Highlights galore for Niskayuna athletics in 2014-15

Members of the Niskayuna boys' lacrosse team run onto the field after winning the Class A state championship in Vestal on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)Members of the Niskayuna boys' lacrosse team run onto the field after winning the Class A state championship in Vestal on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

BY MICHAEL KELLY
Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA — Memorable moments were plentiful during the 2014-15 school year for athletes at Niskayuna High School.

From sectional championships to state championships, the Silver Warriors achieved a variety of honors as individuals and teams.

With the school year now closed, let’s look back on a memorable year of Niskayuna scholastic athletics:

‘26 WIN’ SNAGS ITS BIGGEST PRIZE
After years of getting so close to winning a state title in boys’ lacrosse, Niskayuna broke through in 2015, topping West Genesee 13-10 for the Class A crown. On their way to clinching the championship, Niskayuna won its final 15 games of the year, as stars such as Aidan O’Brien and John Prendergast led the way for the first Silver Warriors team to achieve the state’s ultimate prize.

Head coach Mike Vorgang summed it up best why the team’s victory June 6 in the state championship game was so special: “A lot of other years ended with tears in their eyes, and not the right kind of tears.”

SOLO SUPREMACY
Throughout the year, numerous individual athletes claimed championships in the Silver Warriors’ name.

Two of the most notable solo wins came from senior Annie Phillips and freshman Eoghan Sweeney.
Phillips, a girls’ tennis player, completed a career-long dream and won the Section II individual championship for her sport; meanwhile, Sweeney won an area wrestling crown and advanced to the state championships.

Members of the Niskayuna/Schenectady hockey team huddle prior to the start of the third overtime of their Feb. 18 game in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

Members of the Niskayuna/Schenectady hockey team huddle prior to the start of the third overtime of their Feb. 18 game in Clifton Park. (Michael Kelly/Gazette Reporter)

NIGHTS TO REMEMBER
Great games, matches and meets were a constant for Niskayuna athletes and teams, both in the regular season and the playoffs. Perhaps no game, though, was more memorable than the Niskayuna/Schenectady hockey team’s 5-4 loss to Shenendehowa in the postseason’s quarterfinals.

Though their team was a considerable underdog, Evan Maloney, Matt Peretti and company pushed the Plainsmen into triple overtime before falling in one of Section II’s best games of the academic calendar year.

Niskayuna celebrates after defeating Queensbury for the girls lacrosse Section II Class B championship game at the University at Albany on Thursday, May 28, 2015. (PATRICK DODSON/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

Niskayuna celebrates after defeating Queensbury for the girls lacrosse Section II Class B championship game at the University at Albany on Thursday, May 28, 2015. (PATRICK DODSON/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER)

IN WATER AND ON LAND
Team success was not enjoyed by the boys’ lacrosse team only, as memorable Section II championships were won in 2014-15 by both the girls’ swimming and diving team and the girls’ lacrosse squad.

In a season-long battle with Shenendehowa, Zeynep Balto and Kamryn Paige helped the Niskayuna girls’ swimming and diving team prevail at sectionals with a championship win. Then, this spring, Marisa DiVietro and Cat Sexton were among the key players who guided the Silver Warriors’ girls’ lacrosse team through an undefeated regular season and a Section II title.

Also this spring, Niskayuna Rowing — a program made up of Niskayuna High School kids — won state and national titles with its junior and senior quad boats.

FROM NISKY TO TAMPA
There was no bigger attraction this past year in Niskayuna than Garrett Whitley, the hometown baseball star with the bright smile. After almost a year of speculation about how high he’d be selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball amateur draft, Whitley and Co. got their answer June 8 when the Tampa Bay Rays selected him No. 13 overall.

Along the way, the now-professional baseball player was named the Suburban Council and state Player of the Year, and he also was named a second-team All-American.

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.