Congratulations to Nashua PAL's 2022 Night of Champions Awardees!
Please read ahead to learn more about each awardee, and join us in thanking our Champion sponsors.
(Awardees listed alphabetically by last name; Youth awardees first, followed by adult awardees).
Thank you to an anonymous donor, all donations up to $50,000 will be matched at PAL's Night of Champions!
Check out the Live Stream of the 2022 Night of Champions here:
2022 PAL Basketball of the Year is 15-year-old Shwarlin "Swirl" Eli Arriola, Jr
Shwarlin, 15, or “Swirl” as he is known to teammates, is a sophomore at Nashua South High. He joined the PAL Gate City Thunder squad two years ago when his family moved to Nashua from McAllen, Texas. In middle school in Texas, he played football, soccer, basketball, and ran track. After moving to Nashua, Swirl played for Coach John Pearson at Elm St. Middle School as an 8th grader.
PAL Basketball Head Coach Shawn Nieves says that Swirl is a “spectacular young man,” and a “great role model” to his teammates and other kids who play every day at the PAL after school gym on Main Street. “I remember the first time playing with Swirl at PAL Gym. He came up to me, and asked me to coach him up to be a better center. Most guys want to handle the ball, or play a shooting forward spot, but Swirl wanted to play in the post, right in the paint. I’m very proud of his progress. He is a big, strong guy who has developed into a beast on the court.” Coach Nieves also says that Shwarlin “makes good choices” and is an example to teammates “with the way he conducts himself.”
- 2021 - Nick Reyes
- 2019 - Jayden Espinal
- 2018 - Brian Montminy
- 2017 - Ben Cabral
- 2016 - Brian Montminy
2022 PAL Cheerleader of the Year is 13-year-old Liz Forcier
Liz Forcier, an 8th grader at St. Christopher Academy in Nashua, has been participating and competing with the Nashua PAL Force spirit and cheer program since 2015. Specializing in flying and tumbling, Liz has earned the confidence and respect of her teammates and coaches. She is also the traditional host of her squad’s “hair party” each season - with her parents hosting a large group of energetic, loud music-playing, dancing PAL cheerleaders in their Nashua home!
According to her coach, Mallorie Garcia, “Liz is the kind of athlete that every coach wishes for. Her smile is contagious, and her work ethic is out of this world. Liz comes to practice and always gives 100% of her energy and effort, and is always open to new challenges. She exhibits all of the values that NPF works to instill. She is kind, determined, hardworking, and dedicated to her teammates."
Liz loves special effects makeup, animals, has her own online lip gloss business, and works one day a week cleaning the shop of her parents’ business, Forcier Contracting. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, rollerblading, boating and horseback riding.
- 2021 - Kylee Flynn
- 2019 - Ashley Oliver
- 2018 - Adrianna Milano
- 2017 - Emily Wall
- 2016 - Alyiah Brown
- 2015 - Paige Brooks
- 2014 - Hannah Anderson
- 2013 - Kelsi Cora
- 2012 - Lauren Grabeau
- 2011 - Elisabeth Carroll
Ethan, a rising 7th grader at the Academy of Science and Design, ran on the Nashua PAL/Gate City Striders Boys U12 squad under Coach Mike Dunhom. Ethan placed third at the 2021 USA Track and Field (USATF) Regional meet covering New England and most of New York State (including New York City, Long Island and Upstate) finishing the 3K course in 10:13. This past spring, Ethan won the 1 Mile event at the USATF Youth Championships with a tine of 5:10. He qualified for the USTAF Nationals meet in both the fall Cross Country and spring Track and Field seasons.
Ethan came late to the middle school interscholastic season, competing for the ASD middle school team, and eventually finishing 3rd out of 122 runners in the middle school state championship meet.
Ethan is a hiker and recently climbed the Presidential Traverse in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, a hike that many adults plan between 2 and 4 days to complete. Others prefer to hike on the Summer Solstice so they can have 16 hours of daylight to finish. Ethan’s best time as a 12 year old was a blistering 8 hours and 19 minutes!
- 2021 - Matt Giardina
- 2019 - Matthew Morris
- 2018 - Paul Balletto
- 2017 - Garrett Earley
- 2016 -Carson Bottomley
- 2015 - Forest MacKenzie
- 2014 - Aiden van Batenburg
- 2013 - Noah Bellomo
- 2012 - Ryan Vermette
- 2011 - Ethan Michaud
2022 Jr. PAL of the Year is 18-year-old Kane Kyer
Kane, 18, is a recent graduate of the Academy of Science and Design (ASD) in Nashua, and is enrolled in the Class of 2026 at the excellent Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Kane has been an enrolled member of the PAL Youth Safe Haven on Ash St. throughout high school. He first came to PAL as a high school freshman interested in the PAL Boxing Club, where he continues to train today on the top floor of the Youth Safe Haven.
