Schools and Libraries
March 18, 2013
This year’s Varsity Winter Sports Awards Night at Long Beach High School turned out to be not only a celebration of victories on the field, but also a celebration of victories of the heart. The opening of the winter sports season coincided with the first day of classes after Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of Long Beach and left athletes without practice facilities, uniforms or equipment to start their season. Undaunted, Director of Athletics Arnold Epstein and his coaches and staff got right to work, and with the cooperation of neighboring districts, they were able to find space to practice. Most of their home games were played on the road this year, since all of the gymnasium floors in the district were destroyed in the storm. Many players were still displaced from their homes, traveling from all over the metropolitan area to attend classes and practices, and even those who were not displaced traveled many miles each day to practice at neighboring schools that had opened their doors to Long Beach. And through it all, the varsity cheerleaders kept everyone’s spirits high with their enthusiastic support.
“This year more than ever, I want you to know how proud I am of you all,” said Epstein. “You are a great group of individuals, from the coaches and staff who worked so hard to make this season happen to the players who pulled together and supported one another to make it through these tough times.”
Despite the adversity these teams faced, they managed to pull off some amazing accomplishments. The girls basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, boys swim, boys track and girls track teams were all named scholar-athlete teams, with team scholastic averages of 90 or above. The boys swim team earned the division championship title, the girls basketball team made it to the playoffs, and the wrestling team was one of the first high school wrestling teams invited to compete at Madison Square Garden against the best college teams in the country. The girls gymnastics team received the Nassau County Officials Sportsmanship Award.
Among the individual awards, Steven Sewkumar was an All-State wrestler who came in third in his weight class at the state competition. Swimmers Nicholas Stoski and Maximilian Willard and were state qualifiers in swimming. John Delahanty was a state qualifier in track. There were also 10 All-County, 17 All-Conference, four all-Division and two All-Class players named. In addition, Willard broke a school record in the 500-yard freestyle that was set in 1986, finishing with a time of 4:46.18. He then broke his own record a week later, posting a time of 4:43.46. Delahanty broke the school record in the pole vault with a 13-foot vault, a record previously held by Bill Muirhead. Boys basketball coach T.J. Burke was named the Conference AA-3 Coach of the Year.
“This season was very different from any other season,” said Superintendent David Weiss. “From the start of the season, it was extremely hard. With no uniforms and no place to play, it was remarkable to see parents, coaches and team members come together under the leadership of Mr. Epstein to pull this season off. When you come out on the other side of this kind of adversity, it makes you stronger. My congratulations to all of the warriors in this room.”