Through hard work, dedication and hours of practice and play, a dozen Byram Hills High School student-athletes have risen to the top of their game. Now, these seniors are taking their athletic ability to the next level, and have committed to playing their sport in college next year.
“It’s absolutely spectacular for Byram Hills, a school of our size, to have 12 athletes that are committed to bringing their passions and their talents to the collegiate level,” said Rob Castagna, Director of Health Education, Physical Education and Athletics at Byram Hills. “We’re extremely proud.”
Byram Hills honored the dozen athletes at a ceremonial College Signing Day in the high school gym in early May, as fellow classmates, teammates, family members and school officials cheered them on.
Before the students signed a symbolic letter of intent to play next year, each was introduced by the boys varsity soccer coach, Matt Allen. He highlighted the students’ athletic accomplishments, and put each on the spot with a personal question.
Their achievements drew repeated applause, while the athletes and the crowd shared some laughs during the question-and-answer period, highlighted by a little gentle ribbing and some unvarnished honesty.
The student-athletes are:
Antonio Aversa, Fairleigh Dickinson University, football. Coach Allen described Aversa an imposing figure on both the football field and the baseball diamond. In football this year, he scored nine touchdowns, and had over 500 yards receiving, 34 receptions and needed to be double-teamed many times. “He’s going to be a dangerous weapon for F.D.U. next year,” Coach Allen said.
J.J. Bancone, Denison University, football. This season, Bancone rushed 316 yards and caught 38 passes for 316 yards. On defense, he had 45 tackles and two interceptions. Coach Allen called him a true all-around player who plays with a lot of emotion.
Daniel DiSano, Union College, baseball. Coach Allen said Union is getting an exceptional outfielder next year in DiSano.
“He currently bats leadoff for the team and is batting .500, leading the team in hits, stolen bases and is also riding a perfect fielding percentage, where last year he made 41 putouts without an error. He’s a professional whose main attribute is his all-around skill,” Coach Allen said.
Christopher Draper, Bates College, swimming. This year for Byram Hills, Coach Allen said, Draper was “a driving force in leading the team to the state championships for the first time in 10 seasons. At the N.S.C.A. Junior National Championships, Draper finished second in both the 200 IM and 200 fly and he is recognized as one of top 70 swimmers in all of New York State.”
Tristan Gibson, New Jersey Institute of Technology, fencing. “Gibson is currently nationally ranked in the United States and was chosen for the 2016-17 All-American team, which currently recognizes the top 300 fencers in the United States,” Coach Allen said. “Just recently, he placed 3rd in the Division 1 Regionals, competing against some of the best fencers in the world.”
Brian Glat, MIT, swimming. Coach Allen joked that Glat found just a little bit of time to swim while he was busy earning a 4.539 GPA and a near-perfect ACT score of 35.
He noted that Glat is a four-time state qualifier, a Journal News First Team All-Star, a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, has broken four school records and was recently named a Con Edison Athlete of the Week award winner.
Malorie Lipstein, Duke University, cheerleading. “Lipstein is one of the few athletes here at Byram Hills who successfully marketed herself to a college program,” Coach Allen said. “She wasn’t truly, actively recruited. She sent videos of herself training. She did this all by herself and sent it off to the coaches at Duke University. She did it privately.”
Lipstein cheered throughout high school. “It’s something that makes me really happy that I wanted to continue,” she said. For the tryouts, she said: “I reached out to the coach and did my tryout through 25 different videos. They compared that with the live tryouts and we did it all through email.”
Luke Simon, Fordham University, football. Coach Allen noted how much Simon has grown since freshman year, due to hard work and a love of the weight room. This past season, he had 54 tackles–32 solo, 5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
Skylar Sinon, Ithaca College, basketball. “Sinon will graduate as arguably the most celebrated basketball player in our school’s history,” Coach Allen said. He cited Sinon’s achievements: All-Section selection for four years, All-State the last three. He shattered the school’s all-time scoring record by over 500 points, with a total of 1,657 points. He has a career record of 90-25, and was a Con Edison award winner this past season.
Ryan Steeg, Oneonta, baseball. Coach Allen said that Steeg has established himself as one of the top pitchers in Westchester. He’s earned All-League honors as a junior. Last year, he led the team in innings with 45, had an ERA of 2.30 and 49 strikeouts. “So far, he’s lived up to his No. 1 pitcher status, with a 4-1 record on the mound, leading the team in innings and has an exceptional 1.40 ERA,” Coach Allen said of this season.
Matthew Turk, Dickinson College, track and field. Coach Allen said Dickinson College will be gaining “one of the most consistent runners in school history” from Byram Hills. This past year, Turk led the team to a top-five finish in the Westchester County Sectional Championship meet.
Nick Weitzman, Union College, tennis. Weitzman is a four-year varsity player, and is captain of the program this year. He’s compiled a 40-11 record and is becoming the second member of his family to play a sport for Union.