interviews conducted by Clare Tourtelotte and Aidan Lieberman, Sports Editor and Pawdcast Host
photos contributed by Lily Bulczynski and Liam Sakekeeny
The Mendelson Award is given to one extraordinary male and female athlete every year. These athletes are amazing not only on the pitch, but also as leaders in the South community. This year the awards were given to senior Lily Bulcyznski, girls cross country, indoor and outdoor track runner, and senior Justin Levy of indoor and outdoor track.
Interviews conducted during the week of May 31 – June 3
Aidan Lieberman: What was it like when you heard that you had won the Mendelson Award?
Justin Levy: It was truly an exhibiliarating feeling, the way Ms. Gonzalez described this athlete, I was surprised she was talking about me. She spoke with such high praise, and it really did feel great. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Lions standing around me.
AL: What has been a highlight of your time as a student-athlete at South?
JL: It was months after I had re-injured my knee, but it was the second meet of the season, and although I wasn’t feeling the hottest, I went out there and ran. As I finished that final leg of the 4x400m relay, I saw the rest of my team and the expressions and looks on their faces were just pure glee, happiness, pride and hope, and nothing beats that.
AL: Anything you’d like to add?
JL: Thank you, each and every one of you. And to make the most of it. Reflecting and looking back, this is my last week of high school*, and it’s crazy how time has flown. I feel like I’ve made the most of it for the most part, but I’m definitely going to miss these faces.
Clare Tourtelotte: What was it like when you heard that you had won the Mendelson Award?
Lily Bulczynski: It’s exciting. I mean, I was sitting in the audience at this senior awards ceremony in the morning when Ms. Gonzalez announced my name. And I was like, “Oh, that’s me.” It was so nice. And then she said nice things, and I thought it was so sweet. It was exciting. I was so honored, and I just didn’t expect it.
CT: What does it mean to you that you, of all student-athletes, won this award?
LB: I’m so happy and honored because I feel like I’m not the loudest person, so it’s hard for me to feel like a leader sometimes or feel like I’m making a big impact, but it was nice that they recognized me for leading in a quieter sense. I do Facebook posts for our team and I try to be super positive and obviously, I’m not like the loudest person, but it was just nice to feel seen by the school.
CT: Have you won any other awards or records for running at South?
LB: Definitely our relay team winning the Sprint Medley Relay (SMR) at Nationals was a big thing, and this outdoor season I actually got the school record in the 400 meters (58.31), and that was probably my biggest accomplishment.