The Globe recognized the area’s best student-athletes from the 2016-17 school year Sunday at the annual Phelps Scholar-Athlete ceremony.
The graduating high school seniors, who were selected by Globe judges, represented six MIAA districts and the City of Boston.
Heather Crowe Conner, a former Globe All-Scholastic at Masconomet in field hockey and girls’ tennis who went on to play tennis collegiately (Indiana University) and professionally, addressed the student-athletes and their parents as guest speaker.
She praised the student-athletes’ dedication to their respective sports, pointing out that their hard work shouldn’t be mistaken as a sacrifice.
“Sacrifice to me means giving up things that you love,” said Crowe Conner, now a business/computer science teacher at Reading High. “But for me, I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.”
Crowe Conner also encouraged the student-athletes to use the obstacles they face as a source of motivation.
“Probably one of my greatest challenges was at an early age, and that very thing that can trip you up, whatever it is, is the very thing that you can also turn into your passion or your drive,” she said. “I turned that thing into my drive, my obsession to be great at something.”
Joe Sullivan, the Globe’s assistant managing editor for sports, sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and assistant sports editor/schools Craig Larson also addressed the guests at what was the final event held at the paper’s longtime home on William T. Morrissey Boulevard.
Richard Phelps, who first sponsored the scholarship 26 years ago, was unable to attend but addressed the group in a letter.
The winners, who each will receive a $3,000 scholarship, were Westford Academy’s Angela Alibrandi and Shawsheen Tech’s Craig Rich (District A); Alexis Catsoulis and Isaac Huff of Watertown (District B); Ally Steinberg of Sharon and Ryan Gray of Milford (District C); Abigail Long of Bishop Feehan and Jacob Ashworth of Bourne (District D); Angelina DiDomenica of Millbury and John Gove of Leominster (District E); Molly Camelo of Bishop Fenwick and Kellen Field of Malden Catholic (District H); and Meryl Bantefa of O’Bryant and Charles Mitchell of New Mission (Boston).
The Globe also honored its four athletes of the year.
Dorchester’s Amaya Finklea (Noble and Greenough) and Lexington’s Jeff Costello (Buckingham, Browne & Nichols) were named the NEPSAC Athletes of the Year.
Finklea, who will attend Syracuse University on a basketball scholarship, was the Independent School League MVP in volleyball and basketball.
Costello, the two-time NEPSAC Class B Player of the Year in football, quarterbacked BB&N to a 7-2 record and a bowl victory last fall, throwing 15 touchdown passes and rushing for 14 more.
This spring, he hit .383 for the Knights’ baseball team. He will play baseball at Northeastern.
The winners of the Will McDonough Athletes of the Year for MIAA-member schools were Patrick Flynn of Hanover and Alibrandi.
A dominant two-way lineman, Flynn was the Patriot League Player of the Year last fall for the Super Bowl champion Indians, started at center for the state champion basketball team, and was a ferocious defender for a lacrosse team that reached the state semifinals. He will play football at New Hampshire.
Also a Scholar-Athlete recipient, Alibrandi starred on the volleyball and basketball courts, leading the latter squad to the Division 1 state semifinals. She also hit nearly .400 for the softball team this spring. She will play basketball at Tufts.