Archive for December, 2010

Sports Editor’s playbook, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Patrick Newell

– The athletic exploits of all of the 2010 Norwich Sports Hall of Fame inductees are well known, with the possible exception of Glen Earl “Tommy” Manning. About the only Mannings relevant to most of today’s Evening Sun readers are brothers Peyton and Eli, of NFL fame.
In the spring, we’ll provide a detailed description of this year’s Hall of Fame class leading up to the actual induction ceremony in June. Just to give people a sense of Tommy Manning’s worthiness as a selection, I can offer a few facts: He was a three-year starter at quarterback for Norwich from 1922-1924 starting every game, playing every minute and every down. Norwich went 19-3 over his three-year career, and he guided Norwich to its first win over Binghamton Central in 1924 to culminate an unbeaten season. As a perfect season hung in the balance and Binghamton driving for a winning touchdown, Manning picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown to clinch the win. It was a story-book end for Manning to a brilliant three-year football career at Norwich High School. In his final season, Manning had seven rushing touchdowns, nine passing scores, and drop-kicked 13 extra-points. Those statistics – 86 years ago – would still rank among the best in our area today.

– Is it ever too early to start hyping a team? Hey, that’s my job, right? I asked Norwich wrestling coach, Joe Downey, about his team’s prospects of making the Section IV Dual Meet Tournament in February. He told me he wasn’t sure his kids were even aware of that tournament. The tournament began a few years ago to determine the best dual meet team in the section. Teams are usually selected by won-loss record and performance in league competition. Since the tournament’s inception, Norwich has never competed in tournament, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the athletes on the Norwich team are not aware of the event.
Tuesday, Norwich picked up its second straight significant win defeating Chenango Valley on the road. Last week, Norwich edged Johnson City in its season opener, and that victory is looking better by the moment. Johnson City defeated Chenango Forks last night – yes the same Chenango Forks team that was last year’s dual meet team champion.
Norwich has a couple of holes in the lineup right now due to injury and other reasons. Once those are filled in, the Tornado matmen should be considered as one of the top eight or 10 dual meet teams in Section IV.

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Editor’s Notebook: 12/7/10

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Jeff Genung

• OK, it’s Christmas-y enough out there now. You can stop with this snow thing.

• Kind of a lonely day in The Evening Sun newsroom … most of my staff took a little field trip today down to the Dimock, Pa. area. It’s all part of our ongoing natural gas issue coverage, spearheaded by Melissa deCordova. We thought it would be a good idea to see, up close and personal, how that area has been affected – good and bad – by the gas drilling industry. Of course someone had to stay behind and mind the store, so here I sit. Can’t wait to see what they came up with. You’ll see it too – watch for some promo ads we’ll be doing about an upcoming special series.

• Speaking of upcoming specials – next Friday we’re publishing our annual “Letters to Santa” section from Chenango County children. Has your little one sent in a letter yet? Not only do they get published for all our readers to see (before we forward them on to the North Pole, of course), but each and every child also gets a personalized letter back from ol’ St. Nick! In order to be published, Letters to Santa must be received no later than Monday, Dec. 13. Letters can be mailed to Santa in care of The Evening Sun, PO Box 151, Norwich NY 13815. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope, and Santa will send a personalized reply to each child! But don’t waste a stamp! Santa’s online at The Evening Sun, too! Letters can be e-mailed to

Sports Editor’s Playbook, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010

Monday, December 6th, 2010
Patrick Newell

– Former Oxford teacher and varsity wrestling coach, Scott Green, heads up one of the premier wrestling programs in Pennsylvania, Wyoming Seminary. Green brought almost a full contingent of wrestlers to this past weekend’s Clyde Cole Tournament, and all of them, I believe, placed among the top five in their respective weight classes. WS won seven individual titles, and no other team had more than two champions. There was no shame losing to a Wyoming Seminary wrestler as most are recruited to wrestle for the program, and many are nationally ranked wrestlers. Wyoming Seminary’s team is good enough to wrestle in tournaments that include the nation’s number one prep wrestling team Blair Academy. That should give an indication of this team’s caliber. Among Wyoming Seminary’s nationally regarded wrestlers are Eric Morris, who easily cruised to the 152-pound title; and Dom Malone, the 119-pound champion who is among the top-eight in the country at that weight.

