Welcome to 2012. Now that 2011 is over, let’s count down some of the many great tales from across the Long Island high school landscape.
BIG 10 Moments of 2011:
1. NEWFIELD FOOTBALL TEAM
It was the year of the Wolverine. Newfield went on one of the most dramatic and shocking runs to a Long Island football championship, sweeping aside 53 years of football obscurity. The Wolverines won the school’s first Suffolk Division II and Long Island Class II titles ever.
They became road warriors, winning five straight games on the road, including all four playoff games. Led by Tri-State linebacker Ron Denig, the MSG Varsity Rob Burnett Defensive Player of the Year, the Wolverines’ defense stifled Riverhead, West Babylon and East Islip before besting previously unbeaten Garden City, 14-7, to capture the Class II crown at Hofstra University. It was the boys team moment of the year.
2. STACEY BEDELL, FLOYD FOOTBALL
This was the year for Stacey Bedell. The Floyd football captain led the Colonials to the Long Island Class I championship with a 54-47 win over East Meadow. He shattered the LIC record of 303 yards rushing held by North Babylon’s Omar Palmer since 1999.
Bedell, who shared the Hansen Award, presented to Suffolk’s top player, rushed for 412 yards and four touchdowns, including scoring runs of 80, 51, 80 and 59 yards. His moment came in the third quarter when came free through the East Meadow front and scored from 59 yards prompting this call from MSG Varsity’s Carl Reuter, “ Bedell, into the secondary, hop, skip and a jump,” touchdown call.
The spectacular scoring run left the capacity crowd at Stony Brook University breathless. It was the individual performance of the year.
3. NORTH SHORE GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
The North Shore girls cross country team captured its second straight state Class B title as the Vikings finished 49 points ahead of its nearest competitor (33-82) in the Class B race.
Talk about team dominance – North Shore teammates Samantha Nadel, Brianna Nerud, and Jessica Donohue finished first, second and third, respectively in the championship run. Elizabeth Caldwell finished eighth, and Alexandra Osman finished 19 as North Shore finished ninth overall in the United States at the Nike Cross Country Finals in Portland, Oregon. It was the girls team moment of the year.
4. NICK MAURIELLO, HAUPPAUGE WRESTLER
This is the feel good story of 2011. Hauppauge wrestler Nick Mauriello makes his return from a near death experience after contracting MRSA during his junior wrestling season. The illness hospitalizes the top ranked wrestler and derails a promising season. He fully recovers and makes a successful debut on the mat and is currently undefeated with three tournament titles to his credit.
He is ranked number one on Long Island and looking to win a Suffolk title and get a shot at a state crown in February. This could have a storybook ending at the state tournament in Albany. And if not, it’s a beautiful story of family, faith, community support and perseverance.
5. BOB HARTRANFT, FARMINGDALE BOYS LACROSSE
Coach Bob Hartranft and Farmingdale finally won the state boys lacrosse championship with a 12-11 overtime win against Ithaca. Hartranft has won 654 games, third most in the state, in his 41 years as the head coach. The Dalers had lost in the state finals in both 1977 and 2003, both times it was their only loss of the season.
So many times the Dalers had lost heart breakers in the playoffs, but it was this team, with the 17-4 record, that finally won the title. The four losses are tied for the most ever for a boys lacrosse team that won a New York State title. But for Hartranft only the final result mattered.
6. STEVE ASCHER, MATTITUCK BASKETBALL, BASEBALL
You knew it would take something incredible to break Malverne’s stranglehold on the Long Island Class B boys basketball championship. And it was a buzzer beating tip-in that finally ended the Mules four-year dominance. Mattituck defeated Malverne, 68-67, in the Class B Final/Southeast region semi-final on a last-second, buzzer beating tip-in by Steve Ascher. The win gave the Tuckers their first-ever Long Island championship and state Final Four appearance. The loss snapped Malverne’s string of four straight LI titles.
Ascher would have a second big moment when he fired a one-hitter and struck out 13 in Mattituck’s win over Oyster Bay to capture the LI Class B baseball title.
7. SACHEM EAST FIELD HOCKEY
It was the shot in penalty strokes that reverberated throughout the Long Island field hockey community. Sachem East senior Jessica Caruana converted her penalty stroke in sudden-victory to give the Flaming Arrows a 1-0 win over Mamaroneck and the state Class A championship in Cicero-North Syracuse. It was the school’s first state crown in field hockey.
Caruana described the bus ride home as “a Sweet 16 party on wheels.” A banner now hangs in the main hallway at the school, a testament to the achievement. “Sachem East field hockey New York State champs.” It was a banner moment for a banner year.
8.WARREN BOSCH, KINGS PARK WRESTLER
It was another great year for Long Island wrestling. Suffolk had five state champions and Nassau had one in the state tournament in Albany. Huntington’s Nigel McNeil became only 34th wrestler from Long Island (in the 49 year history of the tournament ) to win two state titles as he won the 119-pound crown and finished his career with an 80-match winning streak.
But it was the little known Warren Bosch of Kings Park who stole the spotlight. Bosch, a senior, won the 215-pound Division I state wrestling title with a stunning pin in the state finals in just 1:51 to capture the title. It was a remarkable turn-around for the kid who didn’t even qualify for the county tournament the year before.
9.ISABELLA CORRAO, FARMINGDALE SOFTBALL
There is an aura around the Bay Shore softball team year in and year out. The Mauraders are usually the team to beat. That didn’t faze Isabella Corrao, a four-time All-Long Island selection. Corrao carried Farmingdale to the school’s first Nassau County title and the Long Island Class AA championship.
Her big moment came in the LI title game where she fired a three-hit shutout against unbeaten Bay Shore. The Virginia Tech-bound senior earned the Nassau Player of the Year after she compiled a 15-7 record with a 1.82 ERA and 292 strikeouts.
10. SAYVILLE VS. LAWRENCE CLASS III TITLE GAME
If there were ever a game for the ages it would have been the Long Island Class III football championship at LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook University. Sayville’s senior quarterback Steven Ferreira, who set the Long Island record for yards passing in a career with 6,407 and career touchdown passes with 73, was locked in a duel with Lawrence super sophomore Joe Capobianco, who broke every LIC passing record imaginable.
Sayville came away with a 78-61 win in the highest scoring game in Long Island history. Ferreira completed 10 of 14 passes for 225 yards and two scores and junior halfback Zach Sirico scored a record six rushing touchdowns. Capobianco completed 27 of 41 passes for 541 yards and a record seven touchdown passes. He also ran for a score in a classic. It was the game of the year.
What was your favorite LI sports moment from 2011? Send your thoughts to Gregg Sarra at firstname.lastname@example.org