golf; Jefferson CC.
Beaver River: Peyton Smith; cross country, volleyball, track and field; Liberty University; and Cory Demo; cross country, swimming, track and field, basketball; SUNY Buffalo.
Belleville Henderson: Colton Storey; soccer, basketball, baseball; RIT.
Carthage: Elizabeth Taveras; soccer, volleyball, softball; Brigham Young University; and Harrison Scott; football, wrestling, track and field; Alfred State.
Copenhagen: Brooke Smykla; soccer, basketball; Jefferson CC; and Lucas Graves; soccer, basketball, baseball; St. John Fisher.
General Brown: Chloe Moore; cheerleading, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse; University at Buffalo; and David Jenner; soccer, hockey; SUNY Geneseo.
Immaculate Heart: Rose Gonas; soccer, basketball, lacrosse; Scranton University; and Tieler Friedline; soccer, hockey; University of North Dakota.
Indian River: Caroline Simmons; volleyball, tennis, track and field; Brigham Young University; and Mason Van Tassel, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field; Le Moyne College.
Lowville: Emma Dening; soccer, basketball, softball; St. Lawrence University; and Aidan Macaulay; football, basketball, lacrosse, baseball; St. Lawrence University.
Lyme: Camille Stevenson; soccer, basketball, golf; Jefferson CC; and Graham Rowland; soccer, basketball, lacrosse; Jefferson CC.
Sackets Harbor: Sofia Gray; soccer, basketball, softball; SUNY Oswego.
Sandy Creek: Sarah Balcom; soccer, volleyball, softball; SUNY Canton; and Terry Eggleston; cross country, track and field; SUNY ESF.
South Jefferson: Kaleigha Berie; soccer, basketball, lacrosse; Jefferson CC; and Colby Randall; soccer, swimming, baseball; Le Moyne.
South Lewis: Hannah Ielfield; cross country, track and field; University of Mississippi.
Thousand Islands: Haylee Alteri; soccer, basketball, softball; SUNY Cortland; and Brayden Mason; soccer, football, basketball, baseball; Jefferson CC.
Watertown: Analee Lanphear; soccer, volleyball, lacrosse; University of Rochester; and Aidan Reff; soccer, swimming, lacrosse; Jefferson CC.
Section 3 will hold three media days in which students can pick up their awards and have pictures taken. The days are as follows:
Tuesday, June 15: 12:30-4 p.m., Section 3 office, East Syracuse
Wednesday, June 16: 12:30-4 p.m., Indian River High School, Philadelphia
Thursday, June 17: 12:30-4 p.m., Yahnundasis Golf Club, New Hartford
The Section 3 scholar athletes program was begun in 1988 with the goal of honoring scholastic and athlete excellence.
The Watertown Daily Times will announced All-North teams for baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse over the next two weeks.
Because of the shortened or nonexistent seasons, the Times has been able to issue an All-North squad only for the NAC soccer schools in December since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
But the spring teams will resume the seasonal tradition as the All-North squads will be announced after a one-year hiatus. Baseball and softball teams will be presented this Saturday and Sunday with lacrosse teams announced June 26 and 27.