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Southold's Liam Walker and Center Moriches' Diana Monaco win Butch Dellecave Award

Center Moriches' Diana Monaco, left, and Southold's Liam

Center Moriches' Diana Monaco, left, and Southold's Liam Walker hold their Dellecave Awards on Sunday, June 7, 2015. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Liam Walker had quite a weekend, and the same can be said for Diana Monaco.

A day after helping the Southold baseball team advance to the state Class C semifinals, Walker was named the male recipient of the 15th annual Butch Dellecave Award on Sunday at the West Lake Inn in Patchogue.

Monaco, a Center Moriches senior, was chosen as the female winner. She was so humbled by the award that after thanking the Dellecave Committee and her parents and coaches, she walked from the podium still stunned.

"The car ride home was quiet," Monaco said hours after the ceremony. "I didn't put the music on. I was thinking 'Wow.' "

Walker felt the same way. "This weekend has got to be up there," he said. "It's a very special weekend."

Presented by the Butch Dellecave Foundation in conjunction with the Economic Counsel of Suffolk, Inc., and Newsday, the awards come with $1,000 scholarships. They recognize the top male and female student-athlete for outstanding achievement in three areas -- athletic prowess, academics and community service.

Each Suffolk high school nominates an extraordinary male and female athlete who is superior in the classroom and a difference-maker in the community.

The other male finalists were Ryan Diresta (Riverhead), Pat Godfrey (Harborfields), Francisco Bisono (Hauppauge), Stephen Schweitzer (Babylon) and Thomas Dutton (Rocky Point). The other female finalists were Alyssa Olson (Comsewogue), Emily Stephens (Kings Park), Dana Cebulski (East Hampton) and Sydney Pirreca (Mount Sinai).

Walker and Monaco come from small communities, which they said made getting involved with volunteer opportunities easy.

They also said they did not expect to win the award because they were up against finalists who emerged from bigger schools.

Walker said there are 73 students in his graduating class. Monaco said there are 134 in hers.

"These kids compete against a lot more students to get nominated for the award," Walker said. "I mean, 73 is still a lot of people to compete against, but still, they have like 700."

But both had resumes impressive enough to beat the competition.

Walker, a senior bound for the University of Hartford, is a three-year basketball captain and golfer for Southold. He takes accelerated courses in algebra, physical earth science and health and makes time for a long list of extracurricular activities that includes playing in a jazz ensemble and volunteering as a basketball camp adviser.

"I put schoolwork first," he said. "Then I put everything else around that. I try to plan the day out or the week out that way."

He said he enjoys teaching basketball techniques to children ranging from third to seventh grade because he remembers how older players helped groom him for the varsity.

Walker said he plans to try out for a walk-on spot on Hartford's basketball and baseball teams.

Monaco, a senior who said she will run cross country and track at Molloy College, is a member of Center Moriches' science, foreign language and English honor societies. She said her favorite community service work has been as a junior volunteer at Peconic Bay Medical Center because she wants to be a nurse.

"I like helping people a lot," she said. "I love science. I find science so interesting. Combining both of them, I think, would be a perfect fit."

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