Horseheads will host Maine-Endwell on Friday in a meeting of two of the top girls basketball teams in the state. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. at Horseheads Middle School, following the junior varsity contest.
Horseheads (9-1) is ranked 17th in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, with the lone loss coming at Maine-Endwell, 54-39, on Dec. 11. The Blue Raiders are on the verge of clinching their seventh straight Southern Tier Athletic Conference West Division title.
Junior forward Amanda Schiefen, one of Horseheads’ top players, returned to the lineup Tuesday and scored 13 points in a 60-31 win over Union-Endicott. She sat out two games last week with an ankle injury.
The Spartans (9-1) are ranked 12th in Class A. Their loss came to Vestal, 55-49, on Dec. 20.
More wrestling Saturday
The 10-team Elmira Christmas Tournament will be held Saturday at Southside High School, starting at 10 a.m. The wrestling tournament was originally scheduled for Dec. 14 but was postponed because of a snowstorm.
Teams scheduled in addition to Elmira are Corning, Homer, Waverly, Whitney Point, Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour, Tioga, Union-Endicott and Owego Free Academy.
The tournament will use a pooled format and finals are expected to begin around 5 p.m.
Elmira is coming off a team championship at the Mike Watson Invitational at Watkins Glen High School on Saturday. The Express followed that with a 40-32 dual-meet win Tuesday over Vestal, which had won the three previous titles at Watkins Glen but did not compete this year.
Waverly hosts swim invitational
Ten boys swimming and diving teams are scheduled to compete in the first Wolverine Invitational on Saturday at Waverly High School.
The lineup includes Susquehanna Valley, Owego Free Academy, Southern Cayuga, Sayre, Vestal, Corning, Horseheads, Chenango Valley, Lansing and Waverly.
Diving begins at 9 a.m. and will include an 11-dive format. Swimming warm-ups start at 1 p.m., followed at 2 by the timed finals
It had been 16 years since a boys swimmer from Odessa-Montour qualified for the New York state championship meet.
O-M swimmer excels
In less than an hour Saturday at Elmira Free Academy’s John Beecher Invitational, O-M senior Chris Husted earned state berths in two events.
Husted will compete in the 100-yard freestyle and 50 freestyle at the state championships, scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Webster Schroeder High School in the Rochester area.
The last O-M swimmer to compete at states was Berk Celikyurek in the 200 and 500 freestyles in 1998, capping a streak of eight straight seasons that saw the Indians send someone to the state meet.
Not only has Husted carved out his own individual success, he has helped boost an Odessa-Montour program that had only four swimmers two seasons ago. That same program was one of the most dominant in Section 4 in the 1990s, winning 42 straight dual meets from 1992-93 to 1995-96.
“I knew Chris had it in him and I knew he was gong to come on strong and we were really struggling to keep the program alive to have a chance to swim his junior and senior years,” O-M coach Terri Brace said.
With Husted leading the recruiting effort, the roster grew to eight swimmers last season and 12 this season. O-M has two dual-meet victories, a significant accomplishment considering the team two years ago entered every meet without a chance at victory.
“I know he’s very excited about having a team behind him and being able to win some dual meets and being on relays that can win,” Brace said. “It’s definitely gratifying for both of us.
“He’s a great kid. He’s a hard worker and has been a pleasure to work with all these years. It’s satisfying to see stuff fall into place.”
Husted missed out on states in the 100 freestyle by six-hundredths of a second last year. His time of 48.67 seconds at EFA beat the state standard of 48.76 and tied for first place with Horseheads senior Patrick Leslie.
Later in the meet, Husted topped the state standard of 22.19 seconds with his 50-yard leadoff time of 22.15 seconds in the 200 freestyle relay.
“It’s really gratifying and I was so happy he made it at this point of the season,” Brace said. “It makes it a lot easier for us to plan training for the rest of the season.”
Brace said she saw a “ton of untamed talent” in Husted when he swam at the modified level in seventh grade. He joined the varsity as an eighth-grader and really emerged as a sophomore, when he won the 50 freestyle at the Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships.
Last year he was the Section 4 Class C-D champion in the 100 freestyle and runner-up in the 50 freestyle. He finished second in both events at the IAC meet.
He is unbeaten in the 50 freestyle this season in dual meets and placed second in the event at the Owego Invitational before a third-place finish at EFA, a meet that included six swimmers who are headed to states in individual events.
“I moved up to coach varsity when he was in eighth grade and pulled him up,” Brace said. “He’s just a tremendous natural talent. He doesn’t have any club swimming experience, he doesn’t swim year-round. He plays other sports (soccer and track).
“When he gets in a program where he’s going to swim almost year-round, it will be phenomenal. I think he has so much talent that is still untapped.”