The Huntington Booster Club recognized four exceptional teenagers with sportsmanship awards and scholarships at Huntington High School’s 50th annual senior athletic awards banquet held in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium.
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 2018 had so many remarkable student-athletes the organization decided to award four scholarships.
Adina Kirkland, Sarah Agrillo, Christopher Martin and Levin Leach 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.
Adina Kirkland plans to pursue a degree in wildlife conservation/animal behavior at Hampshire College in Massachusetts.
“Adina is one of the most patient and kind young ladies that I have ever met,” wrote Huntington girls’ fencing coach Michelle O’Brien in a recommendation letter for the award. “She is patient with new fencers, creates drills for them to practice, films her teammates and reviews and discusses with them what is working well and what they need to improve. Adina is a smart girl and a strong competitor on the fencing strip and always respectful to her opponent, regarless of the outcome of the match.
A skilled musician, Ms. Kirkland completed her sixth varsity fencing season by garnering Second Team All-League and honorable mention All-County honors in sabre. She was selected to participate in the Suffolk Exceptional Senior meet.
“She is extremely dedicated to her school, her activities and her family and I find it extremely impressive how she manages all of her responsibilities with grace, poise and dignity.”
Sarah Agrillo plans to study criminal justice at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She was recruited to play on the college’s NCAA Division I lacrosse team.
“Sarah is a strong young woman,” wrote Huntington varsity lacrosse coach Kim Gilroy in a recommendation letter. “After tearing her ACL as a junior, she came back to the field less than a year later with an outstanding mindset and strength. Her work ethic and dedication to the girls’ lacrosse program has been unwavering. As a team captain she has been organized, spirited and dedicated. Sarah has been instrumental in our program’s success.”
Ms. Agrillo was highly regarded by her teammates throughout her Blue Devil career. “Sarah truly takes pride in our program,” Ms. Gilroy said. “She kept the team connected by organizing team bonding experiences and talking them up during practice. The team always looked to Sarah as someone the players can trust and turn to. Duquesne University is very lucky to be getting her.”
Christopher Martin intends to study engineering at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He’s participating in a program that will see him spend his freshman and sophomore years at UNC Asheville before completing his degree requirements at North Carolina State.
“Chris Martin is an athlete that any coach would want on his team,” wrote Huntington volleyball coach Todd Donaghy in a recommendation letter. “Chris strived to be the best that he could be. His work ethic inspired others around him to work as hard as he did. If Chris was having a bad day on the court, he always stood tall. He’d encourage his teammates to try and do their best. In many cases our best wasn’t enough to pull out a victory, but Chris never gave up or slowed down.”
The Blue Devil volleyball team won the league Sportsmanship Award last fall. “Chris was instrumental in the team being selected for this award,” Mr. Donaghy said. “Chris is a kid who gave what he could. I’d never question his work ethic or desire to win. Chris is a winner. If he approaches life the way he prepared on the volleyball court, he will have a very bright future.”
Levi Leach plans to attend Northeastern University in Boston where he plans to pursue studies in either mathematics or computer science.
“Levi is a great young man,” wrote Huntington boys’ track and field coach Ronald Wilson in a recommendation letter. “His attitude is always positive and his dedication to the program is second to none. He’s a natural leader and a Blue Devil that promotes integrity and sportsmanship at every track meet.”
Mr. Leach served on the Principal’s Advisory Council, was the head of strategy for the high school’s robotics team and was active in the student government.
“I am so proud to have coached Levi,” Mr. Wilson said. “He has always been gentle, humble and compassionate. He is one who thoroughly prepares himself to meet and exceed the challenges that life offers.”