MetroSports Magazine Mar-Jun 2021

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MetroSports Magazine

A Second Century of Racing at the Legendary House of Power It’s Raina’n Gold, Halleluja 10-year old Brazilian Jui Jitsu

Eleven Table Tennis Virtual Parkinson’s Championship Amateur Boxing Returns to NY State

March - June 2021

Westchester United Football Club Women’s Premier Soccer P


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March-June 2021

4 A Second Century of Racing at the Legendary House of Power The 2021 racing season takes the green flag at the Orange County Fair Speedway 10 It’s Raina’n Gold, Halleluja Ten Year Old Raina Donatella Tumminello is Sweeping Her Way Up The Ranks of Brazilian Jui-Jitsu 15 April 11, 2021: Virtually Shaking Up the Table Tennis World Ping Pong Parkinson partners with the Eleven V.R. Platform 18 Amateur Boxing Returns to NYS USA Boxing Metro hosts its first post-Covid event 24 WUFC Women’s Premier Soccer Letting their feet do the talking

Cover Photo by Clark Thompson, MetroSports Magazine | 1

Train Like a Champion. Train with a Champion. MetroSports Magazine’s former Athlete of the Month and cover of our May-June 2015 issue, Keisher “Fire” McLeod, a former NY Golden Gloves Champion, current NYS Flyweight Champion and current WIBA World Flyweight Champion can now be your personal boxing trainer at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.

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MetroSports Magazine (MSM) is published six times a year by the New York Sports Photo Group. MSM is available online and can be downloaded in electronic format for viewing on tablet and hand-held devices, laptop and desktop computers and purchased as full-color glossy print editions. Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Art Director: Warren Rosenberg Publisher: New York Sports Photo Group: Editorial Director / Sales: John Chuhran Writers: John Chuhran, Warren Rosenberg Director of Photography: Clark Thompson Social Media: Clark Thompson, Warren Rosenberg Photo Contributors: -Clark Thompson, -Warren Rosenberg -Dion Watts Advertising: For rate card contact Please direct all inquiries to: Visit us on the web at:

MetroSports Magazine accepts and welcomes photos, short articles, opinions and letters from our readers. There is no guarantee that unsolicited contributions will be published and MetroSports Magazine assumes no responsibility for failure to publish or for editing published contributions. The Contents of MetroSports Magazine consist of copyrightable and/or copyrighted material and cannot be reproduced without the express written consent of the publishers. MetroSports Magazine | 3

A Second Century of Racing at The Legendary House of Power by Clark Thompson and Warren Rosenberg One sure sign of Spring is the return of racing to the fabled grounds of the Orange County Fair Speedway (OCFS) in Middletown New York, also known to race fans as The Legendary House of Power. With Covid-19 pandemic restrictions lifting across the State, the OCFS welcomed fans back into the stands for the April 3rd – 4th opening weekend of the 2021 racing season.


s announced on the OCFS website, “Track management will still be taking extra precautions and limiting the amount of seating available to ensure proper social distance, but FANS ARE BACK IN THE GRANDSTAND FOR ‘21! Of course, the drive-in section will be back as it has every year since 1967 AND racing will continue to be livestreamed for out-ofarea fans too!” “OCFS will follow and enforce CDC and New York State COVID-19 protocols. Masks are required to use any of the fairgrounds facilities and to move about the grounds. Everyone is asked to maintain safe distancing.” The 2021 racing season kicked off on Saturday night, April 3rd, with the 40 lap United Rentals DIRTcar Big Block Modified race and a 20 lap

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Arkel Motors Sportsman race. This was the first of 12 nights of Big-Block Modified racing that will culminate with the new elimination format Championship night in September. The night’s festivities were designated as Autism Awareness Night in recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month. “We’re excited to have fans back in the stands as well as the Drive-In section for Opening Night,” says Orange County Fair Speedway Director of Motorsports Brett Hearn, “And what better way to get the season started than with the Autism Awareness decal bonus adding $1,000 to the winner’s purse, making it a $5,000-to-win Orange County Oval Kickoff 40-lap feature for our United Rentals Big-Block DIRTcar Modifieds.” Forty teams brought their cars to the United Rent-

