Photos by Tom Rivers
KENDALL – A throng of Kendall community members welcomes home the 2018 Class D state girls soccer champions just before 5 p.m. today at the Kendall Junior-Senior High School.
The Kendall girls won the first team state title in the school’s history today, after defeating Fort Ann 1-0 in a game at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Many fire trucks from Kendall, Holley, Fancher-Hulberton-Murray and Hamlin escorted the team back to the school. The caravan of fire trucks met the team on Route 104 at Redman Road and led them back to the school with detours to Morton and some of the side roads, to extend the trip.
Kendall was going to escort the team back with a fire truck, even if they lost in the semi-finals on Saturday. After winning that game and then taking the championship today, the other neighboring departments joined in the celebration brigade.
“It’s a great way to celebrate the girls,” said Mike Kludt, one of the Kendall fire commissioners.
Fire Chief Mike Schultz put out the call to the volunteer firefighters, “and there was no shortage of drivers,” Kludt said.
Nick Schicker, a member of the fire police for the Kendall FD, helped with traffic control. He has been following the team, which is powered by many underclassmen.
“To pull that off at that young age is impressive,” Schicker said.
The team joins for a cheer in the school cafeteria, where a large crowd celebrated the state title.
Pam Barchet, the Kendall coach, joins the team in thanking the community for their support. About 200 Kendall fans attended the games for the state tournament, wearing Kendall blue and cheering on the team with pom poms and cow bells.
“There was a whole sea of blue in the stands and that really pushed us to make you proud,” she said told the community gathered in the school cafeteria, where a celebration cake was consumed.
Nick Picardo, the school’s athletic director, is next to Barchet. He noted the state championship was the first team title for Kendall. He said the championship will inspire more teams to push more teams to strive for excellence.
“This is the beginning of a resurrection for Kendall sports,” he said.
Roosevelt Bouie, in back behind Barchet, hustled home to Kendall to welcome the team back. Bouie works as a TV analyst covering Syracuse University basketball games. Bouie is a former Syracuse star. The 1976 Kendall graduate also played on four Sectional winning teams for Kendall. Those teams might have won the state title but the season stopped at Sectionals when he played.
Bouie said he still remembers the fire trucks welcoming home the Sectional champs in the 1970s.
“In Kendall the whole town comes out to support you,” he said.
He had to hurry this afternoon to get back to Kendall to be part of the homecoming for the new state champs today. The team arrived about 4:45 p.m.
“This is Kendall, where it all started for me,” said Bouie, holding a blue cow bell to show the team his support.
The bus carrying the team pulls into the main entrance at Kendall with many fire trucks following.
“It was just amazing,” Julie Coble, one of the team’s players, said about the fire truck escort and the cheering crowd that awaited at the school.
The players step off the bus and are basked in praise from the crowd.
Carol D’Agostino, right, takes a video of the team getting off the bus with the crowd giving them an enthusiastic welcome. D’Agostino had tears watching the team and community at the welcome home celebration.
She said about 200 Kendall community members attended each of the weekend games, with the Kendall crowd outnumbering the fans for the other team for the championship. Kendall also sent a spectator bus for both games on the weekend.
She praised the four fire departments for welcoming home the team.
“This is a big deal for our community,” D’Agostino said about the win.
The awards for the team are proudly displayed for winning the Genesee Region League, Regional Champions for Class D, Sectionals and the State Championship.
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