Athletic Awards for Winter 2016

On Wednesday, March 23, Director of Athletics Mark Conroy held the annual winter athletic assembly to recognize the outstanding athletic achievements from this past season. Williston’s athletic teams had a very successful winter that included setting new records, winning multiple championships, and having a great deal of fun in the process. Read the full transcript of his presentation below.

Good morning Williston!

I hope everyone is back in the swing of things.  I wanted to take an opportunity this morning to reflect back on our winter athletic program by sharing a few highlights of each team and recognizing award winners.  Knowing that numbers can tell a story….I wanted to start by sharing just a few numbers relevant to our winter season.
– This winter, Williston was represented by 321 students coached by 37 coaches on 22 different teams.
– All told, our winter teams represented Williston in 311 contests with 56 different schools in 5 states this winter.

I think these numbers give you a little sense of the scale of our progam….

Let me get underway and share a few highlights of each of our team’s seasons:

This winter a handful of students participated in our Riding program at Fuller Horse Farm in nearby Westhampton.   According to Coach Laura Etzel these students worked very hard to improve their jumping skills – this was new for all of them.  By the end of the season, each rider was able to execute a course with 7 jumps – a wonderful accomplishment.

I would like to recognize those students who won awards this winter in the riding program.   Could I ask these students to stand when I read their names.  We will applaud them as a group at the end:

Most Improvement in Riding: Villard Xu ‘18
Most Improvement in Horsemanship: Momoka Oda ‘18
Sportsmanship Award (Helping Hands Award): Corrine Gawle ‘20
Most Valuable Rider for best all-around horsemanship: Aileen Alden ‘18

Boys Squash
-All three boys squash teams enjoyed competitive seasons.    Under Coach Simpson, the Thirds team demonstrated great improvement highlighted by an exciting 6-3 victory over Eaglebrook.   Coach Chiavaroli’s JV team also demonstrated great improvement highlighted by a 5-2 victory over Suffield and season ending wins over KO and Albany Academy.
-Under Coach Ryan Tyree, the Boys Varsity Squash team had an exciting season with a mixture of returning veterans and new faces.  Led by dedicated captains Phillip Lee and Kevin Li, the team demonstrated steady improvement and resilience throughout the season.   Highlights of their season included avenging an early season 5-2 road loss to Berkshire with a thrilling 4-3 victory at home – Kevin and Phil had big victories along with underclassmen Joe Shively and Henry Poehlein.    Another season highlight took place during the final match of the winter when the boys won another gutty 4-3 victory over a tough squad from Kingswood Oxford.   As a promising sign for the future, all four wins that day were by underclassmen.   The key match was won by junior Zack Robbins who was down 7-9 in the deciding tie breaking 5th set before rallying to a thrilling victory.

-I would like to ask the individual award winners within the program to stand and be recognized.  PLEASE HOLD YOUR APPLAUSE UNTIL THE END:

Co-Ed Thirds:
Most Valuable Player Award: Oscar DeFrancis ‘20
Most Improved Player Award: Ruby McElhone Yates ’21, Akivah Mazile ‘20
Sportsmanship Award – Ava Greenbaum ‘21

Most Valuable Player Award – Nitish Athavan Raja ‘18
Most Improved Player Award – Joey Robbins ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Aiden McCreary ‘19

Most Valuable Player Award – Kevin Li ’16 – second year in a row
Most Improved Player Award – Henry Poehlein ‘18
Sportsmanship Award –Phillip Lee ‘16
Captain for next year – Henry Poehlein ‘18

