BATAVIA — Over the years, Batavia High School athletics have enjoyed an immense amount of success which has coincided with countless Blue Devils’ athletes continuing their playing career at the collegiate level.
Last year, BHS saw seven sign on with various Div. I, Div. II and Div. III programs, a solid number for a program which won numerous sectional titles during the ‘18-’19 season. This season, the Devils more than doubled that number, as they look forward to seeing 17 of their own move on to play their chosen sport in college.
Sarah Adams | Daemen College | Track and Field
Adams plans to attend Daemen College where she will join the track and field team as well as the physician assistant program.
“I chose to attend Daemen because of its great program, small campus and tight community and it is still close to home,” said Adams.
Adams went on to mention how she was motivated to further her athletic career in college.
“Throughout my track career, both Coach (Bill) Buck and Coach (Nick) Burk have influenced me the most,” said the Batavia senior. “Coach Burk has been my jump coach for years and puts all his effort into bettering me and helping me achieve my goals. Coach Buck has always been the coach that everyone goes to when they need one of his talks, he aims to inspire and he really gets to know his athletes.”
Before she heads off to the next level, Adams wanted to leave current and future BHS athletes with a bit of advice.
“Being part of a team is one of the greatest things about high school,” she said. “One should get to know (their) teammates and coaches to enrich the experience and ultimately it will result in a better outcome for your team.”
Margaret Andersen | U.S. Air Force Academy | Track and Field
Andersen will further her track and field career at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I chose to join the service over a traditional college route because I want to be a part of something bigger than myself,” said Andersen. “And the US Air Force will allow me to help aid people across the US and around the world.”
Andersen’s inspiration in track and field dates back to her days in elementary school.
“My elementary gym teacher and high school coach, Coach (Dan) Geiger, influenced me to become all that I could,” she said. “He motivated me to work toward better rather than perfect in throwing even starting much weaker than our upperclassman throwers at the time.”
Andersen’s message to BHS athletes is simple.
“Even if you aren’t that good now, you can be,” she said. “Talent alone will never trump hard work.”
Matt Beach | Mansifeld University | Football
Beach will be headed out of state to join the Mansfield football team. Beach says his father was a primary influence which helped mold him into the player he is today.
“He always pushed me to be my best at the game (that I love),” said Beach.
The Batavia senior may be moving on to college, but he says that great memories from his time at Batavia will always remain.
“I will remember the super hot doubles, playing all the way to the state championship as a junior, and just traveling as a team and winning games,” he said.
Beach, who had to work his way to the top in each of his sports, has a bit of lasting advice for younger athletes everywhere.
“From the start you have to grind and work hard to go somewhere,” he said. “Time flies by when you’re having fun.”
Arianna Brown | Roberts Wesleyan College | Track and Field
Brown has enjoyed great success as a member of the Batavia track and field program and hopes to do the same at Roberts Wesleyan College.
“I chose (Roberts) because it is a decent distance away from Batavia and it has a good nursing program and track team,” said Brown.
Brown’s coach, Bill Buck had a major influence on her decision to peruse track and field at the next level.
“He has been a great mentor and coach to me and has shown me the beauty in my sport,” she said.
Brown also has a message for future Blue Devils.
“Always push yourself to be the best athlete that you are,” said Brown. “Amplify everything and trust the process because I promise you, hard work pays off.”
Irelyn Curry | Genesee Community College | Softball
Curry helped hold down the circle for Batavia’s softball team the past few seasons and will remain in Batavia as a member of the Cougars’ softball team next spring.
“I feel like my senior year was cut short and I thought I was done with softball but softball isn’t done with me,” said Curry.
Curry believes that, without her mother’s support she wouldn’t have been able to reach this point in her chosen sport.
“She has always came to my games and cheered as loud as she could,” said Curry. “She’s definitely pushed me to be my best.”
Curry leaves future BHS athletes with a bit of advice.
“Have integrity,” she said. “Push hard when no one is watching. You will be recognized for you work one day and when that day comes it will all be worth it.”
