, Salem, MA

April 4, 2008

A history of The Salem News' Student-Athlete Award

The prestigious Salem News Student-Athlete Award, given last night to Marblehead High School three-sport star Courtney Colantuno, has been a staple on the North Shore sports scene since it was first awarded five decades ago.

The first winner was Beverly High School football standout Peter M. Zeitzoff in 1962. Since that time, the award has been given out to the area's top student-athlete each year (save for 1994).

Here is a capsule look at The Salem News Student-Athlete Award and its history:

r Fourteen high schools in The Salem News readership area — Beverly, Salem, Danvers, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott, St. John's Prep, Bishop Fenwick, North Shore Tech, Pingree, Ipswich, Hamilton-Wenham, Masconomet and Manchester Essex — select their best and brightest student-athlete to represent their school. Each of these candidates combines academic excellence, outstanding athletic prowess and the ability to multi-task in areas such as volunteering, working part-time or giving back to their community.

r Each student-athlete is then interviewed individually by a panel of five judges at The Salem News offices in Beverly.

r The nominees and their parents meet with the judges at The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem later that same night for a dinner and awards ceremony, where the Student-Athlete winner is announced at the end of the evening. The recipient receives a $2,000 scholarship and the Student-Athlete trophy, with the names of all of the previous winners engraved on it.

r A guest speaker — usually a current or former professional athlete from the Boston area, or a former Student-Athlete Award winner — is also part of the night's festivities.

r Last night's win by Courtney Colantuno gave Marblehead High its fourth Student-Athlete winner and first since 1991.

r Student-Athletes from Masconomet Regional in Topsfield have won the award more times (6) than any other North Shore school.

r Each of the 14 North Shore schools represented has won the Student-Athlete Award at least one time. Beverly, Swampscott and Hamilton-Wenham have each won the award five times, while Peabody, St. John's Prep, Marblehead and Ipswich have captured four awards. Salem has been victorious three times; Danvers twice; and Pingree, Bishop Fenwick, Manchester Essex and North Shore Tech once each.

r This year's five Student-Athlete judges were Neil Corcoran, sales team leader for The Clorox Company; Thomas Roundy, sports information director at Salem State College; Mike Powers, a Selectman for the town of Danvers; Nelson Benton, editorial page editor of The Salem News; and Phil Stacey, sports editor of The Salem News.

Compiled by Phil Stacey