Due to the Coronavirus shutdown there won’t be a packed house at the historic North Beach location of the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club on May 11 for the club’s Fourth Annual San Francisco High School Awards Banquet.
That means the funds raised from the traditional spaghetti and meatball dinner feasted on by around 300 last year, and that raised $5,000 through ticket sales and donations that went from the SFIAC Foundation (401c3 non-profit) to primarily the Academic Athletic Association/CIF San Francisco Section, and with a portion of the net proceeds also donated to Dante's Boys Foundation, which supports high school baseball in the memory of Dante Benedetti, won’t be raised this year due to the club having to cancel the banquet.
The over 50 recipients in 10 different categories will still be honored on the perpetual trophies at the SFIAC Clubhouse at 1630 Stockton Street and will still receive their individual award plaques.
The SFIAC is 102 years old and is one of the oldest Italian Athletic Clubs in the Country. The awards program is modeled after the Downtown Athletic Club's Heisman Trophy but recognizes the top high school athletes and coaches in the City of San Francisco. Each of the Awards has been named after an Italian-American or Club Member with ties to San Francisco and high character that makes them a great role model for our recipients.
Guests of Honor
The Guests of Honor for the banquet were going to be the following two teams and two individuals, and while the teams can’t be honored next year, Randy Bessolo, the boys basketball head coach at University, and the SFIAC member that coordinates the awards and banquet, says that the two individuals will be carried over to next year’s festivities.
Lincoln and Riordan Basketball Team Seniors – Two teams that had their seasons interrupted by the Coronavirus shutdown.
Harold Abend – San Francisco native and 39-year sports writer and current Associate Editor for Cal-Hi Sports and Senior Editor for Prep2Prep
Jo Ann Momono – Momono is retiring from Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory after serving 30 years as the school’s Athletic Director.
The 4th Annual SFIAC Awards include the following:
The Vince Tringali Football Trophy - Awarded to the best High School Football player in the City of San Francisco. Tringali grew up in North Beach and played football at Galileo and USF. He was a starter on the 1951 USF Team that was “undefeated, untied and uninvited.” Tringali coached football at St. Ignatius High School from 1962 to 1968 and led the Wildcats to a 54-14-1 record including a 19 game winning streak in 1962 and 1963. Tringali and his teams won three AAA Championships, the first WCAL Championship and his 1962 team was selected National Champions. Tringali passed away in 2010 but is still fondly remembered by his former players including NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts. Past winners include Ronald Phelps (Lincoln), Yarvell Smith (Galileo) and Jovan Baker (Lincoln).
The 2019-20 Recipient is Teddye Buchanan of St. Ignatius. Teddye was a two-way senior star playing quarterback on offense and linebacker on defense and led the Wildcats to a share of West Catholic Athletic League Championship and a 9-3 overall record. It is the first Football WCAL Championship by a San Francisco school since S.I. won it in 2006. Offensively Buchanan completed 70% of his passes for 1,785 yards and 18 passing TDs. He rushed 90 times for 557 and nine rushing touchdowns. Defensively the linebacker had 65 total tackles, seven for loss, five sacks, three quarterback pressures, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, while being a punishing tackler in the middle of the Wildcats defense. For his production on the field and his leadership as a team captain, Buchanan was named the Prep2Prep CIF Central Coast Section Player of the Year, San Francisco Chronicle 1st Team All-Metro and San Francisco Region Player of the Year, 1st Team All-CCS by Prep2Prep and 1st Team All-NorCal by NorCalPreps, West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year and1st Team All-WCAL. Teddye and will continue his education and football career next season at UC Davis.
The Kevin Restani Basketball Trophy - Awarded to the male and female players of the year in High School basketball in the City of San Francisco. Restani starred at Archbishop Riordan (Class of '70), University of San Francisco and played in the NBA (Bucks, Spurs, Kings and Cavaliers) and overseas in Italy. After his playing career Restani returned to San Francisco to coach and teach until he passed away in 2010. Past Recipients include: Niamey Harris (Mission), Spencer Spivy (University), IImar'I Thomas (SHCP), Miyah Lewis-Hampton (Leadership), Max Fried (University), and Talo Li-Uperesa (SHCP).
