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Desiree Keegan

Members of the Rocky Point robotics team GearHeadz, Clayton Mackay, Rex Alex, Jade Pinkenburg, Julius Condemi and Jen Bradley with their first completed FRC robot at the North Shore Youth Council. Photo from Chris Pinkenburg

After building a robot for six weeks, all the GearHeadz wanted to do was sleep.

The Rocky Point-based robotics team had finished building its first machine used to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition, and the teammates admit moving up from the FIRST Tech Challenge league was more work than even they imagined, but the team is ready for competition.

“Looking at the FTC robots we built compared to the FRC robot, it’s not even close to being the same,” said programmer Jade Pinkenburg, a junior at Rocky Point High School. “The only similarity is the aluminum plate base. Everything else we had to learn ourselves. It was complicated, but really enjoyable learning all the new elements.”

“It’s really professional-grade robotics. The control modules and modems — it’s not toys anymore.”

—Chris Pinkenburg

His father, Chris Pinkenburg, the team’s coach, said he’s thrilled to compete at Hofstra University March 31 after 42 days of hard work learning and building from 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 3 to 7 p.m. on weekends — especially because the league change has been six years in the making.

“It’s been an interesting road so far,” he said. “We were a small team with a lot to do. It was six long weeks, but I’m really proud of the kids. They really pulled their weight and everybody contributed. It was a great experience, and the kids learned a lot.”

Upon receiving the kit with materials weeks ago from FIRST, or For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, an international robotics competition sanctioning body, the head coach said it was like Christmas, looking at all of the new material they were to use for their machine. But the team quickly realized that a lot of ingenuity and creativity was going to be needed to build a robot from all of the foreign parts it began to categorize.

The three challenges this year, with the theme of steamworks, are to collect fuel represented by green balls and use pressure to propel them to a target, retrieve and deliver gears to a rotor, and climb a rope.

The team prioritized their focus based on difficulty and point value.

“At first we thought we knew what we were doing, but it turns out we had no idea what we were doing,” Jade Pinkenburg said laughing. He explained how he and his teammates had to put in a lot of time teaching themselves a new code language and how to use the parts to design the robot to do what they wanted it to. “It was six weeks of day after day designing, building and coding, plus homework, so it was a lot of work, but we prioritized to get it done. I’m proud of what we’ve done as a team.”

He said he was also inspired by the challenges brought on by the new league.

Other members of the Rocky Point GearHeadz Alek Zahradka, Travis Ferrie and Julia Jacobellis. Photos from Chris Pinkenburg

“There’s more stuff to do and things that are interesting and applicable to the real world,” he said. “It builds on concepts we learn in school in physics and seeing how it works in the real world is interesting.”

Scoring a 1570 out of 1600 on the SATs and a perfect 36 on the ACTs, it’s no wonder he was able to combat the problems the team continued to face. But to the student, it’s all about staying interested and motivated.

“My quick learning helped, but it’s more about the motivation,” Pinkenburg said. “If you want to be successful, you can be.”

His teammate Jen Bradley, a sophomore, said the six weeks to build the 120-pound robot were intense, but a great experience.

“I think it’s good to have a general knowledge of simple machines, basic physics and mathematics and programming because in this day and age everything is becoming modernized,” she said. “Having this knowledge will help up, but it’s also just interesting and it’s fun for us.”

The GearHeadz continued to solve problem after problem. First, Rocky Point sophomore Alek Zahradka and junior Travis Ferrie got to work building the robot and its attachments. Unlike in the FIRST LEGO league, FLL, another league the team took part in last year, where you can only use parts made by Lego, in FRC you can use any part that’s available to the public as long as it’s not dangerous, which Bradley said made the process more exciting.

The team used rubber surgical tubes to sling around an axel and pull balls into the shooter. Two wheels accelerate the balls toward the target. It will be 10 feet high, and although Chris Pinkenburg said it is unclear if they can reach the mark, building the robot in a space in Yaphank and testing it inside the basement of the North Shore Public Library, he’s confident in his team’s capabilities.

“We can hit the ceiling in the library in the meantime,” he said, laughing.

“I say it’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have…We’re not engineers, but we built something.”

—Jade Pinkenburg

Rocky Point freshman Julius Condemi then worked on getting the gears moving. With 1 minute, 45 seconds to complete the tasks, Pinkenburg said he was impressed seeing his team member placing five or six gears on the peg.

“Julius must play a lot of video games, which helps,” he said. “He’s a great driver, and the robot is very agile. In the end we managed to hang the gears and climb the rope.”

