Category Archives: Sports

Fulton girls’ basketball young this year

By Rob Tetro

Fulton girls’ varsity basketball coach Derek Lyons knew he had his hands full when practices began Nov. 11.

A year ago, Fulton bid farewell to five experienced seniors. This season, the Lady Raiders will have 11 players on the team, many of them have yet to play a minute at the varsity level.

Lyons said with so many new faces to the team, part of his job has been to have the team in a bit of a reloading mode. However, there is also a part of Lyons’ job that has been business as usual as he builds a winning girls’ basketball program.

The most important goal Lyons and his team have this season is to show improvement on a daily basis. Yet, it’s the second goal he and his team have for this season that shows just how important it is to Lyons that the program continues to move in the right direction.

He feels it’s also important for his team to work hard to have a chance to play in the sectional playoffs this season. Lyons points out a trip to postseason play would allow his team to expand on its goals for the season.

Fulton appears to have a very young team headed into the 2013-14 season. Lyons said his team returns only one starter from last year’s team. Two freshmen are expected to earn starting positions.

The other players on the team are making the transition from JV to varsity basketball this season.

Lyons made it known he expected his players to be in solid physical condition when practices began. Given how physically challenging he knew his practices were, Lyons would be able to tell who was physically prepared and who still needed work.

Fulton begins practice by doing 35-40 minutes of nonstop full court conditioning work. The reasoning behind Lyons wanting his players to do these drills goes beyond wanting them to be in the best physical condition they can be in.

He knows if his young team is going to be competitive this season, it will have to be able to beat their opponents up and down the court.

The teams’ physical conditioning is currently improving. In fact, following a recent scrimmage, the Lady Raiders had little conflicts related to fatigue which Lyons considers to be a very positive sign.

“If they can go through a game and say, man, this is easy compared to what we do in practice, I think we are doing something right.”, he said.

Lyons has named Michaela Whiteman, Nicole Hansen and Sydney Gilmore team captains for the upcoming season. Lyons said the players who display a strong work ethic, earn the respect of her teammates with positive encouragement  and succeed in the classroom are players who had the best chance at being named a captain.

Fulton will face some pretty impressive opponents throughout the season. The Lady Raiders will play the likes of Class B powerhouses Skaneateles and Cazenovia and Corcoran from Class AA. Of course, they also will face Class A powerhouses Jamesville-DeWitt and Christian Brothers Academy.

Yet, Lyons suggests his team is excited to be taking on the challenges that await them. As Lyons works to continue to build his program, he feels playing teams that appear in sectional playoffs year after year is a great opportunity for his younger players.

The Lady Raiders have a chance to come away from this potentially daunting schedule with a better understanding of what needs to be done for the program to grow.

Lyons suggests feels his team’s youth and energy could play to Fulton’s advantage. While previous teams have lost to the likes of J-D and CBA, Lyons young team hasn’t had those experiences yet.

“Who knows, they might just come out and be all over the place (and play well).”, Lyons said.

A Sportsman’s World, by Leon Archer

By Leon Archer

I watched the pair of Mallards circle Paul Woodard’s Pond several times as I crouched down next to a Juniper bush being careful not to move, which included resisting the temptation to turn my head to watch them each time they went out of sight.

I was hunting with Lyle Taber, who was trying to look like part of the cement dam where he was huddled as the birds kept trying to decide if everything looked safe.

It was the very first time either of us had ever hunted ducks, but we had read a lot about how to do it, and these were the only birds we had seen that morning.

The pond was only about 150 feet wide and a little over twice as long, held back by an 8-foot-high cement dam that had been built many years before across a small creek at the North end of Sandy Creek, not far from the Oswego County  Fairgrounds in Sandy Creek.

It was hardly a big duck magnet, but before the season opened, we had seen a bird or two on the water on several different occasions. Paul Woodard owned the little pond, and he allowed many of my friends and me to fish there anytime we wished, trap muskrats there in the spring, and even hunt ducks there if we wanted to waste our time.

We were both hoping we weren’t wasting our time that morning. My eyes picked up the birds as they came into view after another circuit of the pond, but this time they didn’t bank around for little lower orbit.

Instead, they took a straight course to the southeast, fast becoming dots low in the sky.

I was about to move out of my uncomfortable crouch and try to see what Lyle was doing, but wisely I still kept my youthful eyes on the nearly invisible birds, and at the very last moment, I noticed that they had veered to the left, and soon I could tell they were on their way back.

It seemed like forever, but then, there they were at the far end of the pond heading right at me. I thought they were going to drop into the pond right below where I was hidden, but instead they swooped up and climbed for altitude, passing above me.

I couldn’t stand it any longer; they were well within range and I had a clear shot at the hen. I swung the double barrel 12-gauge ahead of her, my cheek tight to the stock, and pulled the trigger for the modified barrel.

