The condition of highly rated wrestler Nick Mauriello Jr. was upgraded from critical to serious earlier this week as he continued to battle two potentially lethal bacterial infections in a Long Island hospital.
Mauriello, 35-2 this season as a 125-pound competitor for Hauppage, was taken off a ventilator and had a breathing tube removed Wednesday at Stony Brook Long Island Children's Hospital. Doctors said he'd begun breathing on his own and was cognizant though sleepy due in part to the medications that likely saved his life.
Doctors hope to be able to transfer Mauriello to a rehabilitation center by the end of next week and continue treating him with antibiotics intravenously. The junior would be able to return home in short order after that.
"It's definitely possible that he could be an athlete again and wrestle again," Dr. Rahul Panesar, who has been treating the teen, told Newsday. "It's possible he can totally rebound. How possible? Time will tell."
Mauriello was admitted to the hospital Jan. 30 after he began showing symptoms including neck pain, breathing problems and limited mobility following a stretch of 18 wrestling matches in eight days. After initially being puzzled, doctors diagnosed him as suffering from MRSA and LeMierre's syndrome.
Doctors believe the illness was transmitted through a cut on Mauriello's knuckles — MRSA is commonly transmitted through contact sports — and spread the infection to the liver, lungs and kidneys.
The gravity of the situation shocked the Long Island wrestling community and caught the attention of school and medical officials as well. Hauppauge schools Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss sent a letter to parents encouraging them to remind their children involved in sports about the importance of good hygiene practices.
The Hauppauge school district has sanitized the locker room and other instructional areas, and added precautions will be in place the remainder of the season. Sections VIII and XI already have guidelines that include disinfecting mats daily, having athletes shower after practices and competitions with liquid soap, and wearing clean practice garments. The mats used at this weekend's sectional tournaments and at the state tournament in Albany will be cleaned after each round.BOYS BASKETBALL: SWEET 16
Center Amadou Sidibe
scored 27 points to lead Cardinal Hayes (Bronx)
to a 78-67 victory Tuesday over Mount St. Michael on Tuesday in a clash of state-ranked CHSAA Class A basketball teams.
Besides toppling Mount St. Michael from the No. 1 spot in the state sportswriters association rankings, it reduced the number of remaining unbeaten boys teams across New York to just 16.
And as luck would have it, the number could stay at 16 awhile, even with the impending start of sectional and association tournaments across the state. That's because the unbeaten teams are spread across eight NYSPHSAA sections, the PSAL and the CHSAA in five classes.
In fact, the 14 New York State Public High School Athletic Association survivors are distributed in such a way that they can start running up against each other no earlier than the first round of the state tournament next month with Schenectady Christian
potentially running into each other in Class B. None of the other potential matchups could happen before the NYSPHSAA quarterfinals.
The survivors entering the final week of the regular season are:
* Class AA: Poughkeepsie
(Sectton I), Christian Brothers Academy (Albany)
(II) and Niagara Falls
* Class A: St. Mary's (Manhasset)
* Class B: Schenectady Christian (II), Livonia
(VI), Northeastern Clinton (Champlain)
(VII), Potsdam (X) and Frederick Douglass Academy III (Bronx)
* Class C: Lake George
(IV) and Bloomfield
* Class D: New York Mills
(III), South Kortright Central
(IV) and Chateaugay
(X).DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Here's one of the oddball statistics in all of New York sports history: No school has ever won NYSPHSAA football and basketball championships in the same school year, but three are very much in the running this time around. Tuckahoe (Eastchester)
from Section I is now the top-ranked team in Class C according to the state sportswriters. Rush-Henrietta
(Class AA) and Aquinas Institute (Rochester)
(A) are shaping up as favorites to win Section V championships next month, though both would still face three grueling state tournament games before they could hoist the trophy.
Though the NYSPHSAA began conducting state boys basketball tournaments in 1978, the football playoffs only began in 1993.
There have been a few close calls along the way, including one involving Tuckahoe. With the help of largely the same core of players, the Tigers were state runners-up in three straight tournaments – basketball in March 1993, football in November 1993 and basketball again in March 1994.
More recently, Maple Grove won a basketball title in March 2008 and a football championship in November 2008 – consecutive, obviously, but not in the same school year – and then made it back to the basketball final four in March 2009 before losing a double-OT epic to Greenport.
Other close calls:
* Clyde-Savannah won the basketball championship in March 1993 and football title in November 1993. The Golden Eagles' 1992 football team won all 11 of its games, including a regional playoff that was used as a stepping stone toward launching a full state tournament the following fall.
* Syracuse CBA won basketball in March 1997 and finished second in football in November 1997.
* Amsterdam was a basketball runner-up in March 1995 and won the football title in November 1995.GIRLS BASKETBALL
The Buffalo area's Monsignor Martin Association has a new queen of the court.
Lancaster St. Mary's senior Raeann Stilwell
scored 24 points Tuesday to become the league's career scoring leader. The performance on the home court during a 63-36 victory over Buffalo Seminary raised her total to 1,619 points. The previous mark of 1,613 was set by Sacred Heart's Rachel Michalek in 2003.
Stilwell reached a second milestone in the same game, breaking the school record for scoring. The previous record of 1,607 had been held by the boys team's Mark Rzemek, a 1979 graduate who was on hand to present Stilwell with a commemorative game ball.*
Wheatland-Chili senior guard Lindsey Hall
filled multiple columns on the stat sheet Tuesday during a 62-41 victory against Lyndonville. Besides tying the school's single-game record with 48 points on 19-for-30 shooting, she collected 12 steals and 11 rebounds.
* Gananda Central (Walworth)
, a state-tournament favorite in Class C at 17-0, survived a double-overtime scare against Lyons with a 55-48 victory Tuesday. Lyons' Gina Pursati
hit a 3-pointer with two seconds left in the first overtime, but Audrey Allen
(17 points) and Shannon McGinnis
(14) proved too much for the upset-minded Lions.ODDS AND ENDS
* Christ the King guard Bria Smith
was the lone New York girl named to the McDonald's All-American team on Thursday. The Virginia recruit will play the all-star game March 30 at the United Center in Chicago. No New York boys made the final cut.
The McDonald's nominating process has been notorious for overlooking upstate talent over the years. They'll presumably take note of two Syracuse-area stars who'll be eligible for consideration next year: DaJuan Coleman
(Jamesville-DeWitt) and Breanna Stewart
(Cicero-North Syracuse) are both regarded as top-five prospects in the class of 2012, and Stewart made a verbal commitment to the University of Connecticut women's program this month.
* Keep an eye on this guy: Mount Morris sophomore guard Dev Milford
made nine 3-pointers and scored a school-record 52 points to beat Lima Christian 93-66 this week. He also record six steals and four assists in the course of breaking the school scoring mark of 44 by Chuck Albanese in 1972.PARTING SHOT
Major-league baseball teams frequently make trades involving a "player to be named later." That doesn't mean that a player changes his name; rather, the teams agree to settle on who the player will be at a later date.
Rochester doesn't have any players to be named later residing there. But they sure do have a stadium that keeps getting named and re-named, which has made both the stadium and the city the butt of jokes among media and sports fans.
It's a nice stadium in a dreary neighborhood, built largely with tax dollars for no compelling reason. Ridiculously, there are no permanent locker rooms on the grounds. Double-wide trailers have been converted into "temporary" changing rooms.
On Thursday, the downtown soccer, football and lacrosse facility was recast as Sahlen Stadium after the Buffalo-based meat packer bought naming rights for five years.
The stadium, which hosts the NYSPHSAA football semifinals each fall and was the site of the 2009 state lacrosse finals, was known as PAETEC Park when it was built in 2006, Rhinos Stadium in 2008, and Marina Auto Stadium the past two years after the stadium operator conducted a drawing among sponsors and season-ticket holders of the local pro soccer team.John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at email@example.com.