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Phil Blackwell

Stories by Phil

Baseball Lakers go 1-1 in sectionals

Skaneateles stops Clinton, falls to Westhill in quarterfinals

When the Skaneateles baseball team got a glimpse of the Section III Class B playoff bracket, it saw that, in order to make a deep run, it would need to beat the two sides responsible for winning five of the last six championships, and do so on the road.

Solvay softball blazes back to Class B final

Bearcats to take on APW in final at Gillette Road complex

Though other area softball teams dropped out of their respective Section III playoff brackets, Solvay continued to drive toward a third consecutive Class B championship.

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Skaneateles girls track wins sectional B-1 title

Sprinters pile up points; Neal, Grasso, Carlile win events

From sprints to distance runs to field events, the Skaneateles girls track and field team had everything covered – and the end result was a Section III Class B-1 championship.

Girls track teams duel in Class B sectionals

Gugel, Blonski lead J-E to second-place finish on B-2 side

When area track and field teams went to their respective Section III Class B championships, the girls didn’t have to go far, with Westhill serving as the hosts for Thursday’s competition. Jordan-Elbridge did quite well in the Class B-2 meet, earning 98 points to top everyone in the eight-team field except Clinton, who won with 186.5 points.

Comeback pushes softball Warriors past C-NS

Liverpool to meet Proctor in AA sectional final

Every single time they encounter each other, the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse softball teams know how nervous things can get. Gaining superiority in this long and consequential rivalry requires talent, for sure, but also avoiding mistakes - or, if they do take place, overcoming them, especially if those mistakes happen early.

C-NS, Liverpool reach AA baseball semis

Northstars, Warriors need extra innings to win quarterfinals

One more victory by each side would mean that the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool baseball teams would settle the Section III Class AA championship against each other. Just getting to that point, though, required surviving Thursday's close, tense AA quarterfinals, where the top-seeded Northstars edged no. 8 seed Syracuse 3-2 in 10 innings at the Gillette Road complex, and the no. 6 seed Warriors upended no. 3 seed Rome Free Academy 2-1 in eight innings at DeLutis Field.

West Genny alums earn NCAA titles at Cortland State

Bello, LaComb, Elmer, Parry all part of first-ever title runs

Perhaps the biggest week in Cortland State athletics, involving the women’s lacrosse and baseball teams each earning NCAA Division III championships, carried a distinct West Genesee flavor. On the lacrosse field, it was juniors Liz LaComb and Nicole Bello, along with freshman Hannah Elmer, leading the Red Dragons to its first-ever national title, while in baseball junior Turner Parry played a role in a record-breaking season for Cortland’s diamond heroes.

C-NS, Liverpool vie for sectional track honors

Mahana wins twice for boys Northstars during second-place effort

Track and field teams from Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool all gathered at Bragman Stadium Wednesday with the rest of the Section III Class AA sides for a pair of sectional meets that would produce plenty of strong results from the local sides.

F-M track pulls off sectional Class AA sweep

Millar, Barber, Ezidiegwu both double winners at C-NS

Though its foundation is familiar, it’s the variety of skill that allowed the Fayetteville-Manlius track and field teams to shine above all others during last Wednesday’s Section III Class AA championship meet at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.

Track Bees compete at sectional AA meet

Miller, Donhauser, Smith among B'ville's top finishers

Top-notch competition was everywhere, and Baldwinsville’s track and field teams spent the large part of Wednesday’s Section III Class AA championship meet at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium trying to measure up.

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Warriors fall to Cazenovia in Class C final

Six-goal lead vanishes in OT defeat to Lakers

In every manner except the final result, the Westhill boys lacrosse team was a championship unit during 2015, denied only by a Cazenovia Lakers side that, on three separate occasions, broke the Warriors’ hearts by prevailing in overtime.

J-D girls earn A-2 sectional track title

Payne wins three events: ESM's Marra sweeps 1,500, 3,000

Not once in the 2015 season did the Jamesville-DeWitt girls track and field team get beat, all the way to its last and most important test. The Red Rams roared to victory in Wednesday’s Section III Class A-2 championships at Camden High School, picking up 168 points, well clear of runner-up Carthage (100 points). East Syracuse Minoa, with wins from Natalie Marra and Mia Montgomery, took third with 68 points.

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Lakers claim sectional lacrosse title in OT

Willard goal completes Caz rally against Westhill

Yes, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team had rallied before against Westhill. It had gone to overtime before against the Warriors - twice, in fact - and won both times. But the third time, and the third victory, was the biggest and sweetest of all, as Cole Willard's goal in the first minute of OT completed the Lakers' comeback from a six-goal deficit to win, 9-8, in Wednesday night's Section III Class C final at the Carrier Dome.