The 2019-20 male recipient is Bryce Monroe of Riordan. Monroe led Riordan to its first WCAL Championship since 2007 as its leading scorer at 20.2 points per game. Riordan advanced all the way to the D1 NorCal Semi-Finals before its season was ended by the Coronavirus shutdown. Bryce, a senior guard, was named to the All-WCAL 1st team for the third year in a row. Bryce scored 44 points in a win over Campolindo-Moraga in the Gridley tourney where he was named to the All-Tourney team, and 34 points in his final game, a win over Vanden-Fairfield in the NorCal quarterfinals. Bryce received Cal-Hi Sports All-State recognition three years in a row, and this year was on the San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro First Team. Bryce started his career at Sacred Heart Cathedral where he averaged 27 ppg as a sophomore. In Bryce’s four year varsity career he averaged 18 ppg and four apg ending with a remarkable 1,958 career points. Bryce will play D1 college basketball next year at Sam Houston State University in Texas.
The 2019-20 female recipient is Clarissa Li of Washington High School. Clarissa was the AAA Player of the Year after the senior led the Eagles to the Academic Athletic Association/CIF San Francisco Section championship for the first time in 19 years.
The Stephen Negoesco Trophy - Awarded to the male and female high school soccer players of the year in the City of San Francisco. Negoesco, who recently passed away, was a long time SFIAC member and coach of the SFIAC Men’s Club Team that won the U.S. Open National Championship in 1976. Negoesco was also the long time soccer coach and former All-American player at the University of San Francisco where the soccer field is named after him. Negoesco is often hailed as the greatest coach in the History of US collegiate soccer winning 544 games and five NCAA Championships. He spent a lifetime as the biggest booster of youth soccer in the Bay Area. Past recipients include: Dominic Galletti (St. Ignatius), Lizzy Wagner (St. Ignatius), Nathan Kushner (St. Ignatius), Kiki Tucker (Lowell), Julio Gonzalez Ponce (Mission) and Lauren Frohan (S.I.).
The 2019-20 male recipient is Dylan Rogers of Sacred Heart Cathedral. – Rogers led the Fighting Irish to their first WCAL Championship in school history. The junior was named the WCAL Midfielder of the Year and first team All-League.
The 2019-20 female recipient is Hannah McCord of Lowell. McCord led the Cardinals to an undefeated AAA Championship and to the NorCal D5 Semi-Finals before their season was ended by the Coronavirus shutdown. Hannah was named AAA Midfielder of the Year. The Cardinals won the AAA Championship all four years Hannah was on the team. In addition Hannah helped Lowell win the NorCal D5 Championship her junior year and the NorCal D4 Championship her sophomore year. The Cardinals senior has received a D1 college scholarship to continue her career next year at the University of Portland.
The Joe DiMaggio Baseball Trophy - Awarded to the player of the year in high school baseball in the City of San Francisco. DiMaggio grew up in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, attended Galileo High School and went on the play professional baseball for the San Francisco Seals and the New York Yankees. With the Yankees Joe was a three-time MVP, an All-Star in all 13 of his seasons, had a record 56-game hitting streak, and was a nine-time World Series Champion. Past recipients include Marty Cole (SHCP), Martin Chavarria (SHCP) and C.J. Pino (Mission).
The 2019-20 Recipient is Colin Clifford of St. Ignatius. – Clifford’s senior season was lost to the Coronavirus shutdown but he is being honored in large part for his accomplishments last season. In 2019 as a junior left-handed pitcher, Colin helped lead the Wildcats to their first CCS tournament appearance in five years and was named All-WCAL. Notably, Colin pitched a one-hit shutout in a 2-0 Victory over Live Oak-Morgan Hill in the CCS playoffs and was named S.I.’s Most Improved Player. He completed his junior year with an impressive 1.57 ERA over 57.2 innings in the highly competitive WCAL. Colin’s baseball career will continue next year in the Big East Conference for Xavier University in Cincinnati. Colin also played football and excelled in the classroom with 3.65 GPA.
