Chamber sports banquet returns to in-person format this year

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Broadalbin-Perth’s Ryan Visco, left, and Mayfield Madison Relyea are pictured after being named Fulton County Male and Female Athletes of the Year last June. The annual Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Sports Award Banquet is scheduled to return to an in-person format for this year’s event on June 1.

JOHNSTOWN — For the first time since 2019, the annual Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Sports Award Banquet will be held in-person this year.

The 35th annual edition of the event is scheduled to take place June 1 at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn.

“I think it’s great that it’s being brought back as an in-person event this year. It brings back a sense of normalcy,” Gloversville athletic director Mike DeMagistris said. “It’s a nice tradition. I think it’s a great thing that the chamber does for the county’s athletes. I’m looking forward to it.”

Former Gloversville High School standout Chris Ciaccio will be the guest speaker. Ciaccio was named the Male Athlete of the Year at the banquet in 1990, sharing the award with Johnstown’s Matt Swedick.

Athletes and teams from Broadalbin-Perth, Gloversville, Johnstown, Mayfield, Northville and Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville will be honored at the event.

Mayfield’s Madison Relyea and Broadalbin-Perth’s Ryan Visco were named the Female and Male Athletes of the Year at last year’s event, which — like the 2020 edition — took place in a brief ceremony outside at the Holiday Inn.

“This is a truly wonderful event for area student-athletes that allows them a unique opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication throughout the years on the playing fields,” Northville athletic director John Karbowski said. “I am so glad to see that this will return to an in-person event this year and look forward to seeing all the best student-athletes the county has to offer together again in one room. To my knowledge, there are not too many counties that honor the student-athletes from area high schools in such a way and we really appreciate the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce continuing to support this special night.”

In the 35-year history of the event, Northville has had its share of success, with three boys and seven girls earning Male and Female Athlete of the Year Awards, respectively.

“Northville has been very fortunate to have had several athletes recognized as the top athlete in the county over the past few years and it means a lot to our school and community,” Karbowski said. “This recognition for our student-athletes is very special and something that they can take with them for the rest of their lives.  We have so many dedicated families, coaches, and student-athletes who continue to allow us to field competitive teams year-in and year-out and when our athletes are recognized as the best athlete in the county, it is a true representation of all of the hard work everyone has done within the athletic program here at Northville.”

Northville’s most recent winner was Brytney Moore, who was named Female Athlete of the Year in 2020. Moore shared the award with Mayfield’s Lindsey Hampton.

The Panthers have won or shared the Female Athlete of the Year Award in each of the last three years with Relyea, Hampton and 2019 winner Taryn LaFontaine earning the honor.

“It means a lot to the athletes and their families. When we have been fortunate to have a winner recognized, it is invariably one that has a great work ethic as well as a wide community view,” Mayfield athletic director Jon Caraco said. “The younger athletes keep an eye on this and it helps to motivate them to try to match that accomplishment. It is a high bar for our student athletes, but previous winners have shown that it is a reachable goal and use it for motivation.”

Five boys and 10 girls from Mayfield have been named Athlete of the Year at the banquet.

This year’s guest speaker, Ciaccio, is familiar with the event having shared Male Athlete of the Year in 1990.

Ciaccio has helped lead IMG Academy into becoming one of the world’s most prestigious sports, performance, and educational institutions over the last 25 year. Charged with developing and growing the IMG brand and business, his job has taken him around the world where he has established offices in China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, and Europe and currently holds the position of senior vice president. 

Prior to working for IMG, an Endeavor company, Ciaccio worked for the Olympic Games early in his career and the University of Georgia where he also received his undergraduate and master’s degree. 

Ciaccio plays an active role in the Tampa Bay business community, where he sits on a number of boards and has been recognized for his contributions for driving economic impact and business growth, including being named to the 40 under 40 businesspeople by the Tampa Bay Business Observer and has received the volunteer of the year award for the Tampa Bay Region by the Florida Economic Development Council. 

Ciaccio played baseball at the University of Georgia and graduated with his master’s degree.

In high school, he was part of sectional titles in football and basketball at Gloversvile, where he is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. Ciaccio also is a member of the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame.

Ciaccio, who was selected in the 41st round 1993 Major League Baseball draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, lives in St. Petersburg, Fla. With his wife, Leigh, and daughters, Brooke and Brynne.

Ciaccio also is one of 11 from Gloversville to have won or shared Male Athlete of the Year at the chamber event. Gloversville has had five girls honored as Female Athlete of the Year.