The robot is now sealed in a bag inside Pinkenburg’s living room, but the GearHeadz are allowed to continue working on the attachments. The coach said it couldn’t have been made possible without the support of the community. Most team meetings were held at the North Shore Youth Council but also the Rocky Point VFW, Rocky Point Civic Association and local residents offered assistance. He said with the help and his team’s dedication, the rookie robot is comparable to many others in the league — even with eight members, compared to other teams like Longwood, that has 60 kids on the team. Rocky Point senior Clayton Mackay and freshmen Rex Alex and Julia Jacobellis round out the roster.

“The kids really focused, worked well under pressure and got the job done,” the coach said. “It’s really professional-grade robotics. The control modules and modems — it’s not toys anymore. This stuff is used in the industry to build robots. It’s on another level.”

His son said he can’t wait to show off what the GearHeadz have produced at the competition.

“It’s been an incredible experience unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” he said. “I say it’s the hardest fun you’ll ever have, and it’ll be cool to show what we’ve done in front of such a large audience. It’s crazy to see a bunch of teenagers with free time on the weekends building an inspiring and massive robot. We’re not engineers, but we built something.”

North Atlantic Industries in Bohemia and a Rookie grant from the Argosy Foundation made the team’s competition this season possible. For more information about the team, to join or to donate, visit the team’s website at www.rockypointroboticsclub.com.

Stony Brook softball player Danni Kemp died after a battle with cancer. Photo from SBU

The Stony Brook family is mourning the loss of student-athlete Danni Kemp, who passed away on the morning of March 10 surrounded by family following her battle with cancer.

The Seawolves, who had dedicated their softball season to the sophomore, 19, postponed March 10 games against Santa Clara and New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Danni Kemp up to bat for the Seawolves. Photo from SBU

“Our hearts are heavy today and our love goes out to Danni and her family,” Stony Brook softball coach Megan Bryant said. “In all too short of a young life, Danni touched so many in a beautiful way. She fought so hard against this terrible disease, and showed us what true courage is. May Danni only know peace now.”

In July, Kemp was hit in the head by a pitch while playing in a summer league game. When she began feeling dizzy, had trouble focusing and couldn’t keep her balance, doctors tested her for a concussion. An MRI revealed a cancerous brain tumor.

Due to the location, surgery was not an option, and Kemp began radiation therapy Aug. 29, receiving treatment Monday through Friday for a total of six weeks.

A GoFundMe page was created on behalf of the family Aug. 22, and in six months had raised nearly $130,000 of the $150,000 goal, with donations from 1,575 people.

“Danni is the toughest young woman we have all ever met,” wrote Bradley Taylor, who created the GoFundMe page. “Her strong and indomitable will has already proven to be more than enough to battle and beat a rare kidney disease while she was in high school. This will be a battle, but with so many people who know and love Danni and her family, they’ve got an army behind them.”

Since her death, hundreds more dollars have poured in from those touched by the loss of Kemp, even those who didn’t know her.

“I felt very sad when I read the story,” wrote John Colombo.

Janis Matton was also saddened upon hearing the news.

“I am so very sorry for your loss,” she wrote. “Danni was truly an inspiration to all. Prayers for your family.”

“We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

—Kevin Kernan

Kemp hit .446 as a junior for J.A. Foran High School in Connecticut en route to All-Conference and first team All-State honors. In her first three seasons at Foran, she collected more than 100 hits and 40 stolen bases. She was also a member of the Connecticut Charmers, an Under-18 fast pitch showcase team coached by Neil Swanchak.

As a Seawolf, she scored her first career hit against Charlotte University Feb. 20 of last year; had a double and scored a run at Florida Atlantic University Feb. 26; had two hits, including a bases-clearing double in a win over Columbia University Feb. 27; walked twice and drove in a run at Manhattan College March 30; drew three walks in another contest; and walked and scored a run at the University of Massachusetts Lowell April 16.

Kemp’s death had an impact that reverberated beyond just her softball family. After news of her death spread around campus, many student-athletes took to social media.

Tiffany Zullo, a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team from Connetquot High School, tweeted: “We all play for Danni and will forever be Danni Strong. Rest in peace to a beautiful soul.”

Kevin Kernan, a baseball pitcher, posted, “We got an angel in the outfield behind us. Heavy hearts with a little something more to play for this season.”

Details for services will be forthcoming once the Kemp family makes arrangements.

“Danni had her entire life in front of her,” Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said. “I am devastated beyond words and heartbroken for her family and everyone who loved her. Her valiant fight over the past several months was an inspiration to all of us, and her impact on the Stony Brook Athletics family will be felt for many years to come.”

File photo by Victoria Espinoza

Suffolk County Police arrested a man for burglarizing a Selden pharmacy early March 6.

