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Senior Spotlight: Valued Varsity Players

By Samantha Chang

Despite an unprecedented season with COVID restrictions, New Hyde Park’s athletic teams have made the best of this year’s fall sports season. With their unwavering determination and passion, the senior athletes have shown tremendous dedication and leadership abilities, and they were able to make their last season memorable.

The football team has been led by captains Luke Orbon, Luke Notine, and Joe Leonard, with a total of eight senior players. Football Coach Maier expressed that each and every one of the seniors have shown resilience and hard work by continuously building upon their game IQ and being versatile both on and off the field.

“As coaches, we ask the young men to expect the unexpected and be ready. Well, the unexpected happened to all of us this past year and these seniors were ready,” said varsity football coach Mr. Maier.

“...Coach Maier expressed that each and every one of the seniors have shown resilience and hard work...”

The girls’ varsity volleyball team has been dominating their season with a record of 9-1, with two games remaining. Even though new setbacks have arisen because of COVID-19, players have embraced the challenge and have not let it deter them from winning this year.

“One of our seniors, Pia Alana, definitely deserves recognition for this season. Pia has improved her skills so much since the 2019 season; her great hits and passes have helped us take the lead and win many games this season! She is definitely an essential member of our team,” said girls’ varsity volleyball captain Gina Bamberger.

Source by Anna Detke

Girls' varsity volleyball senior Pia Alana is recognized for her dedication to the team.

“I think the volleyball team has been able to keep their spirits high this year because they are appreciative to have a season at all. They are aware how this season is a blessing and they are grateful for every minute they have on the court,” said girls’ varsity volleyball coach Ms. Rizzuti.

Likewise, the boys’ varsity volleyball team has been strong and adaptive throughout their season. According to Coach Leydon, the season has been unique compared to previous ones considering how fast-paced, competitive, and condensed it is. Nonetheless, she is extremely proud of all of her players for being able to adjust and use their love for the game as their driving force.

“...[Harrison Winkhart] has been one of the most consistent passers on the court and is an asset for the team...”

According to the coach and teammates, Harrison Winkhart and Joel Philipose are notable seniors on the team; they have proved to be dependable in such an abnormal season.

“As a player, [Winkhart] has the flexibility to play any position asked of him. Whether playing libero/backrow or weak side he can show his skill set and he is always willing to learn and improve his skills at practice. He has been one of the most consistent passers on the court and is an asset for the team,” said Coach Leydon.

Sources from Siya Sharma

Senior Harrison Winkhart receives a serve and passes to his setter; senior Joel Philipose approaches a set and makes a successful weakside hit.

“Joel is a charismatic player on and off the court. He always has something to bring to the court, helps run plays, makes practices efficient, and supports his teammates. During games, he especially stands out because he keeps the team clear-headed and motivates us to play a smart game,” said junior volleyball player James Marzano.

Having advanced into an even more competitive conference this year, the girls’ varsity soccer team has taken on responsibilities both on and off the field, with safety being a top priority. Coach Carey is extremely appreciative of her three captains, and only seniors, Darla Petricca, Nicolette Caneda, and Sofia Quijada for stepping up as team leaders. She is looking forward to their future seasons and soccer careers playing at the collegiate level.

Sources by Olivia Wong

Girls' varsity soccer captains Sofia Quijada, Darla Petricca, and Nicolette Caneda pose in front of their senior game posters and banners.

“This season was probably the most difficult season for the girls’ varsity soccer team yet. We had to wear masks while we played, we had people quarantined at different times of the season, and we barely had any girls tryout this year. Despite all of this, the team overall is very talented and pushes through every game. When you are a captain this year, you have to motivate and encourage the other girls more than ever. Nicolette, Sofia, and I have done our best to do this for the younger girls on the team. Overall, we have a great team this year and I believe we can win during the playoffs,” said girls’ varsity soccer captain Darla Petricca.

Lastly, the girls’ varsity field hockey team has triumphed over this season’s challenges. Playing in Conference One with 3-4 games per week, Coach Brocking said that she admires her girls for “embracing the grind and making the best of it,” even though their schedule has been physically and mentally exhausting. NHP’s 12 field hockey seniors have guided their team enthusiastically through this unusual and undoubtedly difficult season. Specifically, senior Caitlyn Young has been nominated by her teammates for a senior spotlight due to her heart and talent on the field.

Source by Saanvi Mirchandani

Senior Caitlin Young receives the ball to pass it up the field, assisting her offense teammates.

“Caitlin Young is our team’s sweeper, which is like the goalie’s partner-in-crime. She collects any loose balls, plays insane defense, and looks over the entire field. When she is out there, Caitlin always communicates with every player and fights her hardest to win every ball. She truly puts her heart into everything, and it doesn’t go unnoticed by any of us,” said varsity field hockey captain Emily Locker.

Soccer, cross country, and tennis teams have also nominated seniors they believe have not only improved, but also demonstrate character through their actions.

Sources by Saanvi Mirchandani and Anna Detke

Senior captain Chris Ribaric warms up before a game; senior Demetris Panouis poses for a picture to recognize his devotion to soccer.

“Demetris Panouis is a veteran of the team; he brings so much energy and intensity to the team. He has devoted countless hours to practice and has been a model teammate for the years that we’ve played together,” said boys’ varsity soccer captain Christopher Ribaric.

“Ashley Predvil has shown so much improvement throughout the years that I have run with her. She is always pushing herself and helping the people around her do their best. If anyone deserves any type of recognition, I think it should be her,” said junior cross country runner Aniejah Hamilton.

“I think Jasmine Garnica deserves recognition because she went from being a doubles player to the second singles player in the span of one year,” said girls’ varsity tennis captain Taylor Jung.

“...[Ashley Predvil] is always pushing herself and helping the people around her do their best. If anyone deserves any type of recognition, I think it should be her...”

Although this year’s fall athletic season came with a variety of new obstacles, New Hyde Park Gladiators have served as an inspiration through their diligence and commitment. The seniors who have been outspoken leaders and led their team through their last season have not gone unnoticed. NHP has many senior players from all teams who stand out by showing devotion, determination, friendship, and passion within their respected sports.


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