Rye’s spring sports teams are gearing up for strong seasons in track, lacrosse, and golf.
By Melanie Cane and Kevin LaManna
Rye High’s spring sports teams are revving up for strong seasons in track, lacrosse, and golf.
Track and Field
Coach Jim Yedowitz looks forward to building upon the good work he started with the winter track squad last season, with an experienced group of well-rounded seniors.
“I am hoping not to jinx myself or my team,” Coach Yedowitz said. “I am looking toward this season with great anticipation and high expectations.”
The winter track team had tremendous potential but was laid low by illness for most of the season.
At the end of the winter season, the team showed signs of its potential by placing second at the Class B section meet out of 22 teams. Taylor Love won the 1600-meter run. Indoor school shot put record holder Scott Hanley and middle-distance runner Tom Mayo-Smith both missed state berths by very small margins. “It’s a sign of good things to come,” Coach Yedowitz said.
Others leading the team in middle-distance events are Joey Viger, and Henry Gager.
Aaron Matthias, Thornton Ellis, Colby Ellis, and Russ Hanson lead the team in sprinting and jumping events.
Tyler Breckenridge shines in pole vault and high jump; Ben Lee excels at pole vault, hurdles, and high jump.
Coach Yedowitz said if no one gets injured, “This could be my best team in 35 years of coaching. I am loaded with seniors …who have talent and experience.
Girls’ Varsity Lacrosse
After 16 years of coaching girls lacrosse before spending a few years away from the Rye team, Coach Dennis Hurley returns with hopes of winning the league and sectional titles. This season, Rye’s heavily stacked roster will be called on to get the job done.
Junior Scarlett Sulliman is joining the Rye squad this year after competing for a few years in Arizona, where she was an All-American. The team’s three captains are midfielder Tori Virtue, attackwoman Emma Brinkman, and goalie Maddy Kinker, who will be the starter for her fourth year in a row.
Coach Hurley expressed confidence in the team, pointing out that 19 of 20 players are returning from last season, including eight seniors.
“We hope to at least challenge the league and the section this year,’’ Coach Hurley said.
He said Class C competitor Fox Lane also has many returning seniors.
“We have our work cut out for us, but if any team can do it it’s our girls,” Hurley said.
Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse
Coach Brian Dooley and the boys varsity lacrosse team are ready to light up the scoreboards this year with his less-experienced but talented roster.
After a tough loss in the Section 1 Class B quarterfinals last year, the Garnets have some of the stiffest competition in the state against Yorktown, Somers, and John Jay.
Returning players this year include four captains: Greg Stern at attack, as well as Jake Concavage, Drew Davis, and Devon DiPalma at midfield. This foursome makes up the core of the otherwise young and inexperienced but extremely talented squad.
Asked about the team’s goal for this season, Coach Dooley said: “We have a young team overall, and it’s for that reason we’re keeping the goals simple and realistic. As a team I’m hoping we get better every single day, whether it’s a practice or a game.”
Last season, the Garnets, led by Coach Rich Savage, captured the league title with a perfect record of 13-0. In an unprecedented feat, all six starters qualified for the Sectional tournament. Jen Lee, now the senior captain, won the section title as a junior. Freshman Alexis Hios came in second in the section and eighth grader Frida Henningsson tied for fifth in the section. At the state championship, Jen Lee finished in 17th place and Alexis Hios placed 31st. Luckily for the team, the top three players are returning this season, as are senior Caroline Whelan and sophomore Christina Villani.
The girls started practicing together March 19. Coach Savage said the team is looking forward to defending their league title. Captain Jen Lee said she’s excited about “some great new players” joining the team. Her personal goal is to defend her Section 1 title, to return to States for the fourth time and to beat her 17th place finish from last year. Jen has been playing number one on the team since her sophomore year and said she hopes to make the best of her final season.
Last year, the top three starters on the boys’ golf team made sectionals. Senior Captain Andrew Gladstone, the top starter, went to sectionals for the third time. No. 2 starter, junior Thomas Henderson, went to sectionals for the first time. A third starter, junior Henry Bailey, qualified for sectionals for a second consecutive year.
This season, those three top starters are joined by sophomore Henry Bailey and eighth grader James McHugh
Other returning players are eighth grader William Gladstone (Andrew’s younger brother), sophomore Brad Holzer, senior Justin Uzcategui, and senior Don Tice, all of whom are battling for the No. 6 spot on the team.
Coach Pat Romano is pleased to have the former team intact and says that if the top five boys play up to their abilities and get a solid contribution from the No. 6 spot, “We should be a very tough team to beat.”
Last season, the Garnets baseball team won more games than they had in the previous ten years, finishing with a record of 14-5 with the number six seed. The Garnets lost six seniors from last year’s team, but their starting pitcher, Willis Robbins, who was responsible for five of those wins, is returning as a senior. Starting pitcher Jeff Dempsey, who had three wins and one save last season, also returns as a senior. Six other players are returning, including senior co-captains Matt DeGraw and Jake Meyerson.
Coach Mike Bruno has recruited nine new players, including two freshmen: shortstop Tim DeGraw and first baseman Ryan Popp. They, as well as sophomore second baseman Griffin Tutun and junior outfielder William Frolich, are the ones to watch. “We have a strong returning nucleus as well as some good new players,” Pitcher Dempsey said. “We are in a tough league and are working hard to get ready.”
The team’s goals are: to beat Harrison, win the league, and win the section.
Their first game (non-league) is April 4 at Rye Neck High School.
Last year’s softball team struggled through the entire season, due in large part to both the starting pitcher, senior Erika Becker, and the back-up pitcher, sophomore Alissa Vitiello, being injured for most of the season. This year, both pitchers are healthy. Two other players, junior Laura Thornton-Smith and sophomore Laura-Renee Macri, are also prepared to pitch in a pinch.
In addition to Becker, four other seniors are returning: Emily Severance, Kristen Verille, Courtney Turiano, and Brigid Lonergan. According to left fielder Lonergan, all the seniors have been been playing really well and have improved tremendously since last season.
There are nine other returning players as well as six new recruits. Among the new players, are three freshmen: Amanda Yannett, Emily Antinozzi, and Keira Nemsick.
Coach Alex Tejera hopes the team makes the playoffs and is successful in the post season. “We are looking to get off to a better start than we did last season,” he said.
Lonergan added: “The team’s goals are to stay healthy, work together, learn from our mistakes and not let errors take us out of the game. We want to go further then we have in the past and earn a softball banner that can be hung in the gym because softball doesn’t have one right now.”
They start the season April 4 at home against Rye Neck.