Category Archives: Sports

A Sportman’s World, by Leon Archer

By Leon Archer

My brother, Warren, was five years older than me.

He had his own older friends who weren’t interested in my hanging around with them, and in all honesty, I had no desire to hang around with him and his friends either.

There were only two exceptions to that mutually acceptable separation – hunting and fishing. I fished with Warren whenever he gave me the opportunity, but it wasn’t until I was nearly a teen that he went out of his way to take me with him.

Hunting was a little different story. When I was about 9 or 10, I got the chance to go with Warren and my father as they hunted together. I had to walk behind my father, but I didn’t care, and I did get to take my BB gun with me.

It was all so exciting for me, especially when they would shoot at a rabbit or partridge, or even a grey squirrel in the limbs high above us.

I got the job of carrying whatever they shot. It wasn’t child abuse, it was a labor of love. Warren became a pretty good shot during the two years that he apprenticed with my father, and once he was 16, dad let him go hunting on his own, confident that he would be fine.

My father was not a big time small game hunter; although, when the time arrived, he came out of retirement long enough to get me through my two years of being a junior hunter.

I was especially fortunate that none of Warren’s friends were all that interested in hunting, so when he started hunting on his own he often took me with him. My job was to jump on all the brush piles the farmers had made in the fields. Back then, just about every third pile of brush could be counted on to have a cottontail hiding in it.

I also took it upon myself to walk through big clumps of low juniper bushes which were fairly consistent rabbit holders as well. Warren knocked off a good percentage of the fleeing cottontails, so I often found myself carrying three or four rabbits by the time we headed for home.

My best memories are of the times that Warren would bring down a partridge. To my way of thinking, the Ruffed Grouse was (and still is) the premier game bird, even more so than the gaudy ring necked pheasant that I also love to hunt.

I had the greatest admiration for my brother’s shooting ability when it came to grouse. I was present many times when he quickly zeroed in on a rapidly disappearing bird with a load of sixes.

I can close my eyes and picture a spot that my brother and I never failed to check out for birds when we were hunting in the fields and woods in back of our house in Sandy Creek. The lots and the adjoining woods belonged to a dairy farmer, Mr. Allen, who had no objection to our hunting there as long as we didn’t disturb his herd of Guernsey cows, and we took full advantage of the opportunity.

The spot I am writing about was at the edge of the fields that comprised Mr. Allen’s pasture. On one side there was a stand of new poplar saplings that jutted out into the field.

Walking farther west after clearing the thicket of saplings (which itself often concealed grouse or wood cock) we would come to what is my favorite grouse spot of all time. There had been an apple orchard there countless years before, and a couple of long untended trees still managed to survive. They continued to bear well year after year, and the fruit was a magnet for every partridge living in the big woods beyond.

My brother took his share of unlucky grouse from that locale each year he hunted, and I followed suit in the years after he moved away. I have many memories of that tiny portion of my world, but the best is of the first time my brother shot a partridge there.

It had thundered out from underneath one of the apple trees as we approached, putting leaves and apples between himself and my brother. Warren had been tracking the bird even as he brought the gun up to his shoulder.

He shot quickly, directly through the leaves that pretty much obscured the bird, but instinctively targeting the spot where the bird should be.

A moment later, I could hear a putt, putt, putt sound. I did not know what it was then, but like most every other grouse hunter, I have learned it indicates a successful hunt.

It is the sound of wings still reflexively beating, in their diminishing futile attempt to carry the now dead bird to safety. Running underneath that apple tree, I found the bird about 30 feet beyond, while its wings still jerked spasmodically. In moments; however, all movement ceased as I clutched the limp, beautiful warm bird in my hands.

I admired the exquisite brown patterned feathers of its back, the black ruff around its collar, and the long, barred feathers of the tail fan. The breast feathers were darkly barred over a creamy white.

As I held that bird, exulting in the feat I had observed, and feeling  that somehow I was at least a small part of it, for some reason I was drawn to smell of its warm body. I can still smell it today.

It was the wild smell of the woods, the fallen leaves and the ripe apples, yet that poor description does not truly do it justice. Over the years I have shot many grouse, but I have never failed to bury my nose in the feathers of each and breathe in that day once more.

I would give a great deal to be able to hunt grouse just once more with my brother on a warm October day, and match skill and wits with those magnificent birds. Perhaps there will come a day.

Who knows? I for one have no problem with the American Indians’ description of Heaven as the Happy Hunting Grounds, but if it exists, it must contain Heavenly wild apple trees and celestial grouse.

Fulton wrestlers strive for sectional, state supremacy

By Rob Tetro

The Fulton varsity wrestling team comes into the 2013-14 season with great expectations.

Varsity wrestling coach Chris Stalker said the Red Raiders are hard at work preparing to make a run at both a Section 3 Championship and The Class B State Championship.

However, Stalker is aware of the winning tradition associated with Fulton wrestling. In fact, he suggests the best way to respect the Red Raiders winning tradition is to duplicate it.

“We always want to be one of the top 10 teams in all of New York state,” Stalker said.

Fulton will have its work cut out for it to accomplish those goals. Only a few wrestlers return from last season’s team. For the most part, the Red Raiders are a young and inexperienced squad.

In preparation for the upcoming season, wrestlers have been allowed and encouraged to take part in the morning lift sessions available to them four days a week before school.

Fulton also has a wrestling club in which the school’s wrestlers can participate. The wrestling club is an open mat workout available to The Red Raiders 3 days a week.