I felt the recoil, and almost as fast as the roar of the shot had faded, the duck was on its way to join me on the ground. I forgot about the other bird and hot footed it over to when the hen mallard had struck.

It had been a good shot and she had been dead before she hit the ground. I was ecstatic. Lyle, on the other hand, was a little bummed out.

When we got together after I had picked up my bird, he told me he could have shot several times, but he was waiting for them to land so maybe we could get them both.

I told him I was sorry I screwed it up, but I was only lying to make him feel better; I felt about as great as a boy could feel. I can close my eyes and see those birds and that shot as clearly today as I did that beautiful October morning back in 1955.

My father wasn’t much for duck hunting; in fact he never once went with me, but he did give me one piece of advice that has served me very well over my 55-plus years of water fowling.

He told me to always pick out one bird to shoot at even if there was a whole flock of ducks.

“Sure,” he said, “you may sometimes kill a duck if you brown a flock, but more often than not, you will come up empty handed. If you pick out a target instead of trying to kill them all, you’ll do a lot better.”

I asked him why that was when I was shooting a shotgun for Pete’s sake. He looked at me like I was some kind of ignoramus, and his last comment on the topic I will always remember, “Son, there is always a lot more space where they ain’t than where they are, so aim close.”

I hadn’t had to worry about a flock for my first shoot, but the next day when Lyle and I hunted Carter’s Creek near Sandy Pond, I jumped a flock of wood ducks. There must have been 30 panicky woodies filling the air with flapping wings and squealing calls.

They were within reasonable range as I raised the double barrel to my shoulder and proceeded to do exactly what my father warned me not to do.

I didn’t swing, I didn’t get my cheek down on the stock and get a good sight picture, I didn’t pick out a target, I just pointed at the middle of all those ducks and pulled the trigger. Even as I did it, I was wondering what Lyle and I would do with all the extra woodies I was going to kill when I blasted the middle out of the flock, because the limit was one a day back then.

I didn’t have to worry, because as it turned out, I only dropped the very last bird in the flock. I had come extremely close to proving my father right.

I’ve thought many times about that shot I took on the second day of my first fall of duck hunting, and although I actually did get a beautiful drake wood duck, I realized it was just plain luck.

I actually have never flock shot since that day. I’ve shot birds out of a flock; I nearly always got the one I would be aiming at, but sometimes I brought down an additional bird as well. I have grown to prefer shooting at single birds, and if I find a flock in front of me, I try to pick one off away from the main group if possible.

Over the years I have made some memorable multiple shots, and the one I remember most was the day I had a big flock of mallards respond to my call and my decoys.

There was no one else in the swamp to scare them, and I let them come right in until with feet down they were nearly on the water. As I stood, I knew there was a trio of drakes in line across formation directly in front of me at about maybe 20 yards.

I pulled onto them before they could flare, pulling the trigger as my barrel moved ahead of their bills. Two birds that were behind the trio caught my attention as they began climbing for altitude, almost as one, and my second shot knocked them from the air.

I looked for another shot and a single was racing off to the right about 40 yards out when I shot, dumping the bird at the edge of the cattails. I love it when a plan all comes together.

Three well aimed shots in a lot less time than it took to tell about them, left me with six fat mallards floating in the little pothole. I have never had a better opportunity nor shot better than I did that day.

My advice for new duck hunters is, let them get as close as possible, pick out a bird, and aim small. It works for a lot more than ducks too.

Hannibal cross country runners receive awards

The Hannibal cross country program held its annual end of season celebration Nov. 18.

At the event, several awards were handed out. For the varsity cross country teams, athletes were honored with boys and girls most valuable player awards, the boys and girls coaches award and the 2013 Ryan Perry Achievement Award.

There also were awards given for Hannibal’s modified cross country teams, namely the boys and girls modified MVP award.

Sophomore Jason McFarland was named MVP of the 2013 boys varsity cross country team. This season, McFarland came away with a sixth place finish at The Class C, Section 3 Championships. He also represented the Warriors at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championships held at Queensbury High School Nov. 9.

For the second year in a row, the 2013 varsity girls cross country MVP award went to eighth-grader McKenzie Mattison.

Senior captain of the boys’ varsity team, Zane Pointon, was the recipient of the 2013 varsity boys coaches awards. The 2013 varsity girls coaches award went to junior Micheala Sheldon, who was captain of Hannibal’s girls’ varsity cross country team.

Senior team captain Ben Slate was the recipient of the 2013 Ryan Perry Achievement Award.

The 2013 Hannibal boys modified cross country MVP is Austin Cooper, while Emily Weaver was the recipient of the girls modified MVP award.

Hannibal wrestlers work on conditioning

Year after year, the Hannibal varsity wrestling team works for the same goals.