Kane’s school, the ASD, requires students to perform 150 hours of community service during high school. Despite finishing his 150 hours before the end of his sophomore year, Kane went on to perform hundreds of additional hours. After originally joining the mentoring program to receive mentoring services, he eventually became a mentor to younger PAL kids who share his interests in cooking and STEM learning.
Although Kane possesses many leadership qualities, PAL Youth Safe Haven Program Coordinator Jaela Solis says that his “standout quality is his kindness. He is not only remarkably kind in his dealings with others, but he’s also observant and insightful about ways everyone at PAL can exhibit more and better kindness to one another.” Solis says that Kane is also a great role model for avoiding substance use. Kane puts it this way: “Your body is a temple, so you can’t put drugs and poisons into it and expect it to turn out well for you.”
Everyone at PAL is thrilled about Kane continuing his education at WPI, looks forward to the many contributions he’ll make to his community, the country, and the world, and is proud to have been part of his path to success.
- 2021 - Junely Grullon
- 2019 - Yahir Alvarado
- 2018 - Adriana Flores
- 2017 - Marilyn Guijarro
- 2016 - Junely Grullon
- 2015 & 2014 - Alejandra Ibarra
- 2013 - Seth Moore
- 2012 - Andrew Nunes
2022 PAL Boxer of the Year is Christian Moura
Christian, a 2017 graduate of Hollis Brookline high school, was introduced to amateur boxing when he joined the PAL Boxing Club in as a sixth grader. He has steadily trained under PAL Boxing Coach Muhammed Brooks through many ups and downs, including a serious concussion (playing JV soccer for HBHS as a high school sophomore), and two shoulder surgeries that became necessary during his time training and competing in intercollegiate club boxing.
During his junior and senior years in high school, Christian competed in the Novice Class of the New England Golden Gloves tournaments in 2016 and 2017. He continued boxing after high school graduation while enrolled for at the University of Massachusetts, training and competing for two years with the UMass Boxing Club.
2022 has been a big year for Christian, winning the 125 pound Open Class championship in the Central New England Golden Gloves tournament, and advancing to the New England Golden Gloves tourney, where he was the 125 pound runner up. He plans to compete later this year in the United States Boxing Association (USA Boxing) New England Championships as well as the Rocky Marciano Tournament of Champions in Bridgewater, MA.
According to Coach Brooks, “Christian is a very hard worker both in the gym and in his personal life. Despite his ups and downs, he remains dedicated to the gym and to the sport. He is one of those boxers that sticks it out in the gym, always asking questions and eager to learn new techniques. He has endured so many injuries, but continues to push forward to turn his goals into realities.”
Christian is employed as a personal trainer at Title Boxing Club and Veritas Performance Training, both in Nashua.
- 2021 - Jayden Maldonado
- 2019 - Jesse Batanda
- 2018 - Mike Fontanez
- 2017 - Joe Valdez
- 2016 - Marco Uribe
- 2015 - Keegan Murphy
- 2014 - Matt Fontanez
- 2013 - Bryce Landry
- 2012 - Ronny Angeles
- 2011 - Brian Allen
2022 PAL Football Player of the Year is 13-year-old Josiah Spleen
An 8th grader at Fairgrounds Middle School, Josiah Spleen played outside linebacker, running back, and on special teams for the Nashua PAL Force 12U (12 and under) team last season. A consistent yardage gainer, lead blocker and touchdown scorer, he was also a tenacious defender and tackler who, according to his coaches, paid “special attention to detail” on his special teams assignments. Josiah wears defenses down with his bruising running style, but adds strength, speed, quickness and field smarts that make him a threat on both sides of the ball.
According to Head Coach Tom Flynn, “Josiah is that rare athlete that has the three most important qualities for a team sport athlete — talent, leadership, and attitude positivity. He comes with an enthusiastic, team-minded attitude, leads by example, and has the drive and talent to excel. He’s reliable, supportive of teammates, mature, kind, respectful, funny, and brings a quiet yet confident leadership demeanor to the team. It’s been a privilege to have a young man like Josiah on the roster.”
