Written by Hal Bock Friday, 08 February 2013 00:00
For a small school tucked away in a corner of a small village, The Wheatley School in Old Westbury has accumulated a rich athletic history. The gymnasium has scores of banners hanging, saluting the school’s achievements over the years.
“Two seasons ago, we reached the New York State finals in soccer,’’ athletic director Tom Fitzpatrick said. “We were Nassau County champions in baseball two years ago. Our teams make the playoffs every year. We’re competitive.”
Wheatley is proud of the opportunities it offers its students.
“Seventy percent of the kids in grades 7-12 participate in some type of interscholastic activities,” Fitzpatrick said. “We offer 22 sports and we have 59 teams beginning in middle school. For a kid in this district, it’s difficult not to participate. Our kids’ combined grade-point average is the highest in New York State. So they’re not only athletes but very good students, too.”
Sports are important but so are academics at Wheatley. Two brothers, Christian and Josh Hyon, are headed for an All-State music competition, which will take them away from the basketball team for a while. “You don’t punish a talent in another area,” Fitzpatrick said. “You want opportunity – athletic, academic and socially. You want a well-rounded student coming out of this school.”
There was, however, a significant sport missing on the Wheatley menu. The school dropped football in 1989 and after a failed effort to re-establish a team two years later, football remained dormant.
“At the time, it was determined that we could not do it. There were not enough students interested in playing,” Fitzpatrick said. “Football and wrestling require a major commitment in training. You hurt on every play. It’s repetitive motion over and over. You beat up your body.”
But football has become the top sport in America and there was a hard-core group of students who wanted to play. So Wheatley went shopping for an athletic partner. There were talks with Friends Academy and Herricks High School before it settled on Carle Place High School.
“Carle Place is one mile away,” Fitzpatrick said. “It lent itself to a merger.”
So a hard core group of two dozen or so Wheatley students from ninth through 11th grades, bus over to Carle Place each day during football season, practice, then bus back to Wheatley and go home. “They play JV or varsity,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re now in our seventh or eighth year.”
The football marriage between the schools worked so well that it was extended to lacrosse with the commute reversed and Carle Place players bussing over to Wheatley.
The athletic arrangement also offers a lesson in sociology.
“They all want to win but there’s no animosity,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s a certain level of competiveness they wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s nice to see people compete for the right reason. It’s been a beneficial relationship for both schools.”
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 00:00
Local school districts are reaffirming student hygiene standards in the wake of the non-polio enterovirus (EV-D68) that’s been found in the United States. A strain of the enterovirus was found in Southampton’s middle and high schools, but officials say it was not the virus that has caused the national EV-D68 outbreak.
The enterovirus disproportionately affects infants, children and adolescents who lack immunity, according to the Center for Disease Control. School districts have been notified to follow New York State Health Department guidelines to combat possible infections.
Saturday, 11 October 2014 00:00
Audition Hosts: Eleanor Rigby’s Restauant, Mineola Village Hall, Piccola Bussola and Plum Tomatoes
Audition Team: Master Performance Artist Ed Dennehy of Huntington/ formerly of Mineola
Robert Busch, Little Neck and Melville Fire Department, Adrian Gaeckler: Oyster Bay/ Nassau Coliseum Staff, Nigel Gretton: Hempstead/ St John’s University Performing Arts Chair Lady Laura, Hempstead/ Global Performing Artist, Ralph DeSalvo: Williston Park, Musician/ Band Leader.
Al Trompeter, Entertainment Promoter
Special Touches: Bagelman of Mineola ( Entertainment Committee Host)
Creations de Belle of Mineola (Street Decorations/ Balloons)
Thursday, 16 October 2014 00:00
The Mineola Mustangs ended last year’s playoff run in a 34-6 drubbing from the West Hempstead Rams. Mineola was poised for another post season push in 2014 and it showed last week, with a 15-14 victory over the Rams in homecoming weekend.
With a slow start in the first half, Mineola (4-1) put their first points on the board in the second quarter with a field goal by senior Robert Lang. After a touchdown by the Rams (2-3), they headed into halftime 7-3.
Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00
Despite two goals from Liam Going, the BU11 Mineola FC squad fell to a relentless and talented Hota Panthers team at Soccer Park in Plainview on Sept. 6. Hota jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Going connected on his first tally, launching a 30-yard free kick that dropped over the Hota keeper. The Mineola striker’s second goal brought his team to within two goals of their opponent, but Hota scored several more goals in the second half in a strong performance. Mineola’s Nicholas Buffolino and Luke Sommese gave solid efforts for Mineola in the season-opener for both teams.