Canarsie Football Set To Face Tough Competition In 2016


By Jerry Del Priore

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Canarsie High School head coach Kyle Allen (pictured with clipboard) is displaying early optimism for the 2016 football season despite its tough schedule.

Last week, the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) released its 2016 varsity football schedule, and it looks as if Canarsie High School will be facing a difficult road ahead.

However, head coach Kyle Allen isn’t overly concerned with the competition.

“There are three powerhouses in the PSAL, with Curtis,Lincoln and EHall (Erasmus),” Allen said. “After that, it’s up for grabs, because there’s a lot more parity in the PSAL than in recent years.”

The Chiefs kick off the season on Staten Island against Port Richmond—who made the postseason last year—in early September.

Canarsie plays five other teams who made the playoffs in 2015, including Grand Street Campus (last season’s champs), Midwood, Erasmus, Brooklyn Tech and FDR, who the PSAL moved up to the City Conference after three successful seasons in the Bowl Division.

The three remaining squads on the Chiefs’ nine-game schedule (down from 10 contests last season) include Clinton, Brooklyn Tech and Boys & Girls. Missing from Canarsie’s slate of tilts is the usual neighborhood bragging rights trophy game against the South Shore Vikings.

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Allen addresses team after a 2015 game.

While the Chiefs’ schedule is stacked with tough teams, Allen believes they will reload with capable returning talent and key call ups from junior varsity along with their cohesive nature that will help them shock a lot of their 2016 foes.

“I wouldn’t be surprised when this team wins,” he said. “This team works together. They’re going to overachieve or (at least) meet expectations. We’re going to quietly sneak off some wins. We’re a lot better as a program than people realize.”

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Spirit Of Life Holds 15th Annual Walkathon In Bergen Beach


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The Meo family posing for a photo to show their love for Tommy—pictured (left to right) Tommy’s sisters Jackie, Janine and his parents, Roberta and Tommy senior, along with sister Gina.

Jerry Del Priore

On a beautiful, sun-kissed Saturday afternoon, family, friends and people from all over Bergen Beach and beyond gathered to celebrate the memory of Tommy Meo Jr. at the 15th Annual Spirit of Life Walkathon at Joseph T. McGuire Park in Bergen Beach.

Tommy was a 12-year-old boy who was tragically killed in an accident on September 22, 2000.

Every year, the close-knit Bergen Beach community gathers to pay tribute to the young boy’s selfless, giving spirit, his dedication to sports and gift for loving life and people way beyond his youthful age .

“Tommy Meo Jr. was an active youth sports participant,” said Paul Curiale, executive director of Millennium Development and administrator for Bergen Beach Youth Organization, which Meo Jr. played multiple organized sports through. “Probably, over the course of my tenure here, 24 years, Tommy was one of the most intense, athletically gifted kids and had just an incredible personality.”

Spirit of Life is a non-profit organization started by the Meo family shortly after Tommy’s passing, dedicated to helping the less fortunate. Through the walkathon’s fundraising efforts, the organization has been able to use the monies it collects to directly help families and children in need.

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Young walkers giving it a whirl around Joseph T. McGuire Park on Saturday, April 23, 2016  .

“This year, we’re helping an organization called SOARD, which stands for Sunshine on a Ranney Day,” explained Gina Gampero, one of Tommy’s three sisters. “It’s a charity that does dream room makeovers. This is the third year that we’re sponsoring a bedroom makeover. This year, it’s a 14-year-old boy with Down Syndrome.”

But the philanthropy doesn’t stop there. Spirit of Life—in conjunction with Gianna Nicole’s Heart of Hope Foundation, a Staten Island-based charity that helps children battle cancer—is also lending a helping hand to an eighth-grade Staten Island student who is currently fighting non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“For my family, we took such a negative experience, and we see how much positive that we made from it,” Gampero said. “And for us, that’s rewarding. After 15 years, we still get the same great crowd—new people and old people, people that didn’t even know us, and they’re meeting our brother for the first time. For us, that’s the best part.”

This year’s walkathon event, which brought out scores of smiling faces, also featured horse rides, cartoon characters, a miniature racing track, music, a slide, a bouncy house, mechanical rides and raffle prizes donated by a number of local businesses.
For more information on Spirit of Life, follow it on Instagram @spiritoflife2.

NYU Tandon School of Engineering Student Helps Build Bridge to Success


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NYU Tandon School of Engineering students collect awards for Steel Bridge Competition. Pictured are Enes Sinan; team co-captains Nathaniel Evelkin (second from left), Julia Langewis and Mark Milkis.

Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn native Nathaniel Evelkin co-captained a team of engineering students at NYU Tandon School of Engineering that qualified for a national competition after taking home first place in three categories of a model steel bridge contest during the regional finals on Saturday, April 9th at the City College of New York.

Evelkin and his teammates placed second overall, thus securing a spot in the national finals at Brigham Young University on May 27th to 28th.

The Steel Bridge Competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), requires students to conceive, design, fabricate, erect and test a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy.

“Second place is a very good achievement,” said Evelkin, a junior at the university who is expected to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering and mechanical engineering in 2017.

