The Lions Club rounded out their autumn Athlete of the Month selections by honoring a pair of bona fide standouts. Max Robinson, Rye’s cross-country star, earned the October award, and Taka Katsuta was named November’s top student-athlete for his exploits on the ice hockey team.
Katsuta is one of two senior captains on the Garnets, and has played for the team since his freshman year. He has been instrumental in the program’s two Section championships, one Regional title, and 2007 Final Four appearance.
“Winning this award is such a great accomplishment for me because I know that only a handful of star athletes are selected to win and I am so proud to be one of the few,” said Katsuta. “This award also means a lot because I think that few Japanese athletes who attended RHS have won it in the past.”
Since his days as a 9th grader Katsuta has consistently performed on Honor Roll level, and he has made his way onto the High Honor Roll on several occasions. The senior is fluent in Japanese, having spent each Saturday from 2005-07 studying both the language and math. Beginning in the summer of 2008, Katsuta worked as a lifeguard for the Hayana Lifesaving Club at a Japanese beach.
In his nomination of Katsuta for Athlete of the Month, ice hockey head coach Jason Friesen was vociferous in praising his co-captain.
“His leadership has been extraordinary,” said Friesen. “He models appropriate conduct on and off the ice, which the rest of the team follows. Taka is a polite, kind, caring, and helpful young man. He is also a very good student and citizen of Rye, representing this high school very well.”
Katsuta plans on playing college club hockey and is still deciding between the University of Vermont and a Japanese college.
Robinson is another cream-of-the-crop student-athlete in a school filled with impressive ones. During the 2009 season the senior won both the Class B League and Section championships, and placed fourth at the New York State Championships.
He also holds class records in the 1,600 and 5,000-meter track and field competitions. A stress fracture kept him out of both the winter and spring seasons during the 2008-09 school year, so Robinson is more than ready to make his mark this time around. His goals are to set new personal bests in the mile and two-mile, and to break the school record for the 5,000-meter event.
“Max started running in 8th grade for the high school cross-country team when he was 12 years old,” said X-C head coach Craig Sandhaus. “He has been a varsity member of the team for the past five years, and is a natural runner who thrives on improving his personal bests. In addition to his running ability, Max is has been a team captain since 10th grade and leads by example. We will miss him greatly next year.”