Members of Huntington High School’s Class of 2019 are all settled in on college campuses and moving on with the next stage of their lives. But before they all headed off in different directions, the Huntington Booster Club recognized four exceptional teenagers with sportsmanship awards and scholarships.
The $1,000 scholarships were established by the Booster Club to honor male and female student athletes “who through their actions in the competitive arena of high school athletics, have demonstrated one or more of the ideals of sportsmanship, including fairness, civility, honesty, dedication, unselfishness, determination, respect and responsibility,” according to the nomination booklet.
Blue Devil varsity coaches were asked to submit nominations for the award. Booster Club President Timothy Pillion said that since the Class of 2019 had so many exceptional student-athletes the organization decided to award four scholarships.
Ian Ardell, Morgan Minicozzi, Nathaniel Gamboa and Phoebe Walther were all honored. Mr. Pillion spoke about each of the teenagers, quoting from the nominations submitted by their respective coaches and adding his own thoughts.
Mr. Ardell is attending San Francisco State University. He hasn’t decided yet on an academic major. Ms. Minicozzi is attending Adelphi University where she is playing on the college’s field hockey team and studying for a career in nursing.
Mr. Gamboa is studying mathematical science and physics at Worchester Polytechnic Institute and participating in the Naval ROTC program. Ms. Walther is studying to become a teacher at SUNY College at Geneseo.
Mr. Pillion said that the four teenagers are “strong role models, great teammates, terrific leaders, selfless on and off the field and proud. They have an unstoppable work ethic and lead by example.”
The four award recipients all received glowing praise from their coaches.
“Ian Ardell is committed to his community, honorable and dedicated,” Blue Devil basketball coach Brian Carey said. “I have seen him off the court on a number of occasions and can attest to his character, common sense, intellect and positive demeanor.”
Huntington field hockey coach Kathy Wright spoke highly of both Ms. Minicozzi and Ms. Walther. “Morgan was a powerful, impact player for our team,” Mrs. Wright said. “She led by example. All of the younger players looked up to her. She would take the time to talk to the younger players, explain plays and just be a role model as she demonstrated drills down the field. She plays field hockey with strength, grace, determination and skill.”
Ms. Walther is equally accomplished. “Phoebe has a magnificent spirit, unstoppable work ethic and desire to help others,” Mrs. Wright said. “She was the heart and soul of our team. She was determined to do her very best every game and was an inspiration to her team.”
Mr. Gamboa shined on the Blue Devil swimming team. “Nate has never shied from being a solid leader,” Blue Devil swimming coach Meg McConnell said. “He has always been a great role model, exhibiting positive behavior at all of our meets and our offsite practice pool. He is a true sportsman and stalwart citizen.”
Mr. Pillion said the Huntington Booster Club has contributed over $120,000 to the district since January 1, 2018. The group hopes to continue supporting the Blue Devils throughout 2019-20.