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Volleyball team earns national student-athlete honors

This past year, despite still needing to wear masks and abide by COVID protocols, high school volleyball returned to a normal schedule.

The Shelter Island varsity volleyball team also continued its proud tradition of academic excellence, earning its 8th consecutive Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. The award honors teams that maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, or 4.1 on a 5.0 scale.

Nominated by Coach Cindy Belt and school guidance counselor Martha Tuthill, the team’s combined high GPA over the entire academic year displays that they truly embody the term student athlete.

The dozen athletes of the 2021-2022 squad that helped win this national recognition are Alexandra Burns, Ariana Carter, Myla Dougherty, Mary Gennari, Olivia Overstreet, Lily Page, Francis Regan, Dayla Reyes, Valeria Reyes, Angelina Rice, Madigan Teodoru and Bella Springer.

Academic excellence doesn’t happen by accident, and in a school where student athletes are also in multiple clubs, often holding officer positions, and expected to fully participate in student life, it can be stressful. I applaud these young women who manage to balance so many roles and remain committed to do their best in each.

This team also displayed exemplary sportsmanship. Following the regional championship match, I received a personal email from the coaches of The Mount Academy. In it, the Class D state champs specifically noted how welcoming and kind our team was.

Athletic Director Todd Gulluscio also shared that Shelter Island is one of four schools in Suffolk County to receive the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s sportsmanship banner for the 2021-2022 school year. This is a momentous achievement and is the highest honor that the association bestows on a school district.

As August is now here, many of the athletes on this award-winning team are headed off to college. We will miss them, but look forward to seeing the fall edition of Shelter Island volleyball take the court!