McQuaid Jesuit held its annual Hall of Fame dinner Saturday, September 16, 2017 in the John H. Ryan Gymnasium. A sold out crowd of 330 attended the event in which awards were given across several categories. This year, four individuals and one team were inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
A senior-laden team, the 1996-97 Basketball Knights were considered by many to be the team to beat in Section V. Early on, they played like it, jumping out to a 5-0 record. However, injuries took their toll, and the team struggled throughout the rest of its regular season, at one point losing four of five to fall to 10-6 and prompting coach Joe Marchese to tell assistant coach Jason McKinney, “We might not win another game.”
The Knights entered Sectional play as the number eight seed. They also entered the tournament healthy. Sparked by the return of point guard Kevin Haefner and dominant play of Austin Davis, coupled with the height, skill, and leadership of seniors Chris Fox, Cade Lemcke, and Dave Roehrig, McQuaid knocked off top-seed Spencerport in the quarterfinals and capped off its Sectional run by defeating rival East in the finals.
Once again playing the underdog role at the state Final Four in Glens Falls, McQuaid shocked second-ranked Henninger in the semifinals to advance to the title game against Hempstead. Tied at 42 going into the fourth quarter, Lemcke hit a 3-pointer to break the tie and McQuaid never looked back, outscoring Hempstead 27-13 in the quarter and capturing the second basketball state title in school history.
Team: Nicholas Bovenzi, ’98, Austin Davis, ’97, Christopher Fox, ’97, Kevin Haefner, ’97, Shaun Huff, ’97, Cade Lemcke, ’97, Mark McGowan, ’97, Matthew Nally, ’98, Kevin O’Dell, ’97, John Pegan, ’97, Michael Rigoni, ’98, David Roehrig, ’97, Christopher Shea, ’98, Jonathan Witmer, ’97, James Wright
Head Coach: Joe Marchese, ’68
Asst. Coaches: Jason McKinney, ’91, Tom Stanton
Managers: Benjamin Nally, ’02, Adam Porcelli, ’00
It's not often that a high school student turns down a spot on a varsity team, but that’s exactly what Eldridge “Eldee” Moore, ’85 did before the 1982-83 McQuaid basketball season. Although McQuaid basketball coach Dan Panaggio offered him a spot on the varsity roster, Moore instead elected to spend his sophomore year on junior varsity to ensure more playing time. Panaggio later agreed that Moore made the right decision.
During the 1983-84 season, the 6-foot-4 junior burst onto the varsity scene, averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds while helping to fill the void left by the graduation of All-American Tom Sheehey, ’83 and Matt Nesser, ’83. Moore was named team MVP as McQuaid finished the year 15-5. In addition, he was named first team All-Greater Rochester and City Catholic All-Stars; and also was a member of the 1984 Empire State Games team.
Prior to his senior season, Moore was nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-American team, making him one of the Top100 players in the country. During his final season at McQuaid, he averaged more than 20 points per game, including a career-high 44 against Marshall. He was named tournament MVP of the Bishop Ludden Holiday Classic which the Knights won in December 1984. Moore repeated as team MVP as well as a first team All-Greater Rochester and first team City Catholic All-Stars member.
Moore played at Niagara University and one season professionally in Holland, where he led his team in scoring ― averaging 23 points per game ― before an injury forced him to retire.
Mike Spiegel was considered by many to be the most gifted athlete in McQuaid’s Class of 1965. He had the ability to make an entire team better not only by his play, but by his quiet leadership and confidence. Mike graduated with nine varsity letters: two in track, three in football, two in basketball, and two in baseball.
Mike competed in track in the spring of his freshman and sophomore years. As a freshman, he set a school record in the long jump that stood for 30 years. That same year he won the high jump at the Diocesan Track Championships.
As a sophomore, Mike earned a spot on the varsity football team, the only one in his class to do so. A three-year starter on both offense and defense, a teammate said, “He ran like a gazelle and hit like a truck.” As a junior, Mike was tied for second on the team in total yardage and third in scoring. His senior year, Mike averaged more than seven yards a carry.
