Sullivan West Extols Its Winter Athletes At Sports Award Presentation, A Celebration Of Team And Individual Accomplishments In Words And Images
By RICHARD A.ROSS
Photos at: www.sportsiny.com
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY—Another awakening to a sky full of snow soon gave way to bright sunshine, a harbinger of the long-overdue change of seasons we might just get to see one of these days soon.
But the night before on a freezing cold March 18, it was winter still, both in terms of weather and for the subject at hand in the auditorium at Sullivan West, namely the Winter Sports Awards Presentation which was about to get underway.
One by one coaches called their teams to the stage to receive their certificates and to hear about the positive accomplishments from this remarkable season.
As this writer would later note in his comments prior to the celebratory slide show that would canonize this season, “These young men and women were the light in the grayest of days. They were the warmth in the bone-chilling grip of one of the most severe winters in recent memory.”
School policy dictates that only two members of each team receive awards but in truth there were so many deserving of such. In my sojourns here, there and everywhere trying to keep up with them as much as I could, I got to witness a panoply of sterling moments which I hoped to immortalize in my thousands of photos taken.
From West Point to Belleayre Mountain. From Sullivan County Community College to basketball games all over the place even as far as Rhinebeck, I shadowed the Bulldogs, wrote stories about them and put up galleries of photos to ensure the memories would live on.
Having written extensively about all of the accomplishments of the teams, I will simply now give a few highlights as I name the award winners, a last winter’s rite before heading forward to the alluring spring rife with baseball, softball, golf and my dearest love, track and field.
Alpine Ski Coach Lionel Billard extolled his team’s efforts citing a win over what he deemed a “Super A” team comprised of skiers from Kingston, Rondout Valley, John A. Coleman and Valley Central. Chase Smith, Derrick Keller and Bristol Woods were Sectional Qualifers. Most Improved Skier Awards went to Jordan Kubenik and Ryan Rydell. The team’s Most Valuable Skiers were Bristol Woods and Derrick Keller.
Cheerleading Coach Kelly Schadt-Kelly celebrated the revival of the squad in the year in which NYSPHSAA finally deemed cheerleading a sport, something long overdue given the rigors and athleticism required of it. Building a cheerleading program is an ongoing work in progress, but like track which is now seeing a burgeoning number of participants, hopefully the accomplishments and allure of this year’s endeavors will attract more including some young men.
Cheerleading awards were as follows: The Coach’s Award went to Elizabeth Marshall and the Most Spirited Cheerleader Was Arlinda Mustafaj. Junior Varsity basketball coach Dan Welton elaborated on the mindset of “I can,” vs. “I can’t.” He celebrated his team’s work ethic and predicted the strong addition many of his team members will make to the improving varsity program.
Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Pat Donovan talked about his team’s ongoing improvement in a season bracketed with wins. The team helped to raise over $600 dollars as part of the $4000 dollars garnered for the Oncology Unit at Catskill Regional Medical Center in this year’s BCANY Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic tournament at SCCC. The team finished at 5-13 and had one of its finest outings in a near-win over Chester. Senior Isabella Kent won the Coach’s Award, while Carly Grishaber completed her six year tour of duty on the hardwood garnering the honors as the Team’s Most Valuable Player.
Junior Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Jason Clemmons extolled his team and revisited the team’s storied OT win over Tri-Valley.
Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Bruce Nober waxed poetic about his fine senior-laden team that finished at 12-8. The storied sectional quarterfinal win over S.S. Seward was indeed one of the program’s greatest milestones in recent history. A home win over eventual champion Chester was one of a bevy of sterling moments during the season . Nober celebrated the play of his entire team and singled out point guard Jiron Kevii and guard Mark Castro before designating this year’s award winners.
Noah Bauer won the Coach’s Award. Bauer finished the season with a Section IX high of 67 made three-pointers. He was the team’s second leading scorer averaging 13.4 points per game. Ronj Padu was the obvious choice for the Team’s Most Valuable Player. Padu averaged 15 points per game, was a dominating shot-blocker and was clearly the most talented player on the squad. This team will graduate eight seniors who leave behind a memorable legacy.
Girls Winter Track Coach Joe Seidl had plenty to celebrate in talking about his team which repeated as Division V Champions and garnered the Sullivan County title as well. Seidl celebrated first place finishers in both the Division and county meets while also lauding the work done by several of his fine athletes at the State Qualifier.
The slides that flashed across the screen at the end of the evening listed all of the top placings of each of the stellar young women. Eighth grader Tallula Gann ran a zippy 45.14 time I the 300 at the State Qualifier just .4 tenths of second off the school record held by Katie Manzi. Award winners were as follows:
The Most Valuable Indoor Field Athlete was clearly freshman Stephanie Schwab who excelled in the high jump and hurdles. She set a personal record of 10.00 in the latter event at the State Qualifier. The team’s lone senior Kelsey Dutton has been on cross-country and track for six years. At the Division Championships she won the 1000 on the heels of placing in the 3000. Dutton was named the team’s Most Valuable Indoor Track Athlete.
Last but not least on the docket of awards was the Boys Indoor Track team. Which finished 7-1 in its division and placed 5th among 18 teams at one of the biggest meets of the season at West Point. Senior Anthony Rydell was the team’s Most Valuable Indoor Track Field Athlete. Rydell marshaled a lifetime best weight throw to qualify for states where he finished 14th with an even better mark of 52-7. Ethan Seidl was the team’s leading scorer and was named as the teams’ Most Valuable Indoor Track Athlete.
A musical slide show followed orchestrated by this writer/photographer which presented 200 slides recounting the memorable milestones of this storied season.
For an album of photos from the awards night as well as galleries of photos from all of the games and meets covered by this photographer, visit www.sportsiny.com.