Soccer coach Gary Montalto receives national award, goes anonymous grocery shopping

Unified sports inside and outside the lines
January 20, 2023

Soccer professor - Gary Montalto is on the spectrum of soccer coaches; he sees things before they happen and records them afterward. He sits in a sideline chair during games and transcribes the intersections where game planning bisects the flow of the game. Each game remains equally alive from coach Mont’s 31 years and 585 wins. Last weekend at the United Soccer Coaches Association National Convention in Philadelphia, Gary was presented with the Robert Robinson Award, recognizing long-term service to interscholastic soccer. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, “Gary is a member of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame and was named the United Soccer Coaches National Coach of the Year in 2006. In addition, Montalto served on several state and coaches soccer boards for more than two decades, including a national ranking committee.” Gary said: “A big change after retiring to Lewes and getting back into coaching is I can go to the grocery store and no one knows who I am. I guess that’s good, but I miss just stopping and talking with people.” 

Unified sports -  Unified sports join people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team, based on the principle that training and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. I left the Cape wrestling room Tuesday after doing a photo knockabout and walked straight into a unified basketball game – Cape versus Caesar Rodney. I went into the bleachers to unify with fans, most of whom were family members of players. Oddly enough – or not – I made friends and ended up taking photos from row five. CR jumped to a 15-0 lead because they just did, but Cape got back in contention with a 16-2 second half.  The final score was 25-18 CR. I saw Sophia Adams of Cape get her shot blocked from behind in the first half. I thought, "That was harsh.” Sophia walked off the court emotionally frustrated like, “What was that?” She came back and intercepted a pass from William Lee of CR and put the ball in the basket for Cape’s first points of the game. I saw Lee smile. If I were a scorekeeper, I’d have given him an assist. 

Ink pens - As soon as I saw recorders writing on paper, I knew my lazy self would never be able to track down results of Wednesday’s polar bear triangular track meet at Legends Stadium, where Cape hosted Sussex Central and Sussex Academy. Even if I did write down results, I wouldn’t be able to read them on my way to a wrestling match at Polytech. All that aside, those events are fun to cover. It just involves talking with kids and cousins, with a sprinkling of parents and grandparents. The DIAA championship meet with 27 teams is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Prince George's sports complex in Maryland. Cape wrestling will grapple at Williams Penn the same day, while the Mercer Bears men’s lacrosse team (Mikey Fred at middie) opens the season at Bucknell  University in Lewisburg, Pa. I read the acceptance rate at Bucknell is only 35%. Good thing I have a press pass. 

Snippets - The Cape football banquet will be held at the Hyatt Place in Dewey Saturday, Jan. 21, beginning at 6 p.m. The Eagles host the Giants at 8:15. Everyone is connected to the world by mobile apps, so as an experienced banquet emcee (who works for free), I’ll make sure to front-load all my stories. Cape boys’ basketball has lost consecutive games versus Polytech 61-51 and Caesar Rodney 69-61. The Vikings have been playing without injured point guard Drew Zimmerman, who dislocated his kneecap. According to, the injury occurs during a sudden change in direction in certain sports, in particular basketball. The recovery time depends on the severity of the initial injury. Carrie Clausius, who tore her ACL last March in a lacrosse scrimmage, is now fully cleared and ready for spring lacrosse. Cape won its 13th consecutive state title in 2022. Carrie’s jersey number is 13. My iPhone was typing the words of a story I was telling. I found it frightening to discover that I’m not all that interesting. Go on now, git! 

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