Class of 2004: Football, Basketball & Track
Matt Bielecki was a four year varsity starter on the football team and a two-time captain. He set a single season rushing school record with 1,190 yards in 2002 during his junior year. That year, Matt led the team to a 6-3 regular season record, reaching the Class A Sectional semi-final game. In his senior year, Matt was honored with the team Most Valuable Player Award, and he played in the Section 2 all star game. He won the national Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Capital District Chapter Scholar Athlete Award. He also won the prestigious Harmon Rivenburg Award, given to the most outstanding male athlete at BH-BL.
Matt attended the University of Rochester, where he was a four year starter of the football team, captain for two year, earning team MVP honors as a senior. In 2006, the team had a regular season record of 7-3, the most wins for the program since 1992. He participated in the ECAC Northwest Bowl, was a first team All Liberty League pick, and was second team All East Region. Matt was an honorable mention choice for All American honors. He finished his career with the single season rushing record of 1,390 yards, and was the all time leader in rushing (4,301), total touchdowns (43) and total career points (264). He was the first player in school history to play in the Division 3 All Star game. Matt graduated with a major in Political Science.
Matt started his career with M&T Bank in the banks management development program, and is currently the Retail Regional Manager and Administrative Vice President for Downtown Baltimore, overseeing 14 retail branch locations. He completed his MBA from Loyola University Sellinger School of Business in 2016. Matt is active in the community and serves on the board of Banner Neighborhood Corporation, is an advisory board member for Loyola Sellinger School of Business, serves on the Baltimore Regional Alumni Network for the University of Rochester, and currently participating as an advisory board member to a Baltimore City School principal.
Matt lives in Baltimore City, Maryland, with his wife Angela and new born son, Luca.
Class of 1996: Soccer, Hockey & Tennis
Andrew Cook was a three-sport athlete while at BH-BL, participating in soccer, hockey and tennis, serving as team captain in hockey and soccer. In soccer, he played for coach Neil Evans and led his team to two-straight Section 2 Class B championships as a junior and senior. He scored 36 goals during those two seasons, including 21 as a senior. Andrew also collected 27 assists, and was named to the Suburban Council All-Star team for two years. As a senior, Andrew was a member of the 1995 Capital Region Class B first team, a third-team New York State All-State team and NSCAA/UMBRO Region third-team All-American. He also competed in the Empire State Games and played for the Capital United 17 and under state championship team. Andrew also was involved with coaching soccer for several Burnt Hills Youth Soccer Program teams.
Andrew played ice hockey during BH-BL’s first season in the Capital District High School Hockey League. Andrew was the CDHSHL scoring leader that season with 31 goals and 23 assists. The team finished with a 6-7-1 record. Andrew won the team MVP award for his efforts on the ice. For tennis, Andrew played doubles, reaching the Section 2 finals for coach Kevin Fitzpatrick. He was on the high honor roll throughout high school, and was inducted into the National Honor Society. Andrew was also the winner of the Male Scholar Athlete Award.
Andrew went on to play four years of soccer at St. Lawrence University. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics, and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also studied abroad in London England. Andrew received a masters degree in conflict transformation from the School of International Training in Vermont, and he earned a master’s in education and pedagogy from Universidad Mayor in Santiago, Chile.
Andrew spent one year in AmeriCorps and one year with the World Teach program, both years dedicating himself to community service and to children. He personally raised over $7,000 for the relief effort after the earthquake in Chile, and was involved with the Make a Wish Foundation. Andrew worked with religious leaders in New York City to improve interfaith relations, served as a counselor to high school students from Cyprus, as a volunteer for the Red Cross, and launched a “pay it forward” project to spur volunteerism in the country of Chile. He served as an English teacher at Instituto Chileno Norteamericano, and most recently as an English professor at the Universidad May in Santiago, Chile.
Andrew died on January 28, 2017, while on vacation in southern Chile.
