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2023 Athletics Honorees Announced



Washington, D.C. office


The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (“AHEPA”) will honor outstanding current and former athletes and sports’ industry leaders at its Athletic Luncheon at its 101st Annual Supreme Convention, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 26, 2023, announced Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas.

“AHEPA is proud to recognize an outstanding group of Hellenes who excelled on the athletic fields and within the sport’s industry and join the hallowed pantheon of former Hellenic athletic luminaries”, Kokotas said. “We congratulate all of the honorees and are thrilled that AHEPA remains at the forefront of recognizing excellence in athletic achievement”.

AHEPA will induct six sports figures into it’s Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 1974 by the late Supreme Athletic Director Dr. Monthe Kofos, and now includes more than one hundred seventy-five (175) inductees, including Harry Agganis, Alex Karras, Milt Pappas, Pete Sampras, Eric Karros, Gene Rossides, Steve Lappas, Bob Costas, Greg Louganis, Pyro Dimas and Kurt Rambis, among many other athletic stalwarts.

The 2023 Class of the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame includes:

  • George Kokinis, Wethersfield, Connecticut, National Football League Executive of over three decades, currently the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens;
  • George Kostelis, Cromwell, Connecticut, Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach at Central Connecticut State University, after a distinguished playing career at the University of Hartford; 
  • Alexi Lalas, Birmingham, Michigan, Winner of the 1991 Hermann Trophy presented to the Most Outstanding Collegiate Soccer Player in the Nation, followed by long service with the United States National Soccer Team at the World Cup and multiple Olympics, and now a Fox Sports Analyst;
  • Nick Mourouzis, inducted posthumously for his outstanding coaching career at Depauw , University, as Head Football Coach;
  • Kristofer O’Dowd, Tucson, Arizona, was a standout football player at the University of Southern California, after an outstanding high school career; and
  • Jason Zafiros, New York, New York, a college tennis star at Arizona University and the University of Miami and now a professional teaching pro.

Supreme President Kokotas lauded this outstanding class of athletes and coaches who had “reached the very heights of their respective sports.”

Pictured below: Hall of Fame inductees Zafiros, O’Dowd, & Mourouzis

World-Ranked Tennis Star Honored with Agganis Award

In addition, AHEPA recognizes and honors active athletes for achievement at high school, college and professional levels of competition.

AHEPA’s premier honor for an athlete of Hellenic heritage is the Harry Agganis Award. It will be presented to the Most Outstanding Worldwide Hellenic Athlete, Maria Sakkari, of Greece, a Professional Tennis Player who has reached as high as 3rd in the World’s ranking, is the 2023 selectee of the Harry Agganis Award joining prior awardees such as Pete Sampras, Chris Chelios, Greg Louganis, Nick Markakis and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Agganis Family-Galatis Award is presented each year to the Most Outstanding High School Hellenic Athlete, and this year’s honoree is Alexis Kerstein, Deerfield, Illinois, who is the all-time leading scorer for the Deerfield High School basketball team and a multiple All-State Selection, who will play basketball for the University of Vermont Catamounts.

The William G. Chirgotis Most Outstanding College Athlete Award is presented annually to the Most Outstanding College Athlete and is given this year to both Kyle Karros, Manhattan Beach, California, a standout third baseman for the University of California, Los Angeles, Bruins’ Baseball Team, the son of former Los Angeles Dodger Eric Karros, a member of the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame, and John Poulakidas, Naperville, Illinois, a standout member of the Yale University basketball team.

Pictured below: Chirgotis Award Winner John Poulakidas

Supreme President Kokotas said, “The Order of AHEPA honors brilliance and excellence in all fields, and in this case, Athletics. The National Athletic Awards are the Triple Crown of athletic achievements, awarded to the Most Outstanding Hellenic Athlete at the High School, College and Professional levels, representing premier athletes encompassing a myriad of sports. These Hellenic athletes represent not only the stars of today but athletic prominence in the years to come, and the recognition of these awardees is a testament to AHEPA’s commitment to excellence”.

“We are proud that with these athletic awards AHEPA honors and recognizes the Hellenic American communities’ future with our Scholar-Athletes, its present with the National Awards, while also honoring past accomplishments with induction into the Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame”, Kokotas added.

