Ben Peluso - Carthage Central School

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     It is my pleasure to introduce you to another of the remarkable young student athletes in our area. This month we honor a senior from Carthage Central School. When I first met Ben Peluso, I was immediately impressed with how nice he is, the genuine kind of nice, not fake. He, and his dad, suggested he was nervous for our interview, but you would never know it. Trust me, he is nowhere near "nice" or "shy”, when it comes to breaking the hearts of opponents on the basketball floor, more about that shortly

     Ben is an only child and has two families as his parents never married. He lives in Carthage with his mom Shannon and sees his dad, Rob, whenever he wants and on most weekends. His mom and dad have been in complete agreement as to what is expected of Ben. His dad says, "for the most part he has been a great young man/son even though there are times at home when things are not perfect; there are not too many bad times." His mom echoes this feeling. “He is mostly very responsible” and although mom says there are “times when we need to remind him of things,” she agrees with Ben’s dad that there are not many times he needs to be reminded.

     Ben grew up like most kids in Carthage, playing a variety of sports in the Carthage area’s very impressive youth sports programs. While Ben experimented with other sports like baseball, soccer and tennis, he admits that basketball became his passion. Like so many kids today Ben has chosen to specialize and play just one sport. Participating in just one sport allows Ben time to work to improve his basketball skills. He and his high school teammates have played AAU, countless hours of pick- up games, as well as participating in the local high school summer league at General Brown High School. This time spent together has helped them become closer as a team and turn around a very disappointing season of 5 wins last year to nearly triple the wins this year. His dad and mom agree that there has been a significant improvement in his overall game since his freshman year. His high school coach, and one of his father’s good friends, Jeff Ventiquatro, describes Ben as a very "dedicated player." Coach Ventiquatro says "Ben has spent a great deal of time in the off season throughout his career improving his game". Coach says he is certain that Ben's "solid senior season has been a result of that work he put in over the years." Mom says he "spends hours at the local YMCA playing basketball." She also reports that he will often go to the Y to "get mentally ready" for games by just shooting.

     Ben's athletic career highlight just happened. In Carthage's first sectional game, against Fowler High School from Syracuse, the game was close throughout and was tied at the conclusion of regulation. The game came down to the last play in overtime. Coach Ventiquatro had told Ben during a time out that after a "tough shooting game" that he "would make his next shot." Coach felt he needed to put "more arc on the ball." As usual Ben heeded his Coach's advice. The ball came to him in the corner near the end of the overtime session; .2 seconds remained when his game winning three pointer went through the net! It was fairly obvious that the Coach, player and family were still feeling the excitement of the "shot heard round the North Country."

     He lists his favorite activities as spending time with his friends, playing video games, and playing a wide variety of games. His mom says that he "is very competitive." Ben readily admits that he has areas of his life he would like to improve. He feels he is a procrastinator at times, in school and at home. He also suspects that his grades could be better although he is a solid B+ and A- student. He would like to pursue a career in sports and attend a local college to major in Sports Management. Ben is uncertain if he will attempt to play basketball in college.

     When people shared their thoughts with me about Ben, every one of them showered him with the exact same accolades. He may not be completely aware of how much influence he has had on the adults that spend time with him. It is obvious that Coach Ventiquatro clearly sees Ben’s value to his program. Prior Coaches (Gorman, Millich, Trowbridge, et. al) have also described him as a complete team player and one of those players who you enjoy having around! His mom says that away from the court Ben is “straight forward and usually has a great sense of humor.” She is proud of him for his involvement in volunteering for “local State Park clean up and the Urban Mission.” He has also worked at the Jefferson County SPCA. She has also been impressed with his growing interest in environmental conservation and other topics of this type. It is obvious that his mom and dad feel he has matured into a really great young man!

     He is great person, athlete and son. These traits are certainly a foundation for Ben to establish himself as an equally impressive adult. Good Luck, Ben, in whatever choices you make in the future.

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