Lacrosse stars and gridiron greatness made 2012 an unforgettable sports year around Huntington.
There was tragedy and triumph. Comebacks and repeats defined the year. And while sports power St. Anthony's earned the lionshare of headlines, the high school programs at Huntington, Whitman and St. Anthony's each had moments in the sun.
Here are Patch's Top 10 sports moments of 2012:
1. St. Anthony’s High School boys lacrosse saw it all last spring. First came a regular-season sweep at the hands of rival Chaminade. It was followed by redemption in the playoffs. Class valedictorian Eric Caliendo was named championship-game MVP after making 17 saves in an 8-6 over the Flyers to claim the CHSAA title for the fourth straight year in May. The Friars girls lacrosse team won again too. Just weeks later, tragedy struck. Adam Pomper, a 2011 graduate and member of the national champion Loyola lacrosse team, died.
2. Two St. Anthony’s coaches earned landmark wins. Rich Reichert became the winningest football coach in Suffolk history and finished 2012 with a 219-51-3 won-loss record in 26 seasons. Dave Prutting became the fifth girls soccer coach in state history to reach the 400-win plateau in October. Soccer won another title, but Chaminade stunned the Friars on the football field.
3. No one athlete possessed mind-blowing skill and charisma – and delivered in 2012 – quite like St. Anthony’s wrestler Jamel Hudson. He became just the fourth LI Catholic-league grappler to win a state Federation wrestling title in February, taking home the Division I crown at 132 pounds. He even sang the national anthem before his finals match. That showcased Hudson’s other love. He competed in MSG Varsity’s Talent Show and sang at graduation.
4. Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy ripped through Long Island, Huntington High School hosted a football playoff game. The Blue Devils faced rival Kings Park in back-to-back games. But the world was a different place when the teams met for the second time Nov. 10. The Blue Devils won a 27-12 thriller to advance to the Suffolk Division III semifinals and give the hard-hit community a much-needed lift. Senior Joshua Long lived in the dark for 11 days. His 101-yard interception return for a touchdown gave Huntington daylight.
5. Huntington's Erik Storck, 27, a St. Anthony's and Dartmouth grad who learned to sail at Centerport Yacht Club, gave the London Olympics some local flavor in August. He competed with teammate Trevor Moore in the men's 49er class sailboat for Team USA. The duo finished 15th among 20 boats.
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6. Here comes the boom! Huntington boxer Chris Algieri improved to 15-0 in a hard-fought performance against Raul Tovar, an eight-round unanimous decision in a junior welterweight bout at The Paramount in July.
7. Led by senior Symone Kelly, St. Anthony’s girls basketball won its second straight Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA Class AA championship in March. The Friars won 33 straight league games over the last two seasons, the second-longest streak in league history. Prior to the latest run, St. Anthony’s had not won a league title since 1988.
8. Whitman High School runners ruled. Then-junior high jumper Jackie Crunden was one of four Whitman athletes who qualified for the NYSPHSAA championship at Cornell’s Barton Hall in upstate Ithaca last March. Then-junior Zach Cammer, a junior who ran at Madison Square Garden two weeks earlier, qualified in the 1,600 meters.
9. Call it a comeback. Whitman football reached the playoffs for the second straight season. Prior to 2011, the Wildcats had gone 23 years between playoff berths. The highlight came in a Week 7 homecoming win over Centereach. The 51-24 thrashing showed Coach Robin Rosa has the Wildcats on the right path.
10. St. Anthony's swimmer Christian Yeager took home the state Federation title in 200-yard individual medley in Buffalo, winning in 1 minute, 49.06 seconds, two-tenths of a second off the state record. It was that kind of year for the 2012 graduate. He swam against Michael Phelps and competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
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