Girls Squash
-The girls squash program enjoyed another successful winter season under the leadership of Varsity coach Peter Gunn and JV coach Adeleen Brown.
– The Varsity team enjoyed great team unity as they competed hard throughout the season finishing with a record of 6-8.  Among the many highlights of the season were thrilling 4-3 wins over both Berkshire and Suffield for the first time in five years!   The team was led by an exceptional group of seniors including captains Caroline Borden, Sophia Triana and Genna Koumentakos.  Senior Kira Wilson had a particularly strong season with a 9-0 record until a season ending shoulder injury.  At the NEPSAC Class C championships held at St. Paul’s in New Hampshire, the team enjoyed a terrific season ending performance finishing in second place.   Senior Julie Lord led Williston with a 1st place finish in the 5th flight, senior Danielle Grant stepped up in for the injured Kira and placed 3rd in the 6th flight and sophomore Mika Sovjani came in 2nd in the 7th flight.  Lindsay Whipple and Genna also played well in the 2nd and 4th flights.   Due to their commitment to the concert on Friday, Caroline and Sofia were ineligible for the championship, but each played very well on Saturday with Caroline winning her last match to finish 7th and Sofia going undefeated to earn 5th place.
-In addition to their runner-up performance, the team received a wonderful honor at the end of the tournament when they were presented with the Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive year.  This speaks volumes about not only the competitive spirit of this team but also its ability to be great representatives of the school.   Congratulations Girls!


-I would like to ask the individual award winners within this program to stand and be recognized:

Most Valuable Player Award – Chloe Lee ‘17
Most Improved Player Award – Atah Okaisabor ‘18
Sportsmanship Award – Ellie Scott ‘18

Most Valuable Player Award – Caroline Borden ’16 – second year in a row
Most Improved Player Award – Julie Lord ‘16
Sportsmanship Award – Sophia Triana ‘16
Next year’s captain will be Mika Sovjani ’17 and Lindsay Whipple ‘17.

Ski Teams:
Led by Coaches Hing, Eberle, and Pelliccia, our ski teams enjoyed successful seasons competing in the Mountain Institute League.  Despite the impact of our very mild winter, the team enjoyed a great deal of success during the weekly Wednesday races held at Berkshire East.    The season culminated with the New England Class B championships held at Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire.  Both of our teams competed well with the other 14 competing schools.  Unfortunately, the girls lost their top performer prior to the meet when sophomore captain Sophie Carrellas was injured.  Sophie was having an outstanding season dominating the league races with first place finishes.  The girls finished in 8th place at the championships.

The boys’ team also had a successful day defending its NEPSAC title from 2015.   In the Giant Slalom, there were 57 competitors representing the competing schools.   Our top performers were senior captain JJ Celentano who finished in 20th and junior Devin DeVerry.  Devin was second after the first run before clipping a gate in his second run to fall back to 10th.   In the Slalom competition, sophomore Oliver Lawrence finished in 16th while Devin rebounded from his near miss in the GS to finish in first place to become our first NEPSAC individual champion in many years.  Could I ask Devin to please stand so we can recognize this great accomplishment?!

-I would like to ask the individual award winners within the program to stand and remain standing after I read their names.  We will applaud them as a group at the end.

JV Boys:
Most Valuable Skier Award – Adam Johnsrud ‘20
Most Improved Skier Award – Ben Robes-Kenworthy ‘20
Sportsmanship Award – Matt Seltzer ‘20

Varsity Girls:
Most Valuable Skier Award – Sophie Carellas ’18 (second year in a row)
Most Improved Skier Award – Molly Solan ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Lizzy Warncke ‘16
Captain for next year will be Sophie Carellas ’18 again.

Varsity Boys:
Most Valuable Skier Award – Devin DeVerry ’17 (fifth year in a row)
Most Improved Skier Award – Gavin Girardin ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – JJ Celentano ’16
Captain for next year is Devin DeVerry ‘17.

– The next group I would like to recognize this morning is our wrestling program led by Coaches KaneLong, White, and Rivenburgh.
– Despite only being able to fill 9 out of 14 weight classes, the wrestling team had a very good season finishing with a team record of 10-7.  Highlights of their season included victories over rivals Suffield, Pomfret and Wilbraham and Monson.  Undoubtedly, the biggest highlight of the team season took place at home in January when we defeated Tabor Academy in thrilling style with a 39-36 victory – this was our first win over Tabor in the past 16 years.
-Individually speaking, the team had a great deal of success as they had the highest winning percentage in individual matches in the past 16 years winning over 67% of their matches.
-At the Class A League Championships held at Hyde School, a number of boys distinguished themselves: junior Hunter Adams finished in 2nd, sophomore Harrison Winrow in 4th, and senior captain Mikey Lloyd was 5th.   Harrison added to his great day by winning the Most Falls in the Least Time Award by pinning 4 opponents in 3 minutes and 42 seconds combined.  Congratulations Harrison!

