This year will be remembered as one of the more special years in Saugerties sports history, as one team won a Mid-Hudson Athletic League championship for the first time in school history, several others came close, and a young wrestler became one of the best in the nation.
It was a season of dreams fulfilled for the young women of the girls’ varsity soccer team as they ran roughshod over their opponents and into the MHAL finals, where they defeated Spackenkill after two thrilling overtime periods.
The win propelled them into the Section 9 tournament where they beat Cornwall, one of the tougher teams in the Mid-Hudson Valley.
In the finals, the Lady Sawyers finally met their match against Goshen where they lost, closing out their season as the most successful girls’ soccer team in Saugerties High School history.
Many of the other Sawyer teams weren’t exactly slouches either.
The boys’ basketball team had one of its best seasons in a long time – since 1984 to be exact – as a group of kids who had been playing ball together since fourth grade marched though the league, winning game after game, narrowly missing the MHAL championship. However, they did beat cross-river rival Red Hook in a state sectional quarterfinal game, and in the semi-finals they lost by one point to Burke Catholic, which was ranked number 1 in the sectional tournament and number 5 in the state.
After the season, two members of the team, Darnell Edge and Paton Gibbs, made the team that represented the Mid-Hudson Valley in the Summer Hoops Festival, created to take the place of the defunct Empire State Games.
The girls’ lacrosse team won the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association Class B championship behind the goal scoring of Haley Spoljaric, who netted her 100th goal of her career.
The girls went on to the state regional game where they lost.
The 2013 boys and girls track teams did well last year with the girls finishing fourth in the MHALs and the boys 12th. However they did have a number of competitors make it into the state track and field qualifying meet.
Runner Shannon Averill and discus thrower Megan Rom, who finished first in the discus and shot put in the MHALs, represented Saugerties in the state competition.
Averill finished 10th in the 800 meter run, while Rom finished 11th in the New York State Track and Field Championships.
The girls’ volleyball team also had a great year, making into the semi-final game of the Section 9 Class A championships where it fell to FDR. The Lady Sawyers got into the semi-finals by defeating Monticello in the quarterfinals.
Cross country runners also had a successful season. While no individual runners finished high in the state rankings, as a team they finished fourth in the Section 9 Class B finals.
But when you look back on Saugerties High School’s 2013 sports year, one name jumps out, and that’s of 16-year-old wrestler James Bethel. He’s probably far and away the best wrestler the Saugerties High School program has produced.
Last spring and summer Bethel competed in two national tournaments and came away ranked Number 3 in the nation in Greco-Roman style wrestling, and in the top 10 nationally in Freestyle wrestling.
He’s currently tearing it up in this year’s high school season, where wrestling is referred to as “Folkstyle.”