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LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On Monday, November 19, representatives from Sullivan West High School proudly handed out trophies, certificates, pins and letters to their scholar athletes during the 2018-2019 Fall Athletic Awards presentation, in recognition of individual and team performances at the junior varsity and varsity levels.
In addressing the assemblage, director of athletics David Franskevicz noted that the accomplishments of 36 of the student athletes extended far beyond the fields of sports competition to the world of academics. The honorees were also being recognized by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) for earning 90+ averages in the classroom.
In addition, three teams were credited by the NYSPHSAA for outstanding scholarly achievements: varsity girls’ soccer (92.65 average), varsity boys’ cross country (90.80) and varsity volleyball (90.775).
The audience erupted in cheers as Franskevicz noted that the girls’ varsity soccer squad advanced to the Section IX championship match, X-C competitor Bruce Maopolski qualified for the NYSPHSAA meet, and footballer Nile Puerschner was tabbed to represent Sullivan West at the recent senior all-star game in Newburgh.
“Congratulations to all the teams and the individual scholar athletes,” Franskevicz said.
Praise from the podium
After words of welcome by high school principal Mark Plescia, Franskevicz introduced the coaching staff, who individually took to the podium and called their teams by name up to the stage.
The coaches sang their collective praises while recapping the season’s greatest accomplishments and travails.
After the players had been recognized, the coaches announced a series of closely guarded secrets: the names of the award winners.
The school’s athletic director takes his duty of keeping these names close to the chest seriously. So seriously, that the list of recipients distributed at the last minute to members of the fourth estate is covered from casual view by a sheet of paper emblazoned in large red capital letters “Please Keep Confidential,” reminding one a bit of a CIA ops briefing.
Varsity football coach Ron Bauer was back at the helm, as Sullivan West fielded its first ever eight-man team in an effort to keep the program alive in these days of dwindling numbers of players suiting up for the gridiron.
“The team adjusted to eight-man football fairly well,” he said, noting the Bulldogs averaged between 200 to 300 yards per game on offense.
“We came within two minutes of defeating Tri-Valley, who won the championship,” he added. “The varsity has some excellent tenth and eleventh graders returning next year… If we work hard on conditioning and fundamentals, we should have a good team.”
Kai Murray heads up the boys’ varsity soccer coaching staff.
“The season had highs and low,” he said. “A definite highlight was winning our homecoming game against Chester. It was one of the most thrilling games of the season with a 2-1 victory… Our younger players got a lot of playing time and really rose to the occasion.”
Varsity volleyball coach Donal Henke said that before the season kicked off, the team had several goals: improve on last year’s overall record, make it to sectionals and—once that was accomplished—vie for a sectional title.
The Lady Bulldogs soccer squad surpassed last year’s record by posting a total of eight wins, two more than in 2017, but fell short of making it past the regular season.
Noting the team won 4 of their last 5 matches, Henke said, “It’s clear to see that this team at full strength was a force to be reckoned with… every girl stepped up to the challenge… all the girls accepted their roles and did whatever was asked of them for the betterment of the team.”
“We beat the teams we were supposed to, but we were not able to beat the teams that we had to, which inevitably left us one win out of sectional play, finishing with a record of 8-9,” he said.
Mike Ellmauer has been coaching local high school varsity girls’ soccer since 1983 at the Jeffersonville campus and continues to this day in the wake of the merger that created Sullivan West.
According to the veteran coach, this season’s soccer squad played the second-longest game in recorded state history, a game that was delayed three times by lightning storms thundering across the field of play. The match lasted 4 hours and 17 minutes, pitting the Bulldogs against teams ranked in the top-five and securing their spot in the sectionals for the third consecutive year.
“That was a good one,” Ellmauer said.
Of facing some seriously strong heat during the season, he added, ”Tough competition is what got us to where we were… the kids played well, played hard and didn’t let anything bother them… they just went out and had a good time.”
In introducing Sydney Hermann as the girls’ varsity soccer’s most valuable defensive player, Ellmauer said, “Mr. Durkin [the team’s assistant coach] worked his magic on her taking on the [other teams’] top scorers. And she shut them down… had them talking to themselves, she blew them away.”
Isabel “Izzy” Nearing was usually indomitable as the Lady Bulldogs’ goalie.
“In preparation for the sectionals, she went up to Mr. Durkin and said, ‘I need more workouts,’” Ellmauer said.
And so it was that “Elmo” Ellmauer came to call his stalwart keeper, tabbed Miss Soccer 2018, “the team’s wall.”
At the conclusion of the annual awards ceremony, Ellmauer continued a 36-year long tradition of handing out roses to his senior booters and giving carnations to the team’s underclassmen.
A colorful and thoughtful way of closing out a season of varsity soccer for a team that never made excuses, delighted in cheering on their teammates, wasn’t afraid to
cry in both victory and defeat and always left it all on the field.
For more photos, see slideshow below.
* Varsity Football (coached by Ron Bauer, assisted by Travis Roeder and Scott Peters): Outstanding Effort Award 2018, Henry Peters; Most Valuable Defensive Player 2018, Nile Puerschner.
* Football Cheerleading (coached by Patty Norris): Most Valuable Cheerleader 2018, Allison Unser; Captain Award 2018, Kelsie Maurizzio.
* Varsity Boys’ Soccer (coached by Kai Murray, assisted by Kristina Verrico): Best All-Around Player 2018, Dylan Jungblut-Mercado; Most Valuable Player 2018, Efrain Martinez.
* Varsity Girls’ Soccer (coached by Mike Ellmauer, assisted by Anthony Durkin and Kurt Scheibe): Most Valuable Defensive Player 2018, Sydney Hermann; Miss Soccer 2018, Isabel “Izzy” Nearing.
* Varsity Volleyball (coached by Donal Henke): Coach’s Award 2018, Emma Hess; Most Valuable Player 2018, Grace Gaebel.
* Varsity Boys’ Cross Country (coached by April Rutledge): Most Valuable Runner 2018, Bryce Maopolski; Most Consistent Runner 2018, Reece Maopolski.
* Varsity Girls’ Cross Country (coached by Dee Maopolski): Cross Country Achievement 2018, Katerina Plescia.
NYSPHSAA Scholar Athletes
Sullivan West’s fall season scholar athletes who achieved a grade point average of at least 90: Victoria Arnold, Sage Aviles, Emily Bair, Samantha “Sam” Becker, Caitlin Brockner, Uma Bullock, Brett Dirie, Kira Duggan, Nicholas Dworestsky, Grace Gaebel, Tariq Gambari, Tallula Gann, Clare Hart, Greta Hauschild, Sydney Hermann, Emma Hess, Jacob Hess, Joseph Joyce-Turner, Jenna Kratz, Bryce Maopolski, Reece Maopolski, Efrain Martinez, Josephine Martinez, John Muzuruk, Isabel Nearing, Chanlyn O’Sullivan, Katerina Plescia, Nile Puerschner, Kyle Reimer, Owen Sager, Kayla Schock, Jessica Schwalb, Benjamin Sherman, Kara Spath, Karlee Spath, and Renee Wyss.