Category Archives: College Signings

JT Chamberlain Fulfills Longtime Dream, Signs to Assumption College Hockey

JT and parents, Judy and John Chamberlain

By Matt Liebowitz

JT Chamberlain’s dream has come true. And like any sought-after goal, his took a long time, a lot of early mornings, persistence, and patient, proud parents.

On Wednesday, April 12, JT formally committed to play hockey next year for the Greyhounds of Assumption College in Worcester, MA. JT, a Williston Northampton senior and forward for the Wildcats, has been anticipating this since around the time he could lace up his own skates.

“It’s awesome,” said JT, 19, who plans to study sports management. “I’ve been waiting for this since I was five years old.”

As a young member of the North Suburban Wings and the Greater Boston Vipers, both youth teams near his home in Amesbury, MA, JT said he knew even then that he always wanted to play college hockey. His dad, John, was on board. In fact, he was behind the bench.

JT Chamberlain signing his letter of intent

John coached JT from the time he was five until he went to private school, first at Pingree School near Boston, and then at Williston as a junior.

With coaches Derek Cunha and Kyle Hanford at the helm, Williston helped develop JT’s skills on the ice. But what the school also gave JT, his parents said, went beyond the rink.

“He’s grown up, he’s much more mature,” said JT’s mom, Judy, an assistant preschool teacher in Amesbury. “Apart from the bond with the students, especially the kids on his team, [Williston] has prepared him for the next step.”

John, who has worked for the Federal Air Marshal Service since 1991, echoed his wife’s sentiments, citing JT’s resolve even when times have been tough.

“This school’s developed him into a man,” John said, adding that coaches Cunha and Hanford helped guide him athletically and “keep him on the straight and narrow.”

When JT hits the ice for Assumption in the winter, he’ll have the added benefit not just of maturity, strength, speed, and stick skills, but a little rivalry to stoke the competitive flame. His current teammate, Nick Schofield, will be suiting up for Stonehill College. The two teams face off three times next season.

With a smile on his face and Schofield within earshot, JT took the opportunity to throw the proverbial first punch.

“I’m going to nail him,” he said.

A Lifetime on Skates Leads Nick Schofield to a Skyhawk Slot

Nick Schofield ’17

Nick Schofield, who on April 12 signed a letter of intent to play hockey at Stonehill College next fall, recalls a proud moment in the rink. It lasted only 10 seconds, but it made the difference in the game. Playing Millbrook School at Williston’s Lossone Rink this winter, the teams were tied, and 17 seconds remained on the overtime clock. Before the face-off, Nick told his defenseman he would take possession of the puck back and pass it to him. “’We are going to get it and win this game,’” he told his teammate. “The puck dropped and I won the draw back and we executed,” Nick said. “I scored the winning goal with seven seconds left, and it is a moment I will never forget.”

Unforgettable plays like that one can add up to a great mental slideshow of a lifetime spent on skates. Nick certainly has had enough of them. He started skating at age three and started hockey a year later. His older sister Caitlin and brother Kelley exposed their little brother to a variety of sports, and Nick picked each one up with ease, according to his mother, Bridget Schofield.

Nick and his parents, Bridget and David Schofield

For Nick, what kept him interested in playing was the feeling he got when he scored a goal. “The joy it brings me to this day is the reason why I love the game,” he adds. “The only thing I love more than scoring goals is helping my teammates score them, because I know how happy I get when I score, I love being able to see my teammates faces when they do.”

And what coach wouldn’t love that? Boys varsity hockey coach Derek Cunha has seen Nick transform from a sophomore to a senior. “Nick has been an impact forward for us for all three years combining skill, size, and a strong hockey sense,” he said. “He should head into Stonehill with the opportunity to be a top prospect as a freshman. I suspect that similar to his time at Williston, he will earn quality playing time right from the start and, as he quickly adapts to the college level, he will see similar success as he has had here.”

Hockey players congratulate Nick on his signing to Stonehill College.

Nick said he’s hoping to use his skills as much as possible as a Stonehill Skyhawk. The school is part of the NCAA Division II Northeast-10 Conference, one of the top Division II conferences in the nation. As he sees it, his strength is having a high “Hockey IQ.” “This means I am able to see the ice well and make plays when people are not expecting them,” he said. “Also, I like to think my passing ability is a strong point. Finally, being a center you have to know how to win face-offs, and I have worked very hard at making that a strong point in my game.

Cunha agrees. “Nick has adapted well to playing with different style of players in all three years at Williston,” he said. “He has a strong hockey sense of where to be on the ice and is able to make those around him better.”

David Schofield, Nick’s father, is excited for Nick’s future, and proud of his son’s hockey prowess. But he’s also thrilled that Nick greatly improved academically at Williston. “He’s always been a good athlete,” he said. “But the academics are important to him. He’s worked hard at it. He’s matured at Williston.”

If shining the light on others’ accomplishments is a sign of maturity, Nick has it in spades. After reflecting on his hockey career at Williston, Nick wanted to make sure he thanked his teammate, senior Jo Jo Carbone. “We have been line mates for our three years at Williston, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”

Nate Balthazard to Bring Passion, Perseverance to Sacred Heart Football

Nate Balthazard, photo by Dennis Crommett
Nate Balthazard, photo by Dennis Crommett

Blog Post by Matthew Liebowitz

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

Williston Student Duncan LeXander Signs to Presbyterian College

duncanlexander-family
Duncan LeXander and family members at a signing ceremony on campus

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

Signings to Bring Three Student Athletes College Play

Mark Wilson, Kyle Doucette, and Michael Dereus all signed with Division I college sports programs.
Mark Wilson, Kyle Doucette, and Michael Dereus signed with Division I college sports programs.

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.”

Congratulations, Mike, Kyle, and Mark!

See our Flickr page for more photos!

Two Senior Athletes Sign Letters of Intent

HT and MR
Meg Rickard and Hannah Touzos

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.”

MR and parents
Meg Rickard and her father Jim and mother Elizabeth

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 and family
Hannah Touzos and her family: sister Jackie, mother Karen, father Rich, and brother Daniel

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.”

More photos are on Flickr.

Congratulations, Meg and Hannah!