CENTRAL SQUARE — Cayley Sundet and Cruz Springer were among the more than dozen seniors from Central Square-Paul V. Moore High School that eagerly tuned in to stream the virtual athletic awards banquet June 4 from the comfort of their respective homes.
Sundet and Cruz were each unveiled as the Redhawks’ Senior Athletes of the Year at the end of the 52-minute presentation and like most of their fellow award recipients, the absence of a red-carpet event and auditorium crowd cheering did little to damper the excitement of the prestigious recognition.
Central Square athletic director James Drancsak and several coaches presented a total of 17 individual awards and recognized 26 athletic honor roll members during the pre-recorded ceremony that was posted to the district website and social media pages last Thursday night.
The event was held in place of the annual senior awards banquet that was unable to be conducted in its regular format due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Thank you for all the time that you’ve put in,” Drancsak stated to the graduating senior athletes in his opening remarks before the slew of awards were presented by coaches. “All the practice time, all the sprints, all the stairs, all the weightlifting, the early mornings, the late nights, getting beat up and thrown down and getting back up again and fighting, and representing Central Square in a positive way.”
Drancsak opened at the podium in an empty auditorium by announcing that 14 of the district’s 19 varsity teams had garnered scholar-athlete team recognition and highlighted a series of on-field achievements and community contributions from each program. Individual awards were then presented — culminating with the announcement of Sundet and Cruz garnering the top honors.
Sundet was a captain on her most recent cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams — starting with each varsity track team as a freshman and adding cross country her sophomore year.
Sundet won the Section 3 Class A indoor title and the Salt City Athletic Conference championship for the 600 run as a junior and senior, and also won both titles in the 300 this past season. She advanced to compete in the Section 3 state composite relay team as a junior.
Sundet won the Section 3 Class A title and the Salt City Athletic Conference championships in the outdoor 800 run as a junior last spring, contributed to Central Square’s 1,600 relay victory, and helped the team secure the Class A crown on its home track. She also contributed to league team titles in cross country and indoor track as a senior this past year.
“I was watching it and didn’t really expect anything, and at the end when my name came up, it was like: ‘Wow, I didn’t know I was perceived that way,’” Sundet said. “It was a good feeling to know that my team valued me as much as I value the team. … I’ve always felt that running was a huge part of my high school career and so it kind of wrapped it all together.”
Sundet was one of the many athletes with championship aspirations that were hoping to close out their career on a triumphant note this spring, especially after battling illness for part of her indoor campaign.
“I was upset for a couple weeks but I learned pretty quick to accept it, and I’m still able to run,” Sundet said. “I still run and get together to run with a teammate here or there, one at a time while social distancing, so it’s not a complete loss. I still have the people and the memories from all the other years.”
Sundet is departing June 22 to begin her studies at the Air Force Academy and received official acceptance on March 9. She is considering studying medical engineering but is looking over all options and won’t be required to declare a major until her junior year.
Sundet is also planning to attend the open try-outs in attempt to walk on to the institution’s Division I running program to continue her standout career. Her favorite Central Square athletics memory came when she helped the Redhawks win their first Section 3 Class A team title on their host track last spring.
“It was our home track so there were a lot of people there that we knew, and we had just spent a long night racing, and that whole thing came together right there with my friends around me,” Sundet said. “It was just awesome.”
Springer was elected by his peers as a senior captain both football and basketball and was a varsity mainstay in both sports.
He played three seasons of varsity football, highlighted by an all-league selection as one of the top defensive ends in Section 3 this past season to go with 250 yards of total offense and three touchdowns as a two-way contributor.
Springer was also a two-year starter for varsity basketball, helping the Redhawks win 32 games combined during those two seasons and ranked within the top four of his team in scoring, rebounds, blocked shots, and finished fifth in steals as a senior.
Central Square football coach Kevin Kalfass spoke to present the award and described Springer as tough, unselfish, good leader, a major impact on the field, and a player that consistently played with hard effort.
The individual honors started by recognizing the recipients of the Section 3 Scholar Athlete Awards — Gabriel Peters and Allyson Isereau.
Peters will graduate with a 99.73 average to rank as the top male in his class and will play soccer and study image science at Rochester Institute of Technology next year. The three-year varsity soccer standout finished his career with 15 goals and eight assists and contributed as a dual-threat midfielder last fall to help the Redhawks finish 10-6-1 overall for their highest win total in the last decade.
Isereau will finish with a 97.15 academic average and was a four-year varsity soccer standout as well as a key contributor to the indoor and outdoor track and field teams. She finished her senior soccer campaign with four goals and nine assists to help the Redhawks (16-2-1) establish a team record for most wins in a single season and advance to their first Section 3 title game in the sport.
Isereau plans to play soccer and study biology on a pre-dental track for The College at Brockport next fall.
Two other top academic senior athletes were recognized — Braxton Warden and Taylor Solomon — to highlight the rest of the individual award recipients. Katelynn Jones and Alex Wurster were chosen for the Most Competitive Awards, while Logan Foster and Elizabeth Collins were each selected for the Sportsmanship Awards.
Alexander Roberts received the “Redhawk Award,” which is presented to a senior that displays outstanding support for athletes and teams in the district.
There were also six separate ‘Coach Awards,’ handed out for exceptional athletes and program leaders — Megan Phillips (Kevin Brazell Award), Zackery Barker (Tom O’Hara Award), Demetri Queior (Ryan Hendri Award), Brooke Podejko (Alicia Crandall Award), Braden Eiffe (Jason Mucha Award), and Adam Woodmansee (Dale Graebell Award) were chosen for each distinction.
Woodmansee was a five-year member of the boys varsity golf team, played varsity basketball and has managed the Redhawks girls golf team since his sophomore year. He qualified for the Section 3 fall golf championships in each of the last three years and served as a key cog off the bench for the Redhawks basketball team, described as a “glue guy,” by longtime varsity coach Jay Adams.
“I appreciate everything that coach Graebell has done for me, and everything that Paul V. Moore High School has done to help further the athletic programs and help everybody have the chance to play on an athletic team in some form or way,” said Woodmansee, who will golf and study health sciences at Utica College next year.
“I’ll miss the competitiveness of high school athletics, the fun times on the bus rides to away matches, and everybody who was on those teams,” Woodmansee added. “We had bonds together and became like brothers and those are some of the best memories that I’ll always keep.”
Central Square also unveiled its 2020 athletics honor roll members that accrued a minimum required number of varsity letters throughout their high school tenure.
That group consists of: Allyson Isereau, Alexander Quig, Kevin Radziseski, Bernard Volpi, Adam Woodmansee, Samantha Lamb, Megan Phillips, Hannah Watkins, Edward Haskins, Peyton Rupracht, Braxton Warden, Logan Foster, Kody Haywood, John Parrotta, Dimitri Queior, Delaney Turtura, Brooke Podejko, Sara Garrow, Nicholas Maw, Isabella Heath, Benjamin Stevens, Elizabeth Collins, Jordan Ravenel-Shuler, Cayley Sundet, Alex Wurster and Max Creamer.