Port Washington Youth Activities (PYA) held its 25th Annual Hall of Fame dinner dance at the North Hempstead Country Club recently. More than 250 participants attended the organization’s largest fundraising event of the year, which serves as the culmination of PYA’s sports year. That evening, PYA honored Chris Callahan and John “Pepe” Salerno (in memoriam). Both of these men, in their own ways, have helped to solidify and grow the organization which had its beginnings in 1963. [Read more…]
A record field of 392 finishers enjoyed a beautiful August morning at one of Long Island’s hidden treasures. The Sands Point Sprint takes place on the grounds of the Sands Point Preserve and, in this year’s new course, includes a dash up to Falaise. The 5K course is one of the most unusual on Long Island and includes a tough half mile of trail in the third mile and a difficult hill just before the three-mile mark.
Two runners from Brooklyn, Angel Confessor and Mariela Quintona, made the trip to Sands Point and were rewarded by scoring as the first male and first female overall. The 31-year-old Confessor earned his win with a 17:06 finish that brought him to the finish line 42 seconds in front of 19-year-old Travis Laderer of Sea Cliff, with veteran Keith Guilfoyle nine seconds behind Laderer in third place. Quintona, 26 years old, finished with 19:15, coming in ahead of Theresa McCabe of Manhasset by four seconds.
The first finisher from Port Washington was 42-year-old Michael Lewis, who finished in 16th place overall and earned the second-place award in the 40-44 age group. Other award winners from Port Washington included 10-year-old Samwell Nachimson, who was first in the 10-and-under age group, and his 12-year-old sister Aliya Nachimson, who earned third-place honors in the women’s 11-14 age group, 9-year-old Tyler Duran, who earned the third-place award in the 10-and-under age group, 7-year-olds Elizabeth Lewis and Lily Faltischek, who scored second and third, respectively, in the women’s 10-and-under age group, 14-year-old Nick Scardigno, who scored first in the male 11-14 age group, Matthew Rybecky, who took home the third-place plaque in the 15-19 age group, Samantha Kuritzky and Stacy Ross, who were the first and third females, respectively, in the 35-39 age group, David Drewes, who topped the field in the men’s 35-39 age group, Faith Aarans, who was the second woman in the 40-44 age group to finish, Philip Rybecky, who took first-place honors in the 55-59 age group, and Michael Pollack, who scored second in the 70-74 age group.
Port Washington’s 85-year-old athlete Vera Allen was the oldest female finisher in the sprint and earned the first-place award plaque in the women’s 85-and-over age group. Another exciting finish of the morning was that of 96-year-old Bill Benson of Valley Stream.
The Mineola law firm of Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello was the lead sponsor of the event. Lynbrook Runner’s Stop was the presenting sponsor. The event manager was Greater Long Island Running Club. This year’s sprint benefited the Sunrise Association, whose mission is to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings worldwide, through the creation of Sunrise Day Camps, free, year-round programs and in-hospital recreational activities.
Coordinator of volunteers from the Greater Long Island Running Club was Mike Fernandez, and the logistics team was Fred von der Heydt, Nick Palazzo and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Nikita Dorcinvil of Just Finish gave the results, and Terry Bisogno was the race announcer.
Two of the four partners from the leading sponsor’s law firm, Lynn, Gartner, Dunne & Covello, Ken Gartner (28:13) and John Dunne (33:30), successfully completed the sprint.
Several sprint sponsors included Lynbrook Runner’s Stop, North Shore-LIJ, BWD Insurance, DiMaggio’s Trattoria and Greenpoint Harbor Brewery.
With a few weeks of summer left to go, the kids in Port Washington continue to enjoy their summer by hitting some golf balls. At Harbor Links, there’s plenty of fun for kids as they learn to play on the golf course.
Harbor Links Golf, in its 15th year, holds two ongoing summer programs that run till late August. The first one ranges from ages 6 to 9, meeting four times a week. The second program is for ages 10 to 16 years old, meeting up five times a week. They also offer a fall and spring program, which features six weeks of instructional play.
James Hong, who is the director of junior programs, is among seven staff members on hand. Hong keeps the groups at about seven students per instructor. “What’s nice about it is we keep the groups small so all the kids get a lot of individual attention,” said Hong. “It’s a lot of fun and they have a good time.”
Hong, who had played in college, has an impressive teaching resume. He was named 2014 GRAA Top 50 Teacher in America, 2012 U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Lifetime Master Teacher and was nominated for Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers List. He has been teaching the game of golf for 20 years.
