Sports Editor’s playbook, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011

Patrick Newell

– Robb Munro has developed a reputation over the past few years for developing track and field athletes to their high school potential. The B-G/Afton mentor has built a solid program in which his boys and girls have been among the best teams in the Midstate Athletic Conference the past few years. Munro’s infectious enthusiasm for the sport and dedication have not gone unnoticed, and over the past two years, Greene standout runner, Chad Noelle, and Oxford sprinters Emily and Katie Woodford have joined the B-G/A team for winter indoor track and field.
As a junior last winter, Noelle trained with Munro to prepare for the outdoor season. Noelle was third in the state as a sophomore, so he was already pretty good. After one track season with Munro, Noelle became a Section IV recordholder in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, and was a two-time Division II state champion in each event.
The Woodfords joined Munro’s charges a few weeks ago, and are already seeing progress, Munro said. Each runner is approaching indoor Section IV records as Munro has refined their techniques. Having the Woodfords on the roster has proved mutually beneficial, Munro said, who has his own corps of excellent young runners competing as B-G/A team members. “In terms of what we get out of it, having the Woodfords is valuable to me as a coach,” Munro said. “I have five or six talented young girls, and to have talented older girls as role models…these two (the Woodfords) are really high-level athletes my younger kids can aspire to be. My kids have learned that it’s okay to take it serious and to invest in the sport. It’s awesome having the Woodfords around.”

– G-MU’s boys are off to a 7-0 start under head basketball coach Bill Hartman. Aside from a young team getting a year of varsity experience under its belt, one of the biggest differences between this year’s club and the one that finished 6-11 a year ago is the Raiders’ poise in tight games. Instead of losing most of the tight games, G-MU is finding ways to win. In those seven victories, five have come by eight points or less, and three by three points or less. A season ago, G-MU went 3-5 in games decided by eight points or less. “We haven’t made the critical errors at late stages of games that have come back to bite us,” Hartman said. “We’re starting to get the inside-outside play, and we’re not as one-dimensional as we were three weeks ago. Most of our points were coming from Cotton (Eddie Ray) and Edwards (Ian). Scofield (Jon) is starting to come around and is understanding the interior game. It’s providing us with nice balance, and I felt from the beginning, that would be our strength. It’s proving to be so.”

– With some apologies to the Beatles, “I got by with a little help from my friends” Monday morning. “Friends” in the general sense, being our readers. Friday, Jan. 7, inclement weather – more aptly the threat of a bad storm – canceled about 80 percent of the sports schedule including the two games we planned to feature photographically. With four sports pages to fill on Mondays, I rely on local photos to dress up the pages instead of integrating solely national photos. Coming to the rescue this weekend were supporters of Sherburne-Earlville wrestling and Oxford volleyball. I received group photos of each team, and combined with a leftover Norwich wrestling senior recognition picture, I was able to present a local flavor pictorially on three of the four pages.
In case you haven’t looked carefully at the sports pages, at least two to three times a week, a small advertisement appears at the bottom of page 13. In it, we ask that our readers, attending varsity games, to please feel free to submit photos of sports events. Getting a quality action shot is hit or miss, especially with the standard digital cameras you find at department stores; however, a static group shot is well within the capabilities of just about any amateur photog. So, if you’re at a sporting event, and something interesting happens, snap away and shoot an e-mail to me with the photo and caption information at If your picture is in focus, and it isn’t something starkly similar to a previous photo we printed, it’ll probably find its way into the paper within a day or two.

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