By Nick Curcuru
---- — PEABODY— With hundreds of nominees and a dozen and a half monthly winners, two student athletes stood above the rest and were named the 2014 Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student Athletes of the Year.
For their work both in the classroom and on the athletic fields, Gloucester junior track star Everest Crawford and Beverly soccer and track star Caitlin Harty were presented their Student Athlete of the Year Awards and a scholarship on Wednesday at the 23rd Annual North Shore Student Athlete Luncheon at Salem Country Club in Peabody.
The North Shore Student Athlete of the Year Awards are chosen from a crop of monthly winners which are awarded throughout the high school sports year from September to May. The Sports Editors from the Gloucester Daily Times, the Salem News and the Lynn Daily Item choose the winners based on a combination of academic and athletic prowess after they are nominated by their respective high schools.
“What makes an award great is those who win it” said Gerard Moynihan of Moynihan Lumber, borrowing a line from the late Heisman Trophy winner Dick Kazmaier. “You are now in elite company.”
Crawford and Harty fit the bill perfectly with a blend of academic and athletic achievements, join former winners such as Olympian Shalane Flanagan, Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt, and Major League Baseball official Peter Woodfork.
Harty, who will be attending Holy Cross this fall to play soccer, is the school’s all time leading scorer (180 points) and goal scorer (138), a record that was set in her sophomore season.
The senior led the Panthers to the Division 1 North crown as a junior in 2012, and led the team to a deep tournament run again in 2013 in the form of a trip to the sectional semifinals.
“I have been Caitlin’s soccer coach since she was 11 years old and since the first time I saw her play I said to myself, ‘This girl has so much potential,’” said Beverly soccer coach Kristin Simpson, who introduced Harty on Wednesday. “Not only has she become the great soccer player I knew she’d be, but an even better person. She’s the type of person you always want to be around and a person who motivates others by just being her competitive self.”
Harty was also an indoor and outdoor track standout for Beverly this year, leading the Panthers to the Northeastern Conference title in the outdoor season. The middle distance ace was also a part of the school record setting 4x800m relay team.
In the classroom Harty, a three sport captain, was Beverly’s co-valedictorian, with a grade point average well over 4.0. In her four years of high school Harty’s lowest grade was an A-.
Harty was quick to praise both her soccer and track coaches, Dave Jellerson and Chandler Jones, for helping her succeed at Beverly High.
“I want to thank soccer coach Kristin Simpson who taught me the basics at an early age and I was so lucky to be able to spend another four awesome seasons with her,” said Harty, who also thanked her family and the Beverly High School administration. “My track coaches also pushed me to be my best.”
Crawford, a junior, just finished off a record setting year on the track. He started off his season on a high note with a 13th place finish at the Cross Country All State Meet.
But he took his game to new heights with an incredible indoor winter season.
Crawford was named the Northeastern Conference MVP during the indoor season, setting a new Gloucester High School record in the 800m three times. He won the Class C 800m indoor title, finished second in the All State meet and won the New England Championship in the same race.
This spring Crawford won the Division 1 State Mile championship.
“I first met Everest as a seventh grader when I was his teacher,” said Gloucester track coach Jeff Destino, who introduced Crawford at Wednesday’s luncheon. “And it was pretty apparent then that he had all the tools to be able to excel in the classroom. That work ethic carries over to the track. He has accomplished so many things this year and he has stayed humble through it all.”
In the classroom Crawford has a grade point average of 94.6, is ranked 17th in his class, and is a member of the National Honors Society.
In humble fashion, Crawford was quick to praise the other Student Athlete of the Month winners.
“This is a great honor,” Crawford said. “I was a little surprised knowing how strong the other monthly award winners are.”
Gloucester’s Pete Kelley was awarded the Lifetime Commitment Award for his work outside the schools.
Kelley is the director and long time host of North Shore 104.9’s North Shore Sports Desk, which promotes local student athletes on a weekly basis.
Longtime St. John’s Prep football coach and current school Athletic Director Jim O’Leary was awarded the Lifetime Commitment Award for his work within the schools. O’Leary won two state titles at the Prep and stepped down after the 2013 season.
Beverly’s Chas McKenna received the Fan Award for his commitment to Beverly High School athletics. Gloucester High School received the Participation Award, while 2012 and 2013 female Student Athlete of the Year Catarina Rocha of Peabody, who was a freshman on the NCAA Division 1 National Champion Providence College cross country team, spoke offering words of encouragement to the two newest recipients of the award.
“I’ve raced against Caitlin and I’ve seen Everest run and they’re both great athletes and obviously great in school,” Rocha said. “Hopefully you will come back and experience it again.”