FALLSBURG April 6, 2007 The Fallsburg Junior/Senior High School presented its winter athletic awards at an evening assembly on Wednesday, March 28 in the school auditorium.
A total of 135 student-athletes in grades 7 through 12 received recognition for their participation in basketball, cheerleading, indoor track, and alpine skiing.
Athletic Director and boys’ alpine skiing Coach Janet Carey emceed the program.
Principal Mark Plescia thanked all of the parents, school staff and student-athletes who put forth so much effort to bring the program together. He acknowledged the students for being role models for the entire school district.
The guest speaker for the program was Richard Ross, who spent a total of 35 years teaching in New York City school districts and Livingston Manor Central School. He spoke eloquently about participation in athletics.
“I just returned from the Final Four of the [New York] State High School Basketball Championships,” Ross said. “Three of those teams go home, and only one is ‘the winner’. Sports are not about winning, but about playing the game and reaping these rewards.
“Sports mirror our lives,” he added. “Just as we have come through winter, where things are cold and difficult, so too do sports have a ‘winter’ where we learn how to face life’s challenges and how to deal with them.
Ross concluded by saying that years from now, it is unlikely that a student-athlete will remember the score of a specific game, but he or she will remember interacting with his or her teammates and learning all the lessons on the court.
Following Ross’ remarks, Girls’ modified basketball Coach Lucille Carter-Harris acknowledged the members of her team. Carter-Harris noted that 24 players participated throughout the season. She then presented the Sportsmanship Award to Marie Countryman.
Boys’ modified basketball Coach Darren Kenney thanked 19 boys for playing on the team and learning how to share time on the court with each other. Stephen Straker received the squad’s Sportsmanship Award.
Girls’ junior varsity basketball Coach Erica Knel worked with only seven girls and thanked them for making the season a fun and positive experience. Jamie Parker earned the Sportsmanship Award and Generosa Canales was chosen as the Most Improved Player.
Boys’ junior varsity basketball Coach Brian Garber said that his players really learned to work well together and showed promise for the varsity program in the coming years. Evan Moyes won the Sportsmanship Award and Victor Pacheco earned the Most Improved Player Award. Garber said that Pacheco has a great work ethic and is “one of the most coachable players I’ve ever had.”
Before the varsity basketball coaches came up to the stage, Coach Patty Seletsky honored the varsity cheerleaders for their efforts. Seletsky presented the Most Improved Player award to Nikki Ehrlich, the Sportsmanship Award to Amie Akerley and the Most Valuable Player award to Alyssa Olivencia.
Varsity girls’ basketball Coach Tarra Strauss spoke about a challenging season with a very young team. Strauss said that she is looking forward to working with the team next year with the returning players. Three of those players slated to come back for the Lady Comets’ 2007-2008 hoops season Theresa Allen, Becky Courtney and Keyshawn Kennedy received team awards from Strauss. Allen was honored with the Sportsmanship Award, Courtney was named the Most Improved Player and Kennedy earned the Most Valuable Player Award.
This past season was the first for Coach Pete Dworetsky to lead the varsity boys’ basketball team. Dworetsky said that he was excited about the progress his players made during the season despite moving to a higher, more competitive division, having a new coach and mostly new players.
Dworetsky then presented three team awards. Kenny Corley received the Most Improved Player Award, Chris York was honored with the Sportsmanship Award and Darius Buckner was named the Most Valuable Player.
Janet Carey acknowledged Matt Moore for his outstanding performances during the indoor track season, which included capturing first place in many important shot put competitions. Carey also thanked Tri-Valley boys’ indoor track Coach Joe Iatauro for mentoring Moore.
Coach Andrea Millas thanked all her girls on the alpine ski team for their efforts during a difficult season with little snow which forced the Lady Comets to practice in school hallways instead of on the ski slopes.
Millas presented the team’s Most Improved Player Award to Amanda Scuderi and the team’s Sportsmanship Award to Samantha Touwsma.
Boys’ alpine ski Coach Carey thanked Tri-Valley for its participation with Fallsburg as a merged team. She gave Chris Egnes the Most Valuable Player Award and congratulated him for his excellence in sectionals and being in the top 10 overall at the state alpine ski meet.
Principal Plescia and Superintendent Dr. Ivan Katz finished the awards ceremony by presenting certificates to 35 Winter Scholar Athletes and 11 Superintendent’s Honor Roll Scholar Athletes.
The final honor of the evening was the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Award for Scholar Athletes, which was earned by both the boys’ and girls’ varsity ski teams for maintaining academic averages in the 90s.
The evening ended in the traditional Fallsburg way with a delectable feast of fruits, baked treats, and Brenda O’Neill’s fabulous strawberry shortcake served in the school cafeteria.