Rye Neck Indoor Track & Field

School Records Fall All Over the Armory

By Mitch Silver


Three weeks after the Panthers traveled to Manhattan’s New Balance Armory and crowned a pair of league champions while breaking a school record, the Black Cats were at it again. Competing in the Section 1 Class C Track & Field Championships at the same 168th Street venue last weekend, the foursome that ran the 4x400-meter relay in a school-record time of 3:50.82 in January blew that mark to smithereens.


The quartet of Eikoh Hayashi, Raymond Rivituso, Dan Fujiwara, and Brendan Tuohy broke the tape in 3:45.35, nearly five and a half seconds faster than they’d ever gone before. And, as they say on the Home Shopping Network … wait, there’s more: Rivituso would join Corey Parker, Milo Haviland, and Shakihar Saran to run the 2x400 relay in 1:43.93, another school mark. Finally, not to be outdone by his teammate’s double-record-crushing day, Hayashi leaped 18’ 2.5” in the long jump to earn his second school record on the afternoon. 


Imagine what Coach Myla Allen’s team will do outdoors this spring.





Sara and Francesca Brizio have qualified for the Junior Olympics and will compete in Kansas City, Mo., February 17-20. The Brizio sisters have been fencing for seven years. Sara got the bug after her parents brought her to an exhibition at New Amsterdam Fencing Academy North, in Port Chester. “Ever since, I have loved the sport,” said the 16-year-old. “I had tried other sports, but none of them really felt right.” Her younger sister Francesca, 13, was hooked, too. 


“I love the mental aspect of fencing,” said Sara. “You need to understand the person you’re fencing because your results don’t only depend on your performance. Even if you are extremely quick, you can still lose because the other fencer out-smarted you.” Both teens began their fencing careers, and still train, at NAFA North. “Because it is smaller than many clubs, you can really make strong bonds and feel like you’re part of the whole team and grow together,” said Francesca.  


“We’re so proud of Sara and Francesca and our two other Junior Olympic qualifiers,” said John Gonzalez, NAFA North club owner and coach and a former champion fencer himself. 


Sara says her strategy for success at the Junior Olympics is to “get the right training in beforehand to perfect her timing and skills, and during the tournament to have a positive attitude and dig deep to keep fighting when she feels tired or defeated.” Francesca’s strategy is to “have a good mindset and use familiar tactics to keep control of her bouts.”  


Both Brizio girls will compete in foil in the U17 and the U20 categories.

Photos by Gina Giordano

By Mitch Silver

To misquote T.S. Eliot: “This is the way the year ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.” That whimper you hear is coming from the fans of Coach Matt Beatty’s Rye High wrestling team, which was shut out last weekend at the Division 2 Sectional Championships held at Edgemont High School.

It wasn’t that Rye lacked a wrestler who qualified for Sectionals. The Garnets actually had two: junior Blake McGowan and senior Miles Giordano. But sadly, neither wrestler was able to assume his position on the mat when the time came. 

Coach Beatty had high praise for McGowan and Giordano both of whom he said worked hard to advance through the qualifying tournament. “Blake came on at the end of the season and showed how tough he can be. Miles, one of our captains, committed himself all season. We were all looking forward to Sectionals to see what type of impact they could have.”

Beatty continued, “Blake had been scheduled to take the ACT college admissions test on Saturday and could not get the date switched, causing him to miss the tournament. Miles unfortunately developed a high fever Thursday night and it just wouldn’t break. We waited until late Friday night to make the decision with his folks. With his fever still over 101, I notified the tournament director that Miles wouldn’t be there. Miles, who is a young man of great character and has been a leader for us, was devastated.”

McGowan won his way into the 126 pounds semifinals at the Sectional qualifier February 4 at North Rockland High School, losing to Arlington’s Firas Zoha on a pin and finishing fourth, the final qualifying spot. Girodano, who’ll wrestle for Northeastern next year, did even better, wrestling into the final at 220 pounds before falling to Josh Jean-Baptiste of East Ramapo, the overall Section 1 finalist, on a 6-2 decision.

