From left, Michael Melkonian, Jack Mulholland and Matt McIntee.

From left, Michael Melkonian, Jack Mulholland and Matt McIntee.

Few award winners are as honored as those of Nassau’s Tom Flatley Award and Suffolk’s Lt. Ray Enners Award. Now, there are three more names to add to the exclusive groups.

The Nassau County Lacrosse Coaches Association and the Nassau County Football Coaches Association honored South Side’s Michael Melkonian and Manhasset’s Jack Mulholland on June 11 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury as the seventh and eighth athletes to receive the Tom Flatley Award, which debuted in 2020. 

Eight days later at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook, the Suffolk County Lacrosse Coaches Association named fellow senior Matt McIntee as the first player from East Islip to receive the Lt. Ray Enners Award since its debut in 1970.

“It feels awesome to give my community a shout-out and give back to them,” McIntee said. “We’ve transitioned to a lacrosse school more recently — we’ve always been a football and baseball town — so it’s just awesome to throw our name on such a prestigious award out there.”

Both awards are given to the top boys’ lacrosse and football players who exhibit exceptional leadership and talent on the field while also providing community service within their respective counties.

Enners, a football, basketball and lacrosse captain for Half Hollow Hills before attending West Point, was killed in action on September 18, 1968, in North Vietnam. The 22-year-old navigated enemy fire and carried a wounded squad leader to safety before being fatally wounded while leading the attack. Enners was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Brown Star and the Purple Heart for his heroism.

McIntee only learned he won the award when his name was called, with the honor carrying even greater meaning to the Syracuse commit.

“My dad is an army veteran — my whole family was also in the army — so he always taught me to respect veterans and the people around you,” said McIntee, a first-team selection for Newsday's All-Long Island boys lacrosse team. 

Nassau coaches know Flatley as one of the most successful coaches in Long Island history. He won 86% of his games as the football coach for Sewanhaka over six years before winning 18 Nassau County championships and five Long Island championships with Garden City football from 1985-2014. The coach also boasted a 357-31-2 record with Garden City’s junior varsity lacrosse team.

Mulholland, also an All-LI first-team selection, will attend Dartmouth after posting a 4.25 weighted GPA and stepping up as a team leader. 

“We lost a lot [of leaders] from the last two state championship teams,” Cromwell said. “Jack was a kid that really took that on his shoulders. As the season progressed, Jack’s game and leadership progressed with our team. It was a big reason why we got where we got to.”

Manhasset football coach Jay Iaquinta described Mulholland as “selfless” and a “hardened competitor” in his letter nominating the senior for the award.

“As a retired physical education teacher and varsity football coach of 48 years, I have taught or coached thousands of young men,” Iaquinta wrote. “Jack is a special one. It is young men like him who keep me coaching.”

Melkonian, Newsday's boys lacrosse player of the year, helped South Side win its first state championship in lacrosse since 2004 and second in program history. South Side boys lacrosse coach Steve DiPietro said he sees plenty of similarities in the way Melkonian and South Side alumnus Nick LiCalzi — who won the first Flatley award in 2020 — carry themselves as leaders on and off the field.

“I’ve known Michael since he was 4 years old, and there’s that bond in watching him grow up and be successful,” DiPietro said of the Cornell commit. “He’s a kid that earned it … You want your best guy to be your best guy, and he certainly was.”


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