Erica Flint | Alfred University | Soccer
Flint will be headed to the southern tier where she will study at Alfred University and join the soccer team.
“After meeting the coach and touring the school I realized it was a perfect fit,” said Flint.
Flint says she would not be college ready if it weren’t for the great coaching staff at Batavia.
“I was most influenced by my coaches because they always pushed me to my limits and always made me try harder,” she said.
Flint wants to remind BHS athletes that in order to become successful, half the battle is enjoying the sport you’re playing.
“Always try your hardest everyday and remember to have fun,” she said.
Joe Gefell | Brockport | Track and Field
Gefell enjoyed a successful multi-sport career at Batavia, but has decided to choose track and field as the sport he will pursue at the College at Brockport.
“Coach Burk influenced me the most in track and field and always pushed me to be the best athlete as I could even when I thought I couldn’t be any better,” said Gefell about his inspiration to continue running track in college. “During my time in Batavia I’ll always remember how track was a family more than a sport.”
His advice to future athletes is simple.
“I’d tell them to enjoy every last bit of it, sports, school, or assembly’s - everything,” said Gefell. “Because time flies and have as much fun as you can with your best friends and reach the personal records you want to achieve.”
Garrick Havens | Bryant and Stratton College | Soccer
Havens helped lead the Batavia boys soccer program to growing success over the past few seasons and hopes to enjoy the same success at Bryant and Stratton College where he will join the Bobcats on the field.
“It’s close to home and they helped a lot financially,” said Havens. “I also feel confident that the coaching staff will build together a great team.”
Havens leaves Batavia athletes with a bit of advice he believes can help carry them through their own athletic careers.
“Just work as hard as you can all the time and not to take anything for granted,” said Havens. “Do what you love and don’t let anything hold you back because you never know when it all can be taken away from you.”
Jake Humes | Onondaga Community College | Baseball
After having his senior season on the diamond taken away, Humes will extend his baseball career at Onondaga Community College next spring.
“I chose OCC because of the amazing location and for the amazing facilities and courses offered,” said Humes.
Humes inspiration to pursue collegiate baseball dates back to his days as a youngster.
“My great grandpa used to play and he has always taught me lessons to help me improve my game,” said Humes.
His advice for future athletes is that they should have fun playing the sport they love.
Andres Mateos | Alfred State College | Soccer
Hoping to extend his playing career another four years, Mateos will study business administration at Alfred State while also hitting the soccer field as a Pioneer.
“The main reason I chose Alfred was that it was the best financially,” said Mateos. “Also when talking to the coach we both had similar ideas on how we can achieve success”
Mateos’ coaches throughout high school helped push him to pursue collegiate soccer, he says.
“I would have to say all of my coaches influenced me the most because they were always pushing me to do my best,” said Mateos. “My message to future athletes would have to be enjoy every moment with your teammates because senior year comes faster than you think and once you’re done then that’s it so enjoy it.”
Katie Moore | University of South Florida | Soccer
Excited for what’s ahead, Moore is looking forward to joining the soccer team at the University of South Florida next season.
“I chose this school because the location, academics and the successful soccer program,” she said. “My mom has influenced me the most in soccer. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Moore went on to describe exactly how her mother pushed her to become the best she could be.
“She put me through eight years of club soccer and drove me an hour to every practice no matter the weather,” said Moore. “I am so thankful for that. Even with everything going on she still finds time to come and practice soccer with me.”
Moore says it may not be easy to pursue a sport in college, but its doable.
“If you want to play a collegiate level sport then you need to join a club and expose yourself beyond the school season,” she said. “Hard work does pay off and anything you set your mind to is possible.”
Ben Paserk | Buffalo State College | Football
A former soccer player, Paserk found his niche when he joined the Batavia football team as its kicker a few years ago. Now, he will move on to Buff. State where he will pursue his kicking career even further.
