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BHS chess club claims another regional victory

Omer Okutan Sports Editor ———————–—— Chess is a miraculous game of patience which captivates the minds of countless high schoolers wishing to expand their critical thinking skills, and their ability to think outside the box. The Brighton High School chess club is filled to the brim with students who are extremely proficient in chess, and are willing to prove so on the chess board. On Saturday, May 4th, the BHS chess club participated in a chess tournament against other Rochester high schools, where the winning school would be named as the reigning regional champion.  The many players of the chess team competed in multiple rounds, where they went head-to-head against players from other schools. Finally, after hours of competition, there were only two schools left in the running for the regional title: McQuaid High School and Brighton High School. In the fourth and final round, the teams of these two schools would battle it out to see who would come out on top, winning the trophy. As the fourth round started and the players began to play their opening moves, the competition seemed very even. The score for the two teams were consistently neck and neck with each other, and no significant lead was gained by either team. As both sides went round after round, hoping to surge ahead of their opponents, a stalemate quickly formed, with neither side being able to decisively win.  Unfortunately, due to the competition taking longer than expected some players from the Brighton team had to leave due to outside commitments. This put the team in a tricky spot. The team needed one more player to compete in the last game, which would decide who would win the entire championship. However, they were out of eligible players who could participate in the last game. As the team scrambled to find a replacement player who could win the last game and bring home the championship, things looked bleak for the BHS chess team. In a last-ditch attempt, the team tried to call on Toby Rizzo, who is a current junior of BHS and a skilled chess player with a rating well over 2000. Toby has been playing chess for many years, and has become extremely proficient in the sport, even becoming one of the best players for his age group at the national level. Toby was unable to participate in the beginning of the tournament due to him taking the SATs in the morning. After he finished testing however, he saw that his teammates needed his help and quickly rushed over to assist them. In a matter of minutes, he was at the chess board and ready to play the deciding game of the tournament. Even though Toby was able to play the final game, he started off with a major disadvantage. Due to the fact that he did not anticipate playing in the final game, and had just come out of the SATs, Toby started the game 10 minutes late, meaning that he had 10 minutes less than his opponent to finish the game. Since the games were timed, with each person only getting a certain number of minutes to make their moves, a 10-minute deduction to someone’s time means starting at a huge disadvantage. The game lasted nearly two hours, with both sides unwilling to except defeat. As everyone gathered around to watch the board which would determine the future of the championship, all eyes were on the two opposing players. Regardless of his disadvantaged position, Toby Rizzo eventually managed to win the game, securing the championship for Brighton High School. This year marks the third year in a row that the BHS chess team has won regionals. The chess team has had a nearly perfect season for every one of these three years, only losing to one school per year. This impressive track record is a testament to the skill and passion that each player on the team possesses. This passion that the players on the chess team have can be partly attributed to Mr. Clements, who is the club’s advisor. Because of the hard work and countless hours of planning put in by the club leaders and Mr. Clements, the chess club is able to thrive and consistently win. BHS is incredibly lucky to have a club with so many passionate and committed members, whom are so commanding in the world of chess, often dominating local championships.


