The year’s best in Bronx high school sports

The last 365 days have brought plenty of highlights, produced many stars and created memories to last a lifetime. Bronx Times Sports Editor Joseph Staszewski takes a look back at 2015 in Bronx high school sports and picks the best of the best from the year:

Program of the Year

Fordham Prep

The Rams didn’t win any major titles, but there was consistent, high-level success across the board. The Fordham boys’ soccer team won the Archdiocesan title and again reached the ‘AA’ city title game. Its football team was amongst the best in the CHSFL’s Class AA league. Over on the diamond the Rams won their division and earned a top-four seed in the playoffs. On the hardwood Fordham was an “A’ title contender. Add to that the school in home to one of the best cross country runners in the nation in Conor Lundy and you have the most well-rounded program in The Bronx.

Boys’ Athlete of the Year

Jessie Govan

Wings Academy Boys’ Basketball

The current Georgetown center made history with the Wings Academy boys’ basketball team before heading to the Big East. Govan averaged 24 points and 13 rebounds to help lead Wings to the program’s first PSAL Class AA city and New York State Federation championship. He dominated a 50-46 win over Cardozo at Madison Square Garden. Govan earned MVP honors by scoring 17 points and grabbing 17 rebounds and scoring the game’s final five points.

Girls’ Athlete of the Year

Samantha Rossette

Riverdale-Kingsbridge girls’ soccer

The senior is the best girls’ soccer player in New York City and was recognized as an All-American. She help Riverdale-Kingsbridge reach the PSAL Class B championship game before she heads to play in college at Virginia, which was ranked No. 1 in the country this year. Rossette had the best season of her career. She scored 53 goals and dished out 18 assists to lead the Tigers to an undefeated regular season.

Team of the Year

Wings Academy boys’ basketball

There is one team at every school that will be remembered forever and the 2014-2015 Wings’ boys’ hoops team earned that honor. Most of the roster had tasted the previous semifinal defeats. It then rode the emotion of a heartbreaking loss to Cardozo at the SNY Invitational final to getting its revenge with its first city and brought. Just getting there brought tears to the eyes of coach Billy Turnage. Wings then rallied to end Christ the King’s two-year reign as state champs, ending the Royals bid for a historic third-straight crown.

Coach of Year

Annie Eckstein

Bronx Science girls’ soccer

Her squad didn’t look like a typical Bronx Science team most of the regular season thanks to injuries and needing to mesh new pieces. It lost easily to rival Beacon twice and also fell to HS for Math and Science. Eckstein kept tinkering and tweaking with the lineup and position until she got it right. After getting a little luck in the semifinals the Wolverines dominated Beacon to win its first PSAL Class A title since 2010.

Best Newcomer

Isaiah Washington

St. Raymond boys’

basketball

It took some time for the talented sophomore to get going during his first season on the varsity, but when he did so did the Ravens. The 6-foot point guard averaged 17 point per game over his final seven last year to help lead St. Raymond to the Archdiocesan final. Washington built of that and became a highly sought after commodity for college coach, garner offers from the likes of Rutgers, USF and Seton Hall.

Best Upset

Fordham Prep’s Cameron Pinn beats the buzzer to hand the Kennedy Catholic boys’ basketball team its first loss.

The senior’s layup off a pass from Anthony Bronzo sent Fordham fans stormed the court to celebrate a thrilling 48-46 home victory over the previously unbeaten and division leading Gaels on Senior Night. Kennedy Catholic won the first meeting by 17 points and its first 23 games. Patrick Murray led Fordham with 18 points.

Best Clutch Performance

Justin Covington

Cardinal Hayes football

There was so much on the line for Hayes in its CHSFL Class AAA semifinals against St. Anthony’s and the Villanova-bound running back ensured he and his team accomplished all of it. Covington ran for a season high 273 yards and scored five touchdowns on 32 carries. He had scoring runs of 6, 45, 56, 16, and 3 yards to ensure the Cardinals their first trip to the ‘AAA’ title and more importantly help his club win for teammate Delano Cowan, who died a week earlier.

Game of the Year

Clinton beats Kennedy on late Davian Rutledge touchdown in coach Howard Langley’s last in the rivalry.

The back-and-forth affair will go down in history as the “Sock Game.” Clinton receiver Davian Rutledge caught a 21-yard touchdown pass with 4:15 to play in the contest from Dashown Wilson Jr., who shook off what appeared to be a game-deciding fumble. Rutledge did so while wearing the socks from the teams in the 1970’s that afternoon from school athletic director Bob Finkelstein. The team’s heart and resolve brought the retiring Langley to tears in the postgame huddle.

Story of the Year

Monroe boys’ soccer team nearly losing its season to city champs.

One less player, one more forfeit and the Monroe boys’ soccer team’s year was over before it started. Instead the Eagles had 11 kids to play Taft in their third scheduled game and didn’t lose again. Monroe, the 15th seed, capped a string of 12 straight wins with a 2-1 victory over Springfield Gardens for its first PSAL Class B crown.

Quote of the Year

“We had to find that chemistry. It was a long haul. A lot of quiet kids and just encourage them to be silly,” said Fieldston coach Stefanie Gozdziewski.

The Eagles lost six seniors from consecutive championship squads and needed to reestablish its chemistry, identity and camaraderie with a younger group. Gozdiewski, her coaching staff and her senior did so by establishing a relaxed and fun, but focused environment that helped the team earn its third straight NYSAISAA crown. Her player did plenty of singing, dancing and chanting after the second-seeded Eagles beat No. 1 Poly Prep in the final.

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