Although Hong hopes that the kids can take the game seriously, he also stressed that it is okay to have fun with it as well. His advice is to enjoy both aspects because golf can be a difficult sport. “You have to enjoy the tough times because it is the most frustrating thing you’ll ever go through,” said Hong. “If you can handle that and really love the game you are trying to be better at, then you’ll be successful in whatever you do.”
What keeps campers coming back to the program is the close relationships the instructors form with the children. From the small groups to the repeat campers, instructors establish strong connections with their students and care for their wellbeing. Many of the students go through several levels of development. Many of the students come to the program through high school.
Although the objective is teaching kids how to play golf, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun. The staff is constantly trying to incorporate new ideas on how to continue to let the kids enjoy themselves on the green. “You can tell when the children really enjoy it (a new activity) when they ask if they can do this again,” said Hong. “Then we keep it in the rotation. That’s our number one goal.”
To learn more about programs
at Harbor Links, go to www.harbor
The first day of school is now just around the corner, and the fall football season is about to begin. The Port Washington Youth Activities’ (PYA) football programs have also kick-started their fall registration process for the upcoming year.
PYA football programs will begin Sept. 13.
PYA hosts its tackle football and flag football programs at Lion’s Field on Glen Lane in Port Washington. The programs are open to Port Washington residents as well as those from Manhasset.
PYA’s flag football programs range from grades 2 to 5 while the senior tackle football program caters to grades 5 and 6.
The organization looks to grow its tackle program and help the youth of Port Washington and Manhasset prepare for the middle school football level of play. At this age, they learn how to properly tackle and understand the fundamentals and mechanics of the game.
“We feel that we have extremely talented players who can hang with any community on Long Island,” said Program Director Brandon Kurz.
Tackle football was always a big draw at PYA, just like its baseball
and basketball programs, where teams in the program competed against one another.
Unfortunately, with the rise of the number of concussions in tackle football, the number of players participating in the sport has declined recently. However, the numbers have increased dramatically in PYA’s flag football program.
“I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but it’s certainly happening,” said Kurz. “We want to be able to grow with the times.”
PYA’s flag football program is spearheaded by Howie Golan, while Ron Rochester and Wes Rudes helm the tackle football program. All their expertise and contributions to PYA have played a part in the success of both football programs.
While tackle is a contact sport, flag football is geared towards learning the basics. Flag football can be just as exciting, though.
“Flag football is really intense and the kids play hard and have a lot of fun,” said Kurz.
For more information about PYA and how to register for both programs, go to www.pyasports.org.
On Saturday, July 25, 66 kayakers and four paddle boarders enjoyed a glorious morning of family fun in the 11th annual Port Washington–Manhasset Bay Kayak Run. Cosponsored by the Community Chest of Port Washington and the Town of North Hempstead, with major assistance from Atlantic Outfitters and the North Shore Kayak Club, the Kayak Run was once again sponsored by the Peter & Jeri Dejana Family Foundation.
Participants of all ages enjoyed the beauty of Manhasset Bay as they launched their boats from the Town Dock, Manorhaven Beach and other locations around the bay to complete the five-plus mile loop.
Dr. Joel Ziev, Community Chest board member and Kayak Run codirector, said, “the Kayak Run is not a race; it is a great way for novices and experienced kayakers alike to get out on Manhasset Bay. Beginners can feel safe kayaking longer distances knowing that assistance is always nearby. The town’s bay constable patrol boats and Port’s fire boat were terrific, keeping a watchful eye as participants completed the course. We also had wonderful volunteers who provided encouragement from land as the kayakers passed each checkpoint.” Passing the checkpoints along the way qualified the kayakers for raffle prizes.
Grand prize winners Mark and Amy Frankel from Great Neck won a brand new kayak. Other raffle prizes included fishing tackle and boating gear donated by John Thompson of Atlantic Outfitters.
The proceeds of $5,000 from the Port Washington-Manhasset Bay Kayak Run benefit the Community Chest’s 26 grantee organizations serving Port Washington residents.
Julie Meer Harnick is the executive director of the Community Chest of Port Washington.
Port Washington resident Noam Cohen took part in Bob’s Discount Furniture’s 28th annual golf outing on July 21 at the Tunxis Plantation Country Club in Farmington, CT. The event raised more than $452,000, which will benefit children’s charities including the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Family & Children’s Aid, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Camp Rising Sun, a camp for more than 120 children battling cancer. The golf outing has raised over $6 million for charity in its 28-year history.
Cohen was one of 252 participants who took part in the annual outing, followed by a gala at the Farmington Club featuring live and silent auctions, dinner and an awards ceremony. The event was hosted by Bob’s Discount Furniture cofounders Bob Kaufman and Gene Rosenberg.
