Written by Ronald Scaglia, Rscaglia@antonnews.com Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
It was a simple question but the answer, or lack thereof, spoke volumes to the admiration that the coach has for his team.
Massapequa Varsity Girls Gymnastics Coach Mike Capone was sitting in the bleachers prior to the events of Senior Night, the final home meet for the team this year. He was asked to speak about the group of young women on his team, and in particular, the seniors who will soon be leaving. The coach was left at a loss for words, in particular about the seniors, some of whom he has coached for six years.
“This is probably the best group of young ladies that I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with,” he finally responded. “I cannot say enough about the seniors and the team.”
Capone says that the team’s talent, dedication, and resiliency have been well demonstrated this year. Despite injuries and the flu, both of which have affected team members, the team has remained consistent, scoring around 155 to 160 points at their meets.
Next week, members of the team will be competing in State Qualifiers. Katie Wall, a senior and team captain, will be hoping to add to an already exceptional list of accomplishments. She had qualified for the state team for the past two years as an all-county gymnast and has the highest average in vaulting.
“She’s been excellent for six years,” Capone remarked about her.
Brianna Saba is another team leader. She has made it to the state qualifiers in four of the past five years.
“A pleasure to coach,” Capone says of her.
All-county gymnast Brianna Wick is another senior who will soon be departing the Massapequa team. Her specialties are the balance beam and floor exercise and she has qualified for the state qualifiers for the past five years.
“Great kid,” Capone said about her. Also excelling on the balance team is Tiffany Philippou. The coach says she is a team leader who helps to mentor the younger members of the team who will be the stars of Massapequa in the years to come.
“We’ve all been on same team for six years,” said Wall. “It’s going to be sad to be done. We’ve all worked really hard together. We’ve gotten really close.”
“We all practiced hard,” added Wick. “We’ve shown a lot of improvement.”
The team still has business to attend to at the state qualifiers. However, even with the seniors leaving, the future for the team remains bright. Tenth-grader Emily Caulfield suffered an ankle injury this year, but worked hard to recover and appears poised for great accomplishments.
“She has great potential,” says Capone. “She’s a pleasure to be around. We expect great things from her.”
Juliann Smith, Sarah Woods and Ally Wick are a trio of ninth-graders who also have tremendous potential. Even though talented seniors are graduating, it appears that the Massapequa Girls Varsity Gymnastics Team will remain at the top of the county. In some ways, that is the legacy of the seniors who are leaving as their guidance has influenced their younger teammates.
“We had to show them the way,” said Philippou about her younger teammates. “JV is a lot different. We had to help the adjust and now we are all really close.”
“We feel comfortable leaving the team and having them take over,” added Saba.
Friday, 14 March 2014 00:00
In celebration of its tenth anniversary, the Kids of Distinction program is offering more scholarships and planning a festive gala that will look back on a decade of supporting our most civic-minded children. The Town of Oyster Bay and the Old Bethpage-based Kids Helping Kids by Kids Way, Inc., the sponsoring entities, are seeking nominations of local youngsters who are standouts in public service for the 2014 awards.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, together with Kids Helping Kids co-founders Robert A.J. Eslick and Philip M. Eslick, kicked off the search for a new batch of “kids of distinction” at the end of February. Nominations are due by May 16. Winners will be recognized at a special ceremony held by the board of trustees on Tuesday, June 17 at 7 p.m. with a citation from the Town and a $2,000 scholarship from Kids Helping Kids.
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:52
Massapequa residents joined in the 6th annual North Hempstead Polar Plunge at North Hempstead Beach Park on Saturday. A total of 600 Long Islanders took on the plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. In total, everyone raised nearly $85,000, and they were rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment.
Massapequa residents Jaclyn Wukovitz, 25, Joe Mottola, 50, Sue Mottola, 51 and Mike Freitas, 34, from Mineola took on the plunge side-by-side. The polar bear team “H2M” raised about $5,000.
Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:10
The dream of any high-school cheerleading team is to be able to take its talents all the way to the national competitions. For the Massapequa High School cheerleading team, that dream became a reality last month when it competed in the National Cheerleaders Association Open Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:47
One of Major League Soccer’s top front office executives has many fond memories of growing up in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). Bill Manning, the President of Western Conference champion Real Salt Lake and the club’s field, Rio Tinto Stadium, played for the LIJSL Select Team from 1979 to ‘83 as well as the Massapequa Soccer Club from 1972 to ‘83.
Manning’s Massapequa teams had virtually the same players from Under-10 to Under-19, but kept changing their name depending on who their coach was. He played for the Massapequa Flying Dutchmen (coached by Kurt Knoblauch), the Massapequa Bugs (Dick Roche), the Massapequa Cosmos (Jerry Lyons) and the Massapequa Bulls (coached by his father, also named Bill Manning). The Bulls might have lost in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Open Cup finals to B/W Gottschee in overtime in 1983, but his teams won the LIJSL division championship in 1974, ‘76 and ‘79 plus the Long Island Cup in 1980 and ‘83.