– I would like to ask the individual award winners within this program to stand and be recognized:

Most Valuable Wrestler: Sam Canney ‘17
Most Improved Wrestler: William Gunn ‘21
Sportsmanship: Andrew Andrew ‘18

Donald J. Knauf Most Valuable Wrestler Award – Mikey Lloyd ‘16
Most Improved Wrestler Award – Ben Normandin ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Bina Sweet ‘17
Peter M. Edgerton ’74 Most Pins Award – Hunter Adams ’17 (second year in a row)
The captain of next year’s team will be Bina Sweet ‘17.

Boys Hockey:
– The JV Boys Hockey team, led by Coaches Fay and Demerath, played competitive hockey all winter finishing with a 7-9-2 record.  The team finished its season particularly well by losing only one of its final six games including a season ending 7-6 victory over NMH.  Their one loss was a narrow 4-3 loss to Berkshire, a team they lost to earlier in the season 9-0 – a sign of their terrific improvement!
– Under Coaches Cunha, Hanford, and Lessard, the Varsity Boys Hockey team competed hard all season against its very competitive schedule including 10 of the top 16 teams in NEPSAC.   The team enjoyed several highlights during the season including beating eventual Large School champion Thayer Academy 5-3, sweeping Winchendon in both their contests including a thrilling 7-5 third period comeback on the road, and an exciting 4-3 victory at Millbrook.   The season finished on a high note winning their last two games including a 3-0 shutout at Pomfret behind senior goalie Shane Mason.   Senior Jack Kelly led the team in goals scored for the second year in a row with 16 and Shane carried the load in net logging nearly 1100 minutes while recording a .905 save percentage.  Prospects are bright for next year as the team graduates only six seniors and will benefit from the return of 15 letter winners.

-I would like to ask the individual award winners within the program to stand and remain standing after I read their names.

Most Valuable Player Award – Jacob Zaranek ‘17
Most Improved Player Award – Danny Kissane ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Cam Ward ‘17

Daniel D. Carpenter Most Valuable Player Award – Shane Mason ‘16
Most Improved Player Award – Sam Milnes ‘18
Sportsmanship Award – Steven Gower ‘17

Girls Basketball:
– This winter was another very successful season for our girls’ basketball program. The JV squad had a competitive season under Coaches Schneider, Garcia, Thompson and Mahoney (big staff! finishing with an 8-11 record.  Highlights included an exciting two point victory over Suffield and winning three of their last four games.
– Varsity Girls Basketball, under Coaches Rodgers and Whipple faced a big rebuilding job after losing a number of four year veterans.   With only three seniors on this year’s roster, the team had a terrific season going toe to toe with the finest teams in Western New England to finish with a 14-7 record.    There were plenty of highlights during the season including finishing runner-up at the Ray Brown tournament in December, a terrific 41-36 comeback victory over Wilbraham and Monson and great road victories over Deerfield and Kent.  Arguably, the biggest highlight took place late in the season when the girls knocked off another strong tournament bound Pomfret squad at home 54-44.   The team’s excellent season earned them a #8 seed in the Class B Tournament where they lost to eventual champion Tilton.
– For their outstanding play during the season, junior Sarah Marion and freshman Sarah Sullivan both were named NEPSAC all stars.

– I would like to ask the individual award winners within the program to stand and remain standing after I read their names.

Most Valuable Player Award – Julia Farnham ‘20
Most Improved Player Award – Isabelle Cheney ‘20
Sportsmanship Award – Erin Daley ‘19, Fuka Iwama ‘18

Most Valuable Player Award – Olivia Bonavita ‘17
Most Improved Player Award – Fiona Bundy ‘17
Sportsmanship Award – Rylee Leonard ‘16

