COLONIE There were many storylines to the 2015 sports season, but these five stood out from the pack. They are presented in no particular order.
Win one for Donato
Prior to the Section 2 Class A championships Feb. 11, the Christian Brothers Academy bowling team learned that its head coach, Tom Donato, died of a heart attack.
The Brothers responded by rallying past Columbia in the sixth game to claim the Sectional title with a total pinfall of 6,084.
Dom Savona recorded a six-game series of 1,344 pins to lead CBA to a berth in the state tournament. Zeph Kozakiewics added a six-game score of 1,304 pins.
The Brothers followed up their Sectional performance with a third-place finish at the state tournament. CBA finished with a total pinfall of 5,796 – 18 pins behind runner-up Fulton. East Islip won the boys team title with a score of 5,985 pins.
Chris Radliff led the Brothers with a six-game series of 1,300 pins – the third highest score of the tournament. Radliff had the high game of the tournament with a 289 in the first game of the afternoon session.
Not to be outdone, the Colonie girls bowling team won the Section 2 title with a score of 5,391 pins. The Lady Raiders then finished fourth at states with a score of 5,281 pins.
Tiera Gulum led Colonie with a six-game series of 1,181 pins at Sectionals and a score of 1,119 pins at states. Amanda Chzanowski took high game honors at states with a score of 257 pins.
Swimming to glory
The Shaker boys swim team came of age in 2015 by winning the Section 2 Division 1 title by one point over defending champion Shenendehowa in the Plainsmen’s own pool.
The Blue Bison led the Plainsmen by five points entering the final event of the meet, the 400-yard freestyle relay. Shen claimed the title with a time of 3:13.15, but Shaker’s team of Andrew Semmes, John Fitzgerald, Frank Miao and George Enright placed second with a time of 3:18.03 to preserve the Blue Bison’s 506-505 victory.
William Matz was one of the top swimmers of the Sectional meet. The junior won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly, and he swam on two winning relay teams for Shaker.
Mark Enright also had a solid Sectional meet for the Blue Bison. He won the 100-yard freestyle and tied teammate Zeeshan Irani for second place in the 50-yard freestyle.
As good as Matz and Enright were, it was Shaker’s depth that helped the Blue Bison prevail. Five Shaker swimmers had top-three finishes in individual events, which helped the Blue Bison accumulate points.
Shaker sent seven individuals and its three relay teams to the state meet – its highest total in several years.
A shared title
The Shaker boys soccer team made history in 2015 by claiming a share of the Section 2 Class AA title in 2015. It was the Blue Bison’s first title and their second trip to the Class AA final in the program’s history.
Shaker played Ballston Spa to a scoreless tie in the championship game Nov. 2 at Colonie Central High School. Since a Section representative needed to be determined, the two teams went to penalty kicks, where Ballston Spa prevailed 5-3.
It was the first time all season Ballston Spa hadn’t won a game in regulation or overtime. The Scotties entered the championship game with an 18-0 record and had only once needed overtime to win – a 3-2 victory over Saratoga in the Sectional semifinals.
Shaker had been on its own hot streak entering the Class AA final. The Blue Bison won nine consecutive games, including a 1-0 victory over crosstown rival Colonie in the semifinals.
Carter Haydock led Shaker’s balanced offense with 15 goals and five assists. Jarod Croteau and Vikram Mangat each recorded 11 points, with Mangat leading the team in assists with seven helpers. Croteau was second to Haydock in goals with six tallies, while Jack Murray and Pat Mahoney tied for third on the team with five goals apiece.
Meet the new schools
The Suburban Council grew in September, as it officially welcomed four former Big 10 schools into the league.
Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Christian Brothers Academy made their Suburban Council debuts in August with the start of the high school golf season. Though they struggled in many fall sports, they were happy to be part of a league again after the Big 10 dissolved following the 2013-14 season.
Adding the four schools led to a restructuring of the Suburban Council’s two divisions. Instead of dividing the 16 schools geographically this season, the league created divisions based on traditional competitive levels. Thus, Shaker and Colonie were placed in the Blue Division along with Shen, Niskayuna, Saratoga Springs, Bethlehem, Guilderland and Columbia, while the four former Big 10 schools were shipped to the Gold Division to play alongside Ballston Spa, Averill Park, Mohonasen and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake.
Getting its due
Cheerleading came into its own in 2015 with the first state-sanctioned regional championship, which was held Feb. 21 at Guilderland High School.
Eighty teams from around the state competed in five divisions. Colonie won the Division 1 large team title, while Guilderland placed fourth in the co-ed division.
The stakes will be higher in 2016, as the first full-fledged state championship takes place in Syracuse.