Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Story of a Champion, Heart of a Giant

Hold your hand out, and clench it into a fist. Your heart is the size of about two of your fists. That is, unless you happen to be Anthony Cortazzo, who has the heart of a giant.

The chatter, announcements, and emails at Pascack Hills have been flooded with updates on the Anthony’s place in the Heart of a Giant Competition. Anthony’s story not only won over the hearts of many, but also helped him win the competition.

The Heart of a Giant Award is presented by the Hospital for Special Surgery and the New York Giants. The award recognizes football players from the Tri-State area and rewards athletes who the administrators feel have the biggest heart of all the nominees. After Coach Alexander nominated Anthony for the award, Anthony proceeded through the application process, and eventually, his fate was in the hands of online voters. His supporters carried him through the online voting process and into the finals. At this point in the competition, he created a video explaining why he has the heart of the giant. He received help from Brendan Holm, Ryan Schnier, Alex Noonan, and Connor Schultz. A panel of judges then announced that Anthony was a co-winner, along with Jeremiah Minyard of Lincoln High School in Yonkers, NY.

In addition to the praise Anthony received, he also was given several opportunities and special prizes for his accomplishment. His favorite part of the experience was going to the New York Giants practice the Friday before their game against the Philadelphia Eagles in December. When he attended the practice, he watched the team run through their drills, spoke with several of the players including Victor Cruz and Eli Manning, and evaluated their plays. Anthony also went to the Giants game on December 28 against the Eagles. He was awarded a trophy and brief celebration on the Giant’s field during a television timeout. He watched the warm-ups and game with his co-winner Jeremiah Minyard and Coach Alexander. Meeting the Giants was Anthony’s childhood dream come true. In addition to all of this, Pascack Hills was also given $6,000 to commemorate Anthony’s exceptional winning of the Heart of a Giant.

Anthony believes that his unusual story is what separated him from his competition. Not many other high school athletes can say they were technically dead and came back to life, yet still continued to play the full-contact sport that they were passionate about. The senior believes that winning this award was an amazing honor, and he says that he is proud that he was chosen as the hardest-working athlete in the Tri-State area.

“I would like to thank everyone that assisted in the voting process and creation of the video for the Heart of a Giant competition,” Anthony says. “I’d also like to thank everyone who was interviewed for the video. And a special thanks to my teammates, the school, and my family for the support over the last couple of months and to everyone who has helped me play football again.”

Anthony’s Heart of a Giant Award is an admirable achievement that illustrates his incredible strength, athleticism, and determination. Congratulations, Anthony!

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  • Handsel BlairAug 31, 2022 at 10:01 PM

    Anthony is a wonderful young man. He and co-winner Jeremiah still remain friends to this day (2022). The Giants organization has been incredibly supportive of both of their winners, giving both young men opportunities to intern in their community relations office. Blessings all around!