Heather transferred to Cazenovia as a junior in the fall of 2002, and made an immediate impact on the cross-country, basketball and track teams. I recall watching her first home basketball game for the Lakers and seeing her execute a low post fake, drop step and shot off the glass, and thinking there probably wasn't another player in Section III who could do that as well. She was a mainstay on the cross country and track teams, still holds 5 school track records and capped her high school athletic career by winning the Section III and NYSPHSAA Pentathlon, making her arguably one of the best high school athletes in New York State in 2004.
Heather credits her teachers at Cazenovia with helping her make the transition from Valley Stream on Long Island to upstate New York, particularly Mr. Schug and Mr. Wheeler, and also lists Mr. Wheeler as her favorite coach. All the Stecs said there was a major culture shock coming from an area where you could ride your bike to almost anything to one where most things are miles away, including school, and you have to get there by car.
Behind this group of exceptional student-athletes there are, of course, committed and supportive parents. The kids all mentioned how much they appreciated their parents' help and support, and talked about the "large calendar" which listed all their activities, who had to be where and at what time. Gail and Ken Stec have been fixtures at Cazenovia sporting events since 2002, and when Ashley graduates it will be 9 years of loyal attendance at at least 10 different sports.
The four also mentioned they watched each other as often as they could; although a couple of them mentioned they didn't quite get the point of seeing only the beginning and end of a cross country race.
So with the 2011 Cazenovia graduation the last of the four Stecs will have moved on, leaving a myriad of memories and marks. I'm certain they all have and will continue to make the Cazenovia community proud of their achievements and service.
Ed Roickle is an assistant varsity softball coach and a guest columnist for the Cazenovia Republican.