WAVERLY — The Gary Forbes Memorial trophy has been awarded annually since 1959 and the list of names on the trophy are the names of legends.
The same is true of the Principals’ Award which was first handed out in 1982.
For the first time since 2010, both awards went to Waverly athletes Monday night.
Dylan Ward, who ran cross country for three fall seasons and played football as a senior, played basketball in the winter and ran track in the spring walked off with the Forbes Award.
Alex Tomasso, who played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and golf in the spring was the Principals’ Award winner.
“It feels really good (to be among the Principals’ Award winners), but I have a lot of people to thank for it. All of my coaches, Mrs. (Tara) Hogan, Coach (Bob) Kelly, and Mr. G (Pete Girolamo). have helped me a lot. My surgeon, Dr. Green, who helped me with my ACL injury, all of the people at ProCare and Brian Howland, who helped me play basketball this season. And a special thank you my best friend Wendi (Hammond), who has done amazing as well. She’s definitely pushed me throughout my high school career. We’ve been side by side in everything, so I can’t thank any of them enough for helping me get here. I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”
“It’s really refreshing,” said Ward. “When I was growing up, I was the skinnier kid and wasn’t that athletic. I put a lot of hard work in.”
For both, hard work and dedication, both athletically and academically, were the keys.
“It takes a lot of work,” said Tomasso. “With soccer, just trying to go to every practice even the optional ones on Saturdays and team runs to try to be the best I can was key. With basketball, I, my dad and my sister always go to the gym. Ever since I was little shooting in the Epiphany school gym and trying to get those extra shots in to try to be as good as possible.
“Golf is a whole other level. It’s harder than anything I’ve ever done. I’m always trying to get more consistent. For me, it’s mostly my mental game. Playing tournaments outside of school helps my mental game. I’m playing in competitive settings to get the best I can and hitting balls on the driving range all of the time.”
“I was up countless nights studying until midnight or later,” said Ward. “I don’t know how I got it all done. All that hard work paying off feels good.”
Both also noted the importance of playing multiple sports.
“Going from one sport to another is the best of both worlds,” said Ward. “You’re in shape for going into the next season, but at the same time most of the sports I do are completely different. I’ve noticed a huge difference in both of my (other) sports just from starting track. My freshman year through my junior year I ran cross country. That helped a lot too.”
The quick cuts necessary in football and basketball are very different from the straight-line running he does on the track. He’ll be participating in the 800-meter run at the New York State Track & Field Championships on Friday at Middletown High School.
“In basketball, the stressful situations and sectional championships in soccer have helped me in golf,” said Tomasso. “Being in those stressful situations have made me calmer. Having more experience in those situations helps me perform better in tougher situations.”
This past year, Tomasso played soccer in the fall and basketball in the winter. Both are physically demanding. In the spring, she played golf, which is a more mental game. That’s the sport she will play at the next level at Merrimack College, a NCAA Division I program.
The two had similar advice for young athletes looking to excel. Don’t give up.
“Even if things get tough, you have to keep pushing through,” said Ward. “No matter what the circumstance is, you can’t give up because you never know.
Added Tomasso, “Keep pushing, even when things don’t go your way and even when you think everything’s falling apart.”
Notes: Alex’s mom Gwen (then Lynch) won the Principals’ Award in 1991, and her dad Joe won the Forbes Award in 1990.