Ernie Clements honors his hometown with pride

Gaurang Khetan Staff Writer ———————–—— Baseball is a game which tests the technical skills and raw athletic power of all athletes which partake in it. As a rising star at the Blue Jays baseball team, which originates from Brighton, Ernie Clement excels in baseball. Ernie Clements was raised in Brighton and his exceptional mission truly shows his hometown's pride and skill.   Before becoming a major league player, Clements was a student of BHS and a player on the school’s baseball team. Through his tireless effort and inherent talent, he graduated high school, and quickly gained popularity in the baseball big leagues.  Clements states that he owes his transition from Brighton High School to pro baseball “mainly due to perseverance,” elaborating that his time as a student at Brighton gave him some “critical lessons and principles” that now drive his career. He represents Brighton every single time he walks out to the field and is a great role model for everyone who watches him play.  Not only does Clement emerge as a star player on his team, but he also motivates the newcomers of baseball. Despite having a moderate start to his high school career, he made it to the big league, showing that “pure passion and perseverance” can help players go the long way.   Baseball was Clements’s life here at Brighton. Every single homerun he scored for Brighton  has engraved his spot as a local hero and earned him many fans during his stay as a player here. During his career as a high school baseball player, he hit at an impressive batting average of 0.492, which means that if he came to bat 1000 times, he would hit a homerun nearly 500 of those times. Post his impressive senior year at Brighton High School, Clements played for the University of Virginia. In his freshman year of college, Clements struck at an impressive 0.245 batting average. These one-of-a-kind records meant that he got the opportunity to play in the College World Series in 2015, striking at an incredible 0.292 batting average. Such performances led the way for him to become one of the best players in college baseball and also helped him get scouted for the major leagues.   By the end of 2017, Clement worked hard to make it to the MLB and eventually, his dream came true.  He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the last round of the major league draft. For Clements, being part of one of the best teams in baseball, was, in a way, the culmination of “countless hours of practice and the many sore arms” he got when playing baseball. Being drafted for a pro team was an opportunity for Clements and made it possible for him demonstrate his skills at the top level of his chosen discipline.    As of now, Clements has had an average season but that is not deterring him. He still continues to put in the hours of practice, improving his skills and contributing out in the field, something that has not gone unnoticed by the coaches.    While Clement's athletic career advances, he keeps on giving back to his community and inspiring other athletes of the coming generation. Whether it is through baseball camps,  community events or as a positive role model, Clement is doing his best to honor his roots and the people that influenced his path. According to Clements, the coaches that he had in BHS “helped mold [him] into who [he] is right now.”   The future is bright for Ernie Clements, with his potential as high and the sky and with the whole of America already seeing glimpses of his potential, the sky too might not be the limit. After all, for a kid from the suburbs of Rochester to eventually go about and play in the MLB is a huge change in fortune and fame. However, Clements recognizes that fame is a fickle friend, and maintains his humbleness when talking about his extortionary skills.    Ernie Clements’ journey from Brighton High School to the zenith of professional baseball has been characterized by persistent efforts, devotion, and resilience. In the process, he has transcended problems and taken advantage of possibilities, all the while still being true to himself and the beliefs he had while growing up.    As he continues to write the next chapter of his baseball journey, one thing remains certain: Ernie Clement's influence goes far beyond the ground. Not only is he a professional  baseball player, but he is also a symbol of endurance, bravery, and the commitment to living one’s greatest dreams. And so as long as there are young athletes with so much room for their dreams and heart for the game, Ernie Clements’ story will continue to be a shining example of what can be achieved with enough hard work.    Brighton is privileged to have Clements as a representation of BHS in the MLB.


Team bonding quirks that set the Bruins apart

Andrew Wu Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— When observing any track and field meet, one sees a literal horde of Brighton runners warming up for their competitions, causing tremors to ripple out from their path. However, when observing a distance skiing meet, all that meets the eye is a handful of athletes – sometimes even less – warming up for their marathon-like race. What could possibly cause this stark contrast in population when both sports revolve around the simple concept of a foot race for first place? School sports are an integral part of being a student at BHS. For many students, school sports are a big part of day-to-day life and a way to engage in activities outside of school. However, the size of these teams varies widely. An example of this is the inconsistency of the number of athletes between the track and field and Nordic skiing teams. Due to the differences in accessibility, cost of gear, culture, and more, the track team has come to boast a huge crew while the Nordic team consists only of a handful of very determined athletes. One of the major factors contributing to the unequal number of athletes for track and field versus Nordic skiing is the complexity of the gear. In track and field, all athletes need to compete is a pair of shoes and a uniform.  However, Nordic skiing athletes must use a variety of gear that takes months to learn and use. For example, cross country skiing utilizes specialized skis and poles, which the athletes must regularly maintain and take care of. However, in track, little to no maintenance of gear is necessary and there is really next to no learning curve. Another factor contributing to the unequal distribution of athletes between the two teams is the cost of gear. On the track, athletes compete with a pair of running shoes which are not very expensive in comparison to the gear necessary for Nordic skiing. To compete for Nordic skiing, athletes need expensive gear such as skis and boots. The cost of the gear necessary to compete in skiing has a significantly higher price tag than the gear necessary for running, which may seem discouraging to an individual trying to break into the sport.  The cost of the sports plays a large role in determining the amount of athletes that are willing to give it a try, as reflected in the difference in the number of athletes in between Nordic skiing and track .Another crucial part of the number of athletes that participate in sports is the culture that surrounds them. For example, most of the athletes who are Nordic skiers usually have family who participate in the sport to a certain extent and have been introduced to skiing from an early age. Athletes not exposed to Nordic skiing from an early age will be less likely to be interested in the sport. The distance and accessibility of these sports is also a major factor in determining the number of athletes that participate in them. In track and field, regular practice comes easy to athletes, due to the fact that they can run at the BHS track at any time. Furthermore, runners can practice at the school’s weight room by using the treadmills and ellipticals that are provided for them. The exact opposite is the case for Nordic skiing. For the skiing team, practices cannot be held very regularly, due to the fact that Bristol Mountain – the nearest available skiing area is a 50-minute ride away from BHS. Traveling such large distances on school days would mean a huge time commitment for athletes and may deter many students from joining.  Options also play a huge role in the number of interested athletes. In the case of outdoor track, there are a multitude of events that an athlete can pick from. Some athletes are better at sprints, some better at distance running, and some better at throwing events, so no matter the abilities or interests of someone, track and field has an event that could appeal to the student. Nordic skiing, however, only has one event, which is distance skiing – and if this is not an athlete's cup of tea, tough luck.  Athletes do not get to pick and choose what events they will get to do, which reduces the overall appeal of the sport to any new athletes. For this reason, track and field has a diverse body of athletes who all compete in a multitude of events and has an overall larger number of athletes than Nordic skiing. Finally, the number of people that know of each sport also varies largely. Much of the student body has heard of track and field and is also aware of the existence of a school team for it. However, many students do not know about distance skiing, and do not know of the existence of a school team for it.  As a result, many potential athletes who would potentially be interested in Nordic skiing, will never get the chance to try the sport. Even though the numbers of the Nordic skiing team may be fewer than many of the other teams in BHS, that has not prevented them from succeeding in many different competitions throughout the skiing season. Brighton’s squad of skiers – however few their numbers may be – are still a force to be reckoned with. Even though they are different, the two aforementioned teams still remain an exemplary part of the Bruins athletics department.


