All about the Wildcats

Athletes of the Week

Campbell Nyarady ’19- Girls Varsity Lacrosse

Campbell ended the season strong for the Wildcats.  Her movement and distribution on offense, her tenacity on ground balls and her redefending defense were a huge part of the teams’ success down the stretch.  In the Wildcats last game against Tabor, Campbell stepped up and played on both sides of the field for the entire game and won huge draws, moved the ball up the field, won huge ground balls and played with great confidence.  She had a tremendous week and season for the Wildcats and her work ethic helps inspire the rest of the squad.

Elijah Hutchinson ’18- Boys Track and Field

Elijah capped off a tremendous season with a busy day at New England’s. He began in the long jump, where he made it to the finals. He recorded a season’s best jump of 20’3.5″ and ended up in 8th place. In the 400, he had a great battle with the Berkshire competitor, and finished 2nd in a blistering 50.96 – again, his best mark of the season. Shortly after, Elijah got his revenge on the Berkshire athlete, besting him 4th place to 5th place in the 200 with a run of 23.09. This was just 1/100th of a second out of 3rd, and 0.25 seconds off the winning time. The final boy’s event of the day was the 4×400. The first three runners got Elijah the baton behind a pack of other runners, but still very much in the hunt, and Elijah took off, passing runners on the backstretch and down the homestretch. His split was quick enough to bring Williston into second place, soon to be upgraded to NEPSAC champions after the other team was disqualified. Elijah played a part in 22 of Williston’s 47 points on the day.

Abbie Cosica ’19- Girls Varsity Water Polo

Abbie finished a terrific season scoring 7 goals in the two NE playoff games and earning All tournament honors. Abbie has been instrumental in the amazing season the girls had and her leadership both in and out of the pool has been priceless. This young team achieved great results in a large part through Abbie’s determination and love of her teammates.

Tim Fay ’18- Varsity Baseball

Over the past 3 games, Tim was 5-10 with 4 RBI.  All of his runs batted in over that span came with two outs.  Tim also played a stellar third base, making several great plays against Suffield Academy.  Finally, Tim picked up the win on the mound against Millbrook School in Williston’s last game of the season. Tim works tremendously hard to perfect his craft and his work ethic is contagious!

Jersey Strum ’20- Varsity Softball

Jersey has been an asset to the wildcats all season. Against Kingswood Oxford she had 2 hits and a HR. Against Suffield 1 HR and 2 RBI’s. And against Hopkins 3 for 4 at the plate, 2 RBI’s and 1 run. Jersey has played an outstanding season as a first year player. She’s battled defensively at short stop and been a consistent force at the plate. She puts in hard work, and is a true learner of the game.

Austin Ryan ’17- Boys Varsity Lacrosse

Austin’s speed and athleticism has been an invaluable asset to the boys’ lacrosse team this spring. Austin picked up 22 out of the team’s 60 ground balls this week, and added 2 goals and an assist in the Colonial Tournament, where Williston won first place by beating Gunnery and Pomfret. Austin is consistently working to perfect his craft on and off the field. His positive attitude and team first mentality provides a positive example to the younger players on the team.

Alexis Ryan ’17- Girls Varsity Track and Field

Alexis culminated her senior season with an impressive showing at New England’s. She had a tremendous throw in the shot put – 33’3.25″ was the best toss of her career, and good enough for 4th place in the competition. Earlier in the day, she had a good battle with a strong Westminster discus thrower, and ended up 2nd, with a toss of 107’7″. This meant that in the last three years, she has finished 1st, 1st, and 2nd in that event. Alexis closed out the meet and finished her career by winning the javelin with a toss of 93’4″. In all, she was responsible for 22 of Williston’s 25 points on the day. Alexis consistently leads by example through her hard work and positive attitude.

Eric Albanese ‘20 and Ter Sawatynon ’20- Boys JV Tennis

   

Eric and Ter teamed up at number one doubles against Westminster this past Saturday and notched a decisive 8-4 victory. Both have epitomized the kind of positive outlook that has powered the JV tennis team through a challenging season. Their optimism, belief that every experience can make them stronger, and willingness to have fun through the day-to-day grind of the season were essential to the team’s resilience.

Emily Yeager ’17- Girls JV Golf

Emily has been instrumental in the team’s success and comradery this season. She won the majority of her matches, including this past Saturday against Miss Hall’s as our number one seeded player. Her work ethic and attention to detail on the course set the bar for our underclassmen.

