December 8, 2021

Moravia team beats adversity, wins crown

Bob Ellis/staff photographer

Coaches and players look on as Moravia boys varsity head basketball coach Todd Mulvaney speaks during a community celebration Saturday in honor of the New York State Class C champions.

The emphatic ringing of police car and fire truck sirens echoed throughout Moravia Saturday morning.

Anybody who was asleep definitely wasn’t, anymore. But that did not seem to be a problem.

Residents lined Main Street, in spite of the rain, to watch the police cars and fire trucks escort down Main Street a wagon carrying the Moravia boys varsity basketball team.

The parade through the village celebrated the team’s state championship win March 18 — the school’s first New York State Public School Athletic Association championship in any sport.

The team beat Lake George Junior-Senior High School, 54-39, in the championship game. The Blue Devils ended their season with a 22-4 record.

People cheered and waved as the players, who cheered and waved back, were ushered past. And among the players was Dustin Mondics, who was injured in a serious car accident in December.

From his wheelchair, he took in the celebration with his teammates.

“The adversity this team has faced this year is like no other,” Mondics said about how the team dealt with the possibility of losing a teammate, due to his accident. “It is the best feeling to come back and be around everyone. The support from the community is awesome. It’s crazy.”

After the parade through the village, all the players and hundreds of residents, dressed in Blue Devils shirts, gathered in the gymnasium of the Moravia High School to further commemorate the team’s win.

“It is a special moment,” team coach Todd Mulvaney said.

Moravia school Superintendent John Birmingham said it was incredible to see so many people support the team.
“This substantiates everything I know this community to be,” he said. “It is a tight community.”

Joe Crossgrove, whose grandson, Jordan Crossgrove, plays on the team, attended all but one game this season to cheer him and the team on, having to drive from Trumansburg to do so.

“It’s a great experience,” Crossgrove said.

Throughout the season, many did not consider the team to be a favorite to win the championship. Even with win after win, the team was not expected to win the next. But Mulvaney said the team never quit, especially after Mondics’ accident.

“Things did not bother us much, anymore,” Mulvaney said about the team after Mondics’ accident. “It did not matter if it was a bad practice or a bad game. It was an unfortunate eye-opening experience. A big life lesson.”

Player Austin Kulas said everything the team did was for Mondics.

“His accident changed us,” he said. “It made us unstoppable.”

Moravia Village Mayor Gary Mulvaney gave a congratulatory speech, and Birmingham read a comment sent by state Sen. James Seward (R-Milford). Along with congratulating the team on its win, Seward also invited them to visit the Senate in Albany on April 25 to further celebrate their state championship.

“The team deserves everything it has accomplished,” Mondics said.