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Lacrosse Wildcats beat Auburn, reclaim sectional title

Big first-half surge follows early time-out in 16-9 win

Mike Messere did not accumulate 801 victories over 40 seasons coaching West Genesee's boys lacrosse team by making hasty, rash decisions. So it had to surprise everyone that closely follows the Wildcat program to see Messere signal for a time-out midway through the first quarter of Wednesday night's Section III Class A final at the Carrier Dome, with WG only trailing Auburn by a single goal.

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Red Rams fight to seventh straight sectional title

Big second quarter pushes J-D past Carthage

One quarter of action may have alarmed fans of the Jamesville-DeWitt boys lacrosse team during Wednesday's Section III Class B final at the Carrier Dome - but by the time the second quarter was done, all concerns were addressed, and a seventh consecutive sectional championship was in sight.

CBA girls fall to West Genny in title game

Tense final at Dome decided in final seconds

One more successful attack, and one more goal, would give the Christian Brothers Academy girls lacrosse team the Section III Class A championship it had aimed for ever since moving up from the Class B ranks this spring.

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Girls Wildcats edge CBA, keep sectional title

Delaney goal in last seconds delivers 8-7 victory

Of all the pieces of championship glory picked up by the West Genesee girls lacrosse team in the last decade and a half, few were as difficult to attain - and satisfying in its acquisition - as the Section III Class A title earned at the Carrier Dome Tuesday night when the Wildcats edged Christian Brothers Academy in a tense 8-7 thriller.

J-D girls drop Class B final to Watertown

Red Rams stopped one win short of first sectional title in 22 years

More than two decades removed from its last Section III championship, the Jamesville-DeWitt girls lacrosse team tried to climb back to the top, but fell one step short. Top seed Watertown proved too much for the no. 3 seed Red Rams, prevailing 13-7 in Tuesday night's sectional final at the Carrier Dome by building an 11-goal lead and withstanding J-D's attempt at an historic late comeback.

Girls Lakers smash way to another sectional title

Skaneateles rolls past General Brown in Class C final

One tense, exciting and stressful Section III Class C girls lacrosse game was, for Skaneateles, more than enough. After escaping Marcellus in a dramatic, come-from-behind semifinal May 21 at CBA's Alibrandi Stadium, the Lakers went to the Carrier Dome Tuesday and, playing a superb all-around game, rolled past General Brown 16-5 to earn its third consecutive sectional championship.

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Cannizzaro brothers help Denver to NCAA title

Sean, Connor join older sister Kara as national champs

Two years ago in the Philadelphia area, Kara Cannizzaro made Cazenovia proud by leading North Carolina’s women’s lacrosse team to an NCAA championship, beating Maryland in triple overtime for the crown and earning tournament Most Outstanding Player honors. Now Kara has company in her own family as her younger brothers, Sean and Connor Cannizzaro, helped take the University of Denver men’s lacrosse team to a national title – also beating Maryland, and also doing so in Philadelphia.

C-NS boys lax stopped in sectional semis

Northstars fall to West Genny after road win at F-M

A chance at snaring the biggest victory in program history lay right in front of the Cicero-North Syracuse boys lacrosse team.

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Lacrosse Wildcats give Messere 800th win

West Genny dominates C-NS in Class A sectional semifinal

Post-season games are important, and a Section III Class A semifinal is particularly important, even for someone so used to the stage as the West Genesee boys lacrosse team. Yet something beyond the stakes of yet another berth in yet another championship game drove the top-seeded Wildcats when it beat no. 5 seed Cicero-North Syracuse 13-3 in Saturday night's semifinal at Bragman Stadium.

Westhill lacrosse makes first-ever sectional final

Win over CBA sets up shot at Cazenovia in Carrier Dome

What was already a great season for the Westhill boys lacrosse team crossed into historical territory the moment the Warriors' tense 11-10 victory over Christian Brothers Academy in Saturday's Section III Class C semifinal at East Syracuse Minoa Stadium came to a crashing conclusion.

Skaneateles falls to Caz in Class C semis

Second-half scoring bursts make difference in 11-6 defeat

For a third time in the 2015 season, the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team tried to get the best of Cazenovia, this time with an opportunity to end the reign of those other Lakers as Section III Class C champions. But just like those other two meetings, Cazenovia got the best of the Laker duel, prevailing 11-6 in Saturday night's sectional Class C semifinal at East Syracuse Minoa Stadium.

