RYE, N.Y. – There are several awards that honor athletic accomplishments and others that recognize academic excellence.
For nearly half a century, the Westchester Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame has cited football standouts for both athletic and academic excellence with its Scholar-Athlete or "Golden Dozen" team.
This year’s 12 winners, along with 24 second-team selections, will be honored on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the 42nd annual awards banquet at the Westchester Country Club in Rye.
The latest Golden Dozen team is comprised of Eric Meyreles (Yorktown High School), Jim Flaherty (Lakeland High School), Mike Amicucci (Harrison High School), Michael Arborn (Tuckahoe High School), Jakob Calvini (Rye Neck High School), Mustafaa Dais (Hackley School), Brian Harris (Archbishop Stepinac High School), Nicholas Kryza (Iona Prep), William Marino (Horace Greeley High School), Tyler Miller (Rye Country Day School), Connor Morley (Byram Hills High School) and Chris Santangelo (Rye High School).
This year's first- and second-team recipients learned of their selections this week.
"My coach (Mike Rescigno) had told me he was putting me up for a nomination and I wasn't sure what to expect," Meyreles said. "When he told me I had made the team, I was in shock and really happy.
"I have always known about the Golden Dozen team and now that I'm a part of it it's a real honor."
Meyreles is a two-year starter at running back and defensive back who was team captain the last two years. This past season, the two-time all-section selection was named MVP of the senior bowl game. He is also a captain for the lacrosse team.
Meyreles, who will play collegiately at Wesleyan University, has a 3.61 grade-point average, is a youth football and lax coach and a volunteer in a breast cancer awareness fundraiser and Special Olympics event.
Flaherty is a three-year starter who plays running back, cornerback, linebacker and defensive end. A member of the student government and National Honor Society, he has a 93 grade average.
Amicucci, a three-year starter for Harrison, played running back, cornerback and returns kicks. He has a 94 grade average, volunteered at a school for underprivileged children, participated in Midnight Run and Walkathon for Pediatric Cancer and plays the viola in the school orchestra.
Arborn, a three-year starter, plays offensive line and linebacker and is a team captain. He has a 91 grade average, is a member of the National Honor Society and received the University of Rochester Award for Innovation in Technology. He is also a three-year starter and team captain baseball.
Calvini, who plays tight end, defensive end, running back and cornerback, has a 90 grade average, is a member of the National Honor Society and a recipient of the Con Ed Student-Athlete of the Week award. He also plays varsity basketball and is a four-year starter in baseball.
Dais, a four-year starter, plays wide receiver and defensive back. He is a co-leader in Midnight Run and a peer advisor. He also holds Hackley track records in the 55- and 100-meter dash, long jump and triple jump.
Harris, a three-year starter at center and defensive end, was the CHSFL lineman of the year. He is a member of the executive committee of campus ministry, a peer mentor and tutor and coordinator of the school blood drive. He has a 92 grade average.
Kryza, a team captain who plays quarterback, has a 96 grade average and takes AP courses in U.S. history, U.S. government, English language, English literature, calculus and world history. He is president of the National Honor Society at Iona Prep and a member of the Italian and Latin honor societies.
Marino, a four-year starter, plays tight end, defensive end, linebacker and center, was team captain the last two seasons and an all-section selection. He is also a four-year starter in wrestling and track. He has a 3.5 grade-point average, is an Eagle scout, volunteer at church and home for the elderly as well as Habitat for Humanity.
Miller, a four-year starter at running back and linebacker, was team captain and MVP this fall. An All-America lacrosse standout, he will play at Cornell University. He has a 3.33 grade-point average.
Morley, a three-year starter at fullback and linebacker, was a team captain and all-section selection. He is also a two-year captain on the lacrosse team. He has a 3.67 grade-point average and takes AP courses in world history, biology, U.S. history, statistics, chemistry and art.
Santangelo, a three-year starter who plays running back and wide receiver was an all-section and all-league selection. A three-year starter in lacrosse, he will play at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a 91 grade average.
Golden Dozen second-team selections include two of Meyreles' Yorktown teammates Nicky Bonitatibus and Austin Fusco.
"When you grow up with these guys your whole life it really is special to share in the same honor as them at the end of our careers," Meyreles said. "It's something we have all worked for and I'm glad we get to enjoy it together."
Other second-team Golden Dozen selections are Perry Bakas (Byram Hills High School), Patrick Bathon (Pleasantville High School), Eric Berman (Scarsdale High School), Kourtney Blanding (Woodlands High School), Declan Borcich (Bronxville High School), Cameron Crabbe (White Plains High School), Justin Davidov (Ossining High School), Eric Giorno (Mahopac High School), David Hudson (New Rochelle High School), Ari Hymowitz (Irvington High School), Tykeem Jarvis (Lincoln High School), Owen Jones (Bronxville High School), Chris Jordan (White Plains High School), Gregory Lenane (Lakeland High School), Joseph McDermott (Hackley School), Shane O’Malley (Rye High School), Thomas Pipolo (Rye Neck High School), Anthony Rotunno (Westlake High School), Oliver Samwick (Scarsdale High School), Max Theobalds (New Rochelle High School) and Jesse Velleu (Mamaroneck High School).
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