Tue, Jun 12th 2018 03:35 pm
Inaugural piece awards MVP awards to each Falcons athletics team
By David Yarger
Phew. What a year it's been. Five teams won Niagara Frontier League championships, some teams and athletes reached the state finals; nevertheless, Falcons athletics gave this writer a lot to report on this year. Without further ado, here is the first ever Falcons Flashback Awards for the 2017-18 school year. The Falcons Flashback Awards will pick a most valuable player from each team during the past year, as well as a Best Team Award.
Cross Country: Victoria Achtziger-Hughes, freshman (Photo by Larry Austin)
Achtziger-Hughes, as a freshman, put up big numbers on the cross country team. As a First Team All-Niagara Frontier League honoree, Achtziger-Hughes was a Section VI competitor and finished the highest of any Falcon in the 5K with a time of 21:16.8.
Girls Swimming and Diving: Danielle Carlson, sophomore (Photo by Larry Austin)
Carlson helped lead the Falcons girls swimming and diving team to their third straight NFL title. In her efforts, Carlson clinched a spot in the New York state meet and was the top point producer on the varsity team for a third straight year. Carlson also won First Team All-NFL in 200 and 500 freestyle and set a pool record in the 100 freestyle.
Football: Offensive line (Bryan Lucinski, Jake Ambrosia, James Pierce, Jake Leising, Kevin Halford)
The Falcons football team was known for running the ball and it couldn't have been done without a stellar offensive line. The Falcons ran 380 times for 2,646 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns behind the proficient linemen.
Boys Soccer: Thomas Efthemis, senior
Efthemis was a First Team All-NFL defenseman and senior leader for the Falcons boys soccer team, which finished 5-3-8.
Girls Tennis: Lila Trunzo, senior (Photo by David Yarger)
Trunzo, a senior on the girls tennis team, was a First Team All-NFL selection and first singles player for the undefeated, NFL champions. Trunzo went 12-2 in matches and finished 156-56 in games this past season. Trunzo also qualified for the Section VI tournament.
Boys Volleyball: Kyle Otminski, senior (Photo by David Yarger)
Otminski, a SUNY Cortland commit, was a First Team All-NFL senior setter for the Falcons volleyball team.
Girls Volleyball: Jenna Sonnenberg, junior (Photo by David Yarger)
Sonnenberg, a University at Buffalo commit, won First Team All-NFL and First Team All-WNY as libero for the NFL champion Falcons. Sonnenberg led the way with 186 digs, 57 aces and 20 assists in league play and helped lead the Falcons to the Section VI finals.
Boys Golf: Anthony Delisanti, freshman (Photo by David Yarger)
Delisanti was a First Team All-NFL nominee, sectional finalist and state qualifier for the Falcons golf team who won their fourth straight NFL title this past season. Delisanti medaled in the NFL tournament with a 3-under 69 and had a nine-hole average of 38.7.
Girls Soccer: Erin Weir, freshman (Photo by David Yarger)
Weir was the NFL Player of the Year, as well as a First Team All-NFL nominee for the Falcons girls soccer team. Weir compiled a league-high 46 points, including 18 goals and 10 assists. She scored in all but four games.
Boys Basketball: Anthony Ruffino, senior (Photo submitted by Erik O'Bryan)
Ruffino was a Second Team All-NFL selection and senior leader on coach Erik O'Bryan's Falcons squad. Ruffino led the team with 17 points per game and represented N-W in the Silver Hoops Classic where he scored 21 points and won the Sportsmanship Award. Ruffino will continue his basketball career at Alfred University.
Girls Basketball: LeGary Jackson, junior (Photo by David Yarger)
Jackson was a First Team All-NFL selection for coach Gary Jackson's Falcons team. LeGary averaged close to a double-double per game this past season.
Wrestling: Justin McDougald, sophomore
McDougald was a First Team All-NFL selection and Section VI champion in the 126-pound weight class. McDougald also finished second at the New York state tournament and was part of the Falcons wrestling team, which sent five wrestlers to the NYS tourney.
