Trying to figure out who deserves spots in the Power 10 – and who deserves No. 1 – is like comparing apples and oranges … and bananas, and grapes, and grapefruit. And everything in that basket comes in different sizes.
That’s what makes it tough. But that’s also what makes it fun.
A very strong spring season finished with a state-finals flourish as four teams came away calling themselves state champions.
As we do every week – and every season – with the Power 10, we try to find an appropriate mix between how the best teams are rated locally in their classification and their sport in general. Then there’s the matter of taking the best of each sport and stacking them up against each other.
This spring, for example, there is the case of Frewsburg softball. The Bears won a Class C state championship – the ultimate accomplishment for any team in any sport – so they certainly have earned a spot in a Power 10 for the spring. But where should they end up considering there is another softball state champion?
Well, here’s the pitch: The final Power 10 of the 2013 spring season.
1. Bishop Timon-St. Jude boys lacrosse. The Tigers won a state Catholic championship following a season in which a team loaded with Division I talent earned attention nationally. That last part is ultimately what put them at the top of our list.
After a win over previously undefeated Ithaca, which had been ranked fourth in the country, Timon was among teams receiving votes in the April 30 Nike/US Lacrosse national poll. Late in the season, based in large part on its strong performance at the North American Lacrosse Invitational in Michigan, Timon spent the final weeks of the season as one of the “teams under consideration” outside the top 20 of toplaxrecruits.com’s national rankings.
Timon was the only team during the spring season to deserve that kind of national consideration. From national attention to possible national records: junior attackman Connor Fields scored 129 goals this year, breaking the Western New York record of 101 (Zed Williams of Silver Creek in 2010), the New York State record of 108 (Billy Kurisko of Nanuet in 1986) and setting what is believed to be a national single-season mark.
Fields will attend Albany, part of an impressive roster of college-bound players that includes graduating goalie Jackson Brown (Hobart) as well as JD Recor (Marist), Lewis Vaccaro (Canisius), and Alex Corbett (Division II Lake Erie). Another standout in the junior class is Adam Dimillo, who committed to Maryland last year.
Timon fared very well playing a loaded schedule (thus the national recognition). In addition to the win over Ithaca, Timon won at Florida power St. Andrew’s and had an authoritative, 17-10 April win at Hamburg, which ended up in the Class B state semifinals.
Timon’s four losses included two (by 14 goals on the road, and three at home) to Ontario’s Hill Academy (18-4) and one (by two goals) to private school power Culver Academy of Indiana (18-2). On April 30, Timon lost in two overtimes at St. Joe’s, 13-12, moments after the Tigers thought Fields had scored in overtime but the goal was not counted. Timon did its best to erase that result by beating St. Joe’s at home, 15-2, in their second meeting and by 18-8 for its fourth straight Monsignor Martin Association title.
Timon’s state title came with a dominating, 20-4 rout on the home field of St. John the Baptist on Long Island. While state superpowers St. Anthony’s and Chaminade do not participate in the state playoffs, St. John the Baptist (10-9) had set a school record for wins during a season in which it lost to Chaminade by three and St. Anthony’s by one. Timon’s win was the worst loss suffered by St. John the Baptist all season.
Timon’s 17-4 record placed them ninth in the state in the final laxpower.com computer rankings.
2. Clarence baseball. Western New York’s top large school all season, the Red Devils went to the Class AA state final before losing to Baldwinsville with Cincinnati Reds third-round pick Mark Armstrong leading the way. If there was a Power 10 for individual athletes, quarterback/hockey player/major league draft pick Armstrong would likely be on top of it.
3. Hamburg softball. The Bulldogs were drama queens at the state final four, pulling out late-inning victories to claim the Class A championship and fulfill some very high expectations after they made the program’s first final four trip last year.
4. Fredonia baseball. Another wire-to-wire local No. 1 in the small school poll, it won the Class B state championship with dominant performances in the state playoffs. On its strong resume from its 18-2 season are some victories over large schools that led me to rank them first overall in the first Power 10 of this spring season.
5. Hamburg boys lacrosse. It finished an outstanding campaign by advancing to Class B state semifinals, where it lost to Jamesville-Dewitt. The Bulldogs’ Far West Regional win was the most dominant recorded by a Section VI Class B team and saw the fewest goals allowed in Section VI regional history (12-3 over Irondequoit). Their only losses during the regular season were to Timon and eventual Virginia state champion Chantilly.
6. Williamsville South baseball. Not unlike Clarence, this is a well-schooled team with a big arm leading the way (Damian Powers) which advanced to the state championship game. If there were a Power 10 quotes of the spring, this one from coach Kraig Kurzanski after South’s state final loss to Long Island’s Bayport-Blue Point might be at the top: “We fought like heck. I’m just proud of our guys. I’m proud of our effort. I’m proud of being a Williamsville South Billy Goat. We’re going to try to get back here next year.”
7. St. Joe’s baseball. The Marauders won 10 of their last 11, including a two-game sweep of rival Canisius, to repeat as Georgetown Cup champion in a season in which the Monsignor Martin Association was incredibly top-heavy. One of those late-season wins was a 9-4 victory at Baldwinsville, the team that beat Clarence for the state title.
8. Clarence softball. The No. 1 large school all year and one of the area’s strongest programs fell in the Class AA regionals. It finished atop large school poll.
9. Frewsburg softball. The Bears capped a third straight Section VI Class C championship with a state title that included outstanding performances from senior pitcher Sam Mott: Six no-hit innings in the semifinal, and a game-ending tag-out at home as she covered home after her wild pitch.
10. Orchard Park boys lacrosse. It recorded its (ho-hum) 21st Section VI title in the last 23 years. The Quakers appeared headed for a regional victory before Penfield scored the last four goals, including the game-winner in overtime.
High honor roll: Hamburg and Lancaster girls lacrosse; Silver Creek boys lacrosse; Nichols softball; Nichols girls golf.
Honor roll: Lancaster, Sweet Home, East Aurora, Cheektowaga, St. Joe’s, Immaculata, City Honors and Hutch-Tech track & field; Lancaster, Orchard Park, Hamburg, Canisius, St. Francis, St. Mary’s, Tonawanda and Pine Valley baseball; Falconer, Pine Valley, Depew and Hutch-Tech softball; Amherst and Sacred Heart girls lacrosse; Akron boys lacrosse; Nichols and Canisius boys tennis; Sacred Heart girls tennis.
Final Power 10 coming
A final overall Power 10 for the 2012-13 season will be published next week.