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Ultimate Athlete Magazine Dear Readers, The defending (2012) Suffolk County Class B boy’s lacrosse champions are represented on the cover of Ultimate Athlete’s Long Island edition this month. But even more than representing a successful team, the photograph symbolizes the heart and hustle that every great athlete strives for. Without this feeling of urgency, sports would not be as exhilarating and adrenaline pumping as they are. Whether it’s one athlete on covering another on the lacrosse field, or a pitchers next throw from the mound, sports dwindle down to individual decisions, moments and games-moments which can cost games, and games that can make or break seasons. This Spring, many Long Island teams have continuously outlasted these taxing moments through the regular season and into playoffs. We’ve featured both the boys and girls Garden City lacrosse teams. Both no.1 ranked lacrosse teams competed in the Nassau finals, and the boys have impressively captured their eight h consecutive county title. Just north of them, North Shore girls lacrosse clenched the Class C championship.

PUBLISHER/CEO EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Paul Corace N.J Comanzo

MANAGING EDITOR

Britney Grasman

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Desiree Keegan

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR

Louis H Quach

SENIOR MEDIA DESIGNER

Ponnuthurai Jeyathas

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR (UA MEDIA)

Lisa Harden-Stone

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

Anthony Anastasiou Alice Wei

SENIOR VIDEO EDITOR

Nicholas Herms

VIDEO EDITOR

John Callejas Josh Rosenman

DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Desiree Keegan

Read about them, and more teams chock-full of heart and hustle athletes inside this edition of Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

As always, don’t forget to check out psychology, nutrition, and training advice from experts in the fields. Find out ways to eat fat and stay fit. Learn how to properly exercise a commonly neglected part of the body, and the importance of staying focused and continuing to play aggressively in a game even when gaining the lead. We hope you heed even an aspect of the range of advice in this issue- it could help you next time you step on the field, the gym, or in the kitchen. Happy fitter days readers.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Richard Brooks Dan Atkinson Matt Modzelewski Dr. Tom Ferraro Mike Mejia CSCS Jerry Del Priore Sandy Sarcona Jaclynkelli Kronemberg Jamie Bolettieri

Britney Grasman Managing Editor Ultimate Athlete Magazine

Desiree Keegan Luis Vasquez Eric Anderson Miscelleana Rhinehart Kylie Cremer Brian Coleman

Britney Grasman IN HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHERS

Morgan Harrison Hannah Singleton CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Adil Borluca

Dana Cama

COVER PHOTOGRAPHY

Morgan Harrison

How to contact us Phone: 1-800-680-3213 Email: info@ultimateathletemagazine.com Ultimate Athlete Magazine (ISSN 1931-5295) is published 12 times a year by Ultimate Athlete, Inc., 24 Woodbine Ave, Northport, New York 11768. All contents copyright 2012 by Ultimate Athlete Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or part of the content without the prior written consent of Ultimate Athlete, Inc. is strictly prohibited. All logos and trademarks are properties of thier respective owners. Although the writers and the publishers have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and the completeness of the information contained in this publication we aassume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. The opinions expressed in all materials are those of authors and do not neccesarily represent those of Ultimate Athlete, Inc or Long Island’s Ultimate Athlete Magazine.

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LONG ISLAND SPRING VOL. I 2013

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PG 10

BABYLON HIGH SCHOOL

PG 12

BAYSHORE HIGH SCHOOL

PG 18

CARLE PLACE HIGH SCHOOL

PG 22

EAST ISLIP HIGH SCHOOL

PG 26

FAMINGDALE HIGH SCHOOL

PG 30

GARDEN CITY HIGH SCHOOL

PG 32

GARDEN CITY HIGH SCHOOL

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MAC AUTHUR HIGH SCHOOL

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NORTHSHORE HIGH SCHOOL

Baseball

Girl’s Lacrosse Softball Softball

Girl’s Lacrosse

Boy’s Lacrosse Girl’s Lacrosse Softball

Girl’s Lacrosse

PG 46

OYSTER BAY HIGH SCHOOL Baseball

PG 48

SAYVILLE HIGH SCHOOL Boy’s Lacrosse

PG 52

WEST ISLIP HIGH SCHOOL

PG 56

NUTRITION

PG 58

TRAINING

PG 60

PSYCHOLOGY

Boy’s Lacrosse

Fitting Fat Into A Fitness Diet Backfield In Motion To Protect Or Attack?

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BABYLON HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL

ROAD BACK TO THE TOP Story by Kylie Cremer | Photos by Morgan Harrison

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BABYLON HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL

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abylon High School’s baseball team emerged from their 2012 season triumphant, yet not fully satisfied. The Panthers went 22-3 – the best record in Suffolk County – and earned themselves the title of Long Island Class B champions over Cold Spring Harbor; it was the first time the team won this title since they dominated the state tournament in 2007. While they were hoping to repeat the events of that monumental year, the Panthers took an eight run loss in the State B quarterfinals to Briarcliff, finishing the game 13-5. Sixth year head coach Anthony Sparacio believes that there was nothing more they could have done to win that game. “That was a tough game,” he said. “I think we were up 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth. We pretty much put all of our pieces in place, the other team just made plays and we didn’t. There was really nothing we could have done differently.” Although the Panthers graduated five key players at the end of last year, Sparacio notes that he has a handful of juniors returning and a number of seniors who have taken it upon themselves to step up this season and fill the role as team leaders, such as Ricky Negron, Nick Giampietro and Matt Finelli. “Those are the main guys that keep everything together and keep everyone

on an even keel. They lead by example,” said Sparacio. This is something he views as especially important because while he still has a number of returners that know the inner workings of the Babylon baseball program, he knows that 2013 has presented him with a new season and a new team. “It takes hard work, keeping everybody together, not resting on last year’s performance because this is a different team than last year, and keeping in perspective that we do have a new team and a different bunch of kids,” he explained. His new guys, however, do not need much schooling in the game of baseball, as the eight newcomers played on Babylon’s JV team and proved to have an exceptionally successful season last year.

We had two kids who went to school for baseball and they may get drafted, so I think pitching will be down a little bit, but we’ll make up for it in defense and offense.” Regardless of strengths and weaknesses, the philosophy Sparacio reflects on his team is to always reach for the stars when setting the season’s goal – but he know that there are a number of stepping stones on the path towards achieving the ultimate objective. “Getting into the playoffs is the first goal, of course,” he said. “The second goal is the Suffolk County championship, then the Long Island championship. If we can win that, then anything can happen from there.”

Sparacio is excited for their contribution. Players such as sophomore Jack Facciebene, a pitcher who went 5-0 last season, along with junior catcher Peter Donaldson are two examples of guys who will be moving up from JV as starters for the Panthers. As Babylon approaches their league game season, Sparacio is learning what he can rely on and what needs further preparation. “Our defense and hitting should be solid,” he explained. “Pitching won’t be like it was last year.

