By Ted Waddell
LAKE HUNTINGTON March 15, 2005 It was a night for accolades and awards, as the Sullivan West Central School District coaching staff recognized their winter 2004-2005 athletic teams.
The annual rite of passage was held on Thursday evening, March 10, at the high school auditorium.
In his opening remarks to the assemblage, SW Superintendent Alan Derry said the high school scholar athletes should focus on looking forward rather than looking at your past
school is of tremendous importance, as it defines who you are.
School is a challenge, he added. You have a choice between courage and cowardice
congratulations on your phenomenal accomplishments this past season.
Principal Margaret Margie Tenbus said that with the districts emphasis on ensuring that athletes maintain their academic eligibility, the coaches are lined up outside her door every week checking on grades.
Thanks for the great ride we had this year, the glory days you will remember in the years to come, she said.
Moments later, Athletic Director Dave Franskevicz introduced the members of the winter coaching staff, who later called their respective teams up to the stage for recognition and awards.
Girls Indoor Track
The first coach to speak was George Shakelton, who was the co-coach of the indoor track team.
I really appreciate the kids running outside, he said. A lot of the boys were running inside when the girls were running outside at 15 degrees.
Shakelton said the season was mostly developmental for the upcoming outdoor track season, and cited successes such as doing well at the highly competitive track meet at West Point and coming in second place as a team at the Sullivan County Championships, beating Ellenville, Monticello, Liberty and Eldred.
In the 4X800 relay event at the Sullivan County Championships, SW took first place honors with the fleet footwork of Chelsie Schadt, Eleanor Bryan, Charlotte Peters and Jessica Armstrong.
Shakelton noted that at the beginning of the season, the relay runners had individual times of over three minutes, but during the season steadily shaved seconds off of the stopwatch.
Jess Wagner had a great day scoring a perfect 30 points for the team, taking home gold in the 300 (in 47.5 seconds), 600 (1:47.5) and 1,000 (3:19), beating arch rival Tri-Valley in all three, he added.
For the first time in years, SW sent a relay team to the NYS Qualifiers (Armstrong, Bryan, Schadt and Wagner), during which three of the four relay runners set personal bests.
In addition, Bryan traveled to the qualifiers in the 1,500 meter walk, in which she established a personal record of 8:51.
Wagner qualified in the 300, 600, 1,000 and 1,500 as part of the 4X800.
Chelsie Schadt was selected as the Most Improved Winter Indoor Track Female Athlete.
This was a little tough to call this year, said Shakelton, noting that runner up Ashley Murphy really improved in the second half of the season in her form going over the hurdles.
But the stop watch doesnt lie, and Chelsies times in the 600 through 1,500 were the most improved, he said. Were expecting a lot more out of her.
Jessica Wagner was picked as the Most Valuable Winter Indoor Track Female Athlete.
She was one of my hardest workers for the last five years, and is finally reaping some rewards, Shakelton said. Its hard to argue with three gold medals at the county championships.
Members of the Girls Varsity Indoor Track Team included: Jessica Armstrong, Tara Brewer, Eleanor Bryan, Melissa Fleckenstein, Brittany Flynn, Ashley Murphy, Charlotte Peters, Chelsie Schadt, Jessica Wag-ner, Amanda Ward and Jessica Weyandt.
Boys Indoor Track
The boys indoor track team was coached by Ron Bauer.
I really appreciate the effort these kids put in, going up against tremendous competition, he said. Life itself is competition, and the competition is good.
Bauer thanked the team for a great season, before listing his runners accomplishments and handing out the teams top awards.
See you outdoors, he said, referring to the upcoming outdoor track season.
Joe Layman Improved all season, basically a sprinter
at the county championships, placed in all three relays, Bauer said.
Ben Creegan/Tom Lynch/Eric Delaurenco (freshman shot putters) Showed good improvement.
Will OBrien Improved from 11.5 to 9.7 in the 55-meter hurdles, one-tenth of a second from the state qualifier, placed in the relays at the county championships.
Justin Alsdorf Placed in relays at the county championships, missed the state qualifier by two-tenths of a second.
Adam Nebzydoski Placed in two relays and the 600-meter [event] at the county championships.
