Meet the athletics coaches this fall season

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It has been two years since PSAL held a traditional fall sports season. Following this break in continuity, The Classic spoke to many of the coaches of the Townsend Harris athletics program to introduce and re-introduce them to the community.  

Meet Coach Adel Kadamani – Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Team

Adel Kadamani is a Chemistry teacher at THHS, and this will be his first official year as the Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball coach. 

“I knew about this coaching opportunity from the Phys. Ed. Department and I decided to take the opportunity. The girls have been working to establish a strong way of communicating with each other when it comes to practice, playing, and competing against other teams. My goal is to help the girls on our team explore their potential and grow to become better players every time they step on the court. When they play, I see happy faces, happy hearts, and a happy ball. That makes their day and mine as well.”

 

Meet Coach Matthew Curiale – Boys Varsity Soccer Team

Matthew Curiale is the District 75 Special Education teacher located in THHS. He is the coach of the Boys Varsity Soccer team, the Co-Ed Wrestling team, as well as the Girls Flag Football team. 

I started 12 years ago as the soccer coach. Soccer has always been a passion of mine. After completing my first year as a soccer coach, I was asked to help start the first-ever Girls Flag Football team. We won the City Championship back in 2018, and it was one of my most memorable coaching experiences. I started coaching the wrestling team the year before the pandemic. I love sports and I enjoy working with students that are willing to work hard and try their best on and off the field.”

 

Meet Coach Daniel Largana – Girls Varsity Volleyball Team

Daniel Largana is a Physical Education teacher at the Queens Transition Center. He was previously the coach for the Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball team at THHS, and this is his first year coaching the varsity team. 

“Girls Varsity Volleyball 2021 has been a great season. My expectations were to create an environment where the girls would be able to strive and become the best leaders and volleyball players that they can be. Overcoming the previous and unprecedented spring season, the Varsity girls have been ready to take on the world. Volleyball has become a passion of mine over the years. Starting as the Junior Varsity coach, I always had a strong passion to move into the Varsity position here at Townsend. I chose to coach the varsity volleyball team here at Townsend because the girls are extremely dedicated and always show that they have what it takes to be the best. It is great to coach athletes that have strong dedication and will to learn and play the sport of volleyball.”

 

Meet Coach Adam Stonehill – Girls Varsity Tennis Team

Adam Stonehill is an AP World History teacher at THHS. He has also been a PSAL Coach for over 20 years. He is the coach for Girls Varsity Tennis in the fall and Girls Table Tennis in the winter. 

“My first and foremost expectation for the Girls Tennis Team was that we are all safe and healthy. Tennis is the ideal [COVID safe] sport with social distancing built-in while getting great exercise and having rigorous competition. I really want us to have fun and bond as a team. What was so nice about the team last spring is we were generally a young team (mostly sophomores and freshmen) and bonded quickly. The Tennis spring season was a great opportunity to socialize in a safe and fun manner, allowing the freshmen and sophomores to really begin adjusting to their high school experience, which was interrupted for them both due to COVID-19. We have been very successful as a team the past few years because the athletes work hard both in official practices and on their own. I would sort of label myself a “Jack of All Trades” coach. I have coached, or been an Assistant Coach, for Boys Handball, Boys Track, Girls JV Basketball, Girls Track, Girls Tennis, and Girls Table Tennis over my 20+ year PSAL coaching career. When the position of coach for Girls Tennis opened up, I jumped at the opportunity because it is a sport that usually is an “individual” or “doubles” sport, and the concept of team building in a sport that is not always viewed as a team sport intrigued me. Plus, I knew that the athletes at Townsend Harris have always been hardworking and nice, so I felt that a true “team” mentality could be created and fostered. I think the most interesting thing about me and many of the other coaches is that we try to be multidimensional, well-rounded people. We enjoy sports and see sports as a way to learn great skills and discipline that can be brought to all aspects of our lives. I love the fact that I get to teach Social Studies by day and coach student-athletes by late afternoon. It is a perfect fit for my mentality of what a fulfilling professional life is, and I hope to show others that this way of career satisfaction is possible.”

 

Meet Coach Matthew Lemanczyk – Boys Varsity Badminton Team

Matthew Lemanczyk is a Physical Education teacher at THHS. He is also the coach of the Boys Varsity Badminton team in the fall and Boys Varsity Baseball in the spring. 

“I was so excited to meet some of the newest players that wanted to join the program this year. My expectations for this season were for the team to continue their past success. As a team, we train hard and compete each day we step on the court. I always hope to continue that level of competitiveness and determination. Above all, I expect the team to be a cohesive unit and have fun. I chose to coach badminton because ever since I learned how to play it in Physical Education class when I was younger, I fell in love with the sport. Growing up, there were no badminton teams or clubs to join in my area, so the only exposure to badminton I had was in PE class. When I saw there was an opening to be the Boys Badminton coach here at Townsend Harris, I didn’t hesitate to put in [an application] for it, and I was excited to be awarded the position of head coach. For me, badminton is a very technical, fast-paced, and mesmerizing sport. I enjoy coaching it, playing it, and even watching it. 

 

Meet Coach Maria Assante – Girls Varsity Bowling Team

Maria Assante is a Physical Education teacher at THHS. She is also the coach of the Girls Varsity Bowling Team. 

“We lost seven seniors after the Fall 2019 season, and just like everyone else, lost a season to COVID. It has been a different kick-off for this year’s season, but we have kept up with guidelines and done our best at practices. The expectation was to recruit as quickly as possible and get practices safely underway. There’s no way of ever knowing how many talented bowlers will turn out, but I’m always hopeful, and it usually works out very well. I was able to get this position because the previous coach was retiring, and I was looking to coach a team. I’ve coached various teams during most of my teaching career. Bowling was a nice fit with my life when I first arrived at THHS and [it] still is. The season starts right at the beginning of school, and that can be stressful, but the girls and our time together at JIB lanes are always productive and fun. 

 

Meet Coach Chris Hackney – Boys Varsity Fencing Team

Chris Hackney is a Pre-AP World History, AP Capstone, and former AP Human Geography teacher at THHS. He is currently the coach for the Boys Varsity Fencing team. 

“At the beginning of this season, I feared the survival of the Boys Fencing program at Townsend Harris. We were not able to recruit as many people as we wanted, and we have a small team of ten boys. However, our team has been able to practice a lot this season and grow greatly as a team. The prospects for our season look great for next year, as many of our rookies have been able to improve greatly. I suspected that we would have a record of 6-4 this season, and it seems as if we may reach this expectation, or even do better with a possible 7-3. I have been coaching since the beginning of my teaching career. I was initially a coach for the Girls Soccer team, but I did take a break. I was asked to come back and help shape the Boys Fencing team. Although I didn’t know much about fencing at the time, I was able to learn much more over the years. This team took a few years to get up and running, and before COVID-19, we were able to come second in the city. This was incredibly surprising and has been a highlight of my coaching career.”

 

Hawk Mascot – Photo courtesy of Madeline Cannon, Sports Editor

Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball Team –  Photo courtesy of Emma Lee

Boys Varsity Soccer  Team- Photo courtesy of Coach Matthew Curiale

Girls Varsity Volleyball Team- Photo courtesy of Emily Blickhan

Girls Varsity Tennis Team – Photo courtesy of Fay Wong

Boys Varsity Badminton Team – Photo courtesy of Sean Zhou

Girls Varsity Bowling Team – Photo by Jada Burton

Boys Varsity Fencing Team – Photo courtesy of Matthew Algeni

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