2020 Athletic Awards winners revealed

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This June would have featured the 35th annual Athletic Awards Dinner at Townsend Harris. Each year, all athletes are invited to attend the event where awards are presented to the top players of each team, as well as awards for the entire school. Athletic Director Lauren Caiaccia reached out to The Classic to reveal the winners of the Athletic Awards, despite the absence of a formal event.

This year, three-sport athlete Julia Hong, and boys basketball player Zachary Fisher received the Most Outstanding Athlete awards.

The Most Outstanding Athlete award is the highest award of the program, and takes into consideration each team at Townsend Harris. Julia was a member of three different teams: bowling, basketball, and softball. When asked about her reaction to the award she said, “I feel honored and humbled because I never played sports with the desire to win an award but out of love for sports.” Julia was also grateful for her coaches and said, “they helped me grow into the person I am today.”

Zach was a four year member of the basketball team, and was one of the team captains this year. He helped guide the team to an undefeated regular season and two playoff wins, to cap off his career at Townsend Harris.

Athletic Director Lauren Caiaccia talked about the selection process for the top athletes, and said, “These various awards for seniors are meant to recognize standout performers that add value to their team or teams. Typically award winners are student-athletes that are leaders on and off their respective playing fields.” She added, This year’s award winners embody the Hawk spirit, and have shown a willingness to learn, a dedication to their respective teams, and a commitment to practice. Julia Hong and Zachary Fischer are examples of what is meant by our mantra #TownsendHarrisStrong. We welcome them to the elite group of former ‘Athletes of the Year’ and to our alumni Hawks family.”

In addition to these awards, girls tennis player Hope Ha and boys fencing member Jonathan Tran were recognized with the Outstanding Academic Average award. Hope was also the Valedictorian of the Class of 2020.

Jonathan commented on the balance between fencing and academics, and said that it “was always tricky because putting time into one felt like taking time out of the other. Maintaining academic excellence while being committed to a team was a struggle at times, but learning to manage my time better and working a bit harder made it an enjoyable experience.”

Ms. Caiaccia noted that many students with strong academic records often participate in athletics. Ten of the top fifteen seniors with the highest academic averages were also athletes, according to Ms. Caiaccia (see below for more).

Ms. Caiaccia also left a message for all of the athletes, which you can read here.

The rest of the athletes that were awarded are listed below. 

2020 Athletic Awards

Fall Teams:

Boys Badminton

  • Andy Ng, Co-MVP
  • Vincent Lian, Co-MVP
  • Wilson Chu, Most Improved
  • Andrew Fu, Coaches Award

Boys Bowling

  • Nicholas Rao, MVP
  • Dinesh Mulani, Most Improved
  • Daniel Shi, Coaches Award
  • Liam Dolphin, Rookie of the Year

Girls Bowling

  • Jacqueline Woo, MVP
  • Jasmine Sahai, Most Improved
  • Dawn Lugo, Coaches Award
  • Madison Skow, Rookie of the Year

Boys Fencing

  • Javah Xie, MVP
  • Ian Patino, Most Improved
  • Adam Ganpat, Most Improved
  • Jonathan Tran. Coaches Award

Girls Varsity Volleyball

  • Zoe Tylipakis, MVP
  • Nicole Monaco, Most Improved
  • Olivia Jablonski, Coaches Award
  • Samantha Liu, Coaches Award

Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball

  • Emily Blickhahn, MVP
  • Bereylne Chalas. Coaches Award
  • Alexandra Yick, Coaches Award

Boys Soccer

  • Rohan Iyer, MVP
  • Tre Roberts, Most Improved
  • Dillon Guludec, Coaches Award
  • Adam Hammond, Rookie of the Year

Girls Soccer

  • Kayla Seepersaud, MVP
  • Angelina Kretz, Most Improved
  • Victoria Fraczek, Coaches Award
  • Amelia Ferrell, Rookie of the Year

Girls Swimming

  • Jiaqi Zhu, MVP
  • Kelsey Miu, Most Improved
  • Emily Yan, Coaches Award
  • Kylie Chang, Rookie of the Year

