Shenendehowa sports: 2015-16, in review

Shenendehowa players huddle together during a Saturday, June 11, 2016 Class AA baseball state semifinal game at Binghamton University in Vestal. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)Shenendehowa players huddle together during a Saturday, June 11, 2016 Class AA baseball state semifinal game at Binghamton University in Vestal. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Sportswriter

CLIFTON PARK — From opening practices to the final days of the high school sports season, Shenendehowa High School’s sports teams and several of the competition squads associated with the school dominated during the 2015-16 scholastic year.

Here are 10 of the school year’s top sports stories, presented in chronological order.

3 IN 24

A week after the Shenendehowa field hockey team won its sectional title, a trio of Plainsmen squads — boys’ and girls’ volleyball, plus girls’ swimming and diving — won Section II championships in a span of 24 hours.

Boys’ volleyball got things started Nov. 6 by dethroning five-time defending champion Bethlehem in straight sets. Early the next afternoon, the girls’ swimming and diving team toppled archrival Niskayuna. Finally, the girls’ volleyball team capped the stretch with a dominant win that night against Bethlehem for its sixth consecutive area title.

Both volleyball squads continued on to compete in the state semifinals, as did the field hockey team.

On Sunday afternoon, November 1st, 2015, at Schuylerville HS held the Class A Section 2 field hockey finals with Saratoga versus Shenendehowa. Shenendehowa teammates celebrated their victory against Saratoga. (Erica Miller / Gazette Photographer)

On Sunday afternoon, November 1st, 2015, at Schuylerville HS held the Class A Section 2 field hockey finals with Saratoga versus Shenendehowa. Shenendehowa teammates celebrated their victory against Saratoga. (Erica Miller / Gazette Photographer)

SIMPLY DOMINANT

At the Feb. 26-27 wrestling state championships, Kevin Parker capped his high school career with a second consecutive state championship.

In his pre-finals matches at the Times Union Center, Parker won three matches by a combined 46-0. In the Division I 182-pound final, he coasted to a 13-4 victory against Alexander Melikian of Section I’s Lakeland/Panas.

“It’s all you can ask for,” Parker said of his final win. “When you’re in these years in high school, winning something like this means the world to you. It’s exciting to be able to finish out my career how I wanted to.”

Parker finished his Shenendehowa career with three Section II titles, two state championships and 215 career wins.

Kevin Parker of Shenendehowa wraps up A;exander Melikian of Lakeland Panas in the wrestling finals bout at the Times Union Center in Albany Saturday, February 27, 2016. Parker won his second state title 13-4. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Kevin Parker of Shenendehowa wraps up Alexander Melikian of Lakeland Panas in the wrestling finals bout at the Times Union Center in Albany Saturday, February 27, 2016. Parker won his second state title 13-4. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

THAT’S MR. BASKETBALL, TO YOU

Eventually, Kevin Huerter went on to sweep all three of the state’s top awards for a boys’ basketball player. But no award was bigger than the first one he got, when the Basketball Coaches Association of New York, Inc. announced March 9 that Huerter was this year’s Mr. New York Basketball.

“I love it because he’s everything that’s right about high school basketball,” Shenendehowa coach Tony Dzikas said. “He’s a bright kid. He gives you your time. He goes into elementary schools and reads to kids. He helps out with the youth basketball program up at Chango, where he went to [elementary] school — and those teachers there all love him.”

Huerter helped the school’s boys’ basketball team to a 24-1 record and an appearance in the state semifinals as a senior.

Shenendehowa's Kevin Huerter, left, slaps hands with teammates upon exiting a boys' basketball game in Clifton Park on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

Shenendehowa’s Kevin Huerter, left, slaps hands with teammates upon exiting a boys’ basketball game in Clifton Park on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

CLASSIC CLASH

In a back-and-forth game, the Shenendehowa girls’ basketball team’s fantastic season came to a close with a 69-66 defeat against Ossining in the March 12 Class AA state championship.

Carly Boland scored 25 points in the title game, while teammate Sydney Brown added 13.

Before falling in the final, Shenendehowa had won eight straight games. The most dramatic win in that stretch was a 67-62 win against Albany in the Section II championship, a game in which Shenendehowa trailed with less than 30 seconds left before coming back to win its 12th area crown.

Shenendehowa, which graduated eight seniors, finished 23-3.

WORLD CHAMPS

After finishing in eighth place at the 2015 Color Guard World Championships, director Scott Snell’s program captured first place in 2016 with a score of 96.85 in Dayton, Ohio.

“Winning a world championship had been a dream of mine since I started. I was in disbelief for a long time after it,” team member Brittany Anderson said. “It was unreal.”

In addition to the squad’s overall title, the team’s free-flowing routine won it a “Fan Favorite” award at the championships.

UNDERDOGS FIND A WAY

Heading into the May 27 Section II Class A boys’ lacrosse title game, Niskayuna was riding an 81-game winning streak against area foes and was just weeks removed from an 18-10 win against Shenendehowa.

With a 15-14 win against the then-reigning state champions, Shenendehowa scored one of the biggest upsets of the season. Matt Stucchi scored seven goals in the victory, while goalie Anthony Tebbano made 27 saves.

