Garnets Look to Build on an Impeccable Fall
The mood on Parsons Street in recent weeks has been enlivened by Rye’s football and girls’ soccer teams, which both took home a state championships in the same season. Those trophies are so coveted that earning just one would be a major accomplishment; there haven’t been two in a Garnet athletic season since 2008, when the same two teams, football and girls’ soccer, managed to pull off that feat. Those titles set expectations for the winter season at a fever pitch, with Garnet Hockey seeking their first section championship since 2020, and Rye’s Wrestling team looking to build on a record-setting campaign, despite the loss of some key seniors. Both girls’ and boys’ Basketball and Winter Track teams are looking toward winning records.
Hockey Seeks to Ice Its Legacy
Garnet hockey is a historic enterprise, coming into this season’s campaign with 13 Section One championships, eight regional championships, and two state finals appearances over the last 50 years. Despite a loss in the section finals last season to
Pelham, the team is always in contention within Section 1’s Division II, posting a solid 15-7 record last year, outscoring opponents 134 to 69 over the team’s 22 games. But without All-Section forward Tommy Richardson and Dempsey Brown, who both graduated last year, the team has lost talented leadership.
The team now lies in the hands of captains Henry Bagley, Seth Dorfman, Lucas Tsuchida, and Sean Draddy, each providing their own unique impact on the roster, whether it be scoring, timely passing, or aggressive defense. Those three skill sets are arguably why the Garnets were successful last season, but Rye has struggled so far this year, dropping their first two games to Clarence and Clarkstown. The team was outscored 14 to 7 over their first two games, despite goals from Bagley, Dorfman, and sophomore Trevor Dolan in their most recent loss against Clarkstown. Others on the roster looking to continue making an impact include seniors Tommy Broderick, and juniors Matt Giannetti and Drew Dolan, all of whom have either scored or assisted a goal in Rye’s first two games.
For Draddy, the first two losses this season were tough to watch from a distance as he finished out his tenure on Rye’s championship football team, but he’s hoping the team can turn things around in his final season. “I’m very excited to get back on the ice for one last year with my teammates. Now that football is over I’m just here to turn the ship around and in the right direction so we can start winning games.”
In goal this season for the Garnets are senior Brandon Morgan, sophomore Owen Fitzgibbons, and freshman Davis Goodman, all of whom are likely to see playing time. The Garnets hope to rebound next Wednesday against Scarsdale, looking to enter the win column for the first time this season.
– Ian Colalucci
Wrestling Team Back and Brimming with Talent
Rye’s Head Coach Brian Scher had only one thing in mind after his team finished last year with nine qualifiers at the Westchester County Wrestling Championships in Yonkers. “We hope to build on this next year and continue to contest against the top programs,” he said. It’s safe to say that with seven of those nine qualifiers returning this season, the team is bursting with young talent. Despite the departure of senior captains Austin Bergamini and Cian Keegan, the team is poised for success.
Last year, the Garnets had numerous firsts that put the program on the map. Keegan became Rye’s first-ever Westchester champion after winning against Kyle Peske of Hendrick Hudson in the 172-pound weight class, and Rye beat Harrison for the first time since 1986. This year, the Garnets have plenty of threats they hope will lead them to similar success.
Returning seniors include Eamon Bagley, Mauro Flores, and captain Hayden Harvey, along with underclassmen Max Bajuk, C.J. Luth, Hunter Gillies, and Jack Anderson. The team itself is one of the largest in Section I, and as Scher enters his third season as coach, the team hopes to contend against Westchester powerhouses like Iona Prep, Pleasantville, and Eastchester.
The team opened the season at the Bernie Miller dual tournament, a home event for the Garnets, and assistant coach Greg Domestico exuded confidence and optimism when describing both the team’s performance early on, and the Rye Wrestling organization as a whole.
“The biggest difference we have [this season] is that the kids are committed to off season wrestling, which has made us competitive against some of the top teams in the section,” Domestico said. “We went 4-1 at Bernie Miller, and placed second to Iona Prep. That’s the highest finish that I can remember in the last 20 years.”
With a roster of 25 wrestlers, and a whopping 37 more at the modified level, the team is loaded with depth as they head out to wrestle opponents including crosstown rival Rye Country Day School, John Jay-Cross River, Sleepy Hollow, and Eastchester. With 17 divisional qualifiers in their previous 2 seasons, Rye Wrestling is looking to continue their recent run of success and etch their name alongside the other prestigious Garnet athletic teams that have recently dominated Section I.
– Ian Colalucci
A Winter Runs Through It: Rye Winter Track Is Out There
As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, most sports move indoors to avoid the unpredictability of a northeastern winter. But not winter track. As the basketball players walk into the gym in shorts, the runners bundle up and trek to the turf, prepared to run through wind, rain, and even snow.
Though they practice outside, winter meets are held at The Armory in New York City on a 200-meter indoor track, half the length of Rye’s. While the common races in the spring are the 100-, 200-, 400-, and 800-meter events, the shorter track offers a variety of events, including the 55-, 300-, and 1000-meter.
