Catching up with Chuck Crist, Jeff Prescott, Nate Sestina and the New York-Pennsylvania Corporate Cup Soccer Showcase:
- A week ago tomorrow, Chuck Crist and Jeff Prescott joined a select group when they were part of the 13-member class inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame at the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center.
Among the others in their group were skier Travis Mayer, former NFL coach Ed Hughes, Joe Horrigan, executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Pete Scamurra, the first Buffalo-born player to sign an NHL contract.
Crist, 68, was a four-sport star at Salamanca where he was the MVP in all four: football, basketball, baseball and track. He was recruited by Penn State for both football and basketball, but chose hoops when he wasn’t allowed to try out for quarterback.
After graduation, he was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and started a seven-year NFL career as a safety that included stints with the Saints and 49ers.
Prescott, now 50, was entirely focused on wrestling during his career at both Olean High and Penn State.
At OHS he won four Section 6 and three New York State championships and was the state’s Most Outstanding Wrestler as a junior in 1986. He had a stretch of 120 consecutive wins, sixth longest in NYS history.
Heavily recruited by PSU, Prescott was selected as one of the Nittany Lions’ Top 100 athletes of all time, courtesy of a career in which he was a three-time All-America and twice an NCAA champion (1990, ‘91), earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors the latter season.
The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, which was inaugurated in 1991, with this year’s 13 inductees, numbers 343 members. Ten of those are either from Cattaraugus County (Crist, Prescott and Allegany’s Bud Carpenter, the long-time Bills trainer) or St. Bonaventure (Eddie Donovan, Larry Weise, Bob Lanier, Tom Stith, George Carter, Whitey Martin and Dale Tepas).
- who thought that Nate Sestina’s transfer from Bucknell to Kentucky was nothing more than a chance to ride the bench for one of college basketball’s marquee programs, Sports Illustrated offered an emphatic contradiction in its collegiate hoops issue.
Sestina, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound center/forward, starred at Cameron County High School, earning Big 30 Player of the Year honors, before logging a stellar career with the Bison. Upon graduating from Bucknell with a degree in geology, he was pursued by Kentucky.
Having lost his freshman season to a shoulder injury, he has one season of eligibility with the Wildcats while he earns his masters in kinesiology/health promotion.
In its hoops edition, SI tabbed Michigan State No. 1 and Kentucky No. 2 noting, “The Wildcats bring in (NBA) lottery-ready freshmen 6-3 guard Tyrese Maxey and 6-6 forward Khalil Whitney, but 6-9 transfer Nate Sestina (Bucknell) might be the secret sauce.”
Kentucky then beat Michigan State in the season opener at Madison Square Garden, 69-62, and was No. 1 in the country, though it fell to 2-1 with a 67-64 loss to Evansville last night at Rupp Arena. In the win over the Spartans, Sestina had seven points, six rebounds, two assists and a block.
Son of Don, the former Cameron County coach, Nate, in three starts, is averaging 31 minutes, nine points and seven rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field with four assists, four blocks and three turnovers.
— THE NY-PA CORPORATE CUP Soccer Showcase is six months away, set for Sunday, May 17 at Pitt-Bradford — boys game at 1 p.m., girls at 4 o’clock — but tryouts have already begun with the four 22-player squads to be announced in January.
In addition, the coaching staffs are already in place.
The New York girls will be coached by Allegany-Limestone’s Dale MacArthur assisted by John Fitzpatrick (Hinsdale), Mary Neilon (Ellicottville), Dan Freeman (Olean) and Alexa Troutman (Randolph).
Bradford’s Warren Shaw will coach the Pennsylvania girls aided by fellow Owl staffers Jim Warnick and A.J. Lucas plus David Britten (Brockway), Jeremy Bickling (Warren) and Samantha Zimmerman (St. Mary’s).
New York’s boys will be coached by Genesee Valley’s Ryan McKnight assisted by Jon Luce (Allegany-Limestone), Nick Perillo (Cuba-Rushford), Jim Charles (Olean) and Devin Kinney (Hinsdale).
Elk County Catholic’s T.J. Weaver will coach the Pennsylvania boys aided by ECC staffer Alex O’Neill plus Matt Erickson (DuBois), Denny Flatt (Warren), Aaron Clark (Port Allegany-Smethport) and Phil Esposito (Dubois Central Catholic).
(Chuck Pollock, a Times Herald senior sports columnist, can be reached at email@example.com)