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Shoreham-Wading River High School

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.

Shoreham-Wading River’s journey to the Long Island Championship was an uphill climb. The Wildcats suffered four early losses in the regular season, but with a strong finish, they earned the third seed entering postseason play.

SWR triumphed over Bayport-Blue Point, the second seed, to reach the county final, then defeated the unbeaten Mount Sinai Mustangs for the Suffolk Class C title.

Enter Manhasset, the 17-1 Nassau County Class C champion. At Stony Brook University Saturday morning, June 3, the Wildcats had momentum through three quarters of play but faltered in the fourth, ending their season with an 11-6 loss.

The Gregorek brothers kept the flame alive for SWR, with junior Liam scoring three goals in the opening quarter and senior Alec scoring twice in the matchup. Senior attack Steven Cain stretched the net to round out the scoring for the Wildcats as goalie Jaden Galfano — who had a stellar season between the pipes — ended with 14 saves in the game, eclipsing 500 varsity career saves as just a junior.

Alec Gregorek concluded his varsity career tied with teammate Liam Kershis in fourth place in Suffolk County’s scoring leaderboard with 70 goals and 27 assists. Kershis, a junior, notched 59 goals along with 38 assists. Galfano concluded the Wildcats 2023 campaign with 200 saves, ranking him fourth in the county.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Having lost to the Mustangs 11-7 earlier in the season, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats had a score to settle when they went head-to-head with Mount Sinai in the Suffolk Class C championship at Stony Brook University Tuesday afternoon, May 30. Mount Sinai, the no. 1 seed at 17-0, hadn’t tasted defeat all season. The Wildcats would change that when they jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the closing minutes of the third quarter.

Mount Sinai chipped away at the deficit, drawing within two goals in the final four minutes of play. But the Wildcat defense was able to corral the Mustangs, holding on for the 10-7 victory. With it, they punched their ticket to the Long Island Championship.

Nick Carretta topped the scoring chart for the Mustangs with three goals. Cole Marsala followed with two, and teammates Jake Spallina and Christian Colantonio scored. Mount Sinai goalie Brayden Wilcken had 10 stops in net.

Liam Kershis had the hot stick for the Wildcats with five goals. Seniors Steven Cain and Alec Gregorek scored twice, and Alex Kershis stretched the net. Goalkeeper Jaden Galfano, a junior, had 15 saves between the pipes.

The Wildcats retake the field at Stony Brook Saturday morning, June 3, to face Manhasset for the Long Island Championship title. Gametime is scheduled for 10 a.m.

Tickets can be purchased here.

— Photos by Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River midfielder Liam Gregorek gets checked. Photo by Bill Landon

Liam Kershis led the way for Shoreham Wading River in the opening round of the Suffolk County Class C playoffs as the Wildcats eliminated Kings Park.

Kings Park had struggled against the Wildcats’ defensive pressure, unable to gain traction in the 17-7 loss at Cutinella Memorial Field Thursday night, May 18.

Kershis tallied an assist with five goals for the Wildcats, while teammate Alec Gregorek netted three assists and three goals. Gregorek’s brother, Liam, notched three goals of his own and tacked on an assist in the SWR victory. Goalie Jaden Galfano had eight saves in net, and Jon Gordon stopped two.

Kings Park senior attack Thomas Hnis recorded three goals and a pair of assists for the Kingsmen. Nick Papa, John Flynn and Tommy Cassar rounded out the scoring for Kings Park.

The win propels the third-seeded Wildcats to the semifinal round of the county playoffs. The team will travel to Bayport-Blue Point — the second seed — on Tuesday, May 23. The game will start at 4 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

An annual community philanthropic initiative recently returned for its latest installment.

Shoreham-Wading River High School hosted the 15th annual Lax Out Cancer fundraising event on Saturday, May 13. This community staple was organized by the lacrosse program in conjunction with the Wildcat Athletic Club and local businesses. The funds raised will help boost awareness while supporting four local families currently battling cancer.