From the gridiron to the hardwood, Mike earned two varsity letters in basketball, starting both seasons and helping the Knights capture the 1964 and ’65 Diocesan Championships. When the snow melted, Mike headed outside, where, as a junior and senior, he earned varsity letters in baseball.
He went on to play football at Cornell University, where he also was a member of the Marines ROTC program.
In 1971, as a junior hockey player at Pittsford, Al Vyverberg scored the game-winning goal against McQuaid Jesuit, knocking the Knights out of the playoffs. The following year, Vyverberg notched two goals against the Knights enroute to Pittsford’s first school championship. Vyverberg went on to play college hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he scored 139 career points.
Following his 1976 graduation, then-RIT coach Daryl Sullivan asked Vyverberg to coach the school’s junior varsity team, which he did for a few seasons before being promoted to assistant coach for the varsity squad.
Fast forward to 1984. Vyverberg, who was no longer coaching, was recommended by McQuaid Jesuit hockey program founder and then current head coach Bob Pedersen to be his successor. It was a ringing endorsement from a local hockey legend.
Thirty-three years later, Vyverberg’s coaching stint at McQuaid Jesuit came to an end. In 30 years over two stints, (Vyverberg stepped away for three years between 1998-2001 for personal reasons), Vyverberg filled his predecessor’s shoes nicely. He retires as Section V’s career leader in victories with 411. His teams appeared in 11 Section V finals, winning six titles. His 2005 and 2015 teams captured the school’s two hockey state championships.
It wasn’t just Vyverberg’s on-ice success that kept him coming back year after year. In an interview with the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Vyverberg revealed that he didn’t return to coaching at McQuaid to win championships ― he knew that doesn’t happen very often. He came back, he says, because of the players he got to coach and be around. Those same players undoubtedly would say the same about their coach.
An All-American catcher at Le Moyne College, Mike Fennell was selected in the 11th round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees. He was working his way through the Yankees farm system until he was forced to undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder before the 1985 season, which would be his last as a player.
His professional career, however, wasn’t over. Impressed by Fennell’s study habits and knowledge of the game, Barry Foote, a former major league player who was managing in the Yankees’ organization, asked him to be the bullpen coach for the Yankees’ International League affiliate in Columbus, Ohio. The following year, the Yankees themselves came calling and Fennell spent a memorable three summers in New York as a bullpen catcher.
When Fennell and his wife, Erin, returned to Rochester after their son, Ryan, was born in 1990, he took a job as a sporting goods sales rep. His calls occasionally took him to McQuaid, and when the school’s baseball coaching job opened, athletic director Tim Jordan recruited Fennell, who became the program’s head coach in the spring of 1992.
In 11 seasons with the Knights, Fennell compiled an overall record of 203-41, captured two Section V Titles (2001, 2002), was twice named Coach of the Year (1997, 1999), and saw his 2001 team nationally ranked by USA Today.
More than a coach, Fennell provided friendship, inspiration, and guidance to the hundreds of young men who played for him. This rang true more than ever in November 2000 when he was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer.
Throughout the next 18 months, Fennell continued to be a guiding force for the baseball program, inspiring all those with whom he spoke. In 2001, as a sign of solidarity with their coach, his entire team shaved their heads at the beginning of the season.
Fennell died in May 2002, but his legacy and inspiration live on through a patch today’s Knights wear on their sleeves ― #55, the number Fennell wore as McQuaid’s coach.
From the Democrat & Chronicle:
There are no relays in high school cross country competition, but once again the team at McQuaid Jesuit is forming one.
McQuaid is set to begin its annual 25-Hour Relay at the track on the school's campus in Brighton at 9 a.m. Thursday. The team hopes to raise $2,500 to aid the American Cancer Society.
"People often ask why we do 25 hours and not 24," McQuaid cross country coach Todd Stewart said in a release to media. "We do 25 hours to teach our young men that they always need to be going above and beyond what is expected to make a difference.
"Doing just a little bit more in everything they take on can have a significant impact in their lives and those around them."
This is the 36th year McQuaid has formed this relay.
At least one runner will circle the track in increments of a mile, while carrying a baton.
The team plans to collect donations at the track and online at: https://www.crowdrise.com/mcquaid-xc-25-hour-relay.
