Wading River

Meet your new Suffolk County Class A champions. Photo by Bill Landon

Kings Park ended their regular season atop the Division III leaderboard having suffered its only league loss to Shoreham-Wading River back in September. The Lady Kingsmen looked to settle that score in the Suffolk Class A championship final with a rematch with the Wildcats at Diamond in the Pines Wednesday night Nov. 1.

After a scoreless first half, it was Shoreham-Wading River’s Grace Hillis who would write the Kings Park epitaph first with a 30-yard free kick that found its way in the upper far corner of the net. Then the senior scored the insurance goal 11 minutes later. Despite a ferocious late-game surge by the Lady Kingsmen that kept Wildcat goalie Morgan Lesiewicz busy the rest of the way, Shoreham-Wading River prevailed with a 2-0 victory.

Lesiewicz finished with seven saves in the win to punch the Wildcats ticket to the Long Island Championship round where they faced Plainedge on Saturday, Nov. 4. Yet again the Wildcats rose to the occasion with another 2-0 victory to advance to the New York State championship round in Cortland Nov. 11.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It was the duo of Grace Hillis and Bella Sweet, the Shoreham-Wading River seniors, who made their mark in the Class A Long Island championship game at the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday morning, Nov. 4, against Plainedge with the Wildcats defeating the Section VIII champions 2-0. 

Before the season began Shoreham-Wading River High School was selected as the location for the New York State Regional Finals, otherwise known as the Long Island championship round, so the Wildcats enjoyed a home-field advantage in their quest for another New York State championship title.

Hillis struck first at 11 minutes scoring off a corner kick to break the ice for the Wildcats for the early lead. With 17:30 left in the first half Sweet scored off an assist by Hillis for the insurance goal for the 2-0 victory.

Plainedge, who came into the game with 13-2-3 record, wouldn’t go quietly as they pressed the Wildcats relentlessly until the final buzzer.

Morgan Lesiewicz had four saves in the win.

The Wildcats will board the buses and make their way to Cortland High School for the New York State semifinal round Saturday, Nov. 11, where they will face Section III champions New Hartford. Game time is slated for 5 p.m. 

According to New York State Public High School Athletic Association, “This is a digital-ticketed event. Cash sales will not be available on-site. Kids 5 and under are free.” Tickets can be purchased at gofan.co/event/1128589?schoolId=NYSPHSAA.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Brilliant sunshine bathed the 8th annual Thomas Cutinella Memorial Patriot Run that featured more the 700 runners Sunday morning, Oct. 22, at Wildwood State Park in Wading River sponsored by the Wildcat Athletic Club. Proceeds for the event benefit the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation whose mission is threefold by funding scholarships to those area students who best exemplify Thomas’ ideals, promoting organ donation awareness and creating football safety protocols and their implementation statewide under the Tommy Tough initiative.

Thomas succumbed to his injuries sustained on the football field in a Shoreham-Wading River varsity football game at John Glenn High School Oct. 1, 2014. Thomas was a big believer in giving life through organ donation and then the next day, he did just that. 

Nine years ago, Karen Crowell, a Bronx woman in her early 20s, was gravely ill on a transplant waiting list desperately needing a new heart. Crowell got a second chance receiving Thomas’ transplanted heart for a new lease on life. A few years after receiving the gift of life, Crowell and the Cutinella family became acquainted and have remained in touch to this day. 

Two years ago, Crowell was blessed with the birth of her first child, something she thought she would never live to see but because of Thomas’ gift of life, she and her husband Cameron are now the proud parents of a baby girl, Colette.

For more information on the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation visit www.tom54.org.

Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River scores the insurance goal. Photo by Bill Landon

It was the quarterfinal round of field hockey playoffs when the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River (No.3 seed) hosted sixth-seeded Harborfields in a Class B matchup Tuesday night, and the Tornadoes would have their hands full at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field.

Jocelyn Kavanaugh broke the ice for Shoreham-Wading River off an assist by Haylie Abrams at the 4:27 mark of the second quarter to put the Wildcats out front. Harborfields had several opportunities to even the score from penalty corner shots, but the Wildcats defense was able keep the Tornadoes at bay. 

