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Red ribbons adorned businesses, homes and other public areas in Shoreham to honor Andrew McMorris, a 12-year-old Boy Scout from Troop 161 who was killed by an allegedly drunk driver Sept. 30. Photo by Kyle Barr

In a continuing show of support for a fallen youth in the North Shore community, Shoreham-Wading River High School will play host to the first annual Andrew’s Run Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. to support a local Boy Scout troop after its tragic loss. 

“Andrew was going to do his first run for the cross country team in Shoreham before the tragedy,” said Matthew Yakaboski, the scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 161. The troop experienced the tragic loss of 12-year-old member Andrew McMorris from an alleged drunk driving incident in October. “This is a significant run,” Yakaboski added. “He just started his cross country career. He enjoyed running and just wanted to be part of the team.”

The race is coming together through the efforts of 16-year-old Miller Place student Danelle Rose, who is taking her passion for running and using it to support her neighboring communities.

“I, like many people, was extremely heartbroken by this tragedy,” Rose said. “I really wanted to help them heal the best that I could.”

Andrew, who was a seventh-grader at Albert G. Prodell Middle School in Shoreham, died Oct. 1 after an alleged drunk driver struck him and four of his fellow Scouts in Boy Scout Troop 161 while they were walking along the shoulder of David Terry Road in Manorville during a hike. Only days after the tragedy, community members from Riverhead to Miller Place came out in strong support of the family and troop, posting red ribbons on mailboxes, street signs and outside shops. The McMorris family was adamant that any monetary donations should go to Troop 161, the Shoreham-Wading River School District’s Wildcat Helpers of the Arts and Music and the nonprofit advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

All proceeds from the Dec. 15 run are slated to go toward the construction of a 3,200 square foot Adirondack cabin at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp in Wading River, which will be named McMorris Lodge in honor of Andrew. 

“[Troop 161] is beginning to recover from the event, but the McMorris family still has a long, long road ahead,” Yakaboski said. “Whatever we can do to show the community is behind them is tremendous.”

Rose, who is a member of both the Miller Place High School’s varsity track and cross country teams, said she knew the family through John McMorris, Andrew’s father, who is a guidance counselor in her school district.

“I wanted to help these three communities; Miller Place because Mr. McMorris works there, Shoreham because that’s where Andrew lived and Riverhead because that’s where the troop members were from, too.” 

The 2.5-mile run/walk will start at the high school baseball field, then take participants down the lower lacrosse fields, back up around the upper soccer fields then enter into the trails briefly before exiting out onto the upper soccer fields again before coming back to the finish line.

Jackie Rose, Danelle’s mother, said she is proud of her daughter’s efforts, adding, “She’s just a well-rounded excellent student, and she does what she needs to do.” 

There is a $10 entry fee to sign up, but donations are also accepted. Sign-ups start on the day, Dec. 15, at 8 a.m., but people can register before the race at runsignup.com/race/ny/
shoreham/andrewsrun until Dec. 13.

*This post was amended to restructure Jackie Rose’ biography

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Smithtown East's Taylor Bigliani rockets the ball into the outfield. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Bulls were raging, and Taylor Bigliani was leading the way.

The Smithtown East softball team may have found itself behind early, but a fifth-inning rush by the Bulls, which bled into the sixth, triggered the mercy rule for a 17-5 win over West Babylon April 8.

After the Eagles ripped a solo shot home run over the fence in the opening inning, Bigliani, a first baseman, smacked a two-run double that put the Bulls out front for good.

Smithtown East’s Samantha Swenson slides safely into third base. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown East was swinging throughout the next two innings, but West Babylon’s defense was up to task, making play after play to hold off the threats. Smithtown East center fielder Kyra Dalli eventually drilled the ball to right center, driving in outfielder Rebecca Fields with a stand-up double as the Bulls pulled ahead 3-1.

“They had a tough defense, but we got the hits we needed today,” said Dalli, the leadoff hitter who went 5-for-5 on the day. “We were able to work through it.”

With runners at the corners, Smithtown East right fielder Samantha Swenson ripped a shot deep for a two-run double that plated Dalli and short stop Ashley DeGiorgio. Bigliani’s bat cracked next with another stand-up double that scored Swenson from second base for a 6-1 advantage.

West Babylon responded with a triple and a two-run single to close the gap, 6-3, in the top of the fifth inning, but DeGiorgio was able to apply the tag on a runner trying to steal second, to close out the inning. The Eagles would come no closer.

After Fields singled and DeGiorgio found the gap, a fly ball by Dalli dropped in to load the bases with one out.

Smithtown East’s Courtney Hohenberger throws the ball to first. Photo by Bill Landon

Swenson cracked a single to right field, scoring Field for a four-run lead, 7-3.

“West Babylon is a good team, but we were good offensively and we hit the ball when we needed to,” Swenson said. “And our coaches give us a lot of confidence.”