The Varsity soccer team won the 2017 Catholic Cup this weekend, after facing Aquinas in the Championship game on Saturday, and winning by a score of 5-0. Friday's first round of the tournament included a 2-1 victory over Canisius for the Knights, with Dan Malloy and Dominic Duncan each scoring 1 goal, and Justin Lafountain and Adrianno Margiota each with 1 assist.
Here is the article about the Championship game, from Pickin' Splinters by Paul Gotham:
McQuaid Posts Another Shutout; Downs Aquinas
McQuaid’s patience was tested. Aquinas was content to absorb a flurry of haymakers. Just another contest in a longstanding series.
Facing the No. 3 team in the state which has outscored its opponents 29-1 through six games, Josh Gleason’s Aquinas Li’l Irish needed to adjust. Their scheme worked…sort of.
For nearly 35 minutes, Nino Pilato’s Jesuit Knights made themselves at home in the Aquinas end of the field while the Li’l Irish packed into a defensive shell.
What did McQuaid have show for their efforts? The sound of a ball ringing off cross bar and post along with a few oohs and ahh from the 250 or so on hand at Wegmans Athletic Complex.
That is until Dominic Duncan broke through in the 35th minute on a cross from Adriano Margiotta.
“We spoke about that before the game,” Pilato said about the possibility of the Li’l approach. “We knew they were going to play a little defensive. Josh is a good coach, and he had a good game plan.
“It’s always difficult playing here, having a rivalry game and making sure the boys stay patient.”
“We didn’t want to chase or go to the ball,” Gleason explained. “If you do that, they’re good enough and they’ll pull one piece after another out of the puzzle, and you’ll have nothing left.”
What Gleason did not account for in his plans was the possibility of losing one important piece for a brief period of time.
When Duncan gave chase in the open field, Li’l Irish goalkeeper Kyle Pero met him at the top of the 18-yard box with a sliding stop. Pero got the worst of the collision and after needing attention from the training staff on hand had to leave the game, per rules, for the final 2:36 of the half.
McQuaid took advantage. Josh LaFountain scored exactly one minute later for a 2-nil McQuaid advantage.
“If Kyle doesn’t get hurt, we go into halftime trailing 1-0,” Gleason noted. “I could live with that.”
Less than 10 minutes into the second half, McQuaid extended the lead to three on its way to a 5-0 victory to claim the 2017 Catholic Cup.
“They did what they had to do for about 40 minutes or so,” Pilato commented. “Finally, the boys finished their opportunities.”
Duncan slotted a pass to Dan Malloy in the box who redirected a shot past a diving Pero. The play started in the middle of the field where Brennan Brown controlled the ball and sprung Duncan on the right flank. The senior attacker showed a deft touch finding his teammate in the midst of the AQ defense.
Duncan’s impact on the game was obvious. A blend of speed and strength, he requires constant attention from opposing defenses.
“He’s tough,” Pilato said referring to the senior’s physical presence. “He’s strong on the ball. It’s difficult to mark him.”
The assist was Duncan’s first of the season to go with a team-high nine goals.
Jake LaLonde and Chris Manza added a goal apiece in the contest’s final six minutes. Vincenzo Capezzuto collected an assist on LaLonde’s goal
“They’re a great team,” Gleason said of McQuaid which also received votes in the USA Today national poll. “There’s no doubt about. We had a game plan and it was working.”
The shutout was the sixth this season for McQuaid. Tommy Gallina logged 70 plus minutes between the pipes on Saturday.
“The defense has been two years in the making,” Pilato said. “It’s the same guys from last year. Alex Reale has just been a rock winning every head ball, every 50/50 ball. Obviously he makes Tommy’s job a little easier.”
Pero made 15 saves for Aquinas.
McQuaid improved to 7-0. The Jesuit Knights host St. Francis (VI) Tuesday night. A 7 p.m. kickoff is scheduled.
McQuaid crew kicked off their Fall regatta season Sunday at Fairport’s Liftbridge regatta. It was a productive day with the team bringing home three Silver Medals and two Bronze Medals. There has been a lot of interest in the team this season. We currently have 32 Varsity and Novice rowers on the roster and another five Middle School rowers who are Modified. Next weekend the team will travel to Welland, Ontario to compete in the 5 Bridges Regatta.
