Mustang lacrosse alumni have a special way to celebrate Fourth of July

Gary Pinneo
Pitcher/infielder Kyle Barkley of Penn Yan holds his Birds Eye Foods-Section V 2009 Baseball Player of the Year Plaque for the Finger Lakes East II Division presented by Section V Baseball Executive Committee member Ory Mee before the Rochester Red Wing/Columbus Clippers game at Frontier Field on June 23.

What day signals the real start of the summer season more than the Fourth of July? 

Independence Day is a time of celebration for most Americans.  This year the actual holiday fell on Saturday, cheating some people of that extra day off. 

But it is still a special day, no matter what day it falls on.  Traditionally, this first actual holiday of the summer months is marked by family picnics and gatherings, parades, and fireworks. 

But in Penn Yan this year, there was another family gathering of sorts.  The Penn Yan Mustang Lacrosse Alumni got together on Saturday for their annual alumni game and gathering.

For the past 15 years, the Mustang Alumni Group has held their alumni game on the first Saturday of July. 

This year this happened to fall on Independence Day.  The game, held at Penn Yan’s Mustang Field, was a huge success.  Forty-five former Mustang lacrosse players gathered for the yearly event. 

The alumni game gives the fraternity of former Mustang laxers the chance to get together, exchange some stories and renew old friendships.  And also, the opportunity to play lacrosse, the game they love, on the field that was the scene of many good times and accomplishments.

The two opposing teams are set by pitting the even year graduates against the odd year graduates.

This year’s game, a tightly contested one, saw the even team defeat the odd’s team 13-12.  The games are always good natured events and fun for everyone. 

But as the game winds down, and the outcome is on the line, the game becomes a little more intense.  After all, when it comes to lacrosse, this entire group is very competitive. None of them are used to failure.  Winners hate to lose no matter what the circumstances. But it is all in good fun and their camaraderie is very strong.

This year’s game featured a variety of lacrosse talent.  Five members of this year’s Mustang lacrosse team and recent graduates of PYA, played in their first alumni game.  There was also an array of current college players on the field Saturday. 

A host of colleges were represented in the contest including Duke, Navy, Binghamton, Drexel and Pfieffer.  In fact one player, Michael Manley of Duke, recently played in the Division I College Final four. 

The pro ranks were also represented. Justin Wahl, Brice Queener, Eric Carlsen, and Pat Cougevan  are professional players. They each have considerable  playing time with the Rochester Grey Wolves, Knighthawks, and Rattlers.  The game was not just limited to former players. 

The current  Penn Yan Mustang coaching staff of Brian Hobart and Harry Queener also played in this year’s titanic struggle. Of course Coach Hobart qualifies on both counts. He played for Harry Queener in the 1980s.  The oldest former player award went to Pat Olbrich from the Class of 1985.   It was a day of fun and memories for everyone.  

Besides being a day to get together and play a little lacrosse, the event also serves as the organization’s fundraiser.  They charge a fee to play in the game and also sell Mustang apparel. 

The Penn Yan Mustang Alumni group sponsors an annual award each year for a deserving senior Mustang lacrosse player. 

This year’s award was given to John Linnan. The first award was given to Adam Christensen in 1997.  Both John and Adam played in this year’s game. 

In fact, five former winners were present on Saturday.  The alumni group also helps qualified youngsters go to lacrosse camps in the summer.  Over the years, a large number of deserving young lacrosse players have benefited from the alumni group’s help. 

The success of the boy’s alumni association has spread to Penn Yan Mustang’s girl’s lacrosse program.  The Lady Mustang’s formed an alumni group this year. 

They played their first game on Saturday before the boy’s game. This organization is a work in progress that will grow as the years go on, considering their long history of championship success.

The first Saturday in July is and will be a day of lacrosse and good will for both the boys and girls lacrosse programs in Penn Yan for many years to come.  This is also an enjoyable time for all area lacrosse fans. 

Over 100 spectators turned out to cheer on the former Mustang lacrosse stars. That number will probably grow too.

PENN YAN MUSTANG BASEBALL 2009 ALUMNI GAME

The concept of an alumni game is not just a franchise for the local high school lacrosse program.  The highly successful Penn Yan Mustang baseball program will be holding their annual alumni game on Friday night July 24 at the Elm Street Field.

The alumni game will feature two all-star teams made up of former Penn Yan Mustang diamond players.  The even year graduates will face off against the odd year graduates. 

All former Mustang diamond greats and nearly greats are welcome to play in the annual game.

Batting practice will start at 6 p.m. with game time scheduled for 7 p.m.  The concession stand will be open, serving refreshments  during and after the game. There will be shirts provided for the participants.  Mustang baseball hats will be available for purchase. Proceeds from this game help support the baseball program locally and it’s many activities. 

