PEABODY — Outstanding students. Exceptional athletes. Unwavering family support. Owners of an abundance of leadership qualities.
Beverly High's Monica Adler, one of the school's greatest track and field athletes ever, and Chris Splinter of Masconomet, arguably the best male athlete in school history, possess all of those above-mentioned accolades and more. It should come as no surprise, then, that they were honored Tuesday afternoon at Salem Country Club as the 19th annual Moynihan Lumber Student-Athletes of the Year.
"To succeed, you need three things: talent, hard work and most of all, an opportunity," said the Dartmouth-bound Adler.
Her remarks were apropos on an afternoon where both she and Splinter were lauded for their four years of high school excellence, both in the classroom and in their respective athletic endeavors.
Adler and Splinter were chosen from among a group of 18 candidates for the award, based on the males and females who captured the monthly Moynihan Lumber student-athlete honors. The sports editors from the Gloucester Daily Times, The Daily News of Newburyport, The Lynn Item and The Salem News selected the two Student-Athletes of the Year.
Adler, who just this past weekend broke her own school record in the mile (4:56.09) to finish first at the All-State Meet, has re-written the BHS record books with all of her various accomplishments, including having the fastest time among high schoolers in the country at one point this past winter in the 1000 meter run.
A three-time Northeastern Conference MVP and nine-time league all-star, Adler has what her head coach, Dave Jellerson, described as a "work ethic that is incredible. Nothing will stop her from achieving her goals."
Not even serious injuries that could have derailed her track career altogether. Sickness during her junior year caused her lung capacity to drop below 60 percent, and just as she was recovering from that Adler suffered a stress fracture in her foot. But through hours of rehab and dedication, she not only came back to compete — she did so better than ever.
Ranked 10th academically in her senior class of 315 students with a grade point average of 4.31, Adler thanked her teachers, coaches, parents and teammates for their support. She also marveled at the Moynihan Award's past winners and the select group she had just joined.
"There are Olympians, doctors, leaders, captains of Division 1 college teams on there ... and they're all down-to-earth people," she said. "Reading those names, I realize how monumental this award has become."
Jellerson relayed two of his favorite Adler stories to the audience. After Beverly's six-year unbeaten streak on the track was finally ended by Peabody High earlier this spring, Adler praised the Peabody runners and how classy they were on her Facebook page.
She had also tutored a football player after being asked by BHS vice principal (and head football coach) Dan Bauer; not only did the student Adler worked with pass his course, but "Monica also thanked (Bauer) for the chance to do it," said Jellerson.
Splinter, who will take his exceptional talents to the Harvard football team beginning this fall, also has a boatload of accomplishments on his resume. A four-year starter in both football and baseball and an All-League player in basketball, he graduated as the No. 8 student in his senior class.
Splinter is a four-year starting shortstop for the unbeaten Masco baseball team (21-0) that will face nemesis Gloucester in the Division 2 North semifinals tonight in Lynn. The three-sport captain was named All-State in football, was an Eastern Mass. National Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete, has been a Cape Ann League MVP in all three sports and led his team to four straight Cape Ann League titles.
Speaking of Splinter's propensity to scramble for huge chunks of yardage out of the quarterback position, Masco football coach Jim Pugh joked, "I'm hoping our next QB can run 75 yards through 11 defenders and score a touchdown, too."
Splinter thanked his parents as well as his older sister, whom he said he always looked up to. He also mentioned how a former Moynihan winner, current San Diego Padres minor league second baseman Matt Antonelli of Peabody, was one of his idols growing up.
"It's an honor to be mentioned with those names (of previous winners)," said the always-smiling Splinter.
Other awards given out yesterday went to long-time Lynn Classical athletic supporter Gerald LeBrasseur (Fan Award); Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School (Participation Award), Moorestuffonline.com's Rick Moore of Gloucester (Lifetime Commitment Award from outside the schools) and legendary Bishop Fenwick softball coach Ed Henry, who passed away five weeks ago (Lifetime Commitment Award working in the schools).
Former Moynihan winner Alex Perry (2006) of Danvers, who just wrapped up a football and baseball career at Tufts University, spoke to the audience as well.