Tag Archives: Sports

Flushing middle schooler is a taekwondo star


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Eagles Tae Kwon Do

Uni Ha is an eighth-grader at I.S. 25 in Flushing who travels around the world living her dream, competing in taekwondo competitions.

Ha, 13, has many achievements in the martial arts discipline of taekwondo and is currently ranked a second dan black belt. Last summer she became the youngest athlete to make it onto the USA National Team in taekwondo.

“It is an honor to just place in the nationals,” Ha said. “To be on the National Team and to be the youngest member is an honor.”

After earning a position on the USA National Team, Ha entered the Costa Rica Open Championship, an international competition, in August. At the event, she came away with a gold medal.

In September, Ha flew to Mexico for a competition and brought home another medal. Then in November, she traveled to Canada for the Toronto Open where she represented the USA and won the bronze medal.

The largest international competition, the U.S. Open Championship, was held in January. Ha was at that event and medaled yet again. In February, Ha also medaled at the Canada Open. During the national qualifier on March 8, Ha took home the gold in her division and defeated a 17-year-old fighter to win the gold medal in that division as well. Ha returned from the Mexico Open in Aguascalientes, Mexico, on March 15 with another gold medal around her neck.

“The Mexico Open is a really great atmosphere and very professional,” Ha said. “It was my second time there and I’ve learned so much through it. After finishing with a silver my first time, I wanted to do better this time.”

“This one was really hard for me,” she said. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work. It’s a great experience.”

Besides being an adept taekwondo athlete, Ha is a great student, earning a 95 percent average on her last report card. She has an acceptance letter from St. Francis Preparatory high school and is waiting to hear from Townsend Harris High School. She is also heavily involved in community service by teaching taekwondo in local public schools, churches and community centers.

Ha’s coach at Eagle’s Tae Kwon Do in Flushing, Andrew Park, said, “She has done a tremendous job. She works real hard and is a great kid.”

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Maspeth High School boys win championship


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Maspeth High School

The Maspeth High School boys basketball team completed their quest for a perfect season when they defeated Frederick Douglass Academy III, 57-42, on Saturday, March 21, in the finals of the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) B Division championship tournament.

The Argonauts dominated the game at Baruch College from the beginning, scoring 18 in the first quarter and 17 in the second, giving them a 35-17 lead heading into halftime. Frederick Douglass Academy III picked up the pace in the second half, outscoring the Argonauts in both the third and fourth quarters, but the big deficit was too much to overcome.

Maspeth High School had four players score in double digits, and three of those students finished the game with double-doubles. Team captain, senior Damian Piszczatowski, scored 11 points and added 13 rebounds, senior Michael Bugaj dropped 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and senior Paolo Tammer put up 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Junior Matthew Nickel added 10 points in the effort.

The Argonauts finished the regular season 18-0, and were unbeaten throughout the playoffs to end their championship season, and first full season in the PSAL, 23-0.

“Honestly, it still hasn’t totally sunk in that we actually made this happen,” Argonauts coach Anastasia Bitis said. “I had a moment with 30 seconds left that I looked up and realized that the game was over and I just broke down. It’s extremely overwhelming—it feels unreal. This was a vision that I had since last year. I’m extremely grateful. I am very proud of my boys!”

The Argonauts head to Albany this weekend for the State Federation Tournament, where they will face off against Westhill.

“We have already started scouting and analyzing them. I believe we are ready,” Bitis said.

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Maspeth High School basketball makes the finals


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo: Courtesy Maspeth High School

The Maspeth High School Argonauts boys varsity basketball team continued its roll in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) B-division championship tournament by defeating South Bronx High School on Sunday, March 15, at Queens College by a score of 71-64, advancing to the tournament finals.

The game saw the Argonauts jump out to an early lead, taking a 33-27 score into halftime. South Bronx battled their way back in the second half, scoring 29 points and knotting the game up at 56-56 after regulation. In overtime, the Argonauts dominated, outscoring South Bronx 15-8 to come out victorious.

Senior Paolo Tamer lead the Argonauts with a double-double, dropping 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Junior Matthew Nickel added 18 points of his own to help Maspeth High School remain undefeated on the season.