Sixth Precinct Police Officers Jennifer Mackey and Christopher Weiner responded to Rite Aid, located at 229 Independence Plaza, at approximately 5:05 a.m. after an employee called 911 to report someone attempting to break into the store, which was closed at the time.

When officers arrived, they apprehended Christopher Martinelli who was standing outside the store. Martinelli had broken a window with a baseball bat and reached inside the store and removed cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

Martinelli, 43, of Selden, was charged with third-degree burglary, and was scheduled to be arraigned Monday, March 6 at First District Court in Central Islip.

Astrid Sprigman slides down the mountain during the Butternut race in Massachusetts. Photo from Jason Sprigman

Two young Stony Brook skiers are making names for themselves in the competitive skiing world, but competition is only part of the draw.

Sam and Astrid Sprigman have been sliding down the slopes for four years now, and although for the pair it’s mainly for fun, their competitive races have been paying dividends. Most recently, at the Otis Slalom Interclub race in Massachusetts, 13-year-old Sam placed third, while 8-year-old Astrid finished atop the podium.

“It feels good,” Astrid said of claiming the top spot. “Half the time I don’t even notice what happened or what my time is until my mom or dad come up to me and shout, ‘You’re in first.’”

Sam Sprigman bends his way down a hill. Photo from Jason Sprigman

Their father Jason Sprigman said those families who take part in the Tri-State Interclub ski season are part of a tight-knit community that is very supportive of one another.

“They’re screaming and yelling, banging drums and shaking cowbells and it’s incredible — she doesn’t even hear it,” he said of his daughter. “She comes down and starts critiquing her own performance, saying, ‘I don’t know, that didn’t feel that good. I think my turn on the fourth gate wasn’t that tight.’ And then I tell her, ‘you’re in first place Astrid, really?’ She’s so in her own world.”

The smooth skier said she’s always working on improving her technique, In fact, that’s all she focuses on while competing.

“I think about when I have to turn and thinking about my body position, making sure my head’s up instead of down and I’m always looking ahead,” she said.

That’s what she’s done since she first traveled around a mountain. Astrid said she recalls pulling on her father’s jacket asking to go on different trails during a family trip.

“When I see them doing what they’re doing and working so incredibly hard at an individual sport like this … it’s amazing to see them apply themselves in such a focused manner.”

— Jason Sprigman

“We went on the bunny slope and we were at the top of the hill and I said, ‘This is boring. I want to go on something more exciting,’” Astrid said.

Her father laughed remembering the moment.

“No patience this one,” he said.

Her brother was also hooked at a young age. Sam’s earliest ski trip was at 18 months old, when his family was in California.

“My dad and I were getting ready to go down the hill and he put me between his legs so he could guide me down the hill,” Sam said. “I looked up at him and said, ‘Dad, can you let go? I got this.’”

He said he didn’t ski for some time after that. His father was in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before Sam finally hit the slopes again.

“I remembered having a really good time skiing and it stuck with me all those years,” Sam said.

He too echoed his sister’s sentiment about being focused on improving. He said in reality, with all of the support, they’re their own harshest critics.

“When I’m in a race — when I’m at the top of the course — my instructor is there and I ask her what we talked about and what I need to work on, and I think about that my whole way through,” he said. “If I have a bad run, or Astrid had a bad run, the hardest person on us is ourselves. Everyone there is so supportive.”

The thing is, Astrid actually hasn’t had a bad run. The Under-12 competitor has placed first in every race she’s competed in this season — though she had to miss one because she was sick.

Astrid and Sam Sprigman display their trophies. Photo from Jason Sprigman

“You can’t ski race if you’re not 100 percent,” Sprigman said. “If you come around a turn doing 50 to 55 MPH, if you suddenly get a little bit nauseous that could be dangerous. She wanted to compete, but I just couldn’t let her. Besides the illness though, she’s taken first by a wide margin in every single race.”

Sam, a 5-foot, 10-inch, muscular skier placed third in the first competition of the season, at Butternut, came in seventh in Catamount and fifth at Otis Slalom. Last season, he qualified to be a part of the Piche Invitational, a Massachusetts state team, but the team didn’t have a slot this season. Astrid qualified to compete this year.

“There’s a wide number of kids that are moving on to higher levels of skiing from his year.” Sprigman said of his son’s Under-14 age bracket. “It’s one of the most competitive age groups in the Northeast. It’s an accomplishment the placements he’s been able to get. I’m very proud of him.”

The pair have one race left, at Bosque Mountain in Massachusetts March 5.