Nathan Wagner flips and pins way to excellence

Noah Nelson Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— A referee whistle rings out as two teens lunge forward. Grappling for the upper hand, senior Nathan Wagner slides across the mat to strike his opponent with the lethal fluidity of a predator attacking its prey. Who could have thought that brutal hand to hand combat of this nature would be school- sanctioned? Welcome to Varsity Wrestling.   This month, Trapezoid honors star wrestler Nathan Wagner for his impressive varsity wrestling career on the Section V  circuit. His determination and success in wrestling is what makes him the perfect example of the Brighton spirit and sets him apart as a remarkable athlete.  To understand Wagner's success in his high school wrestling career, insight on wrestling as a sport is required. Wrestling is a sport of the mind and body, where athletes attempt to outsmart their opponents, while also making sure that they can come out on top physically. For this reason, wrestlers at BHS pour countless grueling hours into honing both their mental skills, as well as physical prowess. Gaining this level of skill mentally and physically requires athletes who are immensely determined. Nathan Wagner is one such determined athlete. Nathan has competed for the Bruins countless times and shown his passion for wrestling by the victories that he has achieved on the mat. In this year’s NYSPHSAA Section V championships, he managed to pin his way up to second place for his weight class and has also wrestled his way to being one of the best athletes in the Bruins varsity team.   On top of the challenges that athletes face on the mat, they must also show heightened discipline outside of it. Weight classes are a huge part of wrestling competitions, determining the opponents that an athlete will be facing. Thus, competitors such as Wagner must make sure that they watch their calorie intake very closely — especially when approaching the week of a competition — to ensure that they will be in their intended weight class.   If competitors consume too many calories, or even water, they may find themselves in a heavier weight class facing opponents with more muscle and mass than themselves. In such a physical sport, this can be the difference between victory or defeat. However, by making sure that they are in their intended weight class, athletes ensure that they are competing in as fair a match as physically possible.  All these factors, when combined, mean that athletes must exercise intense discipline concerning their life outside of the wrestling mat. Over his wrestling career, Nathan manages his calorie intake with immense precision and care, which demonstrates the heightened sense of discipline and willpower he possesses. Furthermore, Nathan respects the sport of wrestling and recognizes that in order to win he must practice to the point of exhaustion. Nathan Wagner consistently shows immaculate respect for the sport of wrestling, as well as heightened levels of discipline beyond what is expected of any high school athlete. As the wrestling season continues on, the Bruins wrestling team demonstrates their athletic prowess and superior coaching by their victories in local wrestling events. Throughout the season, Nathan Wagner consistently plays a pivotal role in establishing Brighton dominance in his weight class, and demonstrates the extents to which his physical abilities set him apart from the other wrestlers. The sharpest of blades requires the most blistering fire to forge, and Nathan Wagner’s possession of the aforementioned traits is the fire that sharpens his abilities. Even now, Wagner remains to be a shining example of what it means to be a Bruin.



