RHS Girls’ Lacrosse

By Melanie Cane

Rye High seniors Haley Nemsick and Amanda Hartzell with their families and Coach Dennis Hurlie

On May 10, before what was supposed to be the Garnets’ last home game of the regular season, Rye High Lacrosse Coach Dennis Hurlie recognized co-captains Amanda Hartzell and Hailey Nemsick. “Last year we honored 11 seniors. This year we honor two. But next year I will be the saddest coach in the section because I have gotten closer to and relied upon these two wonderful girls more than any other players I have ever coached.” The Garnets went on to beat the Pelham Pelicans 8-6.


Stormy weather postponed the scheduled Rye/Harrison matchup, a game that would determine the league champion. On May 15, the same storm short-circuited the Garnets’ home scoreboard, and, for the first half, seemed to have the same effect on the Rye girls’ play.

Coach Dennis Hurlie was prohibited from coaching this game because he was carded in the previous one, and the team seemed lost without him. The Garnets started the game with a quick transition goal by Amanda Hartzell, but the Huskies took control and scored five unanswered goals. Struggling with turnovers and lost opportunities, Rye went into halftime down 5-1.

Playing a fierce second half, the Rye girls fought back and outscored Harrison 7-2. Hartzell led the rally with a goal off the first draw. She followed that with two more, the last on a spectacular crease roll, spinning and ducking under two defenders. Junior captain Margaret Mitchell added two more to tie the game at six with eight minutes remaining.

Paige Drago and Shannon Lavelle finished off the Garnets’ run. Lavelle scored the winning goal in stunning play. Harrison goalie Kathleen Lino was called on a warding-off penalty. Lavelle outran the goalie before any of Harrison’s defensemen had time to get back to their goal. The Garnets won the subsequent draw and maintained possession until the final buzzer, and ended with an 8-7 victory.

Rye’s defense was pivotal in the second half. They shut down Harrison’s attack holding them to two goals on ten shots. The defensive unit led by Nemsick controlled the tempo with multiple caused turnovers, stops and clears. Freshman goalie Amelia Cunningham had a stellar second half.

After controlling the draw circle for most of the game, the Garnets were finally able to convert possessions in the second half. Critical ground balls and midfield play by Sara DeGraw, Ellie Daley, and Molly Broderick helped the Garnets establish offensive momentum. An interception by Broderick was the turning point of the game. A tremendous second half by Amelia Cunningham in goal was their other secret weapon.

Although the Garnets had a tough regular season schedule, and ended with a 7-9 record, they were undefeated in League play and have won the title four years in a row. They are now 22-1 over the past four years under Coach Hurlie and assistant coaches Keri Morrison and Brit Anderson.

On May 23, the second-seeded Garnets beat the No. 3 seed, Pelham, 16-11. Rye was up 10-4 at the half, but Pelham went on a tear and the Garnets had to give everything they had to stave them off. Hartzell had six goals.

On May 25, post-press time, Rye faces Henrick Hudson, the No. 4 seed, which beat top-seeded Bryam Hills in the semifinals.

Hugs all around after beating Harrison for League title


Sarah DeGraw running the ball down the sideline.

By Mitch Silver

A lot of things have to come together for a Rye High student-athlete to win a New York State championship in sports. If you’re a quarterback, the whole football team has to be good enough to make it to the Carrier Dome and win a couple of games there. Same, of course, goes for all the team sports. May’s honoree for the Rye Lions Club Athlete of the Month award hasn’t merely won a State title, he’s won one in back-to-back years. His name is John Dailey, he’s captain of the men’s varsity crew, and he’s one of the best rowers Rye High has ever produced.

This month, John and his lightweight foursome plus coxswain not only repeated as New York’s best, but they beat the second-pace team by a 100-meter margin, with the fastest row in the 1,500-meter race’s recorded history. And it would have beaten the 2017 heavyweight champions by five full seconds if they’d raced side by side.

As the boat’s stroke, John sets the pace for the rest of the team. You could say he does the same on land, recording a 95 GPA while carrying the following AP courses: World History, U.S. History, U.S. Government and Politics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Calculus AB, Literature & Composition, and Language & Composition. He will be studying at Boston College in the fall. “It’s a Jesuit school, and they really value the liberal arts there. I want a wide-ranging curriculum, and that’s exactly what they offer.”

John credits his teachers — Mr. Kelly, Mr. Teisch, and Mr. Zung — with mentoring him in the classroom. And he credits his coach, Stanley Nelson, for guiding his success in his sport. “I was a scrawny kid. I don’t know what the coach saw in me.”

Coach Nelson is clear about what he saw.