Above: Photo credit - Clark Thompson

als event for qualifying and 29 took to the track for the race. Capturing the inaugural win for the OCFS 2021 racing season was Tommy Meier, posting a top speed of 104.67 mph, one of six cars posting 100+ mph top speeds. For his efforts, Meier picked-up the $5,000 check. Rounding out the top five finishers were Larry Wright, Max McLaughlin, Mat Williamson, and Billy Decker. In the Arkel Motors Sportsman race, top honors among the field of 27 went to Robert Bublack, posting a top speed of 95.62 mph and followed across the finish line by Joe Brunning, Jeff Hulseapple, Joe Bonetti, and Andrew Buff. The Orange County Fair Speedway holds an important place in the New York Metro Region’s racing history. While the pages of MetroSports

In the Arkel Motors Sportsman race, top honors among the field of 27 went to Robert Bublack, posting a top speed of 95.62 mph and followed across the finish line by Joe Brunning, Jeff Hulseapple, Joe Bonetti, and Andrew Buff. The Orange County Fair Speedway holds an important place in the New York Metro Region’s racing history. While the pages of MetroSports Magazine have previously documented such early events as the 1896 New York to Irvington Cosmpolitan Race, the 1908 Briarcliff Trophy Race, and the early 1900s races at the Yonkers Empire City Speedway, the history of the OCFS dates back to 1857 when it first hosted horse racing. The step from horse racing to automobile racing took place in 1919 and mirrored the transition at the Yonkers Empire City track and the

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Above: Photo credit - Clark Thompson

New York City Sheepshead Bay track. The OCFS has hosted midget racing, open wheel racing, and stock car racing and is one of the few remaining, continuously-operating tracks in the State. At its opening 102 years ago, the OCFS shared several commonalities with the Indianapolis 500, placing both in a legendary position in the annals of American automobile racing. The first Indianapolis 500 race, held on May 30, 1911, was run under the authority of the ‘AAA Contest Board’ as the sanctioning body. The AAA Contest Board was also the sanctioning body for the inaugural August 1919 race at the OCFS. The relationship between these two iconic speedways goes deeper than just that. No less than five Indianapolis 500 winners also raced at the OCFS. 6 | March-June 2021

The 1915 Indy 500 winner, Ralph DePalma set a track record at the OCFS running a 29 second lap around the 5/8 mile track while on his way to winning a feature race. Fred Frame was the winner of a feature race at the OCFS in 1930, two years before he went on to win the Indy 500. In 1939, Bill Holland claimed a win at the OCFS and it took another full decade before drinking his bottle of milk at the 1949 Indy 500 Champion. That puts Holland a bit ahead of Lee Wallard, who’s Indy 500 Championship in 1951 came a full 15 years after claiming a win at the OCFS. And last but not least is the one and only Mario Andretti, who won the 1969 Indy 500 but, although he raced single-seat, open wheel midgets at the OCFS in 1962, didn’t claim a win there.

Not only has the Orange County Fair Speedway hosted these five Indy 500 Champions, the OCFS solidifies its place in New York racing history as being the NY Metro area track where such notables as Al Unser, Bobby Allison, and NASCAR’s Carl Edwards have raced. In 2013, a new dirt track was opened at the OCFS but, this time, the track was dedicated to racing twowheeled vehicles and regularly hosts motocross races sanctioned by the Metropolitan Sports Committee, a New York based motocross association.

In addition to the long-standing 5/8 mile auto racing track and the more recently added motocross track, the OCFS facility just opened a new track dedicated to supporting the development of youg racers. As presented by the Orange Motorspors and Entertainment management, “Victory Speedway will enable young fans to be more than fans, opening the door to competition in an exciting new way! If you or your child wants to get involved in racing, the 2021 season at the Orange County Fairgrounds and Victory Speedway would love to have you be a part of their racing family.”

Above: Photo Credit - Clark Thonpson

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It’s Raina’n Gold, Halleluja Ten Year Old Raina Donatella Tumminello is Sweeping Her Way Up The Ranks of Brazilian Jui-Jitsu by Warren Rosenberg


n Saturday, April 3rd 2021, the Frederick Indoor Sports Center in Frederick Maryland was the site of a recent event in Grappling Industries’ globe-spanning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments where over 1,000 competitors, age 4 through adult masters’ level put their skills to the test. One young competitor, 10 year old White Plains resident Raina Donatella Tumminello, put on an outstanding performance and brought home four Gold Medals from her four matches, three by submission and one on points. This young woman, who attends White Plains’ Church Street Elementary School and trains at Essential BJJ in nearby Hartsdale, NY, is no stranger to success in her chosen sport. At the young age of eight, Raina claimed the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games, competing against 13 other girls from around the world. Her justifiably proud dad told us that “She looked good for not having competing in 6 months.” As of May 1st, 2021, Raina boasts a record of 18 wins in competition - twelve by submission and three each by points and decision. An impressive record by any standard.

