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Falcons bring home award as league’s most successful program
By David Yarger
2018-19 was indeed a dominant school year for Niagara-Wheatfield athletics. On Wednesday, at the Niagara Frontier League end of the year banquet, the program added to its impressive resume by winning the Niagara Frontier League “President’s Cup” Supremacy Award.
The award goes to the athletic program that accomplished the most success throughout the three seasons of play. It’s the first time the Falcons have won the award.
Niagara-Wheatfield Athletic Director Matthew McKenna credited everyone that has been involved with the program after receiving the “President’s Cup.”
“This award is for all the parents, accomplished community members that volunteer there time to fundraise for our athletes of today; Jamie Beiter, who has been the epicenter of our athletic program for the last four years; for all the past athletic administrators including Joe Rotella, Bill Ross, Mark DiFilippo, Jim Campbell and John Forcucci; for all the support from administrators; to all our current, past, dedicated hard coaches; for athletes that have known white, black and red throughout the last 54 years; and certainly, finally, to this year’s athletes that made this all possible,” McKenna said. “The Falcons are soaring high.”
Additionally, the athletic department said in a release, “On behalf of the Niagara-Wheatfield Athletic Department it was a great honor to present the 2018-19 NFL ‘Presidents Cup’ to our coaches last night. … Thank you to all of you for supporting our student athletes on and off the court and field. Without everyone's support and guidance, our athletes would not be able to achieve success in the classroom as well as in athletics.
“Thank you to each and every one of our coaches, who put in so much time and dedication to their sports program year around. It is the love of their sport and their passion to help mold successful student athletes that made us winning this award possible.
“Last but not least, thank you to our student athletes, they are the ones that have truly won this award. It is their skills, their dedication, their practice, their drive to be the best that has brought this award home for Niagara-Wheatfield.
"If you see any of our coaches or athletes, please take a moment to congratulate them for their accomplishment of being the best school in the Niagara Frontier League.”
The award comes after N-W won eight NFL titles throughout the three seasons (five, fall; one, winter; and two, spring).
League champions included girls swimming and diving coached by Mike Corsaro; girls volleyball, Brandi Cochran; boys soccer, John Coulter; golf, Tim Codd; girls tennis, Kristin Janese; wrestling, Rick Sweney; softball, Jim and Melanie Proefrock; and girls track, Al Pogel.
In addition to the Supremacy Award, N-W handed out tokens of appreciation to coaches for their years of service. Melanie Proefrock was honored for 15 years of service, Peter Cerny for 20 years and Don Miller for 50 years.
Additionally, Niagara-Wheatfield named boys basketball coach Erik O’Bryan its Coach of the Year. O’Bryan led the Falcons to one of its best seasons in over 10 years and reached the Section VI semifinals at Buffalo State College for the first time in 14 years.
The Falcons also named Tribune Editor David Yarger the 2018-19 Cornerstone Award winner. The award is given to an individual who showed dedication and support to Niagara-Wheatfield athletic program throughout the year.
Each NFL team was given a chance to name a Coach of the Year and Cornerstone Award winner.
From left, Wheatfield Tribune editor David Yarger was named the Niagara-Wheatfield Cornerstone Award winner, and Falcons boys basketball coach Erik O'Bryan was named the program's Coach of the Year.