The Tokey Hill Martial Arts Studio sent eight of its athletes to compete in the U.S. National Karate Championships in Fort Lauderdale from July 13 to 19. Under the leadership of Sensei Christina Muccini, they earned 11 medals, four of them gold. In addition to their success, Muccini was awarded USA Karate Coach of the Year.
Tokey Hill has been in the Port Washington area since 1985. Tokey Hill, who the studio was named after, was a World Champion for the U.S. and one of the most well-known names in the sport of karate. Muccini was a student who trained under Hill. She eventually earned a spot
on the U.S. national team from
1992-2000. She went on to win two Pan Am Games bronze medals. Muccini also achieved a silver medal in the France Invitational. She was then crowned U.S. National Champion eight times. In 2007, Muccini was put on the U.S. National coaching staff, where she won Karate Coach of the Year.
At the studio, Muccini is busy training athletes both young and old. Not only does the studio teach karate, they also offer kickboxing, boxing, mixed martial arts and self-defense. They hold a two-tier program, where one is recreational, in which students can achieve their ultimate goal of a black belt. The other program is geared toward competition, where students can prepare for upcoming tournaments.
Muccini stressed that karate is not only about fighting. “We do a lot of tactics and strategy for younger people on how to combat social situations where bullying would occur,” said Muccini. “All without using any type of martial arts.” Their program helps children with self-esteem issues, confidence building, physical fitness, agility, flexibility and, most importantly, to strengthen character.
At the higher level, students train year-round in preparation for tournament competition. At this stage, the athletes engage in serious condition training, consisting of a lot of track work, strength training, weight lifting and body conditioning. There is also technical and psychological preparation involved, as well as emphasizing nutrition. “All of those things blended together makes a world-class athlete,” said Muccini. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
At the Fort Lauderdale tournament, eight athletes representing Tokey Hill earned medals. Gold medals were won by Calog Torretta, Jennifer Sullivan, Lizel Lee and Ashley Davis, who also earned a bronze. Austin Pfeifer took home a silver and a bronze medal. Ashley Hill and Tony Pisani picked up a bronze medal, while London Mckeiver earned two bronze medals. Ethan Wachsman and Mark Palzer finished fifth and Valerio Bonnano finished seventh to round out the team.
Muccini is honored to see her team achieve this type of success. “It is a great sense of pride for our school and something that we take very seriously,” she said. “It’s about achieving balance and being able to succeed in all aspects of their lives.”
Tokey Hill Studio has earned a reputation for developing students into successful athletes as well as becoming better people both in and out of the dojo.
To learn more about Tokey Hill’s programs, go to www.tokeyhill.com.
Every August, a great event takes place on our bay. This international event, called the Manhasset Bay Match Race for the Knickerbocker Cup, attracts world renowned match racers. The
Knickerbocker Cup is a qualifier for the World Match Racing Tour, with the winner gaining an automatic entry to the Argo Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious match racing events in the international sailing world. Nine teams from around the world have been invited to compete this year. From Thursday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 9, Manhasset Bay will be filled with match racing from mid-morning to late afternoon. If you are out on the water or walking along the waterfront, you will be treated to some of the world’s best match racing. [Read more…]
Swim Across America (SAA) is a national organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events. With the help of hundreds of volunteers nationwide and past and current Olympians, SAA is helping find a cure for cancer through athleticism, community outreach and direct service.
On Thursday, July 16, the swimmers of Team Hope participated in a half- or one-mile swim at the North Hempstead Country Club to “Make Waves to Fight Cancer.” Now entering its 12th year, Team Hope has raised over $812,000 for cancer research, treatment and prevention.
“The members of Team Hope are committed to the support of the families and friends who are engaged in the struggle against cancer. We have dedicated ourselves to the memory of those whose battle is over and who are now at peace,” said Mike Ford, a Port Washington resident who runs Team Hope with his daughter, Kiera. Steve Hoban started Team Hope in 2004. Ford, a member of North Hempstead Country Club since 1989, originally swam with the Larchmont chapter of Swim Across America in 2000. He decided to switch to the local chapter in Nassau County, once established, after several friends were stricken by the disease. Mary DeNisco, whose husband, Anthony, was one such cancer victim, was on hand at this year’s event, as she is every year.
There is an upcoming opportunity to participate in SAA this summer: Sound To the Cove Swim To Fight Cancer, at Morgan Memorial Park in Glen Cove on Saturday, Aug. 8. For information on the Glen Cove event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proceeds of the swim support cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s SAA Laboratory, the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, the Feinstein Institute and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. They are also supporting Fighting Chance, a free cancer resource and counseling center in Sag Harbor, NY, and the Miracle Foundation Pavilion at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre.