Tonight's seventh race at Batavia Downs Casino, the Open Trot, is named in honor of a great lady that Western New York harness racing fans won’t soon forget. Live racing programs will feature a special insert highlighting some of Mary Ann Sarama-Luce’s harness racing career.
The Mary Ann Sarama-Luce Memorial Trot will be in recognition of a great mother, person, horseman and friend to so many in Western New York. She passed away in July after a long battle with leukemia. She was 73.
Mary Ann was introduced into the business when she met Danny Sarama in the late 1960s. From that point, she and Danny teamed up to own the successful Mardan stable, that included the pacer You Devil You, who won 10 races in a row in 1976.
In the early 1980s, after separating from Danny, she continued on as both a trainer and a driver. Her best year as a driver came in 1983 when she won 21 races. Throughout her driving career she won 109 races. In 1990 she turned the lines over to her son, Carl Surdyk.
On the training side, she conditioned 107 winners, including four this year. Her purse earnings exceeded $334,000. Some of the top horses she trained included Gold Bandit N, Top Dog Alex, Top Dog Nicholas, Easy L-Bar and Guy-Lee Debbie.
Harness racing was her number-one priority and passion,” her daughter Lynette Mcgiveron said. “Her horses were the driving force behind her battle to recover. Even in her final days she worried more about her horses then herself."
"A fierce competitor both as a trainer and a driver,” was the best way Bruce Tubin, president of the Western New York Harness Horsemen's Association, described Mary Ann. “I have fond memories competing against and working with her. She’ll be missed by all."
Alexander picked up two recent wins to move their record to 5-0 on the season.
Last Thursday Alexander picked up a 9-0 win over Oakfield thanks to 4 goals from Senior Forward Julia Pettys, 4 goals from Junior Midfielder Abby Shilvock, and 1 goal from Junior Midfielder Maria Dominick. Assists in the game went to Sophomore Forward Korie Leitten (2), Sophomore Midfielder Emily Alvut, Dominick, Pettys, and Shilvock. Senior Amanda Bender had 3 saves in goal for her 3rd win and 1st shutout of the season.
Monday Alexander traveled to Pembroke and played a very good all around game picking up an 8-0 win. Senior Forward Julia Pettys again lead the way with 5 goals (all in the 1st half) while Junior Midfielder Abby Shilvock, Junior Midfielder Maria Dominick, and Junior Defender Gabby Kwiatek all found the net once. Dominick had 2 assists, Junior Defender Ashlee Wolf had 1, Sophomore Midfielder Lydia Spiotta had 1, Shilvock had 1, and Kwiatek had 1. Senior Amanda Bender played the first portion of the game and did not have to make a save while Sophomore Jess DeAngelo played the remainder of the game and made 2 saves as they combined for the shutout.
Alexander's next game is Wednesday at home against Elba 4:30pm.
In a battle of 1-1 teams, Elba rolled over Pembroke 46-20 behind the six TDs of Zach Dubois. The Lancers jumped out to a 18-0 first-half lead, and even with the Dragons scoring twice in the third quarter, Elba added 21 points of their own to the scoreboard.
Dubois scored three times in the first half on short runs, but really broke loose in the second half, scoring on runs of 53, 48 and 57 yards. In all, Dubois carried the ball 22 times for 296 yards.
Overall, Elba had 420 yards of offense. Elba's Matt Ramsey had three catches for 73 yards. The Dragon's QB, Cody Bedard, was 17 of 34 for 175 yards and two TDs. Wyatt Chittenden for Pembroke, 18 carries, 75 yards, eight receptions for 135 yards, two TDs.
Elba's defensive stats: Andy Boyce, 15 tackles, one sack; Matt Ramsey, seven tackles, fumble recovery returned for a TD; Cody Naylor, 10 tackles, one sack; Brandon Naylor, six tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles.
Le Roy dropped to 1-2 with a loss to Avon, 34-20. Tommy McQuillen rushed for three touchdowns for Le Roy.
Batavia also dropped to 1-2 with a 20-17 loss to Livonia. T.T. Martinez racked up 171 rushing yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Brett Scheurline was 9-for-20 for 109 yards.
Batavia visits Le Roy this Friday for a non-league game.
Alexander lost to Barker 16-7.
