Sun Rise sports announces annual award winners


CO-BOYS TEAMS OF THE YEAR: Basketball, Volleyball

The basketball Panthers claimed their first championship in more than two decades with a thrilling comeback win over Middletown in the championship game. Johnston finished 14-1 and in first place heading into the playoffs and kept that momentum until it hoisted the championship plaque. Derek Salvatore and Anthony Corsinetti proved to be the division’s best back court as both received Division II First Team honors. Neari Vasquez was a difference maker up front and went on to be named to the All-League second team. Guys like Michael Carlino and Camani Batista also made big impacts as the season wore on to give Johnston one of the state’s deepest lineups.

The defending champion volleyball team felt that not only could it be as good as it was in 2022, but better. Sure enough, the Panthers rolled to a perfect season to win its second straight title, only dropping two sets all season long including the playoffs. Yondel Gonzalez and Josh Philbrick were named to the Division III First Team, while Jacob Muller was named to the second team. Coach Greta Lalli was named the Division III Coach of the Year.


The Johnston girls soccer program is officially back. After a down few seasons, the Panthers would find a home in Division IV in 2022 and reach the semifinals after clinching the top seed. The Lady Panthers returned to the pitch hungry in 2023 and would find more success, reaching the finals. Alexia DiLorenzo and Kaylee Poole were arguably the division’s best 1-2 punch on offense while Ava Waterman was elite in the net. Although Johnston will be graduating a handful of key players, there is still plenty returning to keep the Panthers among the division’s contenders.


Derek Salvatore is the Johnston Sun Rise’s Boy Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. As captain of the basketball team last season, Salvatore proved to be the team’s unquestioned leader as he led the Panthers to their first state championship in more than two decades. Salvatore had a championship performance for the ages, finishing with 20 second half points (24 overall) to erase an 8-point deficit and fuel the historic comeback. Salvatore also joined the school’s 1,000-point club during the regular season and is currently playing for St. Joe’s in Maine. Salvatore then had a nice senior season on the baseball diamond, where he finished with Division II First Team honors.


Alexia DiLorenzo was an elite two-sport athlete for Johnston in softball and soccer. On the diamond, DiLorenzo was vital to the Panthers’ return to the postseason as she batted .317 and was named to the Division II Third Team at the end of the spring. DiLorenzo was even more impressive on the soccer field this past fall as she led the Panthers with a whopping 20 goals while guiding the team to the championship clash at Rhode Island College. 

BOYS COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike Bedrosian, Basketball

In his second year at the helm, Mike Bedrosian proved to be one of the state’s best young coaches as he guided the Panthers to their first basketball championship since 1996. Johnston finished the regular season with a 14-1 record which was good for first place, then would roll in the playoffs and complete a comeback win in the championship game against Middletown. Johnston had a talented roster heading into the season but flew under the radar. Bedrosian instilled confidence in his players and received immediate buy-in as the Panthers were undoubtedly the best team in Division II from start to finish. Bedrosian’s leadership helped him be named coach of the year for the division. Johnston is on the prowl once again as the defending champs jumped out to a 3-0 record before the holiday break. 

GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR: Toni Scavitti, Soccer

The Lady Panthers had a program revival in 2022 when they reached the semifinals, much thanks to first-year coach Toni Scavitti’s leadership. Johnston did itself one better in 2023, taking the next step to reach the championship game. Scavitti coached Johnston into being perhaps the most well-rounded team in the division with its big-time offensive duo in Alexia DiLorenzo and Kaylee Poole, while also boasting the division’s best defense while getting another strong season from keeper Ava Waterman. Scavitti’s emphasis on two-way play has allowed Johnston to be a powerhouse in DIV. 


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