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Story by Jamie Bolettieri | Photos by Morgan Harrison

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he Bay Shore girls lacrosse team has ransacked the playing field, destroying the competition and stealing victories. The Marauder’s speed and experience make them formidable opponents. They currently hold the top spot in their league, and plan to maintain their position until the end. With 21 girls on the roster, it is difficult to tell who is the most valuable of the group. Everyone makes an effort to contribute, but Coach Pfeffer believes that the returning All-County players from the 2012 season have the most influential roles. Those players include senior defender Perri Baker, senior midfielder Cynthia Del Core, junior midfielder Kyra Harney, and junior attacker Carly Cox. They have proven their worth in the past, and their coach is pleased to have them once again. These four were not the only players the team relied on, and their coach states, “There have been many other players stepping up this season.” There are many talented and devoted athletes who enrich game play and aid the team in its path to victory. The coach mentions the Marauders have two predominately influential leaders in

Baker and Harney. Pfeffer recognizes Baker as a strong and positive verbal leader, while she alternately sees Harney leading by example. She claims, “Harney constantly seeks to improve her fitness level and take her game to the next level.” Her example is a model for her teammates to aspire to. Having such widely differing leadership styles benefits the team, effectively allowing athletes to follow who impresses them most. Coach Pfeffer appreciates the large number of up-and-coming players for the varsity team; the possibilities of who can step up are endless. When asked who has the most potential, Pfeffer does not rule out any prospects, responding, “The whole 2014 class!” Every athlete is integral, and each has their role to play in promising future seasons. The Marauders are currently at 15 wins with a mere one loss. Since Bay Shore is ranked as the first seed in their division for the playoffs, they get to sit back through the first round of the Suffolk playoffs while Lindenhurst and Middle Country battle to see who gets the rights to face Bay Shore in the second round. Since the playoffs have barely

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begun it is difficult to predict what the results will be, but the Marauders are confident in their abilities. Bay Shore always has the same recurring goals they attempt to accomplish every year, so no matter what they can be certain of what they will be straining for. Academics are an important part of high school, which understandably come first for the athletes. The Marauders aim to become a New York State Scholar Athlete Team every season, and this one will be no different. They put their foremost focus on preparing for college, and Coach Pfeffer proudly lists a few colleges the upperclassmen plan to attend. Bay Shore also seeks to become the Division I Champions and to qualify for the County Finals, and they are well on their way to achieving both at present. They look forward to all the possible moments and memories they will be making on their journey. Bay Shore plays within a competitive league and has ample ongoing rivalries. Their neighboring rival is West Islip, whom they have already beaten 9-5, but they also looked to defeat teams like Northport, Ward Melville, and Farmingdale. The Marauders easily defeated Northport 16-6, but lost their only game of the season to Ward Melville by a mere one point during overtime at 1110. They look forward to continually testing themselves and hope to come out on top at the playoffs.

sists of returning players. Coach Pfeffer hopes have been fulfilled, as this has been an advantage over their younger and less experienced rivals. Luckily for next year’s team, the majority of the athletes are currently juniors so they can look forward to retaining familiar players once again. The road to success has always been considered a winding narrow path riddled with obstacles. The Marauders recognize this, yet they are forever keen to continue their journey. Coach Pfeffer affirms, “There are many tough teams and competitive athletes throughout the county.” Their rivals are constantly training and improving themselves, and their coach alleges, “We respect our opponents.” Bay Shore knows what it takes to succeed, and they will continue training as well so that they can face their opponents as equals and flaunt their mettle. Coach Allison Pfeffer, who has been coaching the varsity Bay Shore team with her assistant coach and husband John Pfeffer since ’92, recognizes that she has a quality group this year. She mentions, “We’ve created an environment where hard work is expected.” She knows they have the talent and drive, and are committed to success. She adds, “The 2013 team will rise to the challenge and be successful both in the classroom and on the field.”

The Marauders’ biggest strength is their depth and experience. Only two seniors graduated in 2012, so the team mainly con-

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he Carle Place Varsity softball team ended last season with a 19-4 record. Although they were Nassau’s Class B champs as well as the no.1 ranked team in Class B, the Carle Place Frogs ended up losing in the Long Island Championship to an undefeated Babylon in extra-innings. Nevertheless, Carle Place’s Head Coach, Chris Ceruti, said she was extremely proud of her team’s accomplishments. “It’s not always about the winning and losing, it is the ability to choose how we respond to any given circumstance and learn how to be better people,” Coach Ceruti said. This year, the first circumstance the team had to respond to, was the weather. Like any sport, pre-season training requires a constant focus on fundamentals and conditioning. The unusually cold early spring we’ve had on Long Island has not made it easy for the Carle Place softball team. Throwing a ball around in the bitter cold can definitely be a little painful, but some may say that a little bit of pain can go a very long way in the world of sports. “My goal is always to be the mentally prepared team,” Ceruti said about her spring training program. This year, the cold may prove to be a factor well into the regular season. However, pre-season training is done now, and with the 2013 softball season officially underway, Carle Place will look to match – and quite possibly improve on – last season’s performance. And with the up-and-coming talent on this team, it looks like their chances are pretty good. “My 2013 team will be very different than my team from last year. I have seven returning and only three will be in the same position,” Ceruti said. Among the seven returning players is junior Captain Kaitlyn Davis. While Davis saw a few games at the mound last year, it is likely that she will be pitching much more often – as well as sharing time at first base with senior Devin Deveau. Last year, Davis proved that she can be a threat behind the plate as well.

Not only did it help take them to the championship game, but Cole also threw the first two perfect games in the history of the Carle Place softball program. Now, the Frogs will have to make up for the lost talent, and there is a whole lot of new blood on this team to help them do it. Sophomore Lydia Rice and junior Shelby Fuller will be sharing time at catcher this year, as sophomore Shannon McGuinness looks to spend her time at the mound as well as first base. Meanwhile Laura Murphy, a junior, will be starting in left field. Also joining the lineup this season are juniors Danielle Greico, Krystal Hernandez and Amanda Loughlin. Senior Jessica McMurray is another new addition, and Coach Ceruti said that each will play a part for the Carle Place softball team this year. The Carle Place softball program does not have a very long history by any standards, but it does have a successful one. Coach Ceruti has been the first and only head softball coach at the school, since the program began in 1997. The team’s overall record is 191-136-2. They have six Conference Championships (1999, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2011 and 2012), nine County Titles (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012) and four Long Island Championships (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011). In 2005, the team also made it to the final four at states. That’s a pretty impressive track record, considering the fact that they’ve only been around for sixteen years. But with the energy and passion that Coach Ceruti brings to the table, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. “Carle Place is my extended family and I am grateful every day to do what I love to do,” she said.

Senior Captain Taylor Ruscillo is also returning to the varsity squad this season, starting in center field. Ruscillo has the potential to be another power hitter for the team, especially after she hit a home run last year against Valley Stream North. Brooke Topel – who had two home runs last season - will be starting at third base, and will look to be another big factor for her team. Captain Nicole Grande will be starting in right field in her last season with the Frogs. Junior Keara Mooney will have the chance to return to second base this year, after missing most of last season due to an injury. She will be sharing time at that position with junior Courtney Mulcare, who will be shifting between second base and short stop. Of course, the team will definitely be missing some of the seniors that helped take them all the way to the Long Island Championship in 2012. Of the four seniors that graduated after last season, three of them had All State and All County recognition and went on to play in college. The deadly pitchercatcher combo of Ashley Cole and Leanne Iannucci was one of the big reasons for Carle Place’s success in their 2012 season.