“Everybody knows about the win streak they had and about the state title,” said the junior Tebbano. “We knew we could win.”

Shenendehowa pitcher Ian Anderson is expected to go in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday. (PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTGRAPHER)

Shenendehowa pitcher Ian Anderson is expected to go in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday. (PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTGRAPHER)

TWIN BROTHERS DRAFTED

On June 9, pitcher Ian Anderson made Capital Region history when the Atlanta Braves selected him third overall in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, the highest-ever selection for a player from the Capital Region.

Two days later, twin brother Ben Anderson — also a pitcher — was picked in the 26th round of the draft, a selection of the Blue Jays.

Coming off a 2015 summer in which he pitched for USA Baseball at the U18 world championships in Japan, Ian Anderson allowed three earned runs while striking out 55 batters in 42 innings. In the team’s postseason run, he went 4-0 and did not allow an earned run in 28 innings.

COMEBACK KIDS

Down to its final out, the baseball team’s chance at a first-ever state championship was slipping away.

Then, an RBI hit from Nick Jacques tied the score. Next up was Joe Palko, who lined the game-winning hit into the outfield on the first pitch he saw.

As the Shenendehowa players dogpiled at first base following their 7-6 win June 11 against Webster Schroeder, their coaches hung back to watch.

“I just wanted to see them celebrate. Really, it’s all about them,” Shenendehowa coach greg Christodulu said. “They set goals and they stayed true to each other.”

Shenendehowa finished the season 21-5. In the postseason, the Plainsmen outscored their opponents 30-10.

DOUBLE THE FUN

Competing at the National Schools’ Championship Regatta in Philadelphia, the varsity double of Josh Freitas and Mike Campone won a gold medal.

Weeks before, the duo had won a state championship.

All-American Shenendehowa track and field athletes are shown Monday, June 20, 2016 in Clifton Park. Shown, from left, are Danielle Jordan, Julia Zachgo, Emily Crounse, Hannah Reale, Jill Shippee and Kristina Watrobski. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

All-American Shenendehowa track and field athletes are shown Monday, June 20, 2016 in Clifton Park. Shown, from left, are Danielle Jordan, Julia Zachgo, Emily Crounse, Hannah Reale, Jill Shippee and Kristina Watrobski. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

ALL-AMERICAN GIRLS

At the June 11-12 New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships in Greensboro, N.C., six Shenendehowa girls’ track and field athletes earned All-American status and five became national champions.

Sophomore Hannah Reale, junior Julia Zachgo, and seniors Emily Crounse and Danielle Jordan won the national championship in the girls’ 3,200-meter relay, while junior Jill Shippee won the hammer throw.

Senior Kristina Watrobski joined Jordan, Reale and Zachgo in the 4×1-mile relay to take fourth place.

Top-six finishers at the national championships earn All-American spots.

“An amazing finish,” said Shenendehowa coach Rob Cloutier, whose program won both Suburban Council and Section II outdoor team championships in 2016.


Julia Samson of Shenendehowa jumps into the pool on the last leg of the freestyle relay at Shenendehowa High School Thursday, October 22, 2015. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Julia Samson of Shenendehowa jumps into the pool on the last leg of the freestyle relay at Shenendehowa High School Thursday, October 22, 2015. (PETER R. BARBER/DAILY GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Twenty of the numbers that defined the 2015-16 school year in sports and competitions for Shenendehowa athletes:

1,671: Career points scored for Carly Boland, the fourth-most in school girls’ history.

1,454: Career points scored for Kevin Huerter, the second-most in school boys’ history.

109: Minutes needed to decide the girls’ soccer area title game against Niskayuna.

99: Points scored by the boys’ basketball team in a 51-point January win against Schenectady

96.85: Winning score for the school’s color guard at the world championships.

59: Total points wrestler Kevin Parker scored in winning the state tournament.

56.46: Section II-record time Luke Gordon leaves behind in the boys’ 100 breaststroke after the 2016 state championships.

55: Strikeouts in 42 innings of pitching for baseball’s Ian Anderson.

44: Where the boys’ basketball team’s league winning streak sits.

17: Goals scored by field hockey’s Emily Fraser.

Shenendehowa's Meghan Cavanaugh trudges off the field during a girls' soccer game against Niskayuna on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015 in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

Shenendehowa’s Meghan Cavanaugh trudges off the field during a girls’ soccer game against Niskayuna on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015 in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Sportswriter)

15: Touchdowns scored for football running back Carl Fiore.

14: Sports in which the Plainsmen won Section II team championships.

13: Home runs hit by softball’s Kelly Barkevich.

11: Total school skiers who qualified to compete at the state championships.

7: Runs the baseball team scored in its first-ever state championship victory

6: Sports in which the Plainsmen won regional team championships.

3: Overall pick the Atlanta Braves used to select Ian Anderson in the 2016 MLB draft.

2:02.25: Section II-record time Julia Samson leaves behind in the 200 individual medley after the 2016 state championships.

2: National championships girls’ outdoor track and field athletes Emily Crounse, Hannah Reale, Danielle Jordan, Jill Shippee and Julia Zachgo combined to win.

1: The margin in the boys’ lacrosse team’s stunning 15-14 area championship win against Niskayuna.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.