LI spring season full of standout performances

MacArthur's Annie Park tees off at the 18th MacArthur's Annie Park tees off at the 18th tee during the Nassau boys golf championship. (May 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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Gregg Sarra Newsday Columnist Gregg Sarra

Gregg Sarra is Newsday's high school sports columnist and writer. ...

Annie Park, the girl who won the state boys golf championship, was the showstopper in a Long Island high school sports spring to remember.

Park, the MacArthur junior, who stunned the high school golf scene, earned the state championship this spring with an eight-under 134 at Bethpage State Park.

One of two girls in a field of 134 participants, Park broke the county scoring record by six strokes in the championship round and stirred the imagination of what girls can accomplish in boys sports.

The rules have officially been rewritten. And the University of Southern California must be drooling over her skill set. But the Trojans will have to wait -- she's only a junior.

That means she'll be back to defend her title next spring at the boys championship.

While Park was keeping things on the ground, Mike Brunoforte was headed for the sky. The St. Anthony's senior set the Long Island record for the pole vault when he leaped 16-1. He became only the second Long Island competitor to reach the 16-foot plateau.

Brunoforte, Newsday's boys track athlete of the year, is bound for Navy Prep after winning the CHSAA Intersectional championship with a vault of 16 feet.

While Park and Brunoforte gained recognition for individual accomplishments, the spring season belonged to the Garden City athletic program and its traditionally powerful teams.

The Garden City boys and girls lacrosse teams both earned state championships. The boys earned the top spot in the spring's BIG 10 after the Trojans won the school's fifth Class B state crown. They were the consensus No. 1 team ranked in the country after an undefeated run to the crown behind an offensive machine keyed by Devin Dwyer and Justin Guterding.

Not to be outdone, the girls lacrosse team saw its 55-game winning streak snapped and had a few bumps along the way to the state crown.

They'll be measured by the way they handled the adversity and showed the resilience of a champion. This year's Class B title, the seventh consecutive for the school, may be the most satisfying.

Park wasn't the only one keeping it on the fairway. The Garden City Maroon girls golf team was up to par again this spring -- winning the school's 10th consecutive conference title, and finished the season on a 72-match winning streak.

And while the Garden City golf team was in no hurry to win a title, the girls track squad was running off to the state Federation 4 x 400 title. The relay team of Laura Jaeger, Emma Gallagher, Alexis Yeboah-Kodie, and Taylor Hennig won that race and took second in the 1,600 sprint medley in a Long Island-record 3:56.55.

While Garden City basically tore it up statewide in almost all sports, there were a few other schools that came away with quite a bit of hardware.

Shoreham-Wading River carried the Strong Island lacrosse theme as the boys and the girls won state Class C crowns. The Wildcats joined Garden City as the only schools in the state to win both lacrosse titles.

Solidifying itself as perhaps the most dominant boys lacrosse program in the state, West Islip won its fifth state Class A title in the past seven years. The Lions continue to reload from an ever-exploding youth program and the end for opponents is nowhere in sight.

If five state public school lacrosse championships weren't enough, the boys and girls teams from St. Anthony's went out and dominated the Catholic Schools crowns. The girls were ranked third in the country when it was over and the boys upended rival Chaminade for the title.

The St. Anthony's spring program can rival that of Garden City as far as excellence. The Friars boys track team behind Brunoforte and an outstanding 4 x 400 relay of Stanton Ridley, Kevin Kreider, James Adegbite, and Dan Graw, which took third in the 4 x 400 at the state meet, made their mark.

There were memorable runs in all sports.

Jessica Gelibert won the state Division I and Federation titles in the 400 hurdles at the state meet, and then anchored two All-American relays for Bay Shore.

And perfection was accomplished at Kellenberg, where the Firebirds finished 29-0 behind senior pitcher Susan Pardo and captured the CHSAA state championship.

Everywhere you went this spring, it was Strong Island.

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