It's fitting that Jalyn Jimerson and Ivy Santana shared the stage with the rest of area's top girls lacrosse talents during the recent Tom Borrelli Memorial Awards banquet at Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant.
The Lake Shore scoring sensations have seemingly been joined at the hip the past 10 years. They've attended lacrosse camps together as well as played on the same summer league teams. They pushed each other to get better and to develop the skills that helped them become Division I athletes.
But now it's time for the high school graduates to go their separate ways with Jimerson heading to Syracuse and Santana to Albany.
"It'll definitely be weird without her there for me," Santana said of Jimerson, although the two colleges are set to face each other next season.
"When we were younger it seemed like we had all the time in the world," Jimerson said. "It's kind of sad (it's coming to an end). We've made a big impact at Lake Shore and in Section VI. It's sad that it's ending but it's time to start a new beginning."
Not before saying good-bye to the past season.
Jimerson and Santana are among the headliners on the 2018 Coaches All-Western New York girls lacrosse first team. Both are repeat first-team selections along with Frontier's Taylor Gehen and Lancaster's Maddie Mazur.
Being a first-team All-WNY pick again wasn't the only distinction earned by Jimerson. She's also been selected as the 2018 Borrelli Award winner as top senior female lacrosse player in Western New York.
The Borrelli Award is given out in honor of late Buffalo News Sports Reporter and National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame member Tom Borrelli. Borrelli, a passionate follower of lacrosse at all levels, died in November 2008 following a tragic fall while covering a high school football game at All High Stadium.
Jimerson, a three-time All-WNY pick and two-time U.S. Lacrosse All-American, is the second straight Eagle to earn the Borrelli. She joins Shayla Scanlan – who currently is playing at Louisville. Jimerson is a smart player with an excellent scoring touch.
She recorded 49 goals and a team-high 100 points as the Eagles went 12-3 – all losses coming against Rochester-area teams. For her six-year career, Jimerson finished with 265 goals and 183 assists.
"It's an honor to win the award," Jimerson said. "Just the amount of talent in Western New York ... There are so many to choose from. It's just an honor."
An honor that easily could've gone to Santana, who earned a nice prize of her own in being selected as this year's female recipient of the U.S. Lacrosse Tewaaraton Native American Scholarship. The scholarship honors student-athletes of Haudenosaunee/Iroquois heritage who show high character and leadership on and off the field. She's the second Lake Shore player to receive the honor in as many years, joining Scanlan.
Santana led the Eagles in goals (51) and draw controls (104) and finished second in points (85).
During Jimerson's and Santana's four seasons on Lake Shore, the Eagles posted a 56-12 record – winning three straight Section VI titles.
Ox Award winner
Emma O'Neill of Hamburg earned this year's Ox honor.
The Ox Award goes to seniors who display the talent, versatility, hard work and dedication displayed by Borrelli, whose nickname was "Ox" in his work as a reporter and editor at the News.
O'Neill, who will play college hockey at Division III Norwich, won 120 face-offs and scored 49 goals for the Bulldogs.
"She is determined, fearless and the definition of heart and hustle," Hamburg coach Katy Ryan said to the Borrelli Awards selection committee. "In everything she does on the field, she is a true competitor and simply relentless."
The same can be said of Gehen from Frontier. The Towson University commit led the Section VI Class B champions in goals (67), draw controls (70) and ground balls (43). Teammates and fellow All-WNY first-team picks Katie Dlugosz (Slippery Rock) and Marissa Comerate (Mercyhurst) also will be playing collegiately after having fine careers with the Falcons.
Section VI: Class A - Lancaster. Class B - Frontier. Class C - Lake Shore. Class D - Eden. Monsignor Martin: Sacred Heart.