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Smithtown High School West

Smithtown High School’s Douglas Antaky finishes second overall in the New York State boys Class A cross-country championship. Photo courtesy SCSD

Smithtown High School West senior Douglas Antaky finished as the state runner-up in the boys Class A cross-country state championship on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Antaky, running for the Smithtown High School East/West team, finished second out of 107 runners in the 5K, with a time of 15.56.

Antaky is just the second Smithtown High School athlete ever to place runner-up in the event.

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Smithtown High School West. Photo from Wikipedia

By Sabrina Artusa

After years of alleged bullying, a Smithtown student is suing the school district, claiming inadequate handling of the abuse. An accused party is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

According to the $6 million lawsuit, the 16-year-old was allegedly subjected to degradation, mockery and even physical assault, which was recorded and shared.

The lawsuit accuses the Smithtown Central School District, Smithtown High School West, Superintendent of Schools Mark Secaur and the district Board of Education of enabling the bullying by failing to punish the bullying students and allowing them to remain in school, consequently creating an unsafe environment.

The bullying allegedly began in 2018, when the unnamed plaintiff, “A.S.,” as the lawsuit refers to her, was in sixth grade. The Accompsett Middle School principal, Paul McNeil, was alerted.

A.S. made the varsity cheerleading squad upon entering high school in 2021, along with one of her alleged bullies, referred to as “A.M.” in the lawsuit.

At a party in the summer of 2022, A.S. was allegedly screamed at by a fellow cheerleader, pulled to the ground by another girl and beaten, all while another teenager filmed the event, the suit claims. The video was allegedly shown to several school officials, including Secaur. 

The lawsuit states that after a period of homeschooling, which was allegedly deemed below par by the school district, A.S. had to return to school, where bullying allegedly persisted. While A.S. quit the cheerleading team, the suit claims the bully was allowed to remain.

“The group of girls continued to target anyone who talked to [A.S],” the lawsuit alleges. They would tell her friends “not to be friends with her, right in front of her.”

The parents of A.S. communicated with school officials and were promised several times that a plan would be put into place and that she would be monitored by security, the suit reads. Additionally, a school counselor allegedly promised to support the girl but never did so, according to the lawsuit.

Smithtown High School West employees allowed a friend to escort her to her classes but, when pressed by parents for a solution, allegedly said there is not enough staff.

“Parents sent several emails, phone calls, texts to school administration, and all went unanswered for weeks,” the lawsuit suggests.

In another incident, A.S. was targeted in the bathroom, where she was found by an employee crying in a stall. She named her bully but was not believed by school officials, who told the parents that the girl A.S. named was not involved.

The bullying students weren’t removed from the school, according to the lawsuit, which argues that the school was negligent in allowing the bullying students to remain in school “despite knowing about these students’ vicious and aggressive propensities.”

Parents bought A.S. an emotional support animal, a horse, which was then put down by veterinarians for reasons undisclosed. This event was allegedly weaponized by the bullies, who started calling her “horse girl.”

The family’s attorney, Kenneth Mollins, told the New York Post that the accuser “threatened to kill herself if they forced her to go back to school.”

The accuser’s family filled out forms under the Dignity for All Students Act — once in 2019 and again against the three assaulters in May 2023 — all deemed “unfounded.” The Dignity for All Students Act is designed to ensure “a safe and supportive student environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying on school property.”

When questioned, the school district stated that it does not comment on matters pertaining to litigation. 

Left, Elizabeth Sill, wife of the late Greg Sill, with Ashley Marchese, Smithtown High School West social studies/special education teacher and athletics coach, during the 2nd annual Greg Sill Foundation golf outing. Photo courtesy SSD

On July 21, more than 100 people gathered at the Wind Watch Golf and Country Club in Hauppauge for the second annual Greg Sill Foundation Golf outing.

The event was held to honor the legacy of the late Greg Sill, the beloved Smithtown High School West history teacher.

