By Maddy Vitale
Ocean City High School athletes in winter track, wrestling, swimming, diving, and basketball were honored during a ceremony at a school board meeting Wednesday night.
“We get to celebrate, honor and recognize our fantastic winter athletes,” Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor said. “We are so proud of you.”
Special honors went to Isabella Wamsher (Diving), and Jack Bell (Boys Swimming), who received the Scholar-Athlete awards. Community Service Athlete Awards went to Tanis McDonnell (Winter Track), and Luke Meli (Boys Basketball).
Athletic Director Vince Leavey noted at the beginning of his presentation that all of the athletes did an amazing job and really excelled.
On March 26, 18 student-athletes will make commitments to colleges.
“This year we are up to 30 and potentially 33. That is 10 percent of our senior class,” Leavey said of the students who will go on to play sports at the college level. “This is really an impressive group here.”
Boys Basketball coach John Bruno had a 20-5 season and earned his 400th career victory this year. Three of his standout athletes were Joey Sacco and Donovan Graham, two CAL National Conference First Team All-Stars, and Luke Varallo, who was CAL Honorable Mention All-Star.
The Girls Basketball team ended its season 23-7. Like Coach Bruno, girls Coach Paul Baruffi also celebrated his 400th career victory this year.
Baruffi said of the season, “It was a great year. These girls accomplished a lot. I’m just really proud of everything they have accomplished.”
Danielle Donoghue and Emma Finnegan were both CAL National Conference First Team All-Stars.
Girls Swimming had an 11-3 season under the direction of Coach Ian Keyser. They also had many CAL American Conference First Team All-Stars. They were Alex Antonov, Andrea Teofonova, Claudia Scherbin, Emily Myers, Isabella Pagan, Olivia Scherbin and Brooke Powell.
The two top divers, whose coach is Amy Kohl, were Isabella Wamsher, who was CAL First Team All-Star, First Place CAL Championships and placed ninth in the state, and Frannie Trimble, who was a Second Place SJISA-Dive and Third Team All South Jersey.
Nate Hays and Ben Wiley each received CAL American Conference First Team All-Stars for Boys Swimming under Coach Shane McGrath. Other swimmers who received CAL awards were Doug Grisbaum, Perter Horowitz, Brian Walsh and Ethan McCarron.
The Wrestling team had a 12-14 season. Coach Dan Calhoun said his stars Nick Sannino, Charley Cossaboone and Billy Kroeger did a fantastic job and he hopes to see state medalists from them next year.
Leavey said one sport, Winter Track, does not get the accolades it deserves, mostly, because the meets are far away.
But the teammates excel at their sport, despite not being in the spotlight, he noted.
Winter Track won the South Jersey Group III title with standouts, Kevin King, 55-meter hurdles, Luke Kramer, Press First Team All-Star, Jaden Tocci-Rogers, Seventh Place at MOC-High Jump, and Alexa Palmieri, 1,600-meter run and South Jersey Group III Champion – 3,200-meter run.
“Thank you for your support,” said Winter Track Coach Matt Purdue. “They don’t get recognition because they are away. I want to thank them and all of the coaching staff.”
Dr. Taylor noted at the end of the presentation that the students’ success could not be achieved without the parents’ willingness to drive them to practice — in all types of weather — and to spend hours at games and meets.
“We thank you for all of your support of them,” she added.