The Believe to Achieve Awards recognize meritorious contribution to the Central New York Sports Community. Believe to Achieve was founded by Gary Bugenhagen, Syracuse Sports Corporation member and former Syracuse University football player. The presentation of these awards marks the hard work and commitment of individuals and teams whose contributions to Central New York are immeasurable.

2016 Fall Awards

Individual Female Athlete Award

Individual Female – Brooke Rauber – Tully – Cross Country

Brooke’s significant achievements from the past season included winning the Class D Section 3 Meet and NYS Class D State Cross Country Championship, placing 4th at the NYS Federation Meet, NYS 8th Grader of the Year, 1st Team All-State 9th Grade record holder at Lehigh University Cross Country Invitational, 8th Grade course record holder at at Chenango Valley State Park and course record holder for the Tully Invitational. The advice she would give to younger athletes? “Be patient, everything will happen at its own time. Push through hard times, it will get better if you just believe in yourself. The philosophy that Brooke lives by: “Never give up!!”

Hal McGrath Individual Male Athlete Award

Ty Brownlow – Liverpool Cross Country

State and Regional Champion, Runner of the Year & All-American (14th at Nike Nationals and Saucony Flo50; top 25 post-season individual ranking nationally) were among Ty’s individual achievements along with Sectional Champions, 3rd place at NYSPHSAA Cross Country Championships, 2nd place at Nike Cross Country Regional Championships and 9th at Nike Cross Country Nationals rounding out his team accolades for this past season. Ty’s favorite memories: “Through very hard work and a determination that never died, this rag tag bunch of guys achieved their goal to travel to Nike Cross Country Nationals in Portland, Oregon. Not only was that trip and all that had led up to it my favorite memory of the year, but also a memory I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” The following quotes exemplify what Ty tries to live by each and every day: “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” – Bob Marley; “Champions aren’t made in gyms, champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will but the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali

Coach Award

Paul Hemsley – Bishop Grimes High School Girls Soccer

This past season, Coach Hemsley’s highlight was making sectionals with a team that was not expected to win a game. In his words “I love it when kids pull together to overachieve!” His favorite memories of the season were taking MPH to overtime, playing with only 10 girls and at times with only 9; looking back at 39 years of coaching and appreciating the entire 2016 team, and all the women who played during my career! The advice he would give to up and coming athletes? “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!”- Jim Valvano, 1993

Reed Hawke Excellence in Sportsmanship Award

Robert Weismore – Westhill High School Varsity Baseball

Bob’s significant achievements from the past season included the team getting to the sectional finals for the 12th time and winning the league championship for the 14th time. His favorite memories of the past season were realizing that it was probably going to be his last season and reminiscing with the players on what the program had accomplished in 16 years, including two (2) state championships, 8 sectional titles, 14 league titles and 328 wins. The advice Bob would give to young, up and coming athletes: “Play for the love of the game and be a team player.” Bob’s philosophy that he lives by: “Never give up on anyone. It’s not the destination, but the journey you will remember in sports.”

Barbara Henderson Female Team Award

Fayetteville-Manlius Girls Swimming

This past season the F-M Girls Swimming Team was undefeated, and was named CNYCL Champions, Class A Champions & George Farwell Cup Winners. (The first team in history to win the cup without sending anyone to states - won on depth alone) The obstacles they overcame included no pool and late practice times. Their favorite memories of the past season were having their team continue to grow as a family and allowing the seniors to go out on a perfect season/sectional title. Their team motto: ”Never quit. If you can stop dreaming about it, then don’t stop working for it.”

Joe LaGuardia Male Team

Cicero-North Syracuse Boys Volleyball Team

The C-NS Boys Volleyball Team’s significant achievements from the past season included a 20-1 overall record, (they did not lose one set to a Section III opponent) winning the Williamsville South Tournament in Section VI, CNYCL Champions, Section III Champions, Regional Champions and while at the state championships, receiving the NYS Sportsmanship Award, as voted by the Association of Volleyball Officials. The challenges the team overcame: Molding together a team of seven returning players who dedicated themselves in the offseason to one goal – winning a state championship, with seven new varsity players who were trying to find their role on the team. This team’s philosophy: “Do the right thing in all aspects of your life, karma does exist.”


Jeff Mickle

Sports Development Director