This year has been unlike any other for high school students, and athletes, across the state. Seasons were in question at every turn. Face masks and hand sanitizer became a part of the uniform. Still, a number of athletes managed to have phenomenal seasons on the field and in the classroom.
A group of graduating seniors was honored Monday morning at the 35th Globe Foundation/Richard J. Phelps Scholar-Athletes and Athletes of the Year awards ceremony, held in the Dell Technologies Club at Fenway Park. Everyone in the expansive room was maskless, a far cry from the virtual ceremony last year.
Continuing a tradition that began in 1987 and expanded when businessman/philanthropist Richard J. Phelps came on board as a co-sponsor in 1991, a panel of Globe judges awarded $3,000 college scholarships to 18 distinguished Scholar-Athletes representing seven MIAA districts, the city of Boston, and Eastern Mass. preparatory schools.
The Globe also presented its annual Will McDonough Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards to a pair of seniors, Brendan Fennell (Melrose) and Paige Gillette (Andover), who both were four-season athletes in 2020-21.
With no football in the fall, Fennell was a Middlesex League golf all-star. In the winter, the Middlesex Freedom hockey MVP. In Fall II, he quarterbacked the Red Raiders to an unbeaten season, extending the program’s winning streak to 21 games. This spring, he spearheaded an 11-1 season for the lacrosse team.
Gillette, a two-time Globe All-Scholastic field hockey goalie, was a three-sport captain, a leader willing to take on any role on the basketball court, and on the softball diamond, as a dynamic leadoff hitter and second baseman. In Fall II, she was a revered mentor for Unified Basketball. She will playfield hockey at Assumption.
“I’m just thankful for being able to play at all this year, and it’s unbelievable to be honored,” said Fennell, who will do a post-grad year at Avon Old Farms. “Going into this year, you just didn’t know anything. You worked all summer with whatever sports you played, but you just didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Craig Larson, the Globe’s high school sports editor, gave opening remarks, along with Globe sports editor Matt Pepin, , and Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy,
Vaughn Williams, in his first year as the athletic director at Bentley University, was the keynote speaker for the event. Williams’ received his undergraduate degree from UMass Amherst, where he played football and his master’s degree from Boston College. He emphasized the importance of taking risks in life and growing during your college years.
“I hope you can find a place where you can explore your why,” Williams said. “Expand your village. No one does anything alone, partake in other opportunities, take risks, and live outside your bubble. You need a network. You need mentors to be successful. Live in the moment, but be intentional about your future. Athletes are very focused on the next move. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to not take anything for granted.
“Lastly, define your own success. There was a time when I let others define what success was for me, but the only person that can define that is you.”
Williams also emphasized the importance of taking care of mental health.
“Mental health is just like an injured or sprained ankle,” he said. “You have to open up and understand it’s not a bad thing to want to get help. I wish I had thought about that when I was your age.”
Since Phelps came on board, the Globe has recognized 400-plus Scholar-Athletes.
