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25 Years Ago in Bonac Sports

Mon, 12/23/2019 - 17:05

December 15, 1994

One of the best football teams in East Hampton High School history was feted Monday night at a dinner in the school’s cafeteria, during which it was announced that the 8-2 Bonackers, the Division III league and playoff runners-up, had won more games than any other football team here, dating to 1923.

. . . A look through the records reveals that the ’94 team is without doubt one of the best East Hampton has ever produced, up there with such teams as those of 1932 (7-1), ’52 (6-0, Little Six champion), ’65 (6-0-1), ’72 (7-2), ’73 (7-2, League Seven champion), ’81 (6-1, League Seven and Suffolk Class B champion), and ’90 (5-2-1, League Eight champion).

. . . It was, in fact, a great fall for Bonac sports, with a county-champion field hockey team for the second year in a row, a county-finalist football team, a co-league-champion gymnastics team, a very improved boys volleyball team, a competitive girls tennis team, growing cross-country programs for boys and girls, and a soccer team that at times had played the most exciting soccer the athletic director, Richard Cooney, had ever seen here.

A rather sparse but enthusiastic group looked on, often in wonder, Friday night as four top-notch badminton players from Miller Place, one of them a former professional ranked 13th in the world, put on an exhibition at the Amagansett School gym.

Dick Baker, who put the exhibition-clinic together, has said badminton is the fastest racket sport, and he probably would have got no argument that night as Steve Butler, a former pro who has an Olympic development program at Miller Place, and three of his teenage protégés gave demonstrations of singles and doubles — mixing power, in the form of wrist-whipping deep blasts, with finesse, in the form of acutely angled drop shots.

. . . “In Asia pro badminton players are millionaires,” said Butler during a break in the lightning-quick action. “They’re like basketball players here. Badminton is the number-one sport in Asia. I used to play four months a year there, in Indonesia, China, Japan, Malaysia. . . . Matches draw from 5,000 to 15,000.”

. . . Butler said he thought badminton was one of the five toughest sports, in terms of its physical and mental demands, in the world — up there with boxing, the martial arts, cross-country skiing, and mountain running, a sport that is popular in Europe.


December 22, 1994

Had he had a couple more able bodies, East Hampton High School’s wrestling coach, Jim Stewart, might well have seen his team capture the Frank (Sprig) Gardner tournament championship for the first time ever on Saturday.

As it was, the Bonackers, who did not field entries in the 112, 119, 167, 177, and heavyweight divisions, came in a close second, 6 points behind Hauppauge, which won the tourney for the fifth year in a row. It was the highest finish for an East Hampton team since the school, where Gardner began his Hall of Fame coaching career in 1927, began holding the tournament in 1975, the year of Gardner’s death.


December 29, 1994

Athleticism in the school system, they say, runs in cycles, like fish, so perhaps it is not entirely a coincidence that the bass and Bonac sports seem to be peaking at the same time.

Arguably, there has never been as bountiful a season sports-wise here — and not just in high school competition — as in the year that is about to pass.

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