Story and Photos by Rosemary Leonetti.
Although four Long Beach High School fall varsity teams made it to the playoffs this year, their real victories in the wake of Hurricane Sandy proved to be victories of the heart.
It was with this in mind that all 10 teams came together at Fall Sports Awards Night on Dec. 13 to acknowledge their accomplishments, but more importantly to celebrate their unity and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Coaches told stories of teammates scattered across the tri-state area reaching out to come together to somehow make it to the playoffs, providing hope and inspiration to a community sorely in need of both.
“I am in awe of all of you,” said School Board President Roy Lester. “You have endured the worst conditions to go out there and continue to win under such tough circumstances.”
With players earning four individual county championship titles, the boys badminton team finished the season with a 12-2 record.
The football team started the season with five wins in a row — their longest winning streak since 1986. They finished with a 5-3 record, winning a spot in the playoffs and bringing their community together after the devastation of Sandy to cheer them on in their playoff game against Carey.
“I admire the courage and commitment of these players,” said Coach Scott Martin. “We always teach our players to overcome adversity on the field, but they also overcame many adversities this year in their personal lives. I am proud to be a Marine.”
The boys soccer team made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years with a 7-6-1 record and ended up surmounting many storm-related obstacles to finish third in their conference. The girls soccer team finished the season with a 6-6-2 record, just missing a spot in the playoffs.
The girls swim team had a 5-4 record, finishing fourth in the county and second in their division. They also won the Joe Farrell Invitational. The boys volleyball team also qualified for the playoffs. Scattered around the state, the team managed to come together after a 10-day hiatus to beat Great Neck in the first round of the playoffs.
Ending last season with a 4-10 record, the girls volleyball team finished strong this season with a record of 10-4. They beat the reigning conference champ to finish third in their conference this year.
Proving to be equally dedicated to their academics, the boys badminton, boys cross-country, girls cross-country, girls soccer, girls swim, girls tennis, boys volleyball and girls volleyball teams all earned scholar-athlete status, with team averages above 90 percent.
Many fall athletes also won individual awards. There were three State-Qualifiers, seven All-County, four Honorable Mention All-County, 15 All-Conference, one Academic All-Conference, six All-Division, two All-Class and one Unsung Hero named. Five players won individual county championship titles.
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