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Friday, February 26, 2021
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The Jewish Link and Drink Up would like to recognize Gavriel Pudell as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The senior at The Yeshiva University Highschool for Boys (MTA) has been a leader on many Teaneck Baseball Organization (TBO) teams, as well as the RYNJ Jaguars and MTA JV Lions hockey teams. When asked about Gavriel, his father and former coach Steven Pudell told The Jewish Link “As I noted at his bar mitzvah I noted that Gavriel is the type of player that every coach wants—’coachable.’ He listens to instruction and incorporates it into his game. When he was younger, he was struggling as a pitcher and after just three sessions with an expert coach who changed his delivery— Gavriel was a new player. Recently, he has started lifting weights and in six short months has gotten significantly stronger which should help him in hockey and baseball when they get back on the court and field. Finally, Gavriel leads by example. He believes that everyone should be committed to the team whether they are the star player or the last one off the bench. As a freshman baseball player at MTA, who saw limited time, he was just as enthusiastic as he was when he was the captain of the MTA JV hockey team.”

Gavriel congratulations on being recognized as this week’s Sportstar. Who are your role models and why?

My previous coaches and captains have been great role models. However, I look up to my two brothers (Akiva and Naftali) and sister (Shoshana). My brother Akiva was always a leader on and off the court. Naftali worked very hard to accomplish more than was expected of him—or even more than he expected of himself. Both of my brothers were IDF combat soldiers. Finally, my sister Shoshana, who more or less hates sports, was always determined and focused to accomplish her goals.

What is your favorite sport?

My favorite sport to watch is football. My favorite sport to play is baseball. Baseball is my favorite because you have the individual side of the game—like hitting. When you are at bat it is just you and the pitcher. Also, when you are pitching—it’s the same. That is an individual battle. At the same time, you are part of a team that is trying to work together to win. The MTA baseball team is made up of players from each grade but once the season starts we become one family.

What is your greatest sports accomplishment?

I scored a hat trick in my first MTA JV hockey game. I scored two goals in my first varsity game. My biggest accomplishment, however, was making the MTA varsity baseball team as a freshman and in my first pitching appearance I was put into a bases loaded jam and got out of the inning.

Who is your favorite athlete and why?

Zack Wheeler. I wear 45 for baseball. I liked him because he was always under appreciated. He always got the job done although he was not considered the best pitcher on the Mets.

What is your earliest sports memory?

My earliest sports memory of going to a Jets game against Denver in November 2008. I was 6 years old. I went with my father and two older brothers. It was crazy windy and pouring rain the entire game. My father let us stay until the fourth quarter. The Jets lost.

What is your favorite sports memory?

We go on an annual Jets road trip. So far, we have gone to Buffalo, Tennessee and Washington. We go with an MTA classmate and his father. It is a lot of fun to wear the Jets jersey in hostile territory—and to tailgate with the other team’s fans.

What is your weirdest sports memory?

I am not sure this is weird. I remember that my father put in a relief pitcher for me after I pitched two innings in the TBO championship game. While we did have the best pitcher in the league, I felt that he should have left me in for another inning. We wound up losing the game in extra innings because we ran out of pitching. I have never forgiven him (for that).

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?

I like playing guitar, working out at the gym with my trainer Alex Navarrate and hanging out with friends.

What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?

I appreciate being recognized for my athletic accomplishments although I would like to add a championship to my resume. Hopefully, this year, COVID will end and in the spring we will get the opportunity to play either hockey or baseball.

The Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week will receive a 5% discount on their next order @Drink Up, order with https://forms.gle/k8cjADWpMne9bPed7 or message Steve Gutlove 201 578 7425. Please send nominees for an upcoming Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].

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