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At Their Best

Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THESE LIBERTY ATHLETES won trophy and senior trophy awards at Tuesday night’s Block L Athletic Awards Banquet. Sitting from left to right are Michelle Silver, Jackie Katzenberger, Julie Goodman and Keely Hamlin. Standing from left to right are David Olsen, Chris Goldsmith, Jason Garritt, Daniel Belgard and Jay Samant.

Liberty Salutes
Its Top Athletes

By Rob Potter
LIBERTY — June 21, 2005 – Athletes in the Liberty Central School District were honored for their achievements this school year when the district’s athletic department held its annual Block L Athletic Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening, June 14.
Athletes, parents, coaches, administration members and board members enjoyed dinner in the school cafeteria before moving to the auditorium for the awards ceremony.
Coaches from each of the school’s varsity sports teams presented awards to athletes who competed during the 2004-2005 scholastic year. In addition, Trophy Awards and Senior Trophy Awards – all of which are named in honor of former LCS athletes and/or Liberty community members – were presented to deserving young men and women for special achievements.
In his welcoming remarks, Superintendent Lawrence Clarke praised the efforts made by student-athletes, parents, coaches and community members during the past nine months.
“We appreciate the efforts on the part of the athletic staff members who work so hard to offer so many opportunities for our students,” Clarke said.
He said that studies have shown that students who are involved in extracurricular activities such as athletics “do better in the classroom than their less involved peers.”
Before introducing the coaches to hand out their team awards, LCS Athletic Director Tim Bult announced that he had some special awards to present. Bult then called Debbie Simpson to the auditorium stage to accept the 2005 Fan of the Year Award. He also presented Assistant Athletic Director Awards to Jackie Katzenberger, Kevin McGuire, Rob Silva and Vernon Wilson. Bult said that those four students helped him and all of the school’s coaches a great deal this school year by completing a variety of tasks in the athletic office.
Bult said that he was “so proud that over $2,300 worth of awards and scholarships would be presented to our athletes.”
While the majority of the evening’s awards were presented to individual students, three teams were honored for earning New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete Team Awards during the 2004-05 academic year. Those teams were the boys’ alpine ski team, which had a 90.37 GPA, girls’ alpine ski team (90.02 GPA) and boys’ tennis team (94.65 GPA).
Members of the Indians’ 2004-05 alpine ski team were Justin Garritt, Dan Green, Matt Green, Sam Heinle, Jacob Kirsch, Josh Maier, Kevin McGuire, Dave Olsen, Kris Ramos, Kurt Ramos and Branden Reeves.
Members of the Lady Indians’ alpine ski team were Caity Baker, Kerri Benzenberger, Chelsey Manley, Rebecca Ramirez, Kim Ramos, Georgia Siegel and Carley Speer.
Members of the Indians’ tennis team were Matt Baxter, Jeff Boyd, Ryan Burns, Ryan Cerrillo, Zack Emery, Jaquan Gooden, Sean Gregory, Marshal Isseks, Anthony Martinez, David Olson, Michael Ponce, Kurt Ramos, Jay Samant, Zac Shavrick, Jeff Simpson and Justin Sutherland.
While scores of LCS athletes were honored during the awards program, boys’ tennis coach Steve Colman was also recognized.
“Some of you may not know, but tonight is Steve’s final Block L Athletic Awards banquet after 32 years of service to the student-athletes of Liberty High,” Bult announced to the crowd of student-athletes, parents and family members seated before him. “Steve has coached five varsity sports and won many titles with the cross country, spring track, nordic ski, wrestling and tennis teams.
