The 2019 Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens.
Top Drawer 24
Party at Watkins Glen State Park honors 14th
ODESSA, June 4, 2019 -- Two-dozen area high school students were honored Monday evening at the Watkins Glen State Park pavilion as members of the 2019 Top Drawer 24 team of outstanding student-athlete-citizens.
It was the 14th annual celebration of the region's best and brightest student-athletes -- and possibly its future leaders.
Each was presented a medallion along with certificates of achievement from elected representatives during the celebration, which was attended by honorees, family, friends and coaches. The certificates were provided by the offices of Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, State Senator Tom O'Mara and Congressman Tom Reed.
The Top Drawer team was selected by a committee based on a combination of academic, athletic, and personal achievements. The 24 attend the Watkins Glen, Odessa-Montour, Trumansburg, Spencer-Van Etten, Elmira Notre Dame, Elmira, Horseheads, Edison and South Seneca high schools.
As it is every year, the evening was highlighted by speeches -- this time by Pittsburgh Steelers Scout Mark Gorscak in his fourth visit to the Top Drawer podium, and by former Top Drawer honoree Emily Lavarnway, now a student athlete at SUNY Geneseo. Remarks were also issued by South Seneca Athletic Director Heather Mott and by Craig Cheplick, co-founder of the Top Drawer 24 program.
The evening also saw awards presented by Mike Stamp, president of E.C.
Cooper Insurance, to The Odessa File Male and Female Athletes of the Year in
the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools -- Zach Elliott and Kennedey Heichel at Odessa, and
Joe Chedzoy and Hannah Morse at Watkins Glen.
The Susan award is given each year to one or two students who exhibit sportsmanship not only on the playing field, but in the game of life, often while facing adversity. It is named after Odessa File editor-publisher Charlie Haeffner's late wife, Susan Bauman Haeffner. The award was instituted in 2005, the year after she lost her battle with cancer.
The fourth annual Lifetime Achievement Award in coaching was presented to two people this year: Tom Jansen of Horseheads High School, and the late Jack Guinan of the South Seneca School District.
Honorary Top Drawer 24 awards were also presented -- to Horseheads High School's Penny Kastenhuber and to South Seneca Athletic Director Heather Mott. Both are instrumental in the Top Drawer program.
The selectees on the Top Drawer 24 team are as follows, by school and
------ Top Drawer 24 ------
Elmira Notre Dame
Thomas A. Edison
Elmira High School
Horseheads High School
Photos in text:
Top: Watkins Glen honoree Wyatt Brower receives congratulations from Top Drawer 24 co-founder Craig Cheplick.
Horseheads High School was represented by, from left: Athletic Director Bert Conklin; Lifetime Achievement honoree Tom Jansen; honorees Jillian Casey, Chloe Peterson, Skyler Roberts and Kendal Cook; and Superintendent Thomas Douglas. Unable to attend: honoree Mike Limoncelli.
Left: Keynote speaker Mark Gorscak, Pittsburgh Steelers Scout. Right: Craig Cheplick, co-founder of the Top Drawer 24 program.
Left: Anne Guinan, daughter of posthumous Lifetime Achievement honoree Jack Guinan, who was a longtime and highly successful South Seneca coach. Right: Spencer-Van Etten senior Levi Mickelson, one of the evening's Top Drawer 24.
Left: Horseheads Athletic Director Bert Conklin. Right: Watkins Glen High School honoree Hannah Morse.
From left: Notre Dame honoree Catherine Craig; speaker Ralph Diliberto; Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Tom Jansen of the Horseheads School District.
Left: South Seneca honoree Seth Denmark. Right: Watkins Glen honoree Danielle Leszyk gets a hug in the award receiving line from Ralph Diliberto, who helped coach Leszyk's basketball team.
From left: Horseheads football coach Kevin Hillman with Susan Award honoree Matt Stasiw; the evening's emcee, Renata Stiehl; and Horseheads honoree Skyler Roberts.
Left: Susan Award honoree Jackie Kinner with Odessa-Montour School Superintendent Chris Wood, who introduced her in a moving speech. Right: Horseheads' Jillian Casey, left, and Skyler Roberts pose at the Top Drawer celebration.
Left: South Seneca Athletic Director Heather Mott, left, and speaker Emily Lavarnway, a South Seneca alum and former Top Drawer 24 honoree now attending SUNY Geneseo. Right: Watkins Glen School Superintendent Greg Kelahan.
Left: Top Drawer 24 honoree Nathan Mack of Spencer-Van Etten shakes hands in the award receiving line. Right: South Seneca honoree Julia Hubbard with her Top Drawer medallion.
Left: Elmira's Tess Arnold receives congratulations from Top Drawer chair Craig Cheplick. Right: Horseheads honoree Jillian Casey arrives at the celebration site.
Left: Odessa-Montour honoree Dylan Houseknecht receives congratulations. Right: Horseheads honoree Kendal Cook.
Left: Notre Dame's Laurel Vargas. Right: Trumansburg honoree Meredith Stilwell receives congratulations from Top Drawer co-founder Craig Cheplick.
Left: Elmira honoree Caylee Boorse. Right: Notre Dame's Laurel Vargas interviewed by WENY-TV.
Left: Susan Award recipients Jackie Kinner and Matt Stasiw. Right. Top Drawer honoree Hunter Denmark of South Seneca.
Left: Honoree Dylan Houseknecht carries some extra seating to the celebration site after the crowd outnumbered available tables. Right: Horseheads' Chloe Peterson.
Left: Edison honoree Nick Paribello. Right: Notre Dame's Catherine Craig, left, and Laurel Vargas arrive at the Top Drawer 24 celebration.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869