WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State University senior men's track athlete Troy Cronin (Florence, Mass.) was honored with the first-ever Athletic Director's Award for Inspiration at the 2018-19 Owls Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Senior and Awards banquet on April 30.
The intent for the new award is that it would be given from time to time, only when someone rises to the top level and has a tremendous impact on the Westfield State Athletics program.
Cronin, a transfer from Greenfield Community College his sophomore year, competed in sprint events for the Owls for the past three years. Perhaps his crowning athletic achievement came this spring when he won his heat in the men's 400 meter dash at the Owls' annual Jerry Gravel Classic.
This victory was a culmination of hard work and determination to overcome an extremely significant obstacle in his life.
At two years old, Cronin was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis, a relatively rare bacterial infection that affects the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. In some cases, the infection can lead to permanent damage to the brain, or other parts of the body, and even death.
Cronin's condition eventually led to both of his legs being amputated not long after. Despite these obstacles, he has been an inspiration to everyone in the Westfield State Athletics community.
"His personality and optimism always helps uplift the other student athletes and staff in the Woodward Center. His hard work, and level of effort in daily practice and competition in the face of adversity is something that all of our student-athletes can aspire to. It has been a pleasure watching him compete and participate in athletics at Westfield State," expressed Westfield State Athletic Director Richard Lenfest of Cronin.
But Cronin's inspiring efforts don't just stop at the walls of Westfield State University.
"After grad school I want to fit people for prosthetics and orthotics and help to use my experience as an amputee to teach my patients that although being an amputee is tough, there is nothing that you can't do if you work at it," said Cronin, "and I want to get my patients active and for them to have pride in all the obstacles that they have overcome." (quote from last year's feature, Troy Cronin Inspires Owls Track and Field)
It is for those reasons that Cronin was awarded the first Westfield State Athletic Director's Award for Inspiration, and for those reasons we are all inspired to model the behavior set by him throughout his four years at Westfield.