Jean DePlacido column: Fab Four from Fenwick earn major awards at graduation 

Rose Raymond/photo. From left: Bishop Fenwick's Derek DelVecchio, Sammie Gallant, Lexi McNeil and Cory Bright were all honored at the school's recent graduation for Student-Athlete and Athletes of the Year honors. 

Four outstanding Bishop Fenwick senior student-athletes were recognized with prestigious awards at the school's recent graduation.

Cory Bright and Lexi McNeil received Fenwick's Student-Athlete honors, while Sammi Gallant and Derek DelVecchio got the nod for Athletes of the Year. They each stood out both on the field and in the classroom with incredible careers for the Crusaders.

McNeil, who is from Marblehead, graduated with a 4.2 grade point average and set records in hockey with 41 career goals and 77 assists. She ranked third among North Shore skaters in assists this past winter with 25 and set a new school record for both career and single season points.

McNeil will continue her track career at Boston College, specializing in the javelin with a personal best throw of 115 feet 11 inches set at the league championship meet, where she was named Female Performer of the meet. The captain and Catholic Central League all-star will compete at the New Balance Nationals later this month.

McNeil also excelled in volleyball and softball, where she was the varsity catcher as a freshman before giving it up for track and field. She won the silver medal in the javelin at the New England Junior Olympics and had college offers from Boston College, Holy Cross and Amherst.

"I love throwing the javelin and feel my future is in track — although I'll miss hockey," McNeil said. "I couldn't have done it without coach (Zach) Nardone. He's helped me so much, and I'm lucky to have a training partner in Corinne Ahern, too, because we push each other."

Bright was a star in football and baseball for Fenwick as well as in the classroom with a 4.43 GPA. He's hoping for a long state tournament run for the baseball team, where he's normally a shortstop but stepped in to help out with the pitching because of injuries this year. He also plays first and third base to conserve his arm.

Next year the Melrose resident will attend Winchendon School as a post-graduate student and continue his baseball career.

"There's no football team there, so this past season was the end for me," said Bright, who battled back from injuries to throw 16 touchdown passes and have 1,193 passing yards in just six games for the Crusaders last fall. He set Fenwick records in career passing yards and TD passes.

"I was determined to come back from all the injuries," he added. "I played basketball as a freshman, but was hurt the next two years. If anything, the injuries just made me work harder to prove I still had it. I kept being thrown down, but got back up.

"Last year our baseball team got knocked out in the first round of the tourney, but we have an eight game winning streak going and hope to make a long run."

Gallant starred in basketball and soccer for the Crusaders and will continue to play basketball at Franklin Pierce University. A three-time captain and CCL Player of the Year, the point guard averaged 16 points per game and six rebounds.

When injuries decimated the team, Gallant took the Crusaders on her shoulders and was named to the Larry McIntire All-Tournament Team late in the regular season.

"I was really surprised to get the award because there are so many really good athletes at the school. It's a special honor," said the Ipswich resident.

DelVecchio is a three-sport star in football, hockey and lacrosse, who will go on to play lacrosse at Emmanuel College.

A two-year captain in both hockey and lacrosse, DelVecchio was named football captain as a senior.

"I was very surprised and really didn't see the honor coming my way," said the Saugus resident, who was a wide receiver/safety in football, catching 22 passes and coming up big on defense with four interceptions. 

"I love all three sports; my favorite one depends on the season. I've been playing lacrosse since I was in fourth grade, hockey since I was 10, and football beginning in Saugus Pop Warner. I'm excited about our team being in the (state) tournament; it's always good to have extra lacrosse games."

All four athletes, who stood out as the very best in the Class of 2019 said they consider being recognized in this special way a tremendous honor.

"It's a testament to all my hard work both in the classroom and in athletics," said McNeil. "I know Cory feels the same way."


Athan Goulos, a former CCC Golfer of the Year at Endicott College, has qualified for the Mass Open, which will be held at Vesper Country Club in Tyngsboro June 10-12.

Goulos, who is from Peabody and Ferncroft Country Club, tied for fourth place with a 74 to qualify at Salem Country Club.

He led the Gulls to the NCAA championship in Florida in 2017. Goulos was also an alternate for district qualifier for the Men's US Open which will be held in Pebble Beach California from June 13-16.


Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @JeanDePlacidoSN




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