Kokotas also noted “I commend AHEPA’s Athletic Department, led by Supreme Athletic Director Chris Atsaves and Gregory J. Stamos, who chairs the National Athletic Awards and the Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, for their dedication in honoring our exceptional Hellenic athletes”

2023 Scholar Athletes

The Order of AHEPA announced the recipients and selectees of the Athletic Department’s Scholar-Athlete Awards, for 2023. The students will be honored at the 101st Annual Supreme Convention in Las Vegas at the Athletic Luncheon on July 26, 2023.

Supreme President Jimmy Kokotas applauded the selectees indicating “these are not only the very best and brightest of the AHEPA Family community, but they represent the next generation of Hellenic and AHEPA Family leaders. This long-running scholarship program is an integral part of the mission of the Order of AHEPA, and I applaud the Athletic Department, particularly Supreme Athletic Director, Chris A. Atsaves, and the Chairman of the Scholar-Athlete Committee, James Rigopoulos, for their commitment to assisting the young Scholar-Athletes as they embark on their next step in life”.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

  • Sophia Alton, Amherst, New Hampshire, is the recipient of the Past Supreme President Phillip and Tula Frangos Scholarship; Sophia was a Captain of the New Hampshire High School State Lacrosse Champions, she is a member of the National Honor Society, and will continue playing Lacrosse at Assumption (MA) University;
  • Peter Athanailos, Floral Park, New York, is the recipient of a Ranglas Family Scholar-Athlete Award; Peter is a track and field athlete at Manhattan (NY) College, and a member of MAAC Conference All-Academic Team;
  • George Thomas Belbas, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is also a recipient of a Ranglas Family Scholar-Athlete Award; George was an Academic All-Stater in track and a member of the State High School Championship football Team, and will matriculate at the Carlson School of Business, University of Minnesota;
  • Peter James Belbas, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a recipient of a Vassiliadis Family Scholar-Athlete Award; a Track Academic All Stater, and a member of the High School State Championship Football Team, Peter will attend college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln;
  • Panayiotis (“Taki”) Dadiotis, Englewood, Colorado, is the recipient of the Anthony Leondis Memorial Scholarship; he was an All-Centennial League performer and an Academic All-Stater, and is committed to play football at the University of San Diego;
  • Konstantinos Dimitrakopoulos, an Exchange student from Greece, is the recipient of the Past Supreme President, Franklin R. Manios Scholar-Athlete & Service Award; he was a member of the Florida District Champion’s Basketball Team and also played volleyball and will be playing basketball at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus;
  • Evan Kanellos, Glenview, Illinois, is the recipient of the Manchester Greats Scholar-Athlete Award; an All-Midwest and All-State Soccer selectee, and All-Conference and Captain in basketball and soccer, as well as a High School All-State Academic Team Selectee, Evan will matriculate and play soccer at the University of Chicago;
  • Konstantina Mantziori, an Exchange student from Greece, is the recipient of the Past Supreme Athletic Director Monthe Kofos Athletic Booster Club Scholar-Athlete Award; she was an All-County Basketball selectee, and member of the Honor Roll and will play basketball at Purdue, Fort Wayne, University;
  • Alexia Despina Nicholas, Annapolis, Maryland, is the recipient of the John Peter Vlahos High School Scholar-Athlete Award; Alexia graduated Magna Cum Laude, was Captain of the basketball team and also played lacrosse and field hockey and is a member of the Honor Roll, and she will attend Salisbury University;
  • Paris Pappas, Wilmington, Delaware, is also a recipient of a Vassiliadis Family Scholar-Athlete Award; Paris earned All-Conference Honors playing for a State Championship High School Soccer Team and was a member of the National Honor Society, and will play soccer at Occidental College, California;

James Rigopoulos, Chairman of the Selection Committee, stated, “year after year this Committee faces the challenge of making it’s selection from a large group of qualified, Student-Athletes. The talent, both academically and athletically, coupled with the students’ commitment to their school and church communities, bodes well for the future of Hellenism. While the mission of this Scholar-Athlete Committee was advanced this year by the creation of two new scholarships, by Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas, and Andrew Vassiliadis, the number of worthy candidates confirms the need for all to remain committed to growing the Scholar-Athlete Program. The Committee once again thanks not only the two new donors, but all the proud Ahepans and former Athletic Honorees who have continued to give back to this wonderful Program, through their support, donations and sponsorships of scholarships.”

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