The Kingston City School District announced the first two recipients in its Athlete of the Month program last week, with seniors Grace Regan and Josh McNutt earning the female and male distinctions respectively.
Regan, captain of the girls’ cross country team and student body president at Kingston High, was nominated by her coach, Joe Cahill.
“It meant a lot,” said Regan. “It was really just recognition for my hard work over the years. I was really proud to get that for cross country.”
Regan has a personal record of 19:49 in the 5K, a 2:27 in the 800-meter, and a 5:14 in the 1,500-meter. Regan is also a member of the outdoor track and field team, and the varsity basketball team. Regan’s favorite sport is distance running, though she only made the jump to cross country from field hockey in her junior year.
“It was just a better use of my talents,” she said. “The team is really great and the coach is really great. And it really is a big team sport. When it comes down to it it’s all about the pack time. You have to push each other.”
Academically, Regan is vice president of Model United Nations, treasurer of the International Relations Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She’s currently ranked 10th in the 2017 graduating class with a 99.13 GPA. On top of an already heavy AP schedule, Regan has added AP Physics, Calculus BC and Statistics courses for her senior year. She’s also vice president of the YMCA Leaders Club, performing volunteer work in the community.
Regan’s year as student body president will end in January.
“I love that I’m able to have a voice in the school,” she said. “There’s not too much wrong at the moment, but we get to plan some of the big events.”
Her time in the International Relations Club has helped focus her planned course of study in college, where she’ll double major in international business and leadership.
“I love getting to meet kids from all over, and I’ve had a lot of cool opportunities,” she said. “I want to work with people to find the best answer, and move to the head of a corporation, whether it’s like CEO or something, where I can make a difference.
Time off for Regan is a rare commodity.
“It comes so infrequently that I usually just crash and go to sleep,” she said.
McNutt is the captain of the boys’ varsity soccer team and its starting goalkeeper for a second straight year. He’s also in the pitching rotation for the varsity baseball team, but it’s the beautiful game which has his heart most of the year.
“My dad played in high school and college, so I was always around soccer when I was little,” McNutt said. “My dad played in a men’s league, so I would go and watch his games. Really, watching him when I was younger drew me to the game.”
McNutt has a heavy course load at Kingston High, including AP biology, AP statistics and College Spanish 2. But he played down a deep connection between excellence in the classroom and excellence in goal on the soccer pitch.
“I don’t think you necessarily need intellect when you first start, it’s just something that comes after having played the game for a long time, having watched it, having talked to coaches,” he said. “I think it’s just something you develop over time.”
McNutt has developed his skills over the past five summers at the Soccer Plus Goalkeeper School at Colgate University.
“You have some of the best coaches from around the country,” he said. “National directors who have coached at some of the best colleges. The best college goalies are coaching you. They teach techniques that completely transform the way you see things on the field. It helps all aspects of the game.”
McNutt has shared what he’s learned over the years with the goalkeepers on Kingston’s JV squad, working with them in practice to give the program an edge well after he graduates.
“I always wished I had that,” he said, “I went up to the JV coach [Nick Malvai], who I’ve had a good relationship with over the years, and he asked me to work with them. I jumped at the opportunity. I love helping people get better.”
McNutt plays trumpet in the KHS band, and while he enjoys sports and music, his time observing at both Kingston Physical Therapy and HealthAlliance Hospital helped him decide on a course of study when he moves on to college.
“I’ve been hurt quite a few times over the years,” McNutt said. “I broke my elbow, broke my wrist, and I’ve had physical therapy done on both knees. The last time I hurt my knee was what kind of interested me more in the whole rehabilitation process.”
McNutt said he was humbled by being selected as an Athlete of the Month, which came by the recommendation of his coach, Dan Franklin, and like Regan, was ultimately decided by the district’s interim athletic director, Richard Cowles.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “There’s a lot of tremendous athletes from Kingston and a lot of extremely athletes from Kingston. I was just surprised that my name was chosen by the new AD. It’s an honor to be named.”
McNutt said he might not have had the same opportunities to succeed had he not gone to Kingston High School.
“We have tremendous teachers at the school who have impacted me and many students in our time at KHS,” he said. “It’s a fairly large high school, the largest in Ulster county. We have a lot of classes offered that other schools don’t. That has helped as well.”