JOHNSTOWN — With their high school athletic careers winding down, Fianna Halloran and Cam Abdella added one more achievement to their already impressive list of accomplishments.
With more than 250 people in attendance, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its 36th Annual Sports Award Banquet at the Holiday Inn Wednesday, honoring the top senior athletes from the six Fulton County High Schools.
Following remarks from keynote speaker Kyle M. Canary, the 2005 recipient of the Male Fulton County Athlete of the Year award, Master of Ceremonies Lexi Swatt of WNYT announced Abdella and Halloran as the 2023 Male and Female Fulton County Athletes of the Year.
“I didn’t expect this,” Halloran said. “I definitely set my expectations low because of the reign of Mayfield girls. But when I heard the first sentence, I was really surprised and excited.”
Halloran is the fifth straight female athlete from Mayfield High School to receive the award, joining Taryn Lafontaine (2019), Lindsey Hampton (2020), Madison Relyea (2021) and Kelsey Meca (2022). She is also the second family member to win the award as her mother, Joanne Einemann Halloran, won it in 1992.
She has been a four-sport athlete since the eighth-grade, competing in cross country and soccer in the fall, Nordic ski team in the winter and track and field team in the spring.
As a member of the Mayfield cross country team, Halloran was selected a Western Athletic Conference All-Star for five straight years and qualified for the state Nordic ski championship meet each year since the eighth grade. She was a member of the Mayfield team that won three-straight Section II championships and placed second in the state in 2020 and placed 13th in the state championship meet individually as a senior.
She was awarded the 2023 Section 2 Female Nordic Ski sportsmanship award at this year’s championship meet and also was the recipient of the 2023 Capital District New York State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AHPERD).
“I want to thank my mom and dad, Dave and Joanne Halloran,” she said. “I definitely want to give a shout out to Maddi Relyea. She is my best friend and one of my best teammates. She definitely is someone I looked up to and still look up to.”
With a 99 grade-point average, Halloran will attend SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse next fall, majoring in landscape architecture with an eye on continuing her soccer career.
As an eighth-grader, Abdella tried out and made the Mayfield/Northville golf team, but realized it really wasn’t his sport.
“I wasn’t very good. So I made the switch to soccer and cross country,” he said.
Abdella’s decision led to success as a member of the Mayfield varsity soccer team as well as bringing home back-to-back Section 2 Class D championships in his junior and senior years as a member of the Panthers’ cross country team. He also placed 36th overall at the state meet as part of the all-state team.
As a member of the varsity basketball team, Abdella averaged 10.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game and connected for 38 3-pointers in his senior year.
In the spring, he did double-duty with the Mayfield baseball and Mayfield/Northville track and field teams.
On the mound, Abdella recorded 18 strikeouts, while batting .300 and turning in a 100% fielding percentage. On the track, he won the Section II 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:44.66), placed second in the 800-meter run (2:12.65), third in the 1,600 meters (4:57.75) and fourth in the 3,200 (11:09.83). He placed third in the Division 2 state qualifiers in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:35.30.
With a 95.5 GPA, Abdella will attend Syracuse University in the fall, majoring in political science.
“I was a bit surprised. I couldn’t help but smile,” Abdella said when he heard his name announced as the winner. “I want to thank my mom and dad, Erica and Robert Abdella, and my grandpa George, who has passed away.”
Canary, who played soccer and golf at Broadalbin-Perth before transferring to Mayfield in his junior year, attended SUNY Plattsburgh, where he graduated summa cum laude while majoring in political science and criminal justice with a minor in cultural anthropology. He graduated in the top 10 of his class at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, where he received his juris doctorate.
He obtained a prestigious clerkship with the appellate division third department before returning to the area to work as a court attorney for Polly A. Hoye, Dianne N. Freestone and Richard C. Giardino. He currently works for Chad W. Brown, Fulton County Court and Surrogate.
Canary offered advice to the student-athletes, saying, “You will all succeed if you remain optimistic and truly believe you will achieve your goals even when facing adversity. None of you would be here if you weren’t all tenacious, determined and resilient athletes. Make sure you remain dogged in your pursuits. You will face some setbacks and failures along the way, but you will be surprised at all the victories that are waiting for you.
“Never forget the bond you have formed over the years with your teammates, coaches and even your opponents. If you truly treat every person the right way, you might be surprised how it might help you in the future,” he said. “Make sure you never lose your passion or love for sports. For those of you who are going to pursue sports in the future, there are going to be setbacks along the way, just remember to get up every morning and try to get better. Never get complacent or take a day off. The one thing you can control is how hard you train. Make sure you never get outworked.”
During the evening’s ceremonies, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce honored each of the 36 athletes with certificates, medals and a small gift honoring their accomplishments.
Receiving honors were Sam Hotaling, Hunter O’Dell, Ryan Savoie, Julianna Huckans, Emma Frasier and Erica Lin from Broadalbin-Perth; Gloversville’s Kyle Robare, Alex Payne, Jordan Yanno, Leo Perez, Julianna Kiszka and McKenzie Siler; Johnstown’s Molly Sweeney, Hannah Maxson, Isabella Bermas, Vincent Rizzo, Trey Naselli, Braden Jones; Mayfield’s Abdella, Halloran, Brice Williams, Trevor Ruberti, Jaidyn Chest and Katarina Agerter; Northville’s Andrew Cordone, Jacob Frank, Landon Frasier, Hannah Hoffman, Sophia Reidell and Ciara Thompson and Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville’s Anderson Eggleston, Sydney Schell, Jade Dygert, Andrew Snell, Colten Christensen and Jordan Simzer.
The Chamber also presented members from the championship teams from each school with backpacks in recognition of their accomplishments.