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Ceruti has always had a passion for sports. Before she began her journey with the Carle Place softball team, she grew up in Queens and went to high school in Astoria. She was offered a full athletic scholarship to two different colleges, and chose to attend Long Island University where she played both softball and basketball. Now, her focus is on Carle Place softball, as well as being the Athletic Director at the high school.

“Carle Place is my extended family and I am grateful every day to do what I love to do.” - Coach Chris Ceruti

Coaching alongside Ceruti this season is Deana Tortorici. A pitcher originally from McArthur high School and a graduate of Dowling College, the Frogs look forward to seeing how her experience and expertise can help the team improve. In the end, most of the weight will be put on the shoulders of the girls going out onto the field every game. “My 2013 team knows and understands the tradition of Carle Place softball, so their commitment level and expectations will remain the same,” Ceruti said. All in all, this team and there coaches are out there to have fun and compete in the sport that they love. “Coaching can transform lives,” Ceruite said. “I always believe my team can be successful, and I remind them every day.”

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ast year, East Islip Softball played a season that will not be soon forgotten, as they brought home two wins that made East Islip history. The Varsity Softball Coach Jason McGowan may have been with the program for only two years, but already he has seen the Redmen rise as glowing stars and finish as champions. What opponent came to mind when Coach Jason McGowan was asked to name the biggest game of the year last season? “Bayshore,” was all he had to say. East Islip had never beaten Bayshore in a playoff game, and the two teams met in a final game that would decide which team would move on to the Championships. With Bayshore having the most program wins in the state of New York, Coach McGowan says that even just playing at Bayshore is a lot of pressure on its own.“Bayshore is a very intimidating atmosphere with the All-American Signs, the All-State Sign, and all the music. Bayshore Softball is just about tradition.” And the same tradition runs through Coach Jason McGowan’s own family as well. His father is the renowned Jim McGowan, who coached the legendary team at Bayshore for 30 years before officially retiring. While he was coach, Jim McGowan had the most wins in the state and had the best winning percentage. For East Islip Coach Jason McGowan, versing his father’s legacy was an intense experience

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before it even began. He said it was “…a pretty surreal feeling playing them in the Suffolk County Semi-Finals.” But, it wasn’t just a family tradition that brought uneasiness. The bus came late the day of the SemiFinals, and the team didn’t walk onto the field until 10 minutes before the game started. Even with a late bus and tensions high, the girls stayed focused and walked onto the field ready to face the 19-0, No. 1 ranked team in the state. And the East Islip Softball team came out fighting. The Redmen scored two runs right away within minutes of the first inning. By the fifth inning, the game had flipped in Bayshore’s favor, as the home team was winning 3-2. East Islip wasn’t going down without a fight, and came back to score two runs for a score of 4-3, which changed the course of history. “My pitcher held them down, and we beat them 4-3. It was a great game. Everybody mobbed our pitcher, and we all came together. Everyone was hugging each other and screaming. It was a wild scene.” In the end, this excitement didn’t come close to what happened in the next game: the Suffolk County Championships. The game came down to two teams: Longwood and East Islip, and with Longwood being the no.2 seed, the first out of three Championship games was played on the Longwood field. The Redmen happily took the first win at a final 12-4. Coach McGowan glowingly recalls, “Our bats came alive; we exploded.” Next, the teams played at the Redmen’s home field, the first championship game ever played at East Islip. The day didn’t favor them, as Longwood took home the win with a final score of 6-3. The two teams were tied, 1-1, for the title. A final game at Longwood would decide the champions. The top of the seventh inning saw a 5-4 score with Longwood in the lead, but it didn’t last long as an East Islip pitcher hit a double for a tied score, 5-5. Then as the next batter, Celesy Fileccia, came to the plate, the game shifted completely into East Islip’s hands, as third base brought it to home plate for a 6-5 lead. The final few minutes of the final game saw the Redmen make history again for their program. On Longwood’s field, with hundreds and hundreds of fans, Longwood put up their best three hitters. Batter one and two were taken down, and now the Redmen were only one out away from being crowned the Suffolk County Champions. Coach McGowan describes the final seconds of the game: “Their best hitter is up. She hits a line

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drive. My short stop jumps up in the air and catches it.” The catch changed history for the Redmen as the team brought home their first ever Championship win for the East Islip Softball program. “It rivaled the scene at Bayshore. It was the first title. The girls are crying. A couple of the parents are crying. It was a great scene.” Although moving on to the Long Island Championships did not see a win for the Redmen, the team still ended the season as Suffolk County Champions. This was huge for East Islip with their final stats at 16-4 League and 21-6 Overall.With such a powerful and history-making season, Coach McGowan says he is very positive for the new season even with the loss of a couple of his key players- namely Courtney Blake, his star pitcher and Lindsey Zenk, his star short stop. “I’m very confident about the upcoming season. We have seven kids that are 10th grade or younger, and we have seven kids that are 11th grade or above. So it’s a great mix of veteran leadership and experience and young kids.” And experience is what Coach McGowan says is their number one strength. “Last year, I really feel that we were battle tested. We know what it takes to win, and our defense is solid in every position. Everywhere.” Coach Jason McGowan’s team kicked off their season against his younger brother, Coach Jimmy McGowan, in Hauppauge on March 25. Coach Jason McGowan says it is not always about playing the game. It is just as important to give back to the community every year, which is exactly what the East Islip Softball team does. With events such as “Christmas Magic” in the winter, the Special Olympics in May and “Backpack Pirates” in midAugust, the girls take the time to help children and adults who can use a supportive hand. Coach McGowan says that reaching out into the community also strengthens the girls at home. “It brings us together as a team. It bonds us and makes us more family-like. I think that’s an important part of our success. We really care for each other and look out for each other, and do things together as a team.” For now, the pressure may already be on, as Coach McGowan says he has the newest Newsday paper up on his fridge that says “Watch Out for Bayshore.” But he’s ready and knows his girls are as well. “We lost the Long Island Championships, so we still have something to fight for. Our goal is to be mentally and physically prepared for every practice and every game- not just make them better players, but better people. I’m looking forward to it.”

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he Farmingdale High School girl’s lacrosse team saw a strong finish to last season as the Dalers were crowned the Nassau County Class A champions following a 15-7 victory over Massapequa High School. Amanda Tuturro, a strong player on the team, had six goals and an assist, and Kim Kolodny added fours goals while Olivia Kirk made ten saves. The Dalers went on to fall to Bay Shore High School in the Long Island Championships. It was a close 14-15 contest where Nadine Hadnagy had four goals and two assists; Kolodny had four goals and one assist; Colleen Reynolds had three goals and one assist; Tuturro had two goals and Cassie Perettine had one goal—all while Kirk made ten saves. The green and white Dalers ended the season 17-2, and can say they had a lot to brag about, as the girls took home the school’s seventh straight girl’s lacrosse Nassau Class A title. But the team had much more to brag about, as juniors Samantha Brescia and Christine Kelly sought after a high charitable feat. In an effort to help out a fellow girl’s lacrosse team, the two reached out to help gather donations for Long Beach High School’s team. After Superstorm Sandy, Long Beach Public Schools suffered extensive water damage and the athletic department lost most of its team uniforms, equipment and supplies. After an initial post on Facebook, the girls reached out to lacrosse organizations and universities seeking donations. When Christine and Samantha were unpacking the box of donated lacrosse pinnies from WomensLax.com they found a letter titled “26 Acts of Kindness.” Jersey numbers 1-26 represented 26 random acts of kindness to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy. And the girls continued to pay it forward. On February 22, Farmingdale lacrosse head coach Shari Campbell invited the Long Beach coaches and a few of the players to come pick up donated items. Thanks to Lacrosse Unlimited, WomensLax.com, Reversible Lifestyle, Long Island Metro Lacrosse Foundation, Warrior, and Maverik, among other colleges and universities, Brescia and Kelly were able to gather sticks, goggles, cleats, pinnies, socks and balls for the Long Beach team. Coming into the 2013 season, the Dalers kicked the season off with a season-opener verse Plainedge High School. The Dalers emerged victorious in a 12-1 defeat over Plainedge with Hadnagy scoring four goals with two assists and Tuturro snagging four goals to lead the team 1-0 in Conference I. Kirk had 11

