2011-12-21 / Front Page / School News / Sports News

State Champs Hailed at Haldane Board Meeting

'You guys did great!'
by ANNIE CHESNUT
The team members line up after receiving their certificates and congratulations from school board members.
-- Photo by Annie ChesnutThe team members line up after receiving their certificates and congratulations from school board members. -- Photo by Annie Chesnut 
The Mabel Merritt Conference Room at Haldane was filled to capacity on Tuesday when the Haldane School Board welcomed the players, families, and friends of the 2011 NY State Class D Champions Varsity Volleyball Team for a hearty round of recognitions.
 
The team took the State championship at Glens Falls, NY, just a week before Thanksgiving in a decisive demonstration of undefeated postseason play.
 
In addition to eleven members of the championship squad and their proud families, Philipstown and Cold Spring were represented by Supervisor Richard Shea and Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell. The entire Haldane administrative team was also present, along with board members Joe Curto, Gillian Thorpe, Evan Schwartz, and Dave Merandy, who was back from an autumn neck injury, wearing a protective collar but looking otherwise ready to get to work.
 
President Curto noted that December is Fine Arts Month at Haldane, and all of the programs to date—both dramatic and musical—had been outstanding. After one brief motion to approve some routine business items, Curto told the excited gathering “The rest of it’s gonna be about volleyball!”
 
Curto, who has a daughter on the team, had a hard time containing his emotions. “You basically demolished the opposition,” he told the team. “You didn’t lose a game the entire weekend. You guys did great!”
 
Superintendent Dr. Mark Villanti—noting that he might well get some grief from basketball fans for saying so—added “I can’t think of a team that was any better…possibly in the history of the school.”
 
High school Principal Brian Alm noted, “I’m so glad to be the principal of a State Champion team…I really worried that you might not know just how big a deal a State Championship is.” A former coach, Alm outlined what he believes are the attributes of a great team, adding that what he calls “reserved confidence” is what sets this team apart, and praised them for their quiet “swagger.”
 
Both Shea and Campbell read proclamations from their respective boards acknowledging the achievement of the team, and proclamations were read from Senator Greg Ball, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Legislator Vinny Tamagna, and PTA President Laura Danilov—with copies for every team member.
 
Athletic Director Tom Cunningham was clearly moved by the entire championship run, and told the girls, “Thanks for showing people what it takes to win…Let’s keep it going!”
 
Coach Melissa Rossano spoke quietly about her pride in the team and her excitement at bringing another State Championship to Haldane. Assistant Coach Ashley Murphy, who also coaches the JV volleyball team, was all smiles.
 
The members of the board echoed the enthusiasm of the other adults, with kudos to the players and thanks to the parents for their support and enthusiasm.
 
In addition to playing a video of the Cablevision report on the championship win, Principal Alm showed a presentation prepared by Coach Rossano’s husband, Bill, which functioned as a highlight reel for the entire season, complete with music, and ending with the song, “One Shining Moment.” The moving tribute showed shots of all the players in action alongside images of blue & white face-painted fans; “We Love Haldane” signs; anxious parents, siblings, teachers, administrators, and classmates; and all the sets, spikes, kills, gigs, and aces that make volleyball such an exciting sport.
 
Team co-captain Kelsey Flaherty, asked for her remarks, was shy, but said, “all of us are really thankful that the community was so supportive along the way.”
 
In the end, President Curto summed it up best when he said, “It was wild!”

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