Salute to H.S. sports champions from 2023-24


It was a banner season for many high school athletic programs in the Herald’s coverage area. Listed are the top team accomplishments, in chronological order.

  1. East Meadow boys’ soccer
    History was made Nov. 1 as East Meadow completed an improbable run to its first-ever Nassau County boys’ soccer championship with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Plainview in the Class AAA final at Mitchel Athletic Complex. Robert Derwin scored twice and Raymond McLeod and Dylan Wauchope both found the back of the net for a third straight postseason game for the Jets, who eliminated top-seeded Uniondale and Baldwin in the quarterfinals and semis, respectively.
  1. South Side girls’ soccer
    In the 2021 Nassau Class A girls’ soccer semifinals, South Side’s Nora Basile converted a penalty kick to help knock off Garden City and the Cyclones went on to win county and Long Island titles. Basile found herself in an even bigger pressure situation Nov. 1 against the same Garden City goalkeeper (Marisa Patrissi) when she stepped to the penalty kick line in overtime of the Class AA final after teammate Charlotte Rathjen was taken down in the box. Basile scored 1:25 into OT to give South Side a 1-0 victory over the Trojans. It was the 30th county title in program history and 10th for the team under coach Judi Croutier.
  1. Calhoun boys’ volleyball
    With things looking dim and the championship seemingly out of reach after it once was within its grasp, Max Jose put Calhoun on his shoulders and lifted it to the boys’ volleyball county title. He had 24 kills, including four at the end of the dramatic fifth set, as the fifth-seeded Colts withstood six match points to claim their third Nassau Division II crown in four seasons with a thrilling 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 19-25, 18-16 victory over No. 2 Jericho at SUNY-Old Westbury Nov. 8. Lucas Rogers had 19 assists, including feeds to Jose that helped put away the match, and Mark Restivo added 11 digs.
  1. East Rockaway girls’ volleyball
    East Rockaway’s girls’ volleyball team had a magical season come to an end on Nov. 9 when it fell in the Long Island Class C championship to Port Jefferson in three sets 17-25, 23-25, 19-25. The season was still a huge success, however. The Rocks were able to snag the Nassau Class C championship Nov. 6 with a sweep of Carle Place. East Rockaway, which won 10 matches in 2023, was led by Nicole Zugnoni, Grace Buffetti, Sofia Ramirez and libero Stephanie Lynch. The latter ranked second in the county with 332 digs.
  1. South Side football
    Clinging to a three-point lead in the Nassau Conference III championship game Nov. 17 after Floral Park found the end zone with 5:21 remaining, South Side’s offense made sure the Knights never touched the football again. Michael Melkonian, Owen West and Jack Lozito all produced clutch first downs on the final possession as the second-seeded Cyclones sealed their first county title in 22 years with a hard-fought 17-14 victory before a crowd of more than 3,500 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. Lozito rushed for 114 yards and scored the eventual winning touchdown on a 4-yard run with 9:24 remaining.
  1. Seaford football
    Two clutch plays on its opening drive set the tone for what proved to be a convincing championship win for Seaford in the Nassau Conference IV football final against Cold Spring Harbor Nov. 18. Facing a third-and-11 three plays into the game, quarterback Tim Navin found receiver Kyle Britton, who fought for extra yards to gain a crucial first down just past midfield. Three snaps later, Britton executed a reverse on a third-and-nine for 10 yards. The 7:12 opening drive eventually capped by a 25-yard field goal from Jake Anzelone provided the first points for Seaford en route to a commanding 30-6 win at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
  1. Long Beach girls’ volleyball
    If anyone told Kerri Rehnback back in September her swansong as Long Beach girls’ volleyball coach would include Nassau County and Long Island titles and end on the state championship stage, she would’ve “signed up in a heartbeat.” So while bittersweet, the Nov. 19 defeat to Webster Schroeder in the state Class AA final was a little easier to absorb given all the Marines accomplished in 2023, starting with a sweep of top-seeded Mepham for the county crown. Long Beach’s run was led by Franki Kelleher, Zoe Moller, Amy Littman, Ivanka Priymak, Hayley Lipinski and Franky DeCicco.
  1. LWA boys’ basketball
    Hank Williams Jr. drilled six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points and Chris Clark hit some key shots and finished with 15 as Lawrence-Woodmere Academy captured its ninth Private Schools Athletic Association boys’ basketball crown and first in seven years with a 66-54 win over Stony Brook School at Stony Brook University Feb. 16. Sylvanus Tabe added nine points and Josh Smith added eight for LWA, which went 21-5 after going just 8-8 the previous season.
  1. West Hempstead boys’ basketball
    West Hempstead was slow out of the gate in the Nassau Class B boys’ basketball finals March 1, playing its first game in three weeks before turning on the jets when it mattered most. The top-seeded Rams trailed Carle Place by nine midway through the second quarter but quickly began to take control by scoring 28 of the next 36 points en route to a 54-45 win for the program’s first county championship since 2003. West Hempstead received balanced scoring led by 13 points each from Chris Young, Isiah Blunt, Graffeo-Jackson and Evan Wilson.
  1. Baldwin boys’ basketball
    It’s difficult to beat a quality opponent three times in a season, in any sport at any level. And when it comes to Nassau County high school boys’ basketball, accomplishing that feat against arguably the best program over the past two decades — with 400 wins and nine championships — is that much tougher. A stifling defense, clutch offense from Chase Timberlake (16 points) and the steady hands of point guard Peyton Howell (12) allowed Baldwin to avenge a pair of regular-season defeats to Port Washington and capture its fourth straight county title, 46-26, in the Class AAA final March 2 before a crowd of more than 3,000 at Farmingdale State College.
  1. East Meadow girls’ basketball
    The girls’ basketball team will finally have a banner in the East Meadow High School gym. Allison Twible scored a game-high 20 points and Charlotte Viola added 18, including two huge free throws in the final seconds, as the seventh-seeded Jets claimed their first-ever county championship after holding off top-seeded Manhasset, 69-66, in the Nassau Class AA title game March 4 at Farmingdale State College. Angelina Cronin scored 13 points and Kayla Lederer had 12 with a key steal in the final minute for East Meadow, which beat the top three seeds en route to the title.
  1. Elmont boys’ basketball
    Just in case the situation presented itself in the Long Island Class AA boys’ basketball championship game, Elmont head coach Ryan Straub introduced an inbounds play at the previous day’s practice for which the Spartans had just a few seconds from midcourt to execute a shot. So when Straub called timeout March 9 with 2.6 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied at 51, it was go time. And Arlyn Brown delivered. He took the inbounds pass from Gemere Frias-Walsh, dribbled twice and lofted a shot just inside the three-point line that banked in as time expired, giving Elmont an astounding 53-51 victory over Half Hollow Hills East before a crowd of more than 3,500 at Farmingdale State College.
  1. Calhoun girls’ track
    Calhoun’s girls’ track and field team was finally able to slay the Valley Stream North dragon on its home turf to capture the program’s first-ever spring county title during the Nassau Class AA Championships May 21. Following their seventh straight conference championship that pushed their meet winning streak to 103, the Colts earned 60 of their 94 points in the field events – including a sweep in the triple jump and three of the top four spots in the long jump – to win the county title. Calhoun finished almost 17 points ahead of the runner-up Spartans after finishing second to North in the last two spring championship events.
  1. North Shore girls’ track
    The North Shore girls’ track and field team deserves a parade down Sea Cliff Avenue to honor its starry accomplishments across the years. The North Shore girls wrapped themselves in more maroon glory at the Nassau Class A championship meet May 24. The Vikings won the title in a landslide as 13 athletes earned All-County honors. It gave legendary coach Neil Levy his 40th combined county championship that includes the winter track and cross-country seasons. This one was extra special as North Shore's 126 points was more than the combined scores of the second (Island Trees) and third-place (Valley Stream South) teams.
