By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON March 23, 2007 The Sullivan West Central School Athletic Department officially wrapped up the 2006-2007 winter sports season on Wednesday night in the SW High School auditorium.
As dozens of proud parents, family members, school staff members and friends looked on, the athletes from SW’s sports teams were honored during the school’s winter sports awards presentation.
Superintendent Alan Derry and Co-High School Principal Margaret Tenbus welcomed everyone to the program and shared some of their own thoughts on the importance of athletics in the overall scholastic experience.
Both Derry and Tenbus noted that participating in a sport teaches the young students lessons that they can use for the rest of their lives.
“All of you have represented Sullivan West very well with your great displays of sportsmanship and athleticism,” Tenbus said. “I would especially like to thank the seniors for a very exciting sports season. You are a great group of kids and I wish you success in the future.”
Derry said that as a man who is wrapping up a 39-career in education and earned an athletic scholarship to college, he knows the efforts and sacrifices made by the SW student-athletes. He reminded them to keep playing into their young adulthood and beyond.
“This season, you made the school and entire community very proud of you,” Derry commented. “I thank all of you for your efforts.”
Before he introduced the winter sports coaches, SW Athletic Director Dave Franskevicz thanked the athletes and coaches for all of their hard work and dedication during the past four months. Franskevicz also praised the parents of the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog athletes for supporting their children all season.
Each of the varsity and junior varsity head coaches then had the opportunity to introduce all of their team’s members, talk about their team’s season and present some special awards.
Alpine skiing Coach Tom Clifford noted that the team’s “biggest obstacle this season was having two and a half months of practices due to the lack of snow.”
“When we finally got some snow and were able to race, we had a great season,” he said.
Clifford noted that the team would really miss its only senior, Kenny Rhodes.
The members of the alpine ski team were: Michael Bingay, Michele Birney, Bryan Clifford, Cara Davies, Morgan Edwards, Stefan Levinson, Patrick Murphy, Julianne Reggero, Kenny Rhodes, Kassie Thelman, Kellee Thelman, James Tyles, Justin Ziser. The team managers were Kitt Borowski and Kendell Menges.
The Lowest Scoring Female Skier was Kellee Thelman, the Lowest Scoring Male Skier was Stefan Levinson, Most Improved Female Skier was Cara Davies and the Most Improved Male Skier was Justin Ziser.
Basketball Cheerleading Coach Tara Brey noted that this season’s squad was small in numbers, but had plenty of spirit.
“We only had five girls, but they worked hard and we had a great season,” Brey said. “These five girls worked really well together.”
The members of the cheerleading team included: Ginger Pierce, Roxanne Pierce, Zafatiima Rabii, Kaitlyn Wingert and Kristen Wingert.
Before giving out two special awards, Brey thanked Assistant Coach Nina Verderber for all of her help during the season.
Brey then presented the Leadership Award to Ginger Pierce and the Most Improved Basketball Cheerleader Award to Kristen Wingert.
Junior varsity boys’ basketball Coach George Rose said that his team “had a good season.”
“These are a good group of kids,” he commented. “They are not only good basketball players, they are good guys.”
The members of the JV boys’ basketball team were: Justin Armstrong, Kevin Correa, Austin Erlwein, Dan Figueroa, Logan Grishaber, Gabriel Lagrutta, Gregory MacArthur, Arthur Norden, Robert Rosa, Austin Sauer, Mike Schmidt, Harold Smith and John Whittaker.
Varsity boys’ basketball Coach Cliff Kelly noted that his team had a good season and posted a 13-8 record. He said that three of the teams losses came to Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV rival John S. Burke Catholic High School, while the other defeats were at the hands of larger schools such as Cornwall and Delaware Valley, Pa.
Kelly said that the Bulldogs’ highlights this season included being only one of two teams to defeat Tri-Valley, which won the OCIAA Division V and Section I Class C titles, and beating James I. O’Neill in a Class B quarterfinal.
Kelly thanked Assistant Coaches Gary Maas, Bob Menges and Sean Welsh for all of their work this season. Kelly also praised former Head Coach Rick Ellison for his continued dedication to the Town of Callicoon Youth Hoops Program, which many of the current JV and varsity Bulldog players participated in when they were younger.
The members of the boys’ basketball team were: Alan Ackermann, Kevin Cappiello, Kienan Garn, Derek Hahn, Jason Leewe, Kevin Pinkel, Brad Reimer, Bryan Schmidt, James Spruill and Chris Story. The team managers were Adam Kelly, Pete Kelly and Richard Lander.
Kelly presented the Best Defensive Player award to Derek Hahn and the MVP award to Kevin Cappiello.
Girls’ JV basketball Coach Erika Haray-Butcher said that her team had a 12-4 record this season.
