Featured Story
02/13/15 12:03pm
New York Times columnist David Carr at last year's WebSummit in Dublin. (Credit: Flickr/WebSummit. http://ow.ly/J17Xg)

New York Times columnist David Carr at last year’s WebSummit in Dublin. (Credit: Flickr/WebSummit. http://ow.ly/J17Xg)

The impact a person can have on someone, even someone that person never met, is extraordinary. That was brought home to me late Thursday night as I considered how someone I had never met gave me a greater appreciation and enthusiasm for what I do for a living.

I was in the process of preparing to post a basketball story to The Suffolk Times’ website when I noticed a picture of The New York Times’ media columnist, David Carr, on his newspaper’s website. Being in a hurry to do what I needed to do, I made a mental note to go back later and check out why Mr. Carr’s photo was up there. I assumed it was a video of a panel discussion he had moderated earlier that evening.

I was wrong. (more…)

Featured Story
02/15/14 4:26pm


GARRET MEADE PHOTO | We are the champions!   three Shelter Island team mates raise high the Suffolk County Class D Championship plaque.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | We are the champions!
From left, seniors Matthew Dunning, Nathan Mundy and  Matthew BeltCappellino raise high the Suffolk County Class D Championship plaque.

Finally, after all these years, the Shelter Island High School boys varsity basketball team is getting a county championship banner to hang in its gym. (more…)

08/27/13 9:59pm
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Shelter Island's four-year varsity starter, Ryan Weingart, is admired and valued for his work ethic.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Greenport/Shelter Island’s four-year varsity starter, Ryan Weingart, is admired and valued for his work ethic.

In terms of a high school soccer player, Ryan Weingart could be referred to as “old reliable.”

The “old” part would be a reference to the fact that he is a senior and the longest-serving player on a young Greenport/Shelter Island boys soccer team. As for “reliable,” well, Weingart has been nothing if not reliable for the Porters.

Weingart, the only remaining player from the 2010 team, can be relied upon to do his job, do it well, and do it from start to finish. If anyone understands the value of effort, it’s Weingart. He believes that it was his effort that earned him a place on the varsity team as a freshman and elevated him immediately to a starting position.

“I know what I’m going to get from Ryan,” Greenport/Shelter Island coach Chris Golden said. “Ryan’s going to give me everything he has. That kid, there’s no regrets. At the end of the day, we walk off that field, ‘I played the best I can play.’ I can’t ask for anything more than that.”

The Porters, who began preseason practice on Monday, have been dramatically revamped. They lost six starters from last year’s 6-9-2 team that reached the Suffolk County Class C semifinals, but they really lost more than that.

“Really, what we lost was a lot of experience, kids who had played three-plus years,” said Golden.

Of the 26 players who reported to the team by Tuesday, Golden estimated that 15 of them are freshmen or sophomores. Six are seniors and two are juniors. That is a young group.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Austin Hooks has been moved out of goal to play the field.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Austin Hooks has been moved out of goal to play the field.

“This is going to be a different year,” Golden said. “We will start freshmen this year.”

Meanwhile, the leadership mantle has been handed to Weingart and Austin Hooks, a senior who has been moved from goalkeeper to striker in the hope that his 6-foot-3 frame will help him head in some goals.

Hooks had played in the field when he was in junior high school before being moved to goal for the junior varsity team. Alex Perez and Richard Torres, two sophomores who played for the junior varsity team last year, are contending for the starting goalkeeper job.

Charlie Binder, a senior outside midfielder from Shelter Island, has starting experience, as does senior midfielder Eddie Rogers and two sophomores, forward Bryon Rivas and defender Angel Colon.

“We’re not going to have a bunch of skill guys,” Weingart said, “but we are going to have a bunch of hard workers, and I like that.”

The versatile Weingart will most likely be found playing midfield, but he can play anywhere on the field.

“I’m going to be moving around a lot this year,” he said. “I can expect that, and I’m ready for it. I was made to play.”

He isn’t kidding.

Golden called Weingart a “minutes-eater” who works hard. “He runs the same way in the first minute as he does in the 80th minute,” said Golden.

Weingart has started every varsity game that he has played in. He missed a few games last season after breaking his nose, but even that didn’t keep him off the field for long. During a game late in the season, Weingart vomited on the field, yet kept playing.

“That’s just who I am. I’ll play no matter what,” he said. “I have to. It’s just how I was raised.”

Of course, with all those minutes comes supreme effort, and that is what Golden values most.

“His key quality for this team is his work ethic,” the coach said. “He’s a kid that what he doesn’t have skill-wise, he makes up with hustle, determination and everything else.”