Broadalbin-Perth has 10 boys earn Male Athlete of the Year honors, including the last two — Dante Calderone (2020 and Visco (2021). The Patriots also have had four girls honored.

Johnstown has had six boys and nine girls earn Athlete of the Year Awards, while Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville had had two boys and four girls honored.

“I think that the banquet is a great function and something that the athletic program looks forward to each year. It is a great opportunity for so many local athletes that have had some success to get in the same room and celebrate each other’s accomplishments,” Caraco said. “Every year, the students enjoy looking at the program for names they recognize and try to find how many there are from the home district. Another nice part of the banquet is the keynote speaker. The chamber does a really nice job of finding someone with local ties. Their speech always highlights what high school athletics meant to them and helps to demonstrate how their participation in sports, and the lessons they learned from that participation, helped them to get where they are.”

Tickets for this year’s event are on sale at the Holiday Inn and chamber office. The cost is $30 per person.

 Fulton County Athletes of the Year

BOYS

2021: Ryan Visco, Broadalbin-Perth

2020: Dante Calderone, Broadalbin-Perth

2019: Jack Brundage, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville

2018: John Fancher, Mayfield

2017: Benjamin Wager, Johnstown

2016: Dylan Klock, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville

2015: Jake Coveney, Broadalbin-Perth

2014: Andre Taylor, Broadalbin-Perth

2013: Joe Nellis, Johnstown

2012: Mitch Vdoviak, Johnstown

2011: Jon Briggs, Northville

2010: Mike VanNostrand, Northville; D.J. Hoagboon, Mayfield

2009: Gabe Wells, Gloversville

2008: Dan Schulz, Broadalbin-Perth

2007: Kevin Kucel, Gloversville

2006: Tom Montano, Gloversville

2005: Kyle Canary, Mayfield; Stephen Tychostup, Mayfield

2004: L.B. McCloskey, Gloversville

2003: Noah Flint, Gloversville

2002: Ben McGuire, Gloversville

2001: John Davenport, Broadalbin-Perth

2000: Dan Cornell, Broadalbin-Perth

1999: Justin DeMagistris, Gloversville

1998: Colin Hughes, Broadalbin-Perth

1997: Jason Doviak, Broadalbin-Perth

1996: Steve Lawrence, Northville

1995: Adam Barnhart, Johnstown

1994: Matt Hemstreet, Broadalbin-Perth

1993: David Clarke, Mayfield

1992: Shawn Flynn, Gloversville

1991: Brian Clawson, Johnstown

1990: Matt Swedick, Johnstown; Chris Ciaccio, Gloversville

1989: Matt Goodemote, Gloversville

1988: Tom Ciaccio, Gloversville

GIRLS

2021: Madison Relyea, Mayfield

2020: Brytney Moore, Northville; Lindsey Hampton, Mayfield

2019: Taryn LaFontaine, Mayfield

2018: Hannah Coupas, Northville

2017: Adelina Brundage, Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville

2016: Kaylee Bumpus, Mayfield

2015: Chelsea LeBlanc, Broadalbin-Perth

2014: Chanel Thomas, Gloversville

2013: Alexis Capasso, Gloversville

2012: Brynn Hlozansky, Johnstown

2011: Jade Woodend, Mayfield

2010: Rebecca Graudons, Mayfield

2009: Chelsea Paul, Northville

2008: Chelsea Gruet, Broadalbin-Perth

2007: Kristen Bouchard, Oppenheim-Ephratah

2006: Kayla May, Johnstown; Kristin Mraz, Johnstown

2005: Katie Lowerre, Northville

2004: Carla Cosselman, Mayfield

2003: Melanie Hamm, Johnstown

2002: Megan Olds, Gloversville

2001: Mary Ellis, Gloversville

2000: Missy Krempa, Johnstown

1999: Kate Underwood, Johnstown

1998: Angie Gray, Oppenheim-Ephratah

1997: Heidi Gifford, Northville; Jill Gifford, Northville

1996: Amber Smith, Johnstown

1995: Cynthia Oppenheimer, Oppenheim-Ephratah

1994: Jocelyn Naple, Broadalbin-Perth; Nicolle Flood, Mayfield

1993: Stephanie Hart, Johnstown

1992: Joanne Einemann, Mayfield; Jenn Groff, Northville

1991: Jeanne Dupree, Gloversville

1990: Stacie Hime, Mayfield

1989: Amy Jane Lilie, Johnstown

1988: Katrina Springer, Broadalbin-Perth

By Paul Wager

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