Freshman & Junior Varsity Fall Athletic Awards

Dec 02 2015

The Bernie Ward Commitment Award which is named after our beloved former faculty member, coach and colleague Bernie Ward is for the athlete who has displayed the most passion and commitment towards bettering themselves and their teammates during the season.

Junior Varsity A Football 

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – TJ Catapano


TJ Catapano embodies the essence of this award, just show up every day and do your job to the best of your ability. TJ did just that for six days a week for the 11 weeks of the season; not one day could the coaches recall a day where we got a sub par effort from TJ. In addition to this, TJ was always at our after practice lifting sessions and attentive in our Monday film sessions. TJ was a leader both on the field and off of it, his tough play often inspired his teammates in games and we knew we could always count on him as a runner and pass catcher as evidenced by his big catches in the team’s comeback efforts against Chaminade and Xavier.

Junior Varsity B Football

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Robert Filshie


The 2015 enjoyed an incredibly successful season due to enthusiasm, leadership, and maximum effort at practice. For Robert Filshie, this commitment to excellence was evident from the first day of tryouts to the final whistle of our last game. Mature beyond his years Robert is a class act and quite an exceptional football player. The staff looks forward to watching Robert progress through his high school career with confidence that he will one day be a tremendous success as an athlete and as a person. The 2015 Bernie Ward Commitment Award goes to Robert Filshie.

Girls Junior Varsity A Soccer

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Alexandra Bigilin


Girls Junior Varsity B Soccer

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Fiona Fennessey


Fiona Fennessey showed dedication and quiet leadership from the start of the season. Her leadership on and off the field helped keep the girls tightly knit together.

Boys Freshman Cross Country

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Zachary Lazo


Boys Junior Varsity A Soccer

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Matthew Kenny


Matthew Kenny exemplifies what the Bernie Ward Commitment award stands for. Throughout the season, Matt was in and out of the lineup, while we tried to figure who would fit best where in our formation. As the season wore on, we started to see that when Matt was in the lineup, our defense was significantly better. His poise under stressful situations throughout the game was undeniable. Anything that needed to be done, from carrying the equipment to and from practice or shutting down an opposing forward, Matt was the guy that rose to the occasion. Matt has a bright future as he moves up to the varsity level next year.

Boys Junior Varsity B Soccer

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Christopher Madruga


The most committed award is always a tough award to assign to just one player. Many individuals on the team contribute every day at practice with great energy no matter how much playing time they receive. One player was the clear frontrunner. He came into tryouts in amazing shape and gave the team a blueprint of what “heart” means as an athlete. He was a leader on the field, never complained about how tired he was and always gave us an advantage with his constant pressure defensively while playing stopper. To have this player for two years in a row was a true blessing and I feel very lucky to be a part of his athletic career. This year it is a pleasure to give out the Bernie Ward commitment award to Sophmore Captain Christopher Madruga.

Junior Varsity Cheer

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Maggie Guerriere


This season’s Bernie Ward Commitment Award winner can always be counted on. Her commitment to this team leads her to not always improve herself, but to spend countless hours helping others improve their skills. Whenever we need something done, we know she’s the one to go to. Her commitment and leadership as captain have been a positive influence on the entire team. Maggie Guerrier’s Dedication to this team makes her a very deserving recipient of the Bernie Ward Commitment award.

Freshman Cheerleading

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Meredith Kass


This cheerleader has been a part of the Kellenberg cheerleading program since the Latin school. Meredith Kass has shown 100% dedication to the sport of cheerleading since she first put on a Kellenberg cheerleading uniform. Her positive attitude and drive for perfection have demonstrated what being a member of this team means to her and that there are no limits to hard work. Her commitment towards her teammates, coaches, and the sport shows each and every practice. This seasons Bernie Ward Commitment award goes to Meredith Kass.

Girls Freshman Cross Country

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Maya Richardson


Struggling to complete an early season hill workout early in the season, this young lady’s persistence was noticed early on by the coaching staff. That persistence and commitment paid off as she soon ran to alternate between the first and second runner on the freshman team, and at several Invitational Meets was called upon to run on the JV squad where she ended up as one of the top performers for them. We are honored to award Maya Richardson today the “Bernie Ward Commitment Award winner.”

Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball

Bernie Ward Commitment Award – Clare Calabro

Selecting a recipient of the Bernie Ward commitment award from this group was nearly impossible. Each player was instrumental in our success. Each player brought a positive attitude and excellent work ethic to each practice and every game. However, one player stands out as a representative of what Kellenberg athletics is all about. This young lady provided leadership both on and off the court. There were instances that this athlete took younger players under her wing and patiently guided them through position play. This athlete is not only an excellent athletic talent, she is responsible and faith-filled and positive and reliable. She could be counted on to convey a message to the team, she could be relied upon to give affirmation to certain players at the request of the coaching staff. This young lady embodies all that is good in athletics; work ethic, great attitude, on court and off court achievement and team over self. It is a great honor to present the Bernie Ward Commitment Award to simply a lovely and talented young woman, Clare Calabro.

