Sunday, January 3, 2010

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 1 - Maple Hill was the best all-around in New York State

Jaime Schultz was a three-sport star for Maple Hill during the 2008-09 school year, leading the Wildcats to "Best of Class C" rating from the New York State Sportswriters Association.

The ‘soccer school’ label always fit Maple Hill High School, as the Wildcats historically did one thing well - field teams on the pitch.
During the 2008-09 school year, however, Maple Hill became the most successful all-around Class C program in the Empire State.
The boys and girls soccer teams continued the tradition, winning Section II titles, but four more Wildcats teams (boys and girls basketball, baseball and boys tennis) also took home Section II championship trophies.

The 'Castleton Crazies' pose for our photographer Jeff Couch during a boys basketball game at the Glens Falls Civic Center in March 2009. The Maple Hill boys finished as New York State Class C runners-up.

The New York State Sportswriters Association awarded Maple Hill the inaugural New York State Class C All-Sport Championship based on points earned in 14 boys and 13 girls tournaments or championships conducted by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
The Wildcats beat out 159 similarly-sized schools around the state for the award.

Jaime Schultz rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the Section II Class CC championship against Cambridge at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy. Schultz struck out 11 in 5+ innings of work, leading the Wildcats to a 14-0 victory.

"From Schodack/Castleton youth soccer to Sorensco baseball to East Greenbush/Castleton Little League and Sacred Heart CYO basketball, the kids get into sports at a very young age and we don’t have to teach the basics," said Maple Hill girls varsity basketball head coach Mark Bubniak. "The kids are ready for the finer points of the game, they have game experience and they know what to expect when they get to the sectionals and state playoffs."

The baseball team celebrated a dramatic victory over Fort Plain in the Class CC/C playoff game at Geyser Road Field in Saratoga Springs on June 6. Nick Papas delivered the game-winning hit and Jaime Schultz struck out eight in three innings of relief work to seal the 10-8 victory.

The girls soccer team upset No. 1-ranked Stillwater in the Section II Class CC-C playoff and the boys, winners of nine consecutive Section II titles, defeated Lake George in the playoff game to advance to the regional round. Both teams lost in the regional final.
Wrapped up in postseason soccer, the basketball teams practiced at about half power for a few weeks in November, but that didn’t hurt their production on the court. The boys and girls teams went a combined 33-1 in Patroon Conference play and both won Section II Class C championships. Hoosic Valley defeated the girls in the CC-C playoff, but the boys advanced to the New York State Class C championship game, losing to Avon, 61-55.

Girls basketball head coach Mark Bubniak talks to him team during a postseason game at Hudson Valley Community College. The Wildcats won a Section II Class C title for the second consecutive season, but ran into Hoosic Valley in the CC/C playoff game.

The boys tennis team defeated Greenwich 6-1 to claim the Section II Class C title in May and the baseball team won the Class CC title, defeated Fort Plain in the CC-C playoff and won a pair of games in Binghamton to capture the first New York State baseball championship in school history.
"Maple Hill has consistency in the coaching staffs, especially at the varsity level," Bubniak said. "Many of the coaches have been there for a long time and some have non-paid assistants that work long hours for no pay, just to help the kids."

Jaime Schultz makes a leap during a postseason game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. He's now playing baseball at High Point University in North Carolina.

Dubbed the ‘Castleton Crazies’, a sea of red-shirted and face-painted students crowded the bleachers at nearly every Maple Hill event this year. Even their elementary-aged counterparts got into the action and often stopped the players looking for autographs after games.

The girls soccer team congratulates Meeghan Arno (20) on scoring her school-record 79th goal in a victory over Taconic Hills in the fall of 2009.

"We also have great community support," Bubniak said. "You could see all the red at the Civic Center and in Binghamton for the baseball team. The community tends to follow the sports, they’re passionate about it, and when you add it all together, it makes for a great atmosphere."
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won the Class A All-State points title and was the highest-scoring school district in New York State among all five classes.
"It’s a great honor and it’s something the community will be proud of and something these kids can remember for the rest of their lives," Bubniak said.

New York State Sportswriters Association 2008-09 All-Sport Champions
Combined boys & girls scoring
Class AA – Canandaigua
Class A – Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake*
Class B – Bronxville
Class C – Maple Hill
Class D – (tie) South Kortright and Maple Grove
* overall points leader

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