Mustangs in the fall, Rams in the winter and Raiders in the spring
BARKER – Andrew and Zach Hill, twin brothers from Barker, are playing the sports they love. That’s not out of the norm locally.
But the two brothers are unusual in wearing the school uniforms for three different districts. They play varsity football for the Medina Mustangs, and just started the wrestling season as a member of the Roy-Hart Rams. In the spring, they play baseball for the Barker Raiders, their home district.
The brothers and their parents are very appreciative of the partnership among the local districts in allowing Barker to be part of the Mustang football team, and for Roy-Hart accepting the wrestlers from the next-door district.
Andrew and Zach, age 15, said their teammates and coaches have all made them feel welcome. They said they were nervous in August 2018, when they showed up at Medina for their first football practice.
“I was a little shy but it became easier,” Zach recalled during an interview at his home on Drum Road. “They coach said we are all Mustangs.”
Eric Valley, the Medina football coach and athletic director, said the Mustang team has benefitted from having players from Barker and Lyndonville. He said those players are very committed to the program, and have longer bus rides for practices and games.
“We greatly appreciate the sacrifices they make,” Valley said.
This year’s varsity team had two players from Lyndonville, three from Barker and 23 from Medina.
Valley pushed back the starting time for practices by a half hour to 3:45 to accommodate the players from Lyndonville and Barker who have the longer travel times. The practices are over at 6:15. The Barker players don’t get home until about 7 p.m.
Valley said he welcomes the Barker and Lyndonville players and doesn’t draw attention to which school they are from.
“I don’t single them out,” he said. “We’re all Mustangs.”
Valley would like to have more Barker and Lyndonville players. He isn’t able to be at those schools during the school day to encourage people to play. Bill Bruning, a Barker physical education teacher, helps spread the word about the Mustang football program for Barker players. Bruning is the offensive coordinator for the JV Mustang team.
In Lyndonville, Valley’s wife Laura Valley is a high school physical education teacher. She helps nudge some prospective players for the team.
The athletic directors at Lyndonville and Barker also help make students aware of the opportunity to play for the Mustangs.
Andrew and Zach both played for Medina’s JV team in 2018. They were moved up to varsity this year as sophomores. Zach weighs 160 and Andrew is 220.
“They were good JV players and we had needs at linemen,” Valley said. “They both played steady throughout.”
The football season is over and the brothers have moved into the wrestling season. They have turned in the Mustang blue and white for Roy-Hart purple.
The brothers were in a youth football program with Roy-Hart. They said joining the Rams wrestling team in high school didn’t feel very foreign because they had played football with many of the Roy-Hart boys when they were younger.
Sometimes the Hill brothers wrestle some of their Medina football player teammates.
“It’s fun to go against each other,” Andrew said.
The boys’ parents, Mike and Beth Hill, see a much bigger friend circle for their sons because of the merged sports opportunities. During wrestling tournaments, Andrew and Zach sit with Roy-Hart and Medina.
“It’s kind of cool and unique to watch as a parent,” said Mike Hill. “You’re competitors, but in a way you’re teammates and friends.”
The Hills’ house is centrally located among the three districts. They have a Middleport address and are actually closer to the Roy-Hart campus than the Barker school. They are about 8 miles from the Barker campus, 7 miles from Roy-Hart and 12 miles from Medina. Students who live in Somerset go to Barker but they have a much longer drive if they are competing for Roy-Hart or Medina. Barker does provide bussing for the students.
Mr. Hill is a 1983 Roy-Hart graduate. He played on the school’s football team as an offensive and defensive lineman. He wrestled for Roy-Hart and competed in track, throwing the discus.
“Those football memories, I remember that a whole lot more than math class,” Mr. Hill said.
As school enrollments shrunk locally, some districts cut back on programs or merged teams. Hill worried his kids wouldn’t have a chance to play football in high school or wrestle. He was pleased to see Barker work out agreements where Barker kids could be on the teams for other districts.
“As a parent you want to see your kids afforded the same opportunities that you had,” Hill said. “That’s why we’re thankful to have these other programs accept them in.”
The Hill family remembers going to the Vets Park in Medina and seeing the field with artificial turf, the lights for night games, and the locker rooms.
Andrew and Zack had played baseball games there, but they were awestruck on that initial visit as members of the football team.
