[This is the script that Mr. Conroy would have delivered at the Phillips Stevens Chapel for our Winter Athletic Assembly. Yes, Mr. Conroy used *four* exclamation marks!]
Hello Williston!!!! First, I should start by wishing everyone well during this extraordinarily unsettling time. While it is certainly not most important in the grand scheme of things, seeing our spring athletic season come to an abrupt end was difficult for many in our community, particularly our seniors who were looking forward to their final season playing for Williston. While they all understood why, it didn’t make it any less emotional to not have a chance to compete in a sport they love with their teammates and coaches one more season. For me personally, the greatest gift of athletics is the close relationships that are formed playing and competing together. More than ever, let’s continue to lean on these relationships as a community as we look to support one another during this challenging time. We are thinking of everyone and their families.
As we do at the end of every season, I want to take this opportunity to reflect back on our winter season and celebrate the many team and individual successes that we enjoyed this winter. It certainly was another awesome winter season for Wildcat Athletics!!! Here are a few highlights and all the individual award winners.
-Coach Josh Schmidt’s Thirds team demonstrated notable improvement throughout their season highlighted by a terrific match with Bement. Coach Simpson’s JV team also demonstrated great improvement throughout the season highlighted by a thrilling 5-2 victory over Pomfret.
-The varsity boys squash team was led this winter by new coach Jason Protell. The team faced a significant rebuilding year after losing several top players from last year’s outstanding season. Buoyed by the outstanding leadership of its veteran captains Finlay MacDonald, Luke Po, and Connor Touhey, the team battled hard every match and maintained strong unity throughout the season.
-At the NEPSAC tournament held at Portsmouth Abbey in Rhode Island, the boys ended their season on a positive note with every player winning at least one match, and some of the boys winning all their matches. The team defeated Dexter-Southfield in a nail biter 4-3 and had very competitive matches with both Salisbury and Trinity Pawling.
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the boys squash program:
Most Valuable Player Award: Jefu Lee ’23
Most Improved Player Award: Wade Nguyen ’23
Sportsmanship Award – Nevin Conroy ’25
Most Valuable Player Award – Vishal Ramvelu ’22
Most Improved Player Award – Madhav Ambadi ’20
Sportsmanship Award – Kevin Talbot ’20
Most Valuable Player Award – Luke Po ’20 (second year in row)
Most Improved Player Award – Jackson Frechette ’22
Sportsmanship Award – Ethan Huang ’20, Tyler Johnson ’21
Captains for next year – Jackson Frechette ’22, Tyler Johnson ’21
-The girls squash program enjoyed another wonderful season of great improvement and esprit de corps this winter under the leadership of JV coach Adeleen Brown and varsity coaches Peter Gunn and Ellie Ballard. The highlights of the JV team season were great matches with KO, Suffield and Westminster.
– The varsity team played competitive, spirited squash throughout their season highlighted by a shutout win over Albany Academy and an always satisfying 5-2 win over rival Suffield. The team concluded their season by earning a 4th place finish at the NEPSAC Class E tournament held at Pomfret. Amongst the highlights were Poojaa Prakash Babu battling her way to become a finalist and captain Dylan Fulcher-Melendy finishing her career by coming in first place in the second flight in the division. To top off a great final weekend, led by captain Dylan, Louisa Weed and Sahnet Ramirez the girls earned the team Sportsmanship Award as voted on by their peer schools! What a wonderful tribute to the manner in which this team competed all winter! There is great promise for next year with a terrific group of returning players.
-Finally, in terms of individual accolades, senior captain Dylan Fulcher-Melendy was named to Honorable Mention All NEPSAC at the end of the season. Congratulations Dylan!
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the girls squash program:
Most Valuable Player Award – Lydia Ji ’20
Most Improved Player Award – Soaryn Rutherford ’22
Sportsmanship Award – Linda Askenazi Mochon ’21
Most Valuable Player – Dylan Fulcher-Melendy ’20, Louisa Weed ’20
Most Improved Player – Poojaa Prakash Babu ’21, Abby Schulkind ’22
Sportsmanship Award – Emily O’Brien ’21, Sonia Whitman ’21
Next year’s captains will be Emily O’Brien ’21, Sonia Whitman ’21.
