Williston’s two most prestigious senior athletic awards, the George Denman Bowl for boys and the Alumnae Bowl for girls, were awarded to five Williston seniors at the conclusion of last Friday’s athletic ceremony. The prizes are awarded to seniors whose contribution to the athletic program have been characterized by exceptional achievement, faithful participation, and loyal devotion to the best interests of the school.
This year’s Denman Award was shared by three exceptional senior boys. Michael Dereus was the first mentioned recipient. He has been a terrific two-sport athlete during his two years at Williston. During the fall, Dereus was an outstanding receiver for the Varsity Football team, averaging over 20 yards per catch, while totaling a school record of 19 touchdown receptions in the past two years. He was named all-league both years and All-New England as a senior. During the spring season, Mike brought his great speed and athleticism to the track and field program where he captained the team. He was undefeated in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, breaking the school records in both events. At the NEPSAC championships, he was named the Most Outstanding Male Competitor of the meet. He is regarding by his coaches as a tremendous team player, whose work ethic and self-less approach made him a exceptional young man to coach.
Jake Ross, the second recipient of the Denman Award, had an equally accomplished two years at Williston, impacting three programs. In the fall, Ross led the Varsity Football team with 45 receptions and set a school record of 844 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named to the all-league team while sharing the Offensive MVP award with Dereus. During the winter, he captained the Wildcat’s basketball team the past two years, leading his teammates to two consecutive NEPSAC Class A championships. He was named to the All-New England 2nd Team as a junior and the Most Outstanding player of the NEPSAC tournament this past winter. In the spring, Jake captained the Lacrosse squad while earning all league honors during both his junior and senior years. He is regarded by his coaches as a tremendous competitor who always played his best in the biggest games.
Nick Garofano, the third recipient of the Denman Award, had a tremendous four-year career at Williston, where he earned 10 varsity letters. During the fall, he had an exceptional football career, captaining the Wildcats as a senior and rewriting the school record books as a running back, setting a single-season and career scoring and rushing records. In the winter, Garofano earned two letters playing defense in hockey. During the spring, Nick’s list of accomplishments speak for themselves: team captain, four time all-league, league offensive play of the year as a junior, career assists leader, and the first All-American in our school’s history for Boys Lacrosse. A tremendous competitor, he was regarding by his coaches as a young man who also played his best in the biggest games.
The Alumnae Bowl was also shared by two girls who won 12 varsity letters during their four years at Williston. Delaney Belinskas, the first recipient of this prestigious award, certainly has left her mark on Williston athletics. In the fall, she captained the Varsity Field Hockey team, leading her teammates to their first NEPSAC championship. Her clutch play throughout the season and postseason was instrumental to the team’s success. True to form, she scored the winning goal in the 4th overtime to help the Wildcats clinch the championship! During the winter, Belinskas was a critical contributor to the most successful girls hockey era in the history of our school. One of the top forwards in New England, she was named to the prestigious All-NEPSAC Second Team as a junior and First Team as a senior while scoring over a 100 points. During the spring, Delaney excelled as an All-League shortstop, leading the Wildcats to three consecutive Class A tournament berths, including first championship this spring. Beyond her outstanding accomplishments, she is widely considered by her coaches as a fierce competitor and a loyal and gracious teammate.
Rachel Rockwell, the second recipient of the Alumnae Award, also left her mark during her four years at Williston. In the fall, she ran cross country, earning MVP as a sophomore and captaining the team her final two years. During the winter, Rockwell also made the Ice Hockey All-NEPSAC team both as a junior and as a senior. An outstanding defenseman, she was part of a Wildcat team that gave up only 36 goals in 49 games the past two years. During the spring, Rachel captained the Girls Track and Field team and became one of the most versatile track and field athletes in Western New England Division II track. During the past four years, she scored points in four different events at the NEPSAC championships, including winning the javelin as a sophomore. As a senior, she broke the 100-meter hurdles record that was set in 1991! Beyond her significant achievement in our program, she is widely considered by all of her coaches a selfless teammate, a tireless competitor, and a wonderful ambassador of our athletic program.