Jun 01 2015

Diving His Way To The Top

High school senior Evan Moretti saw his diving career come full circle this year. Two days before last February’s Section 1 championships, he won a dive meet and set a new record to break Donnie Callera’s mark that had stood for 11 years. It took Moretti just two more days to break his own record.

Besides the record, we found a deeper connection between Moretti and Callera. Both divers set their personal records while attending and competing for Scarsdale High School. Digging deeper, we found that if it wasn’t for Callera, Moretti may not have become such an accomplished diver.

Callera was Moretti’s first diving coach. At the age of 10, Moretti attended a clinic coached by Callera. The coach invited the student to join the local municipal pool team and Moretti continued to dive “for the fun of it.”

As he entered high school, Moretti was curious to see where better competition and a greater focus on training would lead him. With the encouragement of Coach Callera, Moretti began a fantastic voyage.

Moretti competed with the varsity team during each year of high school, leading the team to four undefeated seasons. This past season, the team won the Conference 2 League 1 championship and a first-ever Section 1 title.

Moretti’s personal bests included the record and second-place finishes at both the state and federation championships. He also was named the Westchester/Putnam boys swimming/diving athlete of the season.

Much more still is to be recorded in the diving career of Evan Moretti. That will continue this September when he competes at Duke University.


May 16 2014

A Study In Determination

Last year, Willie Gabay’s season seemed, finally, to get back on track. Then, boom! Bad fortune struck again.

He had just been promoted to the Hudson Valley Renegades, the short season minor league team of the Tampa Bay Rays that plays in Dutchess County, when he was struck in the face with a ball during batting practice.

This was minor setback for Willie. A few years earlier, he had been cut from his high school team. When asked about it now, he just shrugs it off, feeling the high school experience helped to shape his character and make him a better player. After all, now he is playing professional ball.

Willie did play for his community college team. He pitched well enough to get selected in the 15th round (482nd overall) in the 2012 major League Baseball amateur draft. He throws 90+ miles per hour.

The first season in pro ball on the Rays’ rookie team did not go well. Command issues, especially with off-speed pitches, led to an ERA over seven. Willie worked on his mechanics at an instructional league, where he found a familiar face. A fellow graduate from his high school was a top pitching prospect in the Rays organization. He frequently offered Willie encouragement.

As Willie mastered his pitching mechanics, he improved the command of his pitches. Then, he developed a rotator-cuff injury that slowed his progress. Once that was addressed, he debuted in the Gulf Coast League and quickly was promoted to the Single-A Renegades.

During his first outing, after pitching three strong innings, a circulation problem in his throwing arm sidelined him. Right after that, the ball broke his nose. A little later, some good news came his way—the tests on his arm came back negative.

As we get into shape for another baseball season, I haven’t heard anything more about Willie Gabay. I just hope his 2014 spring training and regular season go smoothly. He sure has the determination to succeed.


Jan 03 2014

Fordham Rams Taste Success

Fordham football has grabbed a lot of local headlines during the last two seasons.

A team effort this past season delivered a regular season 11-1 record, the most successful schedule in school history in the modern era (since 1920). That means the team was better than the days of Vince Lombardi and the Seven Blocks of Granite. All the wins placed the Rams in contention for the 2013 NCAA Division I Football Championship, where they secured a first round playoff win before losing in the second round.

While the 2013 season was a team effort, just a season earlier, when Fordham had a modest 6-5 record, headlines mostly featured one player. Place kicker Patrick Murray credited good coaching and a focused approached for his record-setting 2012 season.

Personal inspiration also had its role. Murray dedicated his senior year to a childhood friend who had been killed in a car accident. Before each game, Murray placed his friend’s initials on tape that he wrapped around his left wrist.

During the 2012 season, Murray hit 25 of 30 field goals, with four from 50 yards or more. He led the team in scoring with 105 points. He was named Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week seven times, and he earned consensus All-America honors.

Murray also ended up on the radar of professional scouts, with about every NFL team asking about him. Since last fall, he has had tryouts with the Giants, Jets and Buccaneers. His NFL future is still undetermined.

Through all this, though, Murray kept up with his studies, knowing that football is such a short moment in a lifetime. He immersed himself in portfolio management and global investing, maintaining a near-4.0 GPA as a finance major at the time of graduation. If football doesn’t work out, he will consider law school.

Patrick Murray will be successful in whichever professional direction he points his kicking toe. He is well grounded and he knows that he just needs to remain focused.