Times/Review marks 25 years of athletes of the year awards
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO
From left, Riverhead’s Mike Smith and Katie Skinner and Bishop McGann-Mercy’s Bradly Frabizio and Kristin Bieber were honored as athletes of the year.
Times/Review Newspapers celebrated a silver anniversary of sorts on Friday when the company presented its annual athlete of the year awards for the 25th straight year. Among those honored were several multiple winners of the award, which is presented to the top female and male athletes in the 10 high schools in Times/Review’s coverage area for the 2009-10 school year.
Riverhead High School senior Katie Skinner (cross-country, winter track, track and field), Greenport High School senior Sarah Golden (soccer) and Mattituck High School senior Emily Ianno (soccer, basketball, track and field) received the award for the second straight year. Bishop McGann-Mercy High School senior Kristin Bieber (basketball, softball) won the honor for the second time in three years.
The other award winners are: Greenport’s Sean Heaney (wrestling), Longwood’s Jordyn Holt (soccer, winter track, track and field) and Thomas Scala (football, winter track, baseball), Mattituck’s Nick Cosgrove (football, lacrosse), McGann-Mercy’s Bradly Frabizio (football, soccer, track and field), Miller Place’s Kaitlin O’Connor (field hockey, basketball, softball) and Nick Parella (soccer, basketball, lacrosse), Mount Sinai’s Janet Mellor (cross-country, winter track, track and field) and Tyler Badamo (baseball), Riverhead’s Mike Smith (football, winter track, track and field), Rocky Point’s Kara Mupo (soccer, winter track, lacrosse) and Stephen Dutton (wrestling), Shoreham-Wading River’s Kaitlyn Brosco (field hockey, lacrosse) and Ryan McAlary (football, basketball, baseball) and Southold’s Nicole Van Bourgondien (soccer) and Kevin Parma (soccer, basketball, tennis).
The athletes were recognized during a reception at Times/Review Newspapers’ headquarters in Mattituck on Friday. With these latest inductions, The Suffolk Times has made 136 selections, The Riverhead News-Review 102, and the North Shore Sun has added another 68 names to the honor roll.
The following are profiles of local athletes of the year:
Bishop McGann-Mercy High School
Kristin Bieber was a vital member of both the basketball and softball teams she played for and captained this past school year.
As an all-division shortstop, the senior helped lead the Monarchs to the Suffolk County Class C finals this past spring in a memorable season, her fourth at the varsity level. It was the first time the Monarchs have reached the playoffs since 1991.
The four-year softball starter had a .316 batting average this past season with 16 runs scored, 16 runs batted in and eight stolen bases. She hit .500 in the playoffs, and was named the team’s most valuable player for the second year in a row.
A tenacious basketball player as well, the guard helped the Monarchs return to the playoffs for the first time in three years. She was a varsity player for three seasons, the past two as a starter and team MVP. This past season she was named to the all-league team, and averaged 13.4 points, 3 steals, 2 assists and 2 rebounds per game. She had high games of 22, 20 and 18 points, and scored 161 of McGann-Mercy’s 567 points.
Bieber is a former League VIII rookie of the year.
Bieber has also won the Gold Key Award, Section XI’s highest honor, as well as the Butch Dellacave Award, which goes to the top male and female senior athletes in each Suffolk County high school.
McGann-Mercy Athletic Director Paula Nickerson said, “She is a good all-around athlete, and … she’s a team leader.”
Bieber will attend Mount St. Mary’s College in Newburgh, N.Y.
Bishop McGann-Mercy High School
McGann-Mercy Coach Louis Manoussos said that in 26 years of coaching soccer, he has coached some great players, and Bradly Frabizio ranks high on his list.
“This kid has tremendous skills,” Manoussos said. “Talents like that don’t come around every day.”
Frabizio, who will play for St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, was an all-county center midfielder who picked up a handful of goals and assists, but he provided the Monarchs with much more than that.
“He is so strong on the ball,” Manoussos said. “Once he gained possession of the ball, his body strength, it was very difficult for an opposing player to take a ball away from him. His tenacity on the field is unbelievable.”
Frabizio was an all-league performer in the 200 meters and one of the top scorers for the school’s track and field team. His best time in that event was 24.9 seconds. He could also run the 100 in 11.9 and long jump 16 feet 11 inches.
“When he stepped to the line you knew you were going to get a good performance out of him,” said his track coach, Matt Perry.
Frabizio also spent part of the fall season handling kicking and punting duties for McGann-Mercy’s football team.
“He was good enough to kick it out of the end zone a number of times,” his football coach, Joe Read, said. “He took his job seriously. He wasn’t a soccer player playing football. When he was with us, he was a football kid playing football.”
Frabizio received the Butch Dellacave Award as McGann-Mercy’s top male senior athlete.
