Tri-Valley Fall Sports Athletes Are Extolled For Their Outstanding Efforts
By RICHARD A. ROSS
GRAHAMSVILLE, NY—Seasons change and time moves on apace. But memories linger on, especially for young men and women who have given their all to a particular sports endeavor. For the Tri-Valley athletes, this past fall was a wellspring for many such
So it was that on the evening of November 14, coaches called forth their teams to the stage and extolled their efforts in addition to presenting awards to several outstanding individuals.
By evening’s end, a slide show that chronicled the accomplishments of cheerleaders, cross-country harriers, soccer, football and tennis players flashed across the screen to the strains of uplifting music to reinforce the words of praise that had been spoken all evening long.
Athletic Director Derek Adams welcomed the audience and extended thanks to the parents, administration, building and grounds crew and the Board of Education for their great support. Quoting Nolan Ryan, Adams referenced the idea of enjoying success by virtue of adapting. Clearly this autumn with its surfeit of rainfall required that and more.
Cheerleading coach Leighanne Walsh lauded her team. This was her second year of coaching football cheerleading while all the while preparing routines for the upcoming basketball season. Walsh had great words of praise for seniors Brittany
Rennison, Jessica Lee, Stephanie Hyzer, Jackie Wallace, Amber Watch and AmberBuley. Dorothy Monforte was the team’s
MIP. Ali Reynolds was named as the Most Valuable Cheerleader and Schuyler Kraus won the Coach’s Award.
Junior varsity girls soccer coach Ryan Ahl had words of praise for his team and noted that several of the young women would soon be filling in the rank of the varsity squad next fall.
Varsity girls soccer Coach Mary Feusner started by averring what a privilege it was to work with her team. Challenged by the loss of 12 of last year’s players including nine to graduation, the Lady Bears fielded a team of 13 dedicated players this season bolstered by a few call ups from the junior varsity. Nine of Feusner’s 16 players were first timers. Feusner was assisted this season by Kayla
Connelly, one of her former players who brought her high school and college experience to bear on helping the squad.
The team made it to sectionals and improved on their pair of 7-0 losses to dominant S.S. Seward with a more competitive 3-1 defeat in the Class C quarterfinals.
The team scored 49 goals and had 27 assists while finishing the season at 8-9 and 4-8 in its division. They registered six shutouts and had ten goals against Chapel Field. They allowed 43 goals.
Megan Tyndell was selected as the team’s Most Improved Player. Rachel Adriaans was named as the Offensive MVP, while Sarah Schneyer won the honors as the Defensive MVP. Erin Smith won the Coach’s Award.
Cross-Country Coach Joe Iatauro called forth the boys and girls teams to the stage and proceeded to praise them for their outstanding efforts. The girls were donned in t-shirts that spelled out TEAM IATAURO! The relationship that Joe and Missy
Iatauro have fostered with their teams over the years is an integral part of the storied history the program has recorded.
Evincing strong performances at invitationals from coast to coast including the legendary Mt. Sac race in California was great preparation for the divisional championships recorded by the girls (12th consecutive) and the boys (second year in a row). The girls finished first at Mt. Sac in their division, the first time since 1992. The boys were fourth there out of 30 schools.
The girls won the Section Nine championship, while the boys finished second. The girls competed at this year’s state meet and did admirably despite unspeakably muddy conditions. It was Tri-Valley’s 19th appearance at the state meet.
Brendon Hasbrouck was named as the boys MIP. Jim Bernstein was awarded the honor as the MVP. Bernstein was the
Section Nine Class C champion and a state qualifier for the second consecutive year. He finished 29th in the state meet. Omar Lopez was the recipient of the Coach’s Award.
The girls team had an exceptional season. They were led by eighth grader Autumn Bender, who was named as Co-MVP along with Olivia Rehm. Iatauro lauded the intensive training regimen of his runners, in particular Rehm and Bernstein who logged 400 and 500 miles respectively this past summer. Danielle Graham was named as the girls team MIP.
Varsity football coach John Rusin was up next and literally gushed with pride as he recounted the heart and resolve of the Bears who started their season at 1-5, but could have easily been 5-1. The team had 14 seniors and Rusin praised each one including soccer converts Josue Ramos and Anthony Beale along with gridders Andrew Malone, Fred Dumond, Jon Edwards, Tyler Lopez, Shawn Markle, John Monforte, Rafael Ramos before awarding four other seniors with trophies and more words of praise.
Conor Walsh was named as the team’s MIP. “He played any position we asked him to,” noted Rusin. Troy Rossi was
the team’s Outstanding Defensive Player. He was second on the team in tackles and recorded 3 ½ sacks. “He is an
outstanding defensive player,” said Rusin.
Rusin extolled the courage, grit and success of Joe Mickelson, the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player. Mickelson had a mammoth season a year ago and despite a hairline fracture that kept him out of a couple of game this season, he morphed
from quarterback to fullback and had 53 carries for 391 yards bringing his career total to 508 yards. He also was outstanding on defense as middle linebacker.
“The best of the best,” is what Rusin had to say about MVP Greg Swarthout, a player who never leaves the field. “Durable,” was a word Rusin used to describe the stalwart senior who took over at quarterback when Mickelson went down. “He just gets it,” said Rusin about Swarthout’s intelligent and adept play. The Bears made it to the playoffs but lost to eventual Section Nine champion O’Neill. Winning two key league games including a homecoming thriller against Millbrook proved to be the ticket to this year’s
Boys varsity soccer Coach Jason Closs lauded his team as a group of special individuals who showed vast improvement this season. Emphasizing rigorous conditioning, the Bears were determined to be in every game. The team had ten seniors including Anthony Beale, Dan Lederman, Hunter Kennedy, Christian Reynolds, Mike DeVault, Josue Ramos, Patrick McHugh, Eugene Morton, Tom Monforte and Ryan Erts.
Josue Ramos and Anthony Beale were named as Offensive MVP’s, while Tom Monforte received the honors as Defensive MVP.
Girls varsity tennis coach Janet Carey capped off the team presentations as she described the challenges of the merging of three divisions into two this season. That change meant playing bigger schools and tougher opponents. The team graduated its
entire roster last year except for its number-one singles player Heidi Furman who was joined on the team this season by fellow senior throwing cohort Dominique Darby.
Jennifer Sheeley was named as the team’s MIP, while veteran Heidi Furman was the obvious choice for MVP.
This writer spoke about the outstanding character evinced by Tri-Valley athletes and their impeccable sportsmanship. Benefiting from a supportive school and community and in particular affirming parents and coaches who serve as mentors and role models,
T-V athletes are making a valuable investment in their future through their efforts on the playing fields, courts and race venues.
Last winter was an exceptional one and as kids now move on to basketball, skiing, wrestling, cheerleading and indoor track, this year may well be dubbed “Tri-umphant Valley II.
For an album of photos visit www.sportsinsights.smugmug.com