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Truly successful

Sullivan West athletes garner awards and ponder success


LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — In the world of athletics defined by the sharp delineation between winning and losing, it is hard to derive a sense of success and self-worth in the absence of a championship win or other forms of public recognition.

But such narrow and extremely high standards cannot be the only indicator of great accomplishments.

During his short but meteoric career as a runner, former Olympian Steve Prefontaine was often asked to comment on how he had risen from relative obscurity to the pinnacle of the racing world.

Prefontaine, who was outspoken and proud of his accomplishments, which surpassed the expectations of many in the running world, once said, “Success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”

This writer prefaced a musical slide show tribute to the fall sports season by emphasizing efforts spent more than comparison with others.

Athletic Director Dave Franskevicz introduced the coaches. Two teams made sectionals this fall. The football team reached the Class C title game and the volleyball team beat Ellenville in the quarterfinals.

Rianne Erlwein and Colin Seidl qualified for the state meet. Seidl finished third in states and 34th in the Federation Championships.

Girls varsity cross-country coach George Shakelton complimented his team and those responsible for the new cross-country nature trail. “Thank you for giving everything you can,” he told his girls. The team went 9-0 in dual meets, a first in school history. They took third place in the Washingtonville Invitational, fifth in Lackawanna Invitational, fifth at the Marathon Invitational, third at Tully and second at Delhi. They won the Division IV title for the eighth straight year.

Eighth grader Dani Myers was named the Most Improved Runner. Rianne Erlwein was named as the Most Valuable Runner. Erlwein qualified for states for the fourth time. She finished fourth in Section Nine and broke April Ackermann’s school record with her 19:00.13 time at the OCIAA League Meet at Bear Mountain.

Erlwein led her teammates in every race during the season, another first for a Shakelton-coached Sullivan West runner. She was first in the division championships, first versus Tri-Valley, fifth at Lackawanna, second at Delhi and 11th in the OCIAA championships.

Boys cross-country coach George Rose noted that his boys were undefeated in dual meets. They beat Tri-Valley in the debut of the nature trail course. Matthew Pitz was the team’s Most Improved Runner. Colin Seidl was the obvious choice for the Most Valuable Runner.

A four-season runner, Seidl won the daunting Washingtonville Invitational with the fifth fastest time in the meet’s history, the fastest ever turned in by a SW runner.

Seidl, who averages 75-80 miles per week in his training regimen, won the Marathon Invitational, the Division IV championship and the Section Nine Class C title. He finished third in states among Class C runners. His 34th place in the Federation meet garnered him his second medal in the state’s most competitive race.

Mike Ellmauer said that the varsity girls soccer team loved the game, played as hard as they could and overcame trials and tribulations.

Ellmauer named Gabrielle Humleker as Miss All-around Soccer and Colleen Chudik as the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Girls volleyball coach Cliff Kelly noted that despite a tough schedule, achieving a .500 mark in the league helped the Lady Bulldogs made it to the second round of sectionals for the second straight year. Morgan Pretty was the team’s Most Improved Player and Amber McGibbon was the Team Leader.

Boys soccer Coach Debbie Owen cited the return of a junior varsity team for the first time in the past five years. That will pay off huge dividends when players move up to varsity.

Owen said her team “never, never quit.” As Vince Lombardi once said, “We didn’t lose, we jut ran out of time.”

Despite going 4-10-1, 10 of 15 games were decided by one goal. Five came in overtime. Only one time were they beaten by more than two goals. The team had eight seniors; seven of them have played with Owen since their freshman years.

Eric Minton won the Coach’s Award and Logan Grishaber was the team’s Most Valuable Player. Grishaber recorded 154 saves, an average of 11.7 per game. He allowed only 17 goals, scored four and had three assists. Grishaber is “intensity in cleats,” concluded Owen.

Nina Verdeber celebrated her cheerleading squad. Twenty-one players tried out, but that number had diminished to a “Magnificent Seven.”

Victoria Tyles won the Sportsmanship Award and Lauren Ritz won the Leadership Award.

Varsity football coach Ron Bauer recalled nine-and-a-half great games—all but the first half of the championship game against Ellenville. “These guys showed tremendous heart and class.”

The team recaptured the Division IV championship lost to Tri-Valley a year ago. “Homecoming was a great success, as was the bringing back of former players.” Brad Reimer’rushed 171/852 with 23 TDs, Nick Mootz 81/697 and Dan Figueroa 69/789 for a team rushing total of 2,338 yards. Figueroa was named the Most Valuable Defensive Player. Reimer was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Reimer passed 63/120 for 1,356 yards with 16 TDs. Reimer accounted for 39 TDs, second only to the record 42 TDs scored by former Delaware Valley standout Fred Riulliano.

Referring to Mootz’s resurgence from severe illness, Bauer said, “He is what football is all about. He is a great inspiration.”

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TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Brad Reimer (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Colin Seidl (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Colleen Chudik (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Rianne Erlwein (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Logan Grishaber (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Lauren Ritz (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Amber McGibbon (Click for larger version)