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Honor Port Volleyball

A demanding three-hour six-days-a-week practice schedule, combined with the ability to balance that schedule with the requirements of a rigorous academic program, has paid off with a unique honor for the Schreiber High School boys’ volleyball team.

The Vikings have been named the 2012 New York State Scholar-Athlete Champions by the state’s Public High School Athletic Association, an award that was established 12 years ago. It’s also the first time that any team from Schreiber has achieved this distinction.

The Board of Education also took note of the NYSPHSAA award, honoring the team for its combination of athleticism and scholastic achievement at its monthly meeting last week. Receiving recognition were team members Michael Berry, Jong Ho Byun, Ryan Capps, Evan Kerr, Ryan Kriftcher, Steven Lopez, Benjamin Moy, Kwanyong Park, Simon Shapiro, Matthew Shevrin and their coach, Maria Giamanco.

Giamanco also coached the girls’ team for 20 years, giving up that position two years ago when the timing of the volleyball season was altered. The realignment had both boys and girls playing their seasons at the same time. She has enjoyed great success over the years, in addition to this most recent honor, placing the boys’ team in the semi-final county playoffs 11 times in the past 13 years and winning the county titles three straight years, 1997-1999.

Stephanie Joannon, Port’s director of health, physical education and athletics and also Schreiber’s athletic director, is a great admirer of Giamanco’s work. “She’s completely invested in this program,” said Joannon. “She is the face of this program. There are always high expectations for her teams because of her. As a result, the boys have high expectations for themselves.”

Joannon also expressed her admiration for the team’s ability to succeed in balancing schoolwork and the demands of their team’s schedule. “They have such an aggressive schedule, “ she explained. “The season begins during the first week of August and goes through to the first week in November. It’s a credit to these boys that they are able to compete at a high level on the court and in the classroom.”