The Dante Benedetti Coaching Trophy - Recognizes lifetime achievement by high school coaches in any sport in the City of San Francisco. Benedetti was born, raised and died in North Beach. In addition to coaching baseball Benedetti was a long time North Beach restaurateur. Benedetti attended Galileo, Commerce and St. Ignatius before going on to play baseball and football at USF. Benedetti was the head baseball coach at USF from 1962 to 1980 and won 373 games. The USF baseball diamond is named after Benedetti. Past recipients include: Ronald Isola (Riordan), John Donohue (Lowell), Bob Drucker (St. Ignatius), Ernie Feibusch (Lowell), Steve Franceschi (SHCP) and Marc Christensen (50 years). The 2019-20 recipients are:
Ed Nevius, Balboa baseball and soccer coach and a Balboa alum (1954) – Born and raised in San Francisco, Ed taught for 36 years in the San Francisco Unified School District and retired as one of the most respected coaches in AAA history. In baseball Coach Nevius led the Bucs to 351-113 record in the AAA and 10 AAA Championships. Notably, they won five championships in a row from 1981-85. In 1985 Nevius was named the California Baseball Coach of the Year by the California Coaches Association. He also won two Trans Bay baseball championships. In 13 years coaching soccer, Nevius led the Bucs to 66-26-10 record in the AAA and a AAA Championship plus two Round Robin Championships. The Bucs never had a losing record in baseball or soccer under Nevius. Nevius is member of both the Balboa and SF Prep Hall of Fame. Ed has been married to Dorothy for 62 years and has five daughters, 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Brian Harrigan, St. Rose and Sacred Heart Cathedral basketball – Coach Harrigan, a Sacred Heart alum (1976) is one of the most respected coaches not only in San Francisco but also in the state and nation. As a head coach at St. Rose, Sacred Heart Cathedral and St. Francis, Harrigan led his teams to 703 wins, six WCAL Championships, 11 CCS Titles (10 at SHCP), seven NorCal Titles and four CIF State Championships, including three in a row. His 2008 Team went 33-0, won a CIF state title, and ended the season ranked No. 1 in the nation. Some of his honors include Naismith Girls Coach of the Year, National Association High School Coach of the Year, USA Today Coach of the Year, and Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year. Harrigan is in both the SF Prep and SHCP Halls of Fame. Brian is widely respected as being hardworking, dedicated, honest and most of all caring. A little known fact is Harrigan has been a preschool teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District for 37-years, all at the San Miguel Child Development Center near City College of San Francisco. “Being a native San Franciscan this is a great honor,” Harrigan remarked. “I grew up on the playgrounds in the Richmond District and coached at St. Monica’s, St. Rose Academy and Sacred Heart Cathedral. To be recognized by the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club in the city that I love is very special.”
The Steve Mariucci Trophy - Recognizes the High School Coach of the Year in the City of San Francisco in any sport. Mariucci is a long time member of the SFIAC and was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 1997 to 2002 during which time the 49ers went 57 and 39 and won the NFC West in 1997 and 2002. Mariucci was the head coach at Cal in 1996 and led the Golden Bears to the Aloha Bowl. Mariucci was also the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2003 to 2005 and currently the host of NFL Gameday for the NFL Network. Past recipients include Arnold Zeleya (Mission), Mark Hunyh (Galileo), Carrin Marrs (University), Allan Downey (SI), Phil Ferrigno (Lincoln) and Margi Beima (SHCP). The 2019-20 recipients are:
John Regalia of St. Ignatius Football – Coach Regalia in his ninth year as head coach and 24th overall at St. Ignatius. Regalia led the Wildcats to a 9-3 overall record and 7-1 record in the West Catholic Athletic League which earned the Wildcats the first WCAL championship by a City football team since 2006. The six WCAL wins included victories over league rivals Serra, Bellarmine and St. Francis. The Wildcats also won 28-14 over Sacred Heart Cathedral in the Bruce Mahoney game. St. Ignatius qualified for the top division (D1) in the CCS playoffs beating Archbishop in front of a packed home crowd before losing to Valley Christian in a competitive semifinal game.
