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Centereach High School

For the Centereach Cougars, it was a low-scoring battle during a League II road game against Connetquot on Friday, Oct. 14

Connetquot struck first, coming out to a 1-0 lead just 23 minutes into the first half. But Centereach senior co-captain Lauren Hoppe’s foot evened the score with a solo shot in the closing minutes. Following the equalizer, time ran out, and the contest resulted in a draw.

Keeper Gabrielle Hirsch made six saves in net. At 6-2-2, the Cougars will have their hands full on Tuesday, Oct. 18, during their upcoming road game against undefeated Ward Melville. This matchup will be their regular season finale, one last test before postseason play begins. Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Newfield Wolverines had their hands full with crosstown rival Centereach during a League IV girls volleyball matchup Thursday, Sept. 15. 

Both teams at 0-2 looked to notch their first win of this early season. Newfield would have to wait another day as the visiting Cougars never let up, sweeping their hosts in three games 25-10, 25-13, 25-14.

Senior Emma Tsaknakis and junior Mackenzie Marquardt teamed up for 15 kills between them. Senior Kate Timarky had 33 digs and Leah Kaplan, also a senior, notched 12 assists. 

Both teams retake the court Monday, Sept. 19. Centereach will be seeking its second straight win when the team travels to Longwood, and Newfield hopes to get its first win in a road game against Walt Whitman. First service is 5:15 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., respectively.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Newfield High School, above, will serve as one of the polling sites for this year’s school budget and board of education elections. File photo

Tomorrow, residents of the Middle Country Central School District will have the opportunity to weigh in on the future of their local schools.

On Tuesday, May 17, the district will hold its school budget vote and trustee election in the new gymnasiums at both Centereach and Newfield high schools from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The district’s proposed budget of $274,944,707 is up $5,863,749 from the previous year. According to the district’s planning presentation, the stated objective of this year’s budget is to “preserve the pre-K through grade 12 comprehensive program that is currently in place to ensure that students have the opportunities, resources and supports to successfully involve themselves in schooling and extracurricular activities so that they meet the expectations described in the Middle Country mission statement, and to do so by staying within the allowable tax levy cap.”

Centereach High School will serve as the other polling location. File photo

In the process of preparing this year’s annual budget, the district encountered a number of challenges related to increasing costs, decreasing state aid and declining district reserve balances. Homeowners will see an estimated tax levy increase of 3.10%, which approximates to a $177 increase per household. 

Voters will be asked to elect four trustees. Incumbent Robert Feeney is being challenged by Tiffany Lorusso; incumbent Kristopher Oliva by Robert Hallock; incumbent Dawn Sharrock by Kimberly Crawford-Arbocus; and incumbent Denise Haggerty by Leah Fitzpatrick for a remaining two-year term.

The Cougars of Centereach competed in the coed cheer competition in a multi-school meet Feb. 5 on their home court placing 3rd with a score of 74.95. 

It’s the last cheer competition of the season before the Suffolk Championships Feb. 19 at Hauppauge High School.

Photos by Bill Landon 

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The Cougars of Centereach a League IV team took on the League I powerhouse Ward Melville in their season opener in a non-league matchup on the road Nov 30. The Patriots dominated the first 8 minutes of play but the Cougars chipped away in the second quarter to slow the Patriots surge. Ward Melville sophomore KJ Anderson had the hot hand in the second half on his way to a team high of 14 points to put the game away 68-34. Seniors Tommy Ribaudo banked 11 points and Tommy Engle and Frank Carroll netted 9 points apiece. 

Timmy McCarthy led the way for the Centereach nailing 12 points with help from teammates Tariq Earl and Will Kiernan who scored 5 points each. 

Centereach has another non-league contest before they host their League season opener at home against North Babylon Dec 7. Game time is 5:45 p.m. 

The Patriots have three more non-league games before their League season opens at Connetquot Dec 14. Tip-off is 6:45 pm. 

Fresh off their win in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs, Centereach (8 seed) hit a road block in the quarterfinal against top seeded Ward Melville where the Patriots struck early and often blanking the Cougars 5-0 at home April 16. 

Junior midfielder Kate Ancona’s strike found the net seven minutes in followed by senior Katie Cosenza who found gold a minute later to take a 2-0 lead. Nicole Fabris was the go-to senior for Centereach but was doubled teamed all game and struggled to find a look for the Cougars.  

With 24 minutes left in the half, Peyton Costello’s foot spoke to put her team up by three. 

Abigal Foster answered the call 16 minutes into the second half when her shot found its mark for the Patriots to take command of the game, and teammate Ryley Meckley joined the scoring frenzy to ink the 5-0 win and with it, advance to the semifinal round. 

Centereach senior Gianna Oliveri had six saves in net and Elyse Munoz the sophomore stopped five for the Patriots. 

The Patriots retake the field April 21 in the semifinal round where they’ll host Northport (No. 4) at 4pm. 

After a scoreless first half, Centereach senior Nicole Fabris broke the ice for the Cougars at the 24-minute mark to take the lead against Smithtown East in the opening round of the Suffolk Class AA playoffs April 14.

