Dusten Rader/Express staff
Keynote speaker Adam Barnhart, center, is flanked by male athlete of the year Benjamin Wager, left, and female athlete of the year Adelina Brundage, right, during the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce awards dinner on Wednesday night.
By DUSTEN RADER
Fulton County Express
JOHNSTOWN — The Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday named Benjamin Wager, of Johnstown High School, and Adelina Brundage, of Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville High School, as male and female athletes of the year, respectively.
The awards were presented during the 30th Annual Sport’s Award Banquet held at the Holiday Inn in Johnstown. Keynote speaker of the event was Adam Barnhart, 1995 athlete of the year and director of health and physical education as well as assistant principal of Broadalbin-Perth High School.
Wager is a three-sport athlete competing in golf, basketball and baseball. In golf, he was named First Team All Star in Foothills Council for 2016 and 2017. He was this year’s most valuable player in basketball and baseball. Wager also won Most Dedicated and Most Improved in his Johnstown career. He will attend Herkimer County Community College where he will play baseball.
Wager said he didn’t expect to win, but once the presenter started talking about golf he realized it might be him. The feeling of recognition was an honor for him, his team and his family.
“It was great,” Wager said. “You work your whole life and it finally pays off. … Everyone wants to win this award. You play to win each game, but as an individual athlete you play to win this award.”
Brundage is a three-sport athlete competing in soccer, basketball and track. In the fall she competes in soccer, where she was a First Team WAC All Star, an All Section athlete and was named to the Third Team All State. She has scored more than 50 career goals, was a member of the NYS Class D Final Four and played on two sectional championship teams in 2013 and 2015. Brundage started on the varsity soccer team all four years in high school. In basketball, she was named Second Team WAC All Star this year and is a three-year varsity starter.
Brundage will attend SUNY Cortland and hopes to play soccer.
Brundage also didn’t expect to be named, but once her accomplishments were listed she was filled with excitement.
“I was surprised,” Brundage said. “There was a lot of great athletes and being from a small school I didn’t expect it.”
Someday she would love to come back and be the keynote speaker at the event if she was invited, she said.
The male and female athletes of the year were selected from the top 36 athletes as they were submitted from athletic directors from the six Fulton County high schools. The FMRCC honored these athletes with medals and recognition at the event.
In addition to Wager and Brundage, 34 other student athletes were honored from schools including: Gloversville High School, Johnstown High School, Northville High School, Mayfield High School, Broadalbin-Perth High School, and Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville High School.
The 34 students were presented with a medal and Outstanding Athlete certificate. The following students were recognized:
Gloversville: Amanda Bakyta, Madison Fancher, Sierra Fancher, Jackson Peck, Anthony Ponticello, and Sam Poulin.
Johnstown: Trevor Askew, Nicholas Frasier, Claire Guzielek, Aylene Newman, and Molly Sear.
Northville: Marleigh Frasier, Taylor Johnson, Catherine Millington, Danny Reidell, Dan Ryan, and Josh Sitterly.
Mayfield: Anthony Brandow, Kylie Cotugno, Josh Febbie, Brendan Gifford, Brian Graf, and Carter Ivancic.
Broadalbin-Perth: Jacob Bunker, Jeff Derwin, Victoria Laurange, Hannah Magliocca, Isabella Magliocca, and Preston Taylor.
Oppenheim-Ephratah/St. Johnsville: Tyler Brado, Caitlyn Handy, AJ Hayes, Alexis Romeyn, and Mike Smith.
Barnhart, a 1995 graduate of Johnstown High School, was a three-sport athlete who competed in football, basketball and baseball. During his high school career he was named to numerous All Foothills teams and was also All-State receiver.
“You’re going to notice that your talents will take you places you didn’t think of — relationships are what matter the most,” Barnhart said. “The people and the experiences you will remember in the long run. Keep those close and treasure them.
“Student athletes, please make sure you’re aware of all the adults in your life that help shape who you are. Enjoy athletics for the experiences because you’re making connections with people that will last a lifetime. … This banquet has been a long tradition before me, and hopefully after me. This committee has put something together that you will remember forever — I sure do,” he continued.