TimesReview Newsgroup honored a virtually entire new slate of athletes when it presented its athlete of the year awards last Thursday. Miller Place senior Nick Parrella (soccer, basketball, lacrosse) was the only repeat winner among the 20 athletes recognized during an awards reception at the company’s Mattituck headquarters.
The other athletes of the year for the 2010-11 school year are: senior Olivia Schumann (soccer, winter track, track and field) and senior Rocco Pascale (soccer, winter track, baseball) of Bishop McGann-Mercy, junior Melodee Riley (field hockey, basketball, track and field) and senior Mario Carrera (football, wrestling, lacrosse) of Riverhead, junior Alexis Reed (field hockey, softball) and senior Dantré Langhorne (basketball) of Greenport, senior Stefanie Loverde (volleyball, basketball, lacrosse) and senior Yianni Rauseo (football, basketball, baseball) of Mattituck, senior Emily Metz (soccer, lacrosse) and junior Winston Wilcenski (golf, basketball) of Southold, senior Olivia Hallstein (soccer, winter track, track and field) and senior Joe Fuller (winter track, track and field) of Longwood, senior Marlaina Sherman (soccer, basketball, softball) of Miller Place, senior Janie Turek (cross-country, winter track, track and field) and senior Matt Poillon (soccer, football, lacrosse) of Mount Sinai, senior Caitlin Gargan (soccer, winter track, lacrosse) and senior Matt Ross (wrestling) of Rocky Point, junior Debi-Michelle Jantzen (field hockey) and senior Erik Anderson (volleyball, winter track, track and field) of Shoreham-Wading River.
This is the 26th year in which TimesReview Newsgroup has presented athlete of the year awards to the top female and male athletes in the schools in its coverage area.
With last Thursday’s awards, The Suffolk Times has made 142 selections, The Riverhead News-Review 106, and the North Shore Sun has added another 78 names to the honor roll.
The following are profiles of local athletes of the year:
Greenport High School
Alexis Reed made the transition from soccer goalie to field hockey goalie two years ago and became an immediate impact player for the Greenport/Southold/Shelter Island team. In her second year as a starter for the Clippers, the junior earned all-conference status.
“That’s the amazing thing,” Todd Gulluscio, the Greenport athletic director who is also the Clippers’ coach, said. “She caught on quickly. She really committed herself to it, which is what has really helped her beyond her natural abilities. That first year, a lot of it she relied on her natural instincts. She has embraced the game. It’s her sport now.”
The Clippers had six wins. All of them were shutouts that Reed was responsible for. She had an .860 save percentage.
“The best thing she does for the team is keep the ball out of the net,” Gulluscio said. “She sees the field very well. She defends the goal very well and she helps the rest of the team. She keeps the pressure off, and her teammates rally around that. They’re confident when she’s back there.”
Reed’s quick reflexes made her ideally suited to play third base for the Southold/Greenport softball team. For the second year in a row she was an all-league player, unafraid to dive for balls or slide into a base. Her batting was an asset. She was usually slotted third or fourth in the order, finishing the season with a team-leading .440 batting average as well as 13 runs batted in. Clippers Coach Cindy Sepenoski cherished her for her work ethic and commitment.
“As soon as we get to practice, she wants to work hard all the time,” Sepenoski said. “She’s not a slacker. She wants every day to be hard and get something out of every practice.”
Reed was also a varsity cheerleader for the football and basketball teams, but her future appears to be in field hockey, which she wants to play in college.
“She’s one of those driven people,” Gulluscio said. “It dominates her. She’s driven to succeed and she’s willing to do what it takes to succeed.”
Greenport High School
Dantré Langhorne had some awfully big shoes to fill two years ago, taking over the mantle from Ryan Creighton as the leading player on Greenport’s boys basketball team. He didn’t disappoint.
The 6-foot-5 Langhorne, a team captain who could play any position on the court, rang up impressive numbers in his senior season. He averaged 22.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game. Over the course of his four varsity seasons, he has scored over 1,400 career points.
The accolades came pouring in. He was named to Newsday’s all-Long Island second team, was voted one of the top 50 players in New York State, and was a McDonald’s all-American nominee. He was a captain and the most valuable player for the League VIII champion Porters.
“Just a great leader as far as leading by example,” said Al Edwards, the Porters’ coach who is also Langhorne’s grandfather. “He came to play every day and he’s going to certainly be missed in the years to come.”
Langhorne has nice ball-handling skills, a smooth shot and a great sense of team play. He was unselfish, getting his teammates involved in the game by passing the ball, but he also understood when the time came for him to take charge.
“I think he’s a very unselfish player because a lot of times we would try to get him to score more,” Edwards said. “He was always concerned about getting everybody else on the right track.”
Langhorne invested a lot of time in his game. Even in the off-season, he could be seen with a basketball in his hands.
“The amount of time he spent with it, practice, practice, practice,” Gulluscio said, ‘everything’s basketball.”
Langhorne has not yet made his college choice.
Mattituck High School
The bigger the game, the more likely Stefanie Loverde was to rise to the occasion.
That’s the way Mattituck’s girls volleyball coach, Frank Massa, will remember Loverde.
“She without a doubt played her best in the biggest games,” he said. “She had probably the best playoff run of anybody on the team.”
Loverde didn’t allow injuries to prevent her from competing, whether it be in volleyball, basketball or lacrosse.
As an outside hitter for the volleyball team, she helped the Tuckers to an historic season — their second Suffolk County title in three years, their first Long Island and regional championships as well as their first appearance in the state semifinal pool. She returned to the team after missing six matches with a partially torn ligament in her right thumb. Playing with her right hand and wrist heavily taped and a brace on her right knee, which she had also injured, she played some of her best volleyball in the playoffs, earning a place on the all-county tournament team.
Massa said Loverde probably had the best playoff run of any of the Tuckers.
“She was a motivator,” he said. “She was the key. She would rip a ball and it would make a lot of noise, and it would get the crowd going.”
A fierce competitor, Loverde was also an integral part of the basketball and lacrosse teams she played for.
Because of a knee injury and a reinjury to the same knee, Loverde played what amounts to a little over half a basketball season the past two years. But when the academic all-county forward was on the court, she made a difference.
“When she did [play], she gave her all,” Coach Steve Van Dood said. “She had a toughness. … She got the nod from a lot of coaches including myself for her hard work.”
Loverde will attend SUNY/Cortland.
Mattituck High School
Yianni Rauseo could be considered among the best all-around athletes ever to come out of Mattituck. Speed, strength, jumping ability. He has it all.
Rauseo was an impact player on the football, basketball and baseball teams he played for.
As an all-county baseball player, he played center field and pitched for the Tuckers, who advanced to the Southeast Region Class B final. The ball jumped off his bat. He received the Silver Slugger Award as the best hitter in League VII, and had the numbers to back it up: a .493 batting average, a school record eight home runs, 29 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases. He led the team in every major statistical category.
“Every time Yianni got up, we waited for a home run,” said Coach Steve De Caro.
As the third pitcher in the starting rotation, Rauseo posted a 3-1 record.
Mattituck’s athletic director, Gregg Wormuth, was impressed that Rauseo jotted down notes in the dugout after each of his at-bats. “I’ve never seen a kid do that,” Wormuth said. “Yianni strategizes and analyzes situations.”
Rauseo’s qualities suited him fine as a wide receiver and defensive back for the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island football team. He earned all-league first team status.
“You saw the games,” said Coach Jack Martilotta, whose Porters made it to the playoffs for the second year in a row. “He was amazing. I thought he was a tough kid. He had that explosive speed. A tough kid who’s fast, that’s a great combination.”
Rauseo’s exceptional leaping ability and speed served him well in basketball, too. The all-league honorable mention small forward helped the Tuckers reach the regional final. He averaged 8.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. His superior speed allowed teammates to take chances without fear that the Tuckers would be burned on their end of the court.
“He played the middle of our press,” Paul Ellwood said of the only three-year varsity player he has had in his eight seasons as the team’s coach. “He was a player and a half back there. He could take a lot of chances and recover.”
Rauseo is headed to SUNY/Oswego, where he wants to play baseball.
Southold High School
Emily Metz has two personalities, really — an on-the-field personality and an off-the-field personality.
Kevin McGoey, the Southold/Greenport girls’ soccer coach, likes them both. Off the field, he said, she is one of the nicest players he knows. On the field, she is a tough competitor, all about business.
That approach helped the senior center midfielder earn all-county and team MVP honors. The four-year varsity player brought energy to the field, typically playing an entire game without a breather.
“She’s a very tough defender and she always goes at the highest intensity,” said McGoey, who also appreciated the way Metz went out of her way to help younger teammates adjust to the demands of the varsity game. “She’s always going hard, playing hard. Her energy level is phenomenal.”
No one had to tell that to those who watched Metz play goalie for the Mattituck/Greenport/Southold girls lacrosse team, which completed its second season of varsity play. Metz saw a lot of shots and kept her team in games.
“She comes up big,” Coach Kaitlin Leggio said. “She just works hard and she’s very motivating. You could hear her on the field. She’s helping the girls; she makes great saves.”
Southold’s athletic director, Joe Braico, said Metz has been “a fantastic student-athlete the entire year, from soccer all the way to lacrosse. She was our best soccer player. Anything you can ask for an athlete, I think she has done this year.”
Metz will attend Florida Gulf Coast University.
Southold High School
He is a pure shooter. That is the best way to describe Winston Wilcenski.
The junior shooting guard was a force for the First Settlers, averaging 22.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He scored as many as 39 points in a game and led Long Island by knocking down 65 three-pointers. He shot 34.2 percent from three-point range and made 81.9 percent of his free throws.
His uncanny knack for making shots was seen time after time. He hit a half-court shot to beat Westhampton Beach and sank a shot from three-quarters the length of the court against Shelter Island.
“If he got hot, there wasn’t much you could do to stop him,” Southold’s athletic director, Joe Braico, said. “He’s got a scorer’s mentality. When he feels it, he’s going to take the shot and he’s going to make it.”
Coach Jeff Ellis said: “He can just score. He’s got that little bit of cockiness to him, but that’s a good thing on the basketball court. Late in the game, he wants the ball.”
After the season Wilcenski was named an all-conference player and team MVP.
With the First Settlers having graduated eight of 11 players last year, Wilcenski made the transition from reserve player to go-to player as well as Ellis could have hoped.
“This year he just took the reigns and did what he does,” said the coach.
Wilcenski also played for the Greenport/Southold boys golf team, qualifying for the county tournament. In his second year among the Clippers’ top six golfers, Wilcenski typically shot in the 40s over nine holes, playing what Coach Dave Fujita called a good short game.
“I love Winston because he’s a competitor,” Fujita said. “Part of his character is what makes him successful. … He’s a person that’s able to perform and rise to the occasion.”