The Argonauts will face off against Frederick Douglas Academy III on Saturday, March 21, in the championship game at Baruch College’s main gym at 1 p.m.

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Wristband collects fans’ experiences at US Open tent


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

In case you’re at the US Open and wondering what those funky royal blue bracelets are that many people are wearing, they are called MyOpen Passes.

American Express brought the RFID-enabled wristbands to the Grand Slam for the first time, giving users a way to record their experiences in its tent without charge.

During the two-week tennis tournament, fans who enter the American Express Fan Experience area and use its stations will be sent an email with details and pictures of their activities via the wristband technology.

In the swing analysis station, for example, a machine measures someone’s impact position, racquet speed and spin rate, aiming to help players use that data to improve. The results will be sent to the fan through the bracelet.

To use the wristband, fans have to register for it when they enter the tent.

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Besides the swing analysis, fans can pose for images in a station called pro cam, where numerous cameras are mounted in a half-circle. The resulting image moves in 180 degrees, showing the photo from various angles.

And for those fans who want to take a picture with a pro player, but have not been lucky enough to meet one, rest assured, because there is also a station where fans can take a picture with a hologram of Sloane Stephens.

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Serena Williams to host tennis clinic with Queens youngsters


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dominick Totino

Defending US Open champion Serena Williams is set to serve up a fun clinic for some lucky local kids.

The 17-time Grand Slam singles champion is hosting a youth tennis clinic on Thursday just days before the 2014 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

About 25 children ages 7 to 12 from the Corona-based Elmcor Youth & Adult Activities Community Center are set to meet and play with Williams.

The clinic is part of the “Returning the Love” initiative, where players reach out to surrounding community organizations both on and off the court.

 

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Astoria resident creates social platform to connect fans in time for World Cup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy Fanspectrum


Next week fans won’t have to make the trip down to Brazil in order to cheer on their favorite teams in the FIFA World Cup; instead, their support will just be one click away.

Sports fan, former athlete and Astoria resident Vibor Cilic is expected to launch a new social platform called Fanspectrum, which will allow fans to show their support, regardless of their location, during the big games and also interact with other soccer enthusiasts.

“I would watch sports, I would watch my favorite team – Barcelona – and I would always ask myself, how do I connect with other fans?” said Cilic, who came up with the idea for Fanspectrum while watching games at Scorpio Cafe & Bar in Astoria. “How do you expand that real stadium into a global stadium?”

Fanspectrum, which will be available for free on the iPhone, Android and at www.fanspectrum.com, will have four features fans can access once they create an account and choose their favorite team.

The first core feature is called a “Fan Battle” where supporters of one team go against those of another and see which has the largest support. In this feature, the user will be able to enter a stream of social media posts for that specific match in which they have entered. The user will be able to post comments, videos and pictures, answer polls, create questions and comment.

In regards to the World Cup, fans will be able to access this feature during specific matches.

“Not everybody can make it to Brazil,” Cilic said. “We offer them a solution, for every fan’s voice to be heard, no matter where they are and what they do.”

Another feature is called a “Fan Map” where users will be able to pinpoint the locations of fans. According to Cilic, this will allow users to see where the larger groups of fans are coming from.

Fanspectrum will also have a Leaderboard which ranks the best fans for a specific team and time period. In this feature, the more fans a user invites, the higher they reach on the board.

The last feature is known as a “Fan Army,” which Cilic says works like a Facebook group but beyond just hitting the “like” button, allowing more user interaction.

“What we want to provide is that real-time engagement and real fans supporting their teams,” said Cilic, who hopes as the social platform becomes more known, fans will be able to receive physical rewards. “The whole point is for fans to be recognized as leaders and for us in the longer term to reward the fans.”

Once it officially launches, Fanspectrum will start with soccer fans, mainly focusing on the World Cup games. However, Cilic hopes to move the social platform forward in order for it to be available for fans of all different sports.

 

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Bayside softball escapes upset in playoff trap game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


The Bayside High School softball team’s reward for being excellent all year was almost the cause for its demise in the 2014 PSAL playoffs.

