Emptage, Schenck, Spencer of Note at Awards Banquet

The Paul Yuska award is given to the senior class’s top athletes
Maddie Schenck is to major in athletic training and minor in adventure education at Plymouth State. Jack Graves

Lucy Emptage, who is to attend La Salle University on a lacrosse scholarship, and Eamon Spencer, who won the coach’s award in volleyball and is a distance runner headed for the Naval Academy, recently received the Paul Yuska award given to the senior class’s top athletes in ceremonies at East Hampton High School.

Emptage, the girls lacrosse team’s most valuable player and an Old Montauk Athletic Club honoree this past winter, has also played since fifth grade on the Long Island Top Guns travel team based in West Babylon, a team that vies in regional tournaments throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

The Yuska award wasn’t her only one that night: She won OMAC and Booster Club scholarships, was the Molly Cangiolosi outstanding female student-athlete designee, and won, with Spencer, the state public high school athletic association’s zone award as well.

Maddie Schenck, a three-sport athlete who was the M.V.P. in softball and girls basketball, won the Kendall Madison Foundation’s scholarship, which allots its winner $1,000 in each of the recipient’s four years. 

This scholarship, created a quarter-century ago, following the untimely death of Kendall Madison, a popular East Hampton High and University of Connecticut graduate, requires that its winners mentor youngsters here, something that Sharon Bacon, Kendall’s mother, said she was sure Schenck was well positioned to do.

“Her essay was very impressive,” Bacon said during a conversation last week, “and I’m an essay person.”

Bacon added that, curiously, it was the first year in the foundation’s history that a boy had not applied. The same was also true when it came to the Booster Club, on whose board she also sits, Bacon said.

Schenck’s essay said in part that sports had been her passion “ever since I first picked up a softball and touched a basketball.” And while she had loved competing against others, she had also over the years learned, she said, how to become an encouraging team player and leader.

“I have created close bonds with my fellow teammates, which makes it easier to work together on the court or field, and I made sure if there ever was a problem that the girls could feel comfortable in approaching me. . . . I always tried to keep the team’s energy up.”

She had also learned to balance the demands imposed by athletic competition and academic work during her years at East Hampton — a routine that once adhered to “became an easy flow.”

“In college [she’s going to Plymouth State in New Hampshire] I plan to major in athletic training and minor in adventure education, helping people get back into their game through my major, and helping them in whatever ways I can through my minor,” probably through the Peace Corps and Outward Bound.

Participating in sports had provided her, she concluded, “a huge escape in times of stress and struggle. When I’m playing in a game or practicing, all my worries and fears vanish, and the only thing I think about is what’s happening that moment.”

Schenck and four other seniors — Elizabeth Bistrian, Geo Espinoza, Robert Weiss, and Sophia Ledda — were Gold Key winners, an award given to athletes lettering in eight junior varsity and varsity sports spanning grades 10 through 12. 

Bistrian, the M.V.P. in field hockey and coach’s award winner in girls lacrosse, also ran winter track. She and Noah Gualtieri, a swimmer, received the athletic director Joe Vas’s award for having exemplified “the four Cs — character, civility, citizenship, and competence.” 

Espinoza, an OMAC scholarship winner, received the coach’s award in cross-country, and was also on the indoor and outdoor track teams. Weiss between his sophomore and senior years played football and was on the boys cross-country, winter track, and spring track teams. 

He was the M.V.P. in spring track and was the most-improved designee in winter track. Ledda played soccer, basketball, and softball.

Spencer and Schenck were this school district’s nominees for the Butch Dellecave award, whose countywide winners were Alexandrea Harriott of Central Islip and Zach Hobbes of Ward Melville. The award is given to a male and female student-athlete “who shows excellence in athletics, academics, and the community.”

Spencer also received the high school principal Adam Fine’s scholar-athlete award given to a two-sport athlete with the highest grade point average.

United States Army Reserve scholar-athlete awards went to John Pinos Quito and Michelle Barranco Ramirez, two-sport athletes with the second-highest grade point averages.

Scholar-athlete teams with aggregate averages of 90 or better in the past school year were girls cross-country, field hockey, golf, boys and girls soccer, girls swimming, girls tennis, boys and girls volleyball, girls winter track, baseball, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, and boys and girls spring track.

Championship teams in the 2017-18 school year were boys cross-country, which went 6-0 in league competition before winning the Division III and county Class B titles, and girls swimming, the undefeated League III champion at 5-0. In addition, Turner Foster, the golf team’s number-one, was cited for having won League VIII’s individual title.