Senior Victoria Palumbo of Ayer, Massachusetts, agreed to play ice hockey and field hockey for the University of New Hampshire’s Division I programs. She signed a national letter of intent during a Nov. 10 ceremony recognizing seven Williston students signing to play college sports at the Division I and II levels.
Tori plays midfield in field hockey and defense on the ice. She’s been on skates for 13 years, and involved in field hockey for six years. During her tenure at Williston, the teams she’s played for won the New England Championships in field hockey, and the Harrington Invitational Hockey Tournament in ice hockey.
“I hope to play both D1 field hockey and ice hockey to the best of my ability and to continue to grow as an athlete,” she said. “At Williston, I have been able to play at the highest level with great coaches who push me every day to be better.”
Her field hockey coach, Kate Garrity, praised Tori’s play at Williston. “Her skills and athleticism have always been strong,” she said. “Tori’s grown as a leader. As an underclassman, she just led by example. As a senior captain, it’s great to hear her voice out there, supporting, teaching, and leading her teammates.”
Her ice hockey coach, Christa Talbot Syfu said, “Tori is a four-year player who made an impact as soon as she stepped on the ice. Tori is an excellent skater and is relied on in all situations. Despite her small stature, she plays much bigger and uses her body very well to protect the puck. She has a strong hockey IQ and isn’t afraid to jump-start the offense from the defensive end. She will continue to be an integral part of our defense core and we look forward to seeing her continue to elevate her game.”
Delray Beach, Florida’s Shana Hecht agreed to play lacrosse for Fairfield, Connecticut-based Sacred Heart University’s Division I program. Shana signed a national letter of intent during a Nov. 10 ceremony recognizing seven Williston Northampton School students signing to play college sports at the Division I and II levels.
A goalie, Shana has been playing lacrosse since she was 11. At her post, her mind is on “making sure I do everything in my power to keep my team in the game,” she said. “Being goalie is all mental, you can’t stress over a goal going in. You need to keep playing.”
She came to Williston as a junior, and has found the experience rewarding. “If I didn’t come to Williston I don’t think I would have had the opportunities I have encountered or be where I am today,” she said.
Her coach, Jen Fulcher, praised Shana’s winning mindset and skillset. “Shana is an outstanding goal keeper who has a contagious competitive spirit,” she said. “She is also an amazing teammate, always looking to bring out the best in everyone on and off the field. She was a huge part of our success last season and will be again this season!”
Westfield’s Mason Balch agreed to play lacrosse for Bryant University’s Division I program. He signed a national letter of intent during a Nov. 10 ceremony recognizing seven Williston students signing to play college sports at the Division I and II levels.
Mason plays attack. He’s handled a stick since kindergarten. His proudest moment on the field came last season, when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Canterbury to clinch the Western New England Secondary School Lacrosse Association Division II championship.
As a leader, he tries “to be mature and sometimes hard on some of my best friends while also keeping those close relationships,” he said. But that challenge also yields rewards. “Being able to lead a team full of overall good guys and being a role model to some of the younger ones will trump any winning record or trophy.”
As he prepares for his final season at Williston, he looks to a promising future in college. “I hope to make the most out of my four years at Bryant and compete with some of the best athletes in the country while representing my hometown and high school. Williston has given me the absolute best opportunity and resources to work on my craft and become the best possible student-athlete I can.”
Mason’s lacrosse coach, Christopher Dietrich, spoke to Mason’s performance: “Mason Balch is one of the most dynamic offensive players we have ever had here at Williston. He has the ability to both score goals, and assist on goals at any moment that the ball is in his stick. He is a consummate competitor,” Dietrich continued. “He can always be counted on to do whatever his team needs him to do at any time to improve their chances of success, and most important to me, as his coach, he makes everyone else on the field with him better based on the way he plays the game.”
Mason began his Williston career last year. “He genuinely has the tools to succeed at the Division I level, and we look forward to watching as he makes his splash at Bryant next year,” Dietrich said.
Medfield’s Julia MacLean ’18 has agreed to play ice hockey for the Merrimack College’s Division I Warriors program. She signed a letter of intent during a Nov. 10 ceremony recognizing seven Williston students signing to play college sports at the Division I and II levels.
A defensive player, Julia has been playing hockey since she was five years old. Her proudest moment playing for Williston was a win against Phillips Andover during her junior year. “It was an extremely emotional game for both our coaches and players,” she said. “I think coming back from some difficult events prior to the game and overcoming them really exposed our heart and togetherness as a team.”
Despite the challenges that come with being a team leader (including relating to the wide variety of personalities of players on her team), she enjoys the role. “I can be someone who my younger teammates can look up to. I love that I can be someone who they can talk to for support, or just be a friend.”
It was on the ice at Lossone Rink at Williston that her dreams to play Division 1 hockey came true, she said. As she shifts to college, she said her goal is to be the best player, person, and student she can be.
Her ice hockey coach, Christa Talbot Syfu, spoke about her skills on the ice: “Julia has been an impact player since arriving in ninth grade,” she said. “Last year, she brought her game to a new level as she became more offensive; she had five goals and 14 assists for 19 points. She finished fifth overall for points on the team. Julia plays consistently well, always doing the little things and making very strong decisions with the puck. She will be relied on heavily this season and we are excited to see her game continue to grow in the upcoming season.”
East Longmeadow’s Gabby Jones ’18 agreed to play ice hockey for Merrimack College’s Division I Warriors program. She signed a national letter of intent during a Nov. 10 ceremony recognizing seven Williston students signing to play college sports at the Division I and II levels.
Gabby plays forward and has played ice hockey for 14 years. During her tenure at Williston, her favorite moments on the ice have been the annual “Pink in the Rink” games, in support of breast cancer research. “We play for something much bigger than ourselves in these games,” she said, “and it is always so fun and has a big impact on everyone in the community, especially our team.”
During her time at Williston, she said, she has grown as an athlete. “Williston has gotten me ready for the next level. I have competed in four varsity sports since seventh grade and it has helped me get better every single year.” At Merrimack, she hopes to continue that trend. “I hope to grow as a hockey player and have a positive impact on the Merrimack hockey team.”
Her ice hockey coach, Christa Talbot Syfu, shares more: “Gabby arrived in seventh grade when our program made a big jump to being a playoff contender,” she said. “As a six-year player, Gabby has developed into a very skilled forward but also makes smart defensive plays, making her a great two-way player. Gabby has played a huge role for us because of her strong hockey IQ, which allows her to play in every situation.”
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.
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.” Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →
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 →