William Schlott Placed in the 55-meter [race] at the county championships, reached the state qualifier in the 55-meter and did a good job in the triple jump.
Steve Daley Won a medal in shot put at the county championships and placed eighth overall at the state qualifier.
Matt Layman was tabbed as the Most Improved Indoor Track Male Athlete for 2004-2005.
He ran distance and middle distance, said Bauer. He placed in the 3,200, 1,000-meter and 600-meter. At the Suffern Invitational with 72 schools present, he won a medal in the 1,000-meter and made the state qualifier in the 600-meter.
Mike Vanwagenen was named Most Valuable Winter Indoor Track Male Athlete.
He was third in the 3,200-meter at the Suffern Invitational. At the county championships, he won a gold medal in the 3200-meter, a silver in the 1,500-meter and a bronze in the 1,000-meter, and took fourth place in the 3,200-meter at the state qualifier, Bauer said.
The members of the Boys Varsity Winter Indoor Track Team were Justin Alsdorf, Ben Creegan, Steve Daley, Eric Delaurenco, Joe Layman, Matthew Layman, Thomas Lynch, Adam Nebzydoski, Will OBrien, Will Schlott. Mike VanWagenen and Stevie VanWagenen.
J.P. Lang, first year coach of the varsity basketball cheerleaders, said that when nobody stepped up to the plate to lead the cheerleading squad, cheerleader Rebekah Peters asked him to take on the responsibility.
Its been a thrill, Lang said.
As Lang recounted a few adventures during his first season coaching a varsity cheerleading team, Alexa Williams made the rounds of the team up on stage giving everyone well deserved hugs for a season filled with thrills.
Ginger Pierce was selected as the Most Improved Basketball Cheerleader.
Rebekah Peters was named the Most Valuable Basketball Cheerleader.
The members of the 2004-2005 Varsity Basketball Cheerleading squad were: Megan Ambrozewicz, Robin Crotty, Morgan Embleton, Samantha Freer, Kayla Gerow, Heather Gorr, Tracy Henry, Megan Hughes, Shana Kelly, Emery Lyon, Rebekah Peters, Ginger Pierce, Sabrina Reimer, Dianna Scott, Crystal Talmadge, Alexa Williams and Kaitlyn Wingert.
Its been nothing short of wonderful, Coach Ron Bernhardt said of the recently completed season in which the Lady Bulldogs posted a 17-5 record.
The 16 weeks [Assistant] Coach Scheibe and I got to share with these 12 young ladies were some of the very best in my 29-year career as an educator and coach, Bernhardt stated. I got an overwhelming sense of joy seeing how this particular group handled themselves, even as their season came to an end.
After losing six seniors to graduate and in the wake of an early graduation following by an injury, the Lady Bulldogs were facing an uncertain future, so the call went out for some jayvee players willing to make a personal sacrifice by moving up to varsity level.
The very next day returns came in and we carefully selected three players
and the covenant began, Bernhardt said. The process of building something has always been slower and more complicated than that of destroying.
As the players started to pull together, Bernhardt said the coaching staff emphasized the importance of team play.
Its everything in basketball, and once the synergy develops individuals become better able to be productive with the help of the group, he explained. The story of this season is about buying into the team philosophy. Before a vision can become reality, it must be owned by every single member of the group. And in this game, once a team accepts that, the magic mysteriously manifests and a team transforms into a force greater than the sum of its individual talents.
Kate Fanning was picked as the teams Best Defensive Player for 2004-2005.
She was the heart of our team, said Bernhardt. She held Karen Alexander, Onteoras top scorer to zero field goals. She did the job every night on D, stopping [Marlboros] Kanita Boone, Shauna Murray from Tri-Valley and Shannon Whalen from Cornwall. Nothing fancy
rock solid inside and quick and alert on the perimeter.
Her versatility was obvious when she dominated our one-on-one tournament over Christmas vacation with solid fundamentals and without fouling, he added.
Heather Lander was named Miss Basketball 2004-2005.
This girl is going out in style, Bernhardt said. From Day One she showed both by her efforts on the practice or game floor, or in the classroom that she meant business. She led our offense whether being pressed or forced to execute in the halfcourt sets, and we were rarely unable to function as a result.