After a passed ball on a full count, Smithtown East took a five run-lead. With the bases still loaded and now two outs, Bigliani stepped into the batter’s box. She jumped on a pitch and hit a rocket to straight away center, over the fielder’s head for a bases clearing double and an 11-3 advantage.

“We never gave up, we kept hitting the ball so hard and we had a lot of energy throughout the entire game,” Bigliani said. “I didn’t expect this. I thought we’d be in a very close game, but we jumped on them right away and I’m proud of my team for that.”

West Babylon threatened in the top of the sixth when the team loaded the bases with two outs. On a Smithtown East fielding error, two runners made their way home, but Smithtown East pitcher Marina Amicizia shut the door with the final strikeout of the game.

“We don’t usually play them, so they were kind of a mystery for us,” Amicizia said. “Our team came out there strong and we were ready for anything. We were able to score runs when we had runners in scoring position, so we were very clutch out there.”

Smithtown East, again doing its best work with two outs, got another opportunity in the bottom of the sixth after West Babylon turned a double play. The Bulls’ bats never missed a beat, and after a Savannah Coffelt double, Dalli drove one through the right field gap to plate Coffelt for a 12-5 lead.

Smithtown East’s Ashley DeGiorgio dives for the out. Photo by Bill Landon

“We treat every team the same — we didn’t come in here cocky, but we hit the ball well, we adjusted well,” Coffelt said. “[West Babylon’s pitcher] was a little slower than other pitchers, and we’re not used to that, so I think we adjusted to that nicely.”

Swenson hit the ball over the center fielder’s head, scoring Dalli, and catcher Courtney Hohenberger found the gap to score Swenson for a 14-5 advantage. Again, Bigliani stepped into the batter’s box and belted the ball deep for a stand-up double that scored Hohenberger. Bigliani finished with seven RBIs on the day. Smithtown East third basemen Tori Hussey was up next, and her single drove in Bigliani, before Andrea Lichas knocked the ball through the gap to bring home Hussey for the run that triggered the mercy rule.

“We have a lot of girls that can really hit — they have very fast bats, so we needed to be patient and let the ball get to us because their pitcher wasn’t overpowering,” Smithtown East head coach Glenn Roper said. “My infield played really well, my pitcher did a really good job keeping them off balance, so I’m happy with how we played all around. We got timely hitting when we needed it, we made the plays when we had to and just tried to keep it simple and let the game come to us.”

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Runners kick off at last year’s Great Cow Harbor 10K Run, the anchor event of the annual Cow Harbor Weekend festivities in Northport Village. File photo by Mark D’Angio

Thousands will flock to Northport Village to enjoy the annual Cow Harbor Weekend activities this weekend, but one will be doing it for the last time.

Anchored by the Great Cow Harbor 10K run on Saturday morning, Cow Harbor Weekend also includes a Saturday night concert and a parade and fair in the village on Sunday.

This year will be unique in that it is the last year Ken Savin, longtime Cow Harbor Weekend events chairman, will be organizing the festivities. In a phone interview on Tuesday, Savin said the task of managing the growing, nationally ranked was too large to continue with little help.

“It’s an enormous amount of work,” Savin, a Northport attorney, said. “I can’t do it. The volunteers just aren’t there anymore.”

Savin’s been at the helm for 10 years.

Aside from this year being the last for Savin, not much is different about this year’s race compared to previous years, he said. It has grossed about 5,000 participants, which is typical of previous years, he said.

“It’s the same Northport community, family-oriented day,” he said.

The band Group Therapy will perform on Saturday, Savin said.

The race will go on even after Savin leaves, he said — noting that the race committee has gotten prep down to a science. It’s unclear, however, who will step up to take charge over the rest of the weekend’s events.

On Sunday, the day begins with a parade down Main Street at noon. The parade features local bands, floats, sports teams, high school marching bands, antique cars and more.

Savin said an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 spectators flood the village on Saturday to witness the race, and somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 people attend the Sunday festivities.

Asked why he thinks the race has grown in popularity in its nearly 40 years, Savin said he thinks it’s because “it’s consistent.

“Number one it’s a 10K race, not a 5K,” he said. “The location, you can’t pick a better location as far as scenery and it’s got the challenge of the hills. There are just so many things.”

For more information, visit cowharborrace.com.

By Dan Woulfin

Northport celebrated new and old traditions on land and by sea this past Saturday, June 13.

The Northport Running Club held its inaugural Northport Nautical Mile Run, a downhill 1.15-mile race with hundreds of participants through the heart of Northport and ending at the foot of the harbor.

Afterward, the Coast Guard auxiliary and local clergy held the annual Blessing of the Fleet at the village docks to mark the start of the summer season.

1.15-mile race will end at the harbor

Members of the Northport Running Club in their element. The Northport Nautical Mile is open to participants age 15 and up. Photo from Stewart MacLeod

The first ever Northport Nautical Mile race will take place on Saturday, June 13, in Northport Village.

The downhill 1.15-mile race will go through the heart of Northport and end at the foot of the harbor. The race is meant to be fast, fun and family-friendly.