Though disappointed with the way the season ended, Coach Beatty took some solace in his squad’s efforts. “We won three dual meets, but we struggled with numbers again this year. It’s hard to win a dual meet as a team when we are giving up so many forfeits.  We did what we could to fill as many weight classes as possible, but we really had to focus on individual improvements.” 

The coach continued, “Miles led the way with an overall record of 20-9. Not only did he come through in almost every match, he also inspired the rest of his team to work as hard as he did. This was a tough task as many of the members of the team did not have much wrestling experience, which makes it hard to keep going when you are getting beat. He would just not allow them to quit by getting them to focus on the things they were doing well and selling to them that how important each of them was to the overall team. 

Asked to name the highlight of the season, Coach Beatty replied, “Maybe Miles winning against the athlete from Mount Vernon who beat him the week before. It took everything he had, and it was great to see him battle and come through with the win.”


Another wrestler who made his mark this year was junior Chase Bekkerus, said Beatty. “Chase had several big wins during the season and finished with an 18-9 record, though he was unable to participate in the post-season due to injury. I’m looking forward to his growth, too, next year.”


Peter Kwauk, who is majoring in Mathematics at Fairfield University, earned a 3.95 GPA for the fall semester and was named to the Dean’s List.




Trevor Patrick Crawford received Deans List Honors for the fall semester from Fairfield University, where he is in the Dolan School of Business. He is a member of the Rye High School class of 2014.





Rye Country Day School 10th graders, Helena Zimmerman and Max Mindich were named semifinalists in the Diamond Challenge, a unique competition that enables high school students to learn about entrepreneurship while putting their ideas into action. The young duo founded, a social venture concept aimed at helping their peer group give back meaningfully in a way that factors in the demands and challenges they face in their daily lives.  


They will travel to the University of Delaware April 6 to make their pitch in this year’s semifinal round. Top teams will win awards from a prize pool of $100,000.   



Claire Julian, a senior at Rye Neck High School, won in three categories of the 2017 regional Hudson-to-Housatonic Scholastic Writing Awards — Short Story, Poetry, and Personal Essays.


Through the help of her English and Writing teachers, Melinda Merkel and Mary Lanza, Claire submitted several pieces for consideration for which she received One Gold Key, Two Silver Keys, and Three Honorable Mentions.  

Gold Keys are awarded to the most accomplished works and are automatically forwarded for consideration for national Scholastic Awards.   




By Melanie Cane


On February 10, Garnets’ senior captain Katie Popp passed the 1,500-point milestone. She scored 29 points, leading the Garnets to a 55-36 victory over East Ramapo. Less than 24 hours later, Popp broke the all-time Rye High Girls’ Basketball scoring record, in a nail-biting 49-45 win over Red Hook at home. 


Popp’s 1,539-point total pushes her past Kate Beswick, who ended her Rye High career with 1,537 points in 2001. 


In the first quarter of the Red Hook game, Rye dominated possession, rebounds, and shooting opportunities. But they had a little trouble converting their shots and ended the quarter with an 11-8 lead.


Teaghan Flaherty stole the ball from the Raiders in the opening play of the second quarter, but missed the lay-up. The Garnets pulled down her rebound, but missed the next three shots. The Raiders scored on their next three possessions, taking a 17-11 lead. Popp missed four consecutive shots until she drew a foul on a drive inside and made both foul shots. 


On their next possession, the Garnets made some beautiful passes around the key before Red Hook stole the ball and scored on a fast break. Popp answered with a drive down the middle and a left-handed hook. On the next play, Ellie Dailey stole the ball and drew a foul on the fast break. Rye had another turnover before the end of the half, and the Raiders jumped out to a 24-18 lead.


