As the Williston community nears the end of the first trimester, senior fall athletes are at the same time nearing the end of their Williston careers in their respective sports.
Some athletes will continue their fall sports into college, but for others, this is the end. Either way, this comes as a milestone for all seniors gearing up for the last time in a Williston jersey — for the fall — at least. With the end of the season comes “senior days” where underclassmen typically make posters to recognize the seniors for their contributions to their team over the years.
A bulk of these games took place Nov. 6, which prompted The Willistonian to talk to some seniors regarding their future plans for their sports and their feelings on the end of the season.
Abigail Touhey, a senior girls cross-country captain, plans to continue running beyond Williston, but is still sad that her Williston career on the course is coming to an end.
“I will miss playing my fall sport because I have been doing it for so long and it’s such a big part of my life,” Abigail said. “Especially if I go to a school where I won’t make the team, it would be weird to not compete because that’s what I’ve been doing every week in the fall for the past six years.”
Abigail’s favorite cross country memory is from the Shaler Invitational in 2019, where not only did her team win, but she also set the school course record.
“I remember the exact moment it was announced that Loomis Chaffee came in second because my teammate Anna [Richardson] and I both instantly turned to each other completely shocked that we had won and it was just great,” she said.
Annika von Schoeler-Ames, another senior girls cross-country captain, will not be formally running cross-country beyond Williston, and recognizes how important the team has been to her during her time here.
“I will miss running cross country very much,” Annika said. “I have been on the team since seventh grade and it’s become an irreplaceable part of my life at Williston. Both the sport itself and the people I do it with have become so important to me. I can’t imagine fall without running with the team.”
Annika also credits Greg Tuleja, the girls cross-country coach, for her enjoyment of the sport.
“I’d like to thank Mr. Tuleja for making the past six years on the team so wonderful. We will all miss him very much next year and his impact on the program has been immeasurable,” she said.
Senior Jerry Landman, one of the boys cross-country captains, is not planning to run in college, and will, like Annika, also miss all that cross-country has done for him.
“I have done cross-country for the last five years and I have fallen in love with the culture of the sport,” Jerry said. “It pushes me to my limits each and every time I run and I think it has made me a lot better athlete.”
Jerry said he will miss running “and watching myself along with my teammates get better and faster as the season goes on, and more importantly I will miss my teammates and the friends I have made.”
Jerry’s favorite cross country memory is the NEPSAC championship his senior year, where he “ended up running the best time I ever ran.”
“I feel bad for the seniors last year who did not get a true senior day and I am grateful to get one this year. Because I am not running in college, I think the end of this year will be even more bittersweet for me because it is the last time I will ever run competitively,” he said.
Selena Negron, a senior captain of the girls varsity soccer team, is continuing her soccer career at Bryant University, but will definitely miss the spirit and versatility of the team here at Williston.
“I will miss playing soccer here because it’s so fun to get a large group of athletes who specializes in so many different things together on one team to compete together,” Selena said. “This year we have had one of the most committed and competitive team I have ever been on in my four years at Williston, and it’s so amazing how close we have gotten and how great we have competed in the season so far.”
Selena’s favorite Williston soccer memory is when the team beat Loomis Chaffee on senior day in 2019.
“It was so unexpected, but we competed so well, and we pulled out a huge win for our wonderful seniors that year,” she said.
Senior Emma Merrill, another one of the captains of the Williston girls soccer team, will not continue her soccer career in college, but will miss playing the sport and being with the team.
“I have literally been playing since I was four and it seems very weird to only play one sport next year,” Emma said. “I think I am going to miss soccer more than I thought I was because of the team this year, we became close and going everyday has been a lot of fun and I can always look forward to it.”
Grace Bean, a senior varsity volleyball captain, is looking forward to potentially continuing her volleyball career at Colorado College, where she is committed for lacrosse, but is sad that her time as a member of Williston’s volleyball team is coming to a close.
“I’ll miss playing for Williston but am excited for what is ahead. If I don’t end up playing volleyball in college I’ll definitely cherish the time I had here and how Williston respects high school sports the way colleges do,” Grace said.
Senior Praghya Athavan Raja, another captain of the Williston varsity volleyball team, is planning on playing volleyball is some way in the future, and will miss the team here at Williston.
“I definitely want to play club or be a walk-on at a bad volleyball school,” Praghya said. “Volleyball is honestly my favorite sport to play.”
Zach Walker, a senior captain of the varsity football team, is committed to the admissions process at Amherst College to continue his football career.
“I look forward to continuing my development as both a student and an offensive lineman,” Zach said. “All my seasons as a Wildcat have been great, but this is one is particularly special. It’s the most talented and best group of guys we’ve ever had, and I’m proud to be able to be their captain.”
Zach credits football coach Tommy Beaton for his great experience in a Williston football jersey.
“I am incredibly proud of what Coach Beaton has done with the program. He is definitely the hardest working coach in the league, and I am lucky to have been able to play under him. Without him, I would not be the person I am today,” he said.
Senior Lorenzo Redaelli, one of the captains of the boys varsity soccer team, plans to commit to college for soccer, but says there is a possibility he will not play. Regardless, he will miss playing the sport whenever his career comes to an end.
“Soccer has filled up my life since I was seven/eight and I loved it more and more every day I spent on the field,” Lorenzo, a PG from Milan, Italy, said. “If this was my last season playing soccer, I really hope to finish it without regrets, living it to the fullest.”
Senior Benning Johnson, a captain of the boys varsity water polo team, celebrated his senior day this past Wednesday, Nov. 5, and considers it his favorite memory of a sport in which he will miss.
“From not even knowing that water polo was a real sport, to loving it, I will certainly miss it,” he said.
Maeve Reynolds, a senior captain of the varsity field hockey team, will not be playing field hockey in college after careful consideration, and will “miss seeing the view of Mt. Tom from Galbraith fields on a nice fall day,” as well as playing in games and having fun with the team.
“I really considered trying to play [field hockey] in college cause I really couldn’t picture myself giving it up, but I ultimately had to make the decision that I couldn’t do a second sport in college,” Maeve said. “I really enjoy playing in games and I feel like I do not have to take it too seriously and can just have fun with it, which I will miss. I have come to really enjoy the sport in the short time I have played it.”
Maeve will be playing hockey at Amherst College next year. She joked that her favorite field hockey memory is “when Natalie [Stott] ripped her pants freshman year in warmups at WMA while wearing an Olaf hat and being injured.”
This story originally ran in The Willistonian.