Talking Sports

Small school, big hearts

Posted 7/3/24

ELDRED, NY – On June 11, Eldred Central School—the “Home of the Yellowjackets”—paid homage to its scholar athletes with an awards ceremony that recognized the spring …

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Talking Sports

Small school, big hearts


ELDRED, NY — On June 11, Eldred Central School—the “Home of the Yellowjackets”—paid homage to its scholar athletes with an awards ceremony that recognized the spring varsity, junior varsity and modified teams. End-of-year sports awards were also bestowed.

“These athletes deserve to be honored and shown appreciation for all the hard work they do in the classroom, on the courts, fields and track,” Amanda “Coach Z” Zgrodek, Eldred’s athletic coordinator, said in her opening remarks. “They also deserve to be recognized for what they do for the school as a whole.”

She went on to thank the parents and community members for their “continued support of washing the uniforms, getting students to practice even when it may not be convenient, but still getting them there.”

In announcing the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award to Joshua Warming, Zgrodek said, “This player showed not only great ability on the field, but great leadership as well on and off the field. He was our team’s captain, and will be leaving Eldred to play college baseball.”

Nicholas Faber was selected as the Most Improved Player, and Coach Z said, “Many worked hard for this award but ultimately” the recipient showed “a great feat of improvement, and it’s been amazing to watch.”
The Eldred Pride Award went to Holden Gillespie. He “is the loudest in the dugout cheering on his teammates and is always helping out the coaches,” Zgrodek said. “He...also shared his enthusiasm on the soccer field; he was the one and only goalie for the 11-man team… He never gave up; always played with a smile.”
In school he shows his enthusiasm with “a giant smile,” she added. Gillespie “treats everyone with kindness… [and] showed everyone what Eldred pride is.”

The Chris Gonzalez Community Service Award was presented to Logan Knibbs. “Logan was a four-year varsity player for the football team,” said Zgrodek. “He demonstrated improvement each year, and significantly improved for his senior season. He was a team leader on and off the field, and was named a captain for his senior year.” Knibbs also volunteers “countless hours with the Lumberland Volunteer Fire Department.”

The Chris Gonzalez Community Service Award was given to Lindsay Zgrodek. She was a four-year member of the varsity softball team and a member of the track and field squad, serving as captain of both teams. “Not only that, she is vice president of the SADD Club and varsity club,” Amanda Zgrodek said. “Lindsay works and participates in the line of hope, and in the past has helped with the Special Olympics, volunteered her time at the bonfire and other community events.”

The Tammi Reis Leadership Award was presented to Cooper Stutz, who played three varsity sports: soccer, basketball and spring track. “He has excelled in spring track, making it to state qualifications the last two seasons in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter. He demonstrates great sportsmanship on all teams while being encouraging to all players and being captain of all three teams.” Stutz is a member of the National Honor Society and mentors underclassmen.

The Most Dedicated Female Athlete Award went to Rayanna Quintana, who participated in three varsity sports. She earned this award last year too. “She is a kind, a caring teammate,” Zgrodek said. According to her softball coach, Quintana was “like the mom of the team… She never gives up, and is always working to improve.” In addition, she was named an OCIAA Scholar Athlete.

The Most Dedicated Male Athlete Award was given to Keegan Baggatta. As a senior, he played basketball, and for a while played football. On the court, he didn’t play a lot of hoops, “but never gave up, always gave his best effort and worked hard.” While injured, “instead of packing it in and distancing himself from the team, asked to be a manager in order to support his friends and teammates,” Zgrodek said. He “is a tremendous person and was a great member of the Eldred football and basketball programs.”

The Girls Varsity Basketball Team received the Superintendent’s Team Award, despite starting out the season with six players and facing injuries. “Some… were able to overcome many obstacles… All are excellent members of the Eldred School community.” Team members compete in three sports, various clubs, band, chorus and the National Honor Society. The squad “earned their way to becoming Divisional Champions, Section Champions, competed in the State Regionals” and were tabbed as a NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete Team.

Of Eldred’s scholar athletes, “Coach Z” said they “may be part of a small school, but they all have big hearts.”

sports awards, Eldred Central School District


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