He credited Landers performance in the Lady Bulldogs 55-24 hammering of visiting Goshen. While she racked up no points, her greatness was getting eight assists and a plus-15 in losses and recoveries in less than three quarters
we utilized her attacking ability on breakdowns of all our three-man sets.
It took her a long time to realize what a true point guard was and how much of her individual scoring needed to be sacrificed in order to bring our team to its pinnacle, he added. On top of that, shes our scholar athlete
her efforts and rewards in the classroom are so excellent that its hard to fathom.
Landers take on the whole thing?
Flanked by fellow seniors Jamie Clifford and Autumn Darder, she took to the podium after all the awards and accolades to talk about the season.
Last year after our outstanding season, we lost six seniors, four of which were starters, she said. Most people believed that this year would be our rebuilding year. However, Mr. Bernhardt and Mr. Scheibe know that all our team needed was a lot of practice and a lot of dedication.
So before school dismissed last year, the team traveled to AAU games on the weekends. Beginning in July, the squad participated in summer league competition at Sullivan County Community College and spent five days at basketball summer camp at Colgate University playing three to four games every day.
Aside from our mind-blowing win over state-ranked Greece Arcadia, we also won the camps talent show with a performance of Mamas Kitchen, Lander said. We left Colgate with what would come to be known as our Colgate Attitude.
The members of the Girls Varsity Basketball Team were: April Ackerman, Erin Bernhardt, Kayla Bozan, Jamie Clifford, Autumn Darder, Kate Fanning, Karry Johnston, Heather Lander, Sarah Lander, Jennifer Pitz and Jessica Pitz.
We really had one goal and that was to win the Section IX Class B Championship Coach Rick Ellison said of the Bulldogs, who finished the 2004-2005 season with a 17-5 record.
But in the end, SW just fell short of that goal. The Bulldogs were defeated in the Section IX Class B championship game by John S. Burke, against whom they lost to a total of three times this winter.
Going up against Class A schools, the Bulldogs were 5-2 beating Monticello twice, posting two wins against Goshen and losing a couple of times to perennial powerhouse Cornwall.
The game at Monticello, with Joe Meyer hitting a game-winning 3-pointer as time was going off the clock, was one of the most thrilling wins Ive ever been a part of; the game at Goshen when we rallied from a 16-point deficit was one of the best comebacks that I have ever been a part of and the Burke game at home was electric, Ellison said.
This team was exciting, he continued. Their legacy will be that people enjoyed watching them play. Win, which they did about 70 percent of the time in the past two years, or lose, they played a brand of basketball that excited people.
They have put Sullivan West basketball on the map, and have set the bar for future teams to aspire to.
Joe Winski was named Scholar Athlete Award (Male) 2004-2005.
He is a young man who exemplifies what a student-athlete should be, said Ellison. He works just as hard in the classroom as he does on the court, excelling in both areas. He pushes himself academically and athletically, and has set goals for himself.
Sean Kelly was selected as the teams Best Offensive Player.
This young man led us in scoring for the second year in a row, said Ellison. He was an offensive force that gained the respect and attention of all opposing coaches
to sum up Coach Neidig from Burke said that Sean Kelly is a helluva player.
He brought us not only a toughness and scoring mentality, he attacked the rim like no other player Ive ever coached, Ellison added.
Sean Semenetz was named the Bulldogs Most Versatile Player.
He simply does it all on the basketball court, said Ellison. He can shoot the ball, learned how to go to the basket, led us in assists, was our leading rebounder, was our best free throw shooter, arguably our best defender [although] often seriously outweighed by the people he was guarding, and set the best screens on this team.
He was one of this years captains and one of the fiercest competitors I have ever coached
he was a great teammate and a pleasure to coach, Ellison added.
The members of the 2004-2005 Boys Varsity Basketball Team included were Kevin Brewer, Kevin Cappiello, Derek Hahn, Sean Kelly, Jonah Lagrutta, Joe Meyer, John Nober, Justin Polizzi, Sean Semenetz, Andre Trujillo, Joe Winski and Brett Youmans.