East Hampton High School’s athletes were honored at an awards banquet attended by more than 500 on June 5 — an almost-four-hour-long convocation that tested some attendees’ stamina.
The Paul Yuska award winners, given to the senior class’s outstanding male and female athletes, went to John Pizzo (football and boys lacrosse) and Melanie Mackin (girls volleyball and girls lacrosse).
Mackin was also cited for having been a four-year varsity athlete in the above sports, was named the girls volleyball team’s most valuable player, and, along with Matt Silich, was a recipient of the U.S. Army scholar-athlete award. Pizzo was the boys lacrosse team’s most improved player.
There were three Kendall Madison Foundation awardees — Jessica Gutierrez, Andre Cherrington, and Peter Vaziri — who are to mentor younger East Hamptoners as part of the scholarship’s requirements. Sharon Bacon, the late Kendall Madison’s mother, said that Gutierrez is to receive $1,000 in each of her four college years, and that Vaziri and Cherrington are to receive $1,000 each for two years.
Gutierrez and Vaziri were the recipients, as well, of the Athletic Director [Joe Vas’s] award “given to athletes who exemplify the 4 Cs of our athletic philosophy — character, civility, citizenship, and competence.”
Vaziri and Kaelyn Ward, who holds the career scoring record of 1,160 points in girls basketball, were recipients of the East Hampton Coaches Association’s $1,000 scholarships “given to athletes who plan to follow a career in physical education, health, or a related field.”
Moreover, Gutierrez won the Molly Cangiolosi outstanding female student-athlete scholarship, worth $500, and Ward won the Mae Ann Bushman outstanding athlete award given by the East Hampton Town women’s slow-pitch softball league.
Kendall Madison was a popular three-sport athlete at East Hampton High who went on to play football at the University of Connecticut. He died at Southampton Hospital on Jan. 23, 1995, at the age of 21, after having been stabbed in the back a few days earlier as he tried to break up an altercation outside what was then Kristie’s nightclub on Three Mile Harbor Road, where he had held a party.
Subsequently, thanks largely to a $40,000 gift by Courtney Sale Ross and the Ross Institute, the Kendall Madison Fitness Center was opened at the high school, and the scholarship fund in his name was established under the aegis of the New York Community Trust.
Mike Burns, a former physical education teacher, coach, and district athletic director here — who learned that night that he had been named to the high school’s Hall of Fame — said in presenting the mentoring awards that “Kendall Madison typified what we want East Hampton to be.”
Gold key awards (given to athletes lettering in eight or more junior varsity or varsity sports between their sophomore and senior years) went to Victoria Nardo (track and bowling) and John Grogan (cross-country, winter track, and spring track).
Ian Lynch, an all-state golfer whom East Hampton’s golf coach, Claude Beudert, described as having had “the greatest impact on our program of any player I’ve ever coached,” was cited for having been a six-year varsity athlete.
Ward was honored for having been a five-year varsity athlete, and the following were cited for having played at the varsity level for four years: J.C. Barrientos, Keaton Crozier, Courtney Dess, Jennifer DiSunno, Reese Donaldson, Gabriella Green, Grogan, Laura Gundersen, Collin Kavanaugh, Hunter Kelsey, Thomas King, Mackin, Nardo, Brianna Semb, Alexis Serna, Matt Silich, Paloma Tavera, Lena Vergnes, and Andrew Winthrop.
Dess was the recipient, along with Andrew Davis, of a scholar-athlete award given to those two-sport varsity athletes with the highest grade point averages. Dess and Grogan won Dellacave-Suffolk County Hall of Fame awards for the exemplary way in which they represented the community in athletic competitions, and Lynch and Tess Talmage received Suffolk Zone awards “in recognition of outstanding academics, athletics, and citizenship.”
John Salmon, a longtime physical education teacher and coach at the Montauk School, who is retiring, and Matt Rodriguez, a member of the high school’s grounds crew, who is also retiring, were honored as well. A good number of athletes whom Salmon had coached in his career — including Hayden Ward, the SUNY men’s basketball player of the year — lined up to congratulate him.
Girls spring track topped the 18 New York State scholar-athlete teams here with a 95.859 average.
Other most valuable players than those cited above were Dana Cebulski, in girls cross-country, girls winter track, and girls spring track; Adam Cebulski, in boys cross-country; Cortland Heneveld in football; Lynch in golf; Barrientos in boys soccer; Amanda Seekamp in girls soccer; Marina Preiss in girls swimming; Daniella Dunphy and Gillian Neubert in girls tennis; Thomas King in boys volleyball and boys basketball.
Ward in girls basketball; Chris Duran in bowling; Quincy King in cheerleading; Thomas Brierley in boys swimming; Kevin Heine in wrestling; Erik Engstrom in boys winter track; Brendan Hughes in baseball; Drew Harvey in boys lacrosse; Maggie Pizzo in girls lacrosse; Dess and Casey Waleko in softball; Julian MacGurn in boys tennis, and Grogan in boys spring track.