SAUGUS – School Committee Chairman Wendy Reed says Saugus should be proud to recognize its top high school athletes who have distinguished themselves this year, such as Omar Benabicha, a Northeastern Conference (NEC) all-star and 1,000-point earner.Benabicha, 18, was among several Saugus High students to receive athletic awards from the School Committee at its recent meeting. He stood out as senior captain of the basketball team and, more so, for joining former Saugus High athletes Kyle Sucharewicz (2001) and Alex Winn (1966) in amassing 1,000 points during his high school career.Athletic Director Mike Nelson praised all the athletes tapped for awards. “We had a good fall and a fantastic winter,” he said, recalling the commitment by both the girls’ and boys’ hockey teams. “They had 5 a.m. hockey practices,” said Nelson. “Other days it was practice after school.”Both hockey teams made it to the state finals.The 23 athletes honored by the committee included indoor track NEC all-star Olisaemeka Obienfuna, who distinguished himself as most valuable player in the NEC, a Division 3 state champion in the long jump and placed second in the All-States. Other indoor track all-stars were Steven Essery, David Cacciola, Nicholas Freehling, Ashley Firth and Ashley Aldred.In boy’s hockey, award recipients were Michael Kotowski, Stephen Spinney, Saige Tait, Drew Oxley, Nicholas Hegarty, Daniel Groark and Kurt Rodrigues. In girls’ hockey, they were Courtney McTague, Catherine Salvetti and Hannah LoPresti.Gabriella Cogliano was the girls’ basketball NEC all-star, while Michael Joseph took home the award for NEC all-star wrestling.Curtis Casella joined Benabicha as a boys’ basketball NEC all-star, while Marissa Maillett received the award for swimming.Two other Saugus High students, Kayla Hogan and Kelsey Witham, were awarded certificates for basketball cheerleading.”On behalf of the School Committee, I thank each and every one of you for your accomplishments,” School Superintendent Richard Langlois said at the special presentation ceremony.Reed added, “I love to recognize the students. We have a lot to be proud of.”The superintendent added the increase in the number of award recipients is a direct reflection of the town’s decrease in user fees.