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saves as she came close to shutting out the Red Devils to open conference play.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL While the Dalers graduated two All-Americans,

the team still has a deep squad elf by Maryland-bound Story By Mariel Carbone | Photos by Morgan Harrison midfielder Hadnagy and attack Tuturro. Brescia and Courtney McPartland anchor the defense, and Kirk remains a solid goalie for the team.

But what Nassau County is doing differently this season, is a conference realignment, where things are no longer as simple as A-B-C. Nassau added intrigue to its regular season with an augmented ability-based grouping that features the county’s 10 best teams that will be placed in what is being called a “power league.” The three defending champs from last season—Farmingdale, Garden City and North Shore, will now battle as Conference I rivals before returning to their respective classes for the playoffs. It is decidedly so, that Farmingdale is the No. 1 seed, after winning seven straight Nassau A titles. But it will be interesting to see how this powerhouse matches up in this power conference against those champions of other classes. As games continue to roll past and the team’s schedule plays on, fans and spectators will have to wait and see what the 2013 season will bring, as the Dalers fight to retain what is theirs, and fight for Farmindgale’s eighth consecutive Class A title.

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this final game of the season their seventh. “It’s a long time. You’re in the playoffs for three weeks, but the seniors did a nice job of keeping their focus and approaching it one game at a time,” said Finnell. Despite their focus, Finnell acknowledges that his team had a lot at stake going into the state final. The game was low scoring going into half-time with the teams tied at 2-2. The two remained close as the Trojans pulled slightly ahead at 4-3 going into the fourth quarter, where Garden City turned it on and made their purpose known.

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efeating Irondequoit 11-4 in 2012’s State Class B final was the achievement Garden City’s boys’ lacrosse team had been working for. Not only were the Trojans state champions, but they tacked on the program’s fifth state title in 12 years, something they had fallen short of since 2010, after losing in the final round that year and again in the following season. 2012 proved to be their year. The Trojans finished with an undefeated 22-0 record, won their seventh and third consecutive Nassau County Class B and Long Island Championships, respectively, and earned their long anticipated fifth state title. Further, Garden City added a brand new shiny achievement to their lengthy list: a national ranking – the Trojans found themselves recognized as the No. 1 high school boys’ lacrosse team in the United States.

“At that point in time being 21-0 and going into the last game, I think the kids felt a lot of pressure, but we were able to push through in the fourth quarter and pull away. We were finally able to spring some goals together and ended up winning 114,” said Finnell. After such a stellar year, Finnell now must find a way to approach this season; especially after graduating three vital players from last year’s roster. At practice, he has already felt the loss of goalie Dan Marino, midfielder Pat Berkery and attacker Devin Dwyer. Marino, Berkery and Dwyer each earned All-American status during their senior season at Garden City. “We lost some outstanding players and you’re not going to replace them, so you just have to see what your strengths are going to be,” he explained.

He believes Garden City will have a strong defense this year, and while he cannot replace his former All-Americans, there are a few players who he will be relying on to step up to help maintain the Trojan legacy. Senior Matt Cortese and junior Dan Dolan are two goalies who have been standing out in practice as important members of the team. “I think we’ll be better in the goal than maybe people think. Both of them are good goalies,” said Finnell. Senior attackman Jack Worstell, who had a backup role last year, is projected to come into the forefront as a crucial player this season to run the team’s offense. While there may be ups and downs during this season for Garden City, the team remains focused, goal-oriented, and determined to represent their nationally ranked program as it should be represented. They know what lies before them, however, as their section is one of the deepest for the B class in the state. Contending with teams like Southside, Wantagh, Manhasset and Lynbrook – all of whom have state titles to their credit – their focus and determination will be crucial in helping them push forward towards achieving their goals. “You can’t expect to go 22-0,” explained Finnell. “Sometimes things work out and fall your way. The kids did a great job, but that can’t be the expectation. We want to win our conference, and win the county. That’s our goal, win the county championship.” “I think it’s hard for people to think, ‘Are you going to go back and win States again?’ but if you start thinking about that then you can get distracted.”

“I think that it’s nice, but to say that it’s a distraction at times for the kids is an understatement,” said seven year head coach Steve Finnell. “But they did a really good job of trying to focus on all the little steps.” The little steps he’s referring to are the games that need to be played before even making it to the state final. Prior to facing Irondequoit, the Trojans competed in six playoff games, making

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Story by Kylie Cremer Photos by Bill Kelly

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he Garden City girl’s lacrosse team is a force on the playing field; their training and discipline has made them the number one team in their league. These athletic warriors have been dominating the competition, well on their way to winning the championships. The Trojans are packed with indispensable players; so many that Coach Chapman believes it is not possible to name just a handful of the most valuable. She explains, “This is difficult to do with a team like Garden City, which is very strong and has a lot of depth. It has been a great team accomplishment this season.” Every achievement for the Trojans was a team effort, therefore the entire team deserves recognition and it would be unfair to only name a few star players when everyone is essential. Teamwork is at the center of Garden City’s success, with each athlete expected to do her part. Chapman names the senior class as a force of sheer encouragement whose experience and optimism greatly influence the team. “The four captains are great at motivating the team and getting them ready for games,” she adds. Captains include Linda Attanasio, Bitty Furman, Carly Knowles, and Lily Schmitt. Chapman notes that they took on great amounts of responsibility in their leadership roles, including guiding and encouraging the team in her stead. Other notable seniors include Krista Dampman and Jackie Jahelka, and their coach says, “They are great leaders on attack.” The two are the highest scoring athletes on the team; Dampman has 39 goals and 22 assists, while Jahelka has 41 goals and 10 assists. Other high scoring athletes include Tara DeAngelo with 29 goals, and Margot McTiernan and Haley O’Hanlon with 19 goals

each. Defensive leaders for the team include Charlotte Castronovo, Marie Christoforo, Erin Higgins, Meghan Higgins and Jackie Ferri. Goalie Taylor Carpentier has 116 saves, while Ferri has accrued 14. The aforementioned players all lead by example, letting their talent and hard work speak for their dedication. Coach Chapman is grateful to have such a wonderful group of upperclassmen for younger players to look up to. Up and coming players include freshman midfielder Kerry Difliese and sophomore attacker Margot McTiernan. The two have sparked their coach’s interest, and she is glad she has ample time to shape them and hopes to see their improvement over the coming years. The Trojans are enjoying a highly successful season. With a 15-1 record, they have the most wins in the Nassau Conference I division, and are undefeated in conference play with only a few weeks of gameplay left. Their coach affirms, “The team has been performing very well this season.” Last year the Trojans won their seventh consecutive state championship title, leaving the current team with a colossal name to live up to. Their main goal is