Girls Tennis

  • Rachel Zhang, MVP
  • Fay Wong, Most Improved
  • Lori Eng, Coaches Award
  • Janelle Quidala, Rookie of the Year

Boys Cross Country

  • Trent Santoro, MVP
  • Shawn Edelstein, Most Improved
  • Denion Prifti, Coaches Award
  • Reid Tujak, Rookie of the Year

Girls Cross Country

  • Chloe Munoz, MVP
  • Nikki Chang, Most Improved
  • Hallie Lai, Coaches Award
  • Kate Estevez, Rookie of the Year

Winter Sports

Boys Basketball

  • Jahdon Jerome, MVP
  • Harman Singh, Most Improved
  • Zachary Fisher, Coaches Award
  • Matthew Cantor, Rookie of the Year

Girls Basketball

  • Julia Hong, MVP
  • Roisin Smith, Most Improved
  • Olivia Biedrzycki, Coaches Award
  • Shelly Gulkarov, Rising Star

Girls Junior Varsity Basketball

  • Berelyne Chalas, MVP
  • Aissatou Lam, Most Improved
  • Michelle Wu, Coaches Award

Boys Indoor Track

  • Jake Chang, MVP
  • Itamar Hindi, Most Improved
  • Jason Guerra, Coaches Award
  • Diego Pacheco, Rookie of the Year

Girls Indoor Track

  • Ifeoluwa Adedokun, Co-MVP
  • Nicole Wong, Co-MVP
  • Ikeoluwa Adedokun, Most Improved
  • Julia Xia, Coaches Award
  • Erica Jin, Rookie of the Year

Co-Ed Wrestling

  • Jayden Tavares, MVP
  • Ryan Rivera, Most Improved
  • Xander Izower, Coaches Award
  • Justin Linzan, Rookie of the Year

Girls Table Tennis

  • Sydney Ho, MVP
  • Jia Qi Pan, Most Improved
  • Jaime Tran, Coaches Award
  • Sophia Park, Rising Star

Special Awards

Most Outstanding Male Athlete – Zachary Fisher (Basketball)

Most Outstanding Female Athlete – Julia Hong (Bowling, Basketball, Softball)

Top Male Athlete in an Individual Sport – Andy Ng (Badminton) and Noah Pearlstein (Tennis)

Top Female Athlete in an Individual Sport – Rachel Zhang (Tennis) and Elizabeth Brandwein (Fencing)

Top Male Athlete in a Team Sport – Calvin Tan (Volleyball)

Top Female Athlete in a Team Sport – Kayla Seepersaud (Soccer)

Most Improved Male Athlete – Trent Santoro (Track) and Javah Xie (Fencing)

Most Improved Female Athlete – Nicole Monaco (Volleyball) and Carine He (Track)

Outstanding Academic Average – Hope Ha (Tennis) and Jonathan Tran (Fencing)

In addition to Hope and Jonathan, we recognize the following students who fill out the rest of the list of top 10 “academic athletes.” Each of these students also ranks academically in the top 15 of their class: Esther Chai (Swimming), Cathy Chen (Wrestling), JiaQi Pan (Table Tennis, Handball), Carine He (XC, Indoor, Outdoor), Tina Chen (Volleyball, Indoor, Outdoor), Julia Xia (XC, Indoor, Outdoor), Emily Tan (XC, Indoor, Outdoor) Jamie Tran (Table Tennis, Handball)

George W. Wingate Memorial Certificate (awarded to a graduating scholar athlete who participated on a male PSAL team during the school year for outstanding athletic improvement, scholarship and character) – Rohan Iyer (Soccer)

Louisa Wingate Underhill Certificate (awarded to a graduating scholar athlete who participated on a female PSAL team during the school year for outstanding athletic improvement, scholarship and character) – Kelsey Zhen (Basketball, Flag Football)

PSAL Graduation Certificate (awarded to a graduating scholar athlete who participated on a PSAL team during the school year for outstanding achievement in athletic improvement, leadership, and school service, as well as character.) – Westar Zong (Bowling, Volleyball)

PSAL City Champion – Andy Ng (3x City Champion in Badminton)

PSAL City Champion – Emily Tan (City Champion in Girls Track Race Walk)

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