The city’s second-ranked softball team earned a two-game bye because of its 15-1 record and tie for first in the Queens A Division, delaying its playoff debut until the sweet sixteen round on May 27 against Curtis High School of Staten Island.

But rust from the two-game hiatus quickly showed. Curtis, the 15-seeded team, jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and Bayside was trailing 5-4 by the fifth inning. Bayside was looking at an upset and early exit from the tournament, when the team quickly woke up in the bottom of the fifth inning led by senior Heidi Gomez, and they won the game 9-5.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Coach Steve Piorkowski said, referring to the bye. “Skills like hitting and pitching you need to be game sharp, you want to be competing straight through.”

Gomez, the team’s ace pitcher, finished with 12 strikeouts and a complete game, but she gave up four walks and eight hits, including a monster three-run homer, which gave Curtis its 5-4 lead in the fifth.

But following her mistake, Gomez, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, started the Lady Commodores’ rally when she powered a single in bottom of the inning. Her pinch-runner eventually scored on a throwing error to first base to tie the game.

Later in the inning, with one base runner, senior catcher Taylor Moy smacked a triple, giving Bayside the lead. Then Moy scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat to expand the lead, 7-5.

“I was like, we got to catch back up, we’re going to lose and I don’t want to lose,” Moy said. “So we had to rally, push through, make contact — any contact possible.”

Bayside quieted Curtis’ offensive for the remainder of the game and expanded their lead in the next inning. With the trap game behind them, the team feels that they’ll be in shape for the next round.

“I think if we play how we normally play, we’ll do great,” Gomez said.

Bayside will host George Washington of Manhattan on Thursday at 4 p.m.

 

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Mayor de Blasio to throw first pitch at Mets’ Opening Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Baseball season is almost here, and the new mayor wants to get in on the action.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mets’ Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday.

The mayor will be accompanied by children from the East Harlem Tutorial Program, who were affected by the recent building collapse.

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Prep teams eye championships


| ncarousso@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Neil A. Carousso

This fall sports season, the Saint Francis Prep Terriers have dominated on the gridiron, volleyball court and in gymnastics — going a combined 22-0.

The Terriers football team is 6-0 in Catholic High School Football League (CHSFL) competition after their 35-14 victory last Saturday night, October 20, in Brooklyn against the Bishop Ford Falcons. The Lady Terriers volleyball team is undefeated as well, beating the Archbishop Molloy Stanners in all three meetings, each one in a three set sweep. The Terriers gymnastics team has blown away their competition in the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA), winning all six meets this season.

Senior captain quarterback Jack Hurley

The Terriers football team has one regular season game remaining against Saint Peter’s Eagles on Saturday, October 27, before the CHSFL playoffs begin. The program is making a comeback after two poor years in the CHSFL “AAA” division in 2009-2010, before taking a step down to the “AA” division last season and losing in the CHSFL “A” championship game against Bishop Ford. Senior captain and starting quarterback Jack Hurley has remained poised and focused on each game. Hurley’s approach has resonated with his teammates as they embark on their “road to the title.” “It’s so important [to go deep in the CHSFL playoffs]; we want to bring Prep football back,” Hurley said.

The Terriers are confident that they can come away with a championship this season.

“We believe we can go all the way, but we are going to have to work extremely hard everyday in practice,” Hurley said.

On the volleyball court, the Lady Terriers have dominated the last half decade, winning five straight Brooklyn/Queens Division I titles. Four of the last five seasons the Lady Terriers finished the regular seasons. This season the Lady Terriers are seeking another city championship as well as a state title.

“This might be our sixth [straight] title, but we’re not going into [the playoffs] expecting to win. We play each game one at a time,” said senior captain Kelly Flynn.

The Saint Francis girls’ volleyball team has beaten their rival, the Molloy Stanners, but remain humble — in the playoffs anything can happen. “Molloy is a really solid team, there’s no doubt about that, and they play strong each time they play against us. They’re out to get us, as every team

Senior Captain Kelly Flynn

is, but with the way we play, and the players we have, we’re going into the postseason with the drive and intensity to win and show them who we are,” said Flynn, a prospective Division I collegiate athlete.

