Port sends student athletes to college


Dan Miranda, Sports Editor

Whether their careers started at the Port Youth Association (PYA) or the Police Activities League (PAL), many athletes have graduated from elementary school to Weber to Schreiber athletics.   In June, a few more will receive diplomas, and, in September, those same students  will become college athletes.  A select few from the class of 2013 will be playing their sport in college; others will cherish the moments they had playing on their teams throughout high school.

Each senior athlete has his or her own story—his or her own future and his or her own past.

The process for collegiate athletic recruitment is an individualized process, but there are some common points in each students’ experience.

For senior John Crawley, the news that Johns Hopkins was recruiting him came after he played in a tournament showcase.   On the other hand, senior Richard Greenberg gave his commitment to Haverford College’s lacrosse team after exchanging a handful of emails with the team’s head coach.

In most cases, it was about finding a match between the player, their level of skill, the coach, and the college of choice.  If any one of those elements did not align, it was unlikely the player would end up at a particular college or university.

How the athletes got to this point of athletic achievement occurred with a combination of talent and hard work.  Each story is different in its own way.

Senior Nick Duarte’s past includes many summers playing Little League and club baseball.  Duarte started as a freshman at St.  Dominic’s and then transferred to Schreiber to finish up his high school career.  His baseball path will continue when he plays on the team at Siena College next year, but won’t forget his time spent in blue and white in a Viking uniform.  For Duarte, his last game was meaningful from a symbolic perspective, characterizing his last three years on the varsity team.

“Walking off the field that I’ve spent hours and hours of hard work on for the last time was an emotional feeling.  The weirdest part about it is never again will I wear a Port jersey or play with the kids I’ve been playing with since I was six years old,” said Duarte.

Senior Bryce Keller has been Duarte’s teammate for three seasons and on the varsity squad for four seasons.  Keller and Duarte grew up playing together.  Keller will be going to Princeton to play baseball.

Senior Joey Alagna’s story is a little bit different.  Alagna has not formally committed to playing college sports yet.  Alagna grew up playing baseball and basketball, but ended up focusing on his basketball game in high school.   The six-foot two-inch point-forward played two years of JV and two years of varsity basketball.  When Alagna walked off the basketball court for the last time on Feb. 16, he described it as one of the worst feelings.

“It was a rush of emotions.  I felt my stomach churn because it would be my last game wearing that sweaty Port Washington jersey,” said Alagna.

Alagna has plans to walk on to the Sacred Heart University basketball team.

Senior Sid Kakkar ran every season of cross country, winter track, and track and field over the course of his four years in high school, and even spent some time running for the varsity teams while he was in eighth grade.   Kakkar started playing soccer at a young age, but eventually stopped playing when he realized his passion was running.

When Kakkar started his track career in fifth grade, he ran an 8:30 mile.  Today, Kakkar’s fastest mile is well under five minutes.  This fall, Kakkar will go on to run for Swarthmore College, but not before he has a chance to mentor and give a bit of advice to his underclassmen teammates.

“I always tell the younger kids to try a bunch of different events, both long and short distance, because everybody who’s ever ended up in track started playing something else, and you never know what you’ll be good at,” said Kakkar.  “I don’t really know what I will run at Swarthmore though. I have a few different options.”

Senior Bianca Luparello began her running career later than Kakkar. She started in eighth grade running track, but only started to take it seriously when she ran cross country freshman year.  Next fall, she will be attending Marist College  to run cross country and track.

“I’m looking forward to racing different events that the high school level doesn’t offer and training for longer distances since that’s what I like to focus on,” said Luparello.

Nineteen Port Washington athletes will go on to play collegiate sports in the 2013-14 school year.  Next year, a different batch of athletes will go on to play sports in college, in part, due to youth programs combined with their experience in Viking uniforms.