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Massena Central winter sports teams qualify for state Scholar Athlete recognition

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MASSENA - For the second consecutive sports season, all of Massena Central’s teams have been recognized by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association as New York State Scholar Athlete teams.

The NYSPHSAA, at the end of each sports season, honors teams that excel in the classroom. They had already recognized all five of the school’s fall sports teams - the swim team, girl’s soccer, volleyball, football and boy’s soccer. In the fall, Massena’s swim team carried a cumulative 95.64 average, while girls’ soccer was 94.775, volleyball was 94.23, football was 93.58 and boys’ soccer was 92.9.

This time around, Mr. Hayes said bos’ basketball carried a cumulative 91.0 average, while the rifle team was 91.296, the wrestling team was 91.545, girls’ indoor track was 93.909, boys’ indoor track was 94.545, boys’ hockey was 94.625, girls’ basketball was 94.714 and girls’ hockey was 95.625.

In boys’ basketball, rifle, boys’s hockey, girls’ basketball and girls’ hockey, the teams had to use at least seven students with an average above 90. Wrestling and indoor track were required to use 11 students who had an average of above 90.

“Girls’ hockey had the highest,” with 15 players on the team averaging above 90, Athletic Director Timothy J. Hayes said.

That makes two seasons in a row where the students have successfully balanced their classroom work and extracurriculars.

“This has given the school two seasons with all of their teams qualifying as Scholar Athlete teams. We did it with all of our teams in the fall, so we’re going good,” Mr. Hayes said.

“These students truly are student-athletes. They make the school and community proud in the classroom and in their respective sports. We’re all proud of them. The coaches are proud of them, and I’m proud of them. They do what it takes to get things done,” he said.

Mr. Hayes said student-athletes have been successful in balancing their time between the classroom and their sport.

“We have policies on it. If they’re failing, they need to stay with the teacher and let the coach know and can’t practice. If they’re failing two (subjects), they can’t play at all. Some of the kids in tougher classes who may be getting a low grade have to stay and bring a note to the coach that says they stayed after school to get help,” Mr. Hayes said. “The coaches are being pretty diligent about it,” he said. “A lot of it comes down to families and parents. These kids are doing their school work. It’s not all about sports. In reality, they do better than kids that aren’t playing sports for whatever reason. Their time management is good. When we talk about student-athletes and talk about academics come first, the kids make it easy for you in reality. We have a very good group of kids coming through.”

In fact, Mr. Hayes said, studies have shown that students who participate in any extracurricular activity “generally do pretty well in school.”

What’s even more noteworthy is that some of Massena’s teams have gone on to state competition.

It’s even more important today to keep grades up if students have plans for college, which are becoming increasingly more competitive, according to the athletic director.

“It’s pretty selective and demanding on the grades to even get into these schools now. It’s important that they keep their grades up. You better have good grades. I think they realize it and their parents do too,” he said.

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