Steele, McCormick named Heuvelton's Premier Senior Athletes
BY DAVE SHEA
HEUVELTON - Madison McCormick and Noah Steele both emerged as consistent contributors at the varsity level as seventh and eighth graders in the Heuvelton Central School Athletic programs.
As personable as they were talented, the duo continued their parallel development as three-sport athletes becoming Northern Conference West Division MVPs, MVPs on the All-North Teams compiled by the Watertown Daily Times and all-state selections.
On Thursday night they took their place among their's schools best athletes ever being honored as Heuvelton Central School's Outstanding Senior Athletes for the 2018-19 school year.
Steele, the son of Dave and Colleen Steele, received the 2019 Bob Bray Memorial Award and McCormick, the daughter of Charlie and Kari McCormick, received the 2019 Michelle Shorty Howes Award. Along with a long list of athletic accolades both earned NAC and New York State Scholar-Athlete All-Academic Awards in every season culminating with NAC Athlete of Distinction Awards as seniors.
.Steele, who plans to play soccer at D'Youviile College, set school records in soccer with 43 goals and 20 assists as a senior and 107 goals and 78 assists in his career. He was named as the All-NAC West MVP after leading the Bulldogs to the division title. He also led Heuvelton to the Section 10 Class D crown and was named as the NAC MVP of the Watertown Times All-North Team.
In basketball he scored 803 career points with 325 as a senior where he was selected First Team All-NAC West, earned all-state honors and cited as Heuvelton's Outstanding Offensive Player. In baseball he earned All NAC First Team and all-state honors helping Heuvelton to multiple NAC West and Section 10 Class D titles.
McCormick, who plans to play collegiate basketball at Roberts Wesleyan, earned NAC West and Watertown Times All-North MVP honors in basketball where she was also a finalist for the Jan Reetz Award and played on Heuvelton's landmark run of three Class D state tiles. She also earned NAC West MVP honors in softball, earned All-NAC West honors in soccer and earned all-state honors in all three sports.
Coach Becky Donnelly cited her team's efforts which she said went well beyond a 2-14 record pointing instead to a series of very competitive games against all of the teams in the Northern Conference.
"Like so many spring seasons, the weather was very tough at the beginning of the year. But once we got started it was over in the blink of an eye. Salmon River was a tough matchup for us and we drew them in the first round of the playoffs": said Coach Donnelly.
"We had two nice wins over OFA and a lot of games where we just couldn't get over the hump. We have to do everything possible to improve our skills for next season."
Coach Donnelly presented six team awards.
Luna Kirby received the Bulldog Award as an Outstanding Teammate who shows the traits of what a Heuvelton Athlete should be.
DaKota Mouthorp was honored as the Most Improved Player and Emma LaFaver, who scored 31 goals with four assists, and Chelsey Jock who scored 34 goals with four assists were named the Outstanding Offensive Players. Jock was also honored as a Second Team All-NAC selection, qualified for an NAC Senior Athlete of Distinction Award and plans to play collegiately at SUNY Canton.
Another senior Mallory Cameron received the Hustle Award and also qualified for a Senior Athlete of Distinction Award.
Three other seniors also earned prestigious honors along with Athlete of Distinction Awards.
Alexa Kiah received the team's NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award, Emily Martin received the Coaches' Award and Cyera McNamara, who scored 19 goals and four assists on the season and 55 goals and eight assists in her career, was honored as a Second Team All-NAC selection.
The Heuvelton Central Baseball season produced everything positive except for the ending when Bulldogs, who went undefeated in NAC West Play, were upended by Lisbon in the Section 10 Championship game. The Golden Knights crafted one the top success stories of the 2018-19 school year by winning the regional championship and advancing the New York State Final Four.
"We had an outstanding season. We scored 214 runs and allowed just 44 and went undefeated in the NAC West," said HCS Coach Dave Steele.
"We accomplished so much but the season just didn't end as we had planned."
Coach Steele offered special praise for his six seniors who produced 108 hits and 67 RBIs.
"Our seniors were all outstanding and they will all receive MVP awards," said Coach Steele recognizing Mason Knauf, Dawson Martino, Noah Steele, Jon Trathen, Keegan Kelley and Lauren Putman.
Marino was also honored as the NAC West MVP and was joined on the First Team selections by Noah Steele, Jon Trathen and Keegan Kelley. Junior Bryce Lake and Loren Putman were honored as Section Team selections and junior Gavin Barney received the Team's NAC Sportsmanship Award.
Mason Knauf, Noah Steele and Jon Trathen all earned NAC Senior Athlete of Distinction Awards for maintaining a 90 plus average during their athletic seasons.
Other members of the championship Bulldog squad which rose to a number two Class D state ranking were: freshman Jed Crayford and Adam Calton, sophomores Matt Basford, Josh Clouthier, Austin Kingsley, Jacob Martin, Jordan Sawyer and Hayden Knauf.
Heuvelton Central Softball coch Eliza Pierce knew she had a special team heading into the 2019 season where the Lady Bulldogs went undefeated until falling to Edwards-Knox in the Section 10 Class D semi-finals. Her feelings were reinforced in the morning after the loss when she came to school and two of her players were out on the field playing catch.
Coach Pierce used a quote by Amanda Scarborough to describe the special qualities of her team.
"Your play on the field does not define you as a person. Whether you go 4-0 or 0-4 or whether you are the starting pitcher or a defensive replacement. That role and how you play never defines who you are. What defines you is how you treat your teammates, how you decide to take to the role that you are given and the attitude/work ethic you chase every single day."
Coach Pierce presented several team awards and honored a host of players for outstanding acheivement.
Sophomore Molly Williams, who hit .508 with eight doubles, two triples and two homeruns, was honored with the Outstanding Clutch Hitter Award.
The other awards were earned by seniors.
Megan Woodard was cited as a Second Team All-NAC West selection.
Kaley House received the Outstanding Team Player Award.
Eliza Martin, who forged .490 On base percentage and made several diving catches in centerfield, received the Outstanding Playmaker Award.
Emma Ladouceur, who enjoyed a 18-0 career pitching record and batted .347 as a senior, received the team's NAC Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.
Catcher Emily Streeter, who batted .448, earned Second Team All-NAC West and Second Team All-State selection, received the Love of the Game award.
Pitcher Kelsey Williams, who batted .450 and earned First Team All-NAC selection, received the Heart and Soul Award.
Chloe Combs was cited for her exceptional defensive play at third and for earning Second Team All-NAC West selection.
Megan Montpetit received the team's Bulldog Award.
The awards climaxed with Madison McCormick receiving the Team MVP Award to go along with a First Team All-State selection and an NAC West MVP Award. In her final season as a Lady Bulldog McCormick batted .638 with 37 hits, eight doubles, three triples two homeruns and 24 RBIs.
Other members of the championship team are: eight grader Alison Trathen, sophomores DaKota West, Amber Cunningham, junior Rayna Cameron and senior Cheyene Turner.
NOTE: As a prelude to the awards ceremony parents of the Heuvelton seniors presented Renee Palmer and Colleen Kelley with a gift for the many photo galleries in Facebook for the thousands of photos which they took which go into the power point presentations at all of the Heuvelton Central fall, winter and spring sports nights.