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reach the State Championships once again, but they know it will not be easy to do so. Chapman cites the teams of Long Beach, Manhasset and Wantagh as their biggest competition. While the Garden City team was initially concerned about facing these highly competitive teams, they have already defeated all three and reached their first goal- the Nassau Championships. They won the first round of the Nassau Championship games on May 13 against Carey with a score of 15-2, and expect victory in upcoming games. The team’s top priority is to reach the State Championships, which is a goal they work to fulfill every day. A typical week of practice for the team involves intense conditioning of both offensive and defensive strategies designed specifically for State Championship success. Luckily, the captains take responsibility to improve the team’s chemistry both on and off the field, including hosting fun activities such as pasta parties. Garden City knows that hard work is the key to reaching that top spot in the State Championships, and they will not quit until they have reached that goal.

manage to remain motivated and pull themselves ahead of their competition. Their commendable resilience has been the basis of countless victories. This is Coach Diane Chapman’s twelfth year coaching the Garden City varsity girl’s lacrosse team. She enjoys her team, and presumably looks forward to what future teams will bring.

he Trojans have a philosophy, and that is to respect the game of lacrosse. The athletes have cultivated a high level or respect for fellow teammates, opposing teams, and all officials. Chapman believes respect is one of the most important aspects of the game, and makes for a truly great team as those without respect are generally considered less deserving of their victories. As long as the Trojans retain their respectful nature, they will always feel a sense of belonging as they rise to the top. Coach Chapman believes the Trojans’ biggest strengths are their working spirit and their positive attitude, adding, “They are very fast and skilled.” They never let themselves get discouraged, and keep fighting no matter the odds. Even if they are down at halftime or are tied and enter double overtime, they always

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Mcarthur Girl's Softball 39


Reigning LI Champs Fight For Repeat Story by Jaclynkelli Kronemberg Photos by Bill Kelly

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he MacArthur high school girls’ softball team is the reigning Long Island Champions and they are eager to get back out on the field and defend their title. Last season they ended their season in the State semifinals and this year they are looking to get back there and hopefully go further. Considering all the teams looking to stop them, it won’t be an easy task.

“Jenna does so much for this team,” Fehrenbach said, “She is very athletic and instinctive. She has to be one of the best returning players on Long Island.”

“It’s going to be tough this season,” said head coach Bobby Fehrenbach, “We have seven returning starters so we will see what we can do and hopefully we can go further than last year. We have experience in the playoffs so we will see what happens.” Last season MacArthur finished the season 21-5. They won the Nassau County Championship and the Long Island Championship but fell short in the State Semifinal game. This year they started the season ranked number one in Nassau County class AA. “We have the potential to be as good as last year,” said senior catcher Kristin Daly, “We lost some great players but if we stay focused I have the utmost confidence we will do well.” They are led by 12-year head coach Fehrenbach. “Fehrenbach is a really good coach,” said junior catcher Kristen Arbiter, “He is very approachable, always helps us out, gives us good advice, teaches us and keeps us motivated. I like playing for him.” This is a close-knit team that has great chemistry and they are talented. Shortstop Jenna Cozza is a senior four-year starter. Cozza was all-county last season. She had five home runs, 38 hits, scored 36 runs and batted a 422. Cozza will be attending the University of Massachusetts to play softball next year.

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Junior pitcher Ashley Massoni is returning for her second season. Massoni pitched six games last year and only lost one game. She was all-county last season and had a .90 ERA.

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Massoni only had six earned runs in 46.3 innings. “Ashley has great command on the field,” Fehrenbach said, “She is very composed and does not rattle easily.” There are two good catchers on this team that both control the game. Senior catcher Kristin Daly batted a 311 last season and had 23 hits. “Kristin is great defensively,” Fehrenbach said, “She is very aware of what is going on.”

Junior catcher Kristen Arbiter batted a 345 last season had 29 hits and 18 RBIs. Arbiter batted clean up last season.“Kristen has a great arm,” Fehrenbach said, “She has great communication out on the field.” At second base is senior Kristin Gay. Gay had 17 hits, 19 runs and is a four-year starter for this team. “Kristin is very smart on the field,” Fehrenbach said, “She is versatile and always knows what to do and where to go with the ball.” At first base is senior Kaitlyn Fitzsimmons. Fitzsimmons had 19 hits last season, doesn’t rush at bat and makes the pitches work for her. Junior right fielder Kirsten Kelley had the third highest batting average last year with a 365. “Kirsten always seems to produce,” Fehrenbach said, “She gets on base consistently.” “We have a big target on our back this season,” Daly said, “Everyone is going to be gunning for us. We will have to play our best every game. Knowing everyone is coming after us is only going to make us want to win more.” They are in a tough conference and will have to get through East Meadow, Massapequa, Mepham, Oceanside and Long Beach. In order to defend their title they will have to play their best starting with game one. “These girls make my job easier,” Fehrenbach said, “It’s a pleasure to coach them. They want to be here and they enjoy playing and that is great to see.”

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er Crem e i l Ky y by r o t S

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ly l Kel l i B y tos b | Pho


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012 proved to be a profitable season for the North Shore girls’ lacrosse team as they enjoyed the fruits of a 14-4 record and a deep run into the playoffs. Now a year later and three starters and six additional seniors short, the Vikings are fighting to redeem themselves as they head into playoff season.

For many first timers coming into the varsity level, however, Nassau County’s power league is a daunting place to start, especially with big name teams like Garden City, Manhasset and Farmingdale – No. 1, 2 and 3 in Nassau Conference I, respectively – looming over their shoulders. However Butt only views this as an opportunity to build and maintain their competitive edge – something which he finds to be extremely important.

“We didn’t lose a lot, we just lost some good quality,” explained two year head coach Jeff Butt.

are gained. Butt was able to recruit eight newcomers to the roster, many of which having experience in the sport. “They all have experience playing lacrosse,” said their coach. “The majority of them were ninth graders last year who were actually moved up for the playoffs, and I have one eighth grader who moved up from the middle school

Among the graduated was Amanda Johansen, an AllAmerican and a player who had the most points between goals and assists added up on Long Island in 2012. Johansen is now playing as a midfielder for University of Southern California. Attacker Micaela Dussel was another graduated starter who contributed to the program as the third highest scorer and is now playing at Williams College. Cara Dellavecchia, who now plays for George Washington, also graduated in 2012 as the leader of North Shore’s defense. But as every year comes and goes, players are lost and players

“The competition there is the best in Nassau County and if you handle it right mentally, it only can make you better,” he explained.

program, so they all have pretty good lacrosse experience. They’re just all young kids – tenth, ninth and an eighth grader.”

“They’re very competitive. I couldn’t ask them to work any harder, and believe it or not we have a lot of fun too at practice, so it’s a good mix. They work hard and they’re really competitive girls. They all play travel sports also, so they’re not only playing school sports, but they’re playing travel lacrosse, travel basketball, travel soccer, so they’re always, always in the competitive nature.” The Lady Vikings’ competitiveness is what has been driving them through this

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especially difficult year, something which is best demonstrated by how they spend their time aside from on the lacrosse field. Butt divulged that

as important as staying in shape. They’re always competing and always trying to win a game or win an edge over someone.”

the same in that boat, and we just have a very solid, young, strong defense,” said Butt of the team’s depth.