-The first group I would like to recognize this morning is our wrestling program led by Coaches KaneLong and White. While small in number, the Williston wrestling team competed valiantly all winter and benefitted from terrific senior leadership from Cam Lawrence and William Gunn. The highlight of their dual meet season was a decisive win over Hamden Hall early in the season. Another highlight of the team’s season was hosting the second annual Brian Crockett Memorial Snow Brawl. In a thrilling match, William Gunn won his weight class by knocking off the #1 ranked wrestler in NEPSAC from St. Paul’s. The team finished it’s season at the Class A tournament held at Hyde School in Maine. Freshman Max Graff and senior Cam Lawrence came in 5th in their weight class while junior Jack Higgins battled his way to third earning a bronze medal. Senior William Gunn continued his dominate season by winning the 220 pound weight class. At the NEPSAC championships held in Hartford, CT, Cam Lawrence, Jack Higgins and William Gunn represented Williston. Cam and Jack wrestled their hearts out earning team points. Senior William Gunn capped off a tremendous undefeated season competing in NEPSAC wrestling at 220 by becoming a NEPSAC champion. In doing so, William became the first Williston wrestler to win an individual championship since 2008! It is not an understatement to say that William enjoyed one of the most dominant individual seasons in Williston wrestling history. Congratulations William!!!
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the wrestling program:
Donald J. Knauf Most Valuable Wrestler Award – William Gunn ’20
Most Improved Wrestler Award – Owen Dietrich ’23
Sportsmanship Award – Cam Lawrence ’20
Peter M. Edgerton ’74 Most Pins Award – William Gunn ’20
The captain of next year’s team will be Jack Higgins ’21.
-The JV Boys Hockey team, led by Coaches Fay and Hanke, played competitive hockey all winter. Highlights of their season included a thrilling overtime win over Eaglebrook and sweeping rival Loomis in both of their games.
-Under Coaches Cunha and Hanford, the Varsity Boys Hockey team fought hard taking on its usual very challenging schedule. According to Coach Cunha, amongst their many highlights were an early season 5-2 tournament win over a very strong team from Northwood, a convincing 8-4 win over Vermont and a terrific 5-2 win over an always tough Westminster team. Though they came up short in a heart breaking 4-3 overtime loss to NEPSAC power Gunnery, the team’s commitment to raising money and awareness of Alzheimer’s was certainly another season highlight. In terms of big wins, undoubtedly the biggest highlight was defeating elite tournament semi-finalist Berkshire 5-2 on the road.
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the boys ice hockey program:
Most Valuable Player Award – Noah Brooks ’20
Most Improved Player Award – Tyler Silverman ’21
Sportsmanship Award – Adam Thistlethwaite ’21
Daniel D. Carpenter Most Valuable Player Award – Tommy Harty ‘20
Most Improved Player Award – Alex Latkovski ‘21
Sportsmanship Award – Tyler Varin ‘20
Led by Coaches Will Eberle, alum Maddie Dirats and Russell Bollag-Miller, our ski teams enjoyed successful seasons competing in the Mountain Institute League up at Berkshire East. The boys team was led by veteran Gavin Kline who finished in the top 6 in many league races. The girls team was led by the ever positive spirit of veteran junior captain Lily Shields.
The season culminated for both teams at the New England Class B championships held at Waterville Valley in New Hampshire. The girls team skied hard finishing in 10th place as a team. Junior Lily Shields had a particularly great day finishing in 13th place in the Giant Slalom and 10th in the Slalom. Lily’s top 10 finish in the Slalom earned her All NEPSAC honors for the second consecutive year. Congratulations Lily! Worthy of special mention is Meryl Sesselberg who had never raced before but finished the season as the team’s #3 racer! The boys team had a terrific season ending performance coming in 4th place at the championships just missing out on a top 3 finish by a mere 3 points! This was our finest ski team finish in years! Top individual finishers in the Giant Slalom race were Conrad Kang in 27th, 7th grader Shane Bussard in 23rd, Matt Shields in 17th and Chris Closuit in 16th. Gavin Kline enjoyed a terrific final day representing Williston by earning All NEPSAC honors finishing in 3rd place in the Giant Slalom!!! In the Slalom race, Chris Closuit’s 10th place finish and Gavin’s 5th place finish earned both of them All NEPSAC recognition. Congratulations Gavin and Chris!!
