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Watkins Glen High School honorees. Front from left: Sasha Honrath, Emily Melveney, Sarah Jones, Brenna Pierce, Rachel Vickio, Skye Honrath, and Malina Butler. Back from left: Johnny VanScoyk, Alex Holmes, Nick D'Alleva, Thomas Field, Thalia Marquez and Lillian Ameigh. Unavailable that day: honoree Sam Caslin.

The Tribute Awards

Twenty-four outstanding student-athletes at the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour High Schools have earned the attention and admiration of school officials and of The Odessa File. Here are the 2024 Tribute Award honorees.

By Charlie Haeffner

SCHUYLER COUNTY, June 11, 2024 -- Three years ago, after stepping away from a high school student honors team called the Top Drawer 24 -- a program which I had co-founded and in which I'd been heavily involved for 15 years -- I returned to its roots with a new program. While the Top Drawer program had expanded over the years to include more than a dozen school districts, I wanted to focus -- as we had in the early days of Top Drawer -- strictly on Schuyler County student-athletes.

Thus, this marks the fourth annual Tribute Awards presentation -- honoring students in the Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour high schools. This time the program is even more like Top Drawer than in the past three years because, for the first time, we are honoring (as we did in Top Drawer) a full two-dozen student-athletes. The first year of Tribute Awards, there were 14 honorees, a number that grew to 20 last year.

Once again, the students honored have grabbed both the attention of The Odessa File and that of administrators and coaches at both schools based on academics, athletics, character, leadership and, if applicable, citizenship.

This year, we have 14 honorees from WGHS, and -- like last year -- 10 from O-M. They range from sophomores (two at WGHS) to seniors, as specified by the program's parameters. At O-M, there are four seniors and six juniors. At WGHS, there are nine seniors, three juniors and two sophomores.

There are five repeat honorees -- one at O-M (David Patterson), and five at WGHS (Skye Honrath, Malina Butler, Alex Holmes, Johnny VanScoyk and Sarah Jones).

Each of the honorees has received certificates from The Odessa File, Schuyler County Administrator Shawn Rosno, New York Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, State Senator Tom O'Mara and Congressman Nick Langworthy to commemorate this selection.

In addition to recommendations and the honorees' grades, athletic prowess, character, and leadership, an additional factor in the selections (perhaps unique to this program) was determination -- whether an honoree is believed to possess not only the personality to succeed in life and on the playing fields, but also the will to keep striving for excellence ... even in difficult times, such as during a pandemic.

Grade-point averages cited are the most recent ones available. This year's Odessa File Tribute Award honorees, by school but in no particular order, are as follows.

O-M's Tribute Award Honorees:

Odessa-Montour honorees, front from left: Hannah Barr, Cara Reynolds, Sarah Strobel and Paisley Jeziorski. Back from left: Aiden Summers, David Patterson, Gavin Lohmeyer, Jed Lynch and Keyonna Garrison. Absent from the photo: Jackie Mace. (Photo by Jon Haeffner)

About each honoree:

David Patterson:
A senior ranked No. 1 in his class with a 97.02 GPA, he was a Tribute Award honoree in his junior year, too. He is a three-sport athlete in soccer, basketball and track (where he was IAC Pentathlon champion and the Section IV, Class D Triple Jump titleist, as well as an Odessa File First Team All-Star). A member of Student Council, Varsity O Club and the School Advisory Committee, and a volunteer firefighter associate, he will be attending Syracuse University for Business Administration. "David Patterson is incredibly talented and very coachable," said Track Coach Skip Strobel. "He is a sponge who loves to learn his craft. He is always seeking ways to improve and willing to share what he’s learned with the younger group of kids. He will be sorely missed next year."