Though winning the edge has not been as easy for the Lady Vikings this season as years past, Butt feels that he has a much more balanced team this year – one where instead of having a couple of goto players, he can rely on each and every member to play their part and hold their weight. Among his most reliable this season is senior co-captain Tess Korten, who so far in the season has made 50 goals and 25 assists and is leading in points for the

out of his 23 girl roster, about 19 of them are two or three sport athletes contributing to North Shore’s field hockey, basketball, soccer and track programs.

Brennan, a junior, has contributed 13 goals and two assists this season, while co-captain Feehan has made seven goals and six assists and will go on to play for Virginia Tech next year. Leading the defense are sophomores Tara Kilderry, Alex Cantwell, Lauren Cristodero and Ali Biolsi. In the net is senior co-captain Alexis Greene, who has made 98 stops this season. Greene has plans to tend Hoftra’s net after graduation.

“It keeps them in shape, but more importantly I’m a big believer in staying in the competitive mindset,” said Butt. “I think playing

team. Korten will go on to play at the University of Michigan after graduation. The team’s second leading scorer is junior Carly Comitino with 30 goals and seven assists made this season, while trailing right behind her is sophomore Carlee Janelli with 28 goals and three assists.

With their competitive and diehard natures shining through, the North Shore Lady Vikings are not letting their current overall record of 7-8 affect their effort or spirits. “We’re in the playoffs now and we have Locust Valley on Thursday, so it’s just one game at a time,” said Butt. “The league definitely prepared us for the playoffs and we’re looking to beat Locust Valley on Thursday.”

Luckily, it does not stop there for the Lady Vikings. on a very good basketball, field hockey or soccer team and staying in the competitive mindset is just

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“Meag Brennan, she’s a very versatile player and does anything you ever ask of her. Tara Feehan is

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Story by Desiree Keegan | Photos by Morgan Harrison

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fter winning its sixth consecutive Nassau County Class B title last season, the Oyster Bay High School baseball team is looking for its seventh. With an almost undefeated season, the Baymen ended last year with a 22-1 overall record and a 19-1 mark in conference play. Since kicking the season off with an 0-2 start, the Baymen have only lost two games since, and are currently on a 8-0 winning streak. One of the standout players of the team this season is Jackson O’Neill who has a 5-0 pitching record, and has also contributed to the team offensively. On O’Neill’s first outing of the season against The Wheatley School on April 2, he nabbed the win while also notching three hits and two RBIs. In his appearance in the April 8 game against Cold Spring Harbor High School, O’Neill pitched six innings,

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allowing three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in the team’s 6-2 win. Pitcher Tom Kelly has shown that he knows what he’s doing on the mound as well, tossing a shutout against Locust Valley High School on April 11 after allowing three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Kelly also pitched a one-hit shutout against Malverne Senior High School in an 8-0 win on April 16 after striking out five and walking two. Kelly also knows how to contribute offensively for the team, as he went 3-for-5 on April 23 against Friends Academy with two doubles, a single, four RBIs and a run. Dillon Robinson has also made strong appearances at the plate. In a game against Malverne on April 15, Robinson went 4-for4 with a pair of runs and RBIs, and in the second game against Malverne, went 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs. He also proved to be a power hitter when he hit a three-run home run to break a 1-1 tie in the

third inning to help lead the team to a 5-2 win over Friends Academy on April 22. In the second game against Friends Academy, Robinson finished 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, three RBIs and two runs. Cassidy Exum has also contributed offensively in recent games, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four runs scored to lead Oyster Bay 10-6 over East Rockaway High School, and 3-for-4 in the team’s second match-up against East Rockaway, with a solo home run. As Oyster Bay nears the end of the regular season, the team sits at 10-3 overall, and are 4-1 in the B/C conference. Although the team’s finish will not be as strong as it was last season, the Baymen’s goal is still the same—to take home their seventh consecutive Nassau County Class B championship title.

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egan ree Ke arrison i s e D H by Story by Morgan s Photo

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tendencies, and he shoots the ball very, very well.”

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he Sayville High School boy’s lacrosse team proved to be stiff competition last season, as they defeated Comsewogue High School in the Suffolk County Class B Championship, 12-5. With an overall record of 15-4, the Golden Flashes fell just short of the Long Island Class B championship, losing the game to Garden City at Hofstra University. “The season went well,” 13-year head coach Christian Doller said of last season. “The kids performed well and they were able to learn every week and get better and better. It was a goal of theirs to win a county championship and go beyond, but it didn’t happen—we lost to Garden City in the Long Island Championship. But I think the kids were very happy and I was happy with the performance of the kids as well.” The Golden Flashes graduated 16 seniors at the end of last season, and Coach Doller explains that a handful of them were vital pieces to the team. The coach said that although the team returns some offensive prospects and several senior captains, they are less experienced as a whole, in terms of defense. “We did return some very talented offensive players, but the defense is what we’re struggling with right now and what we’re trying to really work hard on. The offense is fairly strong, and I’m very confident in them—it’s just the defense, which is a very big part of the game, so that’s why we’re working hard to improve upon it.”

The coach explains that the defensive unit is getting adjusted to learning new plays and learning to work together as a group. He also said the team is working on its unpredictability. “Offensively, we try to be unpredictable—we do a lot of different things and we’re lucky enough that we have a lot of kids who understand the concept of sharing the ball. And we don’t have any selfish kids, so they really promote the ball and that makes us a little different from other teams who are onedimensional,” he said. “And the defense, they’re learning as we go along and it’s a very steep curve—we’re trying to be unpredictable as well on defense, so there are a lot of plays to go over with them.” The captains this season include seniors Zach Sirico, Connor O’Neill, Andrew Gonzalez and Kyle O’Reilly. According to his coach, Sirico is a talented offensive player who, although also plays on the school’s football team, is going to Loyola College on a scholarship to play lacrosse. “Zach Sirico is probably our strongest offensive player,” his coach said. “He’s probably the best athlete in Suffolk County—very shifty, very strong, and he led Long Island in assists last year, with 80. And he just promotes the ball, and that’s our whole team concept.” And Gonzalez, according to Coach Doller, has played exceptional in his time at Sayville as well. “Andrew Gonzalez is probably one of the best shooters in Suffolk County,” Coach Doller said. “He’s an ex-hockey player, so he has Canadian-style lacrosse

O’Neill is a big, 6-foot-2-inch, 210-lb. midfielder who also shoots the ball very well. “When they get it into their hands they’re very hard to cover, because when they get it in their hands they can shoot at any time,” Coach Doller said of his senior captains. But he also added that junior Spencer Andrews, with his midfield abilities, has helped the team command strong finishes as well. “Spencer Andrews is a face-off midfielder, who has been very, very successful in facing off all summer, all winter and in the preseason,” the coach said. “I think he’s going to do very well this year.” One newcomer that Coach Doller said to be on the lookout for this season, is sophomore Matt Selts, who is a throwback midfielder. “ He plays offense and defense, he’s great on ground balls, and he’s just a very determined, tough player,” the coach said. The Golden Flashes kicked off the season on March 16 with a game against Connetquot High School; Sayville put up 14 goals and pushed out a close (14-13) win. Gonzalez had five goals in the win, Selts had two goals and one assist, O’Neill had one goal, and Sirico had one goal with seven assists. But despite Sayville picking up its first win of the season, Coach Doller acknowledges that the team has some areas of improvement. “We didn’t work defensively,” he said. “Scoring 14 goals

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Coach Doller began the program within the Sayville School District in 1998, after graduating from college and realizing that the district did not have a lacrosse team. As a West Islip native, he takes pride in all that he has accomplished. The program began at the middle school level, and a junior varsity team was established in 1999. In 2000, a varsity team was formed that took part in scrimmages, and it wasn’t until 2001 that the varsity team began its first regular season.

