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.”
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
The Village of East Williston was recently ruled against in the second round of lawsuits with neighboring Village of Williston Park involving the latter’s water rates—establishing a 13 percent increase from $3.83 per 1,000 gallons of water to $4.33.
Village of East Williston Mayor David Tanner said that the lawsuit, “still does not resolve the underlying problem between the villages, which is we feel that we’re being charged too much for water—the cost is excessive.”
Tanner said the village is still calculating the financial impact will be, and that the village has been making payments in escrow for every water bill received.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
Only once a year a 25-foot movie screen sits in the middle of Wilson Park in Mineola, ready to entertain residents. This year’s Movie Night in the Park feature The LEGO Movie, sponsored by the Village of Mineola and Mineola Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 18.
The event, which was free of charge to all of the moviegoers, was meant to help promote local Mineola businesses, according to president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce Bill Greene.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the American industry, and we feel that this is a great way of giving back to the community with hopes that they’ll remember to shop locally,” said Greene.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Runners from all over Long Island came to run at the fourth annual Katie Oppo Memorial 5K on Sunday, June 15. The runner first across the finish line was Mineola resident Michael Mariotti, general manager, owner and host of the famous local restaurant Cafe Continental in Manhasset.
The day was glorious as the runners and walkers began their trek through Flower Hill from the starting line at Flower Hill Park. Organizers of this year’s event made the race a USATF Certified 5K race, timed by Long Island Race Timing.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Mineola Hurricanes lost a battle of the bats on Sunday, June 29, at St. Joseph’s Field in Kings Park, falling short in a 9-8 ball game against the St. Joseph’s Saints in the first game of a doubleheader.
The top of the first saw the Hurricanes take an early 2-0 lead. The runs came home for the Hurricanes when T.J. McManus scored on an error and Connor Eakin scored on a fielder’s choice. The Saints never surrendered the lead after the first inning, scoring five runs on two errors and an RBI single by Jonathan.