Tony DeMayo has been coaching Ice Hockey in Massapequa for over 30 years and understands what it takes to make up a successful team. But DeMayo was pleasantly surprised when the Massapequa Chiefs Varsity squad captured its first New York State championship defeating upstate powerhouse Lancaster, 3-1, early this month.
The Chiefs, who qualified for the state finals for the third straight season, also finished third place during the regular season and won the Town of Oyster championship.
For DeMayo, winning the state crown was the ultimate reward because his team spent the entire year executing the basics and sticking to the fundamental of the game.
“This was very big for us,” DeMayo said. “I didn’t have any stars on the team, just a group of kids who come to play real hard every game.”
DeMayo is confident about the chances of a repeat because many of his squad will be back next season. “We had 11 seniors on the team this year but we have 14 returning players next year for a very good core," he said.
The Chiefs featured the league's only female goal tender, junior Dana DeMartino, who completed 26 saves in the championship game.
Joe Caraciolo added another state championship to the trophy cases at Massapequa High School after the New York State Public High School Long Jump title.
The senior, who also won the Nassau County Track & Field Athlete of the Year award, jumped 22-feet 6-inches in the state track meet. That jump also broke his own Massapequa High School record by four inches.
Caraciolo set seven individual school records for the Chiefs this season. In addition to the long jump, he also holds the school record in the 200 meters, the 300; 400; and 600, as well as the triple jump. He is a co-holder of the Chiefs' record in the 55-meter dash.
Coach Rich Degman is especially proud of Caraciolo’s accomplishments because last season he had a broken foot and did not get the opportunity to participate in the final track meet.
“I bust Joey’s chops all the time and tell him that it’s nice that you won state, but you still owe us two county championships,” Degman said.
“But he spent this whole year doing everything right. From training and preparing and to be awarded with the season’s sportsmanship award is pretty cool.”
In addition to honoring Caraciolo for sportsmanship, Nassau County also honored Degman, and girls track and field coach Mike Lisa with the Coach of the Year award.