Amanda Hartzell Named Lions Club Athlete of the Year
By Mitch Silver
Rarely, if ever, have so many outstanding Rye athletes been gathered out of uniform as were assembled for the annual Lions Club dinner at The Osborn June 11.
Among the honorees, all Athlete of the Month winners chosen jointly by the Rye High Athletic Department and the Rye Lions Club, were the Garnets’ all-time Girls’ Basketball scorer, the senior captain and 1,000+-point scorer for the Boys’ hoop team, a nationally ranked squash player, a State Federation Cup-winning golfer, a three-sport (football, hockey, lacrosse) varsity captain, a Section One Super 11 football star, the tennis marvel who was undefeated at number one singles for her entire high school career, and the stroke of the Garnets’ national champion lightweight crew. Absent, but present in spirit, was Rye’s All-American field hockey player.
And the winner of the Lions Club Athlete of the Year award, chosen by a vote of Rye High students, was none of the above. Amanda Hartzell — the four-time All-League captain of the Girls’ Lacrosse team and winner of nine varsity letters across lacrosse, basketball, and soccer — was the one holding the trophy at the end of the night. In addition to her amazing exploits on the field, the Yale-bound senior is a National Honor Society member with a 98+ GPA.
The evening’s guest speaker was Steve Feeney, RHS class of 1965, and PA announcer at Rye’s football games who styles himself “The Ol’ Garnet”. He used his own story as a walk-on player for Maryland’s Atlantic Coast Conference basketball team and the integrated squad’s adventures in the Deep South to underline the importance of perseverance and tolerance in athletics and in life.
Dave Heller, the guiding light behind the Athlete of the Month program and a Lions Club member since 1963, was honored for his more than half century of service.
At the end of the evening, Rye’s outstanding athletes gathered together for one final picture. Nathalie Rodilosso (tennis), Mat Bruno (football), Charlie Nagle and Katie Popp (basketball), Caroline Neave (squash), Will Hynson (hockey), Amanda Hartzell (lacrosse), John Dailey (rowing), and James McHugh (golf) raised their glasses…of water…and saluted their absent peer Fusine Govaert (field hockey) before heading out into the night.
Rye’s top athletes join Amanda Hartzell, Athlete of the Year, third from left, at the Lions Club dinner.
Dave Heller, the force behind the Rye High/Lions Club awards and a Lion for over 50 years, was given a special tribute.