Girls Hockey:
-The JV team, led by Coaches Ward and Valine, enjoyed an excellent season finishing with a 10-3-1 record.   Highlights included shutout victories over Choate and Berkshire and decisive road victories at Hotchkiss and Loomis Chaffee.
-Varsity Girls ice hockey enjoyed another truly remarkable season under the leadership of Coaches Christa TalbotSyfu, Alex Tancrell-Fontaine and Andrew Syfu finishing with an outstanding record of 21 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie.   The team’s 21 wins sets a new school record for the second year in a row improving on last year’s record of 20 wins.    The team was led by a special group of 8 seniors who left their mark at Williston with a combined record the last four years of 71-14-9.   To say that the team played outstanding defense during the regular season would be an understatement as they gave up a total of 16 goals in 24 games if my math is correct that is .66 goals a game!  This stingy defense included 14 shutouts led by senior goaltender Morgan Fisher.    Highlights of their special season included three terrific road wins – beating Westminster at their rink for the first time in 13 years, an exciting 2-1 overtime victory at Choate and a terrific 5-3 victory over an excellent Loomis Chaffee team.  The team also counts amongst its highlights raising $1800 in their Pink in the Rink victory over KUA.   The girls also had a great deal of success in both of their holiday tournaments finishing runner up at the Harrington Tournament and winning the Winchendon Tournament for the second year in a row.   The team’s outstanding regular season earned them the #2 seed in the Division 1 tournament.   In the quarterfinals, the girls beat Milton 3-1 before a heartbreaking loss to Loomis in the semifinals.
-In recognition of their outstanding seasons, seniors Delaney Belinskas, Morgan Fisher and Rachel Rockwell were all named to the prestigious six member All New England First Team.  Fellow senior Meg Rickard earned Second Team honors.   Delaney finished her terrific career at Williston by becoming only the 5th girl in our school’s history to surpass the 100 point milestone.  She finished with 105 points.  I would like to ask Delaney to come forward to accept a small token of this great accomplishment.

– I would like to ask the individual award winners within the JV program to stand and be recognized.

Most Valuable Player Award – Sophia Schaefer ‘18 – second year in a row
Most Improved Player Award – Kira Bixby ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Morgan Fogleman ’16 – second year in a row

No awards yet since they have not had their Banquet night yet.

Boys Basketball:
– On the lower levels, the JV, 3rds and 4ths teams all competed well throughout their seasons.  The biggest highlights of the Cullen and Ketcham led JV season were back to back wins over Salisbury and MacDuffie.  The Thirds team rebounded from an 0-3 start to finish at 8-4 with thrilling victories over Loomis, Deerfield and Winchendon as highlights.  Coaches Joshua Harper and Bryan Malinowski led the 4ths team to a season for the ages sweeping through its 8 game season undefeated.  Undefeated season are very rare!  Could I ask the Mighty Fourths Basketball team to stand so we can recognize their special season?

– Under the leadership of Coaches Shelton, Garrity and Lapolla, the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team enjoyed another outstanding season with a record of 23-5 including going 17-2 in Class A.  The 23 wins ties the record set last year for the most in school history.  The team played proficient on both ends of the court allowing 48 points a game while scoring an average of 65.   While there were many other great wins during this terrific season, here are a few that stood out: sweeping both Loomis and Deerfield, a thrilling comeback road win at Avon Old Farms, avenging an early season road loss to Andover with a convincing win at home and, of course, sweeping our friendly rival from Suffield, Connecticut in all three of our games.

– The team’s outstanding season earned them the #2 seed in the Class A tournament where it earned the opportunity to host two games here at Williston – in the quarterfinals we beat a tough Hotchkiss squad 57-49 and in the semifinals we beat rival Suffield 62-51.  In a thrilling championship game held at Rhode Island College the boys defeated the top seeded Phillips Exeter Academy 56-53 to repeat as Class A champions.   Senior Jake Ross was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.   Could I ask the team to ALL stand so we can congratulate them on this fantastic season…

Could I also ask the captains of the team to come forward to make a presentation?

For their outstanding play during the season, a number of boys garnered postseason recognition on the All New England Class A team.  Senior Chris Hudson earned Second Team honors while Sam Geschickter made the Third team.  Earning Honorable Mention were fellow seniors Kyle Doucette, Jamaal David, Jake Ross and Matt Folger.