Aiden Summers: A senior, he competes in three sports: wrestling, football and track & field, and was a Rotary Student of the Month. He has previously worked as a groundskeeper and wedding prepper for Fontainebleau Inn, and provides volunteer work for Youth Wrestling. He plans on entering the workforce to become a full-time Welder. "Aiden is a fine young man who will be a great contributor to society," said his wrestling coach, Dan Batchelder. "He has been a blessing to Odessa-Montour with his positive attitude, willingness to accept challenges, and his ease working with younger students. On the wrestling mat his dedication to improvement and to his team did not go unnoticed or unrecognized. He will be greatly missed by his coaches and teammates."

Hannah Barr: A senior, she is No. 2 in her class with a 96.75 GPA, and a volunteer for the Summer Leap Program, O-M Summer Rec, the Burdett Fire Department, the Food Bank, and the Mecklenburg Check-It-Out Shop. She plays three sports -- soccer, track & field, and basketball -- and is a member of Student Council, Interact Club, Yearbook, National Honor Society, and Varsity-O Club. She plans to attend Alfred University to study Biology on a Pre-Veterinarian track. "Hannah is a matriarch kind of teammate," said her soccer and track coach, Burton Brewster. "She is supporting, encouraging and helpful to her teammates and coach. She's willing to be a leader even when it's not easy."

Sarah Strobel: A junior ranked 4th in her class with a 96.19 GPA, she works as a Busser for the Seneca Lodge and as a Student Aide for the Reach Program, and volunteers as a Student Aide in the Hanlon Elementary School. She competes in Soccer and Track & Field, is a member of the Student Council, Drama Club, and National Honor Society, and a leading actress in school musicals. The Junior Class Co-President, she is also a New York State Council on Leadership and Student Activities (NYSCLSA) board member. She has a goal of attending college to become an Elementary Teacher. "Sarah is a caring, supportive teammate," said her soccer and track coach, Burton Brewster. "She encourages those around her, consistently demonstrating a sportsmanship attitude."

Jackie Mace: A junior ranked 10th in her class with a 92.26 GPA, she volunteers at the Montour Falls Library, and with Youth Wrestling. A member of the varsity wrestling team as well as goalkeeper on the girls soccer squad and a pole-vaulter on the track & field team, she earned Odessa File All-Star status in all three. A member of Student Council, she has a goal of attending college to study Wildlife/Environmental Science leading to a career in the U.S. Forest Service or DEC. "Jackie is tenacious, driven, and always gives her best," said her soccer and track coach, Burton Brewster. Added her wrestling coach, Dan Batchelder: "She not only accepts challenges but seeks them out. Not only is Jackie a role model for younger girls in our school, she is also a perfect example of how to knock down barriers. She is the first girl in our school to place at sectionals in wrestling, understands and values the lessons that are taught on the team, and is constantly looking for others to join in."

Paisley Jeziorski: A junior with a 90.41 GPA, she is employed at Ben & Jerry's in Watkins Glen, and formerly at Schuyler Hospital as kitchen staff. She competes in soccer and track & field (she was an Odessa File All-Star in both), and is a member of the school's cheerleading squad. "Paisley is a dedicated and driven young lady," said her soccer and track coach, Burton Brewster. "She works had on her soccer game year-round," and has, accordingly, developed into a strong, productive player. A member of the Sports Leadership Conference and Class Advisory Committee, she has a goal of attending college to study Dental Hygiene.

Keyonna Garrison: A senior ranked No. 9 in her class with 91.30 GPA, she was a starter on the soccer team (an outstanding goalkeeper) and basketball team before suffering a stroke in her junior year. The winner of The Odessa File's 20th annual Susan B. Haeffner Sportsmanship Award, she returned to basketball this year, and has volunteered time setting up for school dances and sporting events. She plans on attending SUNY Corning in Liberal Arts, with a goal of transferring to the Arnot School of Radiology. "I was very proud and impressed with her determination and resolve to get back on the basketball court this year," said Burton Brewster, who has coached her in the past in soccer.

