Western Wayne officials name junior and senior 2014 Athletes of the Year
Western Wayne teams and athletes enjoyed a stellar year on the scholastic sports scene.
The Wildcats captured individual and team titles, brought home gold medals from district tournaments and earned scholarships to attend prestigious colleges.
This past week, school officials brought down the curtain on the 2013-14 campaign with their annual awards banquet.
Student/athletes were honored for their myriad achievements throughout the sports year.
“When you are a high school athlete, sports become second nature to you and they become a part of your life,” said athletic director Cindy Rizzi.
“The struggle between academics and sports is a continuous cycle that takes up much more time than a student who isn't involved in sports.
“Most athletes here at Western Wayne admit they combine these two into one. They find creative ways to study and play. But, studies come first because without a good academic base, sports just can't happen.”
The high point of this year's ceremony came when officials announced the Athletes of the Year.
The 2013-14 honorees are Rebecca Carmody and Tanner Gillette. Becca is a junior and Tanner a senior, but each built an impressive athletic resume this year.
Becca Carmody is the epitome of versatility.
A naturally-gifted athlete, Carmody starred in track, basketball and volleyball.
“What sets Becca apart is her competitiveness,” said Rizzi, quoting one of Carmody's coaches during her introductory speech.”
“Becca does not accept defeat. Her drive pushes her teammates to play at their maximum level alongside her.”
Carmody earned All Star status in track for sprints and jumps. She finished second at the Lackawanna League Championships in the 400M, then earned two trips to the podium at the District Two Meet.
Becca was also voted to the First Team Lackawanna League All Stars in hoops. She was named to the All Tournament Team at the Honesdale Area Jaycees, Mountain View and Hawley Tip-Off events.
While all these accolades are impressive, it was on the volleyball court that Carmody simply dazzled.
As a junior outside hitter, Becca earned First Team All Star honors at the league and regional levels. She led Western Wayne in kills, blocks and passing as the Lady 'Cats cruised to a 15-3 overall record.
When the season ended, NEPA coaches voted Becca to the All-Region Team and named her Lackawanna League MVP.
“Becca works hard and sets a great example for her teammates,” Rizzi quoted another Carmody coach. “She makes any team she is on stronger.”
Rebecca is the daughter of Bill & Colleen Carmody, Waymart.
Gillette is a member of an elite fraternity at Western Wayne: a standout athlete in four different sports.
Tanner starred in soccer, baseball, football and wrestling during the course of his 4-year varsity career.
“Tanner always gives 100 percent during practice and games,” Rizzi said. “He has a great attitude and is very mentally tough.”
Gillette was named to the First Team Lackawanna League All Stars this year in soccer and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors for the 'Cats.
Tanner was every bit as impressive on the baseball diamond. A senior infielder, Gillette was his teams Defensive Player of the Year. He batted a solid .295 and was among the team leaders in RBIs.
On the football field, Tanner earned Honorable Mention LFC all star status. He also broke a longtime school record by booting a 38-yard field goal.
Gillette's biggest moment this year likely came on the wrestling mat.
Tanner sealed the deal on another Western Wayne D-2 Duals Championship with a huge victory versus Lake Lehman. He battled his way to a 20-win senior season, was named a 'Cat captain and earned a Second Team berth on the Lackawanna League All Stars.
“Tanner motivates others around him,” Rizzi said. “He possesses a tremendous amount of school spirit.”
Tanner is the son of Bill & Debbie Gillette, Waymart.