By Jamie Dymond
MONTICELLO June 10, 2003 Ultimately, high school is a better experience when one participates in an extracurricular activity like athletics.
Special memories are made that are unforgettable and last a lifetime. Maybe most importantly, each athlete grows as an individual as the team members celebrate their victories and console each other through defeats. Being a part of a team is rewarding on several levels, and precious life lessons are learned.
Later on in life, Monticello Central School senior athletes will probably look back fondly on their last event. That event was the Monticello Senior Athletic Awards Banquet, which was held last Thursday at Fibbers at the Concord, and attended by approximately 130 senior athletes, parents and guests.
During the evening, each coach got a chance to speak about the senior members of their teams. It was stressed that dedication and hard work were just a few of the requirements to be a student-athlete at Monticello.
Awards were given out to the athletes in several categories, each with strict criteria requirements. Coachs Awards, Senior Awards, Senior Plaques, Varsity Letters, and Scholar Athlete Awards were all handed out.
The last award of the evening, the Mayors Trophy, was given by Betsy Conaty, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the Village of Monticello. Normally, the trophy is awarded by the mayor, but Monticello Mayor Gary Sommers had another engagment and could not attend the banquet.
The Mayors Trophy was initiated by former village Mayor John Duiguid in 1991. The recipient is a surprise every year since their name is not printed in the program but announced at the dinner.
Katy Schlichtman received a standing ovation when she accepted the 2003 Mayors Trophy. Schlichtman was a member of the volleyball, track and indoor track teams and she was honored with the Coachs Award for each sport in which she participated. In addition, she earned a Doctor of Sport plaque, collected 12 varsity letters and managed to maintain a 3.53 GPA. In the fall, Schlichtman will be attending Columbia University and running for the schools track team.
Another athlete who was recognized on several occasions throughout the evening was Timothy Billias. He earned a Doctor of Sport plaque by obtaining 11 varsity letters through hard work and dedication.=
Track Coach Peter Wysochanski, recognized Tim as the most dedicated runner he has encountered in his 13-year coaching career.
Billias received the Coachs Award for both boys outdoor track and boys cross country. Billias, who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, plans to attend Ithaca College, where he will study business and continue to run.
As the celebration continued, Girls Tennis Coach Urvashi Tutu Gupta recognized three members who have been on the varsity squad for six years each: Casey Berson, Brady Dollard and Caitlin Gunther.
Gupta noted that Berson showed a high level of dignity on and off the court. Berson earned seven varsity letters and was honored with a Senior Plaque under the category Master of Sport. She graduates with a 4.0 GPA, and will be attending Cornell University in the fall.
Brady has been instrumental at keeping team spirit alive, Gupta said of Dollard, who earned nine varsity letters and received a Doctorate of Sport plaque. In addition to being an important asset to the girls tennis team, Dollard played basketball for four years.
She will be attending Penn State in the fall.
Lastly, Gupta recognized Gunther, who was the girls tennis team captain the past two years. Gunther, who was honored with a Master of Sport plaque, had 20 wins and no losses the last two years. She was also Monticellos number one singles player for the past four years. In addition, Gunther received an Scholar Athlete Award and Coachs Award.
Two other young women Shannon Dietrich and Tricia Parks were honored with Master of Sport Plaques. Dietrich participated in girls soccer, softball and girls indoor track and earned eight varsity letters. She was also awarded the Coachs Award for softball.
Parks participated in cheerleading, softball, and girls volleyball and collected six varsity letters.
Also earning a Master of Sport plaque was Ronald Duchame, who earned eight varsity letters as a member of the boys track and wrestling teams.
Several seniors were awarded Bachelor of Sport plaques for earning at least three varsity letters in their years at Monticello.
Those athletes included Reed Barnofsky, Devin Brust, Amanda Drobysh, Jenna Diaco, Jessica Goldstein, Adam Herzog, Desiree Hinton, Matthew Holmes, Tricia Kaiser, Derek Kilcoin, Heidi Kleister, Gary Muller, Jonathan Meddaugh, Jacquelyn Randall, Bryan Ortiz, Holli Schoonmaker, Mathew Simon, David Soderblom, Daniel Tugender and Rick Villegas.
Every Monticello Central School senior athlete was recognized for the contributions they made to the athletic program during their four years of high school. Their strengths were pointed out and recognized.
Superintendent Eileen Casey put it best when she acknowledged that The skills the athletes gained by participating on sports teams at Monticello High School will give them a significant edge as the Class of 2003 begins their next journey in life.