Rye High School Winter Sports Preview

No matter the sport, Rye’s teams buzzed through the opposition this fall, winning 80 percent of the games in which they played. There should be no let-up this winter, as six talented programs look to pick up where their classmates left off.

Boys’ Basketball

Every new season brings Chris DiCintio a different batch of basketball ingredients. The head coach never assumes his latest amalgam will translate to glory, but he did admit he’s cautiously optimistic about his ninth Rye team. The 2009-10 Garnets consist of seasoned veterans, experienced newcomers, and even a pair of players with proven basketball genetics.

Rye returns five players from last year’s 16-7 squad that made a surprising run to the Section semifinals at the Westchester County Center. Senior center Brendan Nagle and junior forward Brian Pickup, both captains, are a pair of third-year players DiCintio says will carry a big load in the middle. Senior point guard Tim Lonergan is the third captain. He saw limited duty behind Matt O’Neill last year, but is a good player and leader who is ready for the challenge. Rounding out the starting five are junior Conor Smith and senior Alex Antico.

Brian Pickup

“We plan on being very physical and aggressive on defense, and on offense we will play an up-tempo style by fast-breaking,” said DiCintio. “That was a major part of our success last year; we were very good at pushing the ball upcourt.”

Joining the team this year are the Twyman brothers – junior Chris and freshman Max. Their grandfather, Jack Twyman, is in the NBA Hall of Fame and their father played for Rick Pitino in college.

“Chris is a tremendous athlete who can knock down the outside shot, but he really likes to take the ball to the rim,” said DiCintio. “Max is a student of the game. He knows the game and does a great job of creating space. He’s a freshman who plays like a junior or senior.”

Brendan Nagle

Senior Kian Gormley is another player who should see minutes in the eight-man rotation. Rounding out the team are senior T.J. Storino, and juniors Jack O’Callaghan, Derek Totten, and Dave Mangum.

Rye’s season tips off December 11 at home in the annual Cliff Clinton Classic. Their first game in the tournament is against Sacred Heart of Yonkers. Blind Brook and Rye Neck will also participate in the event.

Girls’ Basketball

Rye’s sub-.500 record from a year ago could be a major advantage for the team early on this season. The Garnets are like a snake lying in the weeds – ready to strike out at anyone who stumbles across their path.

Although they have just two seniors, captains Karly Fitzgerald and Christina Palmese, the squad returns nine players and is bolstered by a three-headed attack of talented juniors. Catharine Greer, Jillian Chittenden, and a healthy Lillian McCabe join Fitzgerald in the starting five along with sophomore Grace Leishman. McCabe has recovered from a stress fracture in her back that plagued her 2008-09 season, and has worked hard to become a lethal shooter.

Lillian McCabe

The Garnets have participated in four scrimmages thus far, winning them all, including a bout with Mamaroneck November 29.

“We are very excited and optimistic about the upcoming season,” said Greer. “We have a good team this year and are playing really well so far.”

The season begins December 4, on the road at Pelham.

Ice Hockey

Just call Jason Friesen “the Renaissance man”. Since the beginning of the 2006 season, Rye’s head coach has led his Garnets to a 48-27-6 record with two Section championships – the first ended a drought that began in 1995 – and one trip to the Frozen Four. Although Rye was unable to win a third consecutive Section title last year — they fell to Pelham 3-1 at West Point — there is no reason to think the Garnets won’t continue their winning ways.

Taka Katsuta

Seniors Paul Mundinger and Taka Katsuta are the captains this year, taking the reigns of a team that finished the 2008-09 season by winning 10 of their final 12 games. Mundinger and Katsuta, linemates on the ice and best friends off it, are well prepared for the challenge ahead of them.

Rye’s season began December 2, at home against Briarcliff. Next on the schedule is a tilt with Fox Lane December 9, at the Playland Ice Casino.

Boys’ Swimming

It would be a crime to call Rye’s 2008-09 season anything but a banner year for the Garnets. The team finished second overall at States with six All-American swimmers and two All-American relay teams.

The Garnets graduated three of their All-Americans, including all-Everything Ryan Feeley, but still return half of the standout talents. Chris Lyons, a junior, is a swimming virtuoso, capable of competing in the IM, breaststroke, and backstroke. Kevin Hughes, also a junior, is a dominant freestyler and, with Feeley gone, is ready and able to take over the event in Section 1. Ben Rubenstein, the State Champion in the 100 breaststroke, will continue his strong racing and relay performances as a captain in his senior year.

The team includes swimmers and divers from Blind Brook, like Rubenstein, and Rye Neck. Sebastian Tanner and Chris Takara represent Rye Neck as captains, and Rye High’s captains are seniors Ryan Cavataro and Ben Palais.

“This year my son, Chris Dewey, is my assistant coach,” said head coach Carle Fierro.  “He has a lot of experience and enthusiasm to add to the program, and, in addition, I am thrilled that we have a diving program this season. Johan Lopez, our coach, has worked with some of the top diving programs in the country and will add depth to the team and develop the young talented divers in our program.”

Rye’s season began December 3 against Harrison, and continues December 8 on the road at Keio Academy.

Winter Track

It’s hard for Jim Yedowitz to be modest when talking about his boys’ team. This should come as no surprise, however, when you consider the fact that over the course of the 2008-09 spring and winter seasons, the Garnets broke every track record at the school.

Much of the cast returns this winter to a team spearheaded by a talented senior class, which includes Chris Fumasoli, Tom Jackson, Max Robinson, Mac Gager, Dan Forsman, and Matt Kao. Junior Mason Curtis rounds out the headliners, and the 55-student team also has what Yedowitz calls a “tremendous core” of sophomores.

On the girls’ side, it’s the tenth graders like Tori Virtue, Jordan Delane, Alison Mackay, Rita Futamura, and Ellie Friedman who spur the Garnets toward success. Girls’ coach John McGee also praised seniors Amanda Owens, Erica Gold, and Rebecca Walsh as intregral to Rye’s winning formula.

The season begins December 13 in a meet at the Armory.

Wrestling

After a 2008-09 season filled with growing pains, the Garnets are ready to turn the tables and dish out some lumps of their own. Graham Zahringer and Peter Kennedy, both seniors, and junior Donavon McSorley will lead Rye as captains. Backing them up is a strong core that includes Jesse Trumm, William Florio, Russell Hanson, Peter Julian, and Jake Concavage.

Graham Zahringer

“Expectations here are high coming off of a down season with a young team last year,” said head coach Matt Beckley. “We have an experienced team that has set high goals. The wrestlers have been working hard in the offseason and are excited for the season to start this weekend.”

Donovan McSorley

The grind begins December 5 in the Bernie Miller Tournament at home. Rye will be one of 14 teams grappling for victory.

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