NIGHT of the FALCON Puts a Cap on 2018-19

NIGHT of the FALCON Puts a Cap on the 2018-19 Season
Posted on 06/04/2019
NIGHT of the FALCON Puts a Cap on the 2018-19 Season

The Flatbush HS Athletic Department honored the 31 Varsity and Junior Varsity teams and their student-athletes on Tuesday night (6/4), gathering in the Khezrie Auditorium to hear reflections on the season that was and to celebrate the achievements of each team and to recognize the top performances of the players on each of those teams and individual team awards were presented along with the awarding of the top Male and female Senior Student-Athletes from the graduating class of 2019 of the Yeshivah of Flatbush in Brooklyn, NY.


The evening’s festivities got underway with a preliminary mazza reception in the old Beit Midrash. Early arrivals shared the appetizers along with reminisces of the season just completed. Everyone soon migrated across the hallway and into the Auditorium for the annual athletic awards program.

 Mazza! Teammates
Gathering for the awards memories!

Student-Athletes, coaches, school staff and community members were warmly welcomed by Athletic Director Eric Amkraut, who shared that at the core of the Flatbush program sits the student-athletes; that it is for them that all involved work to provide meaningful and lasting experiences. He addressed the assembly and shared words of inspiration – some from well-known figures in the sports world and others from anonymous sources – that he shared “will serve you well when you face difficult challenges.” Here are a few of those thoughts:

• "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden

• "The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." - Vince Lombardi

• "I am the greatest. I said that before I knew I was." Muhammad Ali

• "Success is dependent upon effort." – unknown

• "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." - Vince Lombardi

• "Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done the best way it can be done, and do it that way every time." - Bob Knight

• "If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you'll never change the outcome." - Michael Jordan

-And lastly: • "Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game." - Michael Jordan

 Mr. Amkraut shares words of inspiration

Mr. Amkraut noted that the Department is always seeking to improve the program, and a major part of that this past year was the addition of a new member to the Department staff in Assistant to the Athletic Director David Dweck. Mr. Dweck then addressed the audience, sharing how impressed he was in this his initial year with the competitiveness and desire of many of the student-athletes with whom he interacted with all season long, and how much he looks forward to seeing the program grow and develop into the future.

 David Dweck

Mr. Amkraut built on that message of continued advancement to share a number of highlights of the overall program from 2018-19. They included: the implementation of a new interactive online sports schedule that coincided with the reboot of the entire school-wide website; the re-introduction of outdoor soccer to the pantheon of Falcon Athletics; international competition with teams from Israel and Australia; team travel to tournaments in basketball for the girls in Miami Beach and the boys in Memphis along with the first-ever trip for boys soccer to North Miami Beach; continuing efforts to provide chesed opportunities as student-athletes with a major effort demonstrated by the large boys and girls JV and varsity basketball teams joining to prepare food for the needy through “Cooking for a Cause.”

That was followed by one of the highlights of the event, as a pair of graduating senior student-athletes addressed their classmates and teammates in reflecting on their four years as Flatbush Falcons. Julie Saadia and Eddie Lincer were amazing and outstanding in communicating exactly what it has meant, from starting out as timid freshman to reaching the present where they are confident and proud Senior Falcons. They shared the significance of being part of a team and the benefit of the friendships they developed along the way, and each paid homage to the various coaches who guided them along the way (the full content of each of the respective presentations can be found at the end of this review).

 Julie Saadia Eddie Lincer

The attendees then were entertained by images and video clips from the various Falcon teams, set in a montage to music (special thanks to Jonathan Baum for his amazing effort in putting together the video presentation). That was followed by the recognition of each school team, including a recap of the season by Director Amkraut along with respectively thanking each team’s coaching staff and team captains and finishing with the presenting of the superlative awards for each team (the awards included: Most Improved Player, Coach’s Award, Sportsmanship Award, Newcomer-of-the-Year and Most Outstanding Player).

There were three special awards presented at the end of the night. The first was the Falcon Award. This is an award that is presented only on special occasions. This year, the recognition was given to Ms. Evelyn Shterenzer. Coach Shterenzer retired during the summer due to family concerns which required her to relocate to South Florida. But, in her numerous years of dedication and commitment to the students of the Yeshivah of Flatbush, she touched the hearts and competitive souls of hundreds of young Falcon student-athletes – many of whom returned to coach at the Yeshivah after their playing days under Coach Shterenzer had come to an end. Of Coach Shterenzer, Mr. Amkraut said, “The number of student-athletes who have had been molded by the love, dedication and commitment to excellence of this individual is incredible and her positive impact on their lives is virtually immeasurable.” In a message of acceptance of the award shared earlier in the day, Coach Shterenzer noted, “I am so very grateful and honored to receive this recognition. It is no secret that Flatbush is my family, and this has been a very difficult time for me, so where I am right now is really all about the sunshine. Thank you all so very much for what each of you has given me in allowing me to coach you. This is just a very meaningful honor!”

