All about the Wildcats

Seven Seniors Sign to Play College Sports

By Matt Liebowitz

Years of dedication, perseverance, and gratitude led seven Williston seniors to the podium at the school’s Friday, Nov. 10, signing ceremony. For the sheer numbers as well as the enthusiasm of a room packed with parents, classmates, teammates, and coaches, the event embodied the communal Wildcat spirit.

First to ink his commitment to Rollins College, in Winter Park, Florida, was Rob Champigny. Rob will play lacrosse for the Tars in the Division II Sunshine State Conference.

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Athletes of the Week

Emma Gould ’18 – Girls Cross Country

Emma has had a great season for the Wildcats. This week, she again placed in the top seven, as she has almost every race this season. Emma had a strong race in the 6 school meet, helping the Wildcats go 6-0 on the day. Her displacement of Westover’s 5th runner accomplished the tie-break in a 28-28 contest, giving Williston the win over Westover, and securing a sweep on the day and an 11-2 record for the season. Emma continues to be a hard worker in practice, a great teammate, and a fierce competitor every Saturday. Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Ana Weed ’18 – Girls Varsity Soccer

Anna has been a big piece of the Wildcats success this season. Playing midfield, she consistently works hard on both the offensive and defensive side of the field as she is a consistent scoring threat and can be counted on to stop opponents’ offensive push.  On Wednesday, against Kent, she scored a beautiful goal off a restart to help jumpstart the Wildcats. Against Suffield on Saturday she played hard and strong on both ends of the field.  She provides a positive attitude day in and day out and she is a fantastic teammate.

Braeden Heald ’18 – Varsity Football

Braeden has been a huge part of the Wildcats success this season. This continued on Saturday, as he had his best game of the year for the Wildcats in their 20-11 win over Hotchkiss. Offensively he led the team with 6 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. His offensive play was not to be outdone by his defensive contributions, as he had two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Braeden exemplifies what it means to be a “team first” type of player. He is always helping his teammates to better themselves on the field and in the weight room. Braeden comes to practice every day with a passion and intensity to learn and be better.

Julia Farnham ’20 – Girls Varsity Soccer

Julia has worked hard all year long in the midfield for the Wildcats and has come up big for the team on both ends of the field. Against Pomfret she had a strong game, showing her skill and strength on the ball.  In addition to her outstanding ball skills, she provided the team with a determination that was visible from the stands. Julia comes to the field every day, ready to play, ready to hone her own skills and the skills of her teammates.

David Janoschek ’18 – Boys Varsity Water Polo

David has been a key leader for the Wildcats this fall. This past week was no exception. In two games David tallied 8 goals on offense as well as several steals and blocked shots on defense. He works hard daily, both in the pool and out, to make himself into the best player he can be. David always puts his teammates before himself and his intensity and commitment have been contagious for the young team.

Tori Palumbo ’18 – Varsity Field Hockey

Tori has been a force in the midfield for the Wildcats all season, and it continued this week. She leads the team in assists and has ample knowledge of the game that she exudes. As captain of the team, she is helpful to all new learners of the sport as well. Tori played a strong defensive and offensive game in a tough OT loss against Suffield. She controlled the game and was a force during the overtime. Tori leads her team by example, coming to each practice and game ready and willing to give her all for the benefit of the team.

Oscar DeFrancis ’20 – Boys Varsity Cross Country

Oscar has had a great season for the Wildcats thus far. He placed 12th overall with a time of 18:05 on Saturday in the Shaler Invitational.  This was an improvement of 50 seconds from his time last week.  He is consistently a hard worker and is determined to be his best every week.  He brings great energy to every workout and encourages his teammates with his positive attitude.  While only a sophomore, Oscar has been a great leader and role model to his teammates.

Abby Andrews ’23 – Girls JV Cross Country

Abby Andrews had her best race of the season in the JV division of the Shaler Invitational.  Abby placed first for Williston in the race, and 7thoverall, out of 78 runners.  Abby passed several runners in the last mile while achieving her best 5K time of 25:14, which places her at #10 on the Williston Honor Roll, a remarkable achievement for a runner of her age.  Abby continues to train hard in practice and to compete with power and determination in races.

Drew Manory ’19 – Boys JV Water Polo

Drew led this team on both offense and defense this past week. As the center forward Drew drives the offense and has become a challenge for other teams to defend. He scored 5 goals on the week. Drew’s leadership in the pool has been crucial to the development of the team. His work ethic is second to none, and because of this, Drew is a great role model for his teammates.

Devon Morgan ’21 – Girls JV Soccer

Devon plays a vital role in the Wildcats defense, whether she is playing outside defense or stopper.  She does a great job of shutting down the attack strategies of her opponents by applying pressure, containing attackers one-on-one, winning battles and distributing the ball to her teammates in creative ways to build an offensive attack from the defensive end.  Devon brings a great training mentality to practices, always pushing herself to try new things and polish her skills.  She brings enthusiasm and focus to games, providing a positive example for her teammates.

David Costello ‘20- JV Football

David had an outstanding game against Suffield Academy last week for the Wildcats. He had a number of big runs on offense and was one of the leading tacklers on defense from his outside linebacker position.  A first year football player, David is quickly becoming one of the best players on the team and the coaches are very excited about his prospects as a varsity player in the future.

Luke Po ’20 – Boys JV B Soccer

Luke has been a formidable force on defense all season for the Wildcats. His die hard attitude during each practice is reflected in every game he plays. This past Saturday, Luke was, once again, crucial in keeping our hard fought loss to a 3-1 score. Luke’s unselfish play and positive attitude provide a positive example for the rest of the team.