Hooks can attest to that, saying Weingart probably has “the biggest heart on this team. He’s a great player. He never stops hustling.”

One thing Weingart hasn’t done is pick up a lot in the way of statistics. He figures he had an assist or two last season, but he has never scored a goal for the Porters, something he would like to rectify this year. Then again, finishing wasn’t in his job description before.

“I haven’t taken many shots,” he said. “I had so many goal scorers on my previous teams that I wasn’t really the guy to go out there and shoot.”

Surveying new faces on the field during Tuesday’s practice, Weingart said: “I do feel old. It’s a totally different experience. It looks like Greenport has a bright future ahead of it, so that’s good.”

As for him, he said: “It’s a whole new role, a whole new leadership position, whole new players.”

Fortunately for the Porters, though, they have the same old Weingart. Old reliable.

[email protected]

08/20/13 2:39pm
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gene Allen said coming off an 0-8 season has given the Porters more motivation for the coming campaign.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gene Allen said coming off an 0-8 season has given the Porters more motivation for the coming campaign.

Perhaps nothing fosters team bonding better than going away to camp like the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team did last month.

For three days, the Porters got away from distractions and focused on football at a team camp at Stony Brook University. They roomed together, practiced three times a day, scrimmaged against Amityville and Syosset, and clicked the fast forward button on their development.

“It was one of the best experiences of my football career,” said Gene Allen, a versatile senior who plays cornerback, rover, wide receiver and quarterback.

It still may be premature to say just how much of a benefit the camp was, but the Porters claim they are already seeing positive results from it. If there was one drawback to camp life, it was the heat they had to deal with on the roasting field turf at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

“It got up to 120” degrees, said Connor Andersen, a senior guard/middle linebacker. “Some kids’ cleats were melting.”

By comparison, the two-a-day preseason practices that the Porters started on Monday at Greenport High School are no problem.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Assistant coach Chris Robinson working with Willie Riggins while assistant coach Mike Miller watches in the background.

“It was a great experience,” coach Jack Martilotta said of the camp. “The heat was a little much. We had a couple of shoes start melting apart. All the kids who went to the camp, they’re breezing through this. A lot of kids spent a lot of time in the off-season making sure they were in shape, and I think it’s showing right now.”

Off-season training, fueled in part by the determination to turn things around after an 0-8 season last year, can work wonders. The 2012 season was hardly kind to the Porters. A double-overtime, season-ending loss to Southampton put an end to their pain. It was the 13th consecutive loss for the Porters, who dropped three games last year by a total of 18 points.

“It was rough because no one expects going into a season and being 0 and 8,” Allen said. “That just killed me, and now it’s just extra motivation.”

Andersen said motivation is the only thing he takes away from last season. “Hopefully that motivation will turn into wins,” he said. “We’ve been looking phenomenal. The Stony Brook camp helped a lot. We’re running plays really smooth, and we’re all close as a family and as a team.”

All the way around, the Porters appear to be in a better situation than they were a year ago. As the No. 13 seed among the 14 teams in Suffolk County Division IV, they have a more forgiving schedule. They lost five players to graduation, but have more than a dozen seniors this year.

“They play like seniors,” Martilotta said. “They’re young men and they lead, and young kids look up to it.”

An example of that leadership was seen near the end of Tuesday morning’s practice when a number of varsity players ran alongside a junior varsity player, Chris Schwamborn, and encouraged him as he completed a conditioning run.

In addition to returning veterans like Allen, Andersen, running back Frank Sierra and lineman Cody Fisher, the Porters have a transfer from Bishop McGann-Mercy, senior lineman Owen Finnigan, who should help. The Porters didn’t have a junior varsity team last season and barely had enough players to field a JV team two years ago, but numbers are up, and Martilotta said there will be a JV team this year.

Jared Schenone, a senior quarterback, has been a bystander during these first practices. He had an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago after having been told that his appendix had burst without him knowing it two weeks earlier while he was at the Stony Brook camp. Schenone, who sat out the entire 2012 season with a wrist injury, is awaiting medical clearance to practice. In the meantime, the Porters still have Allen and Matt Drinkwater, who threw most of the team’s passes last season.

But what is past is past. The Porters are looking forward to better days ahead.

“We are a different team this year, I’ll tell you that, a hundred percent different team,” Allen said. “We have a bigger line. Everyone’s bigger … faster, stronger.”

If the Porters produce a season worth remembering, they may want to trace its beginnings to the camp in Stony Brook.

[email protected]