Currently, Fulton is in good physical condition, but Stalker said there is room for improvement. On top of the morning workout sessions and the wrestling club, the Red Raiders practice usually lasts 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Stalker said recentl practices have gotten more and more intense. Aided by an additional 30 minutes of conditioning development, the wrestlers are showing they are physical capable of handling more intense practices.

The Red Raiders have not yet named team captains for the upcoming season. The criteria Stalker uses for naming a captain is based on leadership, commitment and initiative.

A wrestler Stalker is considering naming a captain is someone who leads both verbally and with action and makes the most out of every practice — a wrestler who takes advantage of the opportunities that the morning lift sessions and the wrestling club offer is also someone who could be named a captain.

As Stalker assess his teams’ schedule, two opponents immediately stand out —   Phoenix and Baldwinsville. Stalker considers those teams to be two of the top teams in all of Section 3.

The Red Raiders will be looking to avenge losses to both schools from last season.

Interestingly enough, Stalker feels his teams’ inexperience can be considered a strength. Thus far, Stalker’s young team has shown development as a result of a lot of hard work and enthusiasm.

Hannibal football players receive honors

By Rob Tetro

Eleven Hannibal varsity football players earned Class C-West All League Honors for the 2013 season.

Eight of those players were named to first and second offensive and defensive teams, while the remaining three Hannibal football players earned honorable mention honors.

Senior running back Tim Webber, senior quarterback Trevor Alton and senior kicker Lander Ezama were named to the Class C-West, Offensive All-League First Team. While junior defensive end Nate Welling earned First Team, All-League Defensive Honors.

Junior tight end Austin Mattison and freshman wide receiver Conor McNeil were named to the Class C-West, Offensive All-League Second Team. Senior linebackers Christian Knox and Greg Hadcock came away with Second Team, All-League Defensive Honors. Charlie McCraith, Devon Weldin and Jake Whitcomb were given honorable mention acknowledgement.

Fulton wrestling kicks off Saturday, Nov. 30

Wrestling in Fulton kicks off Saturday Nov. 30 with a dual meet pitting the Fulton Raider against the Canandaigua Braves at G. Ray Bodley High.

Battles between these two intersectional rivals over the years have been fiercely competitive. The two teams have met 13 times in the series with seven of the matches being decided by the outcome of a single bout.

“The Fulton-Canandaigua super dual is one of the highlights of the season for our program”, said Fulton’s second-year head coach Chris Stalker. “Fulton and Canandaigua have a long history of great duals and tournament competition. High school wrestling doesn’t get any better than this”, he said.

Canandaigua is led by Section V Class Finalist Vinny Romeo at 152 lbs. The Braves have four Section V Class A place-winners in their line-up: Romeo, Nate Gilligan at 132, Mitch Fisher at 170 and Daniel Dillon at 220.

Fulton is led by Section 3 Champion Mitchell Woodworth at 120, Class A Champion Brandon Hill at 132, and Joey Abelgore who placed fourth in the Section 3 Tournament at 99 pounds.

This is the first dual meet to be held on Thanksgiving weekend. The early season match-up was organized to fit Canandaigua in the schedule and give alumni and fans home for the holidays a chance to see the event.

The varsity dual is scheduled for 1:30 pm following the noon-time junior varsity dual.

Fulton wrestling shows more depth

By Rob Tetro

When talking to Fulton Junior Varsity Wrestling Coach Jeff Waldron, he suggests that the Fulton wrestling program is as strong as it’s ever been.

This season, Fulton’s varsity and junior varsity teams will have a combined 70 athletes. Waldron will coach 55 of those wrestlers on the JV squad.

But, just a few years ago, the Red Raiders lacked the depth they have this season. Three years ago, Fulton’s JV team was barely able to provide an athlete for each weight class.

Waldron’s athletes come into the season having had a very productive offseason. His team took part in clinics, wrestling tournaments and a weight lifting program. A year ago, the junior varsity team lost only one of the dual meets they participated in.

They ended the season by winning The Martin Luther King Duals in Penfield. Waldron said this event is considered one of the most challenging dual tournaments New York state has to offer.

To qualify for The Martin Luther King Duals, a team not only has to be able to fill a lineup but they must have a competitive record as well.

Recently, G. Ray Bodley High School has allowed athletes to enter the weight rooms before school to obtain the head start they need on their daily fitness. During one of last week’s early morning workouts, 28 wrestlers were in the weight room continuing their preparation for the upcoming season.

While looking at the program from top to bottom, Waldron is excited about the amount of younger wrestlers they being developed. With only 18 out of the 55 varsity and junior varsity wrestlers being juniors or seniors, Waldron looks to the future with optimism.

He feels both teams will be able to go to events this season with the mindset that they can win each one. Waldron also believes if a varsity wrestler is unable to perform, his wrestlers will be more than ready to fill the void.

“I expect that if a varsity wrestler cannot perform for any reason, such as an injury, the JV guy in his weight class can step up and do the job.”, Waldron said.

Oswego man honored for years of softball service

Robert Farrell, of Oswego, New York State Amateur Softball Association commissioner, was recognized recently for his 25 years of service to the association.

The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball recognized members and tournament hosts during the Wilson Sporting Goods sponsored luncheon at the 82nd Annual Governing Council Meeting Nov. 13 in Oklahoma City.

Forty association members were given  awards for five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 and 50 years of service to the organization.

Farrell is a current NCAA umpire and served as district commissioner in the Central New York region. As state commisioner, he is responsible for administration of amateur softball in New York, including registering and insuring adult and youth teams and overseeing volunteers.

The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, has become one of the nation’s largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations.