So, with no further ado...here are the Best of the Best.
Best Game or Meet (team) -- the New Paltz football team in its 13-0 “shutout” shutout (50 total yards) of Marlboro for the Section 9 Class B title. Defense like you’ve never seen it played before by a New Paltz football team. Kudos to defensive coordinator Sam Phelps for another impressive season of shutting down the Huguenots’ opposition.
Best Game or Meet (individual) -- Brian Busby’s runaway victory in the MHAL boys’ cross country championship. There was, from start-to-finish, no viable challenge to the senior heir to New Paltz’s most famous running family...and he did it again a week later, winning a runaway Section 9 Class B title.
Best of the Underrated (by sport) -- Kyle Roberts, football: anchored both the offensive and defensive lines for the 9-2 Section champions and had a great season on an individual level; Hunter Bartlett, boys’ cross country: after Brian Busby, battled his own teammates -- Alfredo Mazzucca and David Busby -- for second or third throughout the dual meet season...and it isn’t his top sport; Naomi Bouchard, girls’ cross country: second to Gabby Mancuso all season long and top five in the MHAL and at Sections; Liz Dressel, girls’ soccer: the heart of the fast-improving defense, heir to Jessie Hutter, Kerri Gainor and Cassie Vitelli at sweeper; John Scalise, boys’ soccer: the catalyst for the improving Huguenots, when he went down with an injury the team suffered a loss of focus; Justine Mullins, volleyball: the most improved player of the Fall in all sports, took her game up a big notch; Julia Beveridge, swimming: meet-in and meet-out she seemed to get her two victories and anchor a relay win (or two) for the Killer B’s (with Quinn and Jordan Berger and Charlotte Bloom) and missed going to States by a fraction-of-a-second; Emma Snook and Johanna Cohen, tennis: teamed up for a magical ride to New Paltz’s first girls MHAL doubles title in six years and finished an unprecedented third in Section 9 doubles play, then made a good showing as New Paltz’s first-ever girls in the State Tournament; Mike Beck, golf: just the epitome of consistency and qualified for States in the Spring, led the Huguenots to its best season ever.
Best Defender -- no contest: football’s Thomas Covino. The heart-and-soul of the defense.
The Ken Burda Award (given to the most angst-ridden and/or vociferous parent of a New Paltz athlete) -- once again it is Anthony Covino, father of Thomas, who carved a path into every sideline in the league in winning this prestigious award for the third time.
The Angela Robins Zen Award (given to the athlete who just makes it all look so effortless) -- Brian Busby, who didn’t look like he broke a sweat in winning his MHAL and Section 9 titles.
Best of the Future -- Khariff Laboy, football: already the “real deal” as a freshman phenom, making the big play over-and-over in New Paltz’s remarkable run to the Section title; Alfredo Mazzucca, boys’ cross country: the heir apparent to Brian Busby, who ran the race of his young career in the Section 9 final; Camilla Ferguson, girls’ cross country: the heir apparent to Mancuso, another freshman “wunderkind”; Honor and Cora Butler, girls’ soccer: one of these days this duo is going to score 20 goals apiece and lead New Paltz to another Section title; Victor Guirma, boys’ soccer: the littlest guy on the field, but with a load of talent, a nice touch around the 18-yard mark and in; Niyah Bonilla, volleyball: already one of the top five players in the MHAL and can still get better; Jordan and Quinn Berger, swimming: either one or the other -- and sometimes both -- had a win every meet and made up one-half the second edition of the Killer B’s; Jessica Staub, tennis: played all the league’s number one singles, still up-and-down a bit, but an MHAL singles title is not out of her reach; Ryan Higgins, golf: shot some great golf down the stretch and tied for second in Section 9, headed for States in the Spring.
And now, for all the New Paltz faithful, the Big Three awards...drum roll, please.
Best Team -- (a three-way tie) New Paltz football, New Paltz boys’ cross country and New Paltz girls’ cross country. New Paltz won their third Section 9 football title in 10 years and this one may have been the best of the trio. And we’re not sure if any New Paltz team (ever) ever dominated a team like Marlboro in such a big game. The same goes for the New Paltz boys’ cross country team, who ran away with both the MHAL and Section 9 crowns. For the New Paltz girls’ cross country team it was a bit tougher, winning a squeaker over Onteora in the MHAL and losing a tie-breaker to Onteora in Section 9. Great season for all three teams.
Best Coach -- New Paltz football’s Tom Tegeler, Sam Phelps and David Dones. I’m not sure anybody could have gotten more out of a team than this trio. Tegeler, the head coach, handled the offense with creativity, forging a four-back offense around untested quarterback Kyle Januskiewicz. Phelps was masterful running the defense, his masterpiece the Section 9 final with Marlboro. And Dones helped Darryl Clark and Khariff Laboy mature spectacularly, Pete Ferrante to become a bread-and-butter runner and picked up the pass defense noticably.
Best of the Best Player -- New Paltz cross country’s Brian Busby. Bigger and stronger, Busby flew out from the shadow of brother Dan and sister Natalie and was just himself out there, winning the MHAL and Section 9 easily and placing eighth at the recent State Meet. A fitting conclusion to a solid career.
So that’s it for this season. Congratulations to all the Best of the Best for Fall 2010.