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the ski programs:
Most Valuable Skier Award – Lily Shields ’21 (2nd year in a row)
Most Improved Skier Award – Catie Spence ‘24
Sportsmanship Award – Abby Seltzer ’20 (2nd year in a row)
Captain for next year will be Lily Shields ’21.
Most Valuable Skier Award – Gavin Kline ’20 (3rd year in a row)
Most Improved Skier Award – Thomas Motyka ‘21
Sportsmanship Award – Conrad Kang ‘20
Captains for next year will be Chris Closuit ’21 and Matt Shields ’21.
-It was another terrific season for the boys’ basketball program. On the lower levels, led by coaches Bryan Malinowski and Beatrice Cody, the Mighty Fourths team had another memorable season with season sweeps over both Bement and Eaglebrook and thrilling wins over rivals KO and WMA. For the second year in a row, the boys managed to finish the season with a perfect 8-0 record. Congratulations boys on another wonderful season!!!
-The thirds team led by Coaches Sawyer and Garcia had a terrific season as well finishing at 8-3 including including sweeping Eaglebrook, convincing wins over Loomis and Berkshire and a thrilling season ending win over Worcester in which alum and former thirds student assistant Alex Garcia was outcoached by his father Senor Garcia! Coach Garrity and Ketcham’s JV team had several highlights including defeating rival Suffield and finishing their season a high note with wins over Westminster and KO in the final week.
-Under the leadership of head coach Ben Farmer and assistant Matt Porter, the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team enjoyed another very strong season competing at the NEPSAC Class A level. There were several highlights during the season including sweeping rival Deerfield, defeating Choate and Avon in convincing fashion and a big Senior Day victory over KO. The biggest highlights of the season included defeating tournament teams Salisbury and Andover and an ever so sweet(!!!) sweep of rival Suffield. During the second game, on Suffield’s Senior Day, the boys went down to Suffield for a night game and rallied from a double-digit deficit to out tough the hometown Tigers. One more highlight worth mentioning was a thrilling win over WMA over at UMass in December. The team trailed the entire game until Billy Whelan let go of a shot with under a second on the clock from 30 feet that found nothing but net! It is worth noting that WMA went on to win the AA NEPSAC championship this winter!!!
-In terms of individual recognition, five boys earned All NEPSAC Class A recognition with Andre Washington, Tanner Thomas, Wol Maiwen and Billy Whelan earning an Honorable Mention nod while senior forward Cooper Creek was named to the prestigious All NEPSAC Class A team.
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the boys basketball programs:
Most Valuable Player Award – Colin Larson ’24 (second year in a row)
Most Improved Player Award – Jake Kosmider ‘25
Sportsmanship Award – Jackson Ayres ‘25
Most Valuable Player Award – Will Chalfant ‘23
Most Improved Player Award – Jameson Bayuk ’22 (second year in a row)
Sportsmanship Award – Dylan Robinson ’22 (second year in a row)
Most Valuable Player Award – Jonathan Toth ‘20
Most Improved Player Award – Mateo Bratt ‘23
Sportsmanship Award – Mike Slate ‘20
Most Valuable Player Award – Cooper Creek ’20, Billy Whelan ‘20
Most Improved Player Award – Badou Ba ‘21
Sportsmanship Award – Jason Rhett ‘20
Captain for next year – Andre Washington ‘21
-This winter was another very successful season for girls’ basketball at Williston! The JV squads enjoyed wonderful team comradery under the enthusiastic leadership of Coaches Muscari and Weinberg. Highlights of their season included victories over Berkshire, Miss Porter’s and Taft.