  1. Wantagh boys’ lacrosse
    As the Wantagh boys’ lacrosse team stormed the field at the end of the Nassau Class C final it was more than just rejoicing in a county championship, but the chance for a close-knit group to extend their high school careers together. Top-seeded Wantagh captured the program’s first county title since 2001 with a convincing 13-4 win against Island Trees at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium May 24 to cap a far different ending than the previous two seasons when the Warriors fell on the finals stage to Manhasset. Dylan Martini sparked the offense with six goals. Joe Nicholson added a hat trick and Jake Martini, Dylan’s cousin, had two goals and three assists.
  1. Oceanside softball
    Catcher Sophie Nesturrick had the best seat in the house Memorial Day weekend as Oceanside captured its first Nassau County softball championship since 2015. The third-seeded Sailors got a lights-out pitching performance from Caroline Ferchland in Game 2 and completed a sweep of two-time defending champion Massapequa with a 2-0 victory May 26 at Farmingdale State College. Oceanside took the Class AAA best-of-three series opener 24 hours earlier, 4-3, behind a complete-game effort from pitcher Olivia Ikes.
  1. Seaford softball
    The Wantagh and Seaford softball teams were separated by the slimmest of margins this spring. They split a pair of regular-season matchups as well as the first two games of the Nassau Class A championship series before Seaford took the rubber match and the county title, 6-2, May 28 at Farmingdale State College. The Vikings, who last year won the Class B title, trailed the Warriors in the clincher before scoring three times in the top of the fifth. Kaitlyn Young, Katie Young and Alyssa Rodriguez collected RBIs to back the clutch pitching of Skyler Secondino.
  1. Clarke baseball
    Two of Nassau County’s most successful baseball programs over the past 25 years squared off in an epic championship series, with Clarke defeating Wantagh in the decisive third game at Farmingdale State College, 5-0, to claim the Class A title May 28. Nick Berasti went the distance, throwing 99 pitches, as the Rams captured their eighth county crown in program history and seventh under longtime coach Tom Abruscato. Dylan Vikara drove in Giancarlo Rengifo in the bottom of the first for the eventual winning run. Vikara had two RBIs and Rengifo scored twice.
  1. Wantagh girls’ lacrosse
    It took two days but was well worth the wait for Wantagh’s girls’ lacrosse program. The Warriors withstood a 16-hour weather delay and top-seeded Manhasset’s desperate fourth-quarter rally to capture the Nassau Class C championship, 11-10, at Adelphi University’s Motamed Field May 30. Sienna Diglio and Juliana Cerasi scored three goals apiece and Riley Forthofer and Isabella Santiago both netted a pair as Wantagh won its first county title since 2017 and snapped the Indians’ streak of five straight crowns. Forthofer also had two assists. The game was halted the previous night due to severe weather with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter and with No. 2 Wantagh clinging to a 7-5 lead after Manhasset scored the first three goals of the second half in a span of 59 seconds.
  1. Kennedy softball
    On the way to helping lead the Kennedy softball program to its first-ever Nassau County championship, pitcher Lia Fong allowed a total of 10 runs in six playoff games. So when she took the circle in the bottom of the first inning of the Long Island Class AA title game against West Islip with a 4-run cushion May 31, the “pressure was off,” Fong said. She struck out the side in the bottom of the first, and went on to fan 11 more batters as the Cougars continued their historic season with a convincing 10-1 victory. Samantha Kapitansky scored 3 runs, Fong drove in a pair, and Kayela Heaney, Kayla Indich and Bella Parzych all scored twice.
  1. South Side boys’ lacrosse
    Trailing by 5 goals in the second half for the second time in four days, South Side’s boys’ lacrosse team scripted an ending fit for Hollywood June 1 in the New York State Class B boys’ lacrosse championship game. The Cyclones forced overtime on Michael Aiello’s dramatic goal with 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation, then secured the title 19 seconds into OT when Cole DiPietro took a pass from Liam Livingston and scored to secure an unforgettable 12-11 win over Victor at Hofstra University. South Side, which won its 15th consecutive game and captured its first state crown since 2004, finished 21-1.