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Local Pitcher Makes It Big

Former SUNY Old Westbury pitcher named to Chicago Cubs’ 40-man roster 

Former SUNY College at Old Westbury right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack has been named to the Chicago Cubs’ 40-man roster, the first Panther in school history to make a major league roster.

Since 2009, he has spent time with the Boise Hawks (2009), Peoria Chiefs (2010) and Daytona Cubs (2010-11, 2012), and the Tennessee Smokies (2011). In 2009, the Chicago Cubs made Whitenack the first Division III player selected in the draft, acquiring him in the eighth round.

“We are very proud that Whitey made the Chicago’s 40-man roster,” said head coach Rod Stephan. “With his continued hard work, we are sure that he will reach his ultimate goal to play for the Cubs.”

Whitenack was a member of the Daytona Cubs of the Cubs’ Single-A affiliate in 2012 after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He made 15 starts and struck out 31 batters in 51.1 innings.

In 2011, he spent time on the mound between the Cubs’ Single-A and Double-A affiliates, the Daytona Cubs and Tennessee Smokies. Whitenack opened the season with Daytona, going 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 23 innings before getting promoted to Double A. During his time with the Smokies, he was recognized as an SOU Mid-Season All-Star. He finished the Smokies’ season with a 4-0 record, sporting a 2.39 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 37.2 innings while holding the opposition to a .237 batting average.  

In four professional seasons, Whitenack has started in 65 of 69 games, recording 19 wins and 202 strikeouts in 309.1 innings of work.   

Whitenack was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft and has done nothing but impress during his time in the minor leagues. While playing a short season for the Boise Hawks of the Northwest League in 2009, Whitenack had 12 starts on the hill, working 54.1 innings with 33 strikeouts, allowing just one home run.

Before advancing to Daytona in 2010, he made 20 starts for the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League, registering an 8-7 record. He struck out 63 batters while holding the opposition to a .262 batting average in 103.1 innings. At Daytona, he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.04 ERA, striking out 28 batters over 39.2 innings. 

Whitenack spent three seasons pitching for Old Westbury where he compiled 12 wins with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 183.1 innings. He also was named 2009 ECAC Pitcher of the Year and won back-to-back Skyline Conference Pitcher of the Year honors to end his collegiate career. Whitenack was a member of the 2009 Panther squad that set the program record for single season wins (27), which now stands at 30 due in part to the 2012 squad.

With his promotion, Whitenack will be reporting to the major league camp in Mesa, Arizona. 


Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.


In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.


“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.

The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9. 


Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.  


Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray. 


The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.

Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.


Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group.  She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group.  Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.


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