With most everything done insofar as East Hampton High School and its playing fields were concerned, East Hampton’s athletic director, Joe Vas, told a large athletic awards gathering in the school’s vast new cafeteria on June 8 that for the athletic program now “the sky’s the limit.”
Vas said he saw no reason henceforth that the high school could not field winning teams in every sport, though he expected, he said later, that these teams would win in the proper way, exemplifying “the four Cs of our philosophy — character, civility, citizenship, and competence.”
East Hampton had two exemplary winning teams in the school year past in golf, which won the county and Long Island championships, an unprecedented feat, and in girls volleyball, which went through the league season undefeated and was the runner-up to Bellport in the county Class A final.
The volleyball team’s veteran coach, Kathy McGeehan, was feted by a number of her alumnae that night on the occasion of her “200th win,” though Vas said later he figured McGeehan’s win total was “more like 300 — I haven’t been able to find any records before 2000, but I’m going to look into it further.”
Two seniors, Kelsi Thorsen and Steven Bahns, were cited when it came to the night’s two major awards — one, in the memory of Paul Yuska, which goes to the senior class’s top male and female athletes, and the other, in the memory of Kendall Madison, an East Hampton and University of Connecticut athlete who died young, which requires that its recipients mentor East Hampton youth. Thorsen, Bahns, and Meghan Hess received the $4,000 ($1,000 per college year) Kendall Madison scholarships.
Thorsen played on the girls volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse teams. Hess played girls volleyball, basketball, and softball, and Bahns played football and basketball.
Thorsen and Hess began their high school athletic careers when they were eighth graders, and each wound up playing 10 seasons at the varsity level. There were two other five-year varsity athletes feted at the dinner — Kim Valverde, an honorable mention all-American whom McGeehan described as “one of the most talented players I’ve had the opportunity to coach in my 31 years here,” and John Nolan, “the backbone” of East Hampton’s championship golf team, who also played basketball and lacrosse.
Hess, moreover, played in three state Final Fours during her career, twice with the softball team and once with the girls volleyball team.
Besides Thorsen, Hess, Valverde, and Nolan, other seniors who were given Gold Key awards for having participated in eight varsity or junior varsity sports spanning their sophomore and senior years were Meghan Dombkowski, Dylan Geppert, Taylor Harned (who recently placed sixth in the discus event at the state qualifier track and field meet), Peter Johann, Ben Malecki, Eric Tortorella, Zach Newburger, and Maysie Makrianes.
In addition to the Yuska and Madison Foundation awards, Thorsen that night won, with Newburger, the school’s Scholar-Athlete award, and, with Erica Silich, the Mae Ann Bushman outstanding athlete award.
Bahns, won, with Hess, the U.S. Army scholar-athlete award, won, with Valverde, the Dellacave Award, won, with Dombkowski, the Suffolk Zone award, and won, with Brendan Damm and Brandon West, a $1,000 East Hampton Coaches Association’s student-athlete scholarship.
Makrianes won the Molly Cangiolosi outstanding female student-athlete award. McGeehan, who presented it, recalled that the late coach and physical education instructor had done much to advance the cause of girls sports here.
Makrianes and Frank Grande were cited by Vas as the winners of the Athletic Director’s award, which he bestowed. “I admire them greatly,” he said of Grande and Makrianes. “It’s been fun watching them grow during the past four years. They are emblematic of what our athletic philosophy is about.”
The V.F.W. sports and sportsmanship winners — given to the junior class’s top athletes — were Katla Thorsen and James Budd. Hess and Newburger received the Wendy’s high school Heisman award, “in recognition of outstanding achievement in academics, athletics, and citizenship.”
The district’s Special Olympians, who include Chavanne Allen, Li My Hong, Joe Hodgens, and Anthony Palacios, were honored too, by their coach — and president of the Coaches Association — Steve Redlus, who said that at the recent regional Special Olympic games at Connetquot High School, Allen, Hodgens, and Palacios had swept the running long jump, and that Li My Hong had won the 50-meter dash and the softball throw.
The celebrating continued two days later with a barbecue on the practice football field that most of the student body attended. During it, Vas said, during a respite from flipping burgers, that there were a few more things that needed to be done outside — an extension of chain-link fencing down the varsity baseball field’s foul lines and a new softball scoreboard being two of them.
Inside, the basketball court, dedicated in Ed Petrie’s name this past winter, would be refinished, the trophy cases would be reinstalled, “now that the work on the building extension is over,” and, by this time next year, “we should be ready to announce our first class of our Hall of Fame.”