Evelyn Shterenzer coaches her girls Evelyn Shterenzer shows her support for Flatbush Athletics 

The final awards of the night were to the top male and female Senior Student-Athlete. This year, recognition was given to two individuals who though differing in style clearly exemplified what it means to be a team leader – both on and off the field of competition. Each played a key role in bringing high levels of performance and captaincy to new programs in the department while continuing to show exactly what it means to be a student-athlete. The awards for 2019 went to Sarit Alkadaa and Sol Laniado!

 Athletes of the Year
Sarit Alkadaa & Sol Laniado

After the conclusion of the program, all were invited to a dessert reception in the old student lounge. There, all award winners were presented the actual trophies and plaques. It was a final time to celebrate with teammates and coaches the joys of the 2018-19 athletic season!

Kassin & Dweck Saadia & Motovich
Coach Black with Perry Sanders

(Special thank you to Paula Berkovitz for her A/V work in producing the program and to Stella Lessler for select photos from the event)


Julie Saadia –
“Freshman year, as many of you know, is a whirlwind. Not only are you adjusting to the new way things work, but you are also trying to create relationships and bonds that will last a lifetime. I saw an opportunity with the Flatbush Falcons. I wanted to separate myself from the pack and put myself out there. I decided to try out for as many teams as possible. Throughout my freshman year, I tried out for every team and made 5 - volleyball, soccer, tennis, cross country and track. Basically, everything except basketball. That was where I began to make a name for myself. As freshman year went on, it dawned on me that being on so many teams was just unhealthy for my mental and physical health. I realized soon after that running was my true passion. In the winter, the cross country team is what I shifted my primary focus to, but at first it was disorganized. Since it was a new team, there were constant coaching changes, inconsistent practice times, and an unpredictable running field. Times began to get better, however, when Coach Black took over as the head coach of track and cross country. As a team we understood that we needed to buckle down and get this team back on track. The girls team won first place at every single meet and went undefeated for multiple straight seasons. As individuals, we placed top 3 numerous times. And best of all, I met my running partner that I still run with today and will continue to run with after high school! The running teams becoming more organized paralleled my growth. I met so many new people. During the 25 minutes of each cross country meet Sarit, my running partner, and I did a lot of silent bonding. Additionally, going to practices and meets helped me manage my time better. It doesn’t even end there. In the spring season, my focus was being part of the soccer team. It was full of victories, losses, laughs, and sobs. Playing full games as goalie grew both my physical and mental stamina. With the help of our coach Edie Koslowe I was able to play to my full potential. I learned to coordinate with a team and I met so many new people of all ages.
I’m really going to miss all of our private jokes, our bus rides, and our on-the-go dinners. My friends really encouraged me to play the best I could. Being a part of a team is something that will never leave my memory and I have built friendships that will last way past high school.
I would like to thank our Athletic Director, Eric Amkraut, for always allowing us to play the sports we love throughout high school and giving us this opportunity to grow as an individual. I would also like to thank Coach Black for pushing me to do my best. I would like to thank Coach Edie for being the funniest coach and for always keeping us motivated. I would like to thank my mom and dad for waiting up for me to come home from games and being part of numerous carpools before I started driving. Last but not least, my teammates, in specific, Sarit Alkadaa and Vivian Durzieh. Thank you guys for always being there for me and always pushing me at all our meets and games. I love you guys and can’t wait to continue our friendships for years to come.”

Eddie Lincer –
“ I would like to thank Eric Amkraut for giving me this opportunity to speak. On behalf of all of my teammates and myself, I would like to thank coaches Mike Gurock, Gus Kennedy, and Dave Simhon for their tireless effort to make us a better team, better teammates, better players, and most importantly better men. The bonds formed between the players are special ones. When I was a freshman and I saw one of my sophomore teammates in the hallway, it didn’t matter that I was a scrawny little freshman and he was a sophomore, he was one of my boys.
The tournaments to Pittsburgh, Boston, Hausdorff, and flying to Memphis turned those friendships into a brotherhood and are trips we will never forget. Friday night dinner, which my mother so kindly hosted the whole team and coaches, showed that the bond lasted even after the season was over. The lessons that our coaches have taught us are not only about basketball, but extend far beyond it. They taught us the importance of effort, diligence, focus, and hard work. Tthese lessons are not only about beating Magen David and HAFTR, but are life lessons that you can use to guide yourself to greatness. I know that I will use these lessons in college and further. I hope that my fellow Falcons will use these lessons as well. These last four years have literally flown by. It feels like yesterday I was sitting on the bench scared as a freshman, feeling scared that coach would call me into the game, and now I’m here passing on my knowledge and past experiences. If it wasn't for the coaches feeding me confidence throughout my high school career, I’m not sure I would have made it out of JV.
Our school has a few hundred students in it, and yet our team only consists of fourteen of them, so you can see what it takes to be on the team in this school. Being on this team was a privilege, and was an honor to wear the maroon and gold.”

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