Year in Review 2023

Year in Review 2023: Top sports stories

Riverhead girls volleyball. The Blue Waves made the playoffs for the first time in a decade, but that wasn’t enough for them. After securing the playoff berth with a win over Central Islip, the Blue Waves got two more massive victories in the last two games of the season to help convince the seeding committee they deserved a higher seed. Top performers in last final games combined: Adriana Martinez, 52 assists; Claire Normoyle, 21 kills; Lucia Mannetta, 18 kills, 5 blocks; Kaysee Mojo, 20 kills.

Riverhead boys golf. After putting together another undefeated season in the league and winning their con- ference championship, Riverhead set its sights on their first Suffolk County title in school history. The top six golf- ers were separated by only a stroke or two. The starting lineup was Colby Baran, 36.88 scoring average; Mark Gajowski, 37.22; Griffin Sumwalt, 38.11; Zach Timpone, 38.22; Jaxson Hubbard, 38.44; and Luke Richard, 39.

Riverhead softball. The Blue Waves topped North Babylon and advanced to quarter-finals in postseason play thanks to Riverhead’s sophomore ace Mya Marelli. She struck out 16 while allowing just three hits in a 3-0 shutout of North Babylon in the second round of the Section XI Suffolk County Class AA playoffs.

Riverhead boys track and field.

Riverhead’s Angelo Confort took the county title in 55-meter hurdles and ran a personal best 7.69 seconds. During the race, he was clearly ahead of the other competitors from start to finish and was going to win.

SWR girls soccer. After graduating eight of their starters from the 2022 Suffolk County championship team, there were massive holes that needed to be filled for Shoreham-Wading Riv- er’s girls soccer squad. Key holdovers Grace Hillis, Bella Sweet and Morgan Lesiewicz, along with the talented players around them, outpaced last year’s effort and brought home the program’s first Class A Long Island Championship since 2019. Top per- formers this year: Mia Mangano, 9 goals, 5 assists; Olivia Pesso, 4 goals, 9 assists; Grace Hillis, 7 goals, 5 assists; Shealyn Varbero, 7 goals, 2 assists; and Morgan Lesiewicz, 32 saves.

SWR football. Shoreham-Wading River punched its ticket into Suffolk County Championship with a big comeback finish after scoring 18 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to win 36-35. Something just began to click in that fourth quarter. Trailing by 17 points, the Wildcats’ offensive scheme of option-style football, suddenly changed to more of a drop back and pass. “They were playing zero coverage trying to stop the run,” Aden Smith said. “That left opportunities for us down the field and we took advantage.”

SWR field hockey. Behind first-year coach Kim Hannigan, the team went on an unprecedented run to start the sea- son, surging to a flawless 10-0 record before finally losing 4-0 to Eastport-South Manor on Oct. 4. Top perform- ers this season: Maddi Herr, 16 goals, 9 assists; Sophia Minnion, 7 goals, 8 as- sists; Haylie Abrams, 8 goals, 5 assists; Katie Monaghan, 7 goals, 5 assists; Maggie Anderson, 56 saves. Their suc- cess earned them the No. 3 seed and a first-round home playoff game in the Section XI “B” Bracket.

SWR boys soccer. The team stayed undefeated through the first 10 games of the year. They looked unstoppable — winning on lopsided scores game after game. But the month of October wasn’t as kind. The Wildcats lost three games in a row to Center Moriches, John Glenn and Hampton Bays before finishing the season with a 6-0 victory over Southampton. Top performers: Sam Palmer, 7 goals, 8 assists; Alex Makarewicz, 9 goals, 4 assists; Andrew Stiene, 5 goals, 1 assist; Nick Worthington, 4 goals; Kyle Rose, 79 saves.

SWR girls volleyball. After an up-and-down season, Shoreham-Wading River snuck into the playoffs with some key victories down the final stretch. The senior-heavy group had the experience necessary to be a factor in the postseason. Behind foreign exchange student Giorgia Balza, who hails from Italy, the Wildcats had a formidable front line to give any op- ponent problems.

SWR lacrosse. For the first time since 2019, the Shoreham-Wading River boys lacrosse team was crowned Suffolk County Class C Champion, with a 10-7 victory over the No. 1 seed Mount Sinai in a classic David vs. Goliath moment. The cards were stacked against them. But their will to win, their desire to be great and their abil- ity to play as one bled through their

veins as it was David that eventually emerged victorious.

SWR girls basketball. The Shoreham-Wading River girls hoops squad soared to their first Suffolk County title in school history, defeating No. 2 Kings Park, 63-56, in the Section XI Class A championship at Stony Brook University. On the biggest stage, under the brightest lights, senior GraceAnn Leonard put together her best performance of the year, scoring a season-high 27 points in the championship game.

SWR wrestling. Three Shoreham-Wading River wrestlers — eighth-grader Gavin Mangano, Chris Colon and Joe Steimel — earned the top spots on the podium in the Section XI Division II county championships. Mangano went on to place second in the state championship.