By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON June 10, 2005 The Sullivan West Central School District honored dozens of student athletes on Tuesday night at its spring sports awards program in the high school auditorium.
In addition to the coaches from the SW baseball, softball, golf and track and field teams presenting well-deserved awards to their players for their performances this spring, many of the Bulldog seniors were honored with special awards and scholarships.
In his opening remarks, Superintendent Alan Derry noted that he is a former high school and college athlete and has also coached a number of teams. Because of those experiences, he said that athletics is an area that is near and dear to my heart.
Derry then offered the talented student athletes sitting in the audience a list of 10 items stressing the values of athletics.
We dont expect you to be perfect, said Derry, in the fifth point on his list. We do expect you to work hard and do your best.
As the evening progressed it was clear that those SW athletes had done their best this school year and in years past.
The athletes who excelled a bit more were honored with several special awards, including the Sullivan West Coaches Award, Milt Gaebel Awards, Male Most Valuable Senior Athlete, Female Most Valuable Senior Athlete and the Billy Moran Scholarship.
The SW Coaches Award was presented to one graduating male athlete and one graduating female athlete for their ideals, standards and personal discipline.
Girls varsity basketball coach Ron Bernhardt and girls varsity soccer coach Mike Mahoney presented the female Coaches Award to Heather Lander, who played varsity soccer, basketball and softball in her years at SW. Bernhardt noted that Lander has raised the bar for all student athletes in years to come.
Boys varsity soccer coach Joe Ebeling and boys varsity basketball coach Rick Ellison presented the male Coaches Award to Joe Winski. Ebeling noted that Winski was a three-sport athlete who had excelled in all of those sports.
In addition, he is just an all-around nice kid, Ebeling said.
The Milt Gaebel Awards were created during the 1995-1996 school year in the former Jeffersonville-Youngsville Central School District. The awards honored Gaebel, whose philosophy was, if what you are doing is worth doing, you need to give at least 100 percent.
The SW district has presented the awards over the past several years to recognize Gaebels determination, perseverance, dedication and loyalty to sports.
This years winners were Autumn Darder, who was a member of the varsity basketball and softball teams, and Steve Musso, who competed in football, basketball, indoor track and outdoor track in his high school years.
Girls track and field coach George Shakelton and Ellison then presented the Most Valuable Senior Athlete Awards. The schools coaches used a point system to determine a group of most valuable athletes, who were select senior athletes. The recipients of the Female and Male Most Valuable Senior Athlete Awards were then chosen from those groups of select senior athletes.
The female select senior athletes included: Kristen Brucher, who played soccer, basketball and soccer from 1999 through 2005, Jamie Clifford (cross country, basketball, track, 1999-2005), Autumn Darder (basketball, softball, 1999-2005), Angela Fortin-Paust (soccer, softball, 1999-2005), Heather Gorr (football cheerleading, basketball cheerleading, 2001-2005), Tracy Henry (basketball cheerleading, soccer, softball, 1999-2005), Heather Lander (soccer, basketball, soccer, 1999-2005), Michelle Manzi (cross country, soccer, indoor track, outdoor track, 2000-2004), Nellie Norden (soccer, basketball, golf 1999-2005), Rebekah Peters (cross country, basketball cheerleading, softball, 2001-2005) and Sabrina Reimer (volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, basketball cheerleading, 1999-2005).
Shakelton noted that the Female Most Valuable Senior Athlete had compiled 14 varsity letters and twice earned a medal at the state track and field meet. She earned one of those medals at last weeks state competition, when she ran the anchor leg in a time of 2 minutes, 19 seconds to help the Lady Bulldogs 4x800 relay team finish sixth in Division II (small schools) in a time of 9:52.94.
The coach also noted that it was a pleasure to coach this young lady, who will continue her running career at SUNY Delhi. Shakelton then presented the trophy to Jamie Clifford.
The list of male select athletes included: John Glassel (football, baseball, 1999-2005), Sean Kelly (basketball, baseball, 1999-2005), John Kitson (football, indoor track, outdoor track, baseball, 2000-2005), Joe Meyer (soccer, football, basketball, baseball, golf, 1999-2005), Steve Musso (football, basketball, indoor track, outdoor track, baseball, 1999-2005), John Nober (soccer, basketball, baseball, golf, 1999-2005), Scott Peters (football, basketball, track, 1999-2005), Sean Semenetz (soccer, basketball, golf, 1999-2005), Andre Trujillo (football, basketball, track, 2002-2005) and Joe Winski (soccer, basketball, golf, 1999-2005).
Before naming the Male Most Valuable Senior Athlete, Ellison noted that the winner of the award reminded him of one of his personal sports heroes, Earvin Magic Johnson in the way that he put the team first and remained calm and cool under pressure.
This athlete is so quiet, yet that is his style, Ellison said. He let his play speak for itself. There were no outrageous gestures, no hotdogging, no grandstanding. He just played hard all of the time.
Ellison then called Joe Meyer to the podium and presented him with the trophy.
The final presentation of the evening was for the Billy Moran Scholarship Award. Brent Rosenberger, who was Morans lifelong best friend, took a few moments to speak about Moran before presenting the award to a graduating student athlete.
