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Fall Athletic Awards: Wildcats Played Hard!

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Editor’s note: Director of Athletics Mark Conroy delivered these remarks during the Fall Athletic Assembly on December 4, 2019, in the Phillips Stevens Chapel.

Welcome to the Fall Athletic Awards Assembly!

I wanted to take this opportunity this morning to recognize each of our nine fall programs by sharing a few highlights and then recognizing the individual award winners that were announced at our Banquet Night gatherings just before Thanksgiving vacation.

Horseback Riding

Eight girls traveled out to the Infinity Equestrian Center in Westhampton this fall to ride under the direction of Laura Etzel. This was our largest turnout for riding in many years. The eight riders brought a range of riding experience from novice to advanced. Three girls, Angela Tsai, Abby Vassallo, and Sophia DiTerlizzi, competed this fall winning classes for the Williston-Fuller Interscholastic Equestrian Association team. Coach Etzel says that she loved working with this the group and looks forward to their continued involvement.

I wanted to recognize the individual award winners in the Riding program this fall.

Varsity Awards:

  • Most Improved Rider: Lauren Yee ’23
  • Team Spirit Award: Abby Vassallo ’22
  • Helping Hand Award: Angela Tsai ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Elsa Frankel ’23, Kiko Xu ’23
  • Horsemanship Award: Sophie Edmunds ’23

JV Awards:

  • MVP: Sophia DiTerlizzi ’25
  • Horsemanship Award: Audree Edmunds ’25

Congratulations Riders!

Football

The 45 boys who played football at Williston this fall enjoyed a successful season. The JV squad, led by Coaches Doubleday and Farmer, demonstrated great improvement and team spirit finishing with a winning record for the first time in five years! The highlight was defeating Suffield Academy on the final Wednesday of the season!

Playing in arguably the most competitive prep football league in NEPSAC, varsity football played its heart out all fall.  There were a number of highlights during the season but two games stood out.  Ironically, both followed a similar script with second half comebacks.  The first was the opening game on Sawyer Field when captains Henri Bourque and Cal Messina led the team to rally from a 14–3 halftime deficit to defeat Kent 35–29.  In dramatic fashion, sophomore Dallas Elliott made a game saving tackle in the closing seconds of the game.  The second comeback took place on Family Weekend vs Loomis when the boys rallied from a 14 point second half deficit to win 42–35 when Henri scored the game winning touchdown late in the game.  In a terrific individual performance, Henri had a hand in six touchdowns—running for four and throwing for two!

In terms of postseason individual accolades, four boys were honored by the league and coaches association. Earning All Erickson League recognition were seniors Henri Bourque and Zach Mills and juniors Eni Falayi and Tristan Marois. Additionally, Henri was named to the prestigious All NEPSAC Class A football team for the second year in a row.

JV:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: James Elliott ’24, Will Sawyer ’22
  • Most Improved Player Award: Max Graff ’23
  • Sportsmanship Award: Chris Luedeke ’22

Varsity:

  • “Jim Purce Memorial” Award for Overall Excellence: Henri Bourque ’20
  • “Edward Stimets Jr. Memorial” Defensive Excellence Award: Tristan Marois ’21, Chris Najarian ’20
  • “Lindy Hanson Memorial” Offensive Excellence Award: Eni Falayi ’21, Junior Laham ’20
  • “Richard R. Francis” Most Improved Player Award: Will Strout ’20
  • Mills Kicking Game Award: Alex Latkovski ’21
  • Sportsmanship Award: Cal Messina ’20

Girls Volleyball

With nearly 40 girls in the program this fall, the volleyball program fielded three teams this fall.  Coach Matt KaneLong’s Thirds team demonstrated great improvement and camaraderie all fall!

Led by Coaches Ketcham and Schmidt, the JV team had a terrific season with an outstanding record of 12-4. This is the most wins that our JV team has ever had in the 17 year history of our program that began in 2003. Highlights of their season included sweeping Berkshire in both of their matches, eight shutout wins and a thrilling final match of the season when the team rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Miss Porter’s 3-2.