They want to show daily improvement and focus more on technique development rather than how many wins or losses a wrestler has. But the Warriors main goal is a league championship and an impressive showing in the sectionals.

This season, Hannibal returns many wrestlers from last season’s injury plagued team. A lot of these wrestlers gained their first experience at the varsity level last season as a result of all teammate injuries. However, Coach Mike Kitts expects those wrestlers to be better off for learning about varsity wrestling through trial by fire.

Hannibal will be led by an impressive group of seniors including senior captain Dennis Spaulding. The Warriors could feature a team that has a rare accomplishment –  three of its seniors could reach 100 career wins this season.

The team began practice Nov. 11 in what Kitts believed was not the best physical condition. Hannibal spent the better part of the first two weeks developing its physical conditioning. Kitts preached to his wrestlers about the importance of maintaining a solid physical regimen in the event they need extra energy during a longer lasting match.

The Warriors are fortunate enough there are no newcomers to the sport on their roster this season. Kitts’ grapplers were either on Hannibal’s modified, junior varsity or varsity teams a year ago and needed little technique work while physical conditioning developing was the main priority.

To date, Kitts feels the team is not quite yet where they need to be. He believes conditioning development is a slow process that slows down even more as teams begin to develop their techniques.

Greg Hadcock, Dustin Ouellette, Dennis Spaulding and Derek Hilton have been named captains for the upcoming season. Kitts said he chooses a captain based on a person who works hard during the season, maintains his physical conditioning during the offseason and is a good role model for his peers socially.

The Warriors schedule hits them fast and furiously during the early portion of the season. Hannibal begins the season with a league match against Skaneateles. They are seeking redemption after falling to Skaneateles a year ago. The Warriors will then take part in The Valley Duals which traditionally features the best teams in the eastern part of Section 3.

The host school, Ilion, combined with Mohawk to form Central Valley Academy, which is expected to be very challenging for Hannibal. The Warriors will end December by participating in The Ken Haynes Tournament at SUNY Oswego. Year after year, this event features the best individual talent Section 3 has to offer.

The Warriors have an opportunity to be quite battle tested heading into January. “The month of December (will be) a good test for us, we will know where we stand by Christmas.”, Kitts said.

Archer recommends reading ‘Fishing The Finger Lakes’

By Leon Archer

Michael Kelly, a former Syracuse Post-Standard outdoor columnist, and long-time member of the New York Outdoor Writer’s Association, as well as being a personal friend of mine, sent me a copy of his latest book. That book,” FISHING THE FINGERLAKES, A Complete Guide to Prime Fishing Locations in Central New York State,” just came out in September, and I have already read it from cover to cover.

I found it to be an easy-to-read book, filled with useful, up to date information, which left me itching to try each one of the Finger Lakes that I have missed.

Mike has fished the region successfully for more than 50 years, so you can bank on the accuracy and value of what he shares in his book.

When you think of the Finger Lakes, you probably think of Owasco, Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka, and possibly, Skaneateles, but there are six more Finger Lakes, and Mike has fished them all.

He is a dedicated trout fishermen, but he knows plenty about catching the jumbo perch, land locked salmon, huge bluegills, plentiful bass and walleyes that lurk in the lakes.

He tells when and where your chances are best for the different species and how to fish for them. Whether you are a shore fisherman or have a boat, his advice is basic enough to give you a good chance at coming home with fish for the family.

I can assure you, whenever I went fishing with Mike, we caught fish – usually nice ones.

I highly recommend this book. If you have any interest in fishing the Finger Lakes, but don’t know where to start, it should be required reading.

If you are looking for a present for someone who enjoys fishing, I think it would be a perfect gift. It is 256 pages filled enjoyment and knowledge and only costs $16.95. It is available from online bookstores as well as many other sources.  Enjoy.

Fulton wrestlers ‘Pay It Forward’

“The Great Turkey RUN” has always been a Fulton wrestling tradition on Thanksgiving Day.

Some suspect this was the coaches’ way of making sure the boys worked off a few of those fattening turkey day treats!

Starting this year, the traditional run has grown to become so much more.

The Fulton community has always been known for showing its tremendous love and support for these hard working , dedicated kids and the wrestlers wanted to show their appreciation for this loyalty by “Paying It Forward.” On Thanksgiving morning, the boys ran their traditional 3-mile run around the city while passing around a frozen turkey.

Meanwhile, the wrestlers’ parents collected donated frozen turkeys at Price Chopper in Fulton. These turkeys would be donated to he local food pantry for use in Christmas baskets and emergency food support programs.

The wrestlers felt this was one small way they could give back to all of their loyal Fulton supporters who may be struggling this year to provide a joyful holiday for their families. The Fulton wrestlers want to express their sincere thanks to all those wonderful people who donated turkeys for this event.

