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High Schools

Last year's inaugural Section VI Dual Team Championships were an overwhelming success in the eyes of area wrestling coaches. An estimated 1,000 spectators at Starpoint watched No. 2 Pioneer beat No. 1 Falconer via tiebreaker for the Division II title and No. 4 Niagara Wheatfield upset the top two seeds in the field to win the D-I crown. “It was very exciting for our …

High Schools

One nickname's roots can be traced back to a joke between teammates, while the other appears to have been born from a statistician's shorthand. Regardless of their origins, there's no denying that the acronyms FLOP and CASH have become as much a part of the Western New York Girls Hockey Federation as the players and late afternoon games. CASH has the jerseys to prove it…

High Schools

Davonte Gaines is one of the top facilitators on the basketball court in Western New York, but even the best need an assist every now and then. The Health Sciences senior received perhaps the biggest of his young life from the hands of fate three years ago. It was on that summer day at Roosevelt Park when the then 14-year-old Gaines was doing what he's always loved d…

High Schools

Emma Brinker was having the season of her life. With an 8-1 record, the East Aurora girls basketball team was ranked No. 1 among Western New York small schools, and the 6-foot-1 forward’s presence on the court played a huge part on a senior-laden group that was among the favorites to win the Section VI Class B title. The junior averaged double-doubles through her fre…

High Schools

The mood on the bus was light for the Lew-Port girls swimming team last Tuesday. Jokes were flying around between the girls about how they don’t think they had ever beaten Niagara Frontier League rival Lockport in a dual meet before. That wasn’t the case, but it had been a while – as in 36 years. First-year varsity coach Ashley Tutwiler, a Niagara Falls High Schoo…

High Schools

Hockey has been Holly Schmelzer’s go-to ever since she was 6 years old. Ice hockey. Roller hockey. Street hockey. Knee hockey. You name it, she played it growing up. It helps that the Schmelzers are a hockey family through and through. Dad, Roger, played growing up as a kid. Older brother Ryan is the senior captain at Division I Canisius College this season. As…

High Schools

Penny Joseph's family had a sail boat, but she didn't get to travel through the waves on it too often. Yet, those few experiences on the open water piqued her interest, resulting in her joining the competitive sailing team at Buffalo Seminary. What does the freshman think about the sport after some extended exposure to it? "It's really fun. I like it here," said Jose…

High Schools

Elizabeth Smorol didn’t think much of it at first, the fact that she was the female coach of a boys varsity sport at Lockport High School. She wasn't the first. That was Marion Singleton, the coach of the boys and girls bowling teams for the past seven seasons. But female coaches in male sports are still few and far between. After 15 years as the head of the girls vo…

Sports

Meghan Root is back doing the carrying on the pitch instead of being carried around to spots on it by her coach. It's a situation the Pioneer girls soccer star is grateful to be experiencing again. The Panthers' all-time scoring leader is pain free and thriving again in the sport she loves after missing all of last season while recovering from surgical procedures tha…

High Schools

Stephen Pierce will be in an unfamiliar position during Eden girls volleyball games this season — cheering from the stands. For the first time in nearly three decades, it won’t be Pierce running one of the top programs in New York State. The longtime coach retired after a 28-year run that included 995 career wins and 14 state championships, both NYSPHSAA records. The…