Varsity volleyball, led by Coaches Ken Choo, Kelsie Dwyer and Matt KaneLong fielded a very competitive team that earned 7 wins this fall, our highest win total in 10 years! The team enjoyed tremendous leadership from captains Jersey Strum and Dylan Fulcher-Melendy. There were many highlights during their season but three games stand out.  The first was a thrilling 3-2 comeback win over Berkshire early in the season, the second was defeating rival Suffield at their place for the first time in 11 years. Arguably, the biggest highlight according to Coach Choo was shutting out one of the top teams in NEPSAC Class B Worcester Academy at home during Family Weekend, a match in which the team raised money for breast cancer awareness.

Three team members garnered post-season recognition: Erin Chai, Tomi Akisanya, and Dylan Fulcher-Melendy were all named league all stars while Dylan was also named to the All NEPSAC Class B team.

Thirds:

  • Most Valuable Player: Daniela Quinteros-Parilla ’24
  • Most Improved Player: Jasmine Simmons ’24
  • Sportsmanship Award: Shea Huntley ’24

JV:

  • Most Valuable Player: Anaya Akpalu ’21
  • Most Improved Player: Amya James ’23
  • Sportsmanship Award: Kennedy Dawson ’22

Varsity:

  • Most Valuable Player: Dylan Fulcher-Melendy ’20 – second year in a row
  • Most Improved Player: Praghya Athavan Raja ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Aimie Wipulakorn ’22

Water Polo

Led by Coaches Bill Berghoff and Teddy Schaffer, the 21 member boys water polo team made significant strides this fall and played competitive water polo with many of the top teams in NEPSAC. Led by captains Shogo Kamei, Sam Haddad and Jason Albanese, the team finished with eight wins. This is the most wins for a boys water polo team at Williston in 14 years! Season highlights included sweeping Choate in two matches, thrilling 9-7 and 7-6 wins over Deerfield and Hopkins, and convincing victories over WMA, Hotchkiss and Westminster. Worth noting is that captain Jason Albanese broke the career field blocks with 18.

In terms of postseason recognition, senior Shogo Kamei earned All NEPSAC First Team honors while classmate Sam Haddad was named to the Second Team.

Varsity:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Shogo Kamei ’20
  • Most Improved Player Award: Henry Wiemeyer ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Conrad Kang ’20
  • Captains for next year: Liam Coughlin ’21, Nathan Shatz ’21

Girls Soccer

The girls soccer program enjoyed a very successful season. The JV team was small in number but mighty in spirit! Led by Coaches Karla Schaffer and Gianna Muscari the girls often played short-handed but battled in every game and enjoyed some exciting wins over Berkshire, Cushing, and Bement.

The Varsity squad led by coaches Fulcher and Conroy truly had a remarkable season! Imagine this: the team scored a total of 12 goals in 17 games and made the very competitive Class B tournament for the first time in five years! How is this even possible you say?! Their formula for success was a commitment to playing great team defense, exceptional goal keeping, timely scoring, and wonderful team chemistry. Amongst the team’s highlights were posting seven shutouts, defeating Pomfret during Family Weekend for the first time in 12 years, defeating Loomis Chaffee at home on Senior Day for only the second time in 25 years and, ironically, tremendous efforts in narrow losses to Class A powers Miss Porters 1–0 and Choate 2–0. The girls’ wonderful season earned them a No. 8 seed and the chance to take on No. 1 undefeated Pingree. True to form, the girls put a scare in Pingree taking an early lead before finally falling in the second half.

In terms of postseason individual recognition, two girls received honors. Julia Farnham and Selena Negron were both chosen to participate in the Western New England junior all-star game. Sophomore goal keeper Selena Negron had an outstanding season in goal with 116 saves in 14 games. Her tremendous season earned her All NEPSAC honors as well as a place on the prestigious all state team, our first girl soccer player to be named to this team in five years.

JV:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Lila Nields-Duffy ’24
  • Most Improved Player Award: Meryl Sesselberg ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Linda Askenazi ’21

Varsity:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Selena Negron ’22
  • Most Improved Player Award: Shoko Ishikawa ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Devon Morgan ’21, Louisa Weed ’20
  • Alumnae Award for outstanding contribution to the program: Julia Farnham ’20, Grace Lane ’20
  • Next year’s captains will be Emily O’Brien ’21, Christina Vote ’21, and Emily Zambarano ’21

Field Hockey

Under Coaches Klumpp and Ram’s guidance, the 25-member JV team had one of their finest seasons in recent memory finishing with a 5–2–4 record including thrilling one goal wins over Bement, Westminster, and Pomfret. Amazingly, the team gave up only four goals total in their last eight games!