Chris Ramirez ’19 – Boys JVA Soccer

Chris has been a tough competitor all season long for JV A Boys Soccer. He repeatedly wins one-on-one battles against opposing defenders and shows grit and determination. He had arguably his best game of the season with two goals this week in a big win against Wilbraham on Wednesday. The second goal on the day was a blast from outside the box. This past Saturday, against Suffield, he was again one of the toughest players on the field.  All year long, his effort and desire to win has been a big part of the team’s success.


Xavier Thibault: A Natural Leader On and Off the Field

By Sports Information Director Matt Liebowitz

It’s hard to miss Xavier Thibault. Even on the football field, where identities can blend into a huddle of helmets and pads, Xavier, at 6’5” and 240 pounds, stands out high above the rest.

“His effort is relentless and infectious to everyone on the field,” said Jacob Rivers, Williston’s Co-Defensive Coordinator. “When you see a guy like that giving 100 percent on every play, you know what’s expected of you and that anything less is unacceptable.”

Aside from a stint in 7th grade when he was “short and skinny and couldn’t tackle,” Xavier quickly grew into a formidable force at at defensive end, a position he’s played since beginning his football career in 4th grade in his hometown of Quebec City, Canada. Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Poojaa Prakash Babu ’21- Girls Varsity Cross Country

Poojaa was a major factor in the Wildcats win over Miss Porter’s School on Saturday. She continues to improve as an important member of our top varsity group.  Against Miss Porter’s, she broke into Williston’s top five for the first time this season, achieving a personal 5K record of 24:31 on our very challenging home course.  She started the season as the teams 14th finisher against Kent, and since then she has placed 9th, 6th, 6th, and now 5th for the team.  She chopped an incredible 5:03 from the first home race to the second, the most dramatic improvement on the team.  Poojaa trains hard every day and she can be counted on every Saturday to compete with intensity and determination. Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Fiona Bundy ’18 – Girls Varsity Soccer

Fiona has been a key to the Wildcats success this season. This week alone, she was responsible for making key plays and stepping in to win many 50-50 balls on the defensive side.  She was a big reason the Wildcats earned two shutouts. Fiona leads by example as she is a tireless worker on and off the field and constantly trying to make herself and her teammates better. Continue reading

Marielle McEnaney ’18 Shines on Soccer Squad

By Victoria Zingarelli ’18, Staff Writer

The newest face on the girls’ varsity soccer team, Marielle McEnaney, has been lighting up the field. Marielle, an 18-year-old post graduate, has only been at Williston for three weeks, and has had a positive impact on her fellow athletes and students.

Marielle decided to do a PG year because she got injured while she was a junior at Nausea Regional High School in Orleans, Cape Cod. She wanted another year to get stronger so she could play in college.

“I want to play soccer at the collegiate level and be successful there,” Marielle said.

Her teammates and coach have the highest praise for her play.

“She has really great speed which makes her a great outside midfielder since she is able to beat people up and down the side line,” Madison Fulcher-Melendy ’18, one of the two captains of Girls Varsity Soccer, said. “She is also really great in the air which has proven to be an asset all over the field.” Continue reading

Alum Profile: Mike Dereus ’15 is a “Shining Light” On and Off the Field at Georgetown

Michael Dereus ’15 at Williston as he signed to play football for Georgetown

By Matt Liebowitz

In a sport where so many of his plays could end up on highlight reels, Michael Dereus’ selflessness, his resistance to reflect on his talent and accomplishments, can seem almost comical.

Dereus, a sophomore wide receiver at Georgetown, was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year his freshman year on the Hoyas. He said he was “unsure” but he “may have been in contention” for a larger, nationwide rookie award, but admitted, “I don’t really remember.”

“Awards are nice,” Dereus, 20, said, “but I just worry about getting better as a person and on the football team.”

This spirit of generosity is something Dereus said he grew up with, and something he carried from a childhood in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, to Another Course to College (ACC), his charter high school, and eventually to Williston, where he entered as a junior, and from where he graduated two years ago, in 2015. Continue reading

Athletes of the Week

Elijah Hutchinson ‘18 – Varsity Football

Elijah has been a big part of the Wildcats’ successes so far this season. He had a great game Saturday night at Taft as he contributed in all three phases of the game. Defensively he was a responsible for only allowing Taft to pass for 47 yards, basically shutting down their passing game. Offensively he had a catch at wide receiver and also had two rushes for 15 yards at running back. On special teams he continued to be a contributor on kickoff, kickoff return, punt, and punt return. Elijah has stepped up huge this season and helps lead his team through his hard work off the field and his determined play on the field. Continue reading

Basketball Standout Returns to Williston

Ed. note: This story originally ran in The Willistonain. It was written by Staff Writer Oskar Lee ’18.

In a rare move, Duncan LeXander, rising basketball star, turned down a college scholarship and returned to Williston as a postgraduate.

Duncan signed his letter of intent to play at Presbyterian in South Carolina on November 16, 2016. In May he graduated from Williston. On June 29, 2017, he announced on Twitter that he had de-committed from Presbyterian.

“After careful consideration, and talking with my family, coaches, and those closest to me, I have decided to de-commit and ask my release from Presbyterian College,” he wrote. He went on to thank everyone for their understanding and ended by thanking former Presbyterian Coach Gregg Nibert for recruiting him. Coach Nibert resigned on April 12th after 28 seasons.

Duncan then played for his summer league team. Team Magic Elite, in Memphis for two-and-a-half months in tournaments throughout the United States such as Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Kansas City. Continue reading