– Oxford freshman Joe Nelson is a quick study. He played basketball all of his life, and was on the seventh-grade hoops team at Oxford. Oxford teacher Clayton Kappauf and volunteer assistant coach, Thad Rice, encouraged Nelson to try out for wrestling after the modified season was over. The way the schedule worked out, wrestling on the seventh-grade level started as soon as basketball finished. It was the perfect opportunity for Nelson to try something new. With just two years of wrestling under his belt, Nelson entered his first varsity tournament last weekend, and for an Oxford wrestler, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Clyde Cole Tournament, hosted by the Blackhawks. As documented in Monday’s Evening Sun edition, Nelson won the 96-pound championship, a standout performance for a young man who had absolutely no varsity wrestling experience. “He’s a great all-around kid, and has obviously really taken to the sport,” said Oxford head coach Craig Tefft. “He has a lot of natural ability that a lot of wrestlers don’t have with his amount of experience. He is at the point now where he is like a sponge. He is learning, he is taking in as much as he can, and he wants to know everything. He has a great work ethic, not just in wrestling, but in the classroom as well.” Tefft’s description of Nelson sounds awfully similar to another one-time Oxford standout, J.P. O’Connor. While it’s far too early to tell where Nelson will go, no one can ever take away one of the best debuts on the wrestling mat that we’ve seen – especially for someone with so little experience.

– After nine seasons as the boys’ swimming coach, Mike Platta stepped aside this winter to spend more time with his family, he said. Platta hands the reins over to former Greene swimmer Mark Yeager, who inherits a team that posted a 48-meet unbeaten streak against Midstate Athletic Conference competition. During his tenure, Platta guided his team to 81 wins and a .717 winning percentage. The Trojans were even better against league competition under Platta posting a 51-2-1 record. Greene had six Section IV, Class C champions over the past nine season, five straight league championships, and one runner-up finish in the Section IV meet. “What I am most proud of, beyond the undefeated seasons, was that every single year I was the coach, we won a scholar/athlete team award,” Platta said recently. “I hope that’s my legacy – that we built great athletes, but even greater young men.”

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Editor’s Notebook: 12/6/10

Monday, December 6th, 2010
Jeff Genung

• It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas …

• Looks like they had a great turnout for Sherburne’s annual Christmas parade over the weekend. We had quite a few photos in today’s print edition, and this afternoon I put up all the ones Frank took on Facebook.

• Installment No. 3 of our “Delivering Christmas” series turned out to be, perhaps, the most important. Tyler and Melissa visited the Toys for Tots headquarters last week and were dismayed to find a lack of … toys. So it’s fortuitous that Melissa wrote that story so early on in the series – there’s still plenty of time for you make your own donation of a new, unwrapped toy this year.

• And that’s not all you can do to help us “Deliver Christmas.” Once again, we’re spearheading our own book drive for Toys for Tots – same concept, only with books (nice how that whole literacy angle works for us, eh?). You can always drop off brand-new books at any Toys for Tots location, of course, but you can also bring them by our Pennysaver office at 18-20 Mechanic St. in Norwich. Still not convenient enough? We’ll pick them up and “Deliver Christmas” ourselves! Evening Sun newspaper carriers will pick up books donated by home delivery subscribers on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Just leave them in a plastic bag, wherever your newspaper is normally left off.

• OK, time to go home and shovel again. Is it true that they do it for you in the Village of Sherburne? Might be time to move …

Eleven locals qualify for Clyde Cole finals

Saturday, December 4th, 2010
Patrick Newell

Eleven county wrestlers in Clyde Cole finals
OXFORD – Saturday morning at Oxford’s 48th Annual Clyde Cole Memorial Wrestling Tournament, 11 Chenango County wrestlers advanced to the finals, scheduled tonight after 6 p.m.
B-GA, second in the team scoring after Friday’s opening day, leads the way with four wrestlers in the finals. Those include Wayne Cirigliano (125), Danny Gormley (130), Daren Terpstra, (152), and Vinnie Buttice (171). Defending team champion, Greene, placed three in the finals. Qualifying for the Trojans were Mike Beckwith (160), Kurt Shear (189), and Kyle Stanton (215).
Norwich and Oxford had two wrestlers apiece in the finals. Norwich’s Tristan Rifanburg (112) won a 5-4 decision to reach the finals, and Frankie Garcia (119) posted a 4-0 win. First-time finals for the host Blackhawks are seventh-grader Joe Nelson (96), and Nik Hansen (125), who advanced with an overtime victory.
Results of the tournament will appear in the Monday edition of The Evening Sun.