 

Heartwarming Memories Mark Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

By Matt Liebowitz

Emotions ran high, and tears mixed with levity and laughter as the entire campus community, alumni included, gathered under the tent to pay homage to competitors of the past and induct a select group into Williston’s Athletic Hall of Fame on May 12, 2017.

Athletics Director Mark Conroy summarizes a successful Wildcat year.

Athletic Director Mark Conroy, in a brief introduction, shined a spotlight on a handful of current student athletes, including Gabby Mercier (diving), Nick Hill (cross-country), Devin DeVerry (skiing), David Fitch (swimming), and Hunter Adams (wrestling), whose accomplishments have set them apart in their Williston careers. Continue reading

Boys Varsity Golf Team is Nearly Unstoppable

Boys varsity golf coach Michael Fay enjoys a moment on the green during a game against Northfield Mount Hermon School.

By Matt Liebowitz

In the 13 years Coach Michael Fay has been leading the Williston boys varsity golf team, he has not had a team as ready, as confident, and mentally poised to contend for the championship at the upcoming 24-school Kingswood Invitational Tournament as this year’s squad.

“I think our chances are the best since I’ve started coaching varsity golf,” said Fay. The team has consistently placed in the top eight in the past 10 years at the tournament, scheduled for May 25 at Oak Ridge Golf Club in Agawam, Mass. Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Bryn Saarela ’20- Girls Varsity Softball

Bryn has worked to become an outstanding member of the squad this season. This week against Loomis she had a great line drive to right field scoring a teammate. Against a tough Cheshire squad she made three huge catches in center field that set the tone early. Offensively she had a hit and scored 3 runs. Against KO, while the game was tied up at 1-1, KO hit a deep shot to center field and Bryn fielded it beautifully, making a great throw to hold the runners.  Offensively she had a solid hit to right field as well. Overall, Bryn has worked tirelessly to learn the game, become a great hitter, and a competitive fielder! Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Jordan Strum ’18, Girls Varsity Softball

Jordan has been an essential catalyst to the Wildcats’ success this season. She had 15 strikeouts in the win over Deerfield on Wednesday. Again on Saturday she showed her dominance by accumulating 5 strikeouts from the mound while offensively she had 3 hits, which included 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s against NMH.  Against Ethel Walker she had 6 strikeouts and 2 hits, 1 double, and the winning RBI. Against Choate, Jordan had strikeouts, a 1 homerun, a double, and 5 RBIs.  Not only does she lead her team through her performance, but her work ethic is second to none and it provides a great example
for her teammates!

Alex Bzdel ’17, Ultimate

As Alex’s first year with the Ultimate team, he has been a quick study to the game of ultimate and has found a great deal of comfort on the field becoming a great target for our throwers. In our most recent game Alex has thrown for 2 scores and has scored 3 points. Alongside his success on the field, he has shown a great desire to learn the game by asking questions and practicing different skills beyond what is asked of him in practice.

Chloe Prouty ’20, Girls Varsity Track

Chloe has been running great all season combining her hurdle experience and strength from XC to put up some good times in the 100H and 300H. She was unhappy with her races on Wednesday and came back Saturday with a new drive. Running into a strong headwind, she flew over the barriers in the 100 hurdles, winning easily and looking smooth in the process. Later in the meet, she was even with the girl from Hopkins after 200m, but kicked into another gear on the home straightaway to win the 300 hurdles by a clear margin.
In addition to being a successful hurdler, Chloe will also look to run the 800 and 3,000 before the season is over.

Oskar Lee ’18, Boys Varsity Track

Oskar has become a critical part of the boys 4×400 team, and that was on full display at the meets at KO and Westminster. Both races were close, and Oskar either held off his opponent or helped to put Williston even a bit further ahead. His 400 split times are steadily coming down, helping the team run some fast overall times. In the long jump on Saturday, Oskar set a personal best of 18’5″.   Also on Saturday, Oskar happily stepped up to the 4×100 “A” team and led off with a great leg, handing off the baton even with eventual winner Westminster.

Madison Fulcher-Melendy ’18, Girls Varsity Lacrosse

Madison plays with such determination and effort every game for the Wildcats. Against Choate she came up huge on both ends of the field.  She led the team in ground balls and assists and scored a huge goal to secure the win. She leads the team in assists and ground balls and is second in goals. She is the first up and down the field and lives the words “we are not tired” every day she plays.  Madison is a huge part of the team’s success this season as she consistently leads through example and provides a positive example for all of her teammates.

