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Panthers No. 1 in NY poll

Sweet Home took over the top spot in the New York State Sportswriters Association’s third Class A poll of the season. Now the Panthers have to overcome the jinx that saw the last two top-ranked teams lose after assuming the No. 1 spot. The Panthers will get tested Saturday in a home showdown against Kenmore East.

Also in Class A, South Park leaped from honorable mention all the way up to 13th. Grand Island dropped from 13th to 22nd.

Two local games this weekend have ranked teams in the state polls. No 25 McKinley will play at No. 24 Williamsville South on Friday in Class A, and No. 10 Burgard will play at No. 11 Cheektowaga in Class B on Saturday.

In Class AA, state pollsters aren’t showing much respect yet for Jamestown. The No. 1 team in the Western New York large school poll rose from 16th to 14th. Canisius was fifth again, St. Joe’s ninth while Aquinas of Rochester held on to the top spot.

Randolph remained No. 1 in Class D with Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake sixth.

Nardin clinches

Nardin (12-3-1, 8-0) clinched at least a tie for the Monsignor Martin Association regular season girls soccer championship with a 5-0 victory at second-place Nichols (8-6, 6-2). Eileen Rath scored three goals for the Gators while Sarah Donohue and Tricia Mangon had single tallies. Emilie Maggio had three assists. Clair Galbo was in goal for Nardin, which has outscored the opposition, 35-4, in Monsignor Martin games.

Johnson sets course mark

Caleb Johnson of Orchard Park ran a record 21:12 for the Quakers’ home course in a 23-33 victory over West Seneca West.

Johnson, a junior, led a 1-2-3 OP finish with Matt Mercer and Mike McCrone.

“Caleb’s a diehard. He’s been running since seventh grade. At first he had trouble transferring over from modified (1.5 miles) to 3.1 miles, but now he’s winning races and was in the top 10 in the Knox Farm race Saturday,” said Quakers coach David Wert.

Frannies wins close one

St. Francis has been winning in soccer lately, but not leaving much room for error. Seth Snyder, a junior, scored with one second left in the second 10-minute overtime to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 victory over St. Joe’s. Aaron Hayes scored in the eighth minute for the Red Raiders.

After the Marauders tied it in the 16th minute the teams played nearly 84 minutes of scoreless soccer. Sam Eggleston assisted on both St. Francis goals and Matt Gabalski had eight saves.

Last Saturday, Hayes scored with 30 seconds left in a 2-1 victory over Bishop Kearney in Rochester.

“We lost a couple of one-goal games in early league games but we’re playing much better now,” said St. Francis coach Mike Smolinski. “We’re making our push for the playoffs.”