Beth Hill, the boys’ mother, said the Medina facilities “are just awesome.” And the Medina parents welcomed them, too.
Valley, the Medina coach, preached a unity message – to players and parents – at the start of the season.
“They weren’t made to feel like Barker kids who were playing for Medina,” Hill said. “They were Mustangs.”
Hill said his sons have become more outgoing and open to other people through their experiences at Medina and Roy-Hart. They have impressed their father with their work ethic and determination to contribute to the football and wrestling teams – while wearing other school colors.
“They’ve really worked their tails off,” Hill said.
He also likes that the boys have been exposed to competition beyond the Niagara-Orleans League by playing for Medina’s football team, where they have went up against Lew-Port, Dunkirk, Iroquois, Maryville, Maritime/Health Science in Buffalo, Akron and local rival Albion.
“Their exposure to competition and other kids has been expanded by so much,” Hill said.
Andrew and Zach both said they are now used to wearing the school uniforms for three different districts. It no longer feels unusual. They are looking forward to wearing the Barker maroon and white in the spring for the baseball team, where Zach is a catcher and rightfielder and Andrew is a pitcher, third baseman and designated hitter.
Until then, it will be the purple and white of Roy-Hart. The brothers said they are happy they have so many more friends now through their participation with teams in Medina and Roy-Hart.
“I would definitely know less people,” Zach said if he only played for Barker.
“We’re friends with more people from different districts,” Andrew said.
Albion senior Cody Wilson is among the 12 finalists for the Trench Trophy which is presented annually to the player deemed to be the best two-way high school linemen in Western New York.
Wilson and the other 11 finalists will be inducted as the Trench Trophy Hall of Fame Class of 2019 at a banquet on December 4.
The Trench Trophy presentation to the Lineman of the Year will made at that time.
Wilson, a two-year two-way starter for the Purple Eagles at offensive tackle defensive end, earned first team B3 Division honors this season. He was a second team honoree last year.
Four Holley and three Kendall players have earned spots on the Genesee Region League boys soccer All-Star team.
Holley is represented by senior midfielder Kohl Morgan, junior defender/midfielder Nathan Nothnagle, junior midfielder Karl Biedlingmaier and junior defender Kayden Servais.
Morgan had 8 goals and 4 assists, Nothnagle 4 goals and 2 assists, Biedlingmaier 2 goals and 4 assists and Servais 2 goals and 1 assist.
Kendall has placed senior goalie Mason Kuhn, senior forward Brahayan Gonzalez and junior midfielder Jacob Esposito.
Esposito had 9 goals and 2 assists, Gonzalez 1 goals and 1 assist and Kuhn made 148 saves and had a 1.55 goals against average.
Kendall junior Hayden VanDusen has earned Honorable Mention.
Byron-Bergen led the way with six All-Star honorees including senior forwards Sam Pringle and Gianni Ferrara, senior midfielders Kyle Foeller and Greyson Huntington, senior defender Rick Hubbard and junior goalie Nick Baubie.
Pringle scored 24 goals Foeller 13, Ferrara 9 and Baubie made 140 saves and had a 1.086 GAA.
Wheatland-Chili is represented by the trio of forward Gabriel Rosado, defender Troy Smith and Joseph Sutherman, all seniors.
Rosado scored 17 goals and Smith 10.
Rounding out the All-Star team are Pembroke senior midfielder Steven Drozdiel and Attica sophomore Evan Dickhart.
The Tri County Midget Division Yellow team downed Perinton 4-1 Saturday and Monroe County 6-2 today to improve to 3-0 in Empire Amateur Hockey League competition.
First period goals by Ian McGraw and Ryan Wells put Tri County on top to stay against Perinton. Third period goals by John Pilon and Chase Froman later put a lock on the victory.
Tri County built up a 5-0 lead over Monroe County as Jake Esposito, James Hapeman and Wells scored in the first period and Esposito and Pilon tallied in the second. Zack Geitner added a third period goal.
Now at 8-1-1 overall, Tri County visits Rochester next Sunday.
Albion varsity football Coach Adam Krenning has been honored as B3 Division Coach of the Year.
In his third year at the Albion helm, Krenning guided the Purple Eagles to a third straight division title, a third straight sectional appearance and an 8-2 record.
