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December 07, 2016
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Western sunset

Marianne Durkin receives the coveted Billy Moran Scholarship from presenter Brent Rosenberger. She also won the David F. Curreri Memorial Scholarship and was named the Most Valuable Senior Female Athlete.
Photos by Richard A. Ross, sportsinsightsny.com

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY—And so the sun sets on Sullivan West’s momentous spring. And in honor of that occasion, athletes, school staff, administrators, parents, coaches and community members gathered on June 19 to laud the accomplishments of the most outstanding contributors to this spring’s cavalcade of teams, as well as those rendered by the inimitable seniors who concluded their school athletic sojourns, many of which covered from 2008-2014. End-of-year ceremonies such as this one evoke a mélange of smiles and tears, but as Mr. Rogers’ quote reminds us, each ending hearkens a new beginning, be that another year in school or a rite of passage to the next chapter in one’s life.

Space being at a premium here, I am reporting on who won what. But as I noted in my remarks toward the end of the night, while a few exemplary athletes received meritorious awards, all participants derived the greatest rewards—those life-changing experiences of growth in strength, character and personal satisfaction. All were transformed by their efforts and the satisfaction derived from achieving great progress. Senior Marianne Durkin was the most prolific award winner as she was named the 2014 recipient of the Billy Moran Scholarship and the David F. Curreri Memorial Scholarship. In addition, the stalwart three-sport standout was named the Most Valuable Senior Female Athlete 2013-14. Though she was recovering from a torn ACL, which she played through to complete her soccer season, Durkin never missed a basketball or softball practice as she mentored and supported her teams. Mitch Paciga was the Most Valuable Senior Male Athlete. He finished sixth in the Div. II high jump at the state meet. Paciga was also named the Most Valuable Male Track Athlete. Paciga and Durkin were selected from the group of Senior Select Athletes, all of whom received plaques for their outstanding athletic endeavors. That group included Kelsey Brockner, Marianne Durkin, Morgen Hall, Krysten Herbert, Hayley Puerschner, Sidney Sipple, Owen Andrews, Joe Campanelli, Cody Franskevicz, Zach O’Connor, Mitch Paciga,Travis Roeder and Chris Scott. The 2013-14 Milt Gaebel Awards went to Krysten Herbert and Gavin Owen, while the 2013-14 Coaches Awards were bestowed upon Kelsey Brockner and Owen Andrews. Brockner was named the Offensive Player of the Year in softball, while junior Carly Grishaber was selected as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. In baseball the Coaches Award went to Zach O’Connor, while Cody Franskevicz was named the team’s Most Improved Player. In boys track and field, junior Anthony Rydell was acclaimed as the Most Valuable Field Athlete. In girls track and field it was junior Kelsey Dutton who was proclaimed as the Most Valuable Track Athlete. Eighth grade phenom Stephanie Schwab was awarded the Most Valuable Field Athlete. In boys golf Ryan Graham was chosen as the Most Valuable Golfer, while junior Cody Kubenik received the Coaches Award. In girls golf it was junior Daphne Muzuruk who was selected as the Most Valuable Golfer. This year’s recipient of the Most Improved Golfer went to Isabella Kent.

This is my penultimate column for the River Reporter this spring. I will follow up with a report in words and images of the Sullivan West graduation before taking my summer hiatus. Visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com for photos from the awards night and other events throughout this year and years prior.