“The foundation started on the day of his funeral,” said Greg’s wife, Elizabeth Sill. “I got up and said his name cannot end here. His legacy must live on.”  

Greg Sill passed away in March 2021. A GoFundMe page was created by Elizabeth Sill to raise money for what’s now called the Greg Sill “Be the Coffee Bean” Memorial Fund. More than $60,000 has been raised in scholarship money for local students, including an annual $5,000 scholarship for a Smithtown High School West and Smithtown High School East student. 

At the golf fundraiser, locals participated in a lunch, golf outing and dinner, as well as purchased gift bags and raffles.  

“The whole idea is to keep Greg’s legacy going,” said Ashley Marchese, Smithtown High School West social studies/special education teacher and athletics coach. “You get 100 people to show up, that’s what makes it all worth it.”

Elizabeth Sill said there were plenty of newcomers to the event this year, as well as plenty of Smithtown Central School District staff, including Smithtown High School East Principal Robert Rose and High School West Assistant Principals Annemarie Freund and Michael Freiberg.

Smithtown High School West celebrated 334 seniors as its graduating class of 2023 on June 22.

“You have left a legacy for future students,” said Smithtown Central School District Superintendent Mark Secaur as he addressed the class with the threat of rain giving way to the bright futures of the new graduates.

Smithtown High School West Principal John Coady told the class, “The best days are ahead of you, not behind you” and encouraged the students to be a positive influence and “always respect the values of others.”

Stephen Jung, Smithtown High School West Honor Speaker, spoke to the class about overcoming the pandemic, while saying, “Each of you earned a right to be here and that deserves its own applause.”

Senior Class President Stephen Hunt IV reminded the class to find their passion and “always remember you are your own person.”

The Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River, protecting a three-goal lead to open the second half, scored on their first possession to break out to an 8-4 lead against the Bulls of Smithtown West at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in a Division II matchup April 21.

It looked as if the Wildcats would cruise the rest of the way, but the Bulls saw it differently as they chipped away at the deficit when Isabella Dantuono with seven minutes left in regulation scored off an assist from Alyssa Lorefice to trail 8-7. Charlotte Erb’s shot on goal stretched the net for the insurance goal for the Wildcats with six minutes left when Dantuono buried her fourth goal of the game to trail 9-8 at the three-minute mark. Shoreham-Wading River was able to hold on letting the clock unwind for the victory.

Shoreham-Wading River senior GraceAnn Leonard topped the scoring chart for the Wildcats with an assist and three goals. Teammates Reese Marcario had two assists with Grayce Kitchen scoring twice. Kamryn Osik had two saves on the day.

Isabella Dantuono scored four goals along with an assist for Smithtown West and Alyssa Lorefice had two assists and two goals. Goalie Maribella Marciano stopped eight shots on goal.

The win lifts the Wildcats division record to 5-3 while the loss drops the Bulls to 4-4.

The Commack Cougars boys basketball team continued their march to the Suffolk County AA championship by beating the top-seeded Smithtown West Bulls in the semi-final round on Tuesday night at neutral site Longwood High School. The final score was 48-43.

Commack senior center Ethan Meisel led the Cougars with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and he tied the score with a layup with two minutes left in the game after Smithtown West had been up by as many as 10.

But Commack, the fourth seed, outscored West 22-7 over the final 13 minutes of the game, and key free throws down the stretch by senior guard Mike Gitz after a gigantic offensive rebound by senior power forward Chris McHugh, with 10 seconds remaining in the game, sealed the win for Commack. Junior guard Nick Waga, who appeared to be seriously injured with 2 minutes and 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter, reentered the game to help close out the contest. Waga scored 10 points and handled the crunch-time pressure that West applied in their desperate attempts to create late-game turnovers.

The Bulls were again without superstar center Patrick Burke who dislocated his knee against Northport earlier this month and this gave Meisel, McHugh and forward Matt Rosenoff to freely operate in and around both their offensive and defensive baskets.

West senior guard Jack Melore scored 15 for the Bulls but missed on all four of his three-point shots in the second half. Brothers Lorenzo and Ben Rappa combined for 20 points in the losing effort.

Commack will attempt to win the county crown in the program’s history when they take on seventh-seeded Brentwood, who knocked off third-seeded Bellport, 63-59, earlier in the day. The AA Championship game will be held at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. The winner will take on the Small School Champion, who is yet to be determined.

The mighty have officially fallen.

The Commack Boys Basketball team did something nobody had been able to do so far this season – beat the Bulls of Smithtown High School West.

Led by senior guard Mike Gitz, the Cougars dominated the 4th quarter outscoring the Bulls 24-15, in what had been a tight game through three. The final was 68-57. 

Gitz had 12 points in that final period, and it was the second time in two games that Commack dominated a 4th quarter to prevail against a quality league opponent. The Cougars beat the Northport Tigers 62-55 last Saturday in what was also a tight game until late.

With the win, Commack pulls into a tie for first place with Smithtown West, widely regarded as one of the top teams on Long Island, both with records of 10-1 in Conference I play. After dropping their opener to Bay Shore six weeks ago, the Cats have now won 10 in a row.

“The kids really executed the game plan tonight and hit some big shots,” said Commack Head Coach Peter Smith. “This was the first of four road games for us in what will be a tough stretch and I’m glad we started it with a huge win.”

Huge was the theme of the night, and herculean the task of containing Smithtown West Center Patrick Burke, who is 6 feet, 8 inches tall. Burke averages 20 points a game. Commack played a defense by committee against Burke with Cougar power forward Ethan Meisel in the role of committee chair.

“I went out there expecting a battle,” Meisel said. “I just kept focusing on keeping him (Burke) out of the paint. I watched a lot of film leading up to this game to learn what moves he would be looking to make and that helped me in stopping him.”

Burke had 19 points but only three in the 4th quarter.

“Ethan did a great job on Patrick,” Smith said. “But I think we played great help defense tonight, bringing over an off guard to try and keep him bottled up.”

Also bottled up, at least in the 1st half, was Cougar junior guard Nick Waga. Not because of great defense by the Bulls, but because he picked up two early fouls and Smith decided to let him sit. 

 But the fiery Waga started the 2nd half with a bang. With West leading 26-23, he came off a backdoor curl to hit a corner three and tie the game just 10 seconds into the 3rd quarter. That hoop was his first points of the game.  

Waga would finish with 12 points in the quarter, the last three of which coming on a buzzer-beating three pointer to give Commack a 44-42 lead heading into the deciding fourth. He started and ended the period the same way — with long range bombs.

“I had fresh legs and wanted to bring a bunch of energy,” said the 6 foot, 1 inch tall Waga, whose black and blonde wavy coif make him easy to spot on the court. “My teammates motivated me not to put my head down when I was sitting in the first half and we all kept pushing each other to get this win.”

As it was Waga who had fresh legs in the third, it was Gitz who caught fire in the fourth. He hit a runner in the lane to start the period and on the next possession faked out his defender Lorenzo Rappa so badly that Rappa flew in the opposite direction and was absorbed by pick-setting Cougar Chris McHugh, as Gitz casually hit a wide-open three. 

It gave the Cougars a seven-point lead and this move, that drew “oohs” and “aahs” from both Cougar and Bull fans alike, might have been the death blow to Smithtown West’s dreams of an undefeated season. With six and a half minutes remaining, the Bulls called a timeout as the buzz of the crowd was still loud enough to drown out West’s pep band. 

“I work on that move a lot,” said Gitz, who led all scorers with 21. “I try to use jabs and pump fakes to get the defenders off balance. It was great to hear the crowd after making that play and both the basket and the crowd was a big swing of momentum for us.”

The momentum would stay with Commack, as West would never recover. The Cougar lead ballooned to 14 with three minutes remaining in the game when Gitz drove past Rappa in the lane for a layup.

