By Rob Potter
LIBERTY Dozens of student-athletes, coaches, parents and volunteers were honored on Wednesday night when Liberty Central School held its 2010-2011 Block “L” Athletic Awards Ceremony.
Following the singing of the national anthem by Ralph Bressler, Athletic Director Jason Semo welcomed all of the student-athletes, coaches, parents, family members, Board of Education members, administration and staff members to the ceremony.
Semo then explained in a very honest and heartfelt way the importance athletics plays in Liberty Central School and the entire Liberty community. In the past year, Semo said, he has taken his father to radiation treatments. And over those same months, Semo said he has received several phone calls from several former Liberty Central School student-athletes who were dealing with some difficult and emotional issues in their own lives but wanted to talk with Semo because he had made such a positive impact on their lives while they were attending Liberty High School.
Recalling a recent conversation with his son about a glass of water, Semo encouraged everyone “to see the glass of water and the glass of life as half full” rather than half empty.
After asking all of the coaches to stand up and be recognized, Semo praised all of the Indian and Lady Indian student-athletes for their hard work during this school year. He noted in particular senior Will McGuire, who played on five varsity sports teams this year.
Semo also lauded the student-athletes for their work in the classroom and the community.
“Our student-athletes understand the importance of giving back to the community,” Semo said.
In addition to the scheduled awards, a group of senior student-athletes stepped up to the podium to make a special presentation to thank Jason Semo and Richard Ross of Sportsinsightsny.com.
The award winners were as follows:
Boys’ Soccer (Coach Debbie Simpson): Most Valuable Player Will McGuire; Most Improved Player Juan Ramirez; Coach’s Award Conor Siegel
Girls’ Soccer (Coach Anne Ramos): Most Valuable Player Paulina Kleinberger; Most Improved Player Blu Bloat; Offensive Player of the Year Selena Vargas; Defensive Player of the Year Zaira Pabon
Volleyball (Coach Lori Kachelmeyer): Most Valuable Player Sharon Benzenburg; Most Improved Player Brenna O’Malley; Coach's Award Kristina Fredenburg
Cross-Country (Coach Ralph Bressler): Most Valuable Player-Girls Stephanie Heisler; Coach’s Award Sierra Thomas; Co-Most Valuable Player (Boys) Kane Sauchuk; Co-Most Valuable Player (Boys) Eddie Byrd; Coach's Award Vinny Webbe; Coach’s Award Raiquawn Malloy
Girls’ Tennis (Coach Beth Quatrale): Most Valuable Player Christine Lazar; Most Improved Player Taylor Stoddard
Football (Coach John Wilhelm): Most Valuable Player Eddie Soto; John O'Hearn Most Improved Player Quentin Granum; Offensive Player of the Year Eddie Soto; Defensive Player of the Year Javier Baez
Football Cheerleading (Coach Bernadette Hofsommer): Most Valuable Player Nora Townsend; Most Improved Player Makenzie Miller
Alpine Skiing (Coach Corrine McGuire): Most Valuable Player Ryan Zweck; Most Improved Player Eugene Doyle
Boys’ Basketball (Coach Jason Semo): Ivan Richards Most Valuable Player Award Eddie Byrd; Most Improved Player Joe Franke; Offensive Player of the Year Marshon Williams; Defensive Player of the Year Eddie Soto
Girls’ Basketball (Coach Beth Quatrale): Ivan Richards Most Valuable Player Award Olivia Baum; Most Improved Player Katie Giaratanno; Offensive Player of the Year Paige LaPolt; Defensive Player of the Year Nikole Snyder
Basketball Cheerleading (Coach Bernadette Hofsommer): Most Valuable Player Cherylyn Grisafe; Most Improved Player Hannah Mir
Boys’ Indoor Track (Coach Hazel Yaun): Most Valuable Player Kane Sauchuk; Most Improved Player Andrew Hazelnis
Girls’ Indoor Track (Coach Debbie Simpson Most Valuable Player Jessica Dunnigan; Coach’s Award Rebeccah Harman; Coach’s Award Lara Heslop; Coach’s Award Nikole Snyder
Wrestling (Coach John Lennon): Most Valuable Player Andy Martinez
Baseball (Coach John Wilhelm): Most Valuable Offensive Player Anthony Covington; Most Improved Player Jesse Hufnagel
Softball (Coach Matt Stoddard): Most Valuable Offensive Player Paige LaPolt; Most Improved Player Megahn Burke; Most Improved Player Taylor Stoddard
Golf (Coach Elizabeth Fuentes): Most Valuable Player Taylor VanKeuren; Most Improved Player Thomas Barkley
Boys’ Track and Field (Coach Hazel Yaun): Most Valuable Player (Track) Kane Sauchuk; Most Valuable Player (Field) Christopher Lockwood; Most Improved Player (Track) Nery Campos; Most Improved Player (Field) Michael Hinton; Coach’s Award Peter Koval
Girls’ Track and Field (Coach Ralph Bressler): Most Valuable Player Jessica Dunnigan; Coach’s Award Rebeccah Harman; Coach’s Award Nikole Snyder
Boys’ Tennis (Coach Beth Quatrale): Most Valuable Player Josh Lieberman; Most Improved Player Juan Ramirez
New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Team Award (Presented by High School Principal Jack Strassman): Boys’ Soccer, Girls’ Indoor Track, Girls’ Soccer, Boys’ Tennis, Softball, Boys’ Indoor Track, Golf, Girls’ Tennis, Boys’ Track and Field, Girls’ Track and Field
Top 10 Senior Student-Athletes: Dillon Cerullo, Paige LaPolt, Megahn Burke, Conor Siegel, Ben Grisafe, Adalberto Ponce, Jessica Dunnigan, Paulina Kleinberger
Scholar-Athlete Awards (Presented by Jason Semo): Paulina Kleinberger, Adalberto Ponce
Liberty Pride Awards (Presented by High School Dean of Students Shawn Davis): Maggie Baxter, Debbie Bertholf, Bill Bertholf, Jill Dunnigan, John Dunnigan, Michael Hazelnis, Cheryl Hersh, Martin Hersh, Les Jackson, Michael McGuire, Tim Merklin, Tracy Merklin, Carol Miller, Jeff Miller, Maria Scherer, Debbie Simpson, Scott Simpson, Dan Yaun
Buchal Award MVP for Baseball and Softball (Presented by John Wilhelm, Phil Fanning and Matt Stoddard): Joe Franke, Paulina Kleinberger
Fred Planica Award (Presented by John Wilhelm): Cosmos Fitzpatrick
Goodstein Award for Wrestling Perseverance (Presented by John Lennon): Andy Martinez
Ross Award for Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer Scholar-Athlete (Presented by Debbie Simpson and Anne Ramos): Benjamin Grisafe, Paulina Kleinberger
Rattner Award for Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Scholar -Athlete (Presented by Jason Semo and Beth Quatrale): Will McGuire, Megahn Burke
Charlie Barbuti Award for Baseball and Softball Sportsmanship and Scholarship (Presented by Charlie Barbuti Jr.): Emirsen Shehi, Megahn Burke
Senior Trophy Presentations
Liberty Rotary Club Senior Perseverance Award (Presented by Jack Strassman): Paulina Kleinberger, Will McGuire
Elizabeth “Betty” Totten Sportsmanship Award (Presented by Michael Williams): Paulina Kleinberger, Will McGuire
Tom Kelly Award for Outstanding Senior Athlete (Presented by Adam Birkett): Eddie Soto, Jessica Dunnigan