Sprigman said he enjoys the family aspect of the sport, being able to ski alongside his children, as compared to watching them on the sidelines during a football or soccer game. He said his main goal is to give them an ability they can carry with them for the rest of their lives, and now they’ll just continue to ski as long as they’re having fun.

“A lot of people might not let their kids participate in a sport like this because it’s fairly high risk, but they have a high degree of confidence and they understand the risk involved, and do a really good job of weighing them out and skiing appropriately,” he said. “When I see them doing what they’re doing and working so incredibly hard at an individual sport like this and I see my son really aggressively attacking a hill and putting it all out there and my daughter bending herself over backward to take an extra half a second off her time, it’s amazing to see them apply themselves in such a focused manner … It feels really good to see them not only becoming great skiers, but making amazing friendships while engaging in a fairly high level of competition.”

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Taylor Tripptree pushes her way to the rim amid a swarm of Brentwood players. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Kiera Ramaliu hangs on to the ball as she drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

A commonly used cliché in sports is that teams always have to “take one game at a time.”

The Patriots head coach Bruce Haller said he thought his team was too focused on senior day ceremonies and the postseason, causing the girls to lose sight of their Feb. 11 matchup against Brentwood. If Ward Melville had won, the Patriots would be sharing a piece of the League I title, would have a higher seed and earn a second-round home playoff game. The 38-33 loss changed everything.

“It shows you that we are certainly not so good that we can just show up and win a game,” he said. “They have to come and be ready to play. We dug ourselves a deep hole, we came back, and the kids deserve a lot of credit for that, but I think it took so much energy to come back that we just didn’t have a lot left at the end of the game.”

Ward Melville fell behind 15-3 by the end of the first quarter, with all the Patriots points coming off of free throws. By halftime, senior Taylor Tripptree, junior Shannon Brazier and sophomore Lauren Hansen helped close the deficit just slightly, to 23-13. Hansen led in scoring with five points.

Hannah Lorenzen maintains possession as she tries to make a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We started off very slow,” Tripptree said. “We’re so used to playing after school and we have a different routine, so it brought us down. We had a kind of off practice last night and we tried not to let that show today, but they also came out hard, and we weren’t expecting it.”

The team turned it around in the third, with senior Hannah Lorenzen scoring the opening points on a three-pointer, and after Brentwood countered with a three-point shot of its own, Ward Melville went on a 10-0 tear to tie the game. Hansen added a field goal before swishing back-to-back threes, and Brazier scored off a feed from Tripptree to make it 26-26.

“[Coming back] shows that they have the potential and they’re capable of doing it, but they can’t turn it on and off,” Haller said. “They can’t decide to just struggle a little bit or miss a couple of shots and get down on themselves for missing their shots and all of the sudden turn it on later in the game.”

Triptree scored the opening point of the fourth quarter with a free throw at the 6:57 mark that gave the Patriots their first lead of the game, but a Brentwood bucket tied the game again, 29-29.

Lauren Hansen moves past a Brentwood opponent. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We know not to give up,” Tripptree said. “We have to give 100 percent effort all the time. We are had workers.”

The two teams were knotted at 31 with less than five minutes left. Ward Melville fell behind 36-31, but two Lorenzen free-throws the Patriots within a single possession. Known for her three-point skills, Hansen attempted a shot with less than 30 seconds left, but just missed. The Patriots fouled on several straight Brentwood inbounds passes in an attempt to intercept the pass, but Brentwood was able to put the game away.

“I give Brentwood a lot of credit, they’re a playoff team,” Haller said. “They’re a very, very good team and we took them lightly. This was all on us.”

Shannon Brazier leaps up to the rim for the score. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Despite the loss, the head coach said he thinks his team can go far.

“They’re great kids, they’re very good basketball players and I have confidence that they have the ability to make a deep run in the playoffs,” he said. “But if they come the way they came to play today they’ll be one and done in the playoffs.”

Tripptree said she also has confidence in her team’s ability to turn it around.

“We know we can’t let this bring us down,” she said. “Even if we have a bad practice, we know now we can’t let this bring us down or have it affect our game. We have to bring it — come hard every game — and we know we can pick it back up and put ourselves back in the game no matter how deep the hole is. We have to keep our heads up and expect anything in the playoffs.”

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Port Jefferson take share of League VII title after senior day win

Courntey Lewis looks up under the rim amid a swarm of Pierson opponents. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Courtney Lewis drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Entering Port Jefferson’s final regular season game just 34 points away from becoming the 22nd player in Suffolk County girls’ basketball history to reach 2,000 career points, Courtney Lewis admitted she was anxious.

Her Thursday afternoon home game was rescheduled for Friday afternoon, only to be pushed back to a Saturday morning matchup as a result of last week’s snowstorm.

