COLLEGIATE BASKETBALL CHAMPS

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The winter scholastic season, always unique in how it straddles the holidays and some vacation time, offers a worthy moment for reflection about a month into proceedings. For some, the results are mixed. Others are already putting together winning seasons. And for the rest, it’s probably too early to tell.

For now, all eyes among private schools are trained on Collegiate, where the boys’ team is coming off a championship season and remains a definite contender to take home some more trophies. The Dutchmen won both the New York State Association of Independent Schools and the Federation Tournament titles last spring. The team lost only Mike Nelson and Andrew Patrick to graduation and returned a talented lineup of budding stars like Will Bartlett, Harrison Green, Christian Fisch and Will Pagano. Collegiate gained a season-opening win over Dwight before heading into a two-day tournament last week, where the Dutchmen beat 70-58, then took down a Canadian team named Seminaire Sant-Francois Quebec, by a score of 75-45. Seminaire Saint-Francois Quebec beat 58-53 in the third-place game.

 Loyola goes for a basket, but it wasn’t enough to take down Collegiate, who won last week’s game 70-58. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz
Loyola goes for a basket, but it wasn’t enough to take down Collegiate, who won last week’s game 70-58. Photo By: Andrew Schwartz

Dwight, which won its league championship in the spring, rebounded from its early-December loss to Collegiate to go 4-2 so far. It has compiled wins against UNIS, Staten Island Academy, Brooklyn Friends and Packer Collegiate. Browning is also 4-2.

For the third year in a row, the Nightingale-Bamford girls’ basketball squad snuck into the Brearley Holiday Tournament and took the title away from the hosts.
Nightingale first topped Columbia Prep before besting Brearley 42-36, with Katie Gwathmey and Taylor Sorillo each contributing 11 points. The Marymount girls are currently 3-1 after early wins over Nightingale, Trevor Day and Columbia. Calhoun is off to a fast start as well, going 5-2 thus far.

The best early results undoubtedly belong to Dalton and Fieldston. The Dalton girls’ basketball team is currently 7-1 thanks to stars Steph Lechich and Bonnie Cecil. The boys, meanwhile, are 4-1. Both teams’ only loss came against Fieldston. No surprise, then, that Fieldston’s boys’ and girls’ squads are both a perfect 7-0.

On the public school side, Hunter spent the off-season preparing to move from the “B” to the “A” Division, and the efforts are paying off. The Hawks are 6-0 so far. They are led by Len Chenfield’s 24.67 points per game average. Richard Green and Beacon High School are both 6-1 and also seem set for standout seasons.

In girls’ basketball, three West Side teams have shown early promise, as Martin Luther King (6-0), Food and Finance (6-0) and Environmental Studies (7-0) are all undefeated. Environmental Studies’ Ashley Leslie is averaging 15.1 points and 15.7 rebounds per game. She is currently the 12th leading rebounder in the city. Martin Luther King and Food and Finance, meanwhile, will put their perfect records to the test when they face each other on Jan. 6.

In other sports, the Hunter boy’s swimming team is leading the Bronx/
Manhattan league with a 3-1 record. Senior captain Gabriel Yanez, one of the best butterfly swimmers in the city, has led the effort.

The indoor track and field season has seen several notable efforts from athletes at LaGuardia. Radoslav Boyukliev is the sixth best shot putter. His top heave sailed over 42 feet. Erica Chiu has performed well in the 1,500-meter racewalk, placing eighth citywide with a time of 8:41.40 At Beacon, senior Chelsea Davies has won the 1,000 meters at two different meets. She posted New York’s second best mark in 3:11.06.
There were several local winners at the first Ivy League track meet of the season on Dec. 12. Horace Mann’s Ben Noble won the 1,600 meters in 4:44.8 and Collegiate’s Florian Koenigsberger triumphed with a shot put of 43 feet, seven inches. Two Sacred Heart students won races as Alexandra Flinchum placed first in the 55 meters and Dana Walsh did the same in the 1,000. Horace Mann won both girls’ relays, and sophomore Laura Halis had the longest triple jump. Nightingale’s Stefanie Spanfeller also won the 3,200 meters in 12:02.

MLK Receives Honor—The Martin Luther King boys soccer team has enough hardware to last a lifetime. The perennial city champs have won three straight city championships and 11 of the past 13. They earned their latest title in upset fashion by beating Beacon, which had vanquished Martin Luther King twice earlier in the season, in a penalty kick shootout.

As if that wasn’t enough, the school was officially honored by the City Council. Council Member Gale Brewer delivered a proclamation in front of a Council meeting on Dec. 9 that recognized the team’s accomplishments.

“By triumphing again and again, the team has demonstrated amazing passion, talent and determination,” Brewer said.

The Running Schedule Ahead—More than 5,000 of the best high school track athletes in the region will descend on the Uptown Armory on Dec. 27 for the Marine Corps Holiday Classic. And for those who despise running indoors, New York Road Runners always has something to look forward to. Next week it is the New Year’s Eve Midnight Run, a four-miler in Central Park that begins just as the fireworks go off. Remember to bundle up.

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