For our coverage at Notre Dame vs. Oakfield-Alabama, click here.
Coming off two disappointing seasons and starting the 2011 season 0-2, it would be easy to dismiss a game against Oakfield-Alabama as a bye week, but as any coach in the Genesee Region will tell you, there's no squad in the league that can be taken lightly.
There's no telling if the Fighting Irish took the Hornets a little less than serious coming into Friday night's league match-up, but O-A's young players certainly made a game of it.
The final score was 29-14, but the Hornets were never really out of it until the final minutes, and at the half looked like a team that could spoil Notre Dame's early season perfect record.
"They're very well coached," said Notre Dame's head Coach Rick Mancuso. "Brian (Palone) is doing a great job. That (Tommy) Manzella kid is a terrific quarterback. They're tough, there's no doubt about it. They spread you out all over, they throw the ball. I give them all the credit in the world. I thought they played very well tonight."
Palone said his team is young. They let the game get away from them when Nate Woods returned a punt 50 yards for a TD, making the score 15-14 following a two-point conversion.
"That changed the momentum," Palone said.
While Manzella showed he could still march his offense down the field -- he passed for 192 yards on the night on 27 completions -- the Hornets couldn't finish the deal in the red zone.
"Overall I fell like we were right in there," Palone said. "Our kids were fighting hard just like we ask them -- 'give 110 percent.' We’ve got a lot of sophomores out there. We’re just very young this year, so we’re going to make mistakes, but we’re just going to learn from our mistakes and improve."
The scoring started in the first quarter when Nick Taylor capped a Notre Dame drive with a 16-yard run.
But O-A's no-huddle offensive helped the Hornets get the momentum back and the defense was being pretty stingy, twice intercepting Tim McCulley.
Two O-A drives in the second quarter ended in TDs -- a three-yard run by Manzella and a two-yard pass by Manzella to Chris Nanni.
By the fourth quarter, Notre Dame's running game was nearly unstoppable.
Taylor finished the game with 87 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Nick Conklin had 82 yards rushing on 11 carries.
ND's two fourth-quarter TDs were a five-yard run by Taylor and Woods hauling in a 25-yard pass from McCulley.
McCulley finished with 107 in the air on 16 completions.
Mancuso said his young team played two great quarters to start each of their previous games and then "sort of frittered it away" in second halfs, but Friday the team played better in the second half than the first.
"With a young group of kids like we've got, that's what you expect," Mancuso said. "I want to get us to the point where we're playing four full quarters of football."
As for O-A, which was shut out three times in 2010 on its way to a 0-7 season, following a 2-5 campaign in 2009, Coach Palone is disappointed in his team's 0-3 start, but he said he's seeing progress for the Hornets.
"I feel like this program is heading in the right direction," Palone said. "Every day and each and every game you can see that we’re improving. We’re hanging right in there with these teams now, where last year and the year before we weren’t right in there with the games. They were breaking the games wide open. This year, we're right there."
Genesee Community College has hired Andrew Crofts as its new sports information coordinator. He will serve as the first staff member dedicated exclusively to the position covering all aspects of the college's robust athletic teams. He brings a wide range of experience in the sports communication field, as well as a local appreciation for Genesee Community College and its athletic program.
Crofts has covered sports for WBSU-FM in Brockport and as an intern at 13WHAM Television in Rochester. His experience includes reporting on the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Rochester Red Wings, as well as many local college and high school teams. Andrew also served as a play-by-play announcer for WBSU Radio, calling Brockport College football, basketball and baseball. He was twice named a national finalist for "Best Sports Play by Play," presented by Collegiate Broadcasters, Inc. He was also ranked in the top ten of collegiate sportscasters according to Sportscasters Talent Agency of America in 2009.
A native of Batavia, Andrew attended Batavia City Schools from kindergarten to high school, where he graduated in June of 2005. While in high school, Andrew was a member of the football and baseball teams. He currently resides in Batavia.
Crofts' education includes a year of undergraduate work at Genesee Community College starting in the fall of 2005. He then moved on to The College at Brockport in the fall of 2006, and earned a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting Communications in the spring of 2009, graduating in the communications studies National Honor Society.
