Moynihan luncheon celebrates student-athletes

Jack Moynihan, center, joins the Moynihan Lumber Student Athletes of the Year in Masconomet's Maggie Sturgis and St. John's Prep's Jimmy Ayers. The luncheon was held at Salem Country Club Tuesday to honor excellence in the classroom and in competition. (Joey Barrett)

PEABODY — Legends of old and new gathered at Salem Country Club Tuesday to celebrate the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Student-Athletes of the Year.

The luncheon – held for the 31st time – recognized those with second-to-none high school achievements in the classroom and in competition.

This year’s female recipient was Masconomet field hockey star Maggie Sturgis, while hockey and lacrosse standout Jimmy Ayers of St. John’s Prep was the male recipient.

A smiling Sturgis paid tribute to past winners before thanking her family and friends for their help throughout the years.

“I’m truly honored to stand on such an illustrious list,” said Sturgis, who will play field hockey at Holy Cross. “My mom’s deal was always to get good grades before I could ever go to sports. That’s what came first in my house.”

She also reflected on her experience as a student-athlete and how she’ll “never forget it.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw my name in the paper,” Sturgis said. “My face lit up and I was like, ‘Mom, I think this is me.’”

Ayers, headed for Johns Hopkins to play lacrosse, thanked his hockey coach Kris Hanson and lacrosse coach John Pynchon for their guidance in his athletic endeavors. He also recognized his family and teachers.

“A big thank you to my family for coming out and supporting me, always… Even when there were tough times,” Ayers said. “Thank you to my teachers, too, for molding me as the student that I am today.”

Jack Moynihan – on behalf of Moynihan Lumber and the Moynihan family – helped get the event underway, applauding Sturgis and Ayers in the process.

“You now join an illustrious list, and, I mean, illustrious list of past winners,” Moynihan said. “Moynihan doesn’t tip the scales with any of your selections… They’re all done by your accomplishments on the field and from the sports people who watch you every day.”

Jack’s brother, Gerard, the founder of the student-athlete recognition program, was unable to attend due to health issues.

“This pains him, really, because Gerard was the creator of this program 30 years ago,” Moynihan said.

The post-graduate award went to former WCVB-TV sports anchor Mike Lynch – a 16-time Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year who grew up in Swampscott.

Event emcee Paul Halloran said Lynch, a Harvard graduate, is the “epitome of a student-athlete,” and through all of his accomplishments with Boston TV, “never forgot where he came from.”

“Mike would commonly do the 6 o’clock newscast in Needham, come up to Saugus, Lynn, Swampscott, Marblehead, you name it, for an event, and then be back for the 11 o’clock,” Halloran said. “He did more for high school athletes than anyone who’s ever done it in Boston.”

Lynch thanked the Moynihan committee before congratulating Sturgis and Ayers.

“I always used to have an argument with people in the newsroom all the time,” Lynch said. “They’d always be putting young people on the television for doing bad things. I said, ‘There are thousands of kids that do good things.’”

Joe Casey received the Lifetime Commitment Award (schools). On top of teaching at Masconomet, Casey was a legendary girls cross country coach who helped launch the program in 1974 and just retired after last season.

“I always told all my athletes that getting good grades is not being a wimp,” Casey said. “Teach the kids, coach the kids – best job I’ve ever had in my life.”

Todd Lampert received the Lifetime Commitment Award (community). Lampert owns Todd’s Sporting Goods Store in Beverly where he assists local teams in outfitting, skate-sharpening, and more.

“I’m very honored [and] I’m very thankful,” Lampert said.

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