The rest of the game rendered a formality, Commack gladly went to the free throw line to seal it, and for the second straight game, they closed out a quality conference foe and arch enemy.

“We stay true to our game plan and execute down the stretch,” said Gitz on his team’s ability finish off opponents. “Plus, I think we want it more.”

Now the Cougars truly have what they wanted – a victory over the number one ranked team in Suffolk County and first place in the league with six games to go. Is he thinking about meeting the Bulls in playoffs next month?

“We are going to enjoy this win tonight and focus on West Islip on Thursday,” Smith said. “The ship keeps on going forward and you hope for the best.”

On this night, Smith and his Cougars not only beat the best, but now find themselves in a position to merit consideration as the best.

A malfunctioning fire alarm caused a 48-minute delay in the middle of the third quarter of the Smithtown West vs. Northport boys basketball game on Saturday.

A close game before the stoppage turned into a rout for the Bulls, as they won 68-41. Northport was ahead 31-27 at halftime and were down by only four with 3:07 left in the third quarter when the alarm bells began to sound.

Smithtown West exploded with 31-8 after play resumed, including an 11-0 run to end the third quarter.

This was a part of a 19-2 run that spanned the end of the first half to the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jack Melore scored 26, including 4 three pointers, for the Bulls who remain undefeated at 5-0. Center Patrick Burke had 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks for West. Northport’s Andrew Miller scored 18 points, 14 in the first half, as the Tigers dropped their first game of the year and are 4-1. Brendan Carr had 8 points and Emmett Radziul had 6 for Northport.

As for the delay, first responders from Hauppauge and Central Islip were on the scene within minutes and approximately a dozen fully-uniformed firefighters investigated the premises accompanied by Smithtown Central School District officials. It was determined that a faulty smoke detector caused the alarm — the second time in a week such a situation had occurred.

According to SCSD Director of Facilities Dan Leddy, the fire alert system for the entire district is currently being modernized with Smithtown West High School the first building to have a new fire safety monitoring system installed. This work should be completed district-wide before the end of the 2022-23 school year.

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Smithtown West hit the mats at the Carl T. Korpi wrestling invitational at Miller Place High School Dec. 10 with championship performances by Joseph Jaeger at 102 pounds, pinning his opponent in the championship final at the 3:09 mark. 

Teammate Jack DiMaggio, at 138 pounds, defeated his opponent by a 4-2 decision, and Kenneth Leverich, at 145, ended it early, winning his match with a pin at the 1:23 mark. Michael Teplansky defeated Zack Wilson of Shoreham Wading River by major decision.

In consolation finals, Anthony Santaniello, at 145, defeated Vincent Zimmerman, of Centereach, and Philip Reneiris pinned his opponent at the 4:44 mark.

The Bulls are back in action when they travel to West Islip for a league matchup Dec 14 with the first bout scheduled for 6 p.m.

In a bitterly fought match that went scoreless for 100 minutes of regulation and overtime, the Smithtown West Bulls beat the Northport Tigers, 1-0, in the Suffolk County boys soccer semifinal on Monday. The game was decided by penalty kicks — the last of which coming from a surprising source.

In a game that saw five yellow cards and countless hard tackles and collisions, West goalkeeper Landon Schneider came out of his net, where he played brilliantly the entire match, to score the game-winning penalty kick. After five successful penalty kicks by both teams, Northport missed on its sixth attempt.

Having been replaced in goal for the penalty kicks by backup Brendan Madden, Schneider stepped in for the sixth and game-winning kick and calmly drilled it into the left side of the net.  

Schneider and Northport goalkeeper Tommy Pace both made a number of acrobatic saves, but none was better than Schneider’s save of Richie Bender’s point-blank blast in the 95th minute that would have been a sudden-death victory for Northport.

Smithtown West (12-4-1) will now battle Connetquot (14-2-3) for the Suffolk AA Championship on Thursday Night at Comsewogue High School. Northport finished 12-6-1 on the year.