Tim Farina (center) poses with inaugural Todd Walker Teammate Award winner Jason Roach (left) and Todd Walkerís father, Mark (right) after receiving the award in early May. UNH Athletics Media Relations. (click for larger version)
July 02, 2012DURHAM — Coming out of Plymouth Regional High School in 2009, Campton's Tim Farina certainly wasn't sure about his future football plans.
But at the start of his freshman year at UNH, Plymouth coach Chuck Lenahan put in a call to UNH coach Sean McDonnell asking the Wildcat coach to give the former Bobcat a tryout.
"A week later, they told me they were going to let me start practicing," Farina said. "I must have done something right."
Three years later, Farina was standing in front of his teammates as the winner of the Todd Walker Teammate Award at a ceremony in early May.
The award is given in honor of former UNH football player Todd Walker, who was killed in March of 2011 while trying to stop a robbery while at home in Boulder, Colo. Walker is credited with saving the life of the woman he was with at the time. He would've been 22 this past May 1.
Farina, who has seen limited time on the field for the Wildcats, was more than honored to be selected as the winner of the second annual award.
"It was a great honor," Farina said. "The team does so many things that people don't get to see.
"I was hopeful, but I didn't want to think that I'd won," Farina continued. "But I think I put myself in the position to win."
The award is given to recognized a player's selflessness and dedication as the ideal teammate and as the winner, Farina got the opportunity to wear Walker's uniform number 80 during the Blue-White Game in early May.
For Farina, getting the chance to play college football is certainly a dream and while he's seen limited action, his awarding of the Todd Walker Teammate Award notes that his hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.
"I am making the most of the opportunities when they call my number," Farina said. "Staying healthy, that's a big part and I've been lucky enough to stay healthy."
Farina, who plays receiver for the Wildcats, puts in the time in the offseason, working out all summer with the team's quarterbacks, looking to improve at every opportunity to help both himself and the team.
"There's always something to improve on," he said. "That is the time we can do what we want to improve."
Farina said he'll spend the summer in Durham and will work with quarterback James Brady, who also happens to be Farina's roommate.
Last season, Farina appeared in two games and made his first career reception in action against Villanova. He also added an 11-yard rush. Farina was academically a junior this past season, but he sat out his freshman year as a red shirt, so he will be entering his junior year on the football team this fall.
Catching the ball past the line of scrimmage is a bit different than what Farina did when he was suiting up for the Bobcats just a few short years ago.
"I was a running back," he said. "I never caught a pass beyond the line of scrimmage."
However, Farina notes that it wasn't the on-field action that got him prepared to be a college football player, but rather the small things he picked up under Lenahan. He noted discipline and toughness were two of the key elements that have helped him stick with the UNH team after his walk-on stint as a freshman.
"I fought through injuries," Farina said of his high school career. "I needed to play if we wanted to win."
Additionally, while at Plymouth, Farina played on both sides of the ball, seemingly rarely coming off the field. At the next level, it's a bit different, as everyone has a specialty and often players pop on and off for a play or two at a time.
"At this level, everything has to be right on point every chance you get," he said. "It was something I had to get used to. But I make the most of the play I get."
He also noted that, as expected, the level of play is significantly higher than what he faced at Plymouth, which took some getting used to.
"It's tough competing against these kids, but I like being able to focus on one side of the ball and one position," he said. "But I'm still a work in progress."
For more information on the football schedule for this season's Wildcats, visit www.unhwildcats.com.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126