Gilligan, Mullaney honored as Moynihan Lumber Student-Athletes of the Month for October

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Pingree's Maddie Mullaney (left) and Masconomet's Sebastian Gilligan (right) have been named Moynihan Lumber Student-Athletes of the Month for the month of October. (Courtesy Photos)

Displaying excellence both in the classroom and in their respective athletic endeavors, Masconomet Regional cross country star Sebastian Gilligan and Pingree School field hockey ace Maddie Mullaney have been selected as the Moynihan Lumber Student-Athletes of the Month for October.

Sebastian, a 17-year-old team captain, set a new school record at the Chieftains’ home course, Bradley Palmer State Park, this fall by finishing the three-mile course in a time of 15:48. That broke the previous record by seven seconds. 

It’s the second time that he’s won the Moynihan Lumber Student-Athlete award, having done so last fall as a junior.

“It’s one of the sports that you definitely get what you put into it,” said Sebastian, who got the running bug from his parents, Matt and Linda Gilligan (his dad has run marathons and some ultramarathons). “It’s a lot of hard work; the success I’ve had definitely didn’t just happen. It came from running a lot of miles, then realizing I had some ability. But hard work is definitely the No. 1 factor.”

The 5-foot-6, 130-pounder approaches races in one of two mindsets. If he’s looking to run fast throughout, it’s all about consistency and maintaining the approximate same time for each mile. If he’s taking a more tactical approach, he prefers hanging back and going for a sprint finish over the last half-mile.

He uses the same thought process in the classroom, where he ranks in the top 15 percent of his senior class. Problem solving and making things are two of his favorite academic vocations.

“I don’t think I’m necessarily one of the smartest people in my class, but I do put in a lot of hard work. It’s a lot more of that than natural talent for me when it comes to academics,” said Sebastian, who has an older sister (Paige) and brother (Riale). 

The Vice President of his senior class, Sebastian is part of Masconomet’s National Honor Society and Peer Leading Program. He also runs indoor and outdoor track for the Chieftains, specializing in the mile and 2-mile. He’d like to study engineering in college and, if possible, continue running. A bigger school, preferably in the Northeast, would be his ideal choice.

As Moynihan’s female winner for October, Maddie became the first student-athlete in the program’s 30-year history to be chosen while not playing a sport at the time. The reason is, of course, because of the COVID-19 pandemic; Pingree chose not to have fall sports this season.

Still, Maddie’s accomplishments as a field hockey standout can’t be overlooked. The Harvard-bound 17-year-old midfielder scored nine goals and 15 assists for 33 points a year ago while guiding the Highlanders to its third consecutive Eastern Independent League (EIL) title. Last season also culminated with Pingree capturing the New England Prep School (NEPSAC) Class C crown, in which Maddie scored a goal. 

A New England All-Regional selection in both 2018 and 2019 who attended USA Field Hockey’s Junior National Camp last year, the Boxford native said there’s two reasons why she loves the sport.

“One is I love to compete. I love to win and love to work hard, especially coming back for a loss,” she said. “Secondly, I love the team culture; your teammates are the friends you make for a lifetime. Whether it’s Pingree, Seacoast United (her club team) or USA Field Hockey, I’ve made lifelong friendships.”

Using Pingree’s method, where students are seated in an oval in each classroom and discuss ideas and opinions in an open, judgment-free zone, Maddie loves math and science best among her classes. The Honor Roll and Head of School List student is currently taking a Human Histology class, working hands-on studying the layers of human skin under microscopes.

“I’m a very visual person and learner,” she said. “I love problem solving in math and science.”

Originally leaning towards studying medicine at Harvard, she did an internship with RG Barry Dearforms slippers this past summer and enjoyed the business side of that, so she’s keeping her options open.

A gritty and versatile player who has 37 goals, 38 assists and 112 points in her Pingree career, Maddie knows she’ll play again for the Crimson in college. Still, losing her final season of high school field hockey was difficult, she admits.

“With no chance to defend our championship or to play one more season with my (sophomore) sister Grace, that was devastating,” said Maddie. “But I had to make peace with it and look at the positives. It’s enabled me to spend more time with my family (including her parents and 8th grade brother, Drew), have more family dinners, things like that. And the few practices we were able to have at Pingree this fall, we kept them lighthearted and fun. We just enjoyed being together again.”

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