The Saint Francis Prep gymnastics team is seeking a third straight CHSAA title. They have thrived this season against the Holy Trinity Titans, Kellenberg Firebirds and Saint John the Baptist Cougars. The experienced Terriers are controlling their excitement about the CHSAA Championships, which will be at Prep on Saturday, October 27 at noon.

“After performing at six meets, the mindset of the team is to give it our all, but most importantly have fun. At championships, it’s individual, so we need to still work hard and be very focused, if each one of us wants it and I know we do,” said senior captain Marisa Marden. “This year was great and I’ll remember it the most. We are a family and I’ll miss it so much. We worked hard, but it was fun and successful.”

Saint Francis Prep athletics is flourishing this fall season with football, ladies volleyball and gymnastics all seeking championships. Focus, poise, dedication and work ethic were strengths among these three teams during the regular season, and these attributes will need to be carried over to the postseason if the teams want to bring championship hardware home to Prep.

Funtopia sweeps the week


| hzwillenberg@queenscourier.com

Vigliotti-funtopia-042812

Funtopia racked up two more wins last week in Bayside Little League’s Texas Division, first besting York Electrical 9-5 on the strength of Johnny Douveas’s second-inning grand slam, then battling to a 15-14 win over Castro Law Office.

Danny Bhola’s first-inning homer set the stage for that hard-fought game, which featured great plays from both teams.

PSAL baseball roundup


| hzwillenberg@queenscourier.com

A Division

The John Adams Spartans (2-0) beat the Long Island City Bulldogs by a score of 4-2. For the Bulldogs junior Charlie Mendes got the start and pitched five innings allowing six hits, three runs, one earned while striking out seven and walking four. Sophomore Albert Ramirez made an appearance on the mound for the Bulldogs, the young pitcher failed to record an out while allowing one run. Next up for the Spartans will be the Richmond Hill Lions (0-3).

The Lions lost their last game by a score of 13-0 at the hands of the William C. Bryant Owls (3-0). For the Owls senior Nicholas Alvarez went the distance in a mercy rule shortened game. Alvarez allowed five hits while striking out eight batters. On the offensive side of the ball, senior shortstop Christopher Alverez went 3-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Junior third baseman Jorge Zurita went 2-2 with an RBI.

B Division

The Beach Channel Dolphins (3-0) beat the August Martin Falcons (0-3) by a football score, 19-6. For the Dolphins senior Christopher Bonilla pitched five innings allowing six runs, five hits, six walks while striking out seven. Bonilla was star with the bat as well going 2-4 with four RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Kely Aponte led the team in hits, going 5-5 with three RBIs. Freshman first baseman Ryan Suglia went 2-2 with two RBIs, while sophomore Sergio Galdamez went 2-3, knocking in two. For the Falcons sophomore Carlos Medina pitched five innings giving up 19 runs only six of which were earned. In the five innings Medina also allowed nine hits, walked seven and struck out eight. Freshman outfielder Juan Abreu went 1-3 with three RBIs. Next up for the Dolphins will be a home game against the Falcons.

The Springfield Golden Eagles (1-2) shut out the Renaissance Knights (2-1) 10-0. For the Golden Eagles junior Dwayne Moore pitched a great game in the shutout allowing just one hit while walking one batter and striking out five. Moore was the offensive star as well going 2-3 with four RBIs. For the Knights sophomore Tenzin Samphel pitched three and a third innings allowing eight runs, two of which were earned.

 

Tim Tebow traded to New York Jets for 4th and 6th round draft picks


| jlane@queenscourier.com

FOXSports.com NFL insider Jay Glazer reports that the Broncos traded quarterback Tim Tebow on Wednesday to the New York Jets for a draft choice in the fourth and sixth rounds.

The deal – which was facilitated by Denver’s signing of Peyton Manning to a five-year, $96 million contract – spells the end to one of the wildest chapters in the franchise’s 52-year history. One of the NFL’s most popular players since being drafted by the Broncos in 2010, Tebow was promoted into the starting lineup ahead of the struggling Kyle Orton six games into last season.