The Penn Yan Mustang baseball program has a long history of success in the area and Section V. 

The Mustangs, under the strong leadership of Coach Marty Olmstead, have been Finger Lakes East D-II champions for six years in a row.  It is one of the top baseball programs in this area. Drop by the ballpark and catch some of the action and cheer on the Mustangs of the past.  For more information on this event, you can contact Coach Marty Olmstead at 315-521-3058.

YATES COUNTY FAIR DAYS ARE HERE    

The 170th edition of the Yates County Fair opens this week.  The local fair is one of the oldest and earliest county fairs in New York State. 

The first fair was held on the grounds of the Yates County Court House. This was the site for 10 years. 

Later, the fairgrounds were built on Lake Street , where the plaza is currently located.  After the fair ground property was sold for development, the event was moved to the Penn Yan Airport for several years before moving to the current location off East Main Street. The original fairground on Lake Street was also the premier outside sports venue in Penn Yan in its day.  It hosted a multitude of sporting activities.

The early days of the county fair featured many agricultural and horticultural events.  But the highlight of the fair week was the horse races.

The Lake Street fairgrounds had a fine horse track and a large grandstand for the many spectators.  Going to the fair back then was an all day event.  In 1899 one of the big attractions was a race between a horse and a horseless carriage, or automobile as they were called.  The horse won.  The ads for this big event read, “COME SEE THE HORSELESS CARRIAGE OF THE FUTURE.”  Several thousand curious spectators did just that. 

A new, state-of-the-art horse barn was built in 1903 to handle all of the popular racing activity. A new grandstand, a bandstand, and new fences were constructed in 1910 at a whopping cost of $3,178.82. The old grandstand was auctioned off and sold for $161.25. Even though it was generally kept secret at the time, (proper people did not gamble), there was considerable wagering going on at these races. Generally, this huge exchange of money took place under a large shade tree at the South Avenue entrance to the fairgrounds. Sounds like  fair week  was the highlight  of the summer in Penn Yan.   

EDDIE MEATH ALL-STAR GAME

The annual Eddie Meath All-star Football Game was played on Sunday, July 5 at St. John Fisher College.

The East team shutout the West team 27-0 on Sunday at the 27th annual Eddie Meath Allstar Classic. 

The East team included Ryan Kerrick from Penn Yan and Mike Raplee and Blaine Moore from Dundee. 

Raplee was named The Defensive MVP for the game. 

He recorded four solo tackles and was in on five other tackles. Mike also picked up a sack. Quite an afternoon for the talented Mike Raplee from Dundee.

Kerrick, who plans to attend Brockport in the fall, is a former Mustang football and lacrosse captain and All-Star in both sports since 2007. He has tallied 38 unassisted tackles, 53 assisted tackles, two fumble recoveries and 129 total points as a Mustang football player. ­­

He also has been chosen to play in the New York State All-Star Lacrosse game.

The Eddie Meath game features recently graduated  senior football players from the various Section V schools.  The contest is sponsored by Section V Football and is used to showcase the local talent and also as a fundraiser for the Galisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester. 

The participating players and coaches visit the children from the hospital each year also.  The game and the various weekend activities are named after Eddie Meath, a longtime television personality in the Rochester area. 

Mr. Meath was very active in the fundraising efforts of many charities in the greater Rochester area.  He was a beacon of light for many.  The  All-star game carries on these activities and his legacy of giving.  The game annually raises over $5,000 for the Children’s Hospital. 

Besides the allstar game, the annual Eddie Meath All-star Banquet is held on this weekend.   This banquet honors the Section V Coaches of the Year. The players and cheerleaders for the All-star contest are also introduced at this function. 

The All-star Game features players from the entire Section V area.  The  Eastern portion of the section plays against the Western portion of the area. 

The  City of Rochester and Monroe County, as well as the Finger Lakes region  are split in half. 

The teams are generally quite even and the games very competitive. 

There are also cheerleading squads chosen for both teams. They are primarily from Monroe County schools this year.

This event is the showcase for Section V football.  Many of the players from this game will be playing football at the collegiate level this fall.  

The Section has a long history of producing a wealth of football talent for colleges all over the country. 

Dick Cerone, president of Section  V Football, stated, “We are certainly proud of our high school football heritage in this area.  This event gives us a chance to give something back to the community.” 

Over the years, the East team has won 15 times and the West team 10 times.  There have been two ties. 

Canandaigua Head Football Coach Dave Neiman coached the East team this year.  Jason Benham of Gates Chili directed the West team.

Next year’s Eddie Meath Game will be played at 2 p. M on July 4 at Growney Field on the campus of St. John Fisher College.

Ryan Kerrick