Bellizzi, del Pezo, and Kennedy Earn Lions Club Athlete of the Month Awards

Rye senior Laurel Kennedy was recently named Lions Club Athlete of the Month for November. Fellow seniors Luis del Pezo and Lia Bellizzi were tabbed as the winners for October and September, respectively.

A star defender/midfielder for the Rye field hockey team, Kennedy earned All-Section and All-League honors this season. The senior was part of a defensive unit that surrendered just seven goals throughout the year, while the offense poured in 72. The Garnets made it back to the Section final for a second consecutive year, but fell 1-0 to Lakeland, the eventual State champions.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” said Kennedy. “To be honest I never thought I’d win something like this. It’s huge surprise but a great accomplishment.”

Kennedy is also a standout on the Rye girls’ lacrosse team. She made the All-League team as a junior, and has played with many club teams and at multiple tournaments. The 17-year-old will play the sport at Division 3 Gettysburg College next year.

In the classroom, Kennedy is currently taking AP classes in Environmental Science and Economics. She participated in AP Psychology last year, and has completed Honors courses in English as well. Kennedy is also involved in the My Soldier Club and Project Outreach, and has worked as a counselor at Rye Recreation Summer Camp.

Rye soccer’s del Pezo was an All-League team member this fall, after two seasons of starting for the Garnets. He transferred from Mamaroneck to begin the 2009-10 school year at RHS, and made an instant impact on the field. Del Pezo currently plays for FC Westchester Elite.

“My dad has trained me in soccer since I was very young, and he is the reason why I’m so into this sport,” said del Pezo. “If it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t be the player I am today.”

The senior is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish fluently. He worked as a soccer referee at Rye Recreation in 2008 and 2009, and won the Algebra Award at RHS last fall.

Bellizzi has long been the offensive engine for the Rye girls’ soccer team. She broke the school’s all-time scoring record this season, and powered the Garnets to an appearance in the State championship game. Before their loss in that tilt, Rye had posted a 47-0-3 record in their previous 50 games, which included the 2008 State championship. Bellizzi earned All-American status each of the last three years, and also has All-State and All-League nods to her credit.

“Winning this award was such a great honor and I truly appreciate the Lions Club for choosing me out of the many athletes,” said Bellizzi.

The senior has been on the Honor Roll every semester at RHS, and has taken Honors classes in English, U.S. History, Global Studies, Physics, and Spanish, and AP courses in Psychology and Biology. She is also in a Senior AP Environmental Science class.

Outside of school, Bellizzi devotes her time to Breast Cancer Awareness. She participated in walks supporting the cause in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and acts as secretary for the school’s club devoted to it. Bellizzi has also served as a Rye Youth Soccer Coach since 2007.

Bellizzi committed to the University of Virginia for soccer last October, and plans on majoring in psychology.


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