“It was stressful,” she said. “There was this build up, and I was so excited to finally get to the game.

When Lewis joined Port Jefferson’s varsity basketball team six years ago, she couldn’t have predicted the feat she would eventually achieve.

Jillian Colucci moves the ball into Pierson’s zone. Photo by Desireee Keegan

She reached 1,500 career points earlier this season, and at that point she said the thought of reaching 2,000 became a goal. The dream became a tangible milestone when she scored a field goal in the fourth quarter of her team’s 64-30 senior day win over Pierson-Bridgehampton Feb. 11. She finished with 39 points to move her to 2,005 for her career.

“Going into the game I knew I was 34 points away, so I told myself I wouldn’t think about it,” Lewis said. “But then, my coach pulled me out when there was two minutes left in the third quarter and said, ‘Do you know how many point away you are?’ and I said no. He told me I was three points away. I had no idea I was that close.”

Lewis scored the first nine points of the game for the Royals, on two field goals and a three-point play. In the second, she sank six more after converting a turnover and two offensive rebounds into three buckets.

Senior Jillian Colucci said she’s always marveled at what her teammate has been able to do on the court.

“Courtney is absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “When I dish the ball off to her she makes these nearly impossible shots and I just stand there in amazement.”

Jackie Brown looks to make a pass. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Lewis credited her teammates for her success.

“We did really well pushing the ball and looking for open girls,” she said. “We prepared all season and we’re ready to take on the playoffs.”

Several assists and multiple turnovers caused by the Royals’ defense helped her chip away at the 34 points until her goal was met.

“It was on today,” senior Corinne Scannell said. “We were working on our defense a lot in practice and it just shows that hard work pays off. We were able to get more traps and read their offense better. On the press we were also really good.”

Lewis needed three points heading into the final quarter, and after assisting on the first field goal of the quarter, she made a layup at the 5:49 mark to pull her within one point. She sank her 2,000th career point a minute later.

“It’s one of my best memories of basketball so far — being my senior year, my last home game, it’s great,” she said.

Corinne Scannell leaps for the ball at tipoff. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Colucci said the culmination of Lewis’ achievement, senior day and the team’s last game of the regular season made the victory sweeter.

“Being with these girls for the last time on this court, to win, it just tops off the season,” she said. “We had a lot of steals and we played really tough. This is my last sport, my last time playing in the Port Jefferson gym and it’s surreal, but it’s great to do it with these girls.”

With the win, Port Jefferson ended the regular season 15-1 and earned a share of the League VII title with Sayville.

“That was definitely our goal, so it feels incredible to have accomplished it,” Colucci said. “We’re working as hard as ever and I think we’re going to go far. We’re hoping that this isn’t the end.”

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The Smithtown West boys' basketball team is all smiles after winning back-to-back League III titles with a 78-59 win over Copiague. Photo by Desirée Keegan

When the boys’ basketball team from Smithtown West entered the locker room, they let out a loud scream.

They’d done it. After not winning the League III title in nearly 50 years, the Bulls are now back-to-back champs. And they have their secret weapon to thank.

Greg Giordano drives to the basket. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Greg Giordano hadn’t played in the team’s first matchup against Copiague, and it turned out that worked to his advantage. The senior scored 28 points in Smithtown West’s 78-59 win Feb. 2.

“He’s strong, athletic, he’s a jumper, he’s fast, attacks the rim,” Smithtown West head coach Mike Agostino said of his captain. “He does the right thing every single day in practice. His work habits are awesome, and as a result, you get the byproduct of a game like this.”

Giordano found the open lane time and time again, driving the lane and using spin moves, reverse layups and under-the-basket passes amid a flurry of aggressive defenders.

“We came out firing,” he said. “We’ve got a veteran group of guys that love playing with each other, and whenever things are going down we know we can pick each other back up. We wanted to come out and make a statement.”

That statement was made early when the Bulls jumped out to a 10-2 lead after two minutes of play, scoring layups on their first five possessions — two by Giordano, two by Chris Crespo and the other by Kyle LaGuardia, before Gordon Shouler swished a three-point shot.

Kyle LaGuardia knocks down a layup. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We worked hard and I think we deserved it,” Crespo said. “Copiague is a team that can score the ball. They have crafty, excellent guards that get to the basket, so we needed to contain them.”

Leading 36-26 at halftime, five Bulls helped the team run away with the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 16-9. Giordano and senior Michael Gannon, who came off the bench to score 16 points and grab 10 rebounds, scored five points apiece over the eight minutes.

“During warmups I was hitting most of my shots, so when I got open I let it fly,”
Gannon said.