The 18 Phelps Scholar-Athlete recipients:
▪ District 2-3 — Emma Mumby (Westborough / Babson) and Thomas Billings (Hudson / Rhode Island)
▪ District 4 — Stephanie Tardugno (Methuen / Saint Anselm) and Matt O’Toole (Waltham / Providence)
▪ District 5 — Amber Kiricoples (Peabody / Bentley) and David Lombardi (Malden / High Point University)
▪ District 6 — Amanda Patti (Austin Prep / UMass Amherst) and Terence Moynihan (St. Mary’s / St. Michael’s)
▪ District 7 — Abigail Miller (Millis / Babson) and Jake Taylor (Mansfield / Northeastern)
▪ District 8 — Carly Drew (Old Rochester / Anna Maria) and John Kerney (Dartmouth / Clemson)
▪ District 9 — Leah Nash (Monomoy / Northeastern) and Jack Nelson (Quincy / Dartmouth)
▪ City of Boston — Quinlan O’Brien (Boston Latin / Johns Hopkins) and Luke Maffeo (John D. O’Bryant / Massachusetts Maritime)
▪ Preps — Lillie Cooper (Phillips Andover / Harvard) and Peyton O’Leary (Governor’s Academy / Michigan)
BOSTON GLOBE/WILL McDONOUGH ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
Boys’ winner: Brendan Fennell, Melrose
Girls’ winner: Paige Gillette, Andover
Boys’ winner: Duncan Moreland, Beverly
Girls’ winner: Sydney Scales, Walpole
Boys’ winner: Jake McElroy, North Andover
Girls’ winner: Audra Tosone, Walpole
Boys’ winner: Sal Frelick, Lexington
Girls’ winner: Elle Hansen, Cohasset
Boys’ winner: Patrick Flynn, Hanover
Girls’ winner: Angela Alibrandi, Westford Academy
Boys’ winner: Jeff Trainor, Billerica
Girls’ winner: Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda, Cambridge Rindge and Latin
Boys’ winner: Brooks Tyrrell, Marblehead
Girls’ winner: Leah Cardarelli, Acton-Boxboro
Boys’ winner: Michael Panepinto, Needham
Girls’ winner: Maggie Layo, Sandwich
Boys’ winner: Andre Rolim, Somerville
Girls’ winner: Hannah Murphy, Duxbury
Boys’ winner: Casey DeAndrade, East Bridgewater
Girls’ winner: Kara Charette, Fairhaven
Boys’ winner: Shayne Collins, Mansfield
Girls’ winner: Andrea Keklak, Lincoln-Sudbury
Boys’ winner: Conor Ressel, Gloucester
Girls’ winner: Molly Breen, Millis
Boys’ winner: Sean Ryan, Norton
Girls’ winner: Kirsten Kasper, North Andover
Boys’ winner: Tim Rich, Chelmsford
Girls winner: Melanie Baskind, Framingham
Boys’ winner: James Hamilton, Harwich
Girls’ winner: Denise Beliveau, Framingham
Boys’ winner: Chris Nixon, Duxbury
Girls’ winner: Lauren Mahoney, Archbishop Williams
Boys’ winner: Chris Barnicle, Newton North
Girls’ winner: Ashley Waters, Amesbury
Boys’ winner: Jason Blydell, Swampscott
Girls’ winner: Katie Brooks, Winchester
The Globe Athlete of the Year Award was changed to the Boston Globe/Will McDonough Award following the death of the longtime Globe columnist in January of 2003.
Boys’ winner: Matt Antonelli, St. John’s Prep
Girls’ winner: Rachel Smith, Somerset High School
Boys’ winner: Jim Unis, Gloucester
Girls’ winner: Brittany Cheney, Abington
Boys’ winner: Robert Whitaker, Brockton
Girls’ winner: Lisa Tisbert, Andover
Boys’ winner: Dante Balestracci, New Bedford
Girls’ winner: Katie Collins, Reading and Tracy Prihoda, Needham
Boys’ winner: Kevin Truelson, Archbishop Williams
Girls’ winner: Hillary Dunn, Medfield
Boys’ winner: Abdirizak Mohamud, Boston English
Girls’ winner: Jenna Stacer, Holliston
Boys’ winner: Jonathon Riley, Brookline
Girls’ winner: Emily Desjardins, Bishop Fenwick
Boys’ winner: James Perry, Malden Catholic
Girls’ winner: Rebecca Sangster, Falmouth
Boys’ winner: Peter Woodfork, Swampscott
Girls’ winner: Nicki Castonguay, Somerset
Boys’ winner: Anthony Palmer, Winthrop
Girls’ winner: Katie Kiladis, Framingham
Boys’ winner: Brett Budzinski, Ipswich
Girls’ winner: Sarah Dacey, Framingham
Boys’ winner: Chris Blades, Marian
Girls’ winner: Kelly Amonte, Thayer Academy
Boys’ winner: Andy Downin, Duxbury
Girls’ winner: Leanne Burke, Randolph
Boys’ winner: Bill Counihan, Dedham
Girls’ winner: Lisa Moore, Wellesley
Boys’ winner: Dan O’Connell, Triton
Girls’ winner: Sarah Behn, Foxboro
Boys’ winner: Carmine Cappuccio, Malden
Girls’ winner: Kendall Daly, Masconomet
Kris Rhim can be reached at email@example.com.