By Mitch Silver
This spring, as the Sectional lacrosse playoffs were set to begin, junior Owen Kovacs led the Rye High varsity in scoring with 41 goals and 22 assists. The attackman with the powerful left-handed shot scored the goal — his sixth of the game — with 90 seconds left to beat Bronxville 12-11 on the last Saturday of the regular season. Three days later, he scored the last two goals of the regular campaign in helping defeat Scarsdale 10-6. And now he’s been named Rye High Athlete of the Month for the month of May by the Rye Lions Club and the school’s Athletics Department.
Here’s what Head Coach Steve Lennon has to say about him: “Owen is one of the most hardworking players I have ever coached. He is a natural leader and is respected by all his teammates and coaches. He is what we in the business call a ‘lax rat.’ He ALWAYS has his stick and is either shooting, having a catch, or trying some kind of new trick. He can shoot from every release point and is very deceptive.
“His lefty shot is — and high lacrosse IQ are — what make him a Division 1 lacrosse player. His feeding has grown tremendously over the last year or two, and he is also a dodging threat. He is a true three-tool attackman. My favorite part about Owen is his humility and the fact that he is just a great guy. He is a high character individual who will find success wherever he goes.”
Kovacs, who has a junior-year GPA of over 95 while taking four Advanced Placement courses, says he might major in History in college. “It’s my favorite class this year. My family has traveled to Europe and taken in the historical sites, and Miss Phelan makes U.S. History really engaging.”
Owen already knows which sport he’ll play in college, having been accepted to play lacrosse at Bucknell University. The Bison might be getting themselves a three-sport athlete; Owen is a starter on the Garnets’ Varsity Basketball team and the quarterback on the Sectional-champion Rye High Football team.
The Lions Club honor includes more than athletics. Owen tutors underprivileged kids at the Ward Summer Camp in Port Chester. He’s also been a volunteer at Port Chester’s Carver Center Dinner at Noon program, and the Bread of Life Food Pantry. He says, “It’s a real honor to be recognized by the Lions Club, given the terrific athletes already recognized this year, and in the past. I have to thank my parents for spending their time and money supporting me growing up.”
Al Mercado, Assistant to the Athletic Program, is another big supporter. “I first met Owen,” he says, “when he was a freshman at a summer workout program we offered at the school. Other athletes would come and go but Owen was always there working hard. He wasn’t as developed as the other athletes, but he was consistent and worked the hardest. Right then and there, I knew he would be great. You can’t compete with a competitive, disciplined, hard-working young man like Owen. Now as a junior he is tasting success. but I know he isn’t taking his foot off the gas pedal.”
Owen will join the other monthly Lions Club winners at the year-end awards luncheon at the Apawamis Club June 16, when the winner of the vote by the Rye High student body for Athlete of the Year will be announced.