Katie Borden ’20, Girls JV Lacrosse

Katie has played well for the Wildcats this season. She had three goals in our game against Choate on Saturday, sparking an incredible come back.  Down 7-1 at the half, her first goal got the team moving, a rally that brought the score back to within 1!  Katie is a hard worker in practice and in games and she can be counted on to bring a positive “team first” mentality with her every day.

Tosh Ayabe ’18, Boys JV Tennis

Tosh broke through with the first dominant win of the season for the team.  Playing at the number three singles position this past Saturday, he earned a straight set 6-3, 6-1 victory.  As one of the tri-captains, Tosh demonstrates a willingness to lead, consistently brings a focus on improvement to practice, and honorably represents Williston with graceful sportsmanship win or lose.  He has been a crucial leader for the wildcats this season.

 

Connor Cavanagh ’20 Heads to Junior Olympics for Gymnastics

Connor Cavanagh ’20

Connor Cavanagh ’20 started gymnastics lessons when he was just two years old, and began competing at age five. It’s no wonder, then, that after more than 12 years of hard work, he’s off this week to Kissimmee, Florida, to compete in the Junior Olympics Nationals.

Setting aside 20 hours a week to practice gymnastics at a gym in Agawam run by former Olympic gold medalist Tim Daggett, Connor also finds time to participate in other sports.

“In addition to his noteworthy success in gymnastics,” cemmented Athletics Director Mark Conroy, “in his spare time, Connor also plays on the football and baseball teams here…pretty remarkable!”

A versatile athlete, Connor’s focus at the moment is on improving as a gymnast. “The most challenging part of gymnastics for me is how precise and explicit the sport is,” he said. “Nothing in gymnastics is given, I have to work hard for even the smallest improvements. Gymnastics is very tedious when it comes to form and technique, and any slight hesitation or form break will cost you in a meet.”

Form is everything. Connor pauses at the top of the high bar.

So far, Connor’s focus on perfection and hard work has paid off. He’ll be among the nation’s elite young gymnasts in Florida this week, competing in all events: the rings, vault, parallel bars, high bar, floor exercise, and pommel horse. Connor’s strengths are on the rings, the parallel bars, and the floor exercises, according to Lynn Cavanagh, his mother.

A level 10 gymnast—the highest level of expertise for young competitors—Connor spends more than 1,000 hours a year training, and takes nothing for granted. “Staying humble is what I use to keep me going during practice and at meets. Even if you know you are at the top it is important to continue grinding as if you are at the bottom.”

Connor’s family couldn’t be any prouder of him, Lynn said. His family travels with him to his meets, both home and away. Williston wishes you luck in Florida, Connor!

Athletes of the Week

Elin Blomquist ’18- Girls Varsity Track

At our second home meet of the year, Elin placed second in both the 100 and the 200 with very respectable times. She was also a member of the runner-up 4×100 and 4×400 teams. At a tri meet, that means she was responsible for 12 of the team’s 63 points. Not content with a string of second places, Elin would turn up the intensity at Saturday’s meet at Suffield. There, she won the 100, again took second in the 200, and was a member of the winning 4×400 team. These strong performances helped set the tone for a strong showing against Suffield and Miss Porter’s. A year ago, Elin and the girl’s team beat Suffield by 25 points, but on Saturday, they widened that margin to 55 points! Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Abigail Touhey ’22- Girls Varsity Track

Abigail has started off strong for the Wildcats this season. On Wednesday, Abigail ran the 1500m, running a quick 5:45. She raced side by side with her teammate the entire three and three-quarter laps, and had just enough of a kick to nab the win at the finish line. On Saturday, at the competitive Deerfield Relays, Abigail was the anchor leg of the distance medley relay. She got the baton in a tight three-way race, but after just a lap, it was just her and a girl from Andover. Abigail ran a courageous and tough race, helping the team earn a well-deserved 2nd place in the junior DMR, running a 5:51. Continue reading

Command Center: Jordan Strum’s Pitching Power

By Matt Liebowitz

Jordan Strum’s fastball makes a mark—on the opposing lineup, who one after another leave the box dejected, bat in hand; on the catcher’s glove, which it hits with a satisfying and resonant smack; and on her coaches and teammates, who show the confidence of playing behind such a force on the mound.