Boys Swimming: Tommy Peltier, junior
Peltier, a three-sport athlete, won First Team All-NFL in the 100 breast stroke for the Falcons' boys swimming and diving team. Peltier also made Third Team All-NFL as part of the 200-medley relay team.
Boys Bowling: Jared Farr, sophomore
Farr was a Second Team All-NFL selection. In 40 games, Farr averaged a 198.15 and rolled a team high and personal game high of 289, good enough for fifth in the league.
Girls Bowling: Alexis Chase, senior
Chase was a Third Team All-NFL selection. In 41 games, Chase averaged a 164.88 and her high game was a 216.
Hockey: Zack Belter/Nick Breier, seniors
This was by far the toughest decision of them all. Chace Woods, Nick Peters and Chris Tobey definitely deserve a stick tap, because they made this decision difficult with tremendous award-winning seasons. Looking back at the Falcons' record-breaking season, it was built around defense, as the most goals the team gave up in a game were five (versus the No. 1 team in NYS). Basing off of defense, Belter and Breier get the nod for co-MVPs, as the two anchored the first line defense. Belter was an All-State Division 1 First Team winner, while Breier, a senior captain, added nine goals and 11 assists.
Baseball: James Filippelli, senior (Photo by Larry Austin)
Filippelli, a Mercyhurst commit, was a Third Team All-NFL designated hitter nominee for coach Jim Hagerty's team. At the plate, Filippelli batted .432 with nine RBIs and 12 runs scored. Filippelli was also a workhorse on the mound for the Falcons with an ERA just over 3.30. Filippelli also struck out a team high 40 batters in 24 innings.
Softball: Mackenzie Quider, junior (Photo by David Yarger)
Quider was a First Team All-NFL and All-WNY selection for the Falcons, who reached the Class AA Section VI finals. Quider spent time at third base and pitcher and was also the team's No. 4 hitter. Quider batted .404 with four home runs, six doubles and 27 RBIs and in the circle she went 10-3 with 40 strikeouts and a 1.86 ERA.
Boys Tennis: Paul Raglow-DeFranco/Garrick Charnley, junior/senior
Raglow-DeFranco and Charnley were Second Team All-NFL nominees for second doubles pairings. The duo went 9-5 this past spring for the Falcons.
Boys Track and Field: Micah Rice, senior
Rice was a First Team All-NFL nominee in pole vaulting for the Falcons. Rice won the boys Division I pole vault with a clearance of 13-0 (3.96 meters) at the Section VI Track and Field Championships. Rice was also a state qualifier for the Falcons.
Girls Track and Field: LeGary Jackson, junior (Photo by Larry Austin)
Jackson was a Section VI champion in the high jump for the NFL champion Falcons. Jackson was also a First Team All-NFL selection, as well as a state qualifier.
Boys Lacrosse: Zack Belter, senior (Photo by David Yarger)
Belter was a First Team All-Class B, First Team All-Section VI and U.S. Lacrosse All-American selection for the Falcons boys lacrosse team. Belter, a St. Bonaventure commit, topped Class B with 138 ground balls.
Girls Lacrosse: Erin Wegrzyn, senior (Photo by David Yarger)
Wegrzyn was a First Team All-Class B and Second Team All-WNY nominee. Wegrzyn, a Brockport commit, finished the season with 68 points, including 59 goals for the Falcons girls lacrosse team.
Best Team Award: Niagara-Wheatfield Hockey
There are many deserving candidates for this award, which will be listed following the explanation, but the Falcons hockey team had quite possibly its best season in program history. The team went 19-3-3-1, won the Section VI championship and during one of the toughest times of the school year, reached the New York state championship. A couple days before their state semifinals game, the team received heartbreaking news that their fellow classmate Michael Ziegler had passed away. With heavy hearts, the team brightened N-W spirits with a run to the state finals that will be remembered for a long time. N-W hockey gets my vote for the 2017-18 Falcons Flashback Best Team Award.
Other deserving teams: Girls track and field, boys golf, girls volleyball, girls swimming and diving and boys wrestling.
The Niagara-Wheatfield hockey team celebrates after their Section VI title victory. (Photo by David Yarger)