“This year’s team is full of potential,” says Assistant Coach Michael Szarkowitz. “We have the year-round runners: Jessica Bourne, Will Squarek, Aine Kennelly, and Lily Oberbannscheidt among them.” The secret weapons, though, he says, are the multi-sport athletes. “You get a wide receiver with a vertical, and suddenly you have a phenomenal high jumper,” Szarkowitz said, referring to football player Alex Schatz.
Another multifaceted athlete is Mali White, who has committed to playing lacrosse at Davidson. White joined Winter Track last year and ran the second leg of the Short Medley Relay that won first at Nationals and broke the school record (along with Cate Doyle, Clare Curran, and Bella Lulaj). Other “track converts” to watch are field hockey captain Sophie Bourne, Oberlin Lacrosse commit Joe Chai, and state-titled soccer star Lyla Keenan.
In the past, Pearl River, Somers, and Tappan Zee have been the powerhouses of Section 1, while schools like John Jay Cross River and Bronxville have also been fierce competitors. “Our goal is the same as last year,” Szarkowitz said. “Win the league.” Last year, the
Garnets Girls’ team won the league and the Boys’ came in third.
. “From there,” Szarkowitz said, “we see how far people can make it.” Individual racers and relays can then qualify for Sectionals, States, and Nationals.
– Piper Tenney
Boys’ Basketball Has High Hopes
As Rye High Boys’ Basketball Coach John Aguilar begins his 12th season, he has reason to expect another successful year.
The 2022 team enjoyed a winning season, finishing with a record of 14-7. They prevailed in the first round of the playoffs, then lost to Somers in Round Two. The Garnets graduated four of their five starting players from last season; this year’s team will be anchored by All-Section junior Jake Kessner, who led the team in rebounding and scoring last year. The other returning seniors including Charlie Stevens, and a deep roster of talented juniors and sophomores, including Rockland Boisseau. The 2023 version of the Garnets has height and strength, and will likely be known for a physical brand of basketball.
This season promises to be challenging for the Garnets, with a schedule that includes matchups against several difficult opponents. Among them is Tappan Zee, the defending New York State Champion in Class A, and Byram Hills, a Class B finalist last season. Still, Aguilar thinks the team will be highly competitive with the potential to make a deep play-off run. With their height and physicality, he expects them to control the boards against most teams.
The schedule includes a Friday night home game versus Rye Country Day on December 15 at 7 pm.
– Mike Tepedino
Girls’ Basketball Looks Forward to Another Stellar Season
The Rye High School Girls’ Basketball team finished with a 15-7 record last year, but was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by eventual champion Tappan Zee. This season’s Garnets are expected to display athleticism and defensive pressure that will create offensive opportunities.
“Basketball has a ton of possessions and is a game of runs,” said Coach Margo Hackett. “The style we play requires non-stop energy and pressure. Energy matched with our athleticism and depth will be dangerous.”
This year’s team boasts a strong core of returning seniors, including Piper Tenney, Meredith Kenney, and Sofia Shoemaker. The Garnets showcased their depth in the season opener on December 6, defeating John Jay 50-26. All 12 members of the team saw action and six different players contributed between six and 10 points. In addition to the returning seniors, the roster of talented underclassmen includes Paige Tepedino, Phoebe Greto, and 8th grader Stella Maresca.
Notable home games this season include a highly anticipated game against rival Harrison on January 26. Additionally, the Garnets will participate in the Slam Dunk Tournament at the Westchester County Center on January 5.
– Mike Tepedino
Boys’ Swim Plunges into New Season with a Win
Only one meet into this year’s swim season, the Rye-Blind Brook Boys Swim team has already experienced triumph. A combination of swimmers and divers from the two neighboring schools, this team consists of only 12 swimmers and two divers, but boasts loads of talent.
The team, which has five seniors and nine freshmen, practices at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont and attends meets all over the county.
At their first meet on December 8 against Tappan Zee, Rye’s Nicholas Field won the diving competition. Rye senior Tripp Redd won in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races. Rye-Blind Brook, which had lost to Tappan Zee in previous outings, won the meet 85-81.
“It was definitely a little bit of getting the monkey off our back after not winning last season,” Redd said. “Seeing everyone put together great swims was really exciting and gave us some extra juice heading into the rest of the season.”
The boys second meet was scheduled for December 12 against Mount Vernon.
Rye’s head swim coach Katherine Konopka celebrated the first win of the season and said the team will face challenges.
“Our most challenging meet for the season will be against Yonkers on Thursday, January 11, at Hommocks Pool at 4:30 pm,” she said. In preparation for that meet, she added, the team will have to maintain focus, though swimming in a home meet may give them an edge.
“I am most looking forward to watching the team compete at dual meets and to hopefully compete for a League 3 team title this season,” Konopka said. “Additionally, I am excited to get as many swimmers and divers as possible to qualify for the sectional championship meet in February.”
– Emily Schmidt