By Rob Potter
Record: 8-12 overall, 3-3 in Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III. The Panthers qualified for the Section IX Class A Tournament and lost in the semi-finals to Marlboro.
Season Highlight: “We had two really good wins at the end of the year versus Goshen and versus Saugerties,” Coach Chris Russo said. “Beating Goshen at home on Senior Night was special because that win allowed us to qualify for the section tournament and gave our seniors a win in their final home game.
Our upset win against Saugerties was great only the guys in our locker room and our coaching staff believed that we could win. We beat the No. 2 seed on their court in the opening round of the Section IX Tournament and played a tremendous game maybe the best we played all year. We outscored them 46-18 in the second half with a tremendous team effort on both ends.
Coach’s Comment: “We were playing our best at the end of the year, which is what everyone hopes for,” Russo said. “We won four of our last six games, including two league games over Port Jervis and Goshen and non-league games over Liberty at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and Livingston Manor.
“We participated in several benefit games this year hosting the Jingle Ball Classic, which raised over $250 for the Monticello Holiday Toy Drive, the Coaches vs. Cancer Holiday Classic at Warwick, and the fourth annual Sullivan County Coaches vs Cancer Classic. The Sullivan County Coaches vs. Cancer Classic raised over $3,400 for the Oncology Unit at Catskill Regional Medical Center,” Russo continued.
“I was very pleased with how our team progressed throughout the year. The boys worked very hard and stayed focused.”
Looking Ahead: “We are only losing three players to graduation this year Sean Reuss, Ros Djonbalaj and Anthony Gray,” Russo commented. “We bring back our second leading scorer and top rebounder in Rob Riley, along with hard-working Naquan Holman, sophomore Joe Revell and junior Latiq Liles all of whom started games for us at different times this year. Sophomore players Ben Kapito and London Gandy gained valuable experience coming off the bench and guards Brandon Walker and Dennis Rivera will be back as well.
“Coach Matuszak did a great job with our JV team, and I am looking forward to working with those players that will make the jump to varsity,” Russo said. “We are putting time in the weight room this offseason, participating in the OCCC Summer League and hopefully attending a team camp.
“As for next year, we will lean heavily on our inside players especially Rob Riley. Joe Revell will add some scoring for us and is a very good defender. If we can all play with the same unselfish attitude and as hard as Naquan Holman, we are going to be very tough.”
Record: 10-10 overall, 3-3 in OCIAA Division III
Season Highlight: “Beating Goshen in overtime with four players on the floor,” Coach Karen Atack said.
Coach’s Comment: “Our team goal was to improve every game in the fundamentals of the game and make sectional play,” Atack said. “We accomplished the goal as we made it to the semifinals of sections. Sha'Mira Moore made the All-Section IX All- Star Team.”
Looking Ahead: “We have had medical issues and players move out of the district,” Atack commented. “Next year will be a new year depending on circumstances.”
Record: 5-15 overall, 1-6 in Section IX Division I-B
Season highlight: “Our team took third place in the Blackbird Dual Tournament,” Coach Justin Fenichel said. “Luke Evans took fifth place in the 138 pound weight class at the Section IX Championship. In addition, Paul Gomez and Mike D’Abbraccio were Edgemont Tournament champions.”
Coach’s Comment: “Valuable lessons were learned about the mental and physical dedication necessary to be successful in this sport, ” Fenichel said.
Looking Ahead: “A core of returning wrestlers are already hard at work striving to improve their strength, stamina and technique for next year,” Fenichel commented.
Season Highlight: “Fine performances by Tino Taylor in the 300 [meter] and 600 and Shane Jackson in the 55 and 300 were capped by Garret LaPolt’s fourth place performance at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) State Meet at Cornell,” Coach Pete Wysochanski said. “Senior Tania Walker had her finest season as one of the league’s best 300-meter runners, and Kayla Martin broke the 30-foot barrier in the shot put.”
Looking Ahead: “Underclassmen Terry Duncan and Trevon Rainey look to be team leaders next year,” Wysochanski commented. “Eighth-graders Camryn and Sydney Johnson continued their steady improvement and hold great promise for the future.”