Fulton boys’ basketball team focusing on one game at a time

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton boys’ varsity basketball team this season wants to focus on one game at a time.

And by doing so, it hopes to win eight games.

Fulton coach Matt Kimpland says the Red Raiders can reassess their goals if they earn those eight wins.

But, Kimpland mentions his team has goals for activities off the court as well. Fulton is striving to be a team that has every player earning at least a 3.5 GPA (grade point average) while missing very little school at the same time.

This season, the Red Raiders will feature five starters with limited playing time at the varsity level.

Kimpland considers sophomore Cody Green the only returning starter from last season’s team and he was able to play only half of the season.

Mark Pollock, Seth Britton and Austin Haskins also return from last year’s team.

All 11 players showed tremendous involvement in the summer tournaments in which Fulton participated.

They played against teams from Oswego, Red Creek, North Rose-Wolcott and Phoenix to name a few. The team played in 25-30 games from June through August.

The Red Raiders came away with the St. Bonaventure Team Tournament Championship, but lost to Jamesville-DeWitt by 15 points in the semifinals of another tournament.

Fulton began in-season practice Nov. 11. An open gym was held during the two weeks leading up to the start of practice. The Red Raiders used those open gym sessions to develop the conditioning needed for basketball participation.

Despite having many players who were physically able to take part in fall sports such as football and soccer, the team struggled during the first few days of practice to make the adjustment to the conditioning needed for basketball.

Currently, Kimpland feels that the conditioning of his team is about 85 percent to 90 percent of what it needs to be. The Red Raiders begin the season following Thanksgiving and were expected to have met Kimpland’s conditioning goals by that time.

Fulton has not yet named captains for the upcoming season. Kimpland points out the individuals he selects for the job will display strong leadership abilities and be able to encourage teammates to step up during moments of adversity.

While assessing the schedule for the upcoming season, Kimpland suggests the Red Raiders will be challenged early and often. Fulton will participate in a Watertown tournament followed by games against Central Square, Camden, Jamesville-DeWitt, Bishop Ludden and Christian Brothers Academy.

Kimpland feels this will allow his team to become battle tested rather quickly. He said the tough early schedule his team faces will allow them to be a tougher team during the second half of the season.

Kimpland said his team is excited to take on some of the best teams Section 3 offers. He suggests this team could be one of the most skilled teams Fulton has had in a long time. Many of the players consider basketball their favorite sport to play and have the skills to show for it.

The Red Raiders will be a team with a great desire to compete and succeed. Fulton will also be a team that plays with poise and intensity regardless of the circumstances they may face this season.

The team also will have offensive versatility. Shooters like Cody Green and Brian Hudson will help Fulton stretch the floor, while big men like Chris Jones and Seth Britton will be able to keep opposing defenses honest with their presence down low.

Fulton Pee Wees hockey wins one, loses one

The Fulton Pee Wees hockey team, sponsored by Cargill, Inc., Foster Funeral Home and Pathfinder Bank, competed in two games this past weekend — beating Ithaca 4-1 but dropping a hard-fought contest to Camillus 4-3.

The action started when the Pee Wees traveled to Ithaca Saturday.

The Pee Wees began the first period strong with an early goal by #35 Eric Shear that was assisted by #25 Sidney Bradshaw. Ithaca countered that goal with one of their own that ended the first period in a tie 1-1.

The second period saw the most activity with an initial goal from #71 Chayton Sykes that was assisted by #35 Eric Shear. Shear ended the period with two more unassisted goals putting Fulton in the lead 4-1 going into the third period.

The third period saw some exceptional defensive and offensive play from #48 Andrew Hyde, #88 Calexander Connolly and #10 Madison Lewis along with the rest of their teammates. The Pee Wees held off Ithaca throughout the 3rd period ending the game with a win 4-1.

Fulton’s goalie #20 Nathaniel Lindsey saved 11 goals.

Hitting home ice on Sunday Nov. 24, Fulton faced off against Camillus 1.

Fulton blazed through the first period earning the first goal of the game with an over-the-shoulder netter by #35 Eric Shear, assisted by #00 Jadon Lee and #86 Johnathan McCann.

Camillus tied it up by the end of the first period and took control in the second period netting two more against Fulton.

In the third period, Camillus garnered themselves a fourth goal.

Pulling themselves up and back into action, Fulton’s #35 Eric Shear netted two more goals that were assisted by #25 Sidney Bradshaw and #2 Jarred Willis, Jr.

Pulling their goalie for the last few seconds of play, the Pee Wees including #15 Derek Carter and #32 Lane Phillips gave their all in an effort to try to tie up the game.

In the end, they weren’t able to pull it off and Camillus won 4-3.

Fulton’s goalie #20 Nathaniel Lindsey saved 28 goals.