It takes three words for Coach Jacob Rivers to sum up Nate Balthazard, to accurately encapsulate the Williston Northampton football player’s guts, grit, and gridiron glory.
“He’s a warrior.”
However, for those who attended Nate’s February 6 signing ceremony, during which he formally committed to play football for Sacred Heart University in the fall, three words don’t tell the entire story.
“You’ll find people faster, or stronger, but you won’t find anyone who wants it more,” Rivers said. Continue reading →
Duncan LeXander is headed home, or at least back to the region where he spent most of his life. But like most people who go back to where they’re from after being away, LeXander is returning a changed man, a scholar and athlete on a path to personal and professional success.
On Wednesday, November 16, LeXander formally committed to play Division 1 basketball at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. Beginning in the fall, LeXander, a 6’8” shooting guard, will suit up for the PC Blue Hose to compete in the NCAA Division 1 Big South Conference. The Blue Hose schedule will see the 18-year-old rising star, decked out in PC’s traditional royal blue and garnet, face off against top-notch competition including Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, Boise State, and Tennessee. Continue reading →
Three Williston athletes signed letters of intent to play sports at the college level on April 28 at an event in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center. Michael Dereus ’16, who played football and ran track for two years, will attend Georgetown University. Kyle Doucette ’16 played basketball at Williston for two years and will attend LIU Post. Mark Wilson ’16 played football as a postgraduate and will attend Central Connecticut State University.
Michael Dereus played wide receiver for the Wildcats, and runs track. His football coach, Mark Conroy, praised both Dereus’ quickness at the game, and his character off the gridiron.
“Mike’s success on the field and in the classroom is a result of his dogged determination to take full advantage of his opportunities,” he said. “As a football player, Mike is blessed with exceptional natural gifts but what has allowed him to achieve at such a high level is his exceptional work ethic and desire to improve. Mike’s teachers and coaches all laud his outstanding work ethic and coach-ability.”
For Dereus, motivation to succeed came from the thrill of scoring a touchdown. “It feels like you are on top of the world,” he said. And success, indeed, arrived after he put in the time and effort. “Repetition is more important than pure ability,” he noted. His sister, Ruth Dereus, pointed to his determination, “Michael never allowed any barriers, whether it be on the field, in the classroom, or in his personal life, to distract him from his goals. I’ve seen the various transferable skills Michael acquired from the football field that he applied in life: determination, sportsmanship, teamwork, leadership, resilience, tenacity, and many more!”
Dereus recently set school records in both the 100- and 200-meter races, and for most touchdown receptions. He was named one of the top receivers in NEPSAC when he made the All-NEPSAC team this fall.
Kyle Doucette’s willingness to work hard at improving his game has brought him success on the basketball court. The center excels at defending the hoop—and he’s versatile, according to his coach, Michael Shelton.
“His ability to cover every position was vital to our success in the championship game,” Shelton said. “Offensively he is great around the basket and has improved his shooting over the last two years.”
Rich Doucette, Kyle’s father, added that his son is the “consummate team player. He’s never had a technical foul.” He added that since Kyle began playing the sport at age 9, he’s “absolutely loved basketball.” And at Williston, Kyle said, “I learned to push to my absolute best ability every play and never give up.”
Mark Wilson said football became a way for him to shake off the academic rigors of a postgraduate year. According to his mother, Sue Wilson, Mark has always had his “eye on the prize.” Since he came to Williston, she said, she’s seen his confidence and motivation grow.
“He has the passion and the will to go the distance,” she said. His coach, Mark Conroy, agreed. “He has great football instincts and could always be counted on to be one of our most consistent defensive playmakers,” Conroy said. “He loves football and plays the game with great passion.”
Surrounded by family, coaches, and teammates, two Williston Northampton School seniors signed letters of intent for Division I ice hockey teams on April15. Meg Rickard has agreed to play for the Providence College Friars and Hannah Touzos signed on to play for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Scoring the game-winning goal against a fabled foe earned Rickard a special place in the hearts of her ice hockey teammates, and is illustrative of her role on the team, according to her coach, Girls Varsity Hockey Head Coach Christa Talbot-Syfu. “Meg has stepped up in important moments when she’s been needed,” Talbot-Syfu said.
The forward led the team in points scored this year, her strongest in her three years at Williston Northampton School. “She finished strong,” Talbot-Syfu said. “She’s talented, skilled, and presents an offensive threat.”
Rickard, who is from Coventry, RI, starting playing hockey when she was 8—older than many of her teammates. As a child, she watched her brother and father, who played college hockey, and absorbed their love of the game. “She started late but she was filling up the net from the get go,” said Jim Rickard, her father. As a child and early in her hockey career she practiced at the rink at Providence College.
“Growing up I was always an offensive type player who loved to score goals and that was it,” she said. “Coming to Williston, Coach Talbot was on me every day to be a more consistent player in all three zones. For me, the biggest lesson I have learned from Coach Talbot would be not to take anything for granted and always try to play for something bigger than myself. That motivated me to be my best every day.”
Jim Rickard took note of her progression on the rink. “We’re so proud of her and what she’s managed to learn over the last three years at Williston.”
Meg Rickard will be joining her Williston classmate Rachel Rockwell ’16 on the ice at Providence College. “I am so excited to be going to school I grew up around. My parents and grandparents, who have helped me get to where I am today, can come see as many games as they want.”
Hannah Touzos ’16 started skating at about 3 years old in the backyard rink at her home in Foxboro, MA. “She really enjoyed skating and whacking away at the puck and people,” according to her father, Rich Touzos.
Those whacking skills, honed throughout the years, have paid off. Hannah Touzos, a forward, will continue to be a Wildcat—but at the college level at UNH .
“Hannah is a worker. She’s a very smart player, a very good forechecker,” said Talbot-Syfu. “She’s a tremendous penalty killer.”
Touzos has played hockey all four years at Williston. Before that she played in youth leagues in eastern Massachusetts, where she competed in two national tournaments.
“When Hannah joined the Williston Girls Varsity Team in her freshman year we knew she had a uphill battle for playing time,” Rich Touzos said. “This made Hannah’s competitiveness shine. She worked extra hard in the off-season to return in her second season as a stronger and improved player.
“In her third year Hannah finally was able to compete and play a major role in the success of the team,” he said. “We were so proud of her grit and determination to help her team.”
Bottom line: Touzos earned her chance to play. “She worked hard and her determination to play at the highest level never left her sight,” Touzos said. “She wanted it and she accomplished her goal. We are so proud.”