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Boardman varsity swimming celebrates 25th anniversary

April 1, 2010
The Town Crier

Boardman High School swimmers, parents, coaches, alumni, and special guests held a 25th year anniversary banquet celebration at Avion on the Water. Special guests from the school included Superintendent Frank Lazzeri, Boardman Board of Education President Mark Foulks, BHS Principal Tim Saxton, Athletic Director Dave Smercansky, Center Middle School Principal Randy Ebie, coaches Terry O'Halloran, Carlo Cordon, and Andrew Mitchell. Representing the original 1985 Boardman Swim Booster Board were Ann Villano and Robert Fulton. Also in attendance were Boardman Hall of Fame swimmer Jackie Bak Yost and coach Pam Steinhouser.

The following seniors and parents were introduced by O'Halloran before the dinner: Megan Barringer, daughter of Terry and Maryann Barringer; Elizabeth Fowler escorted by her aunt and uncle Wanda and Mark Huberman; Rachel Gresko, daughter of Rob and Diane Gresko; Karlie Ligore, daughter of Carl and Erin Ligore; Kelley Manning, daughter of Edgar and Shirley Manning; Jeana McEvey, daughter of Paul and Loretta McEvey; Kayla Szabo, daughter of Stephen and Shirley Szabo; Ali Azeem, son of Sayed El-Azeem and Rand Shabayek; Kyle Knecht, son of Joe and Jill Knecht; Ryan Mitchell, son of David and Karen Mitchell; Kevin O'Neil, son of Tom and Linda O'Neil; and Jake Santamas, son of Alke and Margie Santamas. The invocation was given by senior Ryan Mitchell.

After dinner, current Swim Booster Board President Rose Aldan thanked her present board members and held elections for next year's swim board. Aldan introduced O'Halloran, who recognized Bob Reardon for his special efforts in making the 25th anniversary video and picture presentation that everyone enjoyed during the dinner. 

Coach O'Halloran recognized the team for their efforts in and out of the pool. This year's group was involved in a team-building project called B.T.U.B., or Boardman Team Unity Building spearheaded by coach Cordon that raised money and did charitable work in the community. 

Coach Mitchell recognized district qualifier senior Ligore, junior Katie DiGiacomo, junior Morgan McGuire, and freshman Paisley Curtis. He also awarded plaques for three school records broken during the season. Ashley Aldan swam a 24.88 to break her time of 25.02 set last season. Aldan also was a member of two record-setting relays. The 200 medley relay consisting of Gaby DeAscentis, Aldan, Jessica Gonda, and Emily Bodamer swam a 1:54.02. The old record of 1:55.02 was set last year by Stephanie Sfara, Aldan, Katie Henson, and Megan Palmer. Bodamer and Aldan were joined by Barringer and freshman Colleen Manning to set a new school record of 3:44.31 in the 400 freestyle relay. Katie Henson, Megan Palmer, Ashley Aldan, and Kayla Aldan set the record of 3:44.53 last season. Five freshman records were set by Ryan Bailey and Manning. Bailey set new marks in the 200 individual medley (2:05.94), 100 butterfly (54.31), and the 100 breaststroke (1:02.39). Manning set new marks in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

Cordon recognized the team's academic accomplishments. The Spartan girls' team received the number one academic state ranking for swim teams by earning a combined 3.63 GPA. This average also qualifies the ladies for a National Silver Award for Academic Excellence awarded by National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. The boys' team earned a National Bronze Award for Academic Excellence by earning a 3.38 GPA average GPA. Boardman also recognized five seniors who earned Academic All-American Swimmer Awards: Azeem, who is also a National Merit Finalist earned a 4.0 GPA; Kelley Manning earned a 4.0 GPA; Szabo earned a 3.96 GPA; Jeana McEvey earned a 3.92 GPA; Barringer earned a 3.90. Cordon noted that Boardman has earned 40 Academic All-American awards over the 25-year history of the team.

Coach O'Halloran recognized All-Federal League team selections. Making the First Team were Ashley Aldan, Bodamer, Ryan Bailey, Michael Henson, and Steven Moss. Second Team selections were Ligore, Manning, DeAscentis, Azeem, Mitchell, Steven Brooks, Alex Downie, and Mike Reardon. Honorable mention selections were Jessica Gonda, Barringer, and Knecht. 

O'Halloran also presented certificates to the members of the 2010 Northeast Aquatic Conference All-Star Team. Earning certificate were Santamas, Knecht, Aldan, McEvey, Brooks, Mitchell, Mike Henson, Ali Azeem, Alex Downie, DiGiacomo, Gonda, Moss, Bailey, Santamas, Reardon, Barringer, Manning, and Ligore. The three coaches awarded "Captain's Pins" to Azeem, Mitchell, Henson, Liz Fowler and Kelley Manning. Varsity letters were presented with first year awards going to: DeAscentis, Colleen Manning, Bailey, Nabila Azeem, Nicole Johnston, Vicky Knecht, Kyle McEvey, and Ligore. Second year awards went to: Bodamer, Downie, Santamas, DiGiacomo, Moss, Reardon, and Joe Zaitzew. Third year awards went to: Mike Henson, Steven Brooks, Jessica Gonda, Ashley Aldan, Jake Santamas, Kevin O'Neil, Ryan Mitchell, Knecht, Azeem, Kayla Szabo, Kelley Manning, Rachel Gresko, and Elizabeth Fowler. Fourth year awards went to: Barringer and McEvey.

Coach Cordon presented the "Hammer Down" awards to four varsity swimmers. The trophies were forged and donated to the swim team by Boardman Steel. They were painted by Bob Day from the Industrial Arts Department at the high school. The trophy represents swimmers that are totally committed to Boardman High School varsity swimming. These athletes go above and beyond for their school and their teammates. The trophies were presented to Mitchell, Barringer, Gonda, and Henson. The final presentation was the "Michael Villano Memorial Plaque" to Barringer and Mitchell by Villano and O'Halloran. The swimmers chosen for this recognition represent Mike's love and commitment to others. The plaque also comes with a scholarship from Villano and the Boardman Swim Boosters for $1,000. 

After the team was recognized, coach Cordon introduced Robert Fulton. Twenty-five years ago it was Fulton who spoke on behalf of a large group of parents and swimmers to the Boardman Board of Education to ask the members to consider approving a plan for varsity swimming at Boardman. Fulton recognized the efforts of Ann and Mike Villano, Dr. V. K. Sethi, and Debbie Marucci for spearheading the project. Fulton also complimented all of the Swim Booster Boards who continued to help promote and fund the team over the 25 years. He concluded by congratulating this year's team on their great season and wished everyone good luck for next year.  

Lazzeri made a final presentation to O'Halloran for his role in coaching and developing the team over the 25 years. Lazzeri also congratulated everyone on an outstanding season. More than 250 swimmers, parents, and guests enjoyed the evening.





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