The athletic center lobby was buzzing with excitement and anticipation – and more than 100 eager students, coaches, and family members with cameras – for Williston’s Fall Student-Athlete Signing Ceremony on Monday, November 12.
Following a brief introduction by Mark Conroy, Director of Athletics, during which he noted the athletes’ great achievements, as well as the support of teammates, coaches, parents who drove the students to “all those trips, tournaments, [and] college visits,” the official event began.
First to sign her letter of intent was Sydney Joyce, who’ll be swimming for the Division 1 University of Pittsburgh Panthers in the fall. Pitt competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) along with Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Syracuse, Wake Forest, University of North Carolina, and others.
Next up was Ryan Fitzpatrick, a post graduate who’ll join the D1 UMass Minutemen Lacrosse team in the fall. UMass is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, along with George Washington, George Mason, University of Maine, University of Vermont, and several other programs.
“Since eighth grade, I always said I wanted to go to UMass,” Fitzpatrick, from Wakefield, Massachusetts, said. Fitzpatrick said he liked that the team was made up of “blue collar lacrosse guys,” who, like him, played other sports and didn’t grow up spending their entire summers on traveling lacrosse teams.
In her fourth and final year at Williston, Sarah Sullivan, from Sheffield, Massachusetts, has racked up 963 career points. She’ll bring that impressive record, which will certainly pass the 1,000-point threshold once the season begins, to the Greyhounds of Assumption College.
Joined by her sister, brother, parents, and cousins, Sullivan admitted she was “a little nervous,” but “having the support of so many people is really nice.”
One of her biggest fans is her sister, Gwendolyn. “I’m so proud,” Gwendolyn, 17, said. “We go way back.” A student at Mt. Everett High School in Sheffield, Gwendolyn and Sarah were teammates this past season on Mass Frenzy, an AAU Girls Basketball team.
Up next, Caroline DiFiore, who’ll play Division 1 hockey for the Boston College Eagles, took a moment before signing to thank her family and friends for getting her to this point. Playing against Caroline next year at Northeastern University will be Kate Holmes. Like DiFiore, she also graciously noted the family, friends, and coaches who’ve helped her along the way.
Nancy Harrington, a first-year senior from East Lyme, Connecticut, will play lacrosse at the University of Connecticut.
I’m beside myself,” said Harrington’s mom, also named Nancy. She cited Coach Stephan’s commitment to her daughter; Harrington’s been a member of the Dodgers Lacrosse Club since eighth grade.
Nancy said the move to Williston has already instilled strong study habits in her daughter that she hopes she’ll take to UConn. “It’s a good stepping stone,” Nancy said of her daughter’s solo year as a Williston student. “It’s good for her academics and [also] given her independence.”
Harrington’s 16-year-old brother, Dan, put it succinctly, and sweetly, adding a bit of perspective to an event featuring the highest caliber of student athletes.
“I’m very proud of her,” he said. “I didn’t know how good she was until I saw her play.” That was two years ago, his mom clarified.
The final student athlete to sign was Campbell Nyarady, who’ll play Division 1 lacrosse at Quinnipiac University. “Campbell is the quintessential college bound student-athlete,” said her coach, Charlie Lonergan. “She eats, sleeps and breathes lacrosse, which has turned her into the player she is today and will certainly pave the way for her future success. She loves to play the game, and that is apparent in everything that she does on the field. She’s a hard-working, creative and skilled player, and she has played a major role in the past and future success of the girls lacrosse program at Williston.”