Thursday, December 29, 2011
The Top 10 Stories of the Year in New York
By By Brandon Parker
10. Surprise, Surprise
After losing their star player in Ishaq Williams and falling just short of the PSAL title, most figured Lincoln would spend this season rebuilding. Instead, the Railsplitters built a championship season by going 13-0 en route to the championship behind talented rusher Kareem Folkes.
9. In the Nick of Time
For the past decade, Fayetteville-Manlius' girls cross country program has garnered all of the attention, but this year, the boys stole some of the spotlight. Led by Nick Ryan's first-place finish, the boys joined the girls as Class A state champs. Ryan went on to finish fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals meet.
8. Dream Season
After failing to reach the PSAL final for the first time in 15 years, MLK returned to the throne of New York city soccer by beating Francis Lewis, 3-2. Ibrahim Diaby provided the decisive goal, scoring on a header in the 69th minute to give the Knights their 13th crown in the last 16 seasons.
7. Watch the Throne
Jamesville-DeWitt and Mount Vernon both made history on the same day this past winter. Led by Dajuan Coleman, J-D won its state-record tying fourth straight Class A title while Mount Vernon rode the play of Jabarie Hinds to cop its state-record tying ninth overall crown.
6. Elite Class
In just two years on the New York football scene, Chad Kelly made national waves. This past summer, the St. Joe's Collegiate senior earned a spot in the Elite 11 during the annual QB camp in California. Kelly, the son of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, took those skills to become the first New York QB to throw for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000.
5. Perfect Saint
Despite losing its starting quarterback before the year began and enduring injuries all season to its top players, St. Anthony's continued its reign of success by going 10-0 and copping its third straight CHSFL crown this past fall.
4. Luck of the Irish
Penn State saw itself spurned not once, but twice in the same year by New York's top football recruit. In January, as Lincoln's Ishaq Williams was packing for a visit to Penn State, a Notre Dame coach knocked on his door and eventually led him to commit to the Fighting Irish. Then this past fall, Aquinas Institute's Jarron Jones decommitted from Penn State and then chose Notre Dame as well.
3. Coaches Suspended
PSAL coaches Steve Mandl, who has 900-plus wins managing George Washington's baseball team, and Forest Hills hoops coach Ben Chobhaphand were suspended for recruiting violations. While Mandl fought the ruling in the courts, George Washington went on to win the PSAL title this past spring. Chobhaphand is poised to return to the sideline after his one-year suspension ends in February.
2. 'Cuse Lands Another Coleman
He's not related to former Syracuse and NBA star Derrick Coleman, but Dajuan Coleman is following in the big man's footsteps. The J-D senior committed to Syracuse this past fall over the likes of Kentucky and Ohio State.
1. We Will Never Forget
Middletown may be a 90-minute drive from Ground Zero, but on Sept. 10 the memory of 9/11 was close at hand for everyone attending a tripleheader of football games to honor the memories of those who died a decade ago. Manhattan Xavier faced Pine Brush, Xaverian played Monroe-Woodburyand Archbishop Stepinac took on Middletown. More than $4,000 was raised in donations and raffles during the event, as all involved teams paid tribute to the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
Brandon Parker covers New York for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.