Smithtown East struggled to keep the ball upfield desperate to tie the game with 15 minutes left on the clock but Fabris found herself in front of an open net and tapped in the insurance goal for a 2-0 lead. 

Ava Ruiz had an assist in Fabris’ first goal, and Kelly Malheiro assisted on the second. Centereach senior Gianna Oliveri had eight saves in the win. 

Smithtown East concludes their COVID-abbreviated season at 6-4-1 

The Cougars advance to the next round where they’re face the No. 1 seed Ward Melville on the road Friday,

April 16.

Evan Jenkins, Centereach Salutatorian and Gianna Gurovich, the Valedictorian. Photos from MCSD

Evan Jenkins — Centereach High School Salutatorian:

Jenkins finished his high school career with a 101.91 weighted GPA. The senior was an AP Scholar with Distinction, recipient of the Rensselaer Medal and the Centereach High School AP Platinum Award. Jenkins served as National Society treasurer, a Tri-M and All-County percussionist and a member of the All-State symphonic band. 

The Centereach native plans to attend Lehigh University in the fall and will study engineering.  

“I’m going to miss Centereach, I’ve met some of my best friends here and I’ve gotten to know some amazing teachers- especially this year,” he said. 

Jenkins said the decision to take physics this year helped solidify what he wanted to pursue in college. He credited his physics teacher, Al Levik. 

“Taking his class really had a positive impact on me and led me to want to be an engineering major,” he said. 

Jenkins is excited to get on Lehigh’s campus saying that the school is planning on opening back up in August. 

“I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and having that college experience,” the senior said. 

He plans to be involved in performance arts at the college either joining the wind ensemble or jazz band. 

Jenkins gave advice to incoming freshmen. 

“I would say to get involved as much as possible and take advantage of a free public education,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to take AP or college level courses, you learn so much valuable information and it can help you find your career path. Also, it’s important to stay motivated.” 

Gianna Gurovich — Centereach High School Valedictorian: 

Gurovich finished her college career with a 100.36 GPA. The senior was an New York State champion gymnast, recipient of a Silver Medal in World Championships and President’s National Service Award, member of the National Honor Society, Science Olympiad, vice president of the Italian Honor Society and Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar. 

Gurovich will attend Cornell University in the fall where she will be studying biomedical engineering. 

The Centereach native said she’ll cherish her time at the high school and enjoyed being around her friends and getting to know her teachers. 

“We just found out that Cornell will allow us to move onto campus, I’m looking forward to getting involved in their club gymnastics and staying active in the community,” she said. 

Gurovich credits her family, friends and teachers for helping her get to where she is. She also shared some advice for incoming freshmen and lowerclassmen. 

“Be involved as much as possible, go to every event,” she said. “It is also important to stay focused and set goals for yourself.”

Scene from the 2019 Centereach graduation ceremony. Photo by Bill Landon
Centereach High School valedictorian Faiza Syed. Photo from Middle Country Central School District

Faiza Syed

Centereach High School valedictorian Syed graduated with a weighted grade point average of 102.791 and completed 13 Advanced Placement classes and three college-level courses. Due to these accomplishments she earned the title of an AP Scholar with Distinction.

Syed, who has spent her entire school career in the MCCSD, was also elected by her peers to serve this year as the president of the school’s National Honor Society, was a member of the National Arts Honor Society and Italian Honor Society and was a competitor on the math team and Science Olympiad.

“I believe Centereach High School has prepared me for my future because throughout high school I have learned information along with skills that will be applicable during college and when pursuing my career,” she said. “High school has also taught me the importance of collaborating with others and the necessity of combining knowledge with creativity in order to develop solutions to problems and apply what I have learned.”

In the fall, Syed will attend New York Institute of Technology, where she will be enrolled in its seven-year medical program to become a pediatric neurosurgeon, which she said has always interested her.

“It would be an honor to be capable of helping cure children who unfortunately suffer from neurological abnormalities,” she said.

Centereach High School salutatorian Samantha Cotes. Photo from Middle Country Central School District

Samantha Cotes

As this year’s Centereach High School salutatorian, Cotes has completed 11 AP courses and four college-level courses at local universities, amounting to three semesters worth of credit. She served as the General Organization president of her class, and she was integral in coordinating and running events, including homecoming, the food drive, the toy drive, Trick or Treat Street and the Senior Citizen’s Afternoon Tea. Cotes also was a Tri-M Honor Society officer, a member of the National Honor Society, math team and Science Olympiad, and was a varsity athlete on the track and field and cross-country teams.

“My time at Centereach has given me a lot of opportunity for personal growth through the people I’ve met and the activities I’ve been involved in, which is something that will help me succeed personally and professionally,” Cotes said.

The salutatorian, who took part in Stony Brook Medicine’s Science and Research Awareness Series, will attend SUNY Binghamton where she will study medicine.

“I have always been interested in anatomy and medicine but attending the SARAS program at Stony Brook Hospital and volunteering there enforced my interests,” she said. “I don’t have a dream job, but ophthalmology excites me.”