The East Islip boys lacrosse team came to support the event, giving up a home game to help bolster the cause. The Ward Melville girls lacrosse team was also on hand, participating alongside SWR’s junior varsity teams and the Suffolk Police Athletic League.

There were games for the spectators, music and entertainment, silent auctions and apparel sales. The grills at the concession stand never cooled off.

Shoreham’s own Carter Rubin — season 19 winner of “The Voice” — sang a moving rendition of the National Anthem just before the varsity teams took the field.

The Wildcats took command early, holding off a late game surge and winning the game 14-5.

Contributions can be sent to Lax Out Cancer – SWRWAC at www.swrwac.org/?page_id=2478.

— 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

Wildcats tame Lions, 18-4

It was wind-driven rain that soaked Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday morning, April 1, but the weather didn’t hamper Shoreham-Wading River’s surge toward the cage, where the Wildcats dispatched the Lions of West Islip 18-4.

Senior Alec Gregorek topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats with eight goals and two assists, and teammate Liam Kershis stretched the net six times along with an assist. Steven Cain, a senior, also found the back of the cage along with four assists. And Jaden Galfano had 10 stops in net in this Div. II lacrosse matchup.

The win lifts Shoreham-Wading River to 2-0, having defeated Harborfields in the season opener. The cats will retake the field Wednesday, April 5, with another home game against Kings Park. Gametime is slated for 3:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

In a historic first visit to the Long Island Class A Championship, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats girls basketball team led by a single point with two seconds left in regulation.

However, Manhasset’s Caitlin Barrett went to the foul line, shooting two. Barrett missed the first but hit the second to tie the game at 45-all, forcing overtime.

The Wildcats trailed by three points in the opening minute of the four-minute overtime period. Manhasset was able to contain the Wildcats’ potent offensive pressure, edging ahead to win the game 58-51 at Farmingdale State College on Saturday, March 11.

Senior Sophie Costello led her team in scoring with 18 points. Seniors GraceAnn Leonard and Colleen Ohrtman scored 11 points, and senior Annie Sheehan netted six.

The Wildcats conclude their 2022-23 campaign as Suffolk County Class A champions with an impressive 24-2 record.

— Photos by Bill Landon

It was all for the bragging rights during the overall Section XI championship when the undefeated Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (23-0), the small school winner, squared off against large school champion Walt Whitman at Island Federal Credit Arena at Stony Brook University on March 4. 

The Wildcats trailed by two points to open the second half. However, they struggled to land their shots, allowing Whitman to slowly edge ahead for the 50-42 victory, handing SWR its first loss of the season. 

Sophie Costello led the Wildcats with 12 points. GraceAnn Leonard followed with 10, and Annie Sheehan and Juliana Mahan banked seven points each. Teammates Colleen Ohrtman, Haylie Abrams and Anabel Keegan netted two points apiece. 

Shoreham-Wading River, the Suffolk Class A title holder, lives to fight another day, advancing to the Long Island Championship round (regional finals) on Saturday, March 11, when they’ll face Manhasset (23-1) at Farmingdale State College. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The only undefeated team in Suffolk County at 22-0, the Wildcats found themselves trailing by two points at the halftime break. They would need Annie Sheehan’s free throw appearance to put the Wildcats back out front when the senior sank both to retake the lead 37-36 with 4:16 left in the third quarter. 

A three-pointer from GraceAnn Leonard would re-tie the game at 51-all with four minutes left in regulation. But the Wildcats’ unrelenting defense contained the Lady Kingsmens’ potent offense down the stretch. SWR closed the game for a 63-56 victory, delivering the program its first-ever Suffolk County title. 

Leonard led the Wildcats with 27 points. Sophie Costello added 16, and Sheehan banked 10.

Jaxie Cestone led Kings Park in scoring with 18 points, and Ryan Currier also netted 15.  

The win sends the 23-0 Wildcats to the Long Island Championship round on Saturday, March 11, when they face the Nassau class A title winner at Farmingdale State College. Game time is slated for 3 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon