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State title quests continue for Section VI volleyball teams

The championship journeys for four volleyball teams from Section VI continue this weekend as they head east to compete in their respective state tournaments.

The Williamsville East, Portville and Panama girls teams play in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Saturday and possibly Sunday, while the Eden boys team plays Saturday at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island.

The Flames advanced to the Class A state semifinals for the third year in a row following a sweep of Section V’s West Irondequoit last Thursday.

All four of the teams that were at states last year are back again in Walter Panas, Kings Park and Burnt Hills. Walter Panas swept Kings Park in the final.

“We’ve been there two years before, we know the teams,” junior captain Rachel Steffan said last week. “We’re going to win.”

Pool play for East begins at 9:30 a.m. against Kings Park.

Portville begins at the same time against Pierson/Bridgehampton. Other schools in the Class C pool include Millbrook and Voorheesville.

The Panthers dethroned eight-time defending state champ Eden in the sectional final before breezing by Le Roy last Friday in the Far West Regionals. They won Class D state titles in 2014 and 2015.

Panama won the Class D championship last season. The Panthers start at about 4 p.m. against Tuxedo and then play state runner-up Argyle and Bainbridge-Guiford, the only newcomer in the pool.

Sunday’s Class A and C finals are at noon, while Class D is at 2 p.m.

Eden is in the state tournament for the first time since the NYSPHSAA implemented a full state format in 2010. The Raiders have multiple intersectional titles during Robert Pierce’s 20-plus years leading the storied program.

The Raiders play Burnt Hills at about 11 a.m. and then Bellmore JFK right after. The top two teams play in the final at 3 p.m.

Cross country

The New York State Federation Championships is Saturday at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls (near Poughkeepsie). The girls race starts at 12:15 p.m., while the boys follow at 1 p.m.

Some top runners from last week’s NYSPHSAA Championships will compete, while others will take the week off to train for a pair of regional events on Nov. 25.

The Nike Cross Nationals New York Regional is at Wappingers Falls, and the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Northeast Regional is at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

Girls swimming

The two-day NYSPHSAA Championships at Ithaca College start this morning at 10:30 a.m. with swimming preliminaries. Diving prelims start at 2 p.m. and continue through the finals.

Finals and consolations for swimming start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

A couple local swimmers to watch for include Panama junior Karianne Yuchnitz (50-yard freestyle), Williamsville East junior Jessica Shine (100 butterfly) and Fredonia senior Riley Drummond (100 backstroke).

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