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Comsewogue Warriors

West Babylon came knocking on Comsewogue’s door Thursday night, April 27, in a Div. II contest in which both teams held matching records at 3-6. The Warriors relentlessly pursued victory, though it would take five overtime periods to determine them the victor.

West Babylon scored back-to-back goals in the opening minutes of the second half, edging ahead 7-4. But the Warriors’ offense came thundering back, rattling off three unanswered goals of their own and tying the game at 7-7 with two minutes left in regulation.

Neither team could find the cage as the time on the clock expired, forcing overtime. Scoreless through the first four three-minute overtime periods, Comsewogue freshman Vienna Guzman’s stick would be the difference maker, breaking the stalemate and winning the game 8-7.

Comsewogue’s Gianna McNulty scored and had two assists. Teammates Gabby Constant and Kamryn McCrary scored two goals apiece. Freshman goalie Isabella Borruso had seven saves on the night.

The win lifts the Warriors to 4-6 in their division with four games remaining before postseason play begins.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River, at 5-0, took on the 3-1 Comsewogue Warriors at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field on April 19 in what’s always been a bitter Div. II rivalry.

Shoreham-Wading River struck first with a pair of goals in the opening quarter, but the Warriors rattled off five unanswered goals to surge ahead 5-2 before the Wildcats could counter. Liam Kershis’ stick retied the game at 5-all as both teams traded goals before the halftime break. 

Comsewogue attack Brayden Arias split the pipes to put his team out front 8-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Kershis then struck again with nine minutes left, retaking the lead 9-8 before teammates Ryan Wilson split the uprights and Alec Gregorek scored his fourth goal of the game as insurance goals. 

Kershis found the net again with less than two minutes, putting his team out front 12-9 for the final score.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Comsewogue bats spoke loudly in the bottom of the second inning when Laurel Chiaino, with bases loaded, drove in three runs with a stand-up double, followed by Emma Shorts driving in two more to put the Warriors out front 9-2. This lead, however, wouldn’t last long.

The visiting Sharks of Eastport-South Manor rallied in the top of the third with seven runs of their own to make it a new game at 9-all. Comsewogue showed discipline at the plate, laying off several pitches and drawing the walks to inch ahead to lead by five runs in the bottom of the third, but ESM wouldn’t go quietly, mustering another surge in the closing innings to retie the game at 16-all.

The youngest player on the Comsewogue roster made the difference when seventh grader Adrianna Napolitano, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, ripped a single and drove in the winning run, securing the Warriors the 17-16 victory in this League VII contest on April 3.

Comsewogue will hit the road with a pair of away games before returning home Wednesday, April 12, to face the Rocky Point Eagles. The first pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Mount Sinai senior attack Taylor Cline broke the ice for the Mustangs when her shot on goal split the pipes two minutes in, followed up with a goal from teammate Alexa Spallina at the 16-minute mark. Then Cline stretched the net again, putting the Mustangs out front 3-0.

Comsewogue answered back, however, as senior midfielder Gabby Constant scored twice in three minutes, followed by freshman attack Gianna McNulty’s shot on goal assisted by Jackie Riviezzo, tying the game at 3-3 with just under eight minutes left in the half. 

Spallina scored again, capped with a pair of goals by senior Lea Flobeck to lead it 6-3. The Warriors fought their way back to make it a one-score game when McNulty’s shot once again found its mark with just under seven minutes left in this Div. II matchup on Monday, March 27.

Spallina would score the insurance goal, firing at the cage while falling to seal the deal for the Mustangs, who won 8-6. Mount Sinai goalie Sara Flobeck had six saves in net.

Both teams are back in action this Friday, March 31, when the Mustangs host Bayport-Blue Point at 4:30 p.m. and the Warriors host Shoreham-Wading River at 5 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats did what they have done all season, outscoring their opponent by double digits during a Friday, Feb. 17, playoff game against Comsewogue. At 21-0, the undefeated Wildcats won their Suffolk Class A quarterfinal 73-39 at home.

It was the usual suspects for the Wildcats, with senior Sophie Costello putting up 16 points along with GraceAnn Leonard, Colleen Ohrtman and Juliana Mahan netting 12 points each. Annie Sheehan banked eight.

The win propels the Wildcats to the semifinal round of the postseason when they will face off against West Babylon at Centereach High School on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Hauppauge Eagles peppered the scoreboard in the opening round of the Suffolk A championship round in a road game against Comsewogue, nailing five three-pointers before the Warriors could answer. Comsewogue limped into the second half trailing by 17 points — a deficit from which they could not recover. Hauppauge cruised to victory to win the post season opener, 71-53, Feb. 13.  

Sophomore Cole Wood was the spark for the Eagles offense, draining five three-pointers, five field goals and four from the charity stripe for 29 points. Mark Petre, a senior, followed with 20 points. and Matt Neglia netted eight. 

Comsewogue senior Hayden Morris-Gray topped the scoring chart for the Warriors with 21 points. Teammates Colin Strohm banked 13, and Austin Nesbitt and Chris Beverly netted eight points apiece. 

Comsewogue concludes their 22-23 campaign with a 12-4 league record, 15-6 overall. 

The Eagles (No. 11 seed) live to fight another day where they play another road game against Mount Sinai (No. 3 seed) Feb. 16. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. 

Comsewogue sophomore Mason Mangialino pinned his Bayport opponent in a multi-team invitational Saturday, Jan. 28, at Comsewogue High School. This win notches Mangialino’s 97th win for the Warriors as the sophomore strives for the 100-win milestone early in his varsity career.