Andrew is an avid sports fan. He enjoys both playing and watching all sports. His favorite teams are the New York Yankees, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Sabres and the Syracuse Orange. He has also coached baseball at the Little League level. When he is not watching or playing sports, Andrew enjoys relaxing and watching movies.
Margaret (Peggy) Sisson, athletics director, explained why Crofts is an important addition to the communications team at GCC.
"Athletics at Genesee Community College are thriving," Sisson said, "Last year, our women's soccer team went to the national championship game, men's lacrosse and men's golf were ranked fourth in the nation, women's basketball and women's volleyball advanced to the national championships in Illinois and Wisconsin, and men and women's swimming and diving advanced to the national championships in Buffalo, New York.
"In total, seven teams advanced to the national championships. Having Andrew on our team will help us bring the latest Cougar news and the accomplishments of student athletes to the community better than ever before."
At Byron-Bergen Tuesday night a pair of 2-0 Genesee Region Division 1 teams squared off. The game was delayed approximately 40 minutes due to thunder after only 1:50 of the game had been played. After the break Alexander came out moving the ball well and put immediate pressure on the Bergen net. Junior Defender Gabby Kwiatek found Senior Forward Julia Pettys with a pass and Pettys beat the keeper to make it 1-0 early in the first half. Pettys would 2 more times before the half (with an assist to Junior Midfielder Maria Dominick on the last goal) to build the halftime lead to 3-0.
Senior Goalkeeper Amanda Bender made 3 fantastic stops to keep Bergen off the scoreboard in 1st half.
Alexander's bench was a bit short to start the game (only 3 active subs due to various circumstances) got a bit shorter as Sophomore Defender Eliza Vacanti went down with a knee injury with under 10 minutes to go in the 1st half.
After the half Alexander came out a bit slow to start but picked it right back up. Bergen pulled a goal back to make it 3-1 but Junior Midfielder Abby Shilvock would restore the 3 goal lead just over 10 minutes into the 2nd half as she made the score 4-1.
Bergen would again pull one back to make it 4-2 but it wouldn't take long for Alexander to have a great passing sequence that resulted in a goal by Sophomore Midfielder Lydia Spiotta (assisted by Dominick) to make it 5-2. Pettys would net her 4th goal (assisted by Shilvock) moments later to make the final score 6-2.
Senior Amanda Bender had 8 saves in goal for her 2nd win of the year. The defense and midfield played excellent games.
Alexander is now 3-0 while Bergen falls to 2-1. Alexander's Varsity team hosts Oakfield Thursday at 4:30 while the JV team hosts Oakfield Saturday at 10am.
Attica traveled to Alexander Friday afternoon to get the 2011 version of their rivalry kicked off. Attica got off to a great start jumping out to a very early 2-0 lead before the game was 8 minutes old.
The first goal saw a long ball down the left side of the field and then sent to the front of the net put into the Alexander net on an own goal and minutes later a very similar play resulted in another goal for Attica to go up 2-0. With not much going their way Alexander continue to battle.
After about 15 minutes of the game Alexander began to take control of the ball as they have been known to do and put a great deal more pressure on the Attica net. It finally paid off when Senior Forward Julia Pettys fired on home off an assist from Junior Midfielder Abby Shilvock to make the score 2-1. Attica had an opportunity to increase their lead from the penalty spot just a short time later but put the shot wide of the net.
After the half (with the score 2-1) Alexander came out a bit sluggish for the first 5 minutes and easily could have found themselves in an even bigger hole but some strong defending by Gabby Kwiatek kept the score at 2-1. Alexander began to take control of the play once again and good things started to happen. Pettys again got free behind Attica's back line and poked a goal by the goalie to make it 2-2. Shilvock would set Pettys up moments later to make it 3-2 and with about 15 minutes left in the game Shilvock found Pettys one more time and Pettys fired another home to make it 4-2.
In the 2nd half Alexander's defense stood tall lead by Juniors Kwiatek and Ashlee Wolf, Sophomore Eliza Vacanti, and Freshman Sydney Breton. Senior Amanda Bender started her first varsity game in goal and had 5 saves in net along with some great communication and direction from her position.
Alexander moves to 2-0 in the league and overall while Attica falls to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the league.
Alexander's next game is at Byron-Bergen Tuesday - JVs at 4:30, Varsity at 6:30.