Erika (Swits) Cook
Class of 2008: Alpine Skiing & Field Hockey
Erika Swits won the New York State Giant Slalom Championship, which was hosted in Lake Placid, NY. Her parents built the program from the ground up and the inaugural season was the winter of 2005. She was a four year varsity member, captain her junior and senior season, and a qualifier to the New York State Championships her sophomore, junior, and senior year as part of the Section 2 New York State team. Erika won the Section 2 Giant Slalom, and was third place in the slalom. For the first time in the programs history, Erika helped propel the Burnt Hills Ballston Lake girls alpine ski team to a Section 2 title. Other members of the Section 2 Alpine Championship team from BH-BL team were Kirstin Swits, also known as “Swits Skiing Swiftly”, Jessica Burdett, and Kelsey Cartwright. The foursome came in fourth place in the NYS Alpine Championship Meet. Erika was a Times Union All Star from 2006-2008, and she qualified for the JI-II Finals in 2006 and 2008, and JII Finals in 2007.
Erika was also a three year varsity member of the BHBL Field Hockey Team. She went on to play Division 3 field hockey at St. Lawrence University. She graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in biology in 2012. She obtained her Doctorate of Pharmacy from Albany College of Pharmacy and a Master’s in Business from Union Graduate College in 2016.
Erika is married to Chris, whom she met at St. Lawrence, and lives in Saratoga Springs working as a pharmacy manager for Coram. Erika and Chris ski almost every weekend with their families in the winter and enjoy a ski vacation out west yearly.
Class of 2008: Baseball, Volleyball & Basketball
David Fischer was a top athlete in all three sports he participated: baseball, volleyball and basketball. In volleyball, David was a four-year varsity player who contributed to Coach Paul Sander’s six consecutive Suburban Council undefeated seasons, with a 133 match winning streak during that time frame. His team won the Section 2 Championships all four years, culminating as the New York State Regional Champions in 2007. That year, David was named to the All Tournament team for the New York State Championships. David was the Suburban Council MVP during his junior and senior seasons, and was also the Times Union Player of the Year for those two years, 2006 and 2007. He was on the Suburban Council All Star First Team for two years. David was named to the Junior Olympic Development team during the summer of 2005, and he also was a participant in the Empire State Games. He is still ranked first on the all time BH-BL list for 287 volleyball aces. He is also third on the all time volleyball rankings in hitting percentage (.430), total points (1,510), kills (1,036), and blocks (187).
In basketball, David was a three year varsity letter winner, and was captain of his team during his senior year. He was named to the Times Union All Star and Suburban Council All-Star teams in 2008, and he led the team that year in points and rebounds. During his senior year, the team made it to the Glens Falls Civic Center, playing in the semi-final game.
David was even more successful on the baseball field, where he was on the varsity team for three years, making the New York State Second Team as a senior. He was one of the top pitchers in the area, earning honors as a Times Union and Suburban Council All Star. David was named to the Saratogian All-Star Baseball team in 2008. He struck out 75 in 46 innings as a senior. David was drafted in the 44th round by the Los Angeles Angels out of high school in 2008, but he declined and chose to play at the University of Connecticut.
David played all four years of baseball at the University of Connecticut, finishing 11th in the NCAA tournament in 2011. He played in the Cape Cod League for two summers for the Wareham Gatemen in 2009 and 2011. In his 2011 season, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 30th round. During his senior season at Connecticut, he totaled 80.1 innings pitched over 16 appearances, posting a 3.47 run average and striking out 68 batters while walking just 27. David was honored as the Big East Pitcher of the week when he struck out a career high 10 batters in a win against Notre Dame. He finished his career with an 8-7 record, 3.27 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 184 innings, leaving UConn ranked sixth in all-time appearances with 66. David was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 18th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, and was assigned to the Auburn Doubledays.
David played for six years in his minor league career with the Washington Nationals and the Minnesota Twins from 2012 to 2017. He is currently an Assistant Baseball Coach for the University of Rhode Island Rams.