J-D boys lax beats ESM in sectional semis

Spartans fall after opening win over Watertown

What the East Syracuse Minoa boys lacrosse team got in the Section III Class B playoffs was the ultimate example of a trade-off.

Boys lacrosse Brothers reach sectional semifinals

CBA beats LaFayette, but is ousted by Westhill

Ever since he took over as Christian Brothers Academy’s boys lacrosse coach, Ric Beardsley had fashioned a unit fully capable of lighting up the board, but just as capable of surrendering plenty of goals to the other side.

CBA’s Bellardini reaches state boys golf finals

F-M's Keller misses out in four-way playoff for final spot

All of the area boys golfers that had done well in their respective Section III fall tournaments had to wait until late May to get their chance to advance further. On Thursday morning, 70 golfers teed off at the Seven Oaks Course near Colgate University in the Section III state qualifier.

F-M baseball battles way to sectional berth

Wins over South Jefferson, Westhill help save Hornets' season

When the last week of the regular season began, the Fayetteville-Manlius baseball team had to win three games to make it to the Section III Class AA playoffs. And though it had to wait until the last moment, the Hornets managed to pull it off.

Tennis stars qualify for state tournament

F-M's Druger beats MPH's Mariados in singles final

Top boys tennis players from six different local high schools had opportunities to advance from the Section III state qualifier held Thursday and Friday at Utica’s Mott Courts and Syracuse University’s Skytop Courts, and many would pull it off.

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Boleslav brothers win state tennis qualifier

WG's star duo does not drop a set in tournament

Once again, West Genesee’s boys tennis brother tandem of Brent and Garrett Boleslav are making their way to Queens in pursuit of a state championship. The Boleslavs secured their bid through winning the Section III state qualifying tournament, held Thursday and Friday at Utica’s Mott Courts and Syracuse University’s Skytop Courts, proving so tough that, in four matches, they did not drop a single set.

Northstars beat RFA in softball sectionals

C-NS could face Liverpool in Class AA semis

In so many different ways, the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse softball teams end up drawn to each other – especially at the end of the season, when the stakes are high.

Liverpool sweeps C-NS in league track meet

Akinpelu, Reader each win three individual events

Since just four teams were involved, Thursday’s CNY Counties League National division track and field championship meets at Baldwinsville’s Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium turned into yet another neighborhood duel between Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse.

C-NS girls lacrosse falls in Class A semis

CBA takes out Northstars after shutout of Liverpool

What unfolded Thursday night at Chittenango High School during the Section III Class A girls lacrosse semifinals was guaranteed to be cruel for someone. Cicero-North Syracuse, no. 4 in the state rankings, was facing Christian Brothers Academy, no. 3 in that same state poll, and one of them would see their season end.

Hornets handle field at league track meet

Ezidegwu wins twice for F-M girls at Central Square

What both of the Fayeteville-Manlius track and field teams want the most is a chance to sweep the Section III Class AA championships that takes place next Wednesday at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium. Before that, though, the Hornets ventured to nearby Central Square and, in essence, tuned up by sweeping through last Thursday’s CNY Counties League American division meets, with 205 points to beat the host Redhawks (145 points) on the boys side and 227.5 points to dominate the girls meet.

CBA girls top C-NS, reach Class A final

Brothers to face West Genesee at Carrier Dome for title

Someone quite good, ranked within the state Class A top five for the entire season, was going to see its season end in Thursday night’s Section III Class A girls lacrosse semifinals at Chittenango High School.

J-D girls advance to Class B sectional final

Red Rams topple ESM, Cartahge, to meet Watertown at Carrier Dome

Once proved challenging, and twice proved difficult, but by the third time the Jamesville-DeWitt girls lacrosse team fought past East Syracuse Minoa, it wasn’t close at all – and it served as a harbinger for greater things to come.

Girls lax Bees reach semis, fall to West Genny

B'ville rallies past F-M, but can't hold lead against Wildcats

Baldwinsville’s girls lacrosse team did something remarkable and historic during Thursday’s Section III Class A semifinal at Chittenango High School. For an entire half, the no. 4 seed Bees kept top seed and defending state champion West Genesee off the board, something no one else had pulled off in Wildcats head coach Bob Elmer’s 16 years at the helm.

B’ville third as hosts of CNYCL track meet

Miller, Jaquint both win girls events for Bees

Even though it was competing in familiar surroundings at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, each of Baldwinsville’s track and field team still found themselves chasing Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse during Thursday’s CNY Counties League National division championship meet.

Lakers rally past Marcellus in Class C semis

Skaneateles, trailing 10-8, scores three in last two minutes

It only figured that the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team would, once again, have to climb over its feisty, hungry neighbors from Marcellus to get back to the Carrier Dome for Tuesday’s Section III Class C title game.