-Varsity Girls Basketball, under the leadership of first year head coach Liam McMahon, enjoyed a wonderful season finishing with a record of 13-8. This year’s team demonstrated tremendous heart and togetherness winning several thrillers to include a season opening overtime win over KO (thanks to Selena Negron’s clutch free throws!), a narrow two point win over St Mark’s and a tremendous comeback 67-65 win on Senior Day over Pomfret. While they came up short by two, the team demonstrated it’s “never say die” mantra when they lost a squeaker to Class A power Loomis Chaffee in another gritty performance. Without question, the most satisfying wins of the winter were not one but TWO overtime wins over rival Suffield Academy!! Yes, it doesn’t get much better than that for a Williston Wildcat! The team’s strong regular season earned them a #7 seed in the NEPSAC Class B tournament and a game at #2 seed St. Luke’s. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, the team came up short to end their season.
– For their outstanding play during the season, two girls earned postseason honors – junior Jordyn Meunier was named to the prestigious All NEPSAC Class B team while senior teammate Caroline O’Connor was named Honorable Mention.
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the girls basketball program:
Most Valuable Player Award – Margaret Edwards ‘25
Most Improved Player Award – Liza Hampson ‘25
Sportsmanship Award – Lily Dardano ’22, Sam Yunes ’23
Most Valuable Player Award – Jordyn Meunier ‘21
Most Improved Player Award – Anna Sawyer ‘24
Sportsmanship Award – Grace Bean ’22, Julia Farnham ‘20
Next year’s captain will be Jordyn Meunier ’21.
-The JV team, led by Coaches Molly Ward and Ben Thompson, enjoyed another excellent season finishing with a record of 11-2. Amongst their many highlights were exciting victories over Berkshire, Hotchkiss and NMH and a season sweep of rival Deerfield!
– Varsity Girls ice hockey, under the leadership of Coaches Christa TalbotSyfu, Alex Tancrell-Fontaine and Andrew Syfu, had another outstanding season finishing with a record of 19-6-2. Defense and goaltending were certainly a strength of this year’s team as they gave up only 31 goals in 27 games – just over one goal allowed per game! This includes shutting out their opponents in 10 of their 19 wins – pretty remarkable! There were many, many highlights during the season to include thrilling wins at the Harrington Tournament over a very good BB&N team and a St. Paul’s team that had beaten them earlier as well as two terrific 0-0 stalemates, one at Westminster and the other at home on Senior Day vs BB&N. Two other highlights worth mentioning were winning the Winchendon Tournament for the sixth year in a row and beating NEPSAC Elite 8 finalist Andover 5-0 in their Pink of the Rink game to raise money for cancer research. The team’s outstanding regular season earned them a #5 seed in the NEPSAC Elite 8 tournament where they took on rival Kent who had beaten us earlier this winter at home 3-2. This time the team made the trip down to Kent where they turned the table on the Lions earned a thrilling 3-1 quarterfinal win and an opportunity to take on top seeded and undefeated Nobles in the semi-finals. In a tremendous effort the girls played their hearts out but came up just short to the eventual champions 1-0.
-In terms of individual recognition, three girls garnered post season recognition. Earning a place on the prestigious All NEPSAC team were seniors Maddy Cardaci and Bryn Saarela as well as sophomore Jules Constantinople.
Congratulations to the individual award winners in the girls hockey program. The varsity awards have not been announced yet.
Most Valuable Player Award – Jade Chan ’20, Louisa Coughlin ’23
Most Improved Player Award – Annika Jensen ’23, Leila Minkara ‘21
Sportsmanship Award – Erin Chai ’21, Olivia Lawry ‘22
Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving
The Girls Swimming and Diving team had another exceptional season finishing their dual meet season undefeated for the third year in a row with a perfect 8-0 record. The girls currently have a dual meet winning streak of 30 dating back to 2017! Amongst their many highlights were convincing wins over St. George’s, KO and Westminster.