Copiague amped up the defense in the hopes of getting back in the game, scoring 12 straight points in the fourth quarter as the home crowd roared, but Giordano iced the game late, racking up 12 points off 14 free-throw attempts.

“They played like us,” Agostino said. “They played tough, they played smart, and they played together. They know that’s the formula we need to be successful.”

Chris Crespo avoids a block as he leaps to the rim. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The win extended the Bulls winning streak to 13 games. The team is just two games away from going undefeated in conference play.

Crespo said in the moments following the win it felt like a dream.

“We’ve been playing together since sixth and seventh grade, so it’s definitely a special moment,” he said. “The sky’s the limit for us.”

Agostino said he’s proud to see all the dedication pay off.

“We have to play against good teams that are strong and game plan and strategize to beat you,” he said. “Winning the league is the hardest thing to do, but we play each game the same way. I’m with these guys all the time — and there’s ups and downs — and they had to work hard and persevere and overcome and for them to still be successful, I’m elated. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

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Mount Sinai’s boys’ indoor track and field team after winning the League V title.

By Desirée Keegan

To say a Mount Sinai senior sprinter overcame adversity to help his Mustangs capture a league title would be a colossal understatement.

Just days before the League V championship, Andrew Fiore tore his hip flexor.

The Mount Sinai track and field athlete was sidelined for several days and left his coaches thinking he’d be unable to compete. Come Jan. 22, the day of the competition, Fiore told his coaches he had to run.

“I knew it was a big deal for the whole team, and I didn’t want to let anybody down,” the runner said. “I wanted to help in any way I could, and the best way to do that was to compete.”

Despite the injury, the senior had the best showing of his six-year varsity career. For the first time since joining the team in seventh grade, he broke not one school record but two.

Matthew LaGatta, Andrew Fiore and Anthony Bosio show off their hardware.

Fiore placed first in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.84 seconds, edging out a 10-year record of 6.87. Soon after, he ran the first leg of the 4×200 relay that took first with a time of 1 minute, 37.79 seconds. The mark also eclipsed another school record that stood for more than a decade.

“To me, it really spoke of his character that regardless of being hurt, there was no way he wasn’t going to run — for himself, for me, for the team,” Mount Sinai head coach Lee Markowitz said. “He’s always been our go-to guy. He’s a team player and he’s a tough kid. He refused to not run. I was blown away.”

Fiore also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 3 inches. His performances helped put his team in a position to win, and the Mustangs took home Mount Sinai’s first indoor League V title in 12 years. Although he did not think about breaking records, he admitted it was an added bonus.

“It’s unreal — seeing my name in the record book is weird, but it’s awesome,” he said. “We were coming into the meet expecting to score points, but we did not expect to score as many as we did, and we even scored points in events that we didn’t expect to place in.”

Fiore’s senior teammates Anthony Bosio, Nick Cesario and Kevin Kelly helped break the 4×200 record. Cesario and Kelly also placed in the top four in the 55-meter dash. Kelly finished second in 6.96 and Cesario took fourth in 6.98.

“We’ve been a young team for a few years, so this season was interesting because we finally had a good core of seniors who really led by example,” Markowitz said. “The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”

The head coach highlighted sophomore Kenneth Wei, who took home the only other first-place finish for the team, finishing the 55 hurdles in 8.31.

The interesting thing is that at the league championship meet, every single player stepped up and had their personal best performances of the season. It all came together.”

—Lee Markowitz

“He is a very talented high hurdler and is also a gifted high jumper,” Markowitz said. “He really stepped it up with his effort.”

Mount Sinai, which finished with 105 points, almost doubled second-place Southampton’s score of 56.

Markowitz said although Mount Sinai never goes into the meet expecting to be a contender, he and his assistant coach Eric Giorlando, who he said the team would not have won the title without, realized the Mustangs had depth unlike they’d seen in past years.

Markowitz shared his pre-meet message to the team.

“These guys worked very hard, and some of them have been working for it for years,” he said. “I told them before the meet in my pregame speech that if we win, and no guarantees, I hope that a win would teach them that hard work pays off. And it certainly did. As their coach, it makes me so incredibly proud to see them come together, give their hearts, give it everything they had and come out on top.”

Fiore said although the magnitude of what occurred during the meet did not hit him until receiving praise the next day at school, he’s glad he made the decision to compete.

“It was a little nerve-racking coming in injured, and we want to make sure everyone remains healthy because we’re looking to win a league title in spring, too, but it was definitely worth it,” he said. “We all relied on each other to win, and my coaches have been so supportive. This sport helps you in other ways than simply athletics, and it’s made me a better person. This experience has meant a lot to me.”