Moran, a graduate of Delaware Valley Central School, earned all-league status in three sports and maintained an academic average of 96 percent. He then became a starter on the Union College football and baseball teams. Unfortunately his life was cut short when he was killed by a drunk driver in April 1981 in Florida.
After he presented the 2005 Billy Moran Scholarship Award to Joe Winski, Rosenberger noted that Winski shares many of the qualities Billy Moran had.
One quality you share with Billy is your devotion to your family, said Rosenberger, noting that Winski recently chose family over athletics when he gave up the opportunity to compete in the Section IX boys golf championship to go on a hunting trip with his father.
Rosenberger added that since Moran and Winski shared so many personality traits, he is certain that they would have been good friends.
Earlier in the assembly, members of the spring sports teams were called up to the stage to accept varsity letters and other awards from their coaches for the recently completed 2005 season.
Angela Fortin-Paust earned the Miss Softball Award and Autumn Darder was garnered the Most Valuable Player Award. They received their awards from Head Coach Mike Ellmauer and Assistant Coach J.P. Lang.
The other members of the varsity softball team this spring were Kristen Brucher, Genna Delgado, Tracy Henry, Heather Lander, Sarah Lander, Katie Moloney, Kathleen Nober, Rebekah Peters, Jessica Pitz, Allison Swendsen and Stevie VanWagenen.
Garrett Owen took home the varsity baseball teams Most Valuable Defensive Player Award, while Joe Meyer was presented with the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award. They accepted their awards from Head Coach Kurt Scheibe and Assistant Coach Tom Palmer.
Also recognized were varsity baseball players Matt Berger, Kevin Brewer, Steve Daley, Chris Franke, John Glassel, Joe Layman, Jim Moloney, Steve Musso, Will OBrien, Justin Polizzi, Andy Rosenberger and Lloyd Shaffer.
April Ackermann was named the Girls Most Valuable Track Athlete and Kayla Bozan garnered the Girls Most Valuable Field Athlete Award. They accepted their awards from Head Coach George Shakelton and Assistant Coach Alexis Eggleton.
Other members of the girls varsity track team were Jessica Armstrong, Eleanor Bryan, Jamie Clifford, Stephanie Clifford, Moselle DiPane, Kayla Florke, Mara Gabriel, Brittney Geiger, Morgan Hawkins, Kristi Kern, Ashley Murphy, Lindsey Murphy, Ashley Nicoletti, Charlotte Peters, Chelsie Schadt, Jessica Wagner, Amanda Ward and Audryanna Ward.
Mike VanWagenen was named the Boys Most Valuable Track Athlete and Alan Ackermann took home the Boys Most Valuable Field Athlete Award. Head Coach Ron Bauer and Assistant Coach Alexis Eggleton presented the awards to VanWagenen and Ackermann.
The other members of the boys track and field team this spring were Justin Alsdorf, Donald Cooper, Brett Cucci, Eric DeLaurencio, James Erlwein, Jonathon Figueroa, Arlin Fleckenstein, Logan Frazier, Matthew Gain, John Kitson, Trevor Kreznar, Matthew Layman, Adam Nebzydoski, Scott Peters, Kevin Pinkel, Will Schlott and Colin Seidl.
Nellie Norden was presented with the Girls Most Valuable Golfer Award and Sabrina Reimer earned the Girls Most Improved Golfer Award. Coach Jeff Molusky presented Norden and Reimer with their awards.
Other members of the girls golf team this spring were Kate Fanning, Melanie Kleiner and Patti Knack.
Ben Kleiner garnered the Boys Underclassmen Golf MVP and Sean Semenetz was named the Boys Golf MVP. Coach Bob Fife presented the awards to Kleiner and Semenetz.
Other members of the boys varsity golf team included Justin Armstrong, Noah Barker, Ross Bernhardt, Brett Burkle, Kevin Correa, John Nober, Kenneth Rhodes, Greg Sheppard and Joe Winski.
Also recognized at the assembly were the members of the SW junior varsity baseball and softball teams.
The JV baseball team included Jesse Fadis, Chris Freebes, Logan Grishaber, Stephan Levinson, Thomas Lynch, Brandon Peters, Nick Redmond, Bradley Reimer, Bret Reimer, Bryan Schmidt, Will Shaffer, Vincent Spruill, Chris Story and Matt Swendsen.
The JV softball team roster included Tara Brewer, Danielle Chudik, Caralynn Davies, Morgan Edwards, Lizzy Ferber, Rachel Gruenke, Kelli Long, Brionna Lovgren, Stephanie Meyer, Amanda Niemann, Kristen Niemann, Camille Peters, Ginger Pierce, Jennifer Pitz, Samantha VanDiver, Kaitlyn Wingert.
In his closing remarks, SW Athletic Director David Franskevicz again thanked all of the coaches, athletes, parents and administration for supporting the athletic program during this school year.
This was an excellent year, he said. Eleven of the 15 varsity sports teams qualified to compete in the sectionals. Seven of those 11 went on to represent Sullivan West at the state level.