Josiah also attends the afterschool/summer program at the PAL Youth Safe Haven. He enjoys graphic design, art, music, spending time with family and friends, and attending church on weekends. Everyone at PAL sees great things in his future at South High and beyond.
- 2021 - Jack Krulikowski
- 2019 - Bryson Borromeo
- 2018 - Reagan Brunet
- 2017 - Max Ackerman
- 2016 - Robbie Long
- 2015 - Austin Ouellette
- 2014 - Matt Hallahan
- 2013 - Nevan Roy
- 2012 - Greg Stanton
- 2011 - Alex White
Laura — a repeat honoree, also the 2021 Runner of the Year — discovered her love of running through the PAL Elementary School Cross Country program where she ran for the Charlotte Avenue squad. She joined the PAL Gate City Striders in 2015 at the age of 8. Since then, the PAL Striders have provided her opportunities to compete in many Junior Olympic National races sponsored by USA Track and Field all over the country in New Mexico, Alabama, Florida, Nevada, Kentucky and Wisconsin. These Nationals competitions pitted her against the best youth distance runners in the United States, where she made new friends — including a runner from Massachusetts with who she’ll attend Nike Running Camp this summer — and experienced different communities (and cross country courses!) all over the US.
Her 2021 season personal beat race was the USATF Region 1 Junior Olympic Championship at Highland Park in Attleboro, MA, where she covered the 4K course 14:59. Weeks later, she earned All-American status - a goal she had pursued for years - at the USATF Junior Olympic Championships in Paris, Kentucky.
Laura is a natural leader both on and off the course. She's self-motivated, goal oriented, dedicated, selfless, and that teammate that always has your back for support. The PAL coaching staff says she “has a heart of gold and helps paint the picture of what teamwork truly is. She is a stand-up young lady that not only sets the performance bar high, but possesses a glow that helps foster a powerful team dynamic. She's welcoming, kind hearted and an all around team player that used this season to really dig deep and find the even more competitive level we all saw in her.”
- 2021 - Laura White
- 2019 - Lauren Long
- 2018 - Jhanelle Thomas
- 2017 - Cali Coffin
- 2016 - Shannon Earley
- 2015 - Grace Jones
- 2014 & 2013 - Lauren Robinson
- 2012 - Tylee Thurber
- 2011 - Olivia Koutsos
2022 PAL Coach of the Year is Mike Dunhom
Coach Dunhom coaches the Nashua PAL Gate City Striders boys cross country team in the 11-12 year old division. His squad finished second at the USA Track and Field (USATF) New England Championships last fall, and advanced to the Region 1 (northeast) championships where they were the runner up team. Although the team qualified for the USATF National Championships in Kentucky, Covid prevented the team from attending. Coach Dunhom has coached several Top 15 team finishers at Nationals, and one Top 10 finisher.
Mike started his cross country coaching career as assistant coach at Elm St. Middle School, and soon joined the Nashua PAL Gate City Striders organization coach of the 9-10 year old team. He eventually moved up to the 11-12 year old squad, and his teams’ regional and national success in Junior Olympic meets has contributed to PAL’s reputation as one of the top programs in the United States. Coaching hundreds of runners over the years, he has established a foundation for producing some of the top cross country and track athletes in the state. Coach Dunham also assists fellow PAL-GCS coach Tom Cassetty in his capacity as head coach of the 2021 NHIAA champion Bishop Guertin High School boys cross country team. Last season, Coach Dunhom trained one all-state runner and three all-division runners, all of whom also competed for PAL as well.
According to PAL Athletic Director Nick Dahl, “Coach Dunhom believes running isn’t just a school sport or youth activity. He sees it as a sport kids can stay with for a long healthy life. He views his job is developing a love of the sport so PAL kids want to continue running for years. He is a firm believer in character over talent and instills those qualities by modeling positive behavior.”
Coach Dunhom, an alumnus of both Nashua High School and the Gate City’s former Daniel Webster College, has worked as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration for 33 years. He lives in Nashua with his wife Pam and children Alexandra and Drew.