Riverhead High School
The story of Katie Skinner contains one remarkable nugget after another. This senior ran most of her high school career with a piece of metal in her foot. A brilliant student, she was the class valedictorian and never received a grade lower than a 98. And, oh yeah, it could be argued that she is the greatest long-distance runner Riverhead has ever produced.
“She puts so much into her work, her work ethic, her practice,” the Riverhead girls winter track coach, Becky Winkel, said. “Everything she does, she does to the best of her ability.”
Skinner holds indoor school records in the 1,500 meters (4:49.61) and the 3,000 (10:11.48). Her 3,000 time was the best in Suffolk County this past season, and her 1,500 time ranked second in the county. This past season the all-county runner also ran the fastest two-mile race in Suffolk in 11:09.05, and the third-fastest one mile in 4:59.46.
And she did all of this, remarkably, with a piece of metal that had been discovered in her right foot. Although it is a mystery as to how the metal got there, Skinner believes she had stepped on it when she was a youngster. Following the indoor season, Skinner underwent surgery on the foot, and a large cyst, almost two centimeters long, enveloping the metal piece was removed.
“We were all shocked she was running as well as she had up to that point,” Winkel said. “Either way, she ran some of the best times in the county with something stuck in her foot.”
Coming off the surgery, Skinner turned in a memorable spring season. With only about six weeks of training for the season, she managed to finish fourth in the county in the 3,000, making her an all-county runner in that event, and fifth in the 1,500. Her season-best times were 10:37.54 in the 3,000 and 4:51.24 in the 1,500. Her career-best times for those events are 10:37.45 and 4:45.35, respectively.
Skinner had a stellar cross-country season as well, winning the first 10 race she competed in. Section XI named her its runner of the year. Skinner won a division title in 19:05 at Sunken Meadow State Park’s 3.1-mile course. Then, on the that same course, she took third in the Section XI Championships in 19:00. In the state meet, Skinner turned in one of her best times over 3.1 miles, 17:51.2, on SUNY/Plattsburgh’s slick course to take third in Class AA. It was the fastest time of the meet by any Long Island girl.
“She’s a great athlete,” Riverhead’s outdoor track coach, Maria Dounelis, said. “She’s a leader. She’s a hard worker. Kids see that and they want to be like her.”
Winkel said, “She’ll always be remembered and not just for her ability, but for her work ethic, and I’m happy she spread that among the younger athletes coming up.”
Riverhead Athletic Director Bill Groth said, “Katie Skinner is the type of athlete or runner who is extremely unique, and we’ve been fortunate to be blessed with her career here in Riverhead.”
Skinner will run for Princeton University’s cross-country and track teams.
Riverhead High School
Think Mike Smith, and the word that comes to mind is explosiveness.
At 6 foot 3, 235 pounds, Smith is a rare mix of power, strength and speed. And don’t forget to throw in healthy doses of determination and self-confidence as well.
The senior is the greatest thrower in Riverhead track and field history. He owns every school record in the discus and shot put, indoors and outdoors for the later.
“Wow!” Riverhead Athletic Director Bill Groth said when asked to speak about Smith. “An incredible athletic talent.”
Most recently, Smith won the state federation title in the shot put with the help of a school-record throw of 58 feet 8 1/4 inches. He has won two outdoor state titles in the shot put and one indoors over the course of his career.
Smith also holds the Riverhead discus record at 161-9. But he can do more than just throw. He also ran the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.9 seconds and triple jumped 41 feet.
“Just a tremendous, tremendous athlete,” Riverhead’s outdoor track coach, Steve Gevinski, said. “Here’s a kid who’s not a rah-rah type. He’s a poised kid who, when the pressure’s on, he manages. He’s able to hit that big throw when he needs to. He has ice running through his veins. The pressure never really has gotten to him over his career.”
This spring season Smith received the Ed Nook Award, which goes to the top five most outstanding athletes in the county.
This past indoor season Smith took second in the shot put in the state meet with a throw of 56-8 1/4. He set the indoor school record three times last season; the mark currently stands at 57-4 1/2.
“He set, broke and reset and broke and reset the indoor record time and time again during his tenure with us,” Riverhead’s winter track coach, Sal Loverde, said. “When you hear Michael Smith, [you think] dominance.”
Playing as a defensive end and offensive tackle for the football team, Smith was usually double-teamed, and yet still led the team with six sacks and was third with 60 tackles last season. The two-time all-county player has power cleaned 300 pounds in the weight room. His football coach, Leif Shay, does not know of any other Riverhead player who has done that.
“He had a great senior season for us,” Shay said. “His motor never stops.”
Smith has received a scholarship to play football for Albany, where he and his older brother, Andrew, are expected to form bookends at the defensive end positions. “Meet at the quarterback,” said Shay.