Class of 2008: Volleyball & Basketball
Erin Little was honored as the New York State Gatorade Girls Volleyball Player of the Year in 2007, given to the best player in the state. Erin was also honored as the section 2 League MVP, and was on the New York State First team for two years. She was a four year varsity volleyball team member at BH-BL who owns the single season kill record with 538 kills as a senior. Erin is also second all-time in career kills and blocks. During her four years on the team, the school won two New York State Championship titles, and two times were runner up in the state. All four teams won the Section 2 title, and were undefeated. Erin was an Empire State Games participant, played for two years on the varsity basketball team, and received a full scholarship to Syracuse University.
Erin played for four years on the Syracuse University Division 1 team, where the team enjoyed two 20 win seasons and three trips to the Big East Tournament. She was named to the Big East All-Academic Team five times, was on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll nine times, and was the Scholar Athlete Award recipient in 2012. After graduation, Erin was a bronze medal winner in the Finnish Professional Volleyball League in 2013 as an outside hitter for the ORPO Club.
Erin began coaching in the fall of 2013 as a volunteer assistant with the Syracuse University Women’s Volleyball team, and was hired as a full time assistant in 2014. She was promoted to the associate head coach position in the spring of 2016. As a program, her players have received honors for AVCA Regional All-Americans, All-ACC First Team, All-ACC Freshman Team, ECAC defensive Player of the Year, USA Women’s National Collegiate Training team selections, and All-ACC Academic selections. In 2017, the team also made post-season play for the first time in program history, advancing to the third round of the NIVC.
Andrea (AJ Sinnenberg) Wanat
Class of 1988: Soccer, Softball, Indoor Track, Volleyball
Andrea J. Wanat was a multi-sport athlete. She swam, played softball, ran track, skied, and began soccer at the age of 12. She was awarded several athletic honors beginning in elementary school, when she was named “Student Athlete” at Pashley Elementary School in 1982. At BH-BL High School, Andrea was the captain of the soccer team was named to the Suburban Council First Team All Star, and Section 2 All Star for her soccer abilities. She was the top scorer in the history of the program when she graduated with 27 career goals and 23 assists. She is currently 11th on the All Time BH-BL list for goals, and 7th for assists. She was the leader in goals and assists during her three years on the team, helping guide the team to the Class A Section 2 finals as a junior and a senior. Andrea was among the first groups of girls to play on the varsity team as a sophomore. Andrea was also the captain of the softball team where she was team MVP and honored with the coaches award. She also was a member of the school chorus, show-choir and served as President of the BH-BL Class of 1988.
Andrea was a three-time Empire State Games soccer player and a Division II soccer player at Le Moyne College where she received an athletic scholarship. In her senior year, Andrea was given the Lady Dolphin Award for leadership and sportsmanship, and also named to the Northeast Regional All Star Team as a mid-fielder. She later moved on to coach youth soccer for BH-BL as the Junior Varsity Coach, for Lake Hill Soccer Club and in WNY for Amherst girls soccer teams.
Andrea holds a master’s degree in community psychology with a concentration in substance abuse counseling from the SAGE Graduate School, Troy, NY; and certificates in Administrative Management and Financial Management from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. She is a credentialed prevention professional through NYS OASAS and a recent graduate of the Health Leadership Fellows Program for the Health Foundation for Western and Central NY. Andrea shares her love for fitness and desire to inspire others to lead healthier lives as a fitness instructor at Rebel Ride; a boutique style indoor cycling studio in East Amherst,N.Y. She holds certifications in group fitness, STAGES © Indoor Cycling, and In-Trinity, a combination of yoga, pilates and Tai-Chi.
Andrea is the Director of Behavioral Health for Millennium Collaborative Care and has worked in the behavioral health field for 25 years. Her experience includes Executive Director of the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA); Director of Education at The Addictions Care Center in Albany, NY; Addictions Counselor at Conifer Park and SPARC; and Case Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Saratoga Springs, NY.
As a wife to fellow 1988 BH-BL graduate John D. Wanat, mother of three boys –Alex, Dylan and Jadon– and a full-time professional, Andrea finds that it is essential to take care of herself. Staying fit and moving her body has always helped maintain the balance between work, family, fun and play. Exercising has provided the energy to fuel a productive day, and a sense of relaxation throughout stressful times.