Sophia Minnion would provide the insurance goal for the Wildcats off an assist by Ellie Arena to take a 2-0 advantage three minutes into the third quarter. The Tornadoes wouldn’t go quietly, with Wildcats goalie Maggie Andersen stopping nine in the box. Harborfields keeper Lily Viscusi had eight saves on the night.

The 2-0 win sends the Wildcats to Eastport-South Manor (No. 2 seed) Saturday, Oct. 28, for a 10 a.m. semifinal matchup.

 – Photos by Bill Landon

It is often said that one play decides the outcome of the game and that’s just what happened when Shoreham-Wading River came calling on the Islip Buccaneers in a Division III soccer matchup Thursday Oct. 5.

Islip scored on a rebound from a penalty kick halfway through the first half to take the 1-0 advantage. The Wildcats mounted a late-game surge, getting off several shots on goal in the closing minutes of the game but failed to find the back of the net as time expired.

Shoreham-Wading River goalie Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 8-2-1 (8-3-2 overall) for third place in the division, trailing Kings Park and Bayport-Blue Point.

The Wildcats have three more regular season games before postseason play begins Saturday, Oct. 21.

— Photos by Bill Landon

After edging by Miller Place in the first set having to win by two, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats lost the second set to make it a new match in the League VI matchup.

Squeezing by the Panthers 25-23 in the third set and rallying in the fourth set, the Wildcats were lucky to escape with the 3-1 victory, 28-26, 18-25, 25-23, 25-18, on the road Sept. 22.

Senior Giorgia Balza led the way for the Wildcats with 13 kills, a pair of aces and 4 blocks, and teammate Caroline Lange had a block with 4 kills.

Setting the pace for the Panthers was Payton Horan with 13 kills, a service ace and 2 digs along with Olivia Honkanen’s 6 kills 3 service aces and 4 digs.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 2-2, leaving the Panthers searching for that elusive first win.

Both teams are back in action Sept. 28 when the Wildcats host Bayport-Blue Point at 4 p.m. and the Panthers have a road game against nearby Mount Sinai. First service is set for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Kings Park hosted the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River in a girls soccer matchup Tuesday, Sept. 19, when the Lady Kingsmen struggled to find the net in this League III contest.

The Wildcats struck 14 minutes into the opening half when freshman Shealyn Varbero stretched the net to take the lead into the halftime break. The Wildcat defense was able to keep Kings Park at bay when sophomore Mia Mangano scored the insurance goal for the Wildcats with 19 minutes left in regulation to lead 2-0 for the final score.

Shoreham-Wading River goalkeeper Morgan Lesiewicz had five saves and Kings Park goalie Alex Scott stopped 14. The win lifts the Wildcats to 4-1 in the early going, and Kings Park drops to 2-1-1.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats kicked off their 2023 campaign looking to continue their winning ways of last season by hosting Elwood-John H. Glenn at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Friday night, Sept. 8, but a win wasn’t in the cards as the Wildcats fell, 21-13. 

John Glenn scored three minutes into the second quarter, holding the Wildcats scoreless at the halftime break. Wide receiver Michael Casey broke the ice for the Wildcats off a 10-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Tyler Hermanns in the third quarter to trail, 14-7. Glenn answered back in the final 12 minutes of play to make it a two-score game before Sean Casey — Michael’s twin brother — found the end zone on another 10-yard pass from Hermanns for the final score.

The Wildcats will look to put a “W” in the win column with another home game Thursday, Sept. 14, when they host Wyandanch. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

– Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River High School’s Class of 2023 Commencement ceremony on Friday, June 23. Photo courtesy SWRCSD

The members of the Shoreham-Wading River High School’s Class of 2023 proceeded onto the football field for a celebratory evening of commencement exercises on Friday, June 23.

The students were led by Principal Frank Pugliese and Assistant Principal John Holownia, followed by administrators, Board of Education members and faculty.

STEM Director Dr. Joseph Paolicelli introduced salutatorian Bryan Vogel, who shared memories with his fellow classmates and encouragement to face challenges with confidence and conviction for the future.