Editor’s Notebook: 12/2/3

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
Jeff Genung

• Remember when I complained about my extended summer vacation being over, and having to work on Fridays again? Yeah, I’m taking tomorrow off …

• Tyler seems to stumble across a lot of “stupid criminal” stories – today’s was about an alleged shoplifter at Walmart who punched the security guy after he was accused. Way to not make yourself look guilty, buddy. Although, I have to say I empathize on some level. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to punch someone at Walmart (but usually not the employees) …

• Kudos to Sen. Schumer for stepping in on behalf of all those local business swindled by Aeden Waterford (a story which Melissa Stagnaro broke a month ago). It’s mind-boggling to me that the federal government would expect these people to come up with that money twice. They wrote checks, and thought their taxes were paid! Pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, I’d say freezing those bills would be the least they could do.

• Since I won’t be here tomorrow, early birthday wishes to our own Melissa deCordova, who’s celebrating Sunday. My gray hair notwithstanding, I’m actually only the third-oldest person on The Evening Sun news team (Pat’s ahead of me by a bit too). Happy Birthday, MDC!

Editor’s Notebook: 12/1/10

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Jeff Genung

!• Well December sure is off to one hell of a start …

• In case you didn’t know, is a great place to check for local school closings and delays. We cover only Chenango County, so you don’t have to wait for that interminable crawl on TV or the lengthy list on the radio – it’s all in a scroll across the top of our web page. This afternoon, several schools reported “no afterschool activities” because of the nasty weather.

• Had a great time at Commerce Chenango’s Small Business Dinner last night. While “big” businesses around here get a lot of attention, it’s nice to see the little guy recognized, too – although some of the businesses honored last night (I’m looking at you, Blueox) are pretty big in their own right. Congratulations to all the award winners – and to the Country Club for a mighty fine meal.

• Today kicked off our annual “Delivering Christmas” holiday prelude series, which this year will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in December. In the first installment, Tyler Murphy visited our old friend Charlie McMullen and his team at the Taste ‘N’ See Soup Kitchen in Oxford. The purpose of this series is to highlight the good works that charitable organizations are doing this time of year – and to get our own hands dirty volunteering for the cause as well. It’s one thing to take some notes and write a story, but quite another to actually experience firsthand what it is you’re reporting on. Sure it’s a little bit of self-promotion, but hey, we’re good citizens, too. It’s something the staff looks forward to doing every year, and they’ve got some great work lined up.

Forget the ice, gimme some snow

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Brian Golden

Well, it certainly didn’t feel or look like December 1 when I got up and about this morning. In fact, I can’t quite remember any December in recent years that kicked off with temperatures this high and, remarkably, a flood warning in effect. And no, for those of you who know me I’m not going to go into some global warming/climate change spiel (although I think you know my position on the subject).

Instead, I wanted to rant a little bit about the fact that, lately, we haven’t really seemed to have a chance to enjoy a good, old-fashioned snow-filled holiday season.

All I seem to remember of the last two winters, as it pertains to the weather, was the ice. Lots and lots of it. Some of this can be attributed to the constant complaining I’ve overheard from local snowmobile enthusiasts on the horrible conditions or, to put it simply, the lack of snow. Whatever happened to those typical Chenango County winters where we would find ourselves buried neck-deep (or at least waist-high) in the fluffy white stuff?

One of my favorite nearly-buried-alive snow stories goes back to the days when my father had recently married my step-mother – which in turn provided me with a pair of older step-brothers and a step-sister, a novel concept for an only child like myself – and a return trip home that ended with a big surprise, especially for a six-year-old to whom three or four feet of snow seemed truly mountainous. When we pulled up to the driveway on Pratt Road, we discovered our valley home had been bombarded by snowfall, completely blocking our entrance, knocking out the power and the clearing of which proved to be quite hard on the old man and my elder siblings.

No, it seems we simply don’t get that kind of snowfall these days, blame it on what you will. I vividly remember the snow storms of the late 1990’s and, let me tell you, if you weren’t around for those you don’t know what you missed out on. Just absolutely massive amounts of snow in that short a time span is impressive, awe-inspiring and way too much fun to play around in. And that’s what I miss the most about our lack of snow in recent years – the sledding, snowball fights, the building of snow forts (for you kids out there, a patient parent with access to a snow blower can make for a very large snow fort) and, of course, the beloved snow day.

Now I realize we’ve had our share of those blessed, free-from-school events in the past couple of years, yet they’ve been due primarily to ice, and not snow. And that’s just no fun at all. Half of the fun on a snow day was, well, playing in the snow. Try attempting that on ice and you end up with a broken collarbone, or worse. Trust me, I know from experience.

So I suppose I was happy, and a little relieved, when I returned to work from lunch today (it was that lovely mix of sleet, ice and freezing rain no less) and checked up on the weather for the rest of the week. I understand that we’ve yet to perfect weather prediction, but gladly, the forecast is calling for snow. Not ice, just snow.

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

Wednesday, December 1st, 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.