Team bonding quirks that set the Bruins apart

Gaurang Khetan Staff Writer ———————–—— There is a reason Brighton traditionally has exceptional performance in sports. It all boils down to the environment created by the team coaches and the teammates that help foster growth. This welcoming environment also helps athletes who are actively trying to hone their skills. Each team has its own core principles around which the team revolves.  When asked what team values were emphasized during their many practices, Mr. Hiller — the coach of the Brighton boys' soccer team — said that he emphasized the importance of family. He said that the bonds that players make are going to last beyond high school, which is why he emphasizes family.  These values seem to be logical considering that for the soccer team to be successful, all the 11 players on the field need to complement each other and work as a team. Ms. Times — head coach of the Brighton Track team — also echoed Mr. Hiller’s sentiments, emphasizing the importance of family and team bonding. To foster initial conversation and a basic connection, both Mr. Hiller and Ms. Times hold frequent pasta parties, especially towards the start of the season, so that the team can bond and get to know each other better.   Each player on the team has different strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses must be refined, and strengths need to be reinforced thoroughly to ensure a player becomes a valuable asset to the team. To strengthen their team, Coach Hiller believes in setting goals and expectations for players so that they know what is expected of them. Coach Times follows a similar mindset, stating that frequent practices under the watchful eyes of the various different coaches help in refining the skills necessary to do well on the track. Coach Times also believes that veteran athletes help the newer athletes on the team, which helps boost the skills of the players and encourages the forming of a strong team bond.   Each team has a set of traditions that make them unique. Coach Times has followed the previous traditions set by past coaches of the team. As is the custom, the season starts with a family meeting and pasta parties before important meetings. Mrs. Times also emphasizes the involvement of teams in their local community. The Brighton Track Team currently helps with the spring clean-up. Being more involved in the community will start a positive new tradition and help the team. Similarly, the soccer team engages in a Cobbs Hill run post tryouts in addition to conditioning. The team also goes for breakfast together to foster team bonding.   There is also a team dinner before sectionals to boost the morale of the team. The soccer team has been part of multiple fundraisers to raise money for one of Brighton’s ex-players, who passed away. Coach Hiller involves the team in any activity that makes the members feel like they are a part of Brighton, which he believes is the most important thing for him as the coach.     A lot of effort that goes into winning is off the field but most of it is on the field. When asked what strategies the soccer team employs before games, Coach Hiller said that the team goes over the tendencies of opposition players and strategies that they must employ to win.  Before an important meeting, the coaches of the track team go over their goals for the meeting. Most of the preparation is according to the events that players participate in, so the different coaches come up with specific strategies for the players before their game. Using strategies helps coaches increase their chances of a win.


Pioneering women pass the ball to the next generation

Omer Okutan Sports Editor ———————–—— Rochester is an area that has produced countless remarkable women who have gone on to achieve many great things in their athletic careers. However, an often-overlooked aspect of this is the role that women play in sports officiating.  One such woman was Rochester native Maia Chaka, who made national headlines by becoming the first African-American woman NFL referee ever. In 2021, Maia Chaka was the first black woman hired by the NFL to be a part of their esteemed national officiating team.   Chaka was born and raised in Rochester, and stated during an interview that she found her love for officiating because “after all my playing days were done, officiating was a way of staying involved in the sports I loved." However, Chaka’s discovery of her passion for sports officiating did not start off in such a smooth way. Chaka stated that her original passion was to be a basketball player, but when she realized that she “wasn’t going to make any money as a women’s professional basketball player,” she decided to gravitate toward officiating football games.  Chaka says that she hopes through her position, she can “provide those extra opportunities for women,” showing them that “there's a possibility for more women to be involved in football, even if they don’t play the sport."  Women such as Maia Chaka have deeply moved and inspired other women in BHS to take initiative. One such group of women who decided to get involved in sports officiating were three female referees who took charge of a local basketball game. This accomplishment is such a major one since this event marked the first time that an all-woman officiating team refereed a basketball game in the Rochester area.   This monumental event was because of a culmination of efforts by both the referees as well as the Brighton athletics team, where both parties worked tirelessly to break the status quo and demonstrate to local women that they have the skills and abilities to be engaged and effective as players and referees.   This historic moment carries profound significance for Brighton, extending beyond the immediate event. It serves as inspiration for young girls in the community who can now envision themselves as referees, umpires, or judges, thanks to the examples set by these pioneering officials.   Through the examples these women have set, Brighton is fostering an environment where talent, as well as skill take precedence over gender stereotypes.  Even though what the future holds may be unknown, we can clearly see that the major breakthroughs made at Brighton contribute immensely to increasing the role that women share in sports officiating today.