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NYU Tandon School of Engineering students collect awards for Steel Bridge Competition. Pictured are (l to r) Enes Sinan, Mark Milkis, Matt Light and Chris Katsanos)

“It’s a significant achievement, because it’s the first time in the history of the school that the team has qualified for the national competition.”

The team from NYU Tandon’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering (CUE) took first place in the classifications of display (how their bridge looked), deflection (how much it moved while bearing a static load) and structural efficiency (a ratio of deflection to weight of bridge) during the regional competitions.

Evelkin and three other main team members, which included co-captain Julia Langewis, a senior majoring in math and civil engineering, worked  around the clock while juggling demanding, grueling course loads in order to see the bridge to fruition.

“It (the competition) was very time consuming,” said the 21-one-year-old Brooklynite who graduated from Yeshiva of Flatbush High School in Midwood. “We were in the lab every weekend, from the morning to night—3:00 a.m. We even worked on weeknights, from the morning hours to around midnight or 1 a.m.

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NYU Tandon School of Engineering students line up their first place Canoe (photos courtesy NYU’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering).

“It worked out well between us because each one could relieve the other when our course loads became heavier.”

In addition to the steel bridge squad, Evelkin was a part of the school’s Concrete Canoe team, as a paddler, who nabbed the top spots in the categories of final product and oral presentation and finished in first place overall at the regional ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition on Sunday, April 10th in Denville, New Jersey.

The students will take part in the national competition on June 9th-11th at the University of Texas at Tyler—the school’s fifth trip to the nationals.

Progress Update: Vision-impaired Ultra-marathoner Jason Romero Keeps Chugging Along


 

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By Jerry Del Priore

Through the first 27 days (as of Wednesday, April 19) of Jason “Relentless” Romero’s 3246-mile trek across the United States, which started at the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday, March 24th, the vision-impaired ultra-marathoner has eclipsed 1303 miles and six states (now in Kansas) thus far, according to Vision Run USA’s website.

In order to complete the incredible accomplishment, Romero will need to run approximately 50 miles a day for 66 days, which would end Romero’s miraculous journey at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts, on Sunday, May 28th.

If the 46-year-old single father of three—who has currently lost 85 percent of his vision, making him legally blind—completes the challenging task in that time period, he said he’ll be the seventh fastest person to do so.

Good luck to Romero, who said, “I am doing this as a blind person. I am going to show the world that blind people can do anything. If I can inspire the masses at large, then my job is done.”

To follow Romero’s progress, please visit www.VisionRunUSA.comVisionRunUSA ; FacebookJason Romero on TwitterUnited States Association of Blind Athletes Facebook; and/or USABA Twitter.

Canarsie Baseball Opens Season With Lopsided Win And Comeback Tie


By Jerry Del Priore

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Canarsie shortstop Jason Tavarez takes walking lead off third in team’s 9-9 tie against FDR last week at Six Diamonds.

The Chiefs kicked off the season with a successful 1-0-1 week, with a five-inning, 12-0 mercy victory over George Westinghouse Tuesday at Canarsie/Seaview Park. Then, in an uneven performance against FDR last week, Canarsie managed to come from behind, and leave Six Diamonds Field with a 9-9 tie to open their 2016 Class A baseball campaign.

The game, which the umpires called due to darkness, will be played at a later date if playoff positioning needs to be determined.

Down by six runs after four innings, the Chiefs battled back to knot the game, providing the team with a sense of relief in a contest it could’ve easily lost, according to head coach Daniel Paradis.

“I do consider this a moral victory, because we were down 8-2,” Paradis said after last Thursday’s game. “They saw we had a chance, got emotional, and came back. This could have been an easy loss.  These kids fought back. There’s a little heart in them. It’s the first game, and they’re fighting, so hopefully this will be the beginning of a good thing for them.”

Behind by two runs in the top of the seventh, Canarsie senior Amet Maxwell got things going when he reached base on a walk. He proceeded to steal second and third, and scored when the catcher threw the ball away to cut the Cougars’ deficit to a run.

With two outs, sophomore first baseman Zaire Phillip worked out a bases on balls, and moved to second on a balk. Junior Jovany Mendez provided the game-tying heroics with a bad hop base hit passed the second baseman, and into right field.

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First baseman Zaire Phillip holds Cougar runner close to first base.

Star sophomore player Justin Garcia, out of the lineup with an injured non-throwing hand, pinched hit. But his hard liner to second was caught to end the offensive threat.

However, Garcia would get the chance to make a major contribution on the defensive side in the bottom of the seventh. With a runner on at first, a FDR hitter smacked a double to the outfield. Garcia had the wherewithal to have centerfielder Ralph Foreste toss the ball to him. Garcia proceeded to gun the ball to an infielder, who proceeded to cut the runner down at home.

After an intentional walk and runners advancing to second and third on a wild pitch, sophomore reliever Jason Tavarez struck out the batter for the second out of the inning. Paradis decided to have his pitcher issue another intentional walk to load the bases.

It paid off as Tavarez struck out the next hitter to end the inning and preserve the tie.

Tavarez, who started the tilt at shortstop, led the Chiefs with a three hits (a single, double and triple) and three RBI.

Canarsie will take on George Westinghouse Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Commodore Barry Park in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.