The girls also won the second annual Wilmot Babcock Invitational held here at Williston outdistancing runner up rival Suffield Academy. In the NEPSAC championship meet, the girls swam their hearts out but came up short to a strong Miss Porter’s team to finish in second place. Congratulations girls on another wonderful undefeated season!!!
Two relay teams earned All NEPSAC recognition at the championships for their outstanding swims:
- The 200 medley relay team of Ella Mattocks, Ava Larkin, Molly Kinstle and Sabrina Serrichio took 2nd.
- The 200 freestyle relay team of Molly Kinstle, Julia Borden, Sabrina Serrichio and Ava Larkin also took 2nd.
Two individuals earned All NEPSAC recognition for their finishes:
- Casey Feins came in 7th in Diving
- Ella Mattocks came in 4th in the 100 Butterfly
Two girls are deserving of special mention because they earned individual NEPSAC championships:
- Junior Molly Kinstle came in 2nd in the 200 free and won the 100 butterfly to become a NEPSAC champion! Congratulations Molly!!!
- Sophomore Ava Larkin continued her fine career at Williston by becoming a NEPSAC champion in two events – the 50 free and the 100 free. Congratulations Ava!!!
And finally, turning to our boys….
-The boys swimming and diving team had one of their finest seasons in recent memory finishing with an undefeated at 8-0!!! Highlights of their dual meet season included big dual meet wins over St. George’s, Kingswood and Westminster. The team finished their regular season on a high note by winning the second annual Wilmot Babcock Invitational. At the NEPSAC championships held in Vermont, the boys swam their hearts out to unseat last year’s champion Westminster and win the title. This was our 15th NEPSAC championship and the FIRST since 2010!!! Congratulations boys!!!
-Three relay teams, including two that won championships, earned All NEPSAC honors for top 3 finishes:
- The 400 freestyle team of Henry Weiymeyer, Jack Coscia, Jason Albanese and Sam Haddad took 2nd.
- The 200 freestyle team of Henry, Jack Haddad, Rayyan Al Romaih and Shogo Kamei took 1st Congratulations boys!
- As most of you know, Williston has a very proud and distinguished swimming heritage. A quick look at the record board in the Babcock Pool highlights one particular record that has withstood the test time – the 200 Medley Relay that was set in 1970 – that is 50 years ago if anyone is counting! When they set it, it was not only a school record but a national record! Time and time again over the years the Williston teams have come up short in trying to break that record. That is until the recent NEPSAC championship when Jason Albanese, Jack Haddad, Shogo Kamei and Sam Haddad had the swim of their lives breaking this longstanding record with a time of 1:53:02. Ironically, the 1970 swim team was to be inducted into our Hall of Fame this spring. Congratulations to these boys on a tremendous accomplishment!
Five boys earned All NEPSAC individual honors for their top 3 finishes including:
- Sophomore Jack Haddad with a 2nd in the 100 breaststroke.
- Freshman Jack Coscia with a 2nd in the 500 free and a 3rd in the 200 free.
- Senior Shogo Kamei not only earned a 3rd in the 50 free but he also became a NEPSAC individual champion when he won the 100 breaststroke. Congratulations Shogo!!!
- Senior diver Connor Cavanagh’s season was truly outstanding. In his first season of diving (yes, you heard that right!), not only did he win a NEPSAC individual championship but he broke the school record in doing so. Pretty amazing!! Congratulations Connor!!!
The last boy I want to recognize had a tremendous day and deserves special mention as he has clearly left his mark on Williston swim history. Senior Sam Haddad became a NEPSAC champion in two events – the 200 IM and the 100 Fly. His time of 1.37.85 in the 200 IM not only earned him a gold medal but he also set a new school and NEPSAC record! In addition, Sam was also awarded the Wilmot Babcock Award given to the championship meet’s outstanding performer. Congratulations Sam on a tremendous career ending performance!
In closing, I want to congratulate all the winter athletes on another wonderful season! While we take great pride in all this team and individual success, I continue to be most proud of the way our teams compete and represent Williston, always with class and great sportsmanship. Best wishes to everyone this spring!