Lions Club Names Rye’s Galligan as 2019’s First Athlete of the Month
By Mitch Silver
While hundreds and thousands of Rye fans watch their heroes in action every season on the gridiron, hardwood, and diamond, some of the best high school athletes walk the halls of the school in relative anonymity. For the most part, Garnet skiers, golfers, swimmers, rowers, and rugby players perform in front of few if any spectators. They compete for their own enjoyment and the camaraderie of their teammates.
Cian Galligan is one such athlete. The Dublin-born senior runs cross-country in the fall and indoor track in the winter at off-campus venues. Even spring track & field meets at home are seen by only a handful of onlookers. Still, someone must have been watching this winter as Galligan put up one increasingly strong performance after another in the middle distances. Because he’s been named the Athlete of the Month for January by the Rye High Athletic Department and the Rye Lions Club.
Hmmm…an Irish-born runner who’s made the City of Rye his home. Sound familiar? Does the name Eamonn Coghlan ring a bell? Like the world track star of the 1980s, Galligan can run a variety of distances with great speed and confidence. He was team captain of the cross-country squad this fall, and has been named all-league for his efforts on the boards of the Armory in Upper Manhattan this winter. All by themselves, the results of those races would guarantee the Binghamton-bound Galligan a place at the table when the Athlete of the Year is announced at the Lions Club dinner at The Osborn in June.
But the last six weeks have topped everything that went before. First, Cian (pronounced Ki-en) qualified to run in the New York State High School Championships that were held last weekend on Staten Island. After motoring around 4:30 outdoors for the 1,600-meters in his junior year, Glligan broke the 4:20 mark for the “near mile” at the Armory last month. That placed him in the elite section of the event on the Ocean Breeze track Saturday. Then, after trailing the field, Cian closed fast to set a personal best a couple of hundreds above 4:16.
So, what will he do for an encore this spring? “I’m hoping to get down to the Rye record.” he said. “It was set 35 years ago by another Irish-born runner, Michael Collins.”
If his exploits on the track suggest Cian Galligan has stick-to-it-iveness, so does his work in the classroom. He’s a member of both the National Honor Society and the National Music Honor Society for his cello playing. Cian’s list of AP classes includes U.S. and European History, English, Macro-Economics, Art History, and Spanish. He hopes to use his mastery of Spanish (and, yes, Macro-Economics!) in future pursuits.
The Lions Club awards are also based on extra-curricular activity and community service. Cian sings bass in the student-run a capella group, Rhythm on Rye. He’s an active member of Voices Against Substance Abuse, students who speak to Rye’s middle schoolers. A club officer of Rye High’s Investment Club, Galligan also ran a country at Harvard’s Model United Nations this year. (We could use a few good leaders, no?) And the studious young man is Vice-President of the Library Council. In fact, he’s earned Rye’s Library Citizenship award.
January’s winner thanks his parents and his coaches, including the late Jim Yedowitz, for helping him to become the runner, and the young person, he is.