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Matthew Crovella Memorial Award

The Matthew Crovella Memorial Award is given to the camp athlete who best demonstrates the traits that Matthew embodied during his seven years attending the camp.

● Kindness  ● Helpfulness ● Positive Attitude ● Sportsmanship

2023 Award Recipient


Nagi Aitbayeva

DOB - 10/31/2008


Club - Syracuse Speed Skating Club


Residence - Syracuse, NY

Nagi is 14 and a rising sophomore at Corcoran High School in Syracuse, NY. She has been skating with the Syracuse Speedskating Club since she was 9 years old (with Gretchen Burns, Cherise Wilkins, and Karl Hughes). Nagi has competed in several local meets, including the Buffalo Short Track Championships and the Empire State Winter Games. This was her second year attending the camp. Nagi has been playing the violin since she was four years old and plays in the Syracuse Young Artists Orchestra. She also enjoys spending time with her sisters and little brother.

In Nagi's words: "My family and I are very grateful and lucky to have known Mathew for the first few years that my younger sister and I skated. Mathew's kindness, helpfulness, positive attitude, and sportsmanship are traits that I hope to emulate not just as a skater, but in my everyday life. Matthew, to me, encompasses what speedskating is about - sharing experiences and smiles with those around you. I am very honored to have received this award and hope that future generations of campers recognize Matthew's everlasting impact on the skating community. "

2022 Award Recipient


Gabriel Hasselback

DOB - 06/09/2006


Club - Buffalo Speedskating Club


Residence - Hamburg, NY

Gabriel has been with the Buffalo Speed Skating Club since he was 7 years old. Speed skating has given “Gabe” the opportunity to make friends of all ages. Competitions like the Buffalo Meet and the International Childrens Winter Games have also given him the opportunity to compete against kids from all over the world. At camp time, Gabe is 16 and a junior at Frontier High School in Hamburg, NY. Gabe competes for his High School in swim and track. Gabe also loves surfing, hiking, playing guitar and saxophone, spending time with friends, running with his dog, and watching his fish.

Gabe first attended the Buffalo Camp in 2018 when he turned 12. He and Matthew attended two camps together. 2019 was Matthew's last camp before he went to University.

2021 Inaugural Award Recipient


Sammy Hart-Gorman

DOB - 09/18/2005


Club - Syracuse Speedskating Club


Residence - Syracuse, NY

Sammy has been speedskating since the age of 8 with the Syracuse Speedskating Club. He has trained with and competed against skaters locally, nationally, and internationally, and has enjoyed meeting and learning from many different coaches and athletes. In addition to skating with the Syracuse Club, Sammy regularly travels to Lake Placid, NY where he trains and competes in long track. Sammy has attended the Buffalo Junior Summer Camp since 2017. He very much enjoys challenging himself at the camp and looks forward to returning each year. In addition to speedskating, Sammy enjoys running, cycling, watching classic movies, eating spicy food, and spending time with his many pets. In the fall of 2021, Sammy will be entering his sophomore year at Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY. 

It is fitting that Sammy's fellow campers voted to award him the inaugural Memorial Award. Sammy and Matt skated with the same club, attend the camp together for three years, and were good friends. In Sammy's words: “Matt Crovella was more than a teammate, he was my friend and mentor. I looked up to Matt. His leadership, kindness, sportsmanship, and generosity are traits that I hope to emulate. Receiving the first Matthew Crovella Memorial award means so much to me. This is the most important award I have ever received.”

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