Welcome to MSGVarsity.com's Memorable Mondays, a summer-long series that looks back on the top players, games and moments from the past season and gazes ahead to 2012-13. As the summer goes on, we'll compile all the lists and post them here:www.msgvarsity.com/mondays. New lists will be posted every Monday at midnight.
In Week 6 of Memorable Mondays, we look at five of the best venues in the Hudson Valley.
Charlie Murphy Field (Yorktown HS)
The main athletics field at Yorktown High School was named after Charlie Murphy, who kick-started the Huskers' historic lacrosse program back in 1965. Murphy — a graduate of Princeton University — wrote a $500 check to help foot the bill for uniforms and equipment.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Seventy-six All-Americans have graced Charlie Murphy Field, including current varsity coach Dave Marr. It has served as the home to one of New York State's most decorated programs. The Huskers have won a total of six state titles, which places them third all-time.
Charlie Murphy Field underwent a face-lift prior to the 2003 school year. Artificial turf was installed and the home and away bleachers were swapped from the far sideline to the near sideline. The turf is scheduled to be replaced once again starting late this summer. In addition, a construction of a press box is also underway.
Outside of the sheer history behind the Charlie Murphy Field, it has also been home to one of the area's most raucous fan sections. "The Crop" — which originated roughly four or five years ago — has been a consistent presence at both the lacrosse and football games.
Located over the Tappan Zee Bridge in Monsey, Sport-O-Rama is home to Section 1's most dominant hockey program. The Suffern Mounties, who captured their second NYS D1 state title this past winter, have been virtually unbeatable in the building.
In the last two seasons alone, they are 30-1-1 at the venue. The song "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne — which blares from large speakers as Suffern takes the ice prior to games — strikes fear in the heart of the opposition.
While not as aesthetically pleasing as Rye Playland's Ice Casino, Sport-O-Rama has a no-frills look and feel that just screams "hockey."
When the vast wall of bleachers are packed to the max, there isn't a better place in the Hudson Valley to watch a high school hockey game.
Sport-O-Rama was at its best the past two seasons during the state playoffs. Suffern and Monroe-Woodbury staged a pair of heated battles in front of standing-room-only crowds, with decibel levels maxing out. Per usual, Suffern skated off the ice victorious in both games.
Mount Vernon HS gymnasium
No matter you're sitting in the Mount Vernon gym, you don't have to turn your head much to learn about the history of the boys basketball program. On one end of the gym are the retired jerseys of all the program's greats — Scooter and Rodney McCray, Gus and Ray Williams, Ben Gordon and many more. On the wall behind the benches are the banners of all the Section 1 champions. On another wall are the jumbo-sized portraits of the four New York State Federation championship squads. The Mount Vernon gym is the most storied venue of any in Westchester County and was host to a basketball team that didn't lose at home for 10 seasons. It's also by far the most intimidating venue for an opposing team to play in.
Faller Field (Middletown HS)
The state-of-the-art turf facility opened in 2008. And nothing even close has been built since. The Middletown stadium — equipped with massive seating, new locker rooms, and jumbo TV monitor — is widely regarded as the top outdoor venue at any high school in the state. It has hosted the Section 9 football, soccer and lacrosse championships, as well as several state tournament contests.
Ketcham HS baseball field
The baseball complex at Ketcham High School is great for fans. But it's even better for the players themselves. The field itself is as well-maintained as any in the Hudson Valley. The Indians have the benefit of a "clubhouse" located just off the end of the dugout and a locker room that would rival many minor league facilities. There are leather couches, a big TV, a refrigerator, and other luxuries.
Join us throughout the summer as "Memorable Mondays" brings you more top 5 lists:
Aug. 6: Top five coaches from 2011-12
Aug. 13: Top five most memorable games from 2011-12
Aug. 20: Top five teams from 2011-12
Aug. 27: Top five teams to watch in 2012-13
Find them all at www.msgvarsity.com/mondays.