Jed Lynch: A junior ranked 7th in his class with a 93.90 GPA, he is currently employed at the Watkins Glen Wal-Mart. He competed this year in soccer and track & field (where he was an Odessa File All-Star and the Section IV, Class D champion in pole vaulting), and in the past in wrestling. He plans to pursue a career in Criminal Justice. "Jed Lynch has really come into his own this year. His work ethic and focus has been off the charts amazing this year," said his track coach, Skip Strobel. "It’s resulted in a lot of success for both him and the team."

Cara Reynolds: A junior ranked No. 1 in her class with a 98.69 GPA, she works for the Red Cross teaching summer swimming lessons and as a Lifeguard. A member of the Section IV, Class C champion Schuyler Storm swim team, and a member of the O-M track & field team, she volunteers for the American Heritage Girls. A member of the school's Student Advisory Committee, she has a goal of attending college to become a Veterinarian. "Cara is a hard working, dependable and dedicated athlete," said her track coach, Burton Brewster. "Regardless of the task in front of her, she always gives her absolute best." Added her swim coach, Jason Westervelt: "She has an amazing work ethic and team attitude."

Gavin Lohmeyer: A junior ranked 5th in his class with a 94.97 GPA, he has been honored as a NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete. The quarterback on the varsity football team, and a member of the baseball and basketball squads, his goal is to attend college and study Mechanical Engineering. "Gavin's willingness to play quarterback for the entire season while having no prior varsity QB experience," said his football coach, Trevor Holland, "proved to us that he puts the needs of his team before himself." Added his baseball coach, Jason Westervelt: "Gavin is an up and coming superstar. He's strong, athletic, and a very hard worker."

Photos in text above: Honorees Hannah Barr (top) and Paisley Jeziorski with Odessa File Editor and Publisher Charlie Haeffner. (Photos by Jon Haeffner)

Photo Gallery:

From left: David Patterson (OM), Jackie Mace (OM) and Hannah Barr (OM)

From left: Jed Lynch (OM), Keyonna Garrison (OM) and Paisley Jeziorski (OM)

From left: Sarah Strobel (OM), Aiden Summers (OM) and Cara Reynolds (OM)

From left: Gavin Lohmeyer (OM), Rachel Vickio (WG) and Alex Holmes (WG)

From left: Brenna Pierce (WG), Emily Melveney (WG) and Nick D'Alleva (WG)

From left: Lillian Ameigh (WG), Thomas Field (WG) and Sasha Honrath (WG)

From left: Malina Butler (WG), Sarah Jones (WG) and Sam Caslin (WG)

From left: Skye Honrath (WG), Thalia Marquez (WG) and Johnny VanScoyk (WG)

Watkins Glen High School: About each honoree

Malina Butler: A senior with a 4.13 GPA, she was a Tribute Award honoree in her junior year, too. A member of National Honor Society, Varsity Club, and the Schuyler County Youth Court, she was a key member of the IAC and Section IV champion Schuyler Storm swim team. She and her family have served as chairs of the annual Schuyler County United Way campaign. She is also a lifeguard at the Watkins Glen State Park pool, a lifeguard at WGHS, and manager of the WGHS Boys Varsity Swim Team. Malina, said her swim coach, Jason Westervelt, "is an outstanding leader and an amazing role model." She will attend Northeastern University in Pre-Med.

Thomas Field:A senior with a 3.73 GPA, he is a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and lacrosse. A Rotary Student of the Month, he plans to attend Dean College, where he will play lacrosse and study Exercise Science. Said his football coach, Trevor Holland: "Thomas's ability to lead as a Varsity Captain for two years -- through his strength and courage -- gave those around him the ability to believe anything was possible." Added his lacrosse coach, Nils Watson: "Tom Field is an athlete who leads in many ways. He leads with attitude, always focused on a positive approach to the team. He leads by example. He is one of the hardest working athletes in the school both in and out of season, and consistently strength trains all year long. Tom is also a leader in the classroom, where he consistently contributes to the classroom environment and leads with intellect and tact."