Bills name Mr. Lian as an outstanding coach and leader

Tejus Reddy Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— For years, the Buffalo Bills have been celebrating football coaches in high schools throughout Western New York by naming coaches of the week and awarding them. Brighton High School’s football teams’ head coach, Mr. Lian, was recently named coach of the week by the Buffalo Bills, and there are many professional accomplishments that led to his success.  One such demonstration of his skills was when the Brighton High School football team defeated Irondequoit in the first round of Sectionals when no one expected them to. The team defied all odds with coaching from Mr. Lian, and their comeback showed everyone that the Brighton football team was more than capable and were not going to give up easily.  When asked why he thought he was named the coach of the week, Mr. Lian attributed much of the success to the assistant coaches and other staff. “I have the best assistant coaches in Section 5,” he responded, “and all of them are 100% invested in giving our players the best chance to develop and succeed.”  Coach Lian also believes that all the Brighton coaches are extremely dedicated to helping their players in every way possible. But the Bruins’ recent success was also in large part due to another factor: the players.The Brighton football team is very skilled and well-practiced, which often shows in their significant accomplishments, such as going to sectional finals last year. The “Pack” is composed of 42 players who are expected to practice daily on top of performing well in schoolwork and balancing their personal lives. “We are very demanding of our players in practice. Participating on our team requires a lot of discipline,” Lian explained.  This, along with the determination and natural talent of the players, all contribute to the impressive performance of the Bruins during seasons.Natural talent can be a large factor when picking up sports, as it can be challenging to learn a new sport, especially without a coach. On the other hand, effort and practice are far more important. “Put in the hours of hard work,” he claims - “I am a firm believer of the fact that nothing worth accomplishing comes easily, to any athlete.” Such views on the importance of practice helps the team maintain a competitive edge. Athletes of any sport can become skilled and join a team if they are passionate and willing to devote time to it. Coach Lian also believes that hard work and motivation can maximize one’s natural ability to help them reach their potential. In his coaching specifically, he aims to do this by making sure all players understand their value to the team, and the role they play in its success. “We have a lot of players who play outstanding football during the week and do not get much playing time in games,” he states. When asked how he deals with this, he claims, “These players are critical for our success and it’s the coaching staff’s job to make sure they understand their value.”Despite the rigorous training and practice that all members of the Brighton football team go through, there are always unforeseen obstacles, and it goes without saying that a team cannot win every game. After a loss, teams naturally feel defeat and sadness, but must use losing as a learning opportunity to grow into a better unit.  When asked how he feels after a big loss, Coach Lian expresses honestly, “Losing is the worst feeling. When it happens, I feel awful, don’t sleep, feel like the sun won’t come up in the morning.”  Self-doubt and guilt can be hurtful, but the coaches and players are motivated by the loss. Conversely, when the team wins, they celebrate, as Coach Lian is a firm believer in positive reinforcement. Win or lose, Coach Lian still remains a pillar of dedication in BHS.

Bruins brawl for their first victory of the season

Max Lent Associate Staff Writer —————————-- As the 2023-2024 winter athletics season entered full swing this November, the Brighton Varsity Wrestling season got off to a thrilling start. In an intense show of excellence, the squad defeated the Gates-Chili Varsity Wrestling team 64 to 6 in a thrilling home match. This victory marks the first success of a promising season.Much of this success can be attributed not just to individual players but also to coaches of the team. One such coach who helped the team succeed through monitoring the athletes’ conditions and teaching them new skills is Mr. Dean.  Coach Dean is a mentor and assistant coach to the wrestling team and has been a part of the Brighton staff for 5 years. His role as a coach means part of his responsibility to the team is monitoring their condition and progress throughout their wrestling career.  When we interviewed him and asked him about his role as an assistant coach for the wrestling team, he said, “My job is to ensure that athletes are prepared for competitions, both physically and mentally,” and make sure that “athletes give it their all, at all times.” Through these ways, coaches can make sure that athletes stay motivated throughout the season.Coach Dean also stated that he was proud of the level of work that members put in, saying that the wrestling team goes through intense training every week to stay in shape. When asked about the training, Mr. Dean said that the athletes stay at peak performance by practicing “due diligence and extreme attention to detail,” “constant communication between athletes and coaches,” as well as, “constant support for the athletes.”  Through these extensive programs, the coaches can ensure that their athletes are in the best place they can be. The coaches also make sure that athletes stay in peak condition by giving them ample practice time, where they can wrestle against teammates to improve their own technique. This aspect of practice helps players perfect their techniques when facing other opponents and helps them refine their own style. Practices also consist of extremely physically, as well as mentally demanding workouts, ranging from hours of cardio to extensive strength training. These practices are where athletes learn their capabilities and the importance of discipline in a team environment.