 

Read More: Fox Sports

 

Former Met Gary Carter succumbs to brain cancer


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the New York Mets

Forever known as “the Kid,” former Mets catcher Gary Carter died at 4:10 p.m. on February 16 after battling brain cancer. He was 57.

A key cog on the Mets’ 1986 championship team, the man best known for his leadership and clutch hitting was diagnosed with the disease after doctors discovered inoperable tumors on his brain in May 2011. After an MRI revealed new tumors in January 2012, his condition worsened.

The entire Mets organization expressed their condolences to Carter’s family and said that they are grieving along with his fans and former teammates.

“On behalf of everyone at the Mets, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Gary’s family – his wife Sandy, daughters Christy and Kimmy and son D.J.,” Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon, president Saul Katz and COO Jeff Wilpon said in a joint statement. “His nickname ‘the Kid’ captured how Gary approached life. He did everything with enthusiasm and with gusto on and off the field. His smile was infectious. He guided our young pitching staff to the World Series title in 1986 and he devoted an equal amount of time and energy raising awareness for a multitude of charities and community causes. He was a Hall of Famer in everything he did.”

 

 

 

 

 

Girl with the Dragon Moves


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos by Crispin Brann

This is the year of the “Baby Dragon.”

Jada Skye is back on the Taekwondo circuit this year, defending her 42-1 fighting record. She is currently training for the state championship on March 31, followed by national qualifiers which will stamp her ticket to the 2012 Junior Olympics in Dallas, Texas on June 28.

Besides working on fighting skills, Skye’s team is also busy creating the Jayda Skye Rising Stars Foundation, which looks to enable aspiring children to pursue their martial arts dreams by helping them through financial obstacles.

Her dream is to be the youngest Hispanic athlete to make Team USA in the 2016 Olympics for Taekwondo. With devastating kicks and a solid work ethic, that dream might turn into a reality.

Playoff Tipoff: First round hardwood action


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

The Bayside Commodores (13-2) beat the John Adams Spartans (11-4) by a score of 61-41 in the first round of the Queens Borough Playoff Bracket. Though both teams traded blows with some intense back and forth action, Bayside had this game in the bag early. The Queens powerhouse started the contest with an 11-0 run and led at halftime 29-9. Bayside senior Uzonna Akazi led the Commodores to victory, leading all scorers with 23 points, while junior Brandon King contributed with 13 points of his own. Junior Vincent England added eight points and sophomore Daqauise Andrews led the team in assists with six to go along with six points and three rebounds. Senior Ryan Tomlin scored six points as well, while pulling down four rebounds. Senior Dillion Scurry led the team with six rebounds. For the Spartans, Markell French led the team with 13 points, while grabbing down six rebounds. Paul Johnson was second on the team with 12 points and junior Ahmed Kone scored six points while pulling down five rebounds. Senior Shane Hubbard was tied with French for second on the team with six rebounds and senior Yuhree Claude led the game with seven rebounds. Next up for the Commodores will be the Long Island City Bull Dogs.

The Bull Dogs (15-0) continued their winning ways, squeaking by the Beach Channel Dolphins (9-6) by a score of 45-43, advancing to the second round of the Queens Borough Playoffs. Senior Sadji Camara led the Bulldogs with 18 points and senior Arthur Santanna had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Kevin Green Jr. had eight points and seven rebounds while leading the team in assists with four.

The Benjamin Cardozo High School Judges blew out the High School for Construction Red Hawks by a score of 83-46. Tajay Henry led the team with a double-double, scoring 22 points while pulling down 13 rebounds. Junior Kyle Credle scored 13 points while leading the team with five assists. Junior Kendall Brown was third on the team with 11 points and senior Ryan Yearwood was one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points. Junior Omar Williams scored 10 points as well. For the Red Hawks, senior Ehiavekhan Eromoselle led the team with a double-double, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Senior Rudranauth Sewsankar had 10 points and seven rebounds. Junior Isaiah Henderson and Alexis Rincon each scored seven points. Next up for the judges will be the Campus Magnet Bull Dogs (12-3).

With additional reporting by Heather Zwillenberg