The Most Improved Player Award is for the athlete who displayed the greatest amount of improvement and growth in their skills which contributed to the success of their team.

Junior Varsity A Football 

Most Improved Player – Luke Murray


Our Most Improved Player award goes all the way back to this teams Freshman season. Luke Murray did not get much time as a freshman player but after an offseason where Luke wrestled, lifted weights, and attended the voluntary mini-camps throughout the summer he found himself in a starting position when the season started. By midway through the season Luke was starting on Offense, Defense, and was on many of our Special Teams. He also was an integral part of our scout team early on when he would play the Tight End position famously earning the nickname “Gronk”.

Junior Varsity B Football 

Most Improved Player – Joseph Plachcinski

Joseph Plachinski

When the team lost its center midway through the season, Joseph Plachcinski stepped in and became one of the team’s best linemen. Joseph began the year as a backup lineman. When asked to step in at center Joseph jumped at the opportunity and improved every practice. On “Gameday” Joseph raised his game to another level and could always be counted on with blocks and snaps. Joseph Plachcinski is the 2015 MIP for the JV A Football Team.

Girls Junior Varsity A Soccer

Most Improved Player – Julia Liguori


Girls Junior Varsity B Soccer 

Most Improved Player – Clare O’Brien


Clare stepped up from the bench during the St. Anthony’s B game when asked to mark their forward wherever she went. Her performance in this game earned her a starting position on the defensive line, and she continued to show great improvement and coachability throughout the season.

Boys Freshman Cross Country

Most Improved Player – Matthew Gornstein

Matthew Gornstein

Boys Junior Varsity A Soccer

Most Improved Player – Kevin Begis


Kevin Begis made big strides as a player from his freshman year to his sophomore year. During the early parts of the season, he did not see much time, but through his hard work and physical play at practice and during games, we knew he needed to see more time. His role on the team as a defender grew due to his ability to shut down opposing forwards and outside midfielders through his physical play. Kevin’s hard work and tenacity were evident every day he came out to play.

Boys Junior Varsity B Soccer

Most Improved Player – Francisco Pinho


This year’s most improved award was a difficult award to give out. This individual was not a starter at the beginning of the year, and the coaching staff had a tough time finding a spot for him on the pitch even though he had a tremendous tryout. However, by the second half of the season he became our starting striker where he could utilize his speed and outstanding conditioning. His fearless play, humorous personality, and team first attitude helped inspire his team to give it their all in hopes of coming out on top. It is with great honor that this year’s Most Improved Award to sophomore Francisco Pinho.

Junior Varsity Cheer

Most Improved Player – Anna Gallego


Anna Gallego is new to the Kellenberg cheerleading program, but you would never know it. From day one she has worked hard to improve her skills as a flyer. She is always eager to learn new things, and her excitement when she finally perfects a new skill just keeps her motivated to learn even more. Coach Checkers and I are excited to see what the future holds for this talented young lady.

Freshman Cheer

Most Improved Player – Chelsea Kennedy


Chelsea Kennedy has grown tremendously since the first day of her cheerleading career. Although she was asked to try a stunting position she was unsure of at tryouts, she trusted her coaches to make the best decision for her. Three months later she has proven to be one of the best bases on the team by mastering any skill asked of her and doing so confidently and with a smile. She has pushed herself throughout the season to perfect her back handspring. Chelsea’s work ethic and drive have helped her become an extraordinarily talented cheerleader, and we are so excited to see her develop even further as a Kellenberg Cheerleader.

Girls Freshman Cross Country

Most Improved Player – Meghan Cooney

Megan Cooney

This young lady was one of the “neophyte newbies” to cross country. She ran in the time trial, barely making the cut-off standard for the team. By the third meet of the season, she was the consistent number three runner on the team, moving into the number two spot for the rest of the season. We are honored today to award Meghan Cooney the Freshman Cross Country Most Improved Award of 2015.

Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball

Most Improved Player – Kylie Grubb

The choice for most improved goes to a young woman who continuously strived for better. This athlete challenged herself and her teammates each day. When asked to execute a specific attack, or utilize specific footwork, she dedicated herself to complete mastery of the skill. This young lady was asked to perform Herculean tasks, especially in our championship match. As coaches, we asked her to transition every single ball in an effort to hold St. Anthony’s block. Such a team player is this fine athlete, that she did exactly that, offering herself and her teammates the opportunity to offensively dominate the Friars. Taking coaching instruction and delivering makes a good athlete become an outstanding athlete. This is exactly what happened to our most improved player. Her contributions are immeasurable, and it is thanks to her attitude, work ethic, and coachability. It is with great pride we select Kylie Grubb as our most improved player for the 2015 season.

The Most Valuable Player Award is for the athlete whose contribution to the team contributed most towards that team’s success during the season.

