By Rob Potter
NARROWSBURG June 19, 2001 Nothing not even an hour-long power outage prevented coaches, parents and community members from recognizing the Sullivan West/Narrowsburg student-athletes Friday night at the schools annual athletic banquet.
Whether the podium and tables were illuminated by the familiar overhead lights or candles and a flood light, SW/N Athletic Director Scott Haberli and the coaches praised the athletes who proudly competed as Narrowsburg Indians during the 2000-2001 school year.
Since the event was the last Narrowsburg sports banquet due to the Sullivan West merger, they also praised all of the athletes who had played in the schools cozy gym and/or on its familiar fields.
Many coaches, including varsity boys basketball coach Cliff Kelly and junior varsity coach Gary Maas, shared some of their own athletic stories from their days as Narrowsburg students.
I have a lot of great memories of this place, said Maas, after pointing to the 1972 sectional championship baseball banner hanging in one corner of the gym. (Maas, NCS Class of 72, was the left fielder on that team.) A lot has happened right here in this gym.
Those sentiments were echoed by the evenings guest speaker, Kevin Edwards, the sports editor at The Wayne Independent newspaper of Honesdale, Pa. While not an Narrowsburg alumnus, Edwards noted that he enjoyed driving across the Delaware River to cover sporting events at Narrowsburg over the past couple of years.
There is something special about what you have here, Edwards said. There is a magic connected with it that bigger schools dont have.
The evening also featured an often humorous yet very sincere address by gym teacher Karen Bliss, who wished each graduating senior well and shared with the audience some of her first memories of those students.
And former New York Cosmos soccer player Jim LaPenna, who is a good friend of SW/N boys junior varsity soccer coach Zbigniew Ziolkowski, shared with the student-athletes an athletes creed given to him by soccer great Pele. The creed encouraged qualities such as good sportsmanship, respect and dedication which LaPenna noted are traits the student-athletes as well as their parents, grandparents and coaches should strive for in their everyday lives.
A few awards were presented in addition to the awards noted in the banquet program. Haberli presented a plaque to Kelly in honor of his 105 varsity wins. Haberli, who also coaches the varsity baseball team, presented three game balls to three of his players: Mike Cookingham, J.C. Henry and Matt Pomes.
Baseball players Brian Popolillo and Rob Taylor presented Haberli with a game ball and a team photo taken at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown earlier this spring.
Softball coach Lionel Billard gave a game ball to Tina Swendsen.
The other student-athletes who were honored included:
Army Reserve Scholarship: Beth Meyer and Chad Powell.
Boys JV Soccer: Most Improved Player Ryan Streever; Most Valuable Player Chris Ziolkowski.
Boys Varsity Soccer: MVP Evan Kraack.
Girls Varsity Soccer: Senior Award Melanie Hector; Offensive MVP: Kim Jay; Defensive MVP: Beth Meyer.
Girls Varsity Basketball: Coaches Award Heather Nober; Most Improved Player Mel Buddenhagen; MVP Kim Jay.
Boys Varsity Basketball: Most Improved Player Ken Emeigh; Co-MVPs Bruce Nober and Chad Powell.
Cheerleading: Captains Awards Danielle Hoye, Michelle Krause and Ashley Roth.
Golf: Coachs Award Kevin Taylor; Most Improved Jon Heinle; MVP Andrew Morse.
Baseball: Coachs Award Logan Cole; Most Improved Rob Taylor; MVP Mike Cookingham.
Softball: Most Improved Jackie Ropke; MVP Beth Meyer.
Boy Athlete of the Year: Bruce Nober.
Girl Athlete of the Year: Beth Meyer.