Photography by Dion Watts @shotbywatts and Joe Tumminello

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Facing page: Raina poses with her instructor, the world renowned Professor J.T. Torres, owner of Essential Jui Jitsu

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Also representing the NY Metro Region at the April 3rd event in Maryland was 29 year old Gabriella Gulfin, an experienced martial artist and boxer who took home two Gold Medals after winning seven of her eight matches. Gulfin, currently ranked the #1 pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in New Jersey and #8 in Pennsylvania by the website, Tapology, is not unkown to MetroSports Magazine, having been included in our coverage of the first annual Ring Masters Championship boxing event at Madison Square Garden in 2018. As a young woman who started her martial arts training at the age of 11, scored her first competitive win in taekwondo at the age of 16, and entered Brazilian Jui-Jitsu at the age of 22, we thought Gabriella might have some advice for Raina. In her own words, Gabriella says, “Raina keep going, it only gets better. Enjoy the process, fall in love with developing your craft as you develop yourself.”

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More recently, Raina took home the 1st

place Gold Medal at the Jiu Jitsu World League

Texas Open on June 12th in the Dallas Comerica Center. The event had over 1,000 competitors participating and Raina was one of 36 entrants in the female youth pre-teen division. Next up, Raina is back on the road again in late July for Pan Kids International Brazilian Jui-Jitsu Championships in Kissimmee, Florida. Raina will be one of 13 competitors traveling down from Hartsdale’s Essential Brazilian Jui-Jitsu along with fellow Junior grapplers Michael Cummins, Christopher Cruz, Jack Mitchell, James Keohane. Robert Miele and Gianna Cruz, and Teen grapplers Sienna Cozzali, Joey Cummins, Sean Foley, Peter Hinze, Anthony Miele and Stephen Numme. Later this year she hopes to compete in the Jui-Jitsu Con in Las Vegas, Nevada. We asked Raina’s dad what he thought was the secret to her spectacular success and how the

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climb through Brazilian Jui Jitsu. “I am still shocked by all of this. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this from her.W e just support her and she works so hard; we just enjoy enjoy ride and hope for the best. And this young dynamo has other supporters as well. The apparel companies, Gaidama and Hari Mari are among Raina’s corporate supporters, Gaidama’s tag line, “Elevating Women’s Jui Jitsu”, has a mission “To provide the female grappling community with premium quality and thoughtfully designed gear and apparel” and “To give back to our common mother, Mother Earth, through quarterly donations to planetcentered charities.

Hari Mari, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, states that, “It’s officially time to retire your old, basic sandals and shoes. Our premium materials boast bright color pops, classic patterns, and plush textures that match both your daily moods and adventures. Look good. Feel good. Do good. Hari Mari is a proud partner in the fight against pediatric cancer, donating 1% of sales to help pay for medical & treatment costs for children and families in-need. Thank you for joining the fight.”

Above (left) Raina poses with her Texas Gold Medal, (right) Relaxing after her win in her Hari Mari sandals

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April Eleventh 2021: Virtually Shaking Up the Table Tennis World There are many meanings to the number eleven. In Numerology the number 11 is a master number and represents inspiration, illumination, and spiritual enlightenment. The number eleven also has a special place for those afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease. April 11th is recognized as World Parkinson’s Day because it is the birthday of Dr. James Parkinson, born on that day in 1755, who first described the condition of this pathology in his 1817 publication, “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”. Eleven is also the name of the virtual reality table tennis game by Oculus, an operating unit of Facebook. It therefore makes eminent sense that the 501.c.3 organization, Ping Pong Parkinson, would hold the first ever Ping Pong Parkinson Virtual Reality World Table Tennis Championship on April 11, 2021 and using the Oculus Eleven platform. The Parkinson’s Virtual Reality World Table Tennis Championships is a new tournament for players with Parkinson’s disease. It is the first-ever virtual reality Parkinson’s world championships, coming after the successful inaugural ITTF Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships, held in 2019 in collaboration with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and International Table Tennis Federation Foundation (ITTF Foundation). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ping Pong Parkinson’s founder, Nenad Bach, has partnered with Eleven Table Tennis (ELEVEN) founder, Roman Rekhler, to host the 2021 championships virtually. The 11 April tournament will precede the Parkinson’s World Table Tennis Championships in Berlin, to be held from 9-11 September 2021.