Jordan’s fastball, most of all, makes a mark on Jordan. Her arsenal of pitches, which also includes a change-up, drop curve, screwball, and “riseball,” is, in a way, Jordan’s armor on the softball field.

“I’ve never been really good with [handling] attention,” said Jordan, a junior at Williston, who as an example, said public speaking is something she “doesn’t do.” On the mound for varsity softball, however, Jordan, 16, is a ball of energy and confidence.

“I’m always zoned in when I’m [pitching]; I’m not thinking about anything else,” said Jordan, whose fastball reaches into the upper 50s. “It’s the same for hitting. When [my] team’s cheering for me I can’t hear them, I’m so focused on them and ball and the pitcher.”

The focus has paid off; last year, with Jordan on the mound, the Wildcats won the Class A League  Championship against longtime rival Westminster. Jordan shared co-MVP with Delaney Belinskas, ’16.

Jordan credited her coaches, Davey, Rodgers, Marsland, for their support and instilling in her a strong sense of confidence. She’s grateful to have eight girls out there with her who have her back. That camaraderie, Jordan said, has translated to her life off the field as well, and made her more poised and self-assured.

“I don’t like when people tell me what I can or can’t do,” said Jordan about the power she feels while pitching. “I like to take control of my own life.”

It’s crucial to note here just exactly how powerful and persistent a pitcher Jordan is. We know her team rallies behind her, but how often they do is almost unbelievable. For a sport so indebted to statistics, here’s one that stands out: In her time on the Williston softball team, Jordan—until last Saturday, April 15—had pitched every single inning of every single game. That’s two years and counting where Jordan has been the only Williston pitcher on the mound, ever.

The girl who broke her streak? Her younger sister, freshman Jersey, who threw two innings during Williston’s commanding shutout over Berkshire School.

Jordan loves her sister, but did not love watching the action from shortstop.

“It was the first time since I’ve been here that I’ve ever watched a pitch happen,” Jordan said. “I didn’t like it. I like being able to control what happens.”

Jordan’s skill, and her ability to so deftly control a game from the pitcher’s mound, took root early on in her original hometown of Raytown, MO, a Kansas City suburb. It was there, as a five-year-old, she began playing tee-ball, then moved up to coach pitch and then regular softball. Jordan had no interest in pitching. But when the coach, who also happened to be her mom, Jocelyn, put out the call, nobody responded.

“She asked multiple times, and nobody ever volunteered,” Jordan recalled. “My mom being the coach—I got stuck, and I just fell in love with it.”

Her mom, maiden name Johnson, is a 1991 Williston graduate. Known on campus as “Sis Jocelyn,” she played softball and hockey. Jordan’s parents recently moved to Somersworth, NH, and attend many of her games.

With the help of a pitching coach, Jordan’s strength and skill grew. She was soon playing on a travel team, the Kansas City Zephyrs. Her reliability and resilience as a pitcher has its roots here, where, Jordan said, she’d pitch three games in a row without tiring. As opposed to baseball, which takes a toll on the rotator cuff, throwing a softball underhand is a much more natural motion and requires significantly less recovery time.

Jordan began focusing on her mental acuity as well. “I used to let the smallest things get to me,” she said. “I was very emotional.” From age 10 to 13, she said her “main focus was not letting my emotions show.” A lesson she took from the years of inner, emotional practice: “Look confident anyway and it’ll intimidate the batters,” she said.

If her confidence on the mound came from a fake-it-‘til-you-make-it approach, it’s an attitude that’s seeped into Jordan’s everyday life. She might not feel comfortable as the center of attention, but her pitching prowess has put here there, and she is handling it with determination and resolve.

“I bring to the mound the mindset that I’m only thinking of the next pitch,” she said. “I don’t start thinking about the next inning. I control what I can now.”

Athletes of the Week

Gabby Jones ’18 –Varsity Softball

Gabby has been on fire during the start the season for the Wildcats. This week alone she accumulated 4 hits, including a homerun and a double, 4 runs scored, and 5 RBIs against Marianapolis Prep. She continued her dominance against Westminster, as she went 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI, and again against Berkshire where she muscled another 4 hits, 2 of which were doubles, 3 runs, and 4 RBI’s.  An outstanding 3 game week for the junior. Defensively, she played both short stop and 3rd base for the Wildcats, demonstrating her versatility in the field. Gabby has a work ethic that is second to none and always encourages her teammates to give their best effort on and off the field. Continue reading