Rye had a couple of turnovers at the beginning of the second half before Hannah Mullaly scored twice from inside and Popp hit a jump shot to come within two of the Raiders. Kate Robbins hit a three-pointer on the inbound, and Red Hook responded with another. Popp tied the game on a beautiful hand off from Dailey under the basket and Robbins followed up with another three-pointer to regain the lead. A few seconds later, the Raiders hit a three-pointer to tie. With two minutes to go in the quarter, Popp drove down the center and hit a twisting shot from directly under the basket. She repeated that play a minute later. Rye had a 38-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.


Red Hook regained the lead 43-41 halfway through. With less than three minutes to go, Popp tied it at 45. 


Both teams missed several shots until Popp grabbed a defensive rebound, beat three defenders to the basket on a fast break, and hit a layup. She repeated this superhuman maneuver one more time before Rye ran down the clock for the win. Popp’s last four points tied and then bested the all-time scoring record. Unaware of her accomplishment at the time, to those watching it appeared as though some magical force propelled her to achieve the feat. 


While admitting she was thrilled with the accomplishment, Popp said she was even happier that she contributed to the team’s victory. “Breaking the record was not on my mind at all. I was pretty tired, but I wanted us to win. Something kicked in at the end of the game and gave me a boost of energy. The whole team picked it up in the second half, becoming more aggressive and focused.”


Fellow senior co-captain Kate Robbins said the team was a little sluggish against Red Hook because they had played the night before. “We played back-to-back Friday and Saturday games three weeks in a row, and the Saturday games were all a bit tough. We knew early in the game we needed to step it up defensively because we were struggling offensively. We focused on boxing out to get the rebounds and marking players closely.” She thinks the team gained more confidence as the season progressed and started winning more consistently. “We came a long way after losing our first four games!” said Robbins


The Garnets’ 11-9 record earned them home court advantage in the first playoff game, February 18. 




Teaghan Flaherty, at right, with the shot


The Garnets after the victory over Red Hook


By Janice Llanes Fabry


Rye Neck High School recently collaborated with the Community Resource Center in Mamaroneck to determine the role that accessibility to transportation plays in the lives of Hispanic/Latino immigrants. Through an enterprising elective, Action Research for Community Change, students work directly with various organizations to devise a research framework that will meet their needs. 


“The course is a big adjustment from going to a more typical class, taking notes, and doing homework,” offered senior Matt Lawhon. “Action Research draws a lot more on creative ability and abstract reasoning. There are a lot more directions you can go in because you’re dealing with unanticipated complexities. It’s more representative of what you see in the real world.”


For this particular collaboration, Lawhon and a think tank made up of fellow students initially met with the Community Resource Center’s former Executive Director, Milan Bhatt. They discussed examining just how pivotal transportation accessibility is in the overall well being of new and undocumented immigrants. The students had the task of designing and conducting a study to provide the center’s staff with data on how immigrants use transportation to get to work, health care, and healthy food.  


Enrichment Coordinator and Action Research instructor, Dr. Valerie Feit explained that because of the nature of the course, its syllabus is constantly evolving. It is contingent upon a community organization’s specific requirements. In the past, the students have tackled senior care and food insecurity. 


This time around for the Community Resource Center, Lawhon and his peers pored through immigrant and transportation studies, reviewed national and local demographics, and then developed an anonymous survey to be completed by those who utilize the Center. 


According to Feit, the unbiased research painted a portrait of a fragile community that struggles with job and income insecurity in an environment where transportation to work, health care, and supermarkets is a constant challenge. 


Among the most startling findings was the fact that over half of the immigrants do not have a car to get to the closest supermarket three miles away. They either walk or rely on bicycles or public transportation. Moreover, almost a third end up to driving without a license to get to a job or a medical appointment. 


“One of the lasting impressions I had was just how important transportation is to a population in this area even though there’s a high degree of affluence and almost everyone has a car,” said Lawhon. “It’s an interesting idea that high school students can do the kind of research that can have a positive impact on people’s lives.”





Rye Neck High School senior Matthew Lawhon