Class of 1967: Track & Field and Baseball
Bruce Hamlin was a multi-sport athlete at BH-BL High School from 1964 – 1967. He played football for three years under coach Murray O’Neil and led the 1964 JV team with 8 rushing touchdowns. In the spring of 1965 he was the only sophomore on the varsity baseball team and scored the winning run in the Section 2 championship game. In the spring of 1966, Bruce made the decision to join the track team. He was a sprinter and earned double wins in the 100 yard and 220 yard dashes at the Western Conference Championship Meet in both 1966 and 1967. In 1967 he won both events at the Section 2 Intersectional Meet, tying the Section 2 record in the 100 yard dash with a time of 9.9 seconds. The victory earned him a trip to the State Meet in Buffalo where he finished 4th . During his senior year he set the BH-BL school record in the 220 yard dash with a time of 22.2 seconds. He was co-captain of the track team his senior year and also earned the high point individual award.
Bruce attended Southern State College, now know as Southern Arkansas University and ran track for 4 years. He was co-captain of the team his last 3 years and helped lead his team to the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) Championship in 1968 and 1970. Bruce won the 100 yard dash at the AIC Championship Meet in 1970 and 1971 and ran on numerous AIC Championship relay record teams including the 440, 880, and mile relays. His mile relay team won the AIC Championship all 4 years. Bruce was 4 times ALL AIC and NAIA All American once. His personal best times were: 100 yd – 9.5, 220 yd – 21.2 (SSC school record), and 60 yd – 6.1, which was third fastest time in the country as listed by Track and Field News in January 1971. Bruce was included in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and Outstanding College Athletes of America publications in both 1970 and 1971. He was inducted into the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame in June 2012 and the Southern Arkansas University Sports Hall of Fame in October 2012.
Bruce is recently retired after having taught high school mathematics for 45 years. His final 40 years were at Mills University Studies High School in Little Rock where he started the first AP Calculus class at the school in 1985 and served as a reader for the exam for the College Board. Bruce continues to compete athletically by playing outfield for his team in the Central Arkansas Men’s Senior Baseball League . At the MSBL World Series held annually in Phoenix, Arizona his team won the 60+ division World Series Championship in 2014.
He and his wife, Nell, live in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Class of 1959: Track & Field and Soccer
A native of Hungary, Sandor Szabo moved to the BH-BL Central School District as a junior, and was an immediate contributor to the soccer and track programs. The soccer team won a league championship during his senior year. His soccer exploits earned him a scholarship to Ithaca College, where he was an All-American for three years. Sandor was first and second place for the all-time single season points list for the Ithaca Bombers. He had an NCAA single season record with 34 goals, and was the all-time scoring leader with 180 career points, and was fourth on the list for career assists for his play on the 1960 team, as well as the 1964 and 1965 teams. He left Ithaca for two years to join the Army, where he was stationed in Germany. As a senior, Sandor played football for the Bombers as a placekicker. In 1984, Sandor was inducted into the Ithaca College Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League drafted Sandor, selecting him in the 13th round. Sandor lost the starting position of placekicker to Wade Traynham, and was not in the Falcons program for long. He instead played semi-professional soccer with the Chicago Green White Soccer Club. His physical education degree from Ithaca landed him some jobs at the high school and college levels. He had great success coaching the DePaul University and Harper Junior College soccer teams. He coached Harper to an undefeated season in 1981, after starting the program a year earlier. He also was an assistant coach for the Scotia-Glenville and Niskayuna soccer programs.
He passed away on January 13, 2016, at the age of 75.
Donald Van Vranken
Class of 1942: Baseball, Basketball & Soccer
Donald Van Vranken played for three years on the soccer, basketball and baseball teams for BH-BL, earning a letter in all three sports. He was a member of the 1938-39 basketball team that won a Section 2 championship, playing center for the team. Donald was the high scorer in basketball as a junior. Donald was chosen by his peers to represent BH-BL at the Saratoga County Play Night, and honor given to a high school boy in the Saratoga County League. He played semi-professional baseball as a pitcher during his senior year, and was not allowed to play sports during his senior year.