Jeff Gardiner of Lick-Wilmerding Cross Country and Track – Coach Gardiner has led the Lick Girls Cross Country team to back to back Division V CIF State Championships in 2018 and 2019. In addition, he also coached the Lick Boys Cross Country Team to a Second Place finish at the state championships in 2018. Both his Lick cross country teams have qualified for the state championship eight straight years with the girls qualifying nine years in a row, a current streak matched by only two other NCS teams in all divisions. During that 8-year streak, the girls have won the Bay Counties League West championship six times and the NCS D5 Championship four times while the boys have won the league championship four times and the NCS D5 Championship twice. The girls have finished in the top six at the state championships every year during their 9-year streak.
SFIAC Athlete of the Year Award – Awarded to the male and female Athletes of the Year. Past winners include Alex Enos (St. Ignatius), Jack Dyke (St. Ignatius) and Lana Radakovic (Lincoln).
SFIAC Male Athlete of the Year – Charlie Kennedy of University Cross Country, Basketball and Track – Although his Senior Track season was cancelled by the Coronavirus shutdown, Charlie had already compiled a remarkable record of achievements in three varsity sports over his 4-year high school career. In cross country Charlie won every regular season meet he ran as a senior and won the Bay Counties League West individual Championship. In the State Meet he led the Red Devils to a fourth-place finish. Notably, Kennedy led the Red Devils to a State Championship in his sophomore season. In basketball Charlie was a senior captain, leading scorer, leading rebounder and first team all-league selection on the Red Devils who were undefeated BCL-West champions and NorCal D4 Semifinalists. This follows his junior year when he was key player on a Red Devil team that won North Coast Section Division V and CIF Northern Regional Division III championships. In Charlie’s three years on varsity the Red Devils won 82 games. In track as a junior Kennedy won NCS championships in the 1600 and 4x400 relay and added a runner-up finish in the 800. As a sophomore Kennedy anchored a 4x800 relay team that ran the 15th fastest time in the Nation. Charlie is running Track at Wisconsin next season.
SFIAC Female Athlete of the Year – Skylar Canady of Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Volleyball – In 2020 Skylar led SHCP to a 27-6 record, a second consecutive West Catholic Athletic League title, a second consecutive Central Coast Section Open Division title and a second Top 10 state ranking while tallying 445 kills. During Skylar’s three seasons on varsity, the Fighting Irish won 83 games. Canady was named WCAL Player of the Year and was also named the CCS Player of the Year and All-State by Cal-Hi Sports. Skylar will be receiving a D1 scholarship and taking her talents to the UCLA Bruins.
SFIAC Athletes of the Year – All of the athletes below are also named SFIAC Athletes of the Year.
Je’Lani Clark of Riordan Basketball – Clark, a four-year varsity player and 3-time All-West Catholic Athletic League selection led the Irish to a 23-5 record, a share of the WCAL Championship and the CIF Northern Regional Division I semifinals before the Crusaders season was ended by the Coronavirus shutdown. Je’Lani was named WCAL Co-Player of the Year and San Francisco Chronicle All Metro San Francisco Player of the Year. Clark will continue his career next year at the University of Nevada
Danny Ryan of St. Ignatius Football and Lacrosse – Ryan was a standout wide receiver this fall in football for the Wildcats. He was named 1st Team All-West Catholic Athletic League, WCAL Receiver of the Year, 1st Team San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro by the SF Chronicle, 1st Team All-CCS by Prep2Prep and 1st team All-NorCal by NorCalPreps. Ryan set a WCAL record for receptions in the 7-game league season with 56. Danny finished the 2019 season as one of the top statistical receivers in California with 86 total receptions for 1,216 yards and 12 receiving TDs. Danny will continue his football career as a preferred walk-on at USC.
