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Sullivan West lauds spring athlete stars and senior standouts

Richard A. Ross
Posted 6/16/23

LAKE HUNTINGTON – “To everything there is a season,” intone the words of Eccleiastes, later put to music by the Byrds iconic 60’s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn.”  

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West's bests

Sullivan West lauds spring athlete stars and senior standouts


LAKE HUNTINGTON – “To everything there is a season,” intone the words of Eccleiastes, later put to music by the Byrds iconic 60’s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn.” 

Spring was in the spotlight at the Sullivan West annual end of year junior varsity and varsity awards ceremony honoring not only each spring team’s stars, but also the seniors who gave so much of themselves over the course of their high school careers. 

A slide show depicting images of the most salient moments in track and field, softball, baseball and golf greeted the audience as they filed in for the last sports awards ceremony of the 2022-23 school year. Athletic Director Kurt Buddenhagen extended the welcome and thanks to the many people who made the spring season function so efficiently. To the assembled athletes he noted, “We’re proud of you all.” 

One by one the coaches called their teams to the stage. Boys track and field coach Justin Diehl admitted to discovering that track and field was far more complicated than he had imagined. The boys team finished third in Section IX. Robert Davidson was named the pole vault champion. Seven athletes made it to the state qualifier. Five of those peaked at the sectionals. Hurdler Peter March was named the track MVP and thrower Dillan Hanslmaier earned honors as the field MVP. 

Girls track and field coach Joe Ebeling talked about the team’s success, an impressive fact given their youth. Jasmine Green drew accolades as the Rookie of the Year, while junior star Viola Shami was the obvious choice as team MVP. 

Junior Varsity Softball coach Nicole Olsen cited Mckala Chevalier as the Rookie of the Year and Meghan Kelly as the team MVP. Varsity softball coach Anthony Durkin highlighted the late season victory over Tri-Valley that punched the first ticket to softball sectionals in six years. The team went on to defeat Millbrook in eight innings before losing valiantly to Pine Plains. Durkin awarded Gracyn Halloran for the team’s highest batting average and crowned junior hurler Elizabeth Reeves as the team MVP. Reeves’ hit in the Millbrook game drove in the winning run. 

Junior varsity baseball coach Alex Broz called his team “self-motivated and joyful.” The co-MVP choices were Liam Bernas and Collin Ebert. Varsity baseball coach Ty Ebert cited statistics of his leading players and praised the effort of his seniors, as well as the team in general. The Coaches Award went to senior catcher Jaymes Buddenhagen. The team MVP was the talented Jacob Hubert. 

Varsity boys golf coach John Meyer who is about to retire noted “It takes a lot to be better.” He enjoyed his final season. “I never laughed so much in my life,” he quipped. Junior Rally Cruz was named the team MVP. 

Girls golf coach Pat Donovan described his small 5-9 team as “dedicated and showing perseverance.” Early season matches against Monroe-Woodbury, Cornwall, Warwick and Washingtonville were challenging, but the team used those frays as tests of their physical and mental toughness. There were valuable lessons learned. Senior Lucia Kennedy was crowned Miss Golf. 

This writer thanked the assembled athletes, parents, coaches and administration for the privilege to document 21 years of Sullivan West sports. “Strive to become the best version of yourself and never underestimate all you are capable of becoming,” he concluded. 

Next up were the prestigious senior awards. All the senior athletes were called up to the stage and received the grateful applause and adoration of the audience. The following seniors received their 2023 Senior Athlete plaques: Hannah Abplanalb, Lucy Arzilli, Feliity Bauernfeind, Anna Bernas, Becca Brewer, Nathan Coy, Robert Davidson, Cheyenne Decker, Kaylee DiBiase, Max Ebert and Kaylee Feller. 

Three sport plaque recipients included Jaymes Buddenhagen, Georgeanne Cardona, Dillan Hanslmaier, Elanie Herbert, Andrew Hubert, Lucia Kennedy and Paige Muzuruk. Finally came the most special senior awards. 

The Select Senior Awards went to Dillan Hanslmaier and Elanie Herbert. The Coaches Awards were given to Anna Bernas and Max Ebert. The Milt Gaebel Awards went to Paige Muzuruk and Andrew Hubert. 

Each of the presenters lauded the honorees with words of praise and remembrances of each winner’s finest moments. 

The awards ceremony concluded with the naming of the David F. Curreri scholarship delivered by Dawn Curreri in the memory of her son who tragically lost his life at the age of 26. David was a teacher and coach who loved life. The scholarship was initiated in 2010 and there have been 22 recipients. The $3000 scholarship was awarded to Georgeanne Cardona. 

Next up, Megan Eggleton delivered the description of the Billy Moran Scholarship. Megan was Billy’s youngest sister. The Delaware Valley Central School athlete lost is life in 1981, a victim of a drunk driver. The accident occurred while Billy was away for baseball spring training. This is the 41st year of the scholarship that has thus far awarded $81,000 to Delaware Valley and then Sullivan West student athletes who mirrored Billy’s best qualities. This year, that person was none other than Elanie Herbert. 

The evening concluded with closing remarks from Athletic Director Kurt Buddenhagen. Smiles, hugs and photos graced the crowded lobby. 

As Frank Sinatra’s inimitable voice once crooned, “It was a very good year.”


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