Chasing a dream: the ins and outs of college recruitment

Willa Runge Editor-in-Chief ———————–—— We’ve all stumbled across a college commitment graphic on social media. Underneath the bright edit inlaying the athlete of the hour atop their future college’s logo lies a caption expressing how humbled and excited they are for the opportunity, followed by the list of teammates, coaches, family members, and friends they would like to thank for supporting them along the way. For students that do not plan to play NCAA sports in college, this is the extent of our contact with the strict, stressful recruitment process our peers undergo.   To ensure a fair shot for athletes and programs alike, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulates how and when students and coaches can begin contact. For Division 1 programs, July 15th after a prospect’s sophomore year in high school marks when coaches can begin directly reaching out, except for football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and women’s basketball which opens slightly later on September 1 of an athlete’s junior year.   Before the NCAA contact period has opened, student athletes of any age are allowed to reach out themselves via email to coaches to get on their radar with highlights, stat lines of athletic and academic performance, and game schedules to put themselves in the best possible position during their junior year.   Now, once junior year hits, student athletes are fully immersed in the collegiate world through a couple of different courting activities between potential programs. For starters, there are campus visits, which under NCAA rules are divided into two categories: unofficial and official visits.   Official visits may last 48 hours, with the option for the institution to pay for the athletes’ and their parents’ meals, lodging, and transport, with one official visit allowed per college. During official visits, athletes may have an offer made to them anytime, on the spot. The act of committing is widely regarded as the most anticipated moment in a high school athlete’s career – it is years of physical dedication through practices, work outs, and games combined with high-stakes social networking to secure a future for their passion. It’s kind of a big deal. ffSenior lacrosse player Lucy Lederman, who is committed to Colgate University, described how emotionally taxing the final stretch of recruitment was, explaining that “dealing with coaches loving you one day to rejecting you the next is a lot to handle.”  Yet, on the surface, commitments can look picture perfect. These anticipated announcements often have another descriptor before ‘committed,’ defining their situation as either verbal or written. Both options come with different protections and benefits for an athlete and their future.   Verbal commitments are not binding and can be pulled out of by the athlete or the school at any time, whereas a National Letter of Intent is a legally binding contract. Verbal commitments typically come from younger athletes that cannot yet sign a letter of intent because the signing date has not yet passed, which is the first day athletes can make an official written commitment to the school of their choice.   Looking in from the outside on the enclosed world of high-level athletics, signing day offers a rare glimpse into the triumphs of our peers. With friends and family sporting their future school’s colors and beaming with pride, an athlete gets to celebrate the person they have become and the future they have earned.  Offering advice to future student athletes, Lederman enthused that it’s all about finding a school “that fits you academically, financially, and socially” before considering athletics.   Kieran Hughes, a senior football player that has committed to Hamilton College, expressed a similar sentiment, advising student athletes to “take your time... Don’t beat yourself up if the best D1 school doesn’t call you or your dream school doesn’t open an email. You will end up finding a perfect fit if you trust the process and put in the work.”  Regardless of the challenges that lie ahead in college, the triumph of coming out of recruitment in one piece must be celebrated. By improving our understanding of the intricacies and trials fellow Bruins go through in chasing their dreams, the Brighton community can provide the most support possible to high school athletes, knowing that what appears to be a quick sprint to success is the final stretch of a grueling marathon.

