To headline Homecoming Day, eight athletes and two coaches enter HOF as Eagles safety Joenel Aguero ’23 accepts Under Armour All-America jersey
On a fall New England day that was beach-blanket worthy, St. John’s Prep held its annual Homecoming festivities this past Saturday, headlined by the School’s first Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony in three years. Under cloudless, deep blue skies with temperatures in the upper 60s, the School admitted 10 alumni into the Hall of Fame. The induction class included eight athletes—all 21st century graduates—and two coaches.
Collectively, these honorees combined for 31 individual and team state titles or state final appearances as Eagles. This list of high-achievers includes current players or front office personnel across three professional sports, a U.S. Space & Rocket Center executive, an international soccer journalist and a Harvard Medical School/MGH psychologist, among other illustrious occupations.
During the morning ceremony inside the Dianne and Ray Carey ’67 Field House at the Leo and Joan Mahoney Wellness Center, the School also presented the 2022 Crystal Eagle Award to athletic trainer Brian “BC” Corbett for his oversight of athletic training care for all Prep teams across all sports, including every conference and state championship squad since 1998. The Prep also formally recognized two legacy teams: St. John’s inaugural soccer team of 1970 and the state champion cross country team of 1992.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were Duncan Webb ’00 (Lynn; baseball), Douglas Washington ’04 (Andover; wrestling), Richard McNeil ’06 (Lawrence; track & field), Matt Sullivan ’07 (North Andover; track & field), Julian Cardillo ’10 (Medford; fencing), Andrew Lutz ’10 (North Reading; volleyball), Colin Blackwell ’11 (North Andover; ice hockey), Pat Connaughton ’11 (Arlington; basketball, baseball), Coach Mike Barbati (Peabody; football) and Coach Joe Lovett (Groveland; football, basketball).
Webb, a two-time state champion as an Eagle and now a resident of Santa Monica, California, serves as Senior Director of Baseball Resources for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made sure to give credit where he felt credit was due. “St. John’s put me on a path, both academically and athletically, to a career that’s brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction,” he said. “The foundation of hard work, curiosity, communication, and compassion proved vital in my journey through college and into my career working in professional baseball.”
Fellow inductee Washington, a three-sport captain who recorded 131 wins as a wrestler and earned All-Scholastic honors in track, echoed Webb’s sentiment.
“St. John’s had a tremendous impact on my personal development and character,” said the Alabama resident, who serves as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s Space Camp Operations Manager. “It was the first time I was exposed on a daily basis to a highly concentrated group of talented individuals who were serious about achievement. One of the greatest and lasting impacts of my time as an athlete at the Prep was how much self-confidence it gave me. I learned that even if I wasn’t the fastest, strongest, or most talented athlete on the team, I could still have a meaningful impact on people around me. There’s a lot to be learned by working closely with people who are better than you.”
Two teams were also recognized during the ceremony. Coached by Brother Gerard O'Brien, the 1970 soccer team was the first in school history and, boasting a final roster that included students from freshman to senior year, qualified for the postseason. The 1992 cross country team was also honored for capturing a state championship and snagging the nation’s No. 11 ranking, powered by four All-Scholastic runners.
Corbett accepted his Crystal Eagle Award prior to the ceremony’s conclusion. The honor was established by the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee in 2001 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime of service and dedication to Prep athletics and who have exacted a significant influence on the Prep’s athletic program and its student-athletes.
“At St. John’s, we devote ourselves to building an athletic culture that understands sports is about more than just wins and losses,” said Head of School Ed Hardiman, Ph.D. P’19 ’21 ’26. “Being a student-athlete is about learning and working to be your best. Today, we celebrate athletes, teams, coaches, and individuals who have developed habits of excellence that extend far beyond the realm of athletics.”
Just prior to kickoff of the football game against BC High, which concluded with a closer-than-the-score-indicates, 41-20 win for the Eagles, safety Joenel Aguero ’23 was presented with his game jersey for January’s 2023 Under Armour Next All-America Game. A 6-foot, 205-pound Georgia commit, Aguero is the nation’s No. 22 overall prospect in the senior class as rated by ESPN and the No. 3 safety.
He recorded six receptions for 121 yards and a score in Saturday’s win, and also returned an interception for a touchdown. The Eagles (5-2) entered this week ranked No. 4 in the Boston Globe’s statewide Top 20 poll.