Novice 4+ Josh Grams cox- Nick Hann, Nick Bailey, Patrick Mayo, Jude Aman – SILVER
Novice 8+ Josh Grams cox - Nick Bailey, Nick Hann, Patrick Mayo, Will Creighton, Joe Zaso, Connor Carrigan, Rowan Palen, Owen Moore – BRONZE
Varsity 4+A Devon Goodbody cox- Sean O’Connor, Ian Richards, Nick Schaertl, Parker Grobe – SILVER
Varsity 4+B Alex Patterson cox – Gage Gardinier, Miles Stratton, Kevin Reed, Christian Matthews - SILVER
Varsity 8+A Alex Patterson cox - Sean O’Connor, Parker Grobe, Nick Schaertl, Miles Stratton, Kevin Reed, Christian Matthews, Ian Richards, Gage Gardinier – BRONZE
Varsity 8+B Devon Goodbody cox – Mike Solazzo, Rhett Crooks, Joe Marang, Joe Felice, Owen Baird, Gabe Smith, Alex Gioia, Paddy Grace - 4th
The Varsity football team improved to 3-0 after defeating Monroe by a score of 49-16 in front of a packed crowd on Friday night at McQuaid Jesuit. Hunter Walsh was14-for-22 with 160 yards and 4 touchdowns (3 pass, 1 rush); Ben Beauchamp had 4 catches for 46 yards and 2 touchdowns; AJ Fina had 9 carries for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns; Sean Emmert had 2 interceptions (6 total team interceptions). The Knights have another home game this Friday, September 22nd at 7pm. McQuaid Jesuit will host Edison Tech.
McQuaid Jesuit Varsity took 12th place out of 30 teams at the Wayne Invite (Pre-State meet). They were the 3rd best section V team. The team was led by Abel Hagos (Jr.) 12th place, Max Chew (So.) 29th place, Brent Pendwarden (So.) 80th place, Ryan Stefkovich (Sr.) 87th place, Nate Brunacini (Sr.) 107th place. Sophomore Bryce Gunderman was 124th and Junior Brendan Byrne was 174th to round out the top 7. Congratulations, gentlemen!
The Varsity volleyball team swept Leadership in 3 sets on the road on Friday evening. Great job, Knights! Their next game is Monday afternoon at Edison Tech at 4:00pm.
By Nicholas Newcomb, Democrat and Chronicle:
McQuaid’s Griggs gives verbal commit to UConn for baseball
The first collegiate offer rising McQuaid junior third baseman Tyler Griggs received was also his last because when it’s feels right, it’s right.
After an assistant coach from the University of Connecticut baseball team spotted the Section V standout at a PBR Future game in Indiana it wasn’t long until Griggs received an offer, and it wasn’t much longer until he and his mom drove to campus to verbally commit to the Huskies.
“They gave me the offer (Aug. 16) and it was kind of a short recruiting process,” said Griggs, who helped the Knights to a Class AA sectional title and a trip to the state semifinals. “I was there last week with my dad and I really liked it and I seriously considered it, and my mom wanted to come down and check it out to make sure she liked it, too.”
And with the whole family on board, Griggs gave his verbal without exploring any options from other schools.
“It was really my only hesitation,” Griggs said about not waiting for other offers. “I felt like it was going to be my best opportunity because it’s one of the best schools in the northeast, if not the best. It was just the feeling I got like, ‘Yeah, I might have other schools and opportunities’ but this just felt right for me.”
Another factor in Griggs decision is that UConn will have finished construction on new facilities, including the field the Section V slugger will play on, by the time he gets to campus.
And with two years of high school baseball left, Griggs doesn’t feel any added pressure knowing what waits ahead.
“I feel like I’ve proven myself,” said Griggs who was selected to the 2017 All-Greater Rochester team after batting .328 with a .444 on-base percentage. “I think I just have to play the way I usually play and continue to have fun.
“Just not really think about it and worry about McQuaid and worry about winning a sectional championship and hopefully a state championship and just stay focused in on the moment and enjoying high school baseball while I still have it.”
Click HERE for the article on the D&C website.