Watch out! Nora Babbit laps the competition

Maria Shalaeva Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writers ———————–—— Cross-country running is one of the most mentally and physically demanding sports in the world. A senior at BHS, Nora Babbit, has been running cross country for years, and possesses immense levels of experience in the sport, handling the challenges it brings to an athlete.    Nora started running as a sophomore, and when she was asked what jump-started her running career, she first brought up softball. “I used to play softball when I was little, and I loved the sport so much, but I had trouble fitting in with the team,” she reflected nostalgically.    Nora continued to explain who got her into running, sharing, “my mom was like, ‘well if you're going to quit softball you have to do something else’… my parents both had been runners for a while, but when my mom was talking about doing something active, it was the first thing I thought of … maybe I should join the school’s cross-country team.”   Jumping into the cross-country season in 2021, Nora became fascinated with running. She recalled her excitement after finding out that this “fun activity was happening every day after school.” Although she says it was tough to adjust in the beginning, she says, “I fell in love with it.”  Being on the team for some time, Nora began to notice some misconceptions many people formulate about members. She believes a lot of people underestimate the sport. When asked to debunk some generalizations, she says many believe “only the nerds do cross country, and they are all skinny and smart.” She believes that “it's unfair to make generalizations of cross country running … it kind of undermines the value of the sport.” She finished off by stating cross country is more than just running, and many factors go into creating a successful athlete, beginning with the relationships within the team.   In any sport, the relationship between the coach and the athlete is crucial. Nora describes the perfect balance as being assertive by challenging the athlete, while also being there during their hardships.   It is important to “treat your athletes not just like runners but also students who have lives outside of running,” she says. Stressing the importance of listening to yourself, Nora believes it is essential to communicate your needs to your coaches.   Shortly after the end of Nora’s first season, she began to encounter physical blocks in her running and workouts. In the beginning, Nora thought it was just “the nature of the sport,” but after weeks of running and an impromptu visit to the clinic, Nora got her blood drawn and was diagnosed with anemia.  After she began to take her iron supplements, Nora started to extensively research several different aspects of running. A common misconception, highlighted by Nora in the interview, was that runners don’t lift — that all the exercise they get is from running. After a spotty summer because of her anemia, Nora began to lift consistently and work on showing up for every practice, run, and workout. “My mom became my coach,” Nora says. Her mom contributed a lot to her running career and continues still to this day, showing up at practices and meets frequently.   Outside of her sport, Nora pursues a strong interest in art and music, a stark contrast to the physical aspect of cross-country. Since the age of 5, Nora has played the violin, has also begun to compose her own music.  She now plays in the high school orchestra as one of the top players. Putting aside her love for music, she has a strong interest in the visual arts, focusing on directing her art towards conserving indigenous wildlife.   She uses various projects to promote wildlife preservation using music to emphasize sustainable environmental changes. Contrary to what is expected of most varsity athletes, Nora does not want to prioritize going Division 1 for cross-country. She is being much more focused on going to a college or university with a solid arts program, running on the side, but is “keeping D1 as an option, filling out the recruit forms.”    When asked if she could give advice to her younger self, she said to “Remember why you are doing this” and that along the way it is “easy to lose yourself.” As she went more in depth, it became apparent that Nora truly loves the community and family that come with the sport. She would say that while getting a fast time or winning a race was a lot of fun and improving was important to her, that one should remember that they start a sport because they love it, and while the “numbers” and “paces” can get to your head, it is important to your original motivation for running. Through the immense achievements Nora Babbit has amassed, she has proven her skills as a capable cross-country runner and as this month’s athlete of the month.


Charlotte Williams scores hall of fame induction

The hall of fame is a renown honor, reserved only for people that have monumental contributions to their sport. A rare opportunity was granted to The Brighton Women’s Varsity Soccer team earlier this fall – to experience a glimpse into the life of an honored soccer alumna and be part of a memorable event for two very important people in Brighton soccer history: player Charlotte Williams and her former high school coach, Rita Kladstrup, who still coaches Women’s Varsity Soccer at Brighton. The team traveled to Albany, accompanied by Coach Kladstrup, to support Charlotte and witness her induction into the 2023 NYS High School Soccer Hall of Fame. Coach Kladstrup remembers Charlotte as “a humble player and a silent leader” that “was part of every goal [they] had back then.” Charlotte, a 2015 Brighton graduate, has been playing soccer since she was around 7 years old, as one of the team’s strikers. She remembers first falling in love with the game during a Brighton Soccer Summer Camp. While going to school in Brighton, Charlotte went through successive levels of play. She began playing on the JV team in middle school, afterwards joining the Varsity team her freshman year. Coach Kladstrup was her mentor throughout her lengthy experience, and Charlotte believes that where she is today, she owes most to her parents and Coach Kladstrup. Charlotte remembers the field as a “safe space” for her, where she was offered a special opportunity to both focus intensely on the game and share a less intense but just as important facet of being on a team – dressing up in ridiculous costumes for team spirit on game days! Charlotte feels that the various events and occurrences that came with commitment to her team allowed her to “grow in confidence and express [herself]”, and that “joining the team gave [her] a sense of belonging that helped [her] navigate high school.”; as well as her passion for excelling in soccer. After excelling in her classes and graduating from her class a year early, in 2018, Charlotte attended college at Penn State, playing soccer under head coach Erica Dambach. Charlotte maintained a certain excitement about the new environment, as she loved getting to be around other players who harbored the dedication and passion for the game that she did. The environment was “intense and competitive,” but she recalls that “game day made all the hard work worth it!” Charlotte mentions that while playing soccer in college is challenging, and “comes with bad tan lines and a whole lot of adversity,” it also comes with an abundance of meaningful connections, valuable memories, and unforgettable lessons. She states assuredly that she wouldn’t have traded it for the world. During her time playing soccer at Penn State, her team won a National Title, which she looks back on as one of her favorite memories. Today, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and enjoys attending pickup soccer games when she can. Charlotte has found a way to work on her passion after steering away from professional soccer, choosing to work in sports media. She possesses a dedication to “[creating] opportunities and [leveling] the playing field in women’s soccer.” After receiving a phone call from Coach Kladstrup about her induction, Charlotte remembers “a major moment of reflection,” where she was able to realize the help she had from people along the way that enabled her to achieve the Hall of Fame honor. The induction took place on September 9th, 2023, where Charlotte, along with various other players and coaches, were acknowledged for their excellence in the game. Charlotte hopes that her admission inspires students to “follow their passions and do what they enjoy” and that young players should always remember “no moment is too big or too small!” She believes that Brighton is a town that “gave her a lot of opportunity and space to do what [she loves].” Perhaps Brighton can remain a helping hand for other young sports players, as Charlotte’s accomplishments are likely to inspire many students, on and off the field for years to come.

