New York Sports Connection

New York Sports Connection Awards $2,800 to New York City Students for Best Sportsmanship Essays

New York Sports Connection's celebrity judging panel recognizes four winners and eight finalists from ten different private and public schools in its first annual New York City student sportsmanship essay contest.


New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/25/2015 -- New York Sports Connection, the hub for youth sports information in New York City, today announced the winners of its 2015 essay contest, "What Sportsmanship Means to Me." Four top prizes of $500 each will be presented, and eight finalists will also receive $100 each in prize money.

The best essays were chosen in four categories, which were determined by the number of entries received from each grade level. Ginger Mullen, a twelve-year-old student at Middle School 447, wrote the-winning essay in the Sixth & Seventh Grade category. Eighth Grade category winner Mary Kate McGranahan, 14, is a student at Saint Ignatius Loyola. The best essay in the Ninth & 10th Grade category was written by Dani Bergman Chudnow, a 15-year-old student at Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Sifan Lu, 17, attends Stuyvesant High School and was named the winner of the 11th & 12th Grade category. The top essays, finalists and honorable mentions will be published in an eBook that will be available on

John Franco, a former relief pitcher and team captain of the New York Mets, said, "It was an honor to help judge New York Sports Connections' First Annual Youth Essay Contest. The essays submitted by the finalists showed a level of maturity way beyond their years, and were a testament to the amazing work done by parents, coaches, and volunteers to ensure that our kids' youth sports experience teaches real life lessons."

Students wrote original 400-500-word essays on the topic "What Sportsmanship Means to Me," which were anonymously judged on the basis of originality, emotional appeal, use of the theme, grammar and spelling, and writing skills appropriate for the author's age. The contest was open to New York City residents ages 12 through 18. Entries were received from every borough, and the finalists hailed from ten different New York City public and private schools. New York Sports Connection founder, Aaron Finkel, said, "We were overwhelmed by the response, and impressed by the wonderful quality of the many essays we received."

The celebrity judging panel included Dr. Richard Park, the CEO of CityMD Urgent Care, the contest's sponsor; along with WFAN sports talk personality Craig Carton; Franco, a partner of NYC All Star Sports Group; Mike Puma, a sportswriter with the New York Post; and Luis Fernando Llosa, co-author of Beyond Winning, co-founder of and a former Sports Illustrated associate editor.

Carton commented, "As cliche as this may sound, all of the finalists are winners and show an amazing understanding and passion for sportsmanship....All of these kids/young adults should be commended for their essays and they personally should be viewed as ambassadors for sportsmanship throughout NYC." Puma added, "These students certainly grasp the meaning of 'sportsmanship' and told their stories in a colorful and captivating manner."

The complete list of winners and finalists follows:

Category: Sixth & Seventh Grade

Winner: Ginger Mullen, age 12, a sixth-grader at Middle School 447 ($500)
Finalist: Aliza Hacking, 12, a sixth-grader at MS 54 Booker T. Washington (Delta) ($100)
Finalist: Mathias Zawoiski, 12, a seventh-grader at PS/IS 187 ($100)
Honorable Mention: Tessa Wayne, 13, a seventh-grader at Columbia Grammar Prep School

Category: Eighth Grade

Winner: Mary Kate McGranahan, age 14, Saint Ignatius Loyola ($500)
Finalist: Julianna Fabrizio, 13, NYC Lab Middle School ($100)
Finalist: Isabel Stern, 14, The Brearley School ($100)
Honorable Mention: Julie Jastremski, 13, Notre Dame Academy
Honorable Mention: Jordan Jaffe, 13, East Side Middle School

Category: Ninth & 10th Grade

Winner: Dani Bergman Chudnow, age 15, a 10th-grader at Eleanor Roosevelt High School ($500)
Finalist: Eyob Ford, 16, a 10th-grader at Churchill School and Center ($100)
Finalist: Jennifer Yu, 15, a 9th-grader at Stuyvesant High School ($100)
Honorable Mention: Eliza Paradise, 16, a 10th-grader at Hunter College High School

Category: 11th & 12th Grade

Winner: Sifan Lu, age 17, a 12th-grader at Stuyvesant High School ($500)
Finalist: Connor Mulvena, 16, an 11th-grader at Xavier High School ($100)
Finalst: Michael Bivona, 17, an 11th-grader at Xavier High School ($100)
Honorable Mention: Paul Gargiulo, 16, an 11th-grader at Xavier High School
Honorable Mention: Charlotte Youkilis, 17, an 11th-grader at The Packer Collegiate Institute
Honorable Mention: Emily Hirtle, 16, an 11th-grader at Stuyvesant High School

About New York Sports Connection
New York Sports Connection is the premier online resource for families and youth sports organizations in New York City. At, registered users can search for information on sports leagues, teams, classes and activities, and read the latest news about the local sports community. The site's Weekly Sports Alert email keeps members up-to-date on upcoming deadlines for tryouts, sign-up/registration periods, clinics, camps and other sports-related events.

About CityMD Urgent Care
CityMD has 39 offices throughout New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and the Palisades. CityMD employs expert staff including medical assistants and technicians along with board-certified physicians who are highly trained in treating a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. Locations are open 365 days a year, welcome walk-ins for both adult and pediatric care and accept most major health insurances. For more information on CityMD and a list of locations, please visit