Today was an auspicious one at the School of the Arts: NCAA Division I Signing Day at SOTA.
As Principal Brenda Pacheco told the gathering, while SOTA is not usually known for athletic achievements, the school always strives for excellence in all fields. And excellence–scholastic and athletic–was certainly on display.
In a well-attended ceremony, seniors Emma Myrgold and Kenneth Cruz signed Letters of Intent to attend and play for Rutgers University and Canisius College; Kenny at Rutgers for baseball and Emma at Canisius for lacrosse. (More on Kenny and Emma later)
Emma, who will become a “Golden Griffin,” ranks tenth in her class and is a member of the National Honor Society. She recently won the Award of Chemical Achievements given to the top ten percent of students with the highest grades in Chemisty in the Rochester area. Oh, Emma’s pretty good at lacrosse too (and soccer and softball).
As for Kenny, at one point he won an award for the highest quarterly GPA, 4.25, in the entire RCSD. Considered the top local baseball project since Cito Culver was drafted in the first round by the New York Yankees, Cruz Control’s resume speaks for itself. (Kenny did approve and likes the newly-christened nickname I offered.) UPDATE: see SOTA’s Kennt Cruz awaits call from the big leagues. Bill Pucko “borrows” Talker’s nickname: Cruz Control
We were also told that Kenny is a leader on and off the field. Always “Doing the Right Thing” (see blurb), just a few days ago, Kenny took the initiative to break up a hallway fight. I have known Kenny for a few years now. He is as an upstanding young man as he is a great ballplayer.
I first heard about Kenny from East’s coach Kyle Crandall when in April 2013 we were working on a story about his team’s road trip to Pittsburgh. Although Kenny was just starting his freshman season, Kyle said to keep on eye on that kid.
I first briefly met Kenny when I spent a day at SOTA. Looking like a born ballplayer, at first glance Kenny almost resembled a young Alex Rodriguez.
Secretly–or not so secretly–I imagined maybe I could discover the next A-Rod. To help with the story, Kenny and a few of his teammates kindly agreed to meet up for an off season workout at MCC. No off season for SOTA’s rising baseball star. Oh, Kenny also currently has the highest GPA in the entire RCSD.
While, of course, Kenny does not think of himself as A-Rod–he’s Kenny–I saw some glimpses of that Miami kid as Kenny climbed fences, stole bases and knocked line drives to the power alley. And, after the workout, Kenny modestly mentioned his recent citation for the highest District GPA that quarter. I had two stories in one.I met up again with Kenny the next season. Then I learned that Kenny had been listed as the highest ranked outfielder in New York and the 22nd in the the nation. Not surprisingly, SOTA Athletic Director Dave Michelson told me Kenny had already been contacted by the Cincinnati Reds. And big name programs such as Penn State, Ohio State, St. Johns University, Boston College and the University of California were already recruiting.
I caught Kenny in action at games at Cobb’s Hill and East. The Kenny Cruz watch: highest ranked outfielder in NYS, 22nd in the nation (the article also appeared in USA Today)
Later, in City baseball opens; East set to defend title, East’s Coach Crandall’s season preview, Kyle wrote of Kenny; “Cruz is the best player in the City. He is a legitimate presence at the plate as any player in Section V.” Kyle would prove prophetic: East baseball triumphs again; SOTA’s Kenny Cruz named RCAC player of the year
Come Spring we can all sit back and enjoy Cruz Control’s senior season: Kenny driving for another MVP as his Silverhawks look to unseat those East champions. And come next September, I have no doubt Kenny will be an upstanding Scarlet Knight in the lecture hall and on the diamond.
As for the “more on Kenny and Emma,” below the baseball pictures.
At the event, Athletic Director Dave Michelson made it official, telling the (shocked) gathering that Kenny and Emma are actually boyfriend and girlfriend, together now for about three years. You’ll note in the MCC one, Kenny, judiciously, thanked “his girlfriend Emma Mryglod.” So that’s two fields of dreams in one.
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On another recent event at SOTA Our first submission! “November” by Olivia Spenard, Creative Writing program, School of the Arts/