2007-07-20 / Sports

Crockett,New York City Aspire For Basketball Medal

By Elio Velez

Since 1978, the Empire State Games has invited amateur athletes of all ages from throughout New York State to compete in an Olympic style.

The four day games, in which athletes represent the different regions of the state, has become a prestigious annual summer event.

It is also one of the largest gatherings of athletes in the nation who compete in diverse sports from archery to track and field.

The Empire State Games has always been an interest for Breezy Point resident Cathy Crockett. The high school varsity basketball coach at Bishop Kearney has won more than 300 games in her career.With this year's event being held in Westchester County, starting on July 26 through July 29, Crockett accepted the opportunity from the NYC organizers to become the head coach of the New York City high school women's scholastic team.

"They've asked me and I always been interested for a while and I thought it was a good opportunity to go up there," Crockett said.

New York City, who will play four games in four days, will have their first contest on Thursday, July 26 against Western New York.

"This program has been around for 30 years… It's an honor to represent the city and it's a challenge for these kids."

New York City hasn't won a game in the scholastic competition for a few years. Crockett, who will be assisted by Bishop Ford girls coach Dennis Nolan, says the ultimate goal is for the team to aspire to win the gold medal.

"The girls we picked were the best in terms of work ethic and what we wanted to accomplish," says Crockett.

The roster is made up ten players with most of the experience coming from established catholic basketball programs like Bishop Ford, Archbishop Molloy and St. Peter's. Speed and quickness will make up this team. Experience is also a factor with Bishop Ford senior guards Ashley Beard and Jamie Conroy, the only two members to return from last year's roster, starting in the backcourt. Mary

Size may become an issue for New York City. With 5 foot 11 inch Nicole Marciniak of Archbishop Molloy being the tallest member of the team, Crockett will have to devise a plan to get enough rebounding to initiate their offense.

Conroy believes their hard work and chemistry in practice for the last month- and-a-half will pay off.

"I want to try to bring us a medal. The team gets along well and we push each other in practice. Conroy said. "We can't take it easy. We've got to come out and play hard."

For information about the Empire State Games, visit their website at www.empirestategames.org.

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