Sports Editor’s Playbook, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010

Patrick Newell

– I am not going out on a limb by declaring this year’s Norwich wrestling team as one of its best in years. Tuesday night’s dual meet win over Johnson City proved that the Tornado matmen are much better than the clubs earlier this year that struggled for wins, much less a .500 record.
Johnson City is not at the same level as the clubs that won Section IV team titles over the past decade-plus, but it is Johnson City, and the Wildcats will always field a competitive team.
Norwich has a nice combination of experienced wrestlers along with excellent young talent. The veterans – Tanner Cummings, Kegan Levesque, Cameron Turner and Morgan Crawford – have paid their dues for several years on the varsity level. Second-year standouts, Tristan Rifanburg and Frankie Garcia, add to the talent level, and it appears Cody Bradbury and first-year varsity wrestler, Landon Cummings, will also pick up their fair share of wins.
We are at the earliest stages of the 2010-2011 season, but I would not be surprised at all if Norwich, in February, is competing in the Section IV Dual Meet Tournament.

– In today’s paper, the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame announced its first class of inductees. I didn’t have a say in the selection process, but I was fortunate enough to sit in during the many committee discussions over the past few months.
The decision-making process was not an easy one, and there was a consensus among the committee members to give just attention toward the athletes who paved the way for the rest of Norwich athletes. Not much statistical data is available for athletes prior to 1950. What we had were articles published in The Evening Sun sports section, and the memories of older Norwich alumni, who recall the athletic prowess of certain athletes. In was important to tap into the vast knowledge of our alumni to recognize the great athletes of the bygone era, if not, great NHS athletes may never reach the Norwich Hall of Fame.
I can say, with great confidence, that all of the inductees in this year’s class are unquestionably some of the Tornado’s all-time sports greats, and we’ll publish individual statements about each athlete during the spring of 2011. The biographies of the athletes will serve as a lead up to the induction ceremony that is tentatively slated for June of 2011.