By Mitch Silver
Lilly Whaling, a multi-sport Rye High junior, has been named Athlete of the Month for November by the high school’s Athletic Department and the Rye Lions Club. Here’s what her field hockey coach, Kelly Vegliante, has to say about her: “Lilly is a fantastic athlete who’s played at the high school level since 8th grade. She was my leading scorer this season with 26 goals and 14 assists. She is so deserving of this award.”
Coach Vegilante continued, “Lilly is one of the strongest players on the field against the top teams. Her ability to fight for the ball and finish in front of the cage is why she was listed by the Journal News early in the season as a top player to watch this fall. She did not disappoint. She played a key role in getting Rye to the Sectional finals this season.”
Come springtime, you’ll find Lilly playing lacrosse for the Garnets. In fact, she’s committed to play lacrosse at Cornell in the 2024 season. It was love at first sight, she explained. “I met the coaches and the girls on the team when I went up there and I fell in love with them and the school’s combination of education and athletics.”
Lilly isn’t the first one in her family to be named Athlete of the Month at Rye High. Her older brother Caden won the award twice — once in March of 2021 and again six months later. Her younger sister Beau, a 9th grader, starts on the Field Hockey team beside her.
Her folks are athletes as well. “My mom played lacrosse at the University of Virginia, and my dad played both lacrosse and football at Princeton. My brother, sister, and I really owe them a lot. Mom and Dad started SAST — the Student Athlete Success Team — whose mission is to help student-athletes achieve their goals in a healthy and balanced manner.”
When she’s not playing sports, Lilly excels in the classroom. Two of her favorite classes this year are AP U.S. History, taught by Mr. Szarchowitz, and AP Psychology. “Another of my favorite teachers is Miss DeVito, who teaches math.”
Who does she thank for winning this award? “My parents, obviously. And, of course, my coach, Ms. Vegliante. She continually organizes our practices to take us out of our comfort zone, throwing different things at us that we don’t expect. I was surprised to win this award, because I think of myself as just one member of the team. We were successful this year because we’re all so close, with no one player standing out above the others.”
She’s talented and modest too. This win makes Lilly eligible to attend the Lions Club year-end luncheon honoring all the monthly winners, and to appear on the ballot for Rye’s Athlete of the Year.