Written by Larry Etter
The gym at the Middletown Middle School was humming with basketball action last week. Even though basketball season has been over for several months, Chris Sattele, head varsity coach of the Blue Raiders and leader of the basketball program in the Middletown Area School District, reported 48 kids signed up for this year’s annual camp. “It was a good group and the kids were enthusiastic about what we were doing,” he said.
Sattele’s campers, young athletes from Kindergarten through eighth grade, were predominately boys although there were also a couple girls in the group. For many, the camp is a good starting point for those who may have their sights set on future play on the hardwood courts at the elementary, junior high and varsity levels.
Throughout the week campers received individual attention with an emphasis on improving fundamental skills. The camp ran Monday through Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., included sessions structured to meet each camper’s individual needs, regardless of skill level. Sattele sends them off at the close of the camp with advice and encouragement to practice what they learned from the summer sessions.
Aside from the fundamentals the campers also engaged in 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3 and 5 on 5 competitions. There were also Hot Shot, Free Throw, 7 Spots and Knockout competitions throughout the week which were used to also help improve the shooting skills of the young players.
Varsity players Luke Mrakovich, Trey Michal, Tre Leach, Jarrod Meyers and Kyle Truesdale were instructors, organizers and coaches during the week of activities. Camp guest speakers were Mark Seidenburg, head coach at Messiah College, and Mike Gaffey, head coach at Bishop McDevitt High School. Gaffey was also Sattele’s coach at Palmyra High School and the two have a long-standing basketball relationship.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 12:42
Written by Dan Miller
Salary increases, approval of the school budget, several contracts and use of a drug to combat overdoses occupied the Middletown Area School Board at its meeting Monday June 13.
Pay increase for superintendent
A 3.1 percent pay increase was approved for Middletown Area School District Superintendent Dr. Lori Suski for the 2016-17 school year by the school board on June 20.
Suski's salary for 2016-17 will be $144,831.13.
All other district administrators are also getting a 3.1 percent increase for 2016-17, said David Franklin, assistant superintendent for finance and operations.
Taxes held in
The board also gave final approval to a $43.7 million district budget for 2016-17 that for the second year in a row does not increase the property tax.
In other actions during the June 20 meeting, Suski announced that the school district will be looking for a new principal to lead Kunkel Elementary School.
The board in May had tapped Darren DiCello as Kunkel's new principal as part of a reorganization of administrators. But DiCello is now being reassigned as the district's new director of technology and digital learning, as a result of John Brougher resigning as director of information technology effective July 24, 2016.
Brougher has accepted a position as the new director of information technology for Palmyra Area School District, Suski explained.
DiCello, before being promoted to the Kunkel principal position, had been the school district's director of instructional technology.
The school district will begin searching for a new Kunkel principal immediately, Suski told the board.
Also, the school board approved a new three-year contract with about 35 custodial and maintenance employees who are represented by the Middletown Area Education Support Personnel Association.
The contract includes average pay increases of 2.43 percent for 2016-17, 2.52 percent for 2017-18, and 2.42 percent for 2018-19, Franklin said. The association has ratified the contract, he added.
The school district also has an approved agreement with district teachers through June 30, 2018, as a result of the contract that was approved last September with the Middletown Area Education Association.
Use of overdose drug approved
In an unrelated development, the school board by 8-0 vote gave final approval to a policy that will allow nurses and other trained district staff to administer naloxone in case of a student or someone else having a heroin or opioid overdose on school grounds.
Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a drug known to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Naloxone will now be stored on site and available for use at all district schools as a result of the board approving the policy.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 15:52
Written by Jim Lewis
They have pounded out 393 hits and won 85 games in their high school softball careers. So when the Lower Dauphin softball team’s three senior starters – Kaylee Stoner, Kayla Holl and Maddie Lilliock – take the field for yet another Falcon trip to the PIAA state championships, experience should trump nerves.
“I think they will be hungry,’’ said Coach Joel Schreiner, as Lower Dauphin prepared to launch into another quest for a state title in Class AAAA.
Lower Dauphin (23-3) was scheduled to take on Mifflin County (17-5) in a first-round game on Monday, June 6 at Penn State’s softball complex in Centre County. The winner is scheduled to face the winner of a first-round game between Chambersburg and Upper Darby on Thursday, June 9 at a time and place to be announced.
The Falcons had little time to scout Mifflin County – Lower Dauphin defeated Dallastown, 1-0, to claim third place in the District 3 Class AAA playoffs on Thursday, June 2 at Millersville University, then learned about their PIAA playoff opponent in the next day or two afterward.
There was little time to get nervous. Not that the Falcons’ veterans would get jittery. Past playoff experience and summer club softball – traveling teams who play other squads of elite players – have taught some of LD’s squad how to deal with pressure. “They’ve played enough big games that I think the pressure, they just live with it and just play the game,’’ Schreiner said. “They handle the pressure really well.’’
With experienced seniors in the field – Stoner is the starting shortstop, Hall the center fielder and Lilliock the second baseman – Lower Dauphin has played great defense all season. The Falcons set a goal of improving their defense this season, and they have done just that: They have committed only 10 or 11 errors all year, Schreiner said.
“If you can’t throw and catch, you are not going to win softball games,’’ he said. ”We play very good defense.’’
The Falcons hit well, too, with a team batting average over .400 for the season, Schreiner said.
Lower Dauphin did not face Mifflin County, a fellow Mid-Penn Conference team, this season. Mifflin County reached the PIAA championships by defeating State College and Altoona to win the District 6 Class AAAA title.
Pitcher Hannah Ruby did not surrender an earned run against either opponent, as Mifflin County edged Altoona, 1-0 in a semifinal game, then beat State College, 9-1 in the District 6 title game on Wednesday, June 1 at Penn State.
The Falcons only know Mifflin County from box scores,word of mouth from fellow conference coaches and results of games against common opponents, Schreiner said.
Lower Dauphin split two games this season with Chambersburg – losing 3-0 in a District 3 semifinal game and beating the Trojans, 6-3 in the Mid-Penn Conference championship game within a span of two weeks – while Mifflin County lost two regular-season games to the Trojans, 5-2 and 3-1. Still, the Falcons aren’t looking past Mifflin County to the second-round of the state playoffs – and a potential third meeting with Chambersburg, Schreiner said.
“We can’t look past anybody,’’ he said. “There are 650 softball teams in the state and only 64 make it to the state playoffs – 16 in Class AAAA. They’re all here for a reason – they’re all good.’’
Lower Dauphin plans to start star pitcher Ava Bottiglia on the mound as often as possible. “At this point in the season, you have to go with the best. We’ll put up our best lineup,’’ Schreiner said.
That would include the Falcons’ three senior starters, and their vast experience dealing with the pressure of one-game elimination tournaments like the state playoffs. “We just have to go and take care of our business and see what happens,’’ Schreiner said.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 14:40