By Cary Shuman
Harry Agganis Classics Week, the undisputed king of All-Star sports competitions for graduating high school student-athletes, begins Sunday with softball and baseball games set for Fraser Field.
Others have tried, but no one has been able to match the prestige, tradition, and reach of the annual event that culminates with the Agganis Football Classic on June 29.
Paul Halloran, who has been executive director of the Agganis Classics for close to two decades, said that more than 320 athletes will participate this year. Approximately 30 athletes will compete in multiple All-Star games.
Revere High’s Eddie Sullivan, for example, will compete in the boys lacrosse and football games.
Sullivan, who is a quarterback, is looking forward to throwing passes to his former Revere Pop Warner teammate, Marcus Atkins, one of several St. Mary’s High School athletes representing the school during Agganis Week.
The Agganis Softball Classic will be the last appearance on the North Shore for St. Mary’s sensational pitcher, Mia Nowicki, who averaged more than two strikeouts per inning this season.
Nowicki said she was looking forward to pitching in the game and excited that St. Mary’s coach Paige Licata will be at the helm of her team. It will be interesting to see how a team of All-Star players fares against Nowicki’s amazing repertoire of pitches.
The Agganis Foundation has awarded a staggering $1.85 million in scholarships to 945 student-athletes since 1956.
Halloran said the Yawkey Foundation has donated $500,000 to the Agganis Foundation since 2000.
“As a result of that generosity, there are four scholarships presented to students who live and attend school in Boston,” said Halloran. “This year we have two additional scholarships thanks to the generosity of St. Mary’s alumnus Jim Baldini, who is funding two, four-year ($5,000) scholarships for students residing in West Lynn and planning to major in a STEM-related field in college.”
Halloran added that the Foundation also has scholarships endowed by Greg Agganis, a grand-nephew of Harry Agganis, and Ed Cahill, son of the late Item sports editor.
As a former Item sports editor and renowned basketball referee, Halloran has closely followed the North Shore sports scene for years. Halloran, who will be highly visible the entire week at the different venues, was asked about the legend that is former Lynn Classical graduate Harry Agganis and whether he considers him the greatest Massachusetts high school athlete of all time.
“I have only seen Agganis on film, so it is hard to say. I would certainly place him in the highest echelon of athletes ever to come out of Massachusetts. I would include Dick Jauron and Doug Flutie on that list, personal preference.”