10. Mark Whaling – Class of 1994.
On the football field, Whaling was a ferocious middle linebacker and bruising running back, earning All-Section honors his sophomore, junior and senior years.
“I’d just run over people,” says Whaling. “I wasn’t very quick. I just got the ball and ran hard.”
In lacrosse, he was a three-time All-Section midfielder and an All-American in 1994. Whaling stuck with both sports at Princeton and helped the Tigers win three straight NCAA Championships in lacrosse; he was a captain of the 1998 NCAA Championship team. On the gridiron, he was All-Ivy League as a defensive tackle his junior and senior seasons.
9. Ned Bowen – Class of 1999.
Bowen played quarterback for Greeley from 1996 through 1998, earning All-Section honors all three years and All-State honors his senior year. In 1998, he amassed 747 yards on the ground and the same total through the air, with 22 touchdowns.
Though Bowen was All-County in basketball and All-Section twice in lacrosse, his focus for most of high school was football. That changed during lacrosse season his junior year.
“[Coach Brian Kuczma] asked me if I wanted to play in college and I said, ‘Yea, that would be cool,’” Bowen recalls. “I had been more of a football guy.”
Bowen went on to play lacrosse at the University of Virginia, where in 2003 he was the captain of the National Championship team. After college, he launched All-Out Lacrosse, a program for aspiring lacrosse players.
8. Courtney Miller – Class of 2008.
In her junior year, Miller played forward for the Quakers’ basketball team. The next year the 5-foot-10 Miller moved to point guard; she led the league in steals and assists, but was still the team’s top rebounder.
“She didn’t like losing, whether it was in practice or in games,” basketball coach Liz Lops recalls. “I think that just fueled her intensity and drove her to get better.”
Miller was All-Section in basketball and soccer her senior year, but where she made history was on the lacrosse field. She scored 125 goals in 2008, the third most ever in New York State, as she was named a First-Team All-American. For her career, she scored 413 points (305 goals). She’s continued her career at Colgate, where she led the team in points and was All-Patriot League last year.
7. Justin Ciero – Class of 2012.
A quarterback geared for Coach Bill Tribou’s run-first offense, Ciero was as dangerous with his legs as he was with his arm. He was All-Section his sophomore, junior and senior years and was All-State the last two, scoring a total of 66 touchdowns at Greeley.
“More than anything, he just has an incredible balance of all the attributes it takes to be an athlete,” Tribou says. “It made a lot of things easy. You could always rely on him in the clutch.”
Ciero totaled 2,940 yards and 20 touchdowns in the air to go along with 3,550 yards and 46 touchdowns rushing at Greeley. He led the Quakers to the Sectional Championship game in 2010, a 6-0 loss to Harrison.
6. Matt Murray – Class of 2003.
Only one player in Section 1 history ran for more yards in high school than Murray, a First-Team All-State selection in 2001 and 2002. Murray totaled 5,374 yards on the ground in his three years at Greeley, with 67 rushing touchdowns.
His junior year, Murray ran for over 2,200 yards as the Quakers won Section 1 and made it within a game of a state championship, losing 22-15 to Aquinas in the final game.
“It was all uncharted territory for us,” Murray remembers. “Honestly, when I think back about it I really don’t get upset about the game.”
Murray, who also played lacrosse for Greeley, went on to play football for Yale, winning an Ivy League Championship in 2006.
5. Tom Gilburg – Class of 1957.
Standing at 6-foot-5, Gilburg was a monster on the offensive and defensive line for the Quakers. He played at Syracuse, where he was a tight end and linebacker before moving to the line his senior year. He was an All-American in 1961 and was drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Colts.
He made just as big an impact, though, with his foot. For Greeley and later for the Orangemen and Colts, Gilburg had the unusual role of lineman/punter, a skill he developed in sixth grade recess.
“At that time, I guess I kicked it farther than anyone else,” Gilburg recalls.
The Quakers won league championships in ’55 and ’56, thanks in large part to Gilburg.
4. Maddy Coon – Class of 2005.
One of the best hitters in Section 1 history, Coon was All-State all four years of high school and the 2005 New York State Gatorade Player of the Year. A shortstop and pitcher, Coon batted .624 in her high school career, blasting 41 home runs (including a Section 1 record 19 her senior year) and driving in 153 runs.
Coon went on to Stanford where she hit .303 with 28 home runs in her four years, making the All-Pac-10 team or earning Honorable Mention each year. In 2009, she was drafted by the Washington Glory of National Pro Fastpitch, though she never ended up playing professionally.
3. Matt Townsend – Class of 2011.
Basketball coach Dave Fernandes called the 6-foot-7 Townsend one of the most gifted athletes he’s ever coached, but said his size and athletic ability were just a small part of what made the three-time All-Section forward perhaps the best hoops player in Quakers history.
“The biggest thing is he’s relentless. He never stops working on his game,” explains Fernandes, who won two league titles with Townsend. “Granted he’s 6-7, but he made himself a better player. His work ethic is unheard of.”
Townsend averaged 28.8 points, 15.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks his senior year. He scored 1,516 points and grabbed 1,021 rebounds in his career, both school records. He was Third-Team All-State his senior year and the Valedictorian of his class. He now plays for Yale.
2. Sean O’Brien – Class of 2003.
One of the best hitters in the history of Section 1, there wasn’t a flaw in O’Brien’s game.
“He had a great eye, great plate discipline,” baseball coach Anthony Marino recalls. “He was really keen on working a count and getting a great pitch to hit.”
O’Brien blasted 13 home runs his senior year and 28 in his career – only three public school players in New York State history hit more. His senior year he batted .554. He went on to play for Virginia Tech, where he was a four-year starter and batted .335, before being drafted by the Expos.
O’Brien also played basketball and was a 1,000-point scorer for the Quakers.
1. Rich Erenberg – Class of 1980.
Erenberg was an All-County running back his junior and senior years. In his senior season, he averaged 120 yards per game and scored 16 touchdowns, leading the county in scoring and earning All-State honors.
Erenberg went on to Colgate, where he was a Division 1 AA First-Team All-American in 1983, setting 12 D-I AA records including Most Rushing Yards in a Season with 1,883 and scoring 20 TDs. Erenberg was drafted by the Pittsburg Steelers, where he played running back for three seasons.
“For me, the basis of what I did after [playing for Greeley] was formed in high school,” Erenberg says. “That’s when you begin to understand what hard work is.”
At Greeley, Erenberg was also an All-County basketball player his senior year.
Special thanks to Peter Zimmerman of EZ Sports for his help. His historical knowledge was an invaluable aid.
According to Pete, an honorable mention for top ten would go to: Reynolds Garnett, Bill Fisher, John Morehouse, Burke St John, Terrence Higgins, Bill Swertfager, Derek Cherney, Chick Pollack, Lisa Newi Long, Susan Gregory McHugh, and Brooke Garnett.
Andrew Vitelli is the editor-in-chief of The White Plains Examiner.