Bras to be auctioned in March for Adelphi University's breast cancer program

A Creative Cup made by Samantha Eddy and Sandra Lundy will be among 137 auctioned off by Adelphi University to raise money for breast cancer support. Photos from Adelphi University

Two Selden college students got creative making bras to support breast cancer support programs.

Through Adelphi University’s Breast Cancer Program, Samantha Eddy and Sandra Lundy constructed works of art for the Creative Cups project, which encourages artistic expression in celebration of the lives of those living with and lost to the disease.

The bras will be auctioned to benefit the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. The program seeks to educate, support, empower and advocate for breast cancer patients and professionals. Those working the hotline answer questions, provide people with someone to talk to and guide them to resources to help.

To make their Creative Cups, people embellished ordinary bras to fit with stories they wanted to share.

Eddy said in 2014, when she received a position in Consumer Advocacy and Low Income Programs as an assistant coordinator, she was given the opportunity to join the Employee Outreach Council at PSEG Long Island. This group of employees has a mission to coordinate support for the specific needs of the communities served by PSEG.

“I hope it brings support to the fight against breast cancer.”

— Sandra Lundy

When October came around and breast cancer awareness fundraising was in full force, the Employee Outreach Council launched Cups for a Cure, according to Eddy.

“The entire company was invited to design a bra and donate the winners to Adelphi’s Creative Cups,” she said. “I was inspired by everyone’s enthusiasm and decided to create a bra that was influenced by my favorite place to visit: Las Vegas. Just like Vegas, this bra has glitz, glam and is over the top. I am proud to donate Bras Vegas to such a great cause.”

Lundy’s “Hunting for a Cure” will also be auctioned off.

The inspiration for her piece was not just her Aunt Diane, a breast cancer survivor, but also her husband.

“My husband and I are opposites, so I took his love for hunting and my love for art and morphed it into ‘Hunting for a Cure,’ ” she said. “This bra is a very personal piece as I feel it demonstrates our love and support for each other. I hope it brings support to the fight against breast cancer.”

“Bras Vegas,” “Hunting for a Cure” and 135 other Creative Cups will be auctioned at a gala event at Adelphi University’s ballroom in Garden City on March 16. NBC News personality Pat Battle is hosting the event. To date, major sponsors include Goldman Sachs Gives, The Leviton Foundation Inc. and Digital Graphic Imagery.

For further information about the hotline and support program, call 516-877-4320 or email breastcancerhotline@adelphi.edu. The hotline number is 1-800-877-8077.

The big guns brought it home for Mount Sinai.

John Parente won by a major decision, 12-0, at 195 pounds, and Bobby Christ edged his opponent, 4-3, in the finals to propel Mount Sinai to a second-place finish behind Half Hollow Hills West at the Bob Armstrong wrestling tournament at Port Jefferson Jan. 21.

“I told them if you want to wrestle in the county tournament this is the last time to show us what you’ve got,” Mount Sinai head coach Matt Armstrong, who is also Bob’s son, said he told his team. “A freshman that just came up, Adam Shata, had a big win at 160 pound with a solid pin, so we have some freshmen that are really stepping up.”

Jahvan Brown at 138 pounds and Neil Esposito at 145 pounds, made some noise and, according to Armstrong, are wrestling well for this time of year despite their inexperience. Although neither made it to the finals, four other Mustangs did. The team had nine place in total.

“We’re turning it around here toward the end of the season.”

—Robert Alberti

Northport finished with 168 points, just behind Mount Sinai, which finished with 174.

Unlike the Mustangs, the Tigers brought it home in the finals, as all three representing the blue-and-gold took home tournament titles.

“We’re turning it around here toward the end of the season,” Northport head coach Robert Alberti said. Seven of his other wrestlers placed.

Junior Jake Borland, a 113-pounder, is currently ranked sixth in the county in his weight class. He topped Mount Sinai’s Matt Campo, 9-2, who is a returning county champion.

“We expect him to win every time he goes out,” Alberti said of his grappler. “It was a good test for him leading up to counties.”

Borland placed third in the Armstrong tournament last year, and brought his A-game this time around. He won his first match with a pin, and the next two by technical falls.

“I feel confident scoring points,” he said, adding that he knew he had to have a strong mentality and wrestle smart to win in the finals, using his fireman’s carry, duck under and high crotch to help him gain points.

Borland said he can see improvements in his game from last season.

“I got better at getting out on bottom, because last year I struggled with that,” he said. “Now I get right up. Right after [Campo] took me down I got out and took a shot, and I got him right to his back and scored. I got two for a takedown and three for back points and from there I started scoring.”