Coach, Administration or Faculty
Coach George Dudas
Boys Soccer, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball
George Dudas has been a coach at BH-BL since 2002, when he began with the boys soccer team and the girls basketball team. He has taught physical education for the district since that time at the high school, and has compiled an overall coaching career record of 358-292 in basketball and 370-176-43 for soccer.
For boys soccer, teams that George coached earned Suburban Council Division titles in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2016. George led the 2007 team to the New York State finals, the best run in BH-BL history. The 2015 team made the final four in New York State. His teams won four Section 2 championships and were finalist two times. For his efforts, George was named the Section 2 Coach of the Year three times, in 2004, 2007 and 2015.
George was the girls basketball coach for seven seasons, guiding the 2005 team to the New York State finals, the best season in BH-BL history. That year, George was honored as the New York State Coach of the Year, the Section 2 Coach of the Year, and the Suburban Council Coach of the Year, an honor he achieved the next year as well. His teams were Suburban Council Division Champions three times, and the 2006 team also went to the Section 2 final game.
George also coached the boys basketball team from 2008 through 2011. The 2010 team were Section 2 champions, and the team went on to the New York State quarterfinals, which equaled the best run in a New York State Tournament ever by a boys basketball team from BH-BL. In 2010, George was named the Section 2 Coach of the Year.
Born in Mosonmagyarovar, Hungary, in 1956, George and his family escaped Hungary, moving to Austria during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1974, and received his B.S.E. from Cortland State University in 1978. George earned his Masters from the United States Sports Academy in Mobile, Alabama in 1990.
George married Alma Deeb in 1983, and a year later their daughter, Courtney, was born. They currently live in Mechanicville, NY.
Charlton Heights Principal
Tim Sinnenberg is the principal at Charlton Heights Elementary School and is a 1985 graduate of BH-BL, where he served a class president for his junior and senior year. He graduated from LeMoyne College with a BA in English/Communications and from The College of Saint Rose with a MS in Elementary Education and an administration certificate. At Charlton Heights, Tim promotes athletics through maintaining records of athletic accomplishments, including school and district field day results, which are on the district website. He is very proud of his staff who have organized the annual Chuck and Duck Dodgeball Tournament since 2010 at the school and raised over $30,000 for the Friedrich’s Ataxia Foundation.
Tim has been on the BH-BL Athletic Hall of Fame Committee since its inception, where he researches candidates, puts together biographies, and serves as the master of ceremony at the induction dinners. He wrote the athletics section of the book 100 Memories of BH-BL for the district’s 100th Anniversary. Tim is on the executive board for the BH-BL Track Club, where he serves as vice president, scores the dual meets, and organizes the Burnt Hills XC Invitational, with close to 100 teams competing. For the varsity swim teams, Tim scores the dual meets, and created a website for the team – complete with Top 40 all-time rankings, dual meet records, Sectional results, and photographs. He is part of the committee that organizes the BH-BL Alumni Swim Meet each winter.
Tim has also been a coach for the Schenectady Saratoga Swim Club since 1989, which has served athletes of all ages from BH-BL and surrounding communities. He served as the Head Age Group coach for many years. SSSC is a Silver Medal USA-Swimming Club, and has trained swimmers of all levels, including Olympic competitors, National finalists, Eastern Zones champions, and a multitude of Section 2 champions. In addition, he coached swimming and diving for four years each at the Woodlin Club and Glen Hills Club. Tim was inducted into the Woodlin Club Hall of Fame for coaching the team to four swimming and diving Suburban League titles, and for judging diving. He is also a masters swimmer with a team from the Saratoga YMCA, and he has many Adirondack individual and relay records. His relay swims have earned a Relay All-American Award; and the swimmers have been ranked first in the country in the 800 Freestyle Relay, and in the top 10 nationally in the 800 Freestyle Relay, 400 Medley Relay and 200 Medley Relay many times. He is also on the Adirondack Aquatics Center Advisory Board.