“Even as a freshman, John showed leadership and competitiveness, constantly raising the bar ever higher for himself and his teammates. He understood early that his calling was to be a lightweight rower, and he spent all of his freshman and sophomore years building his strength and endurance.

“He has been both the emotional and the ‘on the water’ leader of the boats that have qualified for Youth Nationals each year since he was a sophomore.  A team captain for two years, he’s a student of rowing. John researches the crews we race, knows the coaches and studies the techniques they teach, and follows the champions in the sport, emulating their behavior. 

The award for May, given jointly by the Lions and the Rye High Athletic Department, qualifies John to join the other monthly winners in the race for Athlete of the Year, an honor that will be announced next month at a dinner at The Osborn.

Before that night, there’s still the SRAA Nationals in Camden this weekend, and U.S. Rowing’s Youth Championships down in Florida in two weeks. So he just might walk into The Osborn with even more gold in his pocket.

It was not to be. After a season spent either losing big leads or surmounting them, Coach Steve Lennon’s men found a team they couldn’t come back on: John Jay of Cross River. 


The third-seeded Indians—generally considered to be the No. 1A to No. 1 Yorktown in Section One lacrosse—came into the game at Nugent Stadium Tuesday night as the third seed, one below the number two Garnets. 


They netted a score in the second minute of the game only because Rye freshman netminder Emmett Carroll made a spectacular save up high to keep them from scoring in the first minute. 


Rye pulled even with two and a half minutes gone on a heady play by senior co-captain Will Hynson. After a stick check along the sidelines won the ball for Rye, the Garnet middie threw a quick one-bouncer toward the Indians’ goal while keeper Shahe Katchadurian was still retreating. John Jay coach Tim Schurr protested, but the goal stood.


Despite a couple more brilliant saves by Carroll, the visitors were up by two when junior Billy Chabot scored on a one-bouncer at 3:35 of the first to make it 3-2. That’s as close as Rye would come for the rest of the night. In fact, a hail of five goals in the first four minutes of the second quarter sealed the Garnets’ fate. A combination of a less-than-airtight zone in front of goal and faceoff losses at the X had the locals down 8-2 when Chabot scored Rye’s third at 6:51. Then the teams went scoreless the rest of the way to halftime.


In the locker room, Coach Lennon gave an unusual halftime talk. Instead of reminding the boys that they’d come back from the same five-goal deficit up at Somers in the regular season, he used a losing game to make the same point: how the team had blown a huge cushion to Iona Prep a month earlier, losing in double-overtime 13-12 after leading by 12-3 with little more than a quarter left in the game. What Hynson heard was, “They did it to us. We can do it to these guys.”


They almost did. Playing like the second-half team they are, the Garnets swarmed the Indians’ crease. Senior Ryan Kirkpatrick beat his man to the outside and fed classmate Teddy Aquiline at 7:50 of the third to make it 8-4.


Hynson warded off a check and scored from 15 yards out to make it 8-5. Rye followed that with a great defensive stand for 90 seconds, setting up the play of the night. It was that man Hynson again. He took the ball just over the line in John Jay territory, worked his man for what seemed like 10 seconds without finding a shooting lane until he was behind the net. And then he simply beat him from behind the cage, scoring low to bring Rye to 8-6 down and charging with 2:50 left in the third.


Lesser teams have crumbled when Rye applied the pressure, but John Jay held firm, scoring the final two goals of the stanza. They added goal number 11 with two minutes gone in the final quarter. Though senior attackman Brendan Dugan won a loose ball and fed Chabot, he hit the pipe—one of five pipes the Garnets banged during the contest—at 8:15.


Dugan would score in his own right from an acute angle at 5:23, and Hynson would shift hands from right to left to find the net with 4:44 left in the game. But, despite freshman defender Brendan Lavelle’s quick interception of a John Jay pass after the ensuing face-off, the Indians would finally score the goal that sealed the game with under two minutes to play. Still, Chabot epitomized the never-say-die Garnet spirit when he nailed a low fling that would make the final 12-9. 


Afterwards, Coach Lennon mentioned that late goal. “I’ve learned that Rye kids never give up. Never. We’ll be back.”





Holy Child Softball

By Melanie Cane

It felt like a Nor’easter hit Holy Child May 8, when St. Luke’s stormed into town and crushed the Gryphons 14-0. Emma Cropper threw lightning bolts, striking out eight and allowing only two singles. The Storm’s bats cracked like thunder with 16 hits.

Neither team scored in the first inning, but St. Luke’s scored four in the top of the second. The first batter was hit by a pitch, and the second hit a hard grounder to shortstop. Gryphon freshman shortstop Lily Hurley made a beautiful backhanded stop, limiting the runner to a single, but the runners advanced on a double steal and then the hits came in rapid succession.

Holy Child’s Sami Drew led off the bottom of the third with a single, hitting a hard grounder to centerfield. She stole second and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. Hurley hit an infield grounder and Drew was thrown out on her way home.

The Storm scored nine runs in the fourth inning. Catcher Caroline Bryceland finally ended the inning by chasing down and catching a pop-up foul. The talented sophomore opened the bottom of the inning with a solid line drive deep to left field, but it was caught. St. Luke’s tacked on one more in the fifth. The game ended after the fifth inning when the “mercy rule” was applied.

The Gryphons were 5-7 before the loss to the Storm. Coach Michael Clancy said the team is a work-in-progress. “Our young players are really doing well, particularly Lily, Catherine, and Michaela Fitzgerald.”

With several players out for the season with injuries, the team has had to make a lot of adjustments, but they are enthusiastic, hard-working girls who never give up

Caroline Bryceland about to throw to third base.

Michaela Fitzgerald catching a pop-up.


Rye Country Day Head Coach Ryan Quinn probably summed it up best: “It was a crazy few days.” His top-seeded Wildcat baseball team was down 2-1 in the 7th inning against Hamden Hall in the semifinals of the Fairchester Athletic Association post-season tournament. “Owen Coady threw a brilliant 6 1/3 innings before we were able to scrape together a couple of runs in our final ups. Enzo Stefanoni singled in the tying run, then shortstop Cole Price beat out an infield single to the first basemen to score Enzo. Cole’s speed gave us the walk-off win and it gave Enzo — who’d come on in relief of Owen —his 41st career win for a new State record.”

Two days later, number one faced number two in the finals at the Grandview Avenue field. Stefanoni got the start against Brunswick. Coach Quinn had held him out of the two regular season games against the team’s Greenwich nemesis, and it worked. “They hadn't seen him this season and he had them off balance the entire game.”  


The locals took an early lead on a Harrison Kadish single to go up 2-0 and then Coady made it 4-0 when his base hit drove in two more runs in the third. The final score that earned the FAA’s regular-season champions the post-season title as well was 4-2. It extended Stefanoni’s New York career record to 42 victories, and it came against a team he’d never beaten in his five years on the mound.


When Coach Quinn said it was a crazy few days, he was understating things. The Wildcats went from champs to chumps the next afternoon, getting clobbered 17-3 by Horace Mann in the opener of the New York State Association of Independent Schools tourney. “Enzo and Owen weren’t available to pitch,” the coach said, “we got unlucky early with some bloop hits and errors, and the game just spiraled real quick.”  


Oh well. Coach Quinn’s first year guiding the Wildcats was one for the books. “Coming into the season we knew we would be solid on the mound, but the offense really was the surprise. Joe Burns was unbelievable at the top of our lineup, constantly getting on to start off innings. I am really proud of how this team came together and exceeded expectations all year.

“Surprises? Forbes Crowley won the first base job and stayed in the four hole in our lineup after a shoulder injury last year derailed a promising catching career. Jack Bronsky took over second base and the two spot in our order after not playing much in 2016. Cole Price also delivered in the big spots. He had a bases-clearing triple late in the season against King when we were down, and beating out that high chopper against Hamden Hall was huge. 


Kadish, Coady, Troy Kesselmark, and Aldo Stefanoni, Enzo’s brother, at the bottom of our lineup were all dangerous. There was no easy out.”  


Consider these stats for the season: With Harvard-bound Stefanoni and Coady leading the charge at 1.02 and 1.53 earned runs a game, the team’s pitching ERA was a minuscule 1.87 runs a game. The Wildcats’ batting average was .318, and their on-base percentage was .427, good for 110 runs scored in 18 games. Coach Quinn smiled at those numbers. “Six-plus runs a game will win a bunch of times.” 



And so they did, finishing at 13-4 overall. Not bad for a first-year coach.


Peter Tonkel, 14, and Julianne Tonkel, 11, competed last month in the USA Snowboard and Freeski Association Nationals at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

Julianne, who attends The Ursuline School, began snowboarding in third grade. She entered five events at nationals – Slalom, Giant Slalom, Slopestyle, Halfpipe, and Boardcross. She won three medals, taking overall gold in her age group.

Peter, an eighth grader at Rye Middle School, competed in Halfpipe and Slopestyle. He started snowboarding in fifth grade and is ranked third in the country.

Julianne and Peter live in Rye, but train in Vermont almost every weekend from December through April. At Copper Mountain, they competed among nearly 2,000 of the best snowboarders from across the country.

<Photo courtesy of Vast Photos>

Julianne Tonkel winning the Giant Slalom at Copper Mountain last month.


Peter Tonkel soared at USA Snowboard and Freeski Nationals.