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St. Francis coach Jerry Smith's favorite teams are his team . . . and the teams he beats.

If you're a Red Raider, the only way you can possibly win a state championship is if you have an undefeated season and one of the teams you've beaten wins a state title. That's because the Msgr. Martin Association schools aren't part of Section VI, so they can't participate in the state playoffs.

"Our best bet would be to see Victor or Aquinas win a state championship and Cathedral Prep (Pa.) win a state championship, too," said Smith, whose Red Raiders are 3-0 after beating those teams. "If we beat them and they all won state championships, that is the only way a Catholic school would get a state title -- a perfect record and beat a state championship team. Then maybe we'd get No. 1 in a poll and get a state championship that way."

It might seem a little early for state championship talk -- even Smith said he didn't want to jinx himself when talking about going undefeated -- but that's the goal for a very talented St. Francis team.

"Since we can't get in state playoffs, the only real reward for a program is recognition we get in the polls," Smith said, "other than the number of kids from our school that go into colleges."

Smith, in his 14th year at St. Francis, said he included more Section V (Rochester area) teams on this season's schedule to hopefully get the attention of the New York State Sportswriters Association, which determines the state rankings, as well as the voters on The Buffalo News large school poll.

He realized that people unfamiliar with the out-of-state opponents might not know how tough they are.

So, St. Francis played Victor, which won the Section V Class A title and beat Pioneer in the regionals before losing in the state semifinals. The Red Raiders scheduled Rochester Aquinas, which entered last week's game as the top-ranked Class A team in the state. They also played Cathedral Prep of Erie, Pa., a school regarded as having one of the best programs in the nation, for the third straight season.

St. Francis won all of those games, but it still remained second to Lancaster in this week's News poll. Actually, they received fewer first-place votes this week (3) than last week (4). That's after beating top-ranked Aquinas.

St. Francis' tough schedule continues this week against another Section V power, Canandaguia. The Braves -- who won the 1999 Class A state championship -- beat Victor, 49-14, last week.

"(The schedule) is geared towards state and WNY polls," said Smith. "We realized that after playing some out of state teams and beating some of them, the colleges know who we play -- but we've still got to show to local and New York State people what kind of program we really do have."

Freshman sets college mark

Breaking high school records is a thrill for any athlete. Last week, Buffalo Seminary freshman Miora Giammaresi broke a college record.

Giammaresi won her 200 individual medley race in league action at Buffalo State's Kissinger Pool last week, looked up on the wall, and saw her time of 2:19.55 was a pool record.

"We thought it was great," said Buffalo Seminary coach Kathy Hartrick. "It was just something for a freshman to break a college pool record. That doesn't happen a lot."

Early in this Msgr. Martin Association season, Mt. Mercy and Nardin appear to be swimming toward a couple of collisions.

The Magic and Gators are both undefeated in league competition. Mt. Mercy features junior Amanda Carvarella (200 IM, 500 free), Michelle Hauser (100 fly) and senior Christine Szudzik; Nardin welcomes back juniors Ashley Stafford (100 fly) and Jocelyn Hazlett (200 free, 100 fly). They meet at Buffalo State on Monday and Oct. 29. The All-Catholic meet -- won by Nardin last year -- is Nov. 7 at ECC.

Mount St. Mary's junior Cassy Oliveri qualified for last year's state meet in the 100 fly and 100 back. At Holy Angels, coach Dave Kern has increased his program's numbers from 10 to 25 in his three years. Leading the Angels are junior Amy Mehltretter (200 free, 500 free) and freshmen Anna Stillman (200 IM) and Emily Ciraolo (50 free, 100 fly).

Around the halls

Lockport's 2-1 win at defending Section VI Class A boys soccer champion Kenmore East on Thursday moved it to the top of this week's Western New York coaches large school poll. The Lions should get a big bounce in this week's state rankings as well; Kenmore East had been ranked sixth while Lockport was 16th. The rematch between the Lions and Bulldogs is Oct. 3 in Lockport. . . . Newfane cross country junior Lacey Watkins was the fastest girl in any class at Saturday's Auburn Invitational with a run of 18:49.


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