In addition to his service in athletics, Tim serves on many committees at BH-BL, including the BH-BL Performing and Visual Arts Hall of Fame Committee. In the past, he has served as the co-chairperson of the Centennial Committee, Charlton Heights 50th Anniversary Committee, Glenville Corporate Challenge and the Report Card Committee.
Tim lives in Burnt Hills with his wife Ellen, and two sons, Nick and Matthew.
2006 Girls Cross Country Team
Members of the team were Martha Brown, Rachael Cyrus, Alyssa Drapeau, Meaghan Gregory, Carolyn Herkenham, Molly Pezzulo and Samantha Roecker.
“Running is a way of life. Running is who I am.”
The 2006 girls cross country culminated their season with a Class A New York State title and a 4th place finish at the Federation Championships. The girls ran with a “team first” attitude and selfless determination. Their youth and inexperience was overcome with determination and grit as they ran away with a 33 point victory.
The team finished first place at the Section 2 Class A Championships over Queensbury and Holy Names and finished a strong second place at the Suburban Council Championships. The team completed an undefeated invitational season with victories at the Guilderland Invitational, Manchester Invitational, Mcquaid Invitational and Burnt Hills Invitational. The team finished with a strong 9-2 dual meet record in the Suburban Council.
2007 Girls Cross Country Team
Members of the team were Martha Brown, Larene Cameron, Rachael Cyrus, Alyssa Drapeau, Samantha Roecker, Rachel Stalker and Riley Wilk.
“One Team. One Dream.”
The 2007 top 5 nationally ranked girls cross country team won their second consecutive State Title with a convincing 52 point win at the New York State Championship. A week earlier they won the Section 2 Class A Sectional Championship by 3 points over Queensbury. Samantha Roecker led the team as the New York State champion and the Section 2 winner.Two weeks after States, the girls placed second at the Nike Team Regional Qualifier, earning a trip to the Nike Team National Championships in Portland, Oregon. The girls placed 5th at Nationals, a truly amazing accomplishment for a group of girls who started the season as “One Team” with “One Dream.”
The team finished first at the Guilderland Invitational and Manchester Invitational. The girls placed 2nd at the Mcquaid and Burnt Hills Invitationals and the Suburban Council Championship. The team finished with an impressive 10-1 dual meet record in the Suburban Council.
2008 Girls Cross Country Team
Members of the team were Kiersten Anderson, Stephanie Carrier, Alyssa Drapeau, Meaghan Gregory, Molly Pezzulo, Samantha Roecker and Riley Wilk.
“Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.”
The 2008 girls cross country team continued the tradition of excellence and finished off their season with a dominating win at the New York State Class A Championships scoring 23 points and earning their third state title in a row, a first in school history. The girls followed this up with a victory at the New York State Federation Championship. This was a truly amazing accomplishment and a first in program history. After Feds, the team once again competed at Nike Cross Regionals and again earned a trip to Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon where they finished as the 8th best team in the country.
The team finished first at the Section Class A Championships and the Suburban Council Championship defeating top 10 nationally ranked Queensbury and Saratoga teams respectively. The girls won the Guilderland Invitational, placed second at the McQuaid Invitational and fourth at both the Manhattan and Burnt Hills Invitationals. The team finished with a 10-1 record in the Suburban Council.
Lisa & George Budesheim
Lisa and George Budesheim are both graduates of BH-BL, and have contributed to the athletic program as well as to the entire community. They have two sons, George (BH-BL Class of 2006) and Andrew (BH-BL Class of 2008), who were very involved with youth football and wrestling.
In 1993, their children began playing football, at which time they helped in the concession stand, fundraising for the fields, and acting as the team parents. George acted as the football booster club president for ten consecutive year, while Lisa was the secretary for the booster club. When their children began playing varsity football, both George and Lisa were extremely busy. They helped run the concession stands, and helped as a field marker and with fundraising. From 1996 through 2006, George and Lisa were also involved in the wrestling program, helping organize the tournaments and helping at the home matches.
In addition, Lisa has been involved with the Pashley PTA, serving on several school committees. She has also played an active role with the Shellstrong Foundation.