June 20, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross
We started Athlete of the Week not really knowing what to expect. Other news organizations highlight athletes each week and we thought we should spotlight the talented student athletes in Hingham. We reached out to the wonderful folks at College Hype and they jumped at the chance to be partners and the sponsor of this weekly (well, almost weekly) award.
How hard could it be to pick a top athletic performance each week?
Well, it was way tougher than we could have imagined. Some weeks it was easy to pick the outstanding performance, most weeks it was almost impossible to single someone out. That being said, we picked a pretty good group of athletes over the course of the year.
Here is Athlete of the Week by the numbers:
- 28 weeks of awards
- 17 females, 10 males, 1 Red Army
- 18 seniors, 5 juniors, 4 sophomores, 3 freshman (there were a few groups winners)
- 19 different teams represented
As much as we tried, it was almost impossible to recognize everyone that could have and should have been highlighted throughout the year. There were a few athletes stood out across all three seasons, but never worked out to be selected as Athlete of the Week.
One stood out above the rest and we are thrilled to announce that junior Reese Pompeo is Hingham Anchor’s first Athlete of the Year.
Reese was part of the State Champions girls soccer team, girls hockey team and girls lacrosse team. She was a model of consistency, sportsmanship, and athleticism throughout the year. Her coaches and teammates speak highly of her and for the first time in recent memory, has been elected a captain in all three sports next year.
These are some of the words her coaches used to describe her – tenacious, powerful, fast, hard-working, committed, competitive, relentless, genuine, fun-loving, and fiery. All three emphasize that she is a great leader and teammate.
This year, Reese was faced with two new coaches – Mary Frances Monroe in soccer and Courtney Turner in hockey. This gave her the chance to emerge as a leader and someone her coaches and teammates could count on for stability during the transition. Opportunites she took full advantage of.
“Her competitiveness,” coach Turner responded when asked what impressed her the most about Reese. “She reminds me a lot of myself. She is an amazing athlete with a will to win. She doesn’t care how it happens, but she wants to win and will do anything to achieve that goal. I believe this separates her from many of her other teammates who just enjoy winning. Reese has that edge and it is not something you can coach or teach, she just has it in her and I know that as a leader she will demonstrate that on a daily basis next year.”
Even though Monroe was part of the staff last year, taking over the head coaching role gave her a new perspective on Reese.
“Her being so genuine and always having a smile on her face,” Monroe answering the same question. “Pushing her teammates and cheering them on. On the field, it was her defensive presences. She truly wanted to improve and through the season, her tackle awareness go so much better.”
Reese plays defense in soccer and lacrosse and forward in hockey. Something that gives her a big advantage on the field and ice according to her coaches.
“There is no question that Reese’s development can be attributed to being a 3 sport athlete,” explains girls lacrosse coach Carla Farkes. “The little things that she has from soccer and hockey that can translate to the lacrosse field are impactful. She is just a well rounded athlete whose sport IQ has skyrocketed because of her other sports. Her success in her other sports is apparent from how she is more assertive and has found her voice on the field. Her confidence has grown each year and her competitiveness is contagious amongst her teammates. She makes everyone around her compete and that in turn makes the team better.”
Monroe might argue that she carries a little too much from hockey into soccer, but it’s the mindset that makes the difference.
“You need a strong, tough, mindset to be a defender because you know the team is counting on you to defend some of the best players in the league,” Monroe goes on to say. “You need to have a good tactical IQ and to be able to read the forwards strengths. Reese naturally is a tough player. I think playing hockey and other sports has helped her with that. She has improved each year and I would joke with her sometimes when she hip checks a soccer player that it’s not hockey.”
Turner attributes her success on offense, which doesn’t always mean getting as many goals as possible, from having a defensive mindset.
“I believe her knowledge of how important defense is helps her be a better forward on the ice,” Turner explains. “She understands her responsibility is not always to score goals but also to make sure the other team does not score. She will do anything it takes to get the puck out of the zone. This helps her teammates score and she is the first one there to celebrate with them as they do.”
As a defenseman or a defensive-minded forward, the recognition when the final buzzer sounds is not always there. As Monroe puts it “if you didn’t notice a player on the field as a defender that means they have done their job.”
This is what Athlete of the Week, and now Athlete of the Year, tries to accomplish. It’s great to have the most goals, or points, or wins, but the other attributes and characteristics of a player should be recognized as well. We absolutely celebrate the outstanding athletic achievements of those who excel in scoring, but it’s also important to showcase those who aren’t at the top of the scorers sheet at the end of the game.
Finally, when asked what kind of impact Reese had on their respective teams this year, her coaches all answered the same way – it was the intangibles. She focused on the things she could controlled and worked to be the best she could be, not only for herself, but for her teammates.
“Reese had a huge impact on the team not only as a soccer player but a teammate,” Monroe recalled. “She always had a smile on her face, was one of the hardest workers on the team. Her teammates respected her and were her biggest fan. Right when I would walk onto the field for training or a game Reese was one of the first players to say hello to me and ask me how my day was.”
Turner said she emerged as a “true leader this year.” She went from being somewhat shy at first to “reading the starting line-ups with disco lights and pump up music to get the group going.”
Farkes summed it up best – “Reese has been a team first player since the first day she arrived. She will do whatever is needed for the team and is never looking for rewards of her contributions to the team. Reese cares about winning and the success of her team is more important to her than any personal accolade. She is an asset to all teams she is a member of and never shies away from hard work. She comes to practice every day ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Truly is a throw back three-sport athlete!”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves coach.
Congrats Reese on this amazing accomplishment. And all the Hingham High School students athletes on an unforgettable year.