Sports have come fairly easy for Hauppauge's Stephanie Peragallo. Whether it was lacrosse, basketball or soccer, she was always one of the better athletes.
And gender wasn't even a factor for Peragallo, who was an outstanding baseball player through Little League and dominated the boys. Her love for baseball has never waned, but after the sixth grade, her focus turned to lacrosse, the sport that would help her earn a scholarship to Notre Dame next fall.
Peragallo, a five-year, three-sport varsity superstar from Hauppauge, was named the Suffolk female high school athlete of the year at the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame brunch Sunday at the West Lake Inn in Patchogue.
"She's the most accomplished athlete in my 10 years as the athletic director in Hauppauge," Joe Tasman said. "She gives a 110 percent effort in everything she does. She's the senior class president, a leader in the school, just a perfect role model in every way."
Peragallo received the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame's Butch Dellecave Award given to the best female athlete at the brunch before 400 guests.
Bay Shore's Griffin Rock, an All-County selection in football and lacrosse, received the Butch Dellecave male athlete of the year award.
"It was such an honor to be in the company of so many outstanding student-athletes," said Rock, who scored a 2,110 on his SAT and will attend Stevens Institute of Technology in the fall to study civil engineering. "And what I really liked was that every single sport was well represented. The selection committee did a great job."
A male and female student-athlete was nominated from every high school for the event, which is in its eighth year. The male finalists were Justin Honce of Bellport, Zack Conner of Islip and James Pannell of Smithtown West. The female finalists were Nicole Danniggelis of Smithtown East, Hannah Finger of Half Hollow Hills West and Chelsey Sidaras of Floyd.
"My parents have been a such a positive influence in my life," said Peragallo, who played in five Suffolk title games in her career. "My dad coached and helped me develop in all sports, including baseball."
Peragallo said she'll study pre-med at Notre Dame and is excited to take the field for the Irish. The seven-time All-County selection leaves behind quite a legacy in Hauppauge.
The honor humbled Rock, the Marauders' ferocious linebacker/center. The 5-11, 225-pounder beat up the opposing defensive units in lacrosse this season with 60 goals and 20 assists.
"This is an honor that combines success in the classroom and on the field, and for that there are so many people who believed in me and guided me along the way," Rock said.
"My line coach, Dave Mayo, and my lacrosse coaches, Tom Cox and Mike Tierney, were always there for me. And football coach Jim Giattino, when I was an undersized sophomore who motivated me and gave me the confidence to grow and mature as a player."
Rock, who carries a 97 grade-point average, added that the foundation to success can be found right at home with family. He called his 23-year-old brother Mike an inspiration.
"My brother went to college for academics first at Duke," Rock said. "And then he said he would walk on and make the men's lacrosse team. He did it and won a national championship three years ago. That's amazing."