Marcellus girls stunned by Skaneateles rally

Mustangs led for most of sectional Class C semifinal

Many different times in many different settings, the Marcellus girls lacrosse team had tried to conquer its more storied neighbors from Skaneateles in a Section III playoff setting, only to get turned back. Few, if any of those defeats compared, in terms of pain and frustration, to what took place Thursday night at Christian Brothers Academy’s Alibrandi Stadium, a Class C semifinal that the Mustangs led most of the way before it got snatched from them in a cruel 11-10 defeat to the Lakers.

Wildcats rally past B’ville in Class A semis

WG girls lax relies on defense, will play CBA for sectional title

Patience is something not often associated with teenagers, even high school athletes. Yet the West Genesee girls lacrosse team had to employ a lot of patience in order to return to the Carrier Dome for yet another shot at the Section III Class A championship.

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Bees fall to Syracuse in Class A sectionals

Second-quarter run turns game in Cougars' favor

All was going well for the Baldwinsville boys lacrosse team early in Wednesday night’s Section III Class A playoff opener against the Syracuse Cougars at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. Not only were the Bees out in front, it was doing so with a potent attack that was flustering the Cougars at every turn. One or two more goals, and B’ville might have produced a runaway.

Lacrosse Hornets’ sectional title run ends early

C-NS uses two big spurts to knock out F-M, 14-6

When the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team recorded big late-season wins over West Genesee (in overtime) and Cazenovia (in the last seconds), the impression, going into the Section III Class A playoffs, was that the Hornets had a fighting chance to reclaim the title banner that, in 2014, ended a 21-year championship drought.

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McKenney returns as Bishop Grimes coach

Five-time state champ hired two months after abrupt J-D departure

Bob McKenney’s abrupt departure from the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball program that he steered to five state championships in 19 seasons did not mark the end of his coaching career. Instead, McKenney is now in charge a few miles down the road, at Bishop Grimes, where his hiring was announced at a press conference Thursday inside the school’s gymnasium in front of family members, friends and approximately 100 students.

Boys Lakers survive South Jefferson in double OT

Major nets game-winner; Skaneateles meets Caz in Class C semis

After a pair of regular-season attempts to upend the reigning Section III Class C champions from its throne, the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team has earned one more shot at Cazenovia.

Lacrosse Wildcats, Warriors sail to playoff wins

Marcellus ousted by Caz in Class C quarterfinal

If the West Genesee boys lacrosse team reclaims the Section III Class A title, it will do so not having to worry about Fayetteville-Manlius standing in the way. As the top-seeded Wildcats dismantled no. 8 seed Utica Proctor 21-3 in Wednesday night's opening-round game in Camillus, the no. 4 seed Hornets saw its title reign come to an end with a 14-6 home defeat to no. 5 seed Cicero-North Syracuse.

Cazenovia lacrosse handles Marcellus

First-half shutout leads to sectional semifinal against Skaneateles

At least through the early rounds of the Section III Class C playoffs, the Cazenovia boys lacrosse team have not run into any serious stress. Following a 21-1 destruction of Clinton in the opening round on May 16, the top-seeded, defending sectional champion Lakers did much the same to no. 9 seed Marcellus in Wednesday’s Class C quarterfinal at the Sean Googin Sports Complex, defeating the Mustangs 15-2.

Schug leads CBA girls track at league meet

Sprint sweep, school records part of third-place finish

Christian Brothers Academy’s track and field teams took part in the Onondaga High School League Liberty division championship meet Wednesday night at Fulton, where it finished third in the girls meet with 84 points behind Skaneatles and Westhill-Bishop Ludden, and took fourth place on the boys side with 59 points.

Westhill-Ludden boys win Liberty track meet

Roland, Remillard lead effort; J-E's Gugel wins girls 1,500, 3,000

Three local track and field teams were part of Wednesday’s Onondaga High School League Liberty division championship meet at Fulton, but Westhill-Ludden enjoyed the most success. In the boys meet, Westhill-Ludden earned 96 points to edge Cazenovia (92 points) for the top spot, while the girls Warriors had 120 points to finish second behind Skaneateles (133 points) as Jordan-Elbridge, led by Abby Gugel, was fifth on the girls side.

Jones, Panasci lead Lakers at tennis sectionals

Skaneateles duo finishes second, advances to state qualifier

An up-and-down season for the Skaneateles boys tennis team culminated in its appearance early last week in the Section III Class C-1 tournament at Syracuse University’s Skytop Courts, which featured a series of top finishes and one run to the finals.

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