Rye Neck reaches state finals
It has been a tough road for the Black Hats, but in 2013 all of their hard work finally paid off as Rye Neck found itself at the Syracuse Carrier Dome with a chance to win the school’s first-ever state title. Though the Panthers lost to Chenago Forks by the slimmest of margins, the road to Syracuse was a particularly inspiring testament to triumph over adversity.
Led by a senior class that endured a 1-7 season early in their careers, Rye Neck was by far the cream of the Class C crop this year, pitching shutout after shutout and wearing down opposing defenses with its bevy of talented running backs, including Dom Brescia, Ryan Morningstar, Pedro Cueto, Jakob Calvini and Jake Sevean. With a convincing win over Woodlands in the Class C finals, the Panthers avenged their 2012 loss to the Falcons and punched their ticket to the state tourney at Dietz Stadium, uncharted waters for the program.
Although the trip to Syracuse was bittersweet—with the Panthers falling 28-27 to a physical Forks squad—there were enough silver linings, including the town’s support of the squad and the way the players rallied around each other, to make this one of the best stories of 2013.
“This is always going to sting, no doubt,” quarterback Tom Pipolo said after the game. “But we’re going to look back on this someday fondly, because we wouldn’t have gotten here if we weren’t so close with each other.
Mamaroneck field hockey wins Class A crown
It would be hard to find a more dominant season than the one the Tigers had this past fall. With a final record of 19-1-1, the Tigers were unbeatable within the section and outscored opponents 111-2 headed into their final game of the year, a showdown with Sachem East in the state quarterfinals. Although the Tigers fell to Sachem, they have added another brick to the legacy that they are building within the section with seven titles in the past 10 years.
Kimi Chiapparelli, Ellie Seid and Lizzie Clarke all scored in the Tigers’ 3-0 win over Scarsdale in the Class A finals–the Tigers third win over their league foes on the year–and the team returned home with an escort from the fire department as conquering heroes.
“Of course, it would have been disappointing not to win the section, but no matter what happened, it would be hard to be disappointed about anything the way these girls have played,” head coach John Savage said after the Scarsdale game. “The kids have done such an amazing job.”
Mamaroneck repeats as lacrosse champs
Over the last few years, the Tigers have risen to become one of Section I’s premiere programs and were able to repeat as Class A champs in 2013, toppling a game North Rockland squad at Mahopac High School.
In both title runs, the Tigers were able to overcome injuries to key players during the season, including All-American Pete Conley in 2012 and Reed Malas, who was sidelined for a bit this past spring. But these setbacks didn’t prevent the Tigers from gelling at the right time to become a force in the section, thanks to contributions from players like Justin Csenge, Dylan Palais-Friedman and Thomas Brill.
The Tigers would eventually fall in the state regional semifinals against Shenendehowa, but head coach Jeff Barnard said the strides the program has made thanks to his core group of players have been astounding nonetheless.
“They’ve been such a great group of kids,” Barnard said after the game. “What set them apart is that they’re relentless in terms of hard work. They’ve done such a great job supporting each other through the years.”