Top sports stories of 2013

New Rochelle’s Paul Sarachelli stalks Joseph Alvarez on March 5 at a Golden Gloves card held in the Bronx. Sarachelli and fellow Queen City resident Chris Castiglia both won their bouts at the event. Photo/Mike Smith

New Rochelle’s Paul Sarachelli stalks Joseph Alvarez on March 5 at a Golden Gloves card held in the Bronx. Sarachelli and fellow Queen City resident Chris Castiglia both won their bouts at the event. Photo/Mike Smith

New Rochelle cheer squads win national titles
It wasn’t just New Rochelle’s basketball players who brought hardware back to the city in 2013, as the Huguenots varsity cheerleading squad won a national title on Feb. 10 in Orlando, Fla.

The Huguenots came into the final day of competition as the fourth-ranked squad at the cheer competition, but a terrific performance in the finals gave the team a first-place finish.

With the win, the varsity squad joined the JV team, who took first in their division at the competition as well.

According to head coach Chrissy Stanionis, the ability for both the varsity and JV squads to come away with national titles bodes well for the future of the program.

Khalil Edney takes a shot against Mount Vernon in the Section I title game on March 3. Edney’s late-game heroics would make the Huguenot senior a viral sensation and got him a bid at the ESPY awards. Photo/Bobby Begun

Khalil Edney takes a shot against Mount Vernon in the Section I title game on March 3. Edney’s late-game heroics would make the Huguenot senior a viral sensation and got him a bid at the ESPY awards. Photo/Bobby Begun

“This was huge for us,” Stanionis said. “I think the girls coming back on the varsity will have a lot more confidence knowing that these JV girls, who will eventually be on the varsity, are able to compete at such a high level.”

 

Edney nails “The Shot”
On March 3, New Rochelle senior Khalil Edney sunk one of the most improbable shots that you will ever see in a basketball game, intercepting a lob then heaving a 60-foot miracle buzzer-beater to down rival Mount Vernon in the Class AA championship game, giving the ninth-seeded Huguenots a 61-60 upset win over rival the Knights.

The scene following the make was unlike any I had ever seen at a high school sporting event. Huguenot fans and players mobbed Edney, while Mount Vernon, reacting to the initial ruling that the shot came after the buzzer, celebrated what they believed to be a win as well.

When the referees ultimately awarded New Rochelle the bucket, pandemonium ensued.

Video of the shot ultimately went viral and was soon airing on ESPN, which conducted interviews with Edney and head coach Rasuan Young. The clip was even nominated for “Play of the Year” at the 2013 ESPY awards.

The Huguenots would go on to make a run in the state tournament, though they ultimately fell in the state title game to Bishop Kearney 45-39.

For Young, a first-year head coach, the experience was surreal.

“I haven’t had a chance to enjoy it; it’s so unbelievable,” he said after the team’s regional final win a few days later. “My first year as head coach, going to the final four, I’m almost kind of numb. Maybe after the season is over, what we’ve been able to accomplish might finally sink in, but I don’t want to get caught up in all of that.”

New Ro pugilists win at
Golden Gloves event
On March 4, two New Rochelle fighters shined at a Golden Gloves event in the Bronx, as 17-year-old Paul Sarachelli and 35-year-old New Rochelle policeman Chris Castiglia both won their bouts at the event.

Castiglia, fighting in the 201-plus novice division, was participating in his first-ever Golden Gloves tournament. He withstood a couple of big shots early, but was able to pick up a unanimous decision win over opponent Ken Nolan, thanks in part to a dominating performance in the third round.

“He hit me with a couple of good shots,” Castiglia said after the judges’ decisions were announced. “But that’s what I needed. Each time I come out, I’m afraid I’m going to get knocked out, so once I take a couple of shots I know I’m going to be OK.

Sarachelli had a much easier time of it, easily outpointing Joseph Alvarez in an action-packed fight that had the crowd on its feet for the duration.

“It means a lot to have so many people come out and support me,” Sarachelli said. “It’s a great feeling to have all these people cheering me on.”

Ray Rice honored by city 
Former Huguenot legend Ray Rice helped lead the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl championship in 2013 and the city turned out in droves to celebrate the win for the Pro Bowl running back on March 2 at City Hall.

Rice, who has continued to be active in the New Rochelle community after emerging as an elite NFL talent–holding annual football camps for youngsters–addressed a crowd of hundreds and sang the praises of New Rochelle, telling the throng that he attributed his success in the professional ranks to the tight-knit community that refused to let him slip through the cracks.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” Rice said. “And when I started going down a bad path, there were people there for me in this community who helped me. And I learned that, if you need a hand in life, you have to ask for help.”

New Rochelle’s cheerleading squad poses with its national championship trophy on Feb. 10. Both the varsity and JV squads were named national champions at the competition in Orlando, Fla. Contributed photo

New Rochelle’s cheerleading squad poses with its national championship trophy on Feb. 10. Both the varsity and JV squads were named national champions at the competition in Orlando, Fla. Contributed photo

Contact: sports@hometwn.com

 
This entry was posted in Sports on by .

About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.