The Great Neck Park District Bruins hockey season officially came to an end last Tuesday, March 26. Another successful season culminated in an awards dinner at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, April 2. Between 5 and 7 p.m., the attending Bruin hockey team players and parents (approximately 125), gathered in a comfortable restaurant-style room at the Coliseum to celebrate their hard work and dedication during the 2012-13 season. Hockey Director Fred Ondris, Assistant Director Blaine Aronovitch, hockey coaches, Superintendent Peter M. Renick, Commissioner Daniel M. Nachmanoff and Dr. George and Mrs. Angela Stergiopoulos were on hand to offer their accolades for a spectacular season. Dr. and Mrs. Stergiopoulos presented the MVP awards in honor of their son Andrew. Andrew Stergiopoulos was a committed hockey player, whose memory lives on at the Parkwood Sports Complex’s Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink, renamed in his honor after 9/11.
Recognition was given to all of the hockey players, managers, coaches and volunteers for their devotion to hockey and to the Park District rink. Team managers and coaches highlighted their teams with memories of the year. Tributes were also given to coaches for the endless hours they spent coaching and guiding the children in the game of hockey this past year.
The following MVP awards were given to individual hockey players exemplifying hockey excellence: Graham Turk, Midget Major; Steve Cacchiolli, Midget Minor; Nick Nikas, Bantam; Sam Levitan, PeeWee White and Dan Lopes, PeeWee Black. The dinner was followed by a hockey game between the New York Islanders and the Winnepeg Jets.
Last spring, the Nassau Region of Hadassah Walk-a-thon for Stem Cell Research raised over $90,000. On Sunday May 5, there will be another Walk/Run-a-thon, where over 500 strong, compassionate, like-minded women, men and children from the North and South Shore will be walking to help raise awareness and much needed funds for stem cell research.
The 14th annual Julia’s Run for Children will be held in New Haven on April 14. The event is held in the memory of Julia Rusinek, a graduate of Great Neck North High School, Class of 1996. Julia was a rising senior at Yale University at the time of her death in July 1999. The run celebrates Julia’s life, her passion for running, and her commitment to helping children. The first Julia’s Run in April 2000 was filled with people who knew and loved her. While a core group of Julia’s friends and family return to New Haven every year, the four-mile run is now also popular with competitive runners. The run raises money for LEAP (Leadership, Education, Athletics in Partnership), an enrichment program for youth from poor neighborhoods in New Haven. See www.juliarun.org for more details.
Congratulations to Great Neck North’s own Nicole T. Friedman, winner of the 2013 US Squash William T. Ketcham Jr. Most Improved Player Award, which she received for her dedication to the sport and rapid rise in the national Under-17 rankings. Nicole began the season as the #86-ranked player in the division, having only first discovered Squash at age 14. Without the benefit of full-time formal coaching, Nicole rose in rank to as high as #28, qualifying for the 2013 US Junior National Championships. The tournament was held at Yale University this past weekend, where Nicole received her award. She also performed well enough to place higher than her present ranking, despite being pitted against the eventual tournament champion in the first round. We wish Nicole the best of luck going forward.
You might think that the Great Neck North High girls’ softball team would have very modest expectations coming off last year’s 2-10 record and the fact that only seven players on the roster will have had varsity experience when the Blazers open their season April 2 at home against Lynbrook.
But that’s not just the case according to coach Marisol Mahler, returning for her sixth season. “I have a great feeling about these kids,” said Mahler. “I’m excited. They like the challenge. We’ll start off a little slow with baby steps but we hope to finish strong.” In addition to Lynbrook, North will play home-and-home series against Lawrence, Malverne and Roosevelt.
An obvious goal for Great Neck North High School’s baseball team this season is to wipe away the memory of last year’s 1-18 record and coach James Bailin doesn’t feel that his Blazers will have any trouble doing so.
Bailin, starting his second season as head coach after being North’s assistant for six years, is confident that the team is much improved. “We’ve got a lot of young talent,” he said. “It was no surprise that we struggled last year. We had a rough schedule and we had four freshman and one sophomore starting during the last part of the season.” The Blazers won the second game on their schedule last spring and then lost all of the rest. “We aim to erase that,” said the coach, referring to the losing streak. “ We’d like to put that to rest.” Joining the team this year is assistant coach Lloyd Sussman, a graduate of North and the University of Maryland. Sussman was a first baseman for the Blazers.
A season’s worth of hardwork brought the top seed in both the Hudson Valley Hockey League and Long Island Amateur Hockey League to the Great Neck Bruin’s Midget Minor team. They beat many teams along the way, won a tournament in Pennsylvania and were living a season of dreams after they secured their bid to the New York State Championships in March. However, it was now playoff time and the all the stats, hardware and standings became meaningless. A disappointing loss to a tough Bear Mountain team brought an abrupt end to their quest for a Hudson Valley Championship. They took no solace in the fact that Bear Mountain went on to win that league the very next weekend.
Great Neck residents Alan Xia and Marguerite Li have qualified to compete at the 2013 Metropolitan Swimming Junior Olympics. These young swimmers will compete representing the nationally ranked host team, Long Island Aquatic Club (LIAC). Each year LIAC sends a large squad to the Junior Olympics to compete for the titles as the best age group swimmers in the Metropolitan LSC.
The Junior Olympics are a culmination of months of hard work for swimmers all over the Metropolitan Region. Thanks to their determination and dedication in practice these athletes will be very confident when they step up on the racing blocks to compete.
Success at the junior level is what motivates many of these young athletes to set Olympic sized goals. Since 1996 LIAC has qualified 21 swimmers for the US Olympic Trials.
The Junior Olympics take place March 15 to 17 at the Nassau County Aquatic Center, in Eisenhower Park. For more information on the Junior Olympics or the Long Island Aquatic Club visit LIAC’s website www.longislandswimming.com.
The Great Neck North High School Blazers lacrosse team will have two magic numbers on their minds as they prepare to open their season this Wednesday at St. Mary’s in Manhasset, “5” and .500.
“5” is the number of victories the Blazers need to symbolically give their late coach, Chris Deeks, his 200th career victory as a high school coach. Most of those victories were recorded as head coach of Floral Park Memorial. Set to return to North for his third season, Deeks unexpectedly passed away last August while getting ready to lead North’s football team for the first time.
The USMMA men’s swimming team will send at least four competitors to the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships in Shenandoah, Texas. Kevin Lindgren (Palm City, FL), Sean Minor (Fort Myers, FL), Alvaro Brice (The Woodlands, TX) and Joshua McCormick (Granite Bay, CA) will all represent the Merchant Marine Academy at the National Championships March 2 to -23. Merchant Marine will have a representative in at least seven events, with the possibility of adding Landmark Conference Diver of the Year William Porter (Houston, TX) to the program based on this weekend’s regional qualifying in Springfield, MA.
Minor will be the other solo competitor for USMMA as the senior is seeded 28th in the 50 freestyle.
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