– I would like to ask the individual award winners within the program to stand and be recognized:

Most Valuable Player Award – Chris Barber ‘21
Most Improved Player Award – Isi Donnelly ‘21
Sportsmanship Award – Ethan Nestelbaum ’21, George Spence ‘21

Most Valuable Player Award – Noah Clack ’18
Most Improved Player Award – Adam Johndrow ‘19
Sportsmanship Award – Nick Barber ’19, Jessup Goldberg Cook ‘20

Most Valuable Player Award – Eni Ikuku ‘17
Most Improved Player Award – Zach Bernstein ‘16
Sportsmanship Award – Eric Chen ’16 – second year in a row

Most Valuable Player Award – Chris Hudson ‘16
Most Improved Player Award – Matt Folger ‘16
Sportsmanship Award – Kyle Doucette ‘16

And finally…..

Boys and Girls Swimming and Diving
– The 25 member boys swim team finished their dual meet season with a 6-6 record including impressive wins over NMH, Westminster, and Worcester.   At the NEPSAC Championships, held at Rhode Island College, the boys swam very well finishing in a respectable 5th place.
– A number of boys distinguished themselves with excellent performances at the championships:
– The 400 Freestyle Relay team of Calvin Frye, Jason Albanese, Chris Lansill and David Fitch placed third.
– Senior Calvin Frye placed 3rd in the 100 freestyle and 5th in the 50 freestyle.
– The 200 Freestyle Relay team of Calvin Frye, Mark Wei, Chris Lansill, and David Fitch won a NEPSAC title.  Could I ask these four boys to stand so we can congratulate them on being NEPSAC champions?
– Finally, junior David Fitch finished an outstanding swim season by winning NEPSAC titles in both the 50 Freestyle and the 100 freestyle.   This capped off a spectacular season for David in which he set school records in three events: the 50 freestyle, the 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.  The school records he broke in the 50 and 100 were over 30 years old!   David’s time in the 100 freestyle qualifies him for All American consideration.   Could I ask David to come forward so I can present him with this memento of his record setting season?
The Girls Swim team had an exceptionally strong dual meet season finishing with an 8-3 record including convincing wins over NMH, Kingswood Oxford, St. George’s and Kent.  This momentum carried into the postseason as the girls saved their best swims for the biggest meet of the year, the NEPSAC championships, in what Coach K called “an incredible performance”.  Here is a list of the girls who distinguished themselves:
– Junior Emily Yeager finished 3rd in the 100 backstroke.
– Junior Natalie Aquadro finished second in the 100 breaststroke and 3rd in the 200 IM.
– Sophomore Anabelle Farnham placed second in both the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle.
– The 200 Medley Relay team of Sally Alrutz, Natalie Aquadro, Maya Soley, and Annabelle Farnham became NEPSAC champions when they set a new school and NEPSAC record.  Could I ask these girls to stand so we can congratulate them!!!
– The 400 Freestyle Relay team of Sally Alrutz, Emily Yeager, Natalie Aquadro, and Anabelle Farnham also set a new school record on their way to becoming NEPSAC champions.  Could I ask these girls to stand so we can congratulate them!!!
Additionally, we had three young ladies who won individual titles:
– Sophomore Maya Soley won a NEPSAC title in the 500 freestyle.  Please stand Maya!!!
– Junior diver Gabby Mercier had a tremendous season culminating with a NEPSAC title in the 1-Meter diving event while setting a new school record.  Gabby, would you please come forward so we can recognize your record breaking season?
– And finally….freshman Sally Alrutz won a NEPSAC title in the 100 backstroke, placed 2nd in the 100 butterfly, and led off the 400 freestyle relay breaking a 15 year old record in the 100 freestyle.   Sally also set a school record in the 200 IM at the Bud Erich championships.  Sally, can you please come forward so we can recognize your record breaking season as well?
As I believe you all know now, these terrific performances resulted in our girls team winning the first NEPSAC girls swimming and diving championship in our school’s history!  Could I ask ALL the members of the girls swimming and diving team to stand so we can recognize them?
Could I ask the team captains to come forward to make a presentation?
Award winners and captains will be announced at their upcoming Banquet Night.

While all of this great success is certainly something to be proud of, I remain most proud of the way our teams compete and represent Williston.