“We wanted to do something a little different, a little unique and specific to Northport,” Stewart MacLeod, the race director for the Northport Running Club said in a phone interview. That’s why the race is a nautical mile instead of an average one-mile run. A nautical mile is a term used in measuring distances at sea.

There will be an award ceremony held at the gazebo at the waterfront park, along with raffles and refreshments. At 11 a.m., the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony will take place, which includes participation by local officials as well as clergymen from multiple denominations. The Northport Farmers Market will also be in full swing, featuring vendors from all across Long Island.

The race will have a male and female wave, but there are no age distinctions within each wave. Runners age 15 and up are welcome to participate.

The Northport Running Club organizes the race, and approximately 400 participants are expected. Trophies will be awarded to the overall first, second and third place male and female finishers.

Many establishments in Northport are sponsoring this race, including Skipper’s Pub, Copenhagen Bakery, the Great Cow Harbor 10K Run and more. Main Street will be closed for the duration of the race, with the official start at William J. Brosnan School on Laurel Avenue.

It costs $20 to enter the race before June 6, and $25 after that. You can register online at www.nrcrun.org/events-and-races/northport-nautical-mile.

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Runners pounded the pavement of North Country Road in Miller Place on Sunday for the 19th annual Joe Keany 5K Run/Walk.

The race honors the late Joe Keany, a 1986 Miller Place High School graduate who excelled at cross country and track. Keany was a member of the school’s 1984 county championship cross country team, and received All-County honors in the sport and All-Conference honors in track.

More than 250 people completed the five-kilometer race and another 105 completed a one-mile fun run.

 

A scene from a previous “I Did The Grid” event in East Northport. Photo from Megan Scherer

By Julianne Cuba

This Memorial Day weekend, for the eighth year in a row, the streets of East Northport will be filled with joggers and walkers honoring the lives of fallen soldiers.

On May 23, the Cpl. Christopher G. Scherer memorial “I Did the Grid” four-mile competitive run, one-mile fun run and four-mile recreational run/walk honors the life of Chris Scherer and all men and women who gave their lives to serve the U.S. The run will begin at Pulaski Road Elementary in East Northport.

Scherer, who was a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps, was born and raised in East Northport. He lost his life while serving in the province of Al Anbar in Iraq on July 21, 2007.

The late U.S. Marine Cpl. Chris Scherer. Photo from Megan Scherer
The late U.S. Marine Cpl. Chris Scherer. Photo from Megan Scherer

In his memory, the Scherer family started the Cpl. Christopher G. Scherer Semper Fi Fund, and on Memorial Day in 2008, held the first annual run to honor their son and all fallen warriors.

“Put your personal achievements away for the day and come to honor them [fallen soldiers] because it is Memorial Day weekend and that’s what we should be doing … take a little time to think about the men and women who have died serving our country and the families they left behind,” Scherer’s father Tim Scherer said.

Scherer said that his son was a great kid who loved life and wanted to help his fellow Marines. In their final phone call before his death, Scherer said his son asked him to send lighter boot socks that wouldn’t make him sweat as much. Just before he hung up, his son asked if he would be able to send socks for other Marines, too, because many didn’t have families.

The father said he sent out an email asking for contributions.

“It was just an email, I never thought I’d get anything, but in four days I had $2,500 to buy supplies for the troops, so we sent over 100 packages but he never got one of them … it was just heartbreaking.”

It was through his son’s own desire to help his fellow Marines that the Scherer family got the idea for the fund and run, he said.

Scherer said his son’s greatest quality was his loyalty for everything he loved — his family, his friends, his lacrosse team and the U.S. Marines.

“This is not just about Chris,” his father said. “The race is named after him but we run for over 6,800 fallen warriors … no service person is left behind. Everyone who has given their life is represented on Memorial Day, because that’s what Memorial Day is.”

Scherer said that instead of giving out awards, the run asks participants to look up the names of the four fallen soldiers on their bibs, from either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. The bibs are given out before the run. Upon completion, each participant will ring a bell to signify that no fallen warrior would be forgotten, he said.

Meghan Scherer, the late Cpl. Scherer’s sister, also said that each year, they alternate giving out either a coin or pint glass, which were two of her brother’s favorite things.

“Challenge coins in the military are usually given when someone does something extraordinary, so we feel that they should receive a coin, because they’re doing something amazing by remembering these men and women,” she said.

His sister said she and her other siblings — an older brother, Tim, and twin sister, Kaitlin — were all always so close.

“Nobody ever picked on my sister or me because they knew Chris would always have our backs,” she said. “Chris would pick on us but it was never anybody else. We were always protected from the start and that’s what he did, he protected us as a Marine.”

Matt Baudier, 34, from Northport, was an Eagle Scout with Scherer and was his mentor for a few years, he said.

“As his mentor, he always looked up to me, but the day that he deployed, he became my hero,” he said.

Baudier said the run is a good way to honor Scherer and all fallen soldiers.

“One of our taglines is, ‘We run for those who stood for us,’” he said.