Over the past three years his Purple Eagles have compiled a record of 23-6.
In his first season in 2017 Albion shared the B2 title with Dunkirk at 4-1, earned the Purple Eagles first sectional berth since 2011 and finished with a 6-2 overall record.
In 2018, Albion claimed the B2 title outright at 5-0, went on to reach the sectional semifinals and posted a 9-1 record.
This fall the Purple Eagles claimed the B3 title at 4-0, advanced to the sectional finals for the first time since 2002 and finished with an 8-2 record.
Undefeated (12-0) champion Barker has placed three players on the first team of the Niagara-Orleans All-League field hockey squad.
The Lady Raiders trio includes senior forwards Katrina Clare and Ciara Gregoire and junior midfielder Madison Gancasz. All are repeat selections.
Clare, a three-time first team honoree who was named N-O Player of the Year, led Barker with 18 goals and 21 assists. Gregoire had 17 goals and 2 assists and Gancasz 5 goals and 6 assists.
Runner-up Medina is represented on the first team by the senior duo of forward Lacey Kenward and midfielder Mary Flores.
Kenward led the Mustangs with 14 goals and also had 4 assists while Flores had 5 goals and 5 assists.
Akron likewise had two first team honorees, midfielder Jenelle Kieffer and defender Emerson Polkowski, both sophomores. Kieffer scored 5 goals.
Rounding out the first team are Roy-Hart senior midfielder Samantha Choate, Wilson senior defender Emilee Muoio, Newfane senior defender Madison Klumpp and Kenmore junior forward Jessica Botham. Klumpp is a repeat selection.
Choate had 5 goals and 7 assists, Muoio 7 goals and 5 assists and Botham 4 goals and 4 assists.
Barker also has three players on the second team including senior Rachel Hurtgam and juniors Lena Fazzolari and Ella Fox. Hurtgam had 12 goals and 7 assists.
Medina is represented by seniors Grace Cook and Abi Neuman.
Completing the second team are junior Lydia Blueye and sophomore Alexandrea Roland from Akron, senior Abby Ander from Roy-Hart, senior Ryleigh McCoy from Newfane, senior Sierra Shepherd from Wilson and Izzy DiGesaire from Kenmore.
Players receiving Honorable Mention, listed by school, are as follows:
Barker – Kaedynce Schumacher, Ginger Alexander and Serena Harris.
Medina – Hannah Kenward, Tessa Pecoraro, FaithAnn Vanderwalker and Layna Viloria.
Akron – Sophia Jones and Madison Brege.
Roy-Hart – Sophia DiCenso
Wilson – Anna Meyers and Olivia Mocarski.
Newfane – Kaylee Christy, Elizabeth Klumpp, Alex Donovan and Sarah Nola
Kenmore – Kat Torres
The Medina Broncos, which captured the Niagara Orleans Football Association (NOFA) JV Division playoff championship this past season, will be competing in a regional tournament this coming Thursday through Sunday at Cranberry, Pa. near Pittsburgh.
The Mid East Regional is a qualifier for the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth championships which will be held in Canton, Ohio December 7-15.
The Broncos, which compiled a 11-0 record in capturing the NOFA title, are guaranteed to play at least two games at the regional. Their opponents will not be known until the team arrives at the tournament site.
The Roy-Hart/Barker/Medina (RBM) Club Hockey team opened the season Saturday evening with a home ice victory over ELPS (Eden/Lake Shore/Pioneer/Springville) 3-2.
ELPS came to town having earned a 6-2 win over St. Mary’s the previous evening. They are also the reigning Club Mixed School Sectional Champions from last year.
ELPS took a 1-0 lead with 8 minutes left in the first period on a power play. Jason Kuchey (R-H) scored for RBM with a goal after taking the puck from end to end unassisted near the end of that period.
In the second, ELPS again took the lead 2-1 and that held until the final stanza when again Kuchey scored with as assist from Jacob Harris (Barker).
With 7:55 left in the game, newcomer Matthew Miller (Akron) scored the game winner unassisted.
Andrew Warner (Tonawanda) played a strong game in goal for RBM. The team also welcomed two new players this week, Dayton Ruppel (Akron) and Joel Harris (Barker). Both are Eighth graders.
RBM’s next contest is Wednesday evening in Depew against Orchard Park at 8PM.