BREWSTER ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Matt Lawlor stands between Brady Palmer and Hanna Skelley, who were both honored with the Athletic Director’s Award at Brewster graduation. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 04, 2012WOLFEBORO — Brady Palmer and Hanna Skelley grew up on the fields and rinks of Wolfeboro.
It's only fitting that they closed out their local athletic careers on the same stage.
The two Wolfeboro natives were presented the Athletic Director's Award at Brewster Academy's graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 26, marking the first time that two Wolfeboro residents had won the award and the first time that two athletes who had been at the school for four years were honored in the same year.
"It's a competitive field," said Brewster Athletic Director Matt Lawlor. "There are a lot of kids here with stellar athletic careers."
But he noted that Palmer and Skelley stood out from the crowd.
"But none of them were as consistent and positive as Brady and Hanna," Lawlor said. "Brady and Hanna are standouts in the athletic program and both set great examples for future Bobcats."
Each year since 1973, the award has been presented to the person or persons who make the most consistent and positive contributions to the interscholastic athletic program at Brewster. Since 1983, the award has been given to two individuals after being presented to just one person a year for the first 10 years.
While Skelley and Palmer were both surprised to be called up on stage during the commencement ceremony, they both admitted that members of their families knew and managed to keep it a secret.
Palmer noted his mom held the secret quite well, even from his father, TJ, who is the coach of the Brewster boys' hockey team. Palmer is pretty sure there is no way his father would've kept the secret.
"That it was two Wolfeboro kids, that was definitely a surprise," Palmer said.
"I wasn't really expecting it," Skelley said, admitting that there were also members of her family who kept the secret in.
Lawlor noted that he had to let some people in on the secret in order to gather the proper information to make the presentations at graduation.
Both athletes excelled on the field and on the ice while at Brewster.
Skelley's athletic resume is quite impressive, as she leaves Brewster with 10 varsity letters and 12 seasons of interscholastic sports under her belt.
She played field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse all four years, with three years on the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams and one year on each of the JV teams, plus four years of varsity ice hockey.
"The sports were the best part of Brewster," Skelley said. "I loved being with my teams."
Skelley counted the New England championship the field hockey team won in her junior year among her favorite sports moments and also noted that making the quarterfinals in the tournament each of her first three years on the ice hockey team was also great.
Palmer earned seven letters at the Wolfeboro campus. He played three years of ice hockey and three years of lacrosse and also played soccer during his senior year.
"It's been a great experience," he said. "I am going to take my kids back to the plaque (where the AD Award winners are placed) on the wall and show them they have some big shoes to fill."
Palmer also spent his senior year living on campus rather than living at home, which provided him with an extra look into the Brewster experience and better prepared him for the college experience that lies ahead.
Both athletes will be heading off to college in the fall with sports on their minds.
Palmer is heading to Bentley, where he will play lacrosse, while Skelley will be going to Sacred Heart University, where she will play ice hockey.
Lawlor praised both of the athletes, but noted that they are both engrained in the Wolfeboro community is a sign that the community is doing right by its kids.
"We have students from all over the country and all over the world that come to this school," Lawlor said. "That fact that two kids from right here get this distinguished award speaks volumes not only to Hanna and Brady, but also to the youth programs in the town of Wolfeboro."
Palmer and Skelley both played in the Back Bay Youth Hockey program and also played for Abenaki Lacrosse. They both went to Carpenter School, Crescent Lake School and Kingswood Regional Middle School before moving on to Brewster for their freshman campaigns.
And before they head off on their separate lives outside of Wolfeboro, the two got to share a moment on stage and will forever be memorialized on the walls of the Smith Center.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126