There were no shortage of champions or extraordinary efforts on the courts and fields throughout Huntington in 2011. Sports can define a community, and there was little doubt the high school programs at Huntington, Whitman and St. Anthony's represented us all in a memorable way. Here are Patch's Top 10 sports moments of 2011:
Football Threepeat: One of the most trying football seasons in recent memory for and iconic Coach ended with the 13th CHSFL Class AAA championship in program history, capped by a in the title game. The season opener with by flooding and the Friars struggled with injuries at quarterback and running back. The offense sputtered at times, but the defense stood tall throughout. The New York State Sportswriters Association declared St. Anthony's (10-0) state co-champion of its final Class AA football rankings.
Milestone Win: St. Anthony’s Football Coach Rich Reichert finished the season with another CHSFL title. The . That ties him with former Bellport icon Joe Cipp Jr. as the winningest coach in Suffolk history. “This is what it’s all about – winning championships,” Reichert said.
Diving Dominance: senior diver Molly Arceri became just the second person in Suffolk history be a . She's also the school record holder in diving events. Arceri, who signed to dive in college with Towson, took at the state swim and dive championships in Buffalo.
Girls Soccer Champs: The Friars went 16-1-4 en route to a state CHSAA Class AA championship, capped by a 4-0 win over Buffalo-Nichols. It was the 10th Catholic state title for St. Anthony's and the program's first since 2007.
Winning Whitman Runners: boys cross country team headed upstate to compete in the state public schools championship, hoping to add another title to the school’s illustrious running record. After winning league and division titles, the against 23 other teams on the Sunken Meadow State Park course.
Blue Devils Lacrosse: Dan Plant's game-winning goal helped the boys lacrosse team , in overtime of the Suffolk Class B semifinal. The Blue Devils made the playoffs for the first time since winning the Long Island championship in 2007. After finishing the regular season in fifth place, they netted road wins over and top-ranked en route to the Class B final. Shoreham-Wading River won the final, 13-8. They end the season with a record of 14-5.
CHSAA Lacrosse Champs: After losing both regular season meetings to , the boys lacrosse team (14-3) , in the CHSAA championship game for the third straight season. Kerrin Maurer and her St. Anthony’s girls lacrosse teammates may not finish the season as mythical national champions, but the Friars were still a force in every way. in the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA Class AA championship game, 20-5, to wrap up a 16-2 season. The Friars, ranked fifth nationally in the ESPN Rise rankings, claimed their fourth straight league crown.
State Wrestling Champ: senior Nigel McNeil won a state Federation wrestling championship at the Times Union Center in Albany. McNeil capped his high school career with , dating to his sophomore year. McNeil rolled through the 119-pound weight class at states, winning four matches over two days. He took a 5-1 lead into the third period against Danny Ventura of Fox Lane. Ventura closed the gap to 5-3 when he caught McNeil out of position for a takedown. But McNeil got up, earned a quick point and cruised to an 8-3 victory to finish his senior season a perfect 40-0. McNeil became the 26th state champ in school history and the fifth Huntington wrestler to win two state titles.
Twenty-Three Year Drought Ends: The girls basketball team won its and completed its first undefeated league regular-season (14-0) in school history. The Friars fell to Nazareth, 46-44, in the state CHSAA Class AA playoffs.
1,000-Point Scorers: There were 1,000 reasons to watch Whitman on the basketball court last season. Make that 2,000 after a on the same day. Myles Jones and , good friends off the court, shared a rare feat on it when each reached the 1,000-point plateau in separate games. Jones, a 6-foot, 4-inch senior, moved on to play lacrosse at Duke.