Johnny VanScoyk: A senior with a 4.06 GPA, he was a Tribute Award honoree in his junior year, too. A standout distance runner (and Odessa File All-Star) on the school's cross country, indoor track and outdoor track teams, he is a member of Ski Club and has served on the Section IV Student Athlete Advisory Committee. "Johnny is the epitome of a well-rounded and dedicated student," said Track Coach Kelly Sterner. "His accomplishments as a three-sport athlete, team captain, and leader, coupled with a commitment to community service, make him an ideal candidate for any future endeavors he wishes to pursue. He has not only excelled in academics but has also enriched the school environment through his positive influence and outstanding contributions."

Skye Honrath: A junior with a 4.06 GPA, she was a Tribute Award honoree in her sophomore year, too. An outstanding soccer player, she led WGHS to a second straight Section IV, Class C title while tying the single-season school goal-scoring record of 33. She was the Odessa File’s Schuyler Fall MVP for the second straight year. "Skye is a phenomenal athlete who displays the utmost in sportsmanship and class on the field," said her soccer coach, Scott Morse. She, like her sister (Sasha, a senior), is looking toward a possible career in the medical field.

Alex Holmes: A senior with a 3.61 GPA, he was a Tribute Award honoree in his junior year, as well. A three-sport Odessa File all-star in football, basketball and baseball, he is known for his positive attitude, and serves as a mentor to younger students. "Alex is a gifted athlete and a great teammate," said his basketball coach, Scott Morse. Added his football coach, Trevor Holland: "Alex brought a sense of competitiveness on game day that had confidence but also the desire to win." Added his baseball coach, Jason Westervelt: "Alex is very athletic and level headed. He’s one of those guys that makes a great teammate." He is planning to attend Niagara Community College, with a career goal of Law Enforcement.

Sarah Jones: A senior with a 3.97 GPA, she was on the varsity volleyball team, where she was an Odessa File All-Star. A Tribute Award honoree in her junior year, as well, she is known as a great teammate and a hard worker. She plans to attend Penn State and pursue a career in Radiology while serving in the Coast Guard Reserves. "Sarah not only leads by example with her skill and dedication to the sport of volleyball," said her volleyball coach, Krysti Westervelt, "but also fosters an environment of teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship among her peers. She brings to the court a positive and motivated energy. Sarah epitomizes the ideal student-athlete, blending her athletic skills with leadership, citizenship, and academic achievement."

Lillian Ameigh: A senior with a 3.12 GPA, she was the goalkeeper and captain on the Section IV, Class C champion soccer team (and, accordingly, an Odessa File All-Star), and a member of the basketball team that reached the sectional final. She conducts Televised AM announcements in the school. Known by school officials as "kind, genuine, humble and a hard worker," she plans to attend Corning Community College with a career yet undecided. "Lilly is a phenomenal athlete who has been the best goalkeeper in the league for several seasons," said her soccer coach, Scott Morse. "She is a tenacious athlete and a great leader and teammate." Added her basketball coach, Alicia Learn: "Lilly is an amazing leader. She speaks to her teammates with respect and passion. Lilly is a hard worker who can play any position her coach throws her in, without any grumbling. Lilly (and Rachel Vickio) were captains this year and did a great job leading the girls to a wonderful season."

Sasha Honrath: A senior with a 3.26 GPA, she was a standout on the Section IV, Class C champion WGHS soccer team and, accordingly, an Odessa File All-Star. Known for her positive attitude, she is a leader on the field of play. A member of Varsity Club and the school Yearbook, and a volunteer in the school Nursing Office, she will play soccer at Elmira College, where she will pursue a career in nursing. "Sasha is a dedicated, intelligent athlete who exhibits leadership and character on the field," said her soccer coach, Scott Morse.