“The decision was a easy one for me because it was close to home and I can continue my study towards my degree in graphic design,” said Paserk. “ My family was my biggest influence for encouraging me to challenge myself and to work hard to be the best I can be.”
Paserk explained his transition from soccer to football.
“I grew up playing soccer and when I kicked a football for the first time, I knew that was my destiny,” he said. “My message to future BHS athletes is don’t limit yourself to what you know, step outside the box and give something new a try. Your dream can become a reality.”
Maiya Reinhart | Herkimer Community College | Softball
Reinhart set plenty of records during her time at Batavia and now hopes to do the same at Herkimer CC before transferring to a four-year school.
“I chose this college because they have a great softball program with great coaches and teammates,” said Reinhart. “I can’t wait to be a part of this amazing program with the hopes of becoming a stronger and more talented athlete.”
She says that HCC also fits with what she wants to pursue academically.
“I also chose this school because I’m going to study childhood education and they offer a program,” she said. “Herkimer will be a great stepping stone for my college and athletic career.”
Reinhart cited her family and friends as her primary inspiration in both of her pursuits.
“My family, friends, and coaches have really been my biggest supporters they have all helped me to see why I love the game so much,” she said. “They will always be there cheering me on.”
Reinhart has seen it all during many years of varsity sports, and she hoped to pass on a bit of knowledge to younger athletes before advancing to the next level.
“The message I want to share with the future BHS athletes is, you can do anything you want to do as long as you set your mind to it,” said Reinhart. “You have to be dedicated, you have to have passion and love for your sport, and you have to be coachable and a good teammate to become the best athlete you can be.”
Reinhart went on.
“You have to have goals and dream big because the sky is the limit and nothing is impossible,” she said. “Have fun and make the most out of your time as a Blue Devil because the time really does fly by.”
Alex Rood | Geneva College | Football, Track and Field
A multi-season star, Rood couldn’t pick just one sport to play in college, as he will head to Geneva College where he will join the football team and track and field team.
“I chose Geneva because I felt it was the best place for me right now to succeed in athletics and academics,” said Rood.
His message to BHS athletes is to not take any year for granted because time goes by faster than you think.
Mario Rosales Jr. | Canisius College | Track and Field
It wasn’t an easy choice for Rosales Jr., but in the end he settled on Canisius to pursue his love of distance running.
“It’s a running program that has shown great success and dominance in the Western New York region,” said Rosales Jr. about his new school. “I have a lot of faith in the coaches and the program that they have built over the years.”
Rosales Jr. will join the track and field team for the outdoor and indoor season, along with the cross country team.
“Two people that greatly influenced me in this sport were my mother and Batavia track coaches Nicholas Burk and Richard Boyce,” he said.
He says his message for future athletes is to keep trying.
“Failing is inevitable, however, don’t let it be for a lack of effort,” he said. “Enjoy your sport because you’ll never know when it’s taken away from you.”
Josh Weis | Alfred State College | Soccer
Weis will be heading to Alfred State to join the soccer team and is excited about the environment that has been created there.
“It’s a great school for my desired major,” said Weis. “The people who influenced me the most were my coaches throughout the years, most notably Brandon Every, and Jeremy Havens, they were able to keep me going throughout the ups and downs of the season.”
He advises future athletes to never play with regret,as you only get a small number of games throughout high school.
“Don’t waste them,” advised Weis.
Camden White | Mercyhurst University | Football
White was a multi-sport star at Batavia, but decided to pursue football during his college career.
“I chose Mercyhurst because it felt like home,” said White. “And on top of that I received almost a free ride to a very prestigious school for my selected major.”
White credits his coaches for his success on the gridiron.
“Every one of them taught me so much from the game, to lessons and things I can use in the real world,” said White. “They focused on development and making you a better man as much as they focused on winning.
White added that he wouldn’t be the man he is today without sports.
“Sports can teach some serious mental health and life lessons,” he said. “If you’re not an athlete, go try out for a team and if you are, then when times get tough don’t quit and give up - keep working.”