“For our program’s sake, we’d like to put up county championships back-toback. I think the kids are determined and talented enough that we can win the county championship again,” he said. “And that’s just a big statement for our program and with rivals of our program. Our first step is the county championship, because then you can’t get to the LIC. Right now in the Long Island Championship we’re 1-1, we beat Garden City in ‘09, and we want to get it back in our favor and get to that Long Island Championship, again.”

“Lacrosse is something we grew up with,” he said. “It’s been great. I spend a lot of time and a lot of hours coaching the staff that I have with me, and they work just as hard as I do. We put a lot of time in and it’s been great—it’s been a pleasure. The Sayville kids are a pleasure and the community is great. I live here now...my kids go here, and I teach and coach here so it’s great.” Through all his hard work and dedication to the sport and to the district, and with all of his experience and knowledge with teams over his career, Coach Doller said he believes his players have it in them to repeat as county champs. He also believes that an LIC title is within reach.

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Sayville High School

against a good team like Connetquot is good for our offense, but to me, it should have been more of a 14-6 game. We gave them lay-ups on the inside and they should have been prevented, but that’s part of the inexperience of our defense. And in the next couple of days you can fix that. I was pleased that we got out of there alive, but we definitely have to improve.”


Story by Britn

ey Grasman |

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rgan Harrison

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J

ust a season ago, the West Islip boys varsity lacrosse team finished with an undefeated conference record heading into the Class A playoffs. The no.1 seeded team than tackled Northport (9-3) in the quarterfinals, Sachem North (10-5) in the semifinals, and finally ousted Ward Melville (9-6) in the Suffolk County Championship game. The win advanced the Lions into the Long Island Championships where Nassau Champs, Syosset, didn’t pose a threat to the Lions after West Islip’s 11-4 performance. The end of West Islip’s 2012 post season was even more boastful than their regular season completion. The Lions won a semifinal game over Niskayuna that secured them a spot in the state championship game opposite Ithaca High School. In a 12-7 win, the West Islip Lions took their fifth state title in seven years under head coach Scott Craig.

resembled their early season contest when Smithtown East handed West Islip their first regular season loss, 13-6. The outcomes were quite a turn around from the 2012 season when West Islip swept Smithtown East. Ward Melville and Smithtown West were the last two teams standing, both of which West Islip lost to early on in their season. Despite falling short of a championship this year, the Lions have demonstrated skillful play and showed off many talented athletes. They finished no.5 in the 25-team packed Division I. With their track record of state championships, there is no doubt they’ll get back there again in seasons to come.

Coming into this season, the defending state champs were ranked no.4 in MSG Varsity’s first varsity lacrosse power rankings, which lists the top ten Nassau and Suffolk teams. This season, however, didn’t pan out as successful as the last. A 10-4 regular season record secured the Lions a spot in the playoffs, where they advanced into the second round after defeating the Lindenhurst Bulldogs on May 16, 14-3. West Islip saw Smithtown East in the second round. Unfortunately, the Bulls beat the Lions on May 21st, ending West Islip’s season in a 12-4 loss, which

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NUTRITION

FITTING FAT INTO Written by Sandy Sarcona

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hree macronutrients make up calories: Protein, fat and carbohydrate (carbs). Protein is the magic macronutrient among athletes as it is equated with muscle, and followed by carbs for fuel. But where does that leave fat? Most athletes have a fear of eating fat since they think its role is just to make them fat! The truth is that not all fat is bad. There are different kinds of fat and getting the right types and amount is important for your health and your performance. As an athlete, you need some fat in your diet to add flavor, for essential fatty acids needed in your body, to absorb fat-soluble nutrients and to serve as a source of energy. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 20 to 25 percent of calories in your diet to come from fat. Translation: If you are eating about 2500 to 3000 calories per day you would need about 70 to 85 grams of fat. Look at the label on a small bag of potato chips and see that it provides 11 grams of fat in one ounce and realize how easily you can go overboard on fat just from overeating high fat snacks. A quarter pound cheeseburger with a large order of fries will deliver your daily allotment of about 70 grams of fat! Be smart and go for heart healthier unsaturated fats. That would mean opting for monounsaturated fats like olive oil and peanut butter, and polyunsaturated fats like fish. The saturated fats that come from animal products can build up cholesterol and start the artery clogging process even at your young age. Too much fat can slow you down especially if you have a high fat meal before practice or competition, so save those French fries for after the game! You do not want to restrict fat, but think about replacing higher fat versions with healthier choices:

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O A FITNESS DIET

Limit fried foods: Try baked or broiled items.

Choose leaner proteins: Try more chicken, fish, turkey, beans and egg whites. Limit red meat to 4 oz. two-three times per week.

Switch from whole milk dairy to low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt and cheese; choose ice cream that is reduced in fat.

Cut back on added butter, margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressing or substitute lower fat or light versions of these.

It is all a balancing act of macronutrient intake. The bulk of your diet should come from complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruit; lean meats, poultry, fish, nuts, beans, egg whites (four whole eggs per week is the recommended amount); non-fat or low fat dairy, and healthy added fats. Choosing from all of these foods every day along with your sports drinks and lots of water is the optimal fitness diet!

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here are no butts about it; strong glutes are a key component of athletic success! Lame puns aside for a moment, though, the muscles that make up the gluteal group (gluteus maximus, medius and minimus) really do play an integral role in your ability to perform at your best and avoid injury. Unfortunately, because young athletes tend to spend so much time overusing the muscles that act on the front of the hip joint, the glutes not only often go underutilized, but in many instances, effectively end up “shutting down”. When this happens, improvements in things like speed and power become virtually non existent and injury potential increases exponentially. So before you just head blindly into the weight room and possibly make matters worse, take a few minutes to assess whether or not your glutes are firing properly. By simply doing some of the self assessments featured below (as well as following up with any necessary corrective strengthening and stretching drills), you’ll quickly begin to realize just how important it is to keep these muscles functioning properly. Better still, before long you should see a noticeable difference in your performance on the field.

ASSESSMENTS Thomas Test: This simple test is an excellent way to see of your hip flexors and/ or quadriceps (as well as your iliotibial bands) are too tight. If any of them are, they can often inhibit optimal firing of the glutes. Stand near the edge of a bench, or table with your butt touching the edge. Next, lie back hugging both knees to your chest. Keeping one leg in contact with your chest, allow the other to extend away from your body. Let the leg drop as far as possible, without increasing the arch in your lower back.