Nick D'Alleva: A junior with a 4.03 GPA, he is a three-sport athlete: football, basketball and lacrosse, where he has topped 100 goals for his career and earned Odessa File All-Star status. Always "willing to help others in any way," including younger athletes, said one school official, he plans to attend SUNY Cortland in the field of Health Sciences. "Nick is a dedicated, hardworking athlete and great teammate," said his basketball coach, Scott Morse. Added his lacrosse coach, Nils Watson: "Nick D’Alleva has been a leader on the lacrosse team since 7th grade. He sets goals and acts upon them. He strives to be the most positive player on the field, never getting down on his teammates, always providing positive advice in the huddle, and always leading with the best intentions."

Thalia Marquez: A senior with a 4.07 GPA, she has been an outstanding member of the girls swim team (and an Odessa File First Team All-Star) for years, sharing this website's WGHS Athlete of the Year Award as an 8th grader. A member of National Honor Society and the Class Vice President, she is active in the school's Dub G Market food pantry, and a member of Varsity Club and Youth Court. Thalia, said her swim coach, Jason Westervelt, "is very talented and will have a great home in Geneseo." She will attend SUNY Geneseo with an eye toward a career as a Physician's Assistant.

Brenna Pierce:A senior with a 3.69 GPA and a class officer, she was a member of the Section IV, Class C championship soccer team and a key player on the softball team, where she earned Odessa File First Team All-Star status. She plans to attend Le Moyne College in the field of Psychology. "Brenna is a terrific example of character in athletics," said her soccer coach, Scott Morse. "She works hard and plays with class and dignity always." Added her softball coach, Ralph Diliberto: "I have had the privilege of coaching Brenna over the past six years in softball and soccer. I have witnessed her exemplifying all the attributes that are the making of a natural leader. She always directs her teammates in a manner manifesting kindness coupled with fair play. Whatever her passion is in the future, wherever life’s travels take her, she will be a positive influence in society."

Rachel Vickio: A sophomore with a 3.66 GPA, she is a three-sport All-Star -- part of the Section IV, Class C champion soccer team, a member of the basketball team that reached the sectional final, and the IAC Discus champion in track & field. Notes track coach Travis Durfee: "Rachel is a dedicated three-sport athlete whose drive for excellence finds her playing sports year round." "Rachel is intelligent, fast and aggressive while always competing with high levels of character and leadership," added her soccer coach, Scott Morse. And her basketball coach, Alicia Learn, said this: "Rachel is a wonderful teammate and a very coachable athlete. She leaves it all out on the floor and encourages others to do the same. Rachel is a player who leads by example and will step up when necessary. She has helped the girls' team to be very successful." She is undecided on a college or career.

Emily Melveney: A sophomore with a 4.07 GPA, she is a standout member of the girls Section IV champion swim team, and an exceptional golfer -- An Odessa File All-Star in both sports. Described by one member of the selection committee as "a diligent worker with a desire to succeed," she is quiet, but a great athlete who puts in the work to achieve that success. Says her swim coach, Jason Westervelt: "Emily has an outstanding work ethic and is overall a great person." She is undecided on which college to attend, but is looking toward a career in Physical Therapy.

Sam Caslin: A junior with a 4.01 GPA, he is a member (and Odessa File All-Star) on the varsity basketball team, and a member of the track & field squad. A member of National Honor Society and a class officer, he was selected to attend Boys State, and works with youth sports. Known as a hard worker and a natural leader, he is undecided on his college but is looking at a career in Law. "Sam epitomizes character in everything he does, on and off the court," said his basketball coach, Scott Morse.

Photos in text above: Honorees Johnny VanScoyk (top), Lillian Ameigh and Brenna Pierce (bottom) with Odessa File Editor and Publisher Charlie Haeffner. (Photos by Jon Haeffner)


That's all of them -- twenty-four notable people who share at least one thing in common: by excelling in unique and impressive ways, they have earned the admiration of coaches, administrators and this website, and a seat on this team. They have successfully embraced many athletic, academic and social opportunities in high school, and thus prepared themselves for life's many challenges.



© The Odessa File 2024
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869

E-mail chaef@aol.com