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Athletics & Wellness Support Staff

Samantha Little 
Director of Athletics & Wellness

Katie Everhart - Administrative Assistant
607.274.2155, ext. 74100

Hello to you all!  It is beyond my pleasure  to introduce myself as the new administrative assistant in the ICSD Athletics Department.  Samantha Little and I worked side by side as part of the front office squad at South Hill Elementary and the dream team is now back at it for Ithaca Athletics!.  Here’s a brief description of my last thirteen years here in ICSD.

I started my career with ICSD back in September of 2007 as a Teaching Assistant at Belle Sherman Elementary in special education early childhood.  From there I spent two years at Fall Creek Elementary and finished my next six years at Belle Sherman. I decided after nearly a decade of teaching and supporting some truly wonderful educators, to move towards the administration side of school.   I became the Secretary of South Hill in September of 2016 where I have spent the last three and a half years. I am super pumped to bring all of my previous experience along with my eight years playing competitive women's flat track roller derby to this new position!  It’s going to be a great combination. Athletics have been a huge part of my life as a woman, player, teammate, fan and coach! Let’s go Ithaca!

Harbir Benipal - Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Harbir is the head strenth and conditioning coach for Ithaca High School. He grew up in Ithaca, and is an Ithaca High School graduate class of 2013. During his time a Ithaca High School he lettered in football where he was elected captain twice and voted to the Ernie Davis All-Star Game. Harbir started his coaching experiance at Ithaca High School as an assistant coach for the Lil Red Varsity/JV football team from 2015 to 2017. During that time he was also strength and conditioning coach for the football team, helping with alpine skiing, and wrestling. After a brief hiatus, Harbir returned in the summer of 2018, since then he has worked with and programed for multipule team at the High School including football, boys & girls lacrosse, baseball, indoor track, throw, and boys & girls hockey. He has experience working in the private sector with different high school teams and collegiate athletes from around the region. Furthermore, he has experiance at the collegiate strength and conditioning level working with the Cornell Big Red men's ice hockey and football team. As the head strength and conditioning coach Harbir overesees the programming and implementation of strength and conditioning programs for all 28 teams at the high school, and day-to-day operations in the weight room. During his time here he has aided multiple student-athletes intaking the next step to collegiate athletics. 


Mike Armitage-Blakely - Professional Development for Coaches
Mike has a background in aquatics and recreation. He has coached a variety of sports but his passion is in Swimming and Diving. He has been coaching swimmers of all levels since he started coaching elementary students while on his high school team. When his swimming career concluded, Mike was an assistant coach for the Men’s and Women’s Swim teams at his alma mater, Ithaca College. During his time there, he developed an interest in enhancing and developing mental skills in his athletes.  He realized that these skills would help the whole person and not just the athlete and that the mental skills his athletes needed to be prepared for both practice and competitions were fairly underdeveloped. His development as a coach landed him at Ithaca High School, where he continues to develop the whole person and along the way he has had the privilege to coach 16 Swimming All-Americans, over 25 Academic All-Americans, multiple individual and relay state champions and one team State Runner-up. His coaching interests revolve around developing proficiency in his athletes with peak performance, goal-setting, visualization, strategy, developing resiliency. He is also interested in mentoring coaches with regard to the ever changing landscape of working with the modern athlete and their families. He and his wife, Robin, live in Ithaca with their three children.