“[Kenny Cracchiola] wants to make an impact and he’s really done it. He’s beaten some really good guys and overall, matchup-to-matchup, he continues to be a dominant wrestler.”

—Garry Schnettler

At 132 pounds, junior Chris Esposito clinched the championship title with a 9-2 decision over Ward Melville’s Rafael Lievano, who is currently ranked third in the county. Esposito beat his opponent last weekend as well.

“That was a good statement for Chris to come out and beat the kid for a second time in a row,” Alberti said. “He’s showing the county that he’s here to wrestle, and he’s not going to be happy without winning.”

Esposito was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler after recording the most pins in the least amount of time. He pinned his first opponent in 20 seconds, his second in 59 and his third in 1:30, before sizing up his final foe. He said he came into the match knowing what he needed to do, and he wanted to prove that his win last weekend wasn’t a fluke.

“I knew the first time I wrestled him I didn’t wrestle as good as I could,” Esposito said. “Mentally, every time I go out to a match I’m calm, no matter what. I always want to score first, but even if I get scored on I never lose it; I remain calm and keep working.”

Billy Shaw was the final champion for Northport, who won 6-5 over Mount Sinai’s Joe Goodrich at 152 pounds. It was the grappler’s first tournament win.

“He had a tough match at North Babylon on Friday wrestling the No. 1-ranked kid in the county — he got beat up a little bit,” Alberti said. ”So for him to come out the next day and win his first tournament as a varsity wrestler is good for him. For him to turn around is a testament to his hard work.”

Ward Melville finished fourth with 136 points. In a unique and rare scenario, Kenny Cracchiola beat teammate Richie Munoz by a technical fall, 16-0.

Cracchiola went 4-0 on the day, winning three of his matches by technical falls and the other by a pin.

“I shoot single legs to take them down and on top I do a variety of different tilts for back points, which rack up points for me pretty quickly,” he said.

“Even before I step on the mat I’m always focused on wrestling, nothing else distracts me.”

—Vin Miceli

Unfortunately, he had to use these moves against his teammate, but he said he liked seeing two Patriots make it to the finals in the same weight class.

Port Jefferson followed in fifth place with 126.5 points, and sent seven to the podium.

Vin Miceli edged Centereach’s Luis Fernandez, 6-4, and was named the Champion of Champions. He had two pins as he battled his way through the bracket.

He said he focused to be able to bring home the gold.

“Even before I step on the mat I’m always focused on wrestling, nothing else distracts me,” he said. “I put in a lot of work in the off-season, so it really shows how much you can get out of the work you put in.”

Joey Evangelista edged Half Hollow Hills West’s Joe Costa, 3-0, for his title at 145 pounds. He pinned his first three opponents, but said his finals match was tough.

“My coaches have preached mentality is everything, so I’ve been working on strengthening that,” he said.

According to head coach Mike Maletta, the junior has been a finalist in every tournament this season, and won two.

“As long as they both stay aggressive and take smart shots and pushing the pace, they’re going to be real successful in three weeks when they’re up in Albany,” Maletta said of the possibility of the Royals competing for state titles. “The excitement is that some guys are starting to exceed expectations.”

Centereach finished in seventh with 93 points. Jett Tancsik outscored his Half Hollow Hills West opponent 9-4, for the 160-pound championship title.

Centereach head coach Ray Bruno said he was pleased with his team’s performance. He said the tournament is a good tune up to get ready for the Cougars’ matches in the League III tournament.

“This is probably the 10th year for this tournament and I appreciate them doing it keeping my dad’s memory alive.”

— Matt Armstrong

Rounding out the scorers in the top 9 were No. 8 Harborfields with 88 points, and Comsewogue with 39.

According to Matt Armstrong, his father coached at Port Jefferson from 1969 to 1990, where they were league champions for eight years and won the New York State championship cup in 1986.

“They had some very successful teams here at the time,” he said. “It’s great to come back here as I see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time. Many of the kid’s parents wrestled for my dad. This is probably the 10th year for this tournament and I appreciate them doing it keeping my dad’s memory alive, it’s Mike Maletta who keeps it going, and he does a great job.”

Borland said his Northport team has exceeded his expectations, and he’s looking forward to rounding out the season with the final dual meet of the season Jan. 27 at Smithtown West at 6:45 p.m., before heading to Syosset for the Battle of the Belt tournament the next day.

“Coming into this year I thought we were going to be absolutely terrible,” he said. “I thought we were going to have three good kids and we were going to be that team that gets beat up on, but I realized we have a few freshmen that are going to make very good wrestlers. We’re a young team, but we’re doing damage.”

Bill Landon contributed reporting

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