More confirmation was not needed that the 2014-15 school year was a special one for the Shenendehowa athletic department, but it came anyway.
The Plainsmen program picked up the Kerr Cup All-Sport Championship Tuesday from the New York State Sportswriters Association, and did so in style. Shenendehowa won the NYSSWA award for the best overall athletic program with a winning margin of 12.67 points — more than the combined winning margins for the award’s first six champions.
“That surprised me, because this has always been very close in the past,” NYSSWA president John Moriello said. “These things always have had a way of staying close, and for Shenendehowa to win by as many points as it did with only one team state champion, that was eye-opening for me.”
The Kerr Cup awards points based on team performance at the state level. Shenendehowa scored 57.17 points to top Section V’s Victor (44.50), Section I’s Bronxville (43.17), Section I’s Suffern (41.00), and Saratoga Springs (39.67).
“For me, this was the culmination of an outstanding year. The 2015 class was such a great class,” Plainsmen Athletic Director Chris Culnan said. “In my time here, they’re one of the best classes we’ve had, on and off the field.”
Shenendehowa also won the overall NYSSWA boys’ title and the Class AA boys’ title. Other Section II schools to garner titles from the sportswriters were Lake George (boys’ Class C) and Queensbury (boys’ Class A).
For Shenendehowa, the boys’ basketball team garnered the most points (15) for winning a state title, that program’s first since 1987.
“To be able to have it share in a tremendous year for the school made it even more special,” said Tony Dzikas, the team’s head coach.
Big points also came for Shenendehowa from the boys’ cross country team’s runner-up finish (10 points), and the football and boys’ soccer teams reaching the state semifinals (seven points apiece).
Previously, Shenendehowa’s best finish was 10th, achieved last year.
Moriello had an idea that Shenendehowa — which also had all of its teams receive scholar-athlete status this year from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association — might win with a substantial gap since the school scored in 11 different sports, but said the school’s winning margin still left him surprised.
“I [counted the scores] one more time to make sure I hadn’t missed anything,” he said. “That number stuck out like a sore thumb.”
Lance Jordan, Shenendehowa’s head coach for boys’ cross country and an assistant coach with the school’s boys’ track and field teams, said it was an incredible experience to be a part of the Plainsmen athletic community in 2014-15. He coached the boys’ cross country team to its runner-up finish at the state championships and guided the boys’ 4×800-meter relay teams to state titles in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
He said the year’s success represented a perfect storm of a supportive community for athletics, dedicated coaching, and committed athletes.
“It was a combination of those three things,” Jordan said. “It was special to see.”
Culnan heaped extra praise on the school’s coaches, from the modified to the varsity level. Those people, he said, made possible the Plainsmen’s all-around special year.
“I’m so thankful for all the coaches we have,” he said. “They’re such an amazing and dedicated staff, and so dedicated to our students at Shenendehowa.”
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Categories: High School Sports