The Warriors retake the mat on Saturday, Feb. 4, in the League V championships at Rocky Point High School. The first bout is slated for 9 a.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It was a battle between two talented scorers Wednesday, Jan. 18, when the Mount Sinai Mustangs came knocking on Comsewogue’s door for a League IV divisional matchup.

Mount Sinai’s Drew Feinstein went head-to-head with Comsewogue’s Hayden Morris-Gray. Feinstein, averaging 26.9 points per game, led the Mustangs with 32 points, lifting his team to a 71-58 road victory. 

Dominic Pennzello followed Feinstein with 19 points for the Mustangs, and Derrek Shechter notched another eight.

Morris-Gray topped the scoring chart for the Warriors with 25 points, hitting five triples and five field goals on the day. Teammates Colin Strohm netted 16, and Austin Nesbitt banked 10.

The win lifts Mount Sinai to 7-1, clinching a postseason playoff berth. The loss drops Comsewogue to 7-2, with six games remaining in regular season play.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The Comsewogue Warriors had their hands full when the undefeated Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River came knocking Friday, Jan. 13, in a Div. IV matchup.

Looking to keep their perfect record intact, the Wildcats did just that. Their success hinged upon the senior quartet of Sophie Costello, GraceAnn Leonard, Colleen Ohrtman and Annie Sheehan, who put on a scoring fest to win the game, 86-21. 

Comsewogue’s Jalynn Kirschenheuter did what she’s done all season. A long-range scoring threat, she drained three triples and two free throws for 11 points, and Hannah Ellis banked eight.

The win lifts SWR to 6-0 in league and 13-0 overall. The Wildcats now look to overtake Westhampton for the top spot in the division.

The Warriors — at 5-2 in league, 6-4 overall — are back in action Wednesday, Jan. 18, with a road game against Mount Sinai. The Wildcats retake the court Monday, Jan. 16, when they host Miller Place. Both games tip off at 4:45 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Photo courtesy Rob DeStefano
By Rob DeStefano

On Nov. 17, and subsequent to a judicial ruling against a New York public school district, the New York State Education Department sent a memo communicating a “need to ensure that district mascots, team names and logos are nondiscriminatory.” This memo closed with an unfortunate edict: “Should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, it may be in willful violation of the Dignity Act. The penalties for such a violation include the removal of school officers and the withholding of state aid.” 

In response, I contacted NYS Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa and introduced several preliminary questions and recommendations, including the imperative that time be afforded to make this a teachable moment — both a cultural and business education opportunity. The commissioner agreed with the academic opportunity. She recognized more information for affected school districts was needed, and these details are expected soon.

Throughout our conversation, Commissioner Rosa’s responses to my questions continued to incorporate the term “reasonable.” The dialogue yielded some insights and elevated some concerns that have been topics among our community members during these intervening weeks:

By the end of this school year (June 2023), affected districts shall provide an attestation that they intend to comply with changes to ensure nondiscriminatory logos/mascots/names, etc.

Logo development and implementation will be done in a reasonable time frame. Subsequent to our conversation, NYSED has indicated implementation by the end of the 2024-25 school year.

Logos on gymnasium floors and turf fields were greeted with a “reasonable” replacement. I interpret this to mean the turf field logo would be replaced when the turf is next due for wear replacement, as anything that accelerated financial burden on the district or our residents, I view as “unreasonable.” However, my interpretation awaits confirmation in the forthcoming details from NYSED.

Existing logos/names in question could be maintained if there is an existing agreement with local tribes to preserve these artifacts. As recently as 2020, local Native American leaders have not favored our logo. Further discussion should always be an option.

It was not explicitly affirmed whether our district naming was at risk. However, “Comsewogue” is a vocabulary word — not a direct name of a Native American person or peoples — and “Warriors” is a generic term originating from Anglo-French and used ubiquitously across cultures. These origins suggest reasonable, nondiscriminatory terms.

Going at least as far back as my elementary experience, Comsewogue School District has taught the history of our community, including the Setalcott Native Americans and the translation of the local Native American term “Comsewogue” — or its historic spelling “Cumsewogue” — as “an intersection of many paths,” or “where many paths meet.” Perhaps the exploration of this history could be expanded through our problem-based learning curriculum. It might include an opportunity to meet present-day local Native American leaders willing to share their insights on topics of interest, but I will yield to our educators on best practice implementation.

From a business education perspective, I advised the state commissioner that business logos take more than six months to change — let alone a logo with strong emotional ties. It would require time to engage and collaborate with community stakeholders, then a period of research to determine the design of a new logo. Again, our problem-based curriculum offers an opportunity here: To learn the process of brand building and brand value, and the opportunity to perform the research to understand the emotions beneath the surface of Warrior Pride. Here again, I will yield to our educators for the creation of compelling learning experiences.

As clarification is received from the state, the school district will keep all stakeholders informed. However, it is always helpful to be prepared. Today’s Comsewogue students are the stewards of the Comsewogue Warrior, its appearance and the values associated with growing up in our community. I could not imagine a change of the current logo that isn’t led by them, built on perspectives from and backed by all our supporting stakeholders. 

Our students are the standard-bearers of today’s Warrior in human and artistic representation. And as envisaged by our students, Comsewogue’s logo will be an intersection of ideals and imagery.

Rob DeStefano serves as trustee for the Comsewogue School District Board of Education. The writer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the Comsewogue School District or its Board of Education.