By supporting, participating or sharing about this event you are joining other people with Parkinson’s and VR enthusiasts to embrace a new normal postcovid-19, exploring together a new way to play table tennis, helping create awareness about Parkinsons and the possibilities of a more enjoyable life through play. “Coronavirus changed our lives for better and for worse. I’m dedicated to improving a virtual reality platform that will help, going beyond social distancing and extending friendships all over the globe” -Nenad Bach, Ping Pong Parkinson founder. “I’m honored and intrigued to be part of this progressive idea that has the potential of helping millions of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease” – Zoran Primorac, Olympian and Ping Pong Parkinson advisor. Bronze medalist in the event, Erik Astrand of Sweden spoke about the benefits he gains from table tennis and about the April 11th VR event, “ When I toss the ball to serve, Mr Parkinson is somehow disconnected from both my body and mind. I call it the Ping Pong Magic. To my surprise the magic works in VR too. It is so amazingly close to the real thing. MetroSports Magazine | 15

Even for us, the very important social dimension is there and yet it’s so accessible and completely coronasafe. Thank you for introducing me to this virtual table tennis world. It wouldn’t have happened without this very well organized tournament.” A second Bronze medal was won by Hamid Ezzat-Ahmadi f the U.S.A. who commented that. “It was so much fun participating in this event and I truly enjoyed playing all the participants. Everyone was so nice and courteous and displayed fantastic sportsmanship. I felt a close connection with all players since we all played for a common purpose and we all share the same disease. “ Thorsten Boomhuis of Germanyt captured the Silver medal, 16 | March-June 2021

Winning the Gold medal for this inaugural event was Jesper Jersland of Denmark who encourages everyone with Parkinson’s to gou out and play; “It’s possible to play table tennis with parkinson. Go do it, everyone can do it. This game has been wonderful”.

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Amateur Boxing Returns to NY State USA Boxing Metro hosts its first post-Covid event by Warren Rosenberg


fter more than a year of suspension due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in New York State, amateur boxing has returned to the New York metropolitan area. USA Boxing Metro, the regional sanctioning body for amateur boxing, hosted its first official event on Saturday, May 15th 2021, in what was billed as a “Test Show”. Twenty-two boxers representing 14 boxing gyms took to the ring in front of a pre-screened, masked audience at Mount Vernon’s Main Street Boxing Gym. Proper safety protocol was followed in accordance with USA Boxing’s 21-page “Back to Boxing: Event Operators Guide”. Among these safety protocol were health screening upon entry of the boxers, their support staff which was limited in number, the officiating crew, media, and the audience, also limited in number. Proper face protection was worn by all but the fighters during their bouts and the ring was disinfected between bouts. A Test Show is an event required of all USA Boxing Local Boxing Committees, such as USA Boxing Metro, prior to the return of regular competitions, to test and thereby ensure the effectiveness of newly adopted safety protocols.

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The outcome of the bouts were: Famous Wilson (Rockaway Ropes) defeats Tyreice Stokes (APJ Boxing Club) Henry Clare (NYC Cops and Kids) defeats Alejandro Jimenez (Gleason’s Gym) Nick Campano (Westbury Boxing) defeats Donovan Garell (Floyd Patterson Boxing Club) Miguel Torbiomatias (Floyd Patterson Boxing Club) defeats Basit Mahmood (Unattached) Yana Tolmechava (Underground Boxing Club) defeats Rebecca Goldberg (Church Street Boxing) Erlin Bramellari (Bars Boxing) defeats Alex Davis (Boxingology) Alex Maminakis (Angel & Lion Gorilla Boxing/MMA) defeats Lance Roberts (Boxingology) Frank Morganti (NYC Cops and Kids) defeats Randy Leon (Kayo Boxing) Anthony Tantillo (Unattached) defeats Diego Jagessar (Striking 101) Christian Burgos (Main Street Boxing) defeats Gianluca Lavignani (Kayo Boxing) Emilio Torres (APJ Boxing Club) defeats Marland Bryan (Main Street Boxing)