The Varsity Field Hockey team, led by Coaches Kate Garrity and Alex Tancrell-Fontaine, enjoyed another terrific season finishing the regular season at 9–6.  There were many highlights during their season including shut out wins over Miss Porter’s, Berkshire, and Suffield, and narrow wins over Ethel Walker, Pomfret, and NMH. Undoubtedly, the biggest win was a thrilling 3–2 victory over perennial eastern power St. Mark’s early in the season. The team’s terrific regular season earned them No. 4 seed in the NEPSAC Class B tournament. This was field hockey’s 10th tournament appearance in the last 11 years! Very impressive! The girls hosted to No. 5 Brooks where they lost a 2–1 overtime heart-breaker out on the Galbraith turf. Despite the loss, it was another great season for Williston field hockey as they went undefeated against their Class B opponents in Western New England, winning our league for the eighth time in past 10 years…very impressive!

In terms of individual recognition, sophomores Maeve Reynolds and Sophia Jones were both named All NEPSAC Honorable Mention while senior captains Maddie Cardaci and Bryn Saarela were named to both the Western NE All Star team and the All NEPSAC Class B team.

JV:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Olivia Lawry ’22, Keyu Lu ’20
  • Most Improved Player Award: Sydni Landman ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Lily Dardano ’22

Varsity:

  • MVP: Maddy Cardaci ’20, Brynn Saarela ’20
  • MIP: Ava DeCoste ’23
  • Sportsmanship: Sarah Markey ’22
  • Next year’s captain will be: Kate McDermott ’21
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Boys Soccer

Seventy-three boys came out for soccer at Williston this fall comprising our four teams. Led by coaches Kurt Whipple and Kevin Garrity, the Junior team improved dramatically losing only once in their last five contests including exciting wins over local rivals WMA and Eaglebrook.   The JV B team led by Coaches Garcia and Simpson enjoyed terrific team camaraderie with a season highlighted by wins over Suffield and WMA.

Led by coaches Will Eberle and Tom Johnson, the JV A team also had one of its best seasons in years with a record of 9–5 including eight shutouts! The most exciting wins were three 1–0 thrillers over Taft, Deerfield, and Suffield.

The varsity boys soccer team, led by Coaches Chiavaroli and Syfu, built on the success of last year’s team finishing the season with an outstanding record of 10–4–3. Needless to say, there were many highlights during this terrific season including going undefeated in their first seven games, gritty ties with Class A powers Loomis Chaffee and NMH, and shutouts over Westminster and KO. The team’s excellent regular season earned them a No. 4 seed and a chance to host our first tournament game in 20 years when we took on No. 5 Rivers on Sawyer Field. True to form, the boys demonstrated great heart, rallying from a 1–0 half time deficit to win 2–1. This was our first tournament win since 2011. Unfortunately, despite our valiant efforts, the season ended when we were defeated by eventual champion South Kent.

Five members of this year’s team were named to postseason all-star teams.  On the league level, leading scorers Marco Cerezo and Hakeem Morgan were both named both Western NE all stars and were named to the prestigious All NEPSAC Class B team. Earning All NEPSAC Honorable Mention were goalie Guillermo Castañeda and midfielder Martin Machon. Junior Matt Moreno finished his season by playing in the New England prep junior all star game.

Junior:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Brendan Capshaw ’25
  • Most Improved Player Award: Daniel Ciejek ’23
  • Sportsmanship Award: Jackson Ayres ’25

JV B:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Andrew Warren ’21
  • Most Improved Player Award: Will Gaca ’22
  • Sportsmanship Award: Tyler Silverman ’21

JV A:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Luke Ballard ’23
  • Most Improved Player Award: Dylan Haaland ’20
  • Sportsmanship Award: Dylan Robinson ’22

Varsity:

  • Most Valuable Player Award: Marco Cerzo ’20, Hakeem Morgan ’20
  • Most Improved Player Award: Matthew Moreno ’21
  • Sportsmanship Award: Martin Machon ’20
  • 12th Player Award: George Spence ’21
  • Next year’s captain will be Matt Moreno ’21.

