You'd have to go a long way to find moments as sweet as yesterday's Sun Athlete of the Year luncheon, during which the top 20 male and female high school athletes, as selected by a panel of Sun reporters and editors, were honored.
From the list of female finalists, which included Erin Brooks of Seton Keough, Winters Mill's Cassie Cooke, Deanna Dydynski of Mount Hebron,
Severna Park's Julie Gardner, Miriam McKenzie of Oakland Mills, Archbishop Spaulding's Christine Nairn, Sarah Parks of Centennial, John Carroll's Erika Stasakova, and Bailey Webster of St. Paul’s, Allyson Carey, who starred in two sports at John Carroll and led the school to a perfect girls lacrosse season and the Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title, was chosen the female Athlete of the Year.
On the boys side, McDonogh soccer star Chris Agorsor, who earned national high school Player of the Year honors, was named the male Athlete of the Year from a list that included Josh Asper of Hereford, Dunbar's Tavon Austin, Nick Elko of Arundel, Tyler Fiorito and Josh Fitch, both of McDonogh, Sean Mosley of St. Frances, Meade's Justin Murdock, Lee Reynolds of Poly and Loyola's Steele Stanwick.
Both Carey and Agorsor gave moving, heartfelt remarks about the meaning of sports in their lives, as well the roles of their parents, coaches and teammates in their success. However, the emotional moment of the program may have come when Jen Schmidt of the Friends School accepted the Hayley Milborne Award for Integrity, named for the former Roland Park golfer who disqualified herself last year at the IAAM Conference tournament because she mistakenly played the wrong ball.
Schmidt, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, spoke movingly about her parents and her desire to bring attention to the malady that has given her continuous pain since she was in the fourth grade.
It was, to be sure, a very special day.