“I am sorry to see him retire, but his retirement is well deserved as Steve has helped so many LCS children and even managed to get me through freshman biology back in 1986,” Bult continued. “I am proud to present Coach Colman with this plaque on behalf of the thousands of students he has taught, coached and mentored in the past three-plus decades.
After reading the inscription on the plaque and wishing him good luck in his retirement, Bult handed the plaque to Colman. The audience then gave Colman a standing ovation.
The plaque awards were as follows:
• Girls’ Soccer (presented by Coach Ashlea Prouty): Best Offense – Brittany Melchick, Best Defense – Michelle Fancher, Most Improved – Jamie Lake.
• Boys’ Soccer (Coach Hazel Yaun): Best Offense – Ramon Romero, Most Improved – David Olsen.
• Girls’ Tennis (Coach Steve Colman): Most Improved – Jennifer Mase, Most Valuable – Pranali Trevedi.
• Cross Country (Coach Andy Kavleski): Boys’ Co-Most Improved – Kevin McGuire and Trevor Tate, Boys’ Most Valuable – Jacob Schwartz, Girls’ Most Valuable – Kim McKay.
• Football Cheerleading (Coach Audra Santillo): Most Improved – Tabatha Ivory, Most Valuable – Michelle Koval.
• Basketball Cheerleading (Coach Shavon Bryant): Most Valuable – Vanessa Maisonave, Most Improved – Kalene Noel.
• Boys’ Basketball (Coach David Slater): Coach’s Hustle Award – Pete Panagakos, Most Improved – Ronnie Allen.
• Girls’ Basketball (Coach Tom LaGattuta): Best Offense – Jackie Katzenberger, Best Defense – Amber Miller, Coach’s Award – Michelle Katz.
• Wrestling (Coach John Lennon): Most Improved – Justin Katz, Most Valuable – Vernon Wilson.
• Alpine Skiing (Coach Cindy Ellmauer): Boys’ Co-Most Valuable – Justin Garritt and Kevin McGuire, Girls’ Most Improved – Caity Baker, Girls’ Most Valuable – Kerri Benzenberg.
• Boys’ Indoor Track (Coach Hazel Yaun): Most Valuable – Matt Ariely, Most Improved – Kevin McGuire.
• Girls’ Indoor Track (Coach Andy Kavleski): Most Valuable – Julie Goodman, Most Improved – Jasmine Walizadeh.
• Baseball (Coach Jim O’Connor): Most Improved – Peter Panagakos, Best Defense – Shane Noetzel, Coach’s Award – Mike Kushetsky.
• Softball (Coach John Wilhelm): Most Improved – Jessica Franke, Most Improved – Jackie Katzenberger.
• Golf (Coach Corinne McGuire): Most Improved – Peter Ehrenberg, Most Valuable – Josh Goldstein.
• Boys’ Track (Coach Hazel Yaun): Most Valuable Track – Chris Goldsmith, Most Valuable Field – Jacob Schwartz, Co-Most Improved – Matt Arielly and Trevor Tate.
• Girls’ Track (Coach Andy Kavleski): Most Improved – Alana Ehrenberg, Most Valuable – Kim McKay.
• Boys’ Tennis (Coach Steve Colman): Most Improved – Zac Shavrick, Most Valuable – Jay Samant.
Trophy Awards
• Buchal Award – Presented by Coaches O’Connor and Wilhelm to baseball and softball MVPs Jason Garritt and Brittany Melchick.
• Ivan Richards Award – Presented by Coaches David Slater and Tom LaGattuta to boys’ and girls’ basketball MVPs Jason Garritt and Keely Hamlin.
• Ross Award – Presented by Coach Ashlea Prouty to girls’ soccer team scholar-athlete Michelle Silver.
• Goodstein Award for Wrestling Perseverance – Presented by Coach John Lennon to Anthony Martinez.
• Kavleski Award for boys’ and girls’ track scholar-athlete – Presented by Coach Andy Kavleski to Chris Goldsmith and Julie Goodman.
• Fred Planica Memorial Baseball Scholarship – Presented by Coach Jim O’Connor to Brandon Katz.
• Charlie Barbuti Sportsmanship Scholarship for baseball and softball – Presented by Charlie Barbuti Jr. to Shane Noetzel and Keely Hamlin.
Senior Trophy Awards
• Rattner Award for boys’ and girls’ basketball scholar-athlete – Presented by Tim Bult to Daniel Belgard and Keely Hamlin.
• Bo Gill Award for Perseverance – Presented by Liberty High School Principal Jack Strassman to Dave Olsen and Julie Goodman.
• Elizabeth “Betty” Totten Sportsmanship Award – Presented by Paul Gatta to Jay Samant and Jackie Katzenberger.
• Tom Kelly Award for Outstanding Senior Athlete – Presented by Adam Birkett to Chris Goldsmith and Keely Hamlin.

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