Boys Cross Country

Under the direction of Coaches Talbot Syfu, Loomis and Gunn, the 37 member Boys Cross Country team enjoyed another terrific season with the JVs finishing at 10–3 and the varsity at 11–2. Led by a terrific group of ten seniors, there were many highlights during the dual meet season including beating Kent at home in the season’s first race, beating Avon for the second year in a row by one point, 23 team members earning PRs at the Shaler Invitational, including nine joining the course honor roll for top Williston times ever on our course. At the season-ending six-school meet at Salisbury, the team had a great day, going 5–0 on the day. At the Westminster Invitational held at mid-season, the team ran very well with the varsity taking second place highlighted by Nat Markey and Oscar DeFrancis  finishing in second and third,  respectively. The JV team, led by Felix King and Finley MacDonald top-four finishes, defeated nine other teams to win the invitational!

At the Division II NEPSAC championships, held at Noble and Greenough, the team ran their hearts out coming in sixth out of the 16 teams that competed.  The JV team finished in fourth place.

Captain Nat Markey enjoyed a tremendous senior season with this list of accomplishments to his credit – he came in first place in every dual meet race except for one, he broke the school record on our own course at the Shaler Invitational with a time of 17:08, he earned All NEPSAC honors at the NEPSAC championships coming in ninth place breaking 17 minutes for the first time and he finished his career by coming in sixth at the prestigious NEPSAC all star meet running his fastest race ever at 16:33–that’s about 5:26 per mile–very impressive!

  • “Alan Shaler” Most Valuable Runner Award: Nat Markey ’20
  • Most Improved Runner Award: William Chalfant ’23
  • Sportsmanship Award: Oscar DeFrancis ’20, Daniel Simpson ’20
  • Next year’s captains will be Felix King ’21, Alejandro Ruiz Boughton ’21
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Girls Cross Country

Led by Coaches Tuleja and McCullagh, the 26 girls who ran cross country at Williston this fall had another tremendous season recording our 33rd winning season in the past 34 years. The JV team had an excellent season finishing with a dual meet record of 12–1. According to Coach Tuleja, the varsity team’s highlights included defeating a strong NMH team on a difficult course 26-29 and a strong second place showing at the Miller Invitational at Westminster. At our own Shaler Invitational, the girls ran their hearts out on a beautiful late October day to win the invitational for the first time in the 20 years that we have hosted this event. Very cool! On the following Saturday, the girls traveled to Berkshire where they continued their excellent season sweeping all six other schools that competed on this day. In doing so, for the third time in our school’s history the girls cross country team joined the 1991 and 2008 teams by finishing the dual meet season undefeated with a record of 13–0—the most wins ever for a Williston girls XC team!

At the season-ending NEPSAC championship at Nobles, the girls had another terrific day. Led by Abigail Touhey and Anna Richardson’s fourth- and sixth-place finishes, the team came in fourth place. Both Abigail and Anna earned All NEPSAC recognition for their top finishes.

Finally, sophomore Abigail Tuohey continued her fantastic career as our No. 1 runner.  She won every dual meet race except for one this fall. She broke her own school record on our course a number of times. She ran under 20 minutes for the first time at the NEPSAC championships, finishing the 3.1 mile course in 19:45, earning All NEPSAC honors for the third year in a row.

  • Most Valuable Runner Award: Abigail Touhey ’22 (fourth year in a row)
  • Most Improved Runner Award: Pippa Berry ’23, Anya Rozario ’20
  • Sportsmanship Award: Annika von Schoeler-Ames ’22
  • Next year’s captains will be Poojaa Prakash Babu ’21 and Anna Richardson ’21.
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Our winter teams get under way this week with a handful of games today and Saturday.  I wanted to thank all of you who wore the blue and green this fall for competing so hard and so well.  Your sportsmanship was outstanding.  I also want to thank and congratulate all of you who came out to cheer on your classmates at games – your school spirit and sportsmanship was exceptional.

Good luck to all the winter teams.  Just a reminder to all of us as spectators to “honor the green and blue” by doing everything we can to INSPIRE our teams to play their hearts out while respecting our opponent’s efforts.

Thanks very much for your attention.