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RICH THOMASELLI COMMENTARY: WELCOME, WINTER!

With Fall Sports Done, Here’s What I Can’t Wait To See In The New Season

When the last volleyball fell to the floor on Sunday in the New York State Class C volleyball championship game, it officially ended the fall high school sports season for teams in our area and ushered in a new season.

From competitive cheerleading to basketball to bowling to wrestling to indoor track to gymnastics to boys swimming to skiing, winter is a fun season.

And there’s some things I wanna see as storylines develop and play out over the course of the next three months.

Like ….

I wanna see how new Arlington wrestling coach Dave Grafmuller does in his first season taking over for Fred Perry. Not only does Grafmuller have to replace a legend, but five starters graduated and three who were expected back chose not to return …. I wanna see how much John Jay wrestler Tyler Albis is going to add to having more than 100 wins already and three years still left in his career …. And how about those young guns, all freshmen or sophomores last year who won sectional championships – Pawling’s Alex Santana, Highland’s Mat Malheiro and Arlington’s Dennis Robin …. I wanna see if Lourdes’ Lucca Ardovini-Booker is still as good on the wrestling mat – and he was last year – as he is on the baseball diamond.

READ MORE: FOUR ADVANCE TO STATE SEMIFINALS

I wanna see what Roy C. Ketcham cheerleading does for an encore. Last season the Indians won the Section 1 Co-Ed Division championship and earned a berth in states despite the fact that half of the 12-member team quit just days before sectionals …. I wanna see if Roosevelt has what it takes to defend its Section 9 Large School/Small Team division championship, and get back to states …. And what of Putnam Valley? Can the Tigers defend their Section 1 crown?

READ MORE: BANNER DAY FOR LOCAL CHEERLEADING

Inquiring minds want to know: is John Jay bowler Victoria Pacacha rolling a 300 game this year? I know I’d wanna be there for that …. I wanna see what Ketcham’s Alex Derise has planned for a follow-up to a great freshman year …. John Jay bowlers Mike DeRobertis and Michael Sheridan are just sophomores and primed to lead the team to a league title.

READ MORE: JAY, ARLINGTON, BEACON HAVE STRONG SHOWING AT SECTIONALS

I wanna see if Maddie Siegrist and Lourdes can will their way to a Section 1 girls basketball title over an Ossining team that seemingly gets a Division I player every year out of nowhere …. I wanna watch Ketcham’s Katie Wall, a star since her eighth-grade year, to see how much better she is this season … I’ll never get enough of two of the best guards in the area in Bri Rozzi of Highland and Issy Herrera of Spackenkill …. Haldane power forward Allison Chiera is another one to watch as she preps to lead the Blue Devils to another sectional crown …. And I wanna see what’s going on with Pine Plains now that both co-coaches from the 2016 Final Four team – Les Funk and Rich Starzyk – are no longer with the program.

READ MORE: HIGHLAND GIRLS WIN TITLE

I can’t wait to see what is arguably the best head-to-head matchup in any sport – Wappingers’ senior gymnast Olivia Frederick vs. Mahopac senior Callie Johanson. With all due respect to our other great gymnasts, watching these two is a real treat.

READ MORE: FREDERICK, JOHANSON TIE FOR SECTIONAL TITLE

Now, you talk about some great individual athletes in the sport of indoor track you start with Caroline Timm of Lourdes. I wanna see how much she continues to dominate and where she ends up in states …. I wanna see if Beacon’s Jummie Akinwumni can beat her personal best of 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump …. Speaking of jumping, John Jay’s Noah Mikstay is the man to watch in the high jump and long jump …. I can’t wait to watch if Roosevelt’s Sarah Trainor has just as good an indoor season as she did in cross country …. How much further can Hannah Jackson of Arlington heave that shot put? …. Definitely have to see Roosevelt distance runner Wyatt Matyas.

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So who’s going to the boys swimming sectional championships on both sides of the river? I wanna see Roosevelt boys swimmers Rhett Burns and Robert Reining do their thing …. Gotta watch if Arlington’s Mike Baione goes back to states …. Let’s see if Thomas McCaffrey and Chauncey Nicholas can fuel the great success enjoyed by Wappingers last season …. And I wanna see if New Paltz has as phenomenal year as it did last season.

READ MORE: WAPPINGERS SHINES AT DIVISIONALS

The biggest storyline in boys basketball is already playing. Hudson Valley Sports Report broke the story of four players transferring from Lourdes, two of them – brothers Brady and Aidan Hildebrand – going to John Jay. I, and a lot of people, are curious to see how this plays out. OLL was a Class A state finalist last year and obviously it’s going to hurt. John Jay struggled last year, was the last-seeded team in the Section 1 Class AA playoffs, so let’s see how much the arrival of the brothers really helps …. I wanna see how good defending Section 9 Class A champ Poughkeepsie really is now that they’re back in Section 1, where Class A is a you-know-what …. Wanna see if our guy Humberto Cabrera can carry Millbrook back to the brink of states again …. Can’t wait to see how new coach Bill Murin puts his stamp on the Spackenkill boys program.

READ MORE: LOURDES BOYS IN TURMOIL

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