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Denebola Freshmen Fall Sports Showcase

By Jason Yoffe
Published: September 2009

Each season, new generations of athletes enter the school as freshmen. Most of them just want to make the team. There is, however, a select few whose exceptional talents allow them to compete at the demanding level of high school sports. These freshmen have an impact on their respective programs, and many mature into the athletic elite of the Dual County League (DCL).

“{Going straight to varsity] is something rarely done,” Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “You cannot compare eighth grade sports to varsity sports at a high school level.”

The intensity of high school sports significantly eclipses that of middle school sports. These gifted freshmen also compete against athletes three years older, stronger, and experienced, some who are merely a year away from succeeding in a college athletic environment.

“Playing varsity sports as a freshman is hard,” Head Football Coach Ted Dalicandro said. “There is a lot of nervousness [involved].”

The mental capacity necessary to thrive in a high school sport is far greater than that of any middle school program.

This fall season, several freshmen have cracked South’s varsity and junior varsity depth charts. Denebola editor Jason Yoffe has broken down these fall athletes for the Class of 2013.

Dan Fleming – JV Football (Offensive and Defensive Lineman)

Only a freshman, Fleming has the physical presence of a senior. In the preseason, he showed his coaches that he is ready to compete at a high school level. His fearless, aggressive style of play and diligent work ethic are just what Dalicandro expects from his lineman. His understanding of the sport and his willingness to take and receive hits make him a model player.

“[Fleming] is a football player,” Dalicandro said. “He can be a dominant force in the league [in the years to come].”

Patrick Fabrizzio – JV Football (Tight End, Defensive Lineman)

Fabrizzio’s size and tremendous football intelligence, coupled with his ability to catch passes, pose a large threat to any opposing defense.

“He could force some double teams,” Dalicandro said. Fabrizzio will most likely be a two-way starter throughout his high school career, playing tight end on offense and defensive line or outside linebacker on defense. His versatility makes him a key addition to the football program.

Lauren Astrachan – Girls’ Varsity Soccer (Defense)

“Defense is one of the toughest [positions] on the field,” Head Soccer Coach Doug McCarthy said. “Astrachan is fitting in there.”

Astrachan’s greatest strength is her speed, and is the fastest defensive player in the Girls’ Soccer program. In sports, valued commodities, especially on defense, are rare. Astrachan’s quickness gives her the opportunity to make up for missed tackles. Her ability to cover the width of the field helps her teammates recover from mistakes, making her a vital part of the team’s defensive front.

Tori Schwartz – Girls’ Varsity Soccer (Center Midfield)

Schwartz’s higher-level soccer experience playing for top-level soccer clubs, both alongside and against varsity caliber athletes, will give her a huge advantage this season.

“[Schwartz] is fast and tough and understands the game,” McCarthy said. Her versatility makes her a valuable player. Aside from her starting position at center midfield, Schwartz can play on defense in addition to all midfield spots. Schwartz has the potential to be a very important part of the Girls’ Soccer Team as she continues to mature physically and mentally.

Julian Still – Boys’ Varsity Soccer (Forward)

Still’s physical skills are almost as staggering as his no-quit attitude. “He has that ‘I am going to work hard and play hard every time’ mentality,” Head Soccer Coach John Conte said. Still’s most important physical ability is his one-touch style of play. His ability to receive the ball and make good split-second decisions makes him an invaluable asset.

“It’s very hard to teach that to a player,” Conte said. If Still improves his speed, endurance and strength, he will become one of the Class of 2013′s great players.

Kayla Burton – Girls’ Varsity Cross Country

The Cross Country coaches have kept a close eye on Burton since middle school and will use her extreme talent to their advantage over the next four years.

With a strong work ethic, she has grown into a talented athlete and expects to help fill the void of former South track phenomenon Bridget Dahlberg.

“She is a big force,” Assistant Cross Country Coach Joanna Vrouvlianis said. “She is still very young.” Vrouvlianis expects Burton to continue to improve as she gains experience.

Jason Chari, Ben Eisenberg, Nick Reed, Noah Rivkin, and Joe Trask – Boys’ Varsity Cross Country

These five freshmen are the core of a very strong class of runners. They have an exceptional work ethic and willingness to succeed.

Chari’s determination in practice will help him grow into an elite runner.

Eisenberg has a great runner’s build and has experience competing in atmospheres with a lot of pressure.
By learning a lot from his older sister Madeleine, a senior, Reed is prepared to run with DCL’s elite.
Deemed as having one of the most positive attitudes on the team, Rivkin has a very strong desire to win that is valued in athletes.

Trask’s ability to persevere in any situation will be invaluable to the Cross Country Team.
“[These boys] could be one of the most successful groups [in the last few years],” Coach Matt Capstick said. “They just have to keep at it.”

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