Marissa McDermott '12, Ryan McLarney '12 named Shaw Award winners
Posted 06/14/2012 10:22AM

Marissa McDermott '12, Ryan McLarney '12 named Shaw Award winners

Marissa McDermott '12 and Ryan McLarney '12 share two common athletic traits: they are fighters, and they are leaders.

And following Wilbraham & Monson Academy's gradutation, they shared something else as well.

Marissa and Ryan were named winners of the Phil Shaw Award, given annually during graduation ceremonies to a male and female athlete at WMA who have shown hard work, perseverance, unselfishness and a spirit of cooperation in athletics.

“It caught me really off guard,” said Marissa of receiving the highly-regarded award. “I had no idea I would get that. It's such an honor. I never thought I would be the (female) athlete to receive it.”

“I didn't know how big the award was until people started coming up to me and congratulating me on winning such a great award,” Ryan said. “Winning it was a great experience.”

Marissa and Ryan both had great experiences their senior year at WMA. Marissa played field hockey and was named MVP of the girls' lacrosse team. Ryan earned the Coaches Award for boys' soccer before being named MVP for wrestling and rugby.

“Playing sports at WMA was a new experience for me because I've always only been a one-sport athlete,” said Marissa, who will play lacrosse on a partial scholarship at the University of New Haven. “When I came here I had to play three sports my first year (as a junior) and two this year. I just started to play field hockey when I came here. It was fun to learn a new sport. I played midfield last year and goalie this year. It was a fun transition and experience because I would have only played lacrosse my whole life and no other sport.”

“The Academy has helped me prepare a great deal for college,” said Ryan, who's lined up to attend the University of Rhode Island, where he plans to play rugby. “Before, coming out of high school, I don't think I was ready to go to college. Having this extra year to be able to get ready and my get grades up and have another year of athletics is really what I was looking for.”

Their coaches will be looking for athletes to fill the big holes Marissa and Ryan filled their senior years playing for the Titans. They were always ready, and always willing to give their teams everything they had.

“Marissa always stepped up in all situations and never faltered, even against our toughest opponents,” WMA Field Hockey Coach Liz Fontaine said. “As amazing an athlete as Marissa is, she is an incredible teammate. She kept the morale of the team up in difficult games and was a true leader. Her effort, athleticism and dedication to her peers is truly something rare.”

“Ryan's work ethic is tremendous,” Rugby Coach Tim Harrington said. “He was always one of the first to practice and always one of the last to leave. Like everyone who plays rugby, he was dinged up over the course of the season but he didn't miss a minute of game time. He was also our steadiest player on defense and our surest tackler.”

Marissa will have a combined major of Elementary Education and Psychology at UNH, while Ryan will major in Global Business Management at URI.