She thanked her players for their commitment and improvement as the season progressed.
Haray Butcher gave special thanks to team manager Morgan Pretty, whom she noted “helped out a lot” and varsity girls’ basketball Coach Ron Bernhardt and varsity girls’ basketball Assistant Coach Kurt Scheibe Jr. for all of their assistance.
The members of the girls’ JV basketball team included: Autumn Ackermann, Vicky Argueta, Kendra Barker, Lindsey Bauer, Michelle Dresch, Kristen Drobysh, Melanie Kleiner, Brianna Kline, Ella MacDonald, Danielle Meyer, Cindy Szeflinski, Joanna Trujillo, Samantha Vandiver and Kim Yewchuk.
After Bernhardt called the members of his team up on stage, he spoke about the Lady Bulldogs’ season.
“In thinking about what to say tonight, a line from the Grateful Dead song Truckin’ came to mind what a long, strange trip it’s been,” Bernhardt said.
He noted that the team had some ups and downs this season. The high points included winning the annual Billy Moran Tournament and defeating Marlboro in a Section IX Class B quarterfinal. The victory over Marlboro gave the Lady Bulldogs a measure of revenge since they were eliminated from the 2006 Class B tournament by the Lady Iron Dukes.
The low points of the season included injuries and foul trouble in key games. Bernhardt noted that if those injuries and fouls had not occurred, the team may have won a couple of more games and improved on its 15-7 record.
The members of the girls’ varsity basketball team included: Erin Bernhardt, Lauren Ellison, Katrina Graby, Rachel Houghtaling, Donna Kelly, Patti Knack, Sarah Lander, Lindsey Murphy, Jennifer Pitz, Jessica Pitz and Audryanna Ward.
Coach Bernhardt presented the Miss Basketball award to Rachel Houghtaling and the MVP award to Sarah Lander.
Before the next team took the stage, Beth Fanning, a member of the SW/Jeffersonville-Youngsville Class of 2000, made a special presentation to Bernhardt.
Fanning, who played on the 1996-1997 Western Sullivan League championship team coached by Bernhardt and is the last SW girls’ basketball player to score 1,000 points in her career, explained that the SW Athletic Department presents a special plaque to one of its coaches when he or she earns their 100th win.
Fanning said that in his career, Bernhardt, who is her uncle, has amassed more than 300 victories. Before being named the head coach of the Lady Bulldogs, Bernhardt coached at Delaware Valley, J-Y and Liberty High Schools as well as Sullivan County Community College.
“Through his disciplined style of coaching, players learn leadership, patience and strength qualities that will serve them well after high school when they are out in the world,” Fanning said. “On behalf of his hundreds of former players and as his niece I am proud to present this plaque for his 100th win here at Sullivan West to Coach Ron Bernhardt.”
After accepting the award from Fanning, Bernhardt acknowledged the audience and said simply, “Thank you.”
Girls’ indoor track Coach Joe Seidl then walked up to the podium and called his team to the stage.
“These ladies all worked hard this season and they were very competitive,” said Seidl, who added that the Lady Bulldogs finished with a 6-3 division record.
The members of the girls’ indoor track team were: Sara Alsdorf, Jessica Armstrong, Tara Brewer, Rianne Erlwein, Morgan Hawkins, Meghan Lowe, Kathryn Manzi, Jamie Moran, Ashley Murphy, Brittany Reddish, Stephany Robison and Chelsie Schadt.
Rianne Erlwein earned the award for Top Scoring Winter Indoor Track Athlete, while Brittany Reddish earned the award for Top Scoring Winter Indoor Field Athlete.
Boys’ indoor track Coach Ron Bauer noted that his team had a very successful season. The Bulldogs broke eight school records this winter, won 20 medals at the Sullivan County meet and won several medals at the OCIAA meet and the Section IX meet.
In addition, two team members Donald Cooper and Jon Figueroa qualified for the Eastern States Meet at the Armory in New York City. Bauer explained that the Eastern States is a prestigious invitational meet which includes the best high school indoor track and field athletes from Maine to Virginia.
Cooper placed ninth in the high jump at the meet, which qualified for a subsequent national event at the armory.
“This is probably the best indoor track team I have ever coached,” Bauer said.
The members of the team included: Ross Bernhardt, Donald Cooper, Brett Cucci, Eric DeLaurencio, Mitch Ellmauer, Rich Feeney, Jon Figueroa, Patrick Knack, Matthew Layman, Eric Minton, Chris Murphy, Michael Sandler, Will Schlott, Colin Seidl, Michael Sheldon and Mark Tesseyman.
Bauer presented the Outstanding Winter Indoor Track Athlete award to Jon Figueroa and the Outstanding Winter Indoor Field Athlete award to Donald Cooper.