Above and Facing Page: A sell-out crowd, all appropriately masked, was on-hand to enjoy the return of boxing

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Westchester United Football Club

Women’s Premier Team Let Their Feet Do The Talking


n Saturday June 12th, the Westchester United Football Club’s (WUFC) Women’s Premier semipro soccer team scored their first win of the season, in fact the first win of their existence, over a quick and aggressive New York Shockers team. Playing just the third game of their inaugural season in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), the Westchester squad put on a dominating performance against their upstate rivals, putting up their best offensive effort of the season and holding their opponents scoreless. In front of an enthusiastic crowd on their home turf at Tibbetts Brook Park in Yonkers, the team continued the season’s steady progress under the leadership of head coach Antonio Corrado and his staff, improving their standing to 4th place among the WPSL’s Metropolitan Conference’s eight teams. After falling at home to the Rhode Island Rogues, 1-0, in their first game on May 22nd, the team managed to pull-out a 2-2 tie on the road against the Vermont Fusion in the unfamiliar surroundings of Applejack Stadium in Manchester Center, Vermont. From their first game loss to their second game tie, it was natural that the team would elevate its play to a 3-0 win in their third game. Credit is due to both the strategy of coaching staff and the professionalism, resilience, and athleticism of the players. While the WUFC’s Women’s Premier team is competing in its first season, the WUFC has been in existence for five year and fields youth teams that compete in the Elite Development Program and the ENYYSA/ USYSA National Championship Cups, and a men’s semi-pro team that competes in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL).

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The Women’s Premier Soccer League, in its 23rd season, is the largest women’s soccer league in the world with over 130 clubs participating. The WPSL provides a three-month window from May thru July for elite amateur athletes to showcase their talents. Rosters feature collegiate, post-collegiate, international, standout prep and National Team athletes. The Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA), which is an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the ruling body of soccer in the United States. Upon being invited to join the WPSL, coach Corrado commented, “We are extremely excited to be the first WPSL based club in Westchester County, NY. We believe that this will provide local female players in high school and at the collegiate level an immense opportunity to play over the late spring/ summer months.” MetroSports Magazine caught up with some of the WUFC Women’s Premier team players after the game. Kelly Brady (#9), playing forward for the team is a uniquely experienced player, currently a Division I athlete at Central Connecticut State University. A graduate of North Rockland H.S., Kelly was selected as the Journal News/LoHud Rockland County Player of the Year in 2019, numerous high

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school conference and State titles, and is a three time GAA player of the year. She told us that she enjoys playing with the WUFC, appreciates the talent that surrounds her on the field, and looks forward to, perhaps, playing professionally. She’s got some legitimate reason for optimism in this regard having played with the Irish U-19 National Team, at the UEFA European U-19 World Championships in Spain where she scored two goals against Serbia. Grace Reyer (#2), plays center midfielder on Emory University’s Division III soccer team. She played at Croton Harmon H.S. and was team captain in her senior year. Here’s how she sums up her experience with the WUFC, “Just being able to play my favorite sport throughout the summer is great. It’s an incredible team, I’m a D-III player and most of the team here is D-I, so I’m just going to have to show up, play hard, and l’m lucky I made the team. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in college and, it’s been a dream since I was little to maybe play pro some day, and this is a first step, playing semi-pro at the top level.” Kasia Zawadzki (#14), a defender was born in Poland and dreams of playing professionally in Europe for her home country. Commenting on the WUFC inaugural season, Kasia told us that “I be-

lieve we are one of the hardest working teams out there based on the fact that it is the first season for our WPSL team. To be given the chance to represent Westchester United is the best feeling ever, we are a team that doesn’t give up, we work hard for each other and it shows, we play as if we’ve been here before and that’s what I love.

Our game against the Shockers was a test - we knew what we had to do and we did it. The New York Shockers are a very experienced and technical team and we brought our everything and got the result we’ve been waiting for. Having that be our first win as a team, I believe that this is just the start of something bigger coming for us.”

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MetroSports Magazine’s Clark Thomnpson Honored by the NYCD Boldest Football

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