Valedictorian Anja Minty performed DeBussey’s “Arabesque No. 1” before Director of Humanities Nicole Waldbauer read a prepared statement introducing Anja’s many accomplishments. Anja then took the stage and shared her farewell address and words of inspiration. 

Superintendent of Schools Gerard Poole then asked students to face their families and thank them before sharing his remarks. He applauded the many local, county and state championships, academic recognitions, successful technical education pathways, music achievements and more that the Class of 2023 has attained. 

He also encouraged students to have a roadmap for the future, but if the roadmap has some bumps or derailments, to regroup, pivot and improvise. He highlighted the great opportunities offered to students in the district and underscored the foundational skills that will lead to future success. 

Pugliese then thanked all the students who took part in the ceremony, the first responders and the exceptional academic seniors. He shared his enthusiasm for the future of the students after their primary education in SWR. 

The diplomas were presented by BOE President Katie Andersen, Vice President Henry Perez and trustees Michael Lewis, Robert Rose, Thomas Sheridan, James Smith and Meghan Tepfenhardt.

Michael J. Winfield Sr. Photo from Marquis Who’s Who
By Aidan Johnson

Being a teacher can mean more than just helping kids learn arithmetic and reading. Teachers have the power to leave a lasting impression on the lives of their students. Such is the case with Michael J. Winfield Sr.

Winfield, who has been an educator for over 25 years, with teaching and administrative posts at Shoreham-Wading River, Riverhead and South Country school districts, among others across Long Island, currently serves as a sociology instructor at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip.

Though an accomplished educator and administrator, he did not originally intend to go into that field.

“I kind of backed into it,” Winfield said in an interview. “I was transitioning from my business … and I went back to school, and I was going to stay in security.”

While Winfield was working in the security sector, he wanted to get his master’s in sociology. However, after a deal for the security company to pay for his master’s did not pan out, he left and began working as a substitute teacher.

Although substitute teaching was supposed to be only temporary, he found himself enjoying the work.

Teaching was “something that I just kind of warmed up to,” Winfield said. “Before you know it, I was in my master’s program, and I was taking additional courses to get my teacher’s certificate.”

As an educator, Winfield knew it wasn’t just his job to know what to teach kids; he also needed to understand how to teach them. He described how if his students needed help understanding a particular subject or concept, he wouldn’t automatically fault them. Instead, he would ask himself what he could do better to help register with them.

“I think the students appreciated that because they needed those opportunities, those extra looks at things,” Winfield said. “I always learn from them how I can be a better teacher [and a] better person.”

While students may forget their teachers are still humans, they can still make mistakes. Winfield never felt afraid to admit or apologize to his students if he was having a lousy day.

But Winfield’s efforts continue beyond the classroom. While at Spring Valley High School, his supervisor tasked him with creating a Black History Month program that also included all members of the community.

To achieve this, Winfield focused the celebration on community member Edmund Gordon, a well-known psychologist and mentee of W.E.B Du Bois (an American sociologist, socialist, historian and Pan-American civil rights activist), and created a community service award for him and his wife, Susan Gordan.

Winfield also partnered with community-based organizations to bring his diverse community full of different ethnic backgrounds together during a single event.

“We just had so many different people that all came and participated, and really that’s the goal: to share the history with everyone,” he said.

While these types of celebrations can help expand a community’s knowledge of Black history in America, Winfield still feels that the U.S. slipped in instructing what Black people have contributed to American history. 

“There are some periods of history, as you must be aware, that were not so good,” he said. “But we have to learn from them. We can’t hide them.”

“I think there are some people in the educational world that feel as though these things are divisive, and they’re not divisive,” he added. “They help us learn from it, and they help us grow because history is instructive.”

Winfield’s dedication to his career shows in his continued advocacy work. He still has students reach out to him and give him updates on their lives.

“I had a couple of students this year that sent me cards, and in one card, the student said that she thanked me for creating a safe space to learn,” he said.

Winfield, who has authored “Mentoring Matters: A Practical Approach to Fostering Reflective Practices,” a book that advises teachers in their formative years, among other books, has successfully left his mark on the community around him. For that, he is invaluable.

Michael J. Winfield Sr. is also listed in “Marquis Who’s Who.”