Luis Contreras of Lincoln Football – The Mustangs primary running back led Lincoln to a 12-1 record and its second consecutive AAA/CIF San Francisco Section championship and second consecutive CIF State championship. In the CIF state Division 7-AA title game Luis rushed 56 times for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Not only is the 56 carries a section record but according to the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book it is the third highest total in state history. On the season Luis rushed for a remarkable 30 touchdowns and 2,672 yards on 355 carries. Contreras was the San Francisco Chronicle All Metro Co-Player of the Year.
Annabel Schneiberg of Lick-Wilmerding Basketball – Annabel was a sophomore point guard who led the Tigers to their second consecutive Bay Counties League-West Championship and was named Player of the Year. She was also was named San Francisco Chronicle All Metro San Francisco Player of the Year and 4th Team All-Metro. Schneiberg won two tournament MVP awards and averaged 14.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists. The Tigers finished the season with a 29-3 record and ranked 11th in North Coast Section by MaxPreps.
Raymond Russell of Riordan Football and Wrestling – Russell was a star on both the Riordan football and wrestling teams during 2019-20. He was named the Bill Blanchard Most Inspirational Player on the football team and was a West Catholic Athletic League champion in wrestling leading the team to both the WCAL dual meet and tournament championships.
Rachel Harvey of St. Ignatius Basketball – Harvey was a First Team All-West Catholic Athletic League and Prep2prep Third Team All Central Coast Section selection and will play basketball next season at Cal State Northridge
The Angelo “Hank” Luisetti Trophy and SFIAC Student Athletes of the Year - All of the athletes below are named SFIAC Student Athletes of the Year. If there had been a banquet two of the student-athletes would have been given the distinction of being announced as The Luisetti Trophy honorees as the male and female San Francisco Student Athlete of the Year, but because the banquet was cancelled, they are being announced now. Last year’s winners were Lizzie Fleming (S.I.) and Neal Begovich (S.I.)
Luisetti, who passed away in 2002, grew up in North Beach and became one of the greatest basketball players and innovators of all-time. Luisetti is credited with inventing/popularizing the one-hand jump shot in the era of the two-hand set shot. Luisetti starred at Galileo (Class of 1934), leading the Lions to back-to-back AAA Championships and then went on to star at Stanford where he led his team to Pacific Coast Championships in all three years he was on the varsity (1936-38). In 1937 Luisetti led Stanford to the National Championship. Hank became a national phenom after Stanford broke Long Island University’s 42-game winning streak before a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, and then a couple days later scored a record 50 points in a game versus Duquesne. Luisetti was a 3-time All-American and 2-time Helms National Player of the Year. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and Bay Area Hall of Fame as part of both of their inaugural classes. Luisetti was a Naval Officer during World War II and is fondly remembered by his former teammates as being humble and kind.
2019-20 Female Scholar Athlete of the Year – Alden Standley of Sacred Heart Cathedral Volleyball – Standley, as a 5-7 setter, did a phenomenal job leading the Fighting Irish to a 27-6 record and consecutive West Catholic Athletic League and Central Coast Section Open championships. Alden tallied 1,245 assists, 41 aces and 276 digs plus 27 blocks and 33 kills on only 57 attempts. Standley was recognized with All-WCAL First Team honors for the second year in a row and received All-State recognition from Cal-Hi Sports. Academically, Standley was a straight A student for all four years registering a 4.0 un-weighted GPA and 4.52 weighted. Alden will be taking her talents next season to Washington University in St. Louis.
2019-20 Male Scholar Athlete of the Year – Uday Narottam of Sacred Heart Cathedral Baseball. Narottam, a left-handed pitcher, burst onto the West Catholic Athletic League baseball scene as a sophomore going 4-1 with a 1.18 ERA and was named 1st Team all WCAL. Last year Uday had two wins and four saves in 18 appearances, and he started out strong going 2-0 with a 0.91 ERA before his senior season was prematurely ended by the Coronavirus shutdown. Academically, Narottam excelled in the classroom earning straight A’s for four straight years. Uday will be taking his talents to Boston next year to pitch for Harvard.
