Any way you look at it, Cooperstown had a great sports year in 2012-13.
There was a Section Three Class C title in basketball. There was a historic run and undefeated regular season in softball. There was an improbable rebound for both soccer teams. There were two league-winning divers and two league-winning swim teams. There was a league title in tennis. And, last but not least, there was Lucy Ford’s state title in the high jump.
For the second straight year, Cooperstown also earned two Daily Star Player of the Year Awards. Last year, they went to Jay Davine in boys basketball and Michael Rowley in soccer. This year, Rowley was a repeat winner and last weekend, Nicole Cring was named the softball Player of the Year.
Cring and Rowley exemplify everything that is good about Cooperstown sports. They were fiery, determined athletes who were able to focus that fire on working hard, improving their skills and being leaders and team players.They learned their skills at the Clark Sports Center and in local leagues from a young age. They were leaders on the field and off. They were great examples for their teammates.
They were and are hard workers, for sure. Cring would get up at 5:30 a.m. to practice pitching in Hartwick with her pitching coach Tom Weeks. Rowley followed varsity soccer season by transitioning to a select team in Syracuse.
If you ask their coaches, they are going to be missed and remembered in Cooperstown for a long time.
“We’re going to miss her in the circle and we’re going to miss her at the plate,” CCS softball coach Dave Bliss said about Cring. “We’re going to miss her leadership and her work ethic. She has really shown the other girls how to work hard.”
“(Michael) matured as a player and made everyone around him better,” soccer coach Frank Miosek said. “He has a real passion for the game.”
Cring, whose 20 wins and 232 strikeouts this season will likely be Cooperstown records for some time to come, will now attend Springfield College and she said she hopes to play softball there.
Rowley will play a season for the Empire Revolution out of Rochester. Empire United Soccer Academy is an elite soccer league for young players. It serves as a feeder system into the national team. From there Rowley said he hopes to play NCAA Division I soccer.
Both players are facing new challenges; Cring has to try out for Springfield’s team, and Rowley will have to transition to an elite level of soccer. But given how hard each one works, we won’t be shocked to see them continue to succeed.
It is worth noting that the Daily Star coverage area includes about 30 high schools. Six high school athletes won POY awards this year (including Oneonta’s Mariah Ruff who won for basketball and shared the soccer honor). Three of the winners were from Oneonta and a fourth was from Bainbridge-Guilford. The other two were Cring and Rowley, making Cooperstown well represented again.
Finally, a number of other Cooperstown athletes were on the Daily Star first teams and deserve recognition. Ethan Bliss was named to both the basketball and baseball teams. Cring was also named to the girls basketball team. Sumer Murdock made the girls basketball team. And Maggie Hall and Christina Noto joined Cring on the softball first team. And if there still was a track POY award … well, we all know the girls’ honor would go to Ford.
Like we said, it was a great year for Cooperstown sports. Congratulations to Cring and Rowley, their coaches and families, and good luck to them on the next level. We’re pretty sure we’ll be writing about their success again.