- 2021 - Ben Desfosses, Football
- 2019 - Judy Biore, Cross Country
- 2018 - Jeff Kreick, Basketball
- 2017 - Mohammed Brooks, Boxing
- 2016 - Sergi Filonow, Football
- 2015 - Eric Fowler, Football
- 2014 - Tom Cassetty, Cross Country
- 2013 - Maureen MacKay, Cheerleading
- 2012 - Karen Long, Cross Country & Brendan Keegan, Football
- 2011—Frank Chimento, Boxing
2022 PAL Volunteer of the Year is Don McCarty
Don McCarty has volunteered as Nashua PAL's Treasurer, an executive office in its board of directors, for close to 15 years. In his time on the Board, he has chaired several board committees including Finance and the Night of Champions planning committee. According to PAL Executive Director Shaun Nelson, "Don's calm and consistent presence shepherded PAL through the most lean times, and his expertise and financial and accounting acumen is a key reason PAL has been able to grow, both its resources and stability, to its present capacity serving 2,000+ Nashua youth."
In his role on the PAL Board of Directors, Don regularly helps identify short and long term goals, and guides the PAL Board with thoughtful strategies focused on making a positive impact on our community. Supported and complemented by his wife of 39 years, Holly, Don’s endless contributes of time, talent and treasure can no longer be measured.
Holly serves as Nashua PAL's Operations and Logistics Manager at the PAL Youth Safe Haven on Ash Street. Together, Don and Holly make a solid positive impact in the Nashua community, serving not only with PAL but with other organizations and projects. In 2002, they founded and launched the Great Gobbler Thanksgiving 5K road race, benefiting the Nashua North and South High School Cross Country programs, running the event for a decade, and cleaning and marking trails for many years to follow. Don also served as president of the Nashua Youth Soccer League, and coached there for 14 years. In addition to supporting Nashua PAL, Don and Holly have also supported several other local nonprofits and causes, including CASA, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the United Way.
Recently retired from his role as Finance Director from BAE Systems, Don now serves there as a consultant. He stays active in a plethora of sports including softball, cycling, running, cross country skiing, and hiking. Don and Holly have two adult sons, Ryan and Ian, who love in California and Massachusetts, respectively.
- 2021 - Lt. Carlos Camacho, PAL YSH
- 2019 - Gwen Krailo, PAL Board
- 2018 - Pastor Dave Smith, PAL YSH
- 2017 - Kalin Hamilton, PAL Force
- 2016 - Laurie Galbo, PAL YSH
- 2015 - Stacey Geesey, PAL YSH
- 2014 - Nick Dahl, Athletic Director & Board Member
- 2013 - Jessica Coughlin, PAL YSH & Brad Kreick, Corporate Partner
- 2012 - Kevin McIntyre, Cross Country
- 2011 - Ken Hamill, PAL Golf Classic
2022 PAL Night of Champions Emcee - Jonathan Marshall
WMUR Channel 9’s sports anchor, Jonathan Marshall will serve as the Master of Ceremonies at the 2022 PAL Night of Champions.
Event emcee, Jonathan Marshall, joined WMUR in August 2021 as a sports reporter and anchor. He most recently worked for Fox 13 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he covered the NBA Memphis Grizzlies and University of Memphis basketball and football, in addition to high school sports and local news. Prior to his time in Memphis, he worked at WDAM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he covered high school sports and the University of Southern Mississippi. He started his career at a newspaper, working at the Abilene Reporter-News in Abilene, Texas, as the beat reporter for Wylie High School and Hardin-Simmons University. He graduated from Lincoln (PA) University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and graduated with a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University. A Philadelphia native raised in Delaware, Marshall loves to play basketball and work out, and all things competitive. He enjoys hanging with friends and catching a good movie or doc. After his tour of the south he’s excited to be working back up north. Even with having to get used to the winter months again, he is eager to explore the great sights in NH.
Thank you to our 2022 Champion Sponsors
PAL's 2022 Night of Champions is presented by our Education Champion:
The Giaquinto Family
Thank you to an anonymous donor, all donations up to $50,000 were matched at PAL's Night of Champions!
Joe Laplante and Carol Fiore
The Kreick Family
Linda and Terry Robinson
Nashua Lions Club
92.5 the River & Steve Friedman
Broad Street Planning
Kalin & Brion Carroll
Steve & Jean Dickson
Bogdan Golja & Mary Ann Melizzi-Golja
High View Trees
Jeanne D'Arc Credit Union
Johnson's Electric Supply, Inc.
Nashua Police Department
Peters of Nashua
Rochette Funeral Home
Service Credit Union
Shamera Simpson & Jim Ross
St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Mary's Bank
Souhegan Valley Rotary
Turn Cycle Solutions
Jack & Benda Tulley
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua
Karen Van Der Beken
Emmett and Diane Clifford
Design Pool Patterns
John and Judie Fisher
Gottesman and Hollis, P.A
Michael and Sonia Lent
George and Jennifer Torosian