You’re looking for your leg to drop down in line with, or slightly below your hip and your knee to bend less than 45 degrees, with everything in a straight line.

If your leg doesn’t drop down in line with your hip and your knee bends more than 45 degrees, your hip flexors are too tight.

If your leg does line up with your hip, but your knee bends less than 45 degrees, your quads are too tight.

If your leg externally rotates in any of the above positions, your ITB is too tight.

Cook hip lift: Here’s a great test developed by renowned physical therapist and movement specialist, Gray Cook. It’s a quick and easy way to assess if your glutes are working properly. Begin by lying on the ground and bending both knees about 90 degrees with your feet flat on the floor. Next, bend one knee and bring it towards your chest and place a tennis ball between your thigh and the lower portion of the rib cage. Hug the back of your knee to keep the ball in this position and press your other foot into the ground (by emphasizing pushing through the heel) to lift your hips and lower torso. If the Thomas test revealed that you had tight hip flexors, you may have trouble getting very high off the ground. Make sure that you do not attempt to get up higher than you’re able to by excessively arching your lower back. If you feel the drill in your glutes, that’s great! If you feel it only in your hamstrings, that’s a sign that your glutes are not firing properly and can indicate potential lower back problems down the road. If you only feel the drill in the front of your hip and thigh, your glutes are completely out to lunch and you’re a prime candidate for injury.

CORRECTIVE STRETCHING/ STRENGTHENING DRILLS Depending on how much your glute function is compromised, the following corrective exercises can go a long way towards helping eliminate any imbalances.

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1.

Stretch and mobilize the muscles that act on the front of the hip:

Foam roll TFL (tensor fasciae latae) and quadriceps: To roll the TFL, lie down on a foam roller, packing the meaty part of the front of your hip on the roller. Go back and forth slowly, 4-6 times, using your arms and lower body to control how much weight you give to the roller. To roll your quadriceps,

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position yourself face down on one end of the roller, with the top of your thigh on the roller and your forearms down in a plank position. Once ready, use your arms and other leg that’s off to the side, to move yourself from the bottom of your hip, down towards the back of the knee and back again. Try 4-6 slow repetitions. •

High kneeling hip flexor stretch: Get down into a high kneeling position with your back leg lined up directly behind your front leg (this will place your back hip into a slight internal rotation). Next, contract your core and glutes of the back leg to hold a posterior pelvic tilt, as you lean your weight forward onto your front leg. You should feel the stretch from the front of your right hip, down into your quadriceps. Hold for 30-60 seconds and then switch legs.

2.

Strengthen the glutes:

Supine hip bridging: Lie on your back with your knees bent about 90 degrees and feet flat on the ground. Begin by bracing your core, as you push through your heels to lift your hips and lower torso off the ground. Once you’ve reached the point where your body forms a ramp from your shoulders to your knees, hold for a second, then lower and repeat. Try 1012 repetitions. For an added challenge, try the same drill one leg at a time with the other leg held up over your hips.

Clamshells: Lie on your side with your knees bent about 90 degrees, feet in line with your hips and a mini band positioned just above your knees. Keeping your feet, hips and shoulders stacked, lift your top knee as far away from your bottom one as possible, without leaning your hips back or separating your feet. Hold the top position for a second, then lower back down and repeat until you’ve done 12-15 repetitions per side.

Squats: Even though these do work the quadriceps and hamstrings as well, a properly done squat is one of the best glute exercises you can do. The key to performing a good squat is initiating the movement with a “hip break” (instead of just driving the knees forward) and keeping most of the weight on the heels and outside parts of the feet.

GLUTES MUSCLES

IN THE END While it’s easy to overlook the contribution of muscles you can’t see in the mirror, it’s important to understand what an integral role the glutes play in terms of optimizing athletic performance. Use yours for nothing more than a seat cushion and besides being unable to make any wholesale changes in speed and power, you may find yourself a frequent visitor to the disabled list. Bottom line; make sure you don’t ignore your bottom line!

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To Protect “The ability to stay in attack mode is the most important skill an athlete can develop.”

T

he simple question you see in this title is one every athlete faces at some point during a match, and the answer to this question, will usually determine who wins and who loses. It makes no difference if you play soccer, lacrosse, golf, tennis, or wrestling. You will invariably face this key question at some point in every game. This choice usually emerges when the player senses he or she is closing in on a win. When they realize this they will often slow down and start to protect the lead. This is called ‘praying it in,” but no matter how many Hail Mary’s you recite when you start to protect the lead you are going down a losing path. Let’s cite a few examples of this problem. Lets say you are playing golf and you are even after nine holes. You begin to realize that you are about to qualify or win the match and that is the fatal error. The reality is you still have nine holes to play. You begin to play safe, swing softer, lag putts and do your best to avoid bogeys. And this produces mistakes every time. Or let’s take a soccer match. Your team is up 3-1 with 20 minutes to go. Your side begins to slow down play to kill time and to protect the lead. Your coach may even tell you to do this. Simultaneously, the other team has nothing to lose and starts to play more aggressively. Many games are lost this way. The story is the same in wrestling when the player has a lead with two minutes remaining and he starts to hold on and not make mistakes. He loses aggression and quickly loses the lead.

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“Starting to play with caution is a sign of protecting the lead and will lead to poor shot making.”

W

HY DOES THIS HAPPEN? It is easy to see why and how this occurs. When you start to protect the lead you immediately lose aggression and positive focus. In golf, good play comes from attacking pins. In fencing, it is the same. Good play comes when you attack the opponent. But when you are about to close out a match while in the lead, players turn off the attack switch and turn on the protect switch. When you try to protect your lead you no longer focus on winning, but rather on not losing. This is certain death. When you unconsciously try to avoid mistakes you will start to make them more and more. It is almost like you are telling yourself to fail. When a batter is trying not to strike out, he may do so, but it is far better to just try to hit. Trying not to fail produces weak, tentative and cautious play and this will not lead to positive results.

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or Attack?

By Dr. Tom Ferraro

“Learn to keep on the attack by being aware of when you start to protect, and then switch back on the attack mode.”

W

HAT TO DO ABOUT THIS?

We see that protecting the lead is bad news and attacking is good news. So how do you adopt this strategy? Here is the answer so listen carefully and post this on your bedroom wall to read before every match. 1) Become acquainted with your mental and emotional state when you play well. Find out what are your emotions and the words you tend to say to yourself when playing well. When have you felt this way and performed this way in the past? Write down a word that encapsulates this.

“When an athlete tries not to make a mistake is when he or she will make one. If the batter is trying not to strike out, he will.”

T

he most important psychological state for a player is this confident attack mode. So, if you want to play to your full potential and with far greater consistency, post this article on your wall and memorize its content. Then follow through with the tips every match you play. If you make a mistake during play, or if you sense you are closing in on the win and are becoming protective, go back to your confident attack mode every time.

2) Become aware of the moment you start to protect the lead. This moment will usually be accompanied by tense feelings, worry and negative thoughts. It can also be triggered with your first mistake of the game. 3) Make a commitment to yourself before every game that the moment you sense you are starting to protect the lead you flip on the attack switch and go back to your basic attack mode. This is when you conjure up the feeling of confidence that you are familiar with from the past. Recall that feeling from the past and go back to it. It is like creating a bubble that surrounds you, where you play with aggression, positive thoughts and confidence.

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