Additional Scholar Athletes of the Year:
Robert Ciulla – Urban Baseball – Ciulla was a four-year varsity starter at shortstop for the Blues and a two time First Team All-Bay Counties League West selection, including 2018 when he led the BCL West with a .456 batting average. In the first five games of this season, Robert was off to a torrid start hitting .438 with two home runs, two triples, and two doubles with a1.188 slugging percentage. Going into this season Robert’s play was widely recognized including Perfect Game All-California Honorable Mention, Perfect Game All-American Honorable Mention, two-time All-North Coast Section Honorable Mention, Prep2Prep NCS Freshman of the Year, and 2016 USSSA All-American. Robert will play baseball next season at Yale.
Sabina House – Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory Cross Country – House led the Irish to the State Meet for the third year in a row and placed Fifth in the Central Coast Section meet while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA and 4.56 weighted.
Duke Reeder – St. Ignatius Football and Lacrosse – Reeder, a junior, was a two-way standout in his first season playing football for the Wildcats. His high level of play earned him Second Team All-West Catholic Athletic League honors at both defensive line and tight end. Duke is a top national recruit for his 2021 class in the sport of lacrosse. He’s played varsity lacrosse all three of years at S.I. Duke carries a 4.1 overall weighted GPA and has verbally committed to play lacrosse at Cornell.
Mariko Tanaka – Lowell Volleyball – Tanaka, a three-year starter, led Lowell to the AAA/SF Section championship and was the AAA/SF Section Player of the Year. From there Tanaka and the Cardinals then made history after Lowell won its first CIF state championship. Mariko had 12 kills in the CIF state Division III 3-1 title match victory over South Pasadena. Tanaka will play volleyball next year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
As previously stated, the event is traditionally a fundraiser for high school sports in San Francisco with ticket sales and donations to the event going to the SFIAC Foundation (401c3 non-profit), which after paying the event expenses contributes the net proceeds to organizations that support high school sports in San Francisco. Last year’s event raised over $5,000. The primary beneficiary was the Academic Athletic Association (AAA and now also the CIF San Francisco Section) which was founded in 1912 and runs the public school leagues in San Francisco. The past three years the funds have been used to primarily go to purchase new uniforms and equipment. Also, in the past three years a portion of the net proceeds were also donated to Dante's Boys Foundation, which supports High School baseball in the memory of Dante Benedetti. Other charities that support San Francisco High School Sports have and will be considered
San Francisco Italian Athletic Club - One of the oldest and most respected Italian Clubs in the country with a beautiful clubhouse on Washington Square in the North Beach Neighborhood of San Francisco, SFIAC celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017-18. You can find more information at www.sfiac.org
According to Bessolo, the SFIAC is not soliciting donations from sponsors this year given the Coronavirus shutdown, but in past years they were thrilled to have the San Francisco Giants as the lead sponsor and a member of their team. The Giants are great supporter of youth sports in the San Francisco community and three time World Champions since they moved to San Francisco in 1958.
While the SFIAC is not soliciting donations from its past sponsors, some have stepped up anyway, and the club would like to give a shout out to last year’s sponsors
Last year’s sponsors also included:
Original Joe's – Since 1937 Original Joe's has been one of the best Italian-American restaurants in San Francisco. Currently with two locations, including one in North Beach at 601 Union Street, a half a block from the SFIAC. You can find more information at www.originaljoessf.com
Toast Eatery - One of the best breakfast and lunch spots in San Francisco, Toast Eatery has four locations in the City, at 160 West Portal Avenue, 1748 Church Street, 3991 24th Street, and 1601 Polk Street. More information at toasteatery.com
Jane R. Poppelreiter of Paragon Real Estate Group
Advanced Wellness – Personalized Training and Sports Performance
William M. Black, C.P.A.
Pinotti & Associates, Inc.
Capo Isetta Wines – Family winery located in Sonoma Valley
For more information or to assist in the fundraising portion of the awards please contact Randy Bessolo at 415 418 4568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: A significant portion of the content for this feature came from a SFIAC Press Release.