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Awesome autumn

Tri-Valley lauds its fall athletes at awards presentation


GRAHAMSVILLE, NY — Great efforts by Tri-Valley fall sports athletes were the focus of words of praise and a moving slide show at the school’s fall athletic awards presentation on November 18. Coaches lauded the efforts of their teams, cited individual players for their contribution and announced awards for sportsmanship, coach’s awards, most improved and most valuable players.

Athletic Director Joe Iatauro thanked the coaches and the community for their ongoing support. The boys varsity soccer team was coached by Becky Piechuta. All 22 of her players finished the season in good standing. There were eight seniors. Piechuta noted that her players improved and “stuck together as a team. “ Anthony Beale was named the Most Improved Player and James McLain won the Sportsmanship Award. Tim Martin was the Coach’s Award recipient and Weston Currey was the Most Valuable Player.

Janet Carey, the tennis coach from the combined Tri-Valley/Fallsburg team, lauded the 11 Lady Bears who began work in August. The team enjoyed success against Liberty and nearly won against Class AA Kingston. Three seniors will be graduating this year. Lauren Gillette was named the Most Improved Player and Patricia Singh was selected as the Most Valuable Player. Overall, Singh was 8-5 in her matches. Singh was the only Sullivan County tennis player to qualify for sectionals and win a medal.

The cross-country boys team was described by Iatauro as “small but mighty.” The team was tied for the division lead but lost on the tie breaker to S.S. Seward. Mike Freeman won the Sportsmanship Award, Jim Bernstein was named MIP and Jeremy Kinney was the MVP.

The girls team continued the fine tradition with their ninth consecutive Division V championship. They were in the top four in meets in Virginia and New Jersey, and came in second in the Section Nine meet behind Rhinebeck, who finished second in the state. They were ranked eighth among Class C teams in NYS. Newcomer Kelly McNamara won the Sportsmanship Award. Shannon Hornbeck received the Coach’s Award, Caroline Bertholf was the MIP and Rachel Sanborn was the MVP.

Iatauro described Sanborn as a “die-hard runner.” She qualified for states again this year, her fourth time, and finished 23rd.

Varsity girls soccer coach Mary Feusner lauded her team’s efforts and contributions in a season marred by injuries. Feusner said her team loved competing, pasta parties, playing under the lights, watching videos of their games and laughing hysterically. They formed a great bond as teammates and friends.

The Lady Bears had nine returnees and 11 rookies this season. They won the Tri-Valley tournament for the 12th time in 19 years and went 13-6. They scored 56 goals in 19 games and had 32 assists. They allowed only 24 goals and put up seven shut outs.

At one time, they were ranked in the top 20 in Class C in NYS. The team may well have met its goal of winning an academic award from NYSPHSAA, which requires a 90 average of 12 or more of its players.

Kathryn Schneyer and Kaitlin Torres were the team MIPs. Emma Tingley won the Sportsmanship Award and Karyn Sheeley and Amanda Martin shared the honor as MVPs. Describing Sheeley, Feusner noted “Soccer is her life.” As to Martin, the coach said, “She lifted our spirits. Without her, our team would collapse.”

Jakki Pugh was the team score leader with 17 goals and eight assists.

Junior varsity football coaches Joe Porcaro and Scott Grey complimented their team, which started with 22 players and ended up with 14.

Varsity football coach John Rusin kept the JV players on the stage and talked about their integral role in the program. The team implemented a new option offense this year and passed 17 percent of the time. After graduating a bevy of talent that included many all-stars, the Bears responded with an effort that Rusin described as “amazing.”

After losing its first two games, the Bears won 4/5. By season’s end, they had rushed 2,180, averaging 242 yards per game. Four running backs surpassed 300 yard rushing years. Dan Byrne was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player. He carried the ball 117/690, averaging 5.9 yards per carry. Byrne scored five TDs and was tied for the team lead with 67 tackles.

Andrew Yager was named Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Yager was the starting center for the past three years, and moved to middle linebacker on defense this season. He also had 67 tackles and two interceptions. “He was a wedge breaker,” said Rusin, who noted that Yager broke up opposing teams’ kickoff wedge blocking.

Jesse Boncek won the Sportsmanship Award. “If the team had 11 Jesse Bonceks, we’d never lose a game,” said Rusin. Dustin VanLieu was named the team MVP. “He did it all,” said Rusin. VanLieu was 84/439 averaging 4.9 yards per carry. He scored 14 TDs and a pair of conversions. He passed for 23/353 with five TDs. All of that was done despite missing nearly two games. He had three interceptions, punted and kicked off.

Varsity cheerleading coach Janna Warden thanked Iatauro for his help and support during her 10 years of coaching. She thanked the football coaches as well. Warden named Lyn Forget as the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award and as the Most Outstanding Cheerleader. “She’s the girl I want my daughter to aspire to be like,” said Warden.

Jessica Vernooy was the Cheerleading MIP and Danielle Conlon was named the team MVP. Each cheerleader came to the microphone to give thanks and tribute to Warden.

The evening concluded with a talk by this writer about the true meaning of success as a function of personal progress and a musical slide show tribute to the remarkable Bears’ fall sports season.

Visit for an album of all the award winners, including coach’s awards and sportsmanship awards not pictured here.

TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Rachel Sanborn (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Dustin VanLieu (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Patricia Singh (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Karyn Sheeley (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Amanda Martin (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Weston Currey (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Danielle Conlon (Click for larger version)
TRR photo by Richard A. Ross
Jeremy Kinney (Click for larger version)