Junior Varsity A Football

Most Valuable Player – Matt Sluka


Matt Sluka was inserted into the Starting Quarterback position after only being on the JV team for five days due to an injury. He wasted no time throwing for 150 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. After all was said and done Matt would be responsible for 18 Touchdowns, earn an incredible 70% completion rate and averaged 6.5 yards per carry when running the ball. These are numbers far beyond what JV Quarterbacks usually produce. However, the most impressive trait shown this year by Matt was his ability when the game was on the line. Matt lead five separate 4th Quarter TD drives when the team was trailing, with Matt at Quarterback we felt no deficit was insurmountable for our team.

Junior Varsity B Football 

Most Valuable Player – Frankie Roder


The Firebirds outscored their opponent by a score of 138-13 this season. Frankie Roder was responsible for 75% of our offensive scores. Hard working, enthusiastic, and determined to succeed Frankie led the Kellenberg offense this year in almost all categories. However, Frankie’s greatest attribute is his love for the game. Frankie rallied his teammates during sprints and agility work, pushing his teammates to work as hard as he did. After facing Frankie at practice, it’s not a surprise that our defense shut out almost every team- no freshman running back we faced ran as hard as this year’s MVP.

Girls Junior Varsity A Soccer

Most Valuable Player – Maggie Ledwith


Girls Junior Varsity B Soccer

Most Valuable Player – Imani Libscomb


From the start of the season, Imani was a standout as a center back. No matter the talent of the other team, she maintained composure, played smart and quick and stepped up to lead the defense to 4 shutouts for the season.

Boys Freshman Cross Country

Most Valuable Player – Joshua Michel

Joshua Michel

Boys Junior Varsity A Soccer

Most Valuable Player – Giuseppe Coppola


Giuseppe Coppola has been the heart and soul of the JV “A” team for the last two years. He has grown into an excellent leader both on and off the field. On the field, he has led our defense to one of its best years in a long time. He consistently shut down our opponent’s top players with ease. His ability to take the ball from defense to offense caused problems for our opponents throughout the season. He will have an immediate impact on the varsity level next year, and I look forward to watching him grow as a soccer player.

Boys Junior Varsity B Soccer

Most Valuable Player – Andrew Wagner


This year’s Most Valuable Player Award is an award that is two years in the making. We have individuals who score a multitude of goals and who are offensive juggernauts and give MVP-like performance on the field. However, one player, who from day one of tryouts back when he was a freshman continued to standout. Often times due to his position he doesn’t get recognized for his achievements because he doesn’t score a lot of goals. However, having him as the anchor of a stingy defense these past two seasons is going to be greatly missed next year when he is continuing his career up on the varsity. His knowledge of the game, and willingness to never take a play-off showed that he was a remarkable talent on the field. He was our “work horse” every game and the coaching staff only wishes him the best in the future. This year’s MVP award goes to sophomore captain Andrew Wagner.

Junior Varsity Cheer

Most Valuable Player – Margo Montgomery


This year’s most valuable cheerleader impresses us day after day, improving and perfecting new elite skills. Her humble and cheerful attitude at practice make her talents that much more notable. Her natural talents, along with her desire to succeed make Margo Montgomery this season’s MVP.

Freshman Cheer

Most Valuable Player – Olivia Binder

Olivia Binder

Olivia Binder truly represents what it means to be a Kellenberg cheerleader. Throughout the season, the coaches could always count on her to have a positive attitude and an open mind to anything put her way. As one of the strongest bases on the team she never once complained that something was too difficult or scary for her. She has excelled in her jumps and tumbling throughout the season and never settled for anything less than perfect. She demonstrates exceptional leadership values and truly has a bright future within the cheerleading program. This season’s Most Valuable Player award goes to Olivia Binder.

Girls Freshman Cross Country

Most Valuable Player – Brianna Lausev


One of, if not the strongest freshman distance runners to enter Kellenberg Memorial, this young lady raised the bar for freshman teammates in her training approach. She won four freshman races and even contributed to the success of the Varsity squad. She broke Deirdre Lewin’s freshman 5k school course record at Bethpage Park by over a minute and ran to the 15th fastest freshman time ever for the Firebirds at the Sunken Meadow 1.5 mile oft run course. Her work ethic alone makes her future promising. We are honored to award the Freshman MVP award today to Brianna Lausev.

Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball

Most Valuable Player – Grace Cullen


The MVP goes to a player who transforms a play; a player who changes the direction of a game; a player who steps up in a crunch time situation and flourishes, never crumbles. MVP is a person who is coachable and strives to be better each moment of each practice and every point of every game. MVP is a person who is a leader and through example, shows others how to dominate on the court. MVP is a person who wants the ball when the game is tied. MVP is an athlete who is hungry and sets the pace at every practice and every match. MVP is someone who will run through a wall, leave everything on the floor and command the respect of her teammates and other teams alike. Our JV volleyball MVP this year embodies all that accompanies the title MVP…but what is most wonderful about the recipient this year, is that our MVP is also and outstanding human being. She is humble, despite extraordinary talent. She is kind despite fiery competitiveness. She is Coachable despite being off the charts talented. All in all, this player is certainly, decent. It is a great joy to award Grace Cullen with the MVP award for the 2015 volleyball season.