Outside the Box by Chuck Walley

A Look at Webb Sports

Webb Cross-Country: Girls varsity team off to solid start; Maddie Phaneuf shines with first place finish

Before we revisit the week’s happenings, I’d like to give a special nod to those student-athletes who are participating in two sports.

Many of our cross country runners are hitting the trails as their schedules allow based on their commitment to soccer, which takes precedence. This is no small feat.

Between classes, homework, special projects, and studying for tests, the academic requirements for a serious student are pretty demanding.

Add in other activities such as clubs, National Honor Society, and theater (to name a few) and these kids’ schedules can be as rigorous as a full time job.

Now, imagine taking on the stress of daily practices and games.

That would be like you or I coming home from work, heading out after dinner to do a couple of hours of volunteer work, and then doing a five mile run!

Of course, nobody is forcing them to do it. For these kids, it’s a labor of love. And, believe me, it would have to be.

For those that have been to a cross country meet, you’ve seen runners cross the finish line looking like they’ve been through the Hundred Years War.

Many of them literally collapse immediately after that final step, while others “toss their cookies.” Sorry for the visual, but that was the nicest way I know how to put it.

So, to all of those who “go the extra mile” or, in your case, the extra “miles,” know that you’ve earned our admiration and appreciation.

And, in honor of your efforts, we’ll give you all first billing this week!

Boys & Girls Cross Country

Ron Smith returns as coach and who better to lead these fine athletes?

I’ve seen him work with his runners for many years and can guarantee that his methodology focuses on personal improvement and achievement while making sure the sport never becomes tedious or overwhelming. In a word, his kids always have fun.

Both teams kicked off the new year on Wednesday, September 14 at Waterville, with New York Mills and Clinton also on hand.

Mills was the only school present who is in our division and the Eskimos were, therefore, going head to head against them for all intents and purposes.

Maddie Phaneuf picked up right where she left off last season, placing first overall.

Her partner in crime, Caitlyn Bailey, also had an exceptional outing, placing fifth.

These two girls continually set the tone for the entire team, pushing each other and making everyone around them better.

Next in for Old Forge was Lauren Holt (9th), followed by Andrea Frey (14th), and Jessica Hannah (20th).

It appears as if a solid season is in the offing, starting with this 38-17 victory.

We look forward to keeping up with the squad and wish them, as well as the boys, the best of luck as we move ahead.

Speaking of the guys, they found themselves without the speedy Lance Frymire and ultimately fell to New York Mills but there were several notable performances, starting with Tecwyn Williams’ twelfth-place finish.

Not too far off that pace was Connor Glasser, who crossed the finish line in eighteenth place.

They were followed by Cameron Lenci, Tyler McGough, Griffin Kleps, Will Johnson, Hunter Lawrence, and John Gaffney.

Of course, the 69th annual E.J. Herrmann Invitational is coming up on September 24th in Utica and everyone is invited to this nationally renowned event to cheer on the Eskimos.

Girls JV and Varsity Soccer

The JV squad had a busy week with three home games and took full advantage of the situation, starting on Saturday, September 10 against Adirondack.

This was an odd game, as the team from Boonville not only struck first, but was on the offensive all day, doubling up Old Forge in shots-on-goal by a 26-13 margin.

As is occasionally the case, however, the team that was seemingly in control came up short as a pair of goals by Sara Carnell did Adirondack in.

One of those scores came on an assist from Mercedes Rice, and goalkeeper Shelby Egnaczyk was huge as her nine saves kept the Eskimos in it.

The next victim, as it turned out, was Little Falls on Wednesday, September 14.

It should be noted that the visitors were shorthanded and, in the end, both coaches agreed to play the contest nine-on-nine rather that attempting to reschedule.

Camry Liddle took a fine pass from Carnell to score the only goal of the first half.

Alexcia LaFountain then added what looked to be a victory-assuring capper, only to have Little Falls draw to within one soon thereafter.

Right on cue, Morgan Payne came through with a final insurance goal, allowing the home crowd to breathe a sigh of relief as they exited the parking lot with an exciting 3-1 win to show for it.

Wrapping the week up with their third victory in as many tries, the girls battled it out on Friday, September 16 against West Canada Valley.

The lone goal came off the foot of Jordan Levi as Old Forge rode Egnaczyk’s superior goaltending and fine team defense to the 1-0 shutout.

Unfortunately, the Varsity squad didn’t enjoy the same type of week as several starters were out.

The girls took part in a tournament on the Mount Markham campus over the weekend of September 9 and 10, coming away with a pair of losses.

The first of those was suffered at the hands of Class A Carthage, who ended up winning the tourney.

The consolation game saw Old Forge pitted against Herkimer.

Despite being shorthanded, the Eskimos gave a good accounting of themselves, with Maddie Phaneuf and Katie Connell each hammering in a goal.

It wasn’t enough, though, as they eventually fell 4-2.

Then, on Tuesday, September 13, they traveled to Remsen to face a team that could easily go undefeated, and that’s no joke.

The Rams are clicking in every phase of the game and look to dominate league play, with a 7-0 thrashing of the Eskimos providing proof positive of their superiority.

The girls hoped to end the week on a high note against Adirondack on Thursday, September 15, but just couldn’t seem to get rolling.

A couple of key lapses cost them in a big way as they fell 2-0 even though they appeared to be outplaying the opposition for much of the contest.

With any luck, they will be able to regain their swagger and mount a comeback with games against Oriskany and Poland this week.

A great deal depends upon their ability to put this mini-slump behind them while hopefully getting back to full strength. Only time will tell.

Boys JV and Varsity Soccer

Things weren’t quite as busy for the JV crew but there were two games on the schedule, starting with a home game against Adirondack on Tuesday, Sep-tember 13.

They cruised right from the get-go, starting with a pair of Dane Daiker goals to set the tempo. Hunter Lawrence then added another, leading to a 3-0 halftime bulge.

Adam Levi chipped in with another as the team wrapped up a comfortable 4-0 win.

It was the kind of performance their coach would love to see every time out as they ran roughshod over Adirondack, as evidenced by a stunning 28-2 shots-on-goal advantage.

Eskimo keeper Will Johnson must have felt pretty lonely with only the net to keep him company as he rarely caught a whiff of the ball.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly against Clinton on Thursday, September 15, however. Missing three starters, the boys fell 4-2.

It seemed as though they might have gone into the contest with a bit of a defeatist attitude, knowing that they were missing some bodies.

Such preconceived notions must be weeded out if they are to make the most of things.

After all, injuries cannot be controlled but effort certainly can.

As for the Varsity squad, a home game was on tap on Monday, September 12 against Westmoreland.

After a scoreless first half which saw numerous scoring chances go by the wayside, the Eskimos found out exactly what missed opportunities can lead to.

Despite outshooting their foes 22-13, they took one on the chin as Westmoreland rode a cheap second-half goal to a 1-0 victory. Lesson learned, hopefully.

Actually, more than hopefully, as Old Forge then traveled to Remsen on Wednesday, Septem-ber 14 and had their way against the Rams.

An impressive 4-0 victory came as Ethan Kress posted a hat-trick with Sam Waterbury adding another goal to wrap up the scoring.

Finally, on Friday, September 16, Poland came a-calling.

Both teams were well aware that Westmoreland had already built up a nice cushion with their 3-0 league record and that a win was crucial if they were to climb back into the race.

Things looked to be going Old Forge’s way when Austin Down crushed a long ball into the net early on, staking his team to a 1-0 lead.

Much to the dismay of the heavily partisan crowd, however, it was pretty much all downhill from there.

Not that the guys didn’t play well, managing a 34-14 shots-on-goal edge for the game. They simply couldn’t finish.

Worse yet, the Tornadoes were able to make the most of their few openings, tying it up just before halftime.

About the only good news was that neither team scored from that moment on, meaning that the Eskimos wouldn’t have to swallow what would have been a devastating loss.

Still, the tie did little to help them in the league standings.

With all of that said, there is still ample time to right the ship. Just not a lot of room for error.

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