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December 05, 2016
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Enduring memories

Monticello boys track team revels in the moment, after winning the Division III title for the second year in a row. The Monties went undefeated in league meets.

By Richard A. Ross
May 19, 2011

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — We probably forget far more than we remember during the course of our lives. Within the span of 70 years, we’ll live 25,550 days, 613,200 hours and 36,792,000 minutes. That said, there are certain people and events that remain timelessly vibrant in our consciousness. Memory became the touchstone for this past week in the forging of new iconic moments and in loving tribute to a pair of area icons who changed the landscape of local sports during their tenure on this earth, namely the late John Spear and Benny Chesnick. While Spear devoted decades to the coaching of baseball at Monticello, Chesnick spent the lion’s share of his 80-year life umpiring, and it was in honor of them that tournaments in their names were played in baseball and softball, respectively, over this past weekend.

Monticello successfully defended its John Spear Tournament title with a 7-4 win over Rondout Valley that followed a commanding 15-1 win over Ellenville in the opening round. Great pitching from Bobby Wagner and Patrick Ripa helped the cause, as did the timely hitting of Anthony Gray, Shane Jackson, Conor Briggs, Khalil Guadalupe and Sean Reuss. Monticello (7-9) needs wins this week over Wallkill and Eldred to make sectionals.

Livingston Manor (13-1) rode the no-hit pitching of Marissa Diescher to down host Tri-Valley (4-6) in the opening game of the Benny Chesnick Memorial Tournament by the score of 13-0. Diescher struck out 13 in her second no-hitter of the week. Manor defeated Eldred 20-5 in the second game to claim the tourney title for the third straight year. It shared the honor with Liberty, which played at home, defeating Monticello twice. Tri-Valley scored four runs in the seventh inning to defeat Eldred 8-7 in the consolation game.

For the second year in a row, the Monticello boys track team won the Division III title, overcoming enormous odds in doing so. After beating rivals Cornwall and Goshen by the narrowest of margins, the Monties completed their undefeated league season with a commanding 124-16 victory over John S. Burke Catholic. Many personal bests were part of the uplifting story of a team few thought could repeat, following the graduation of three of its largest point gatherers in Dave Wilbur, Tom Gonzalez and Jordan Wilson. Prior to last year’s title, Monticello had gone 24 years without claiming such an honor.

Among new milestones of success were: high jump, Austin Colo (5’8’); triple jump, Mistah Alli (40’8”), London Gandy (39’10”); 110 high hurdles, Steve Padin (17.2); 400 intermediate hurdles, Todd Kolvenbach (1:03.3); 400, Matt Rodriguez (51.7); 100, Tino Taylor (11.2).