Mr. Curtis joins the ranks of past Hall of Famers

The induction of Coach Curtis into the Rochester Red Wings Hall of fame on September 3rd marks a monumental moment for athletics in BHS history. Mr. Curtis currently coaches at Brighton High School and has been doing so for over 30 years. Coaches like him are instrumental in the success of teams and individuals who want a chance in competition at a high level. This is due to the role a coach has in an ambitious environment. A coach’s job on a team is to provide guidance, support, and advice to a team or individual, with the goal of helping them improve at a faster rate. Furthermore, coaches must help a team stay organized and maintain their spirit in times of uncertainty. A team’s success can mostly be attributed to the strategies and help that a coach provides. The Rochester Red Wings are a Minor League Baseball team located in Rochester, New York, and are affiliated with the Washington Nationals. The Red Wings play all their home games at Innovative Field, a stadium in downtown Rochester. The Red Wings were founded in 1899 and are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise besides the MLB (Major League Baseball) in North America. After competing for such a long time, the Red Wings won their first International League in 1966, with Earl Weaver as manager. Their most recent first-place finish in the International League was in 1997, with Marv Foley managing the team. Having grown to be an influential part of professional baseball and the Rochester athletics community over the past decades, The Rochester Red Wings give awards to local coaches who have unique contributions to coaching and baseball. In 1989, they started selecting people deemed worthy of the award. Among one of the first award winners was Joe Altobelli. He is known as a legendary manager among the professional baseball community, and a past manager for the Chica Cubs. Joe Altobelli, along with several other people were elected to the hall of fame because of their significant contributions to professional sports in Rochester. When interviewed, Mr. Curtis stated that he had approximately 3 decades of experience coaching at the high school level, leading both varsity and JV girls’ lacrosse. Considering he has over 430 career wins under his belt over the span of his career, it’s no surprise he is being recognized. Along with his team, he has won 13 Section-V titles and has had 6 state finals appearances. He also stated that he was one of the first coaches in the Rochester area who helped kick-start high school sports in the community. He helped turn a miniscule sports league into a league where competition came from all over Rochester. He aided the development of girls' sports across the board. Mr. Curtis recounts that he maintains his team’s win rate at a high level by utilizing practice time during both the season and off season, explaining that it keeps athletes in peak shape and facilitates the chemistry needed to excel. He remarks on how the extra practice had a major effect on the team’s performance and confidence. He mentioned that he has coached approximately 100 female athletes in Divisions I, II, and III, some of whom have gone on to become very professionally accomplished athletes. When asked about what kind of strategies worked in girls' lacrosse, he elaborated that they have developed plays around switching up defenses, play zones, and trying to recognize who was the best two or three players on the opposite team to ensure they are locked up by defense. These strategies have worked wonders for the girls’ lacrosse team at Brighton, and Mr. Curtis hopes to accomplish more victories in years to come. Due to Mr. Curtis’ immense contributions to athletics in Brighton, sports in our community have bloomed into what they are today, attracting the attention and skills of hundreds of Brighton students each year. He has transformed a minimal league of sports in the Rochester area into a massive and organized unit that touches the lives of thousands of students each year, whether they are participating or cheering on their friends and family. His sacrifices for the sake of the greater health and joy of others is what makes him so deserving of the Hall of Fame.

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