All posts by dcrommett

Williston Student Duncan LeXander Signs to Presbyterian College

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

Earth Day 5K Winners


We raised $133 in donations for our Sustainable Life Club/Community Garden at the Earth Day 5K on Sunday!

The winners are:

Most Participation by Dorm: John Wright
Most Participation by Grade: Juniors
Top Runner from each dorm:
194:  Insoo Kang (Mountain Bike)
JW:  Kassandra Orcutt
Ford:  Mr. Shelffo
Conant: Billy Ashenden
Hathaway: Mr. Rivers
Mem W: Ms. Evelti
Top Runner from each Grade:
Female 12:  N/A
Male 12: JJ Celentano
Female 11: Molly Zawacki
Male 11: Nick Hill* (Overall Winner, running the 5K in 18:30)
Female 10:  Sophia Schaeffer (incorrectly announced at Assembly as Maya Soley, but Maya did a great job too!)
Male 10:  N/A
Female 9: Dora Gordon and Kasandra Orcutt
Male 9:  N/A

Top Staff:
Female:  Ms. O’Connor, Director of Security
Male:  Mr. Pelliccia, Science Faculty
Top Relay Team: Ms. TalbotSyfu, Nate Gordon, Caroline Borden

Congratulations to all the runners and participants at this fun day on Galbraith. Go Wildcats!

(Results and photo courtesy Mr. Spearing)


Historic Day for Williston Swimmers


The girls swim team traveled to Rhode Island over the weekend and captured their first NEPSAC title in team history, scoring a record 431 points on route to a convincing victory over two-time defending champion Dana Hall.  Each and every member of the team recorded personal best times on the weekend and the atmosphere was electric.  The meet opened with the 200 Medley Relay team of Sally Alrutz, Natalie Aquadro, Maya Soley, and Anabelle Farnham setting the pace with a win in a new meet and school record time of 1:52.13.  In the second event of the meet, the 200 Freestyle, Anabelle Farnham and Emily Yeager swam to a second and a fourth place finish respectively and the team was in a great position after the first two events.  Natalie Aquadro picked up a bronze medal in the 200 IM, making it three years in a row that she had made the podium in this event.  The 50 freestyle saw ninth grader Annika Johnson emerge as a top sprinter, finishing a strong 4th place with the 16th fastest time in school history.  The diving event was held on Wednesday, but the points were added on Saturday night, as the divers put together a 1,4,6 finish including a school and meet record performance by Gabrielle Mercier scoring 455.45 and qualifying for All-American Consideration.  Sally Alrutz, Maya Soley, and Jasmin Movassaghi followed up in the 100 fly with a 2,7,8 finish and the Wildcats had taken the lead.  Tenth grader Anabelle Farnham then swam to a second place finish in the 100 freestyle with the fourth fastest time in school history.   The race of the night, however, came in the longest event of the meet, the 500 freestyle.  Trailing at the midway point, tenth grader Maya Soley overtook the defending champion in the event down the stretch to win her first individual NEPSAC title after dropping her best time over 10 seconds to finish with a winning time of 5:24.96.  The team of Annika Johnson, Jasmin Movassaghi, Emily Yeager, and Maya Soley then put together a 2nd place finish in the 200 Freestyle Relay.  As the meet was drawing to a close and the result still in doubt, the final events were riveting.  Ninth grader Sally Alrutz won her third individual NEPSAC title winning the 100 backstroke, followed by a strong 10th place finish by senior Leeanna Albanese.  The breaststrokers then took over to seal the victory for the Wildcats.  Natalie Aquadro led the way with a second place finish marking the fourth year in a row she has finished either first or second in this event.  She was followed by Sabrina Liew in 8th and Skylar Nieman in 10th place and their 35 combined points put the meet out of reach for the rest of the schools.  The final event of the night saw the team of Sally Alrutz, Emily Yeager, Natalie Aquadro, and Anabelle Farnham convincingly win the 400 freestyle relay in a school record time of 3:40.59 to close out an incredible night of swimming.

The boys swimmers had plenty of highlights on the night as they swam to a 5th place finish in a very competitive meet.  Junior David Fitch was named the Babcock Award winner as the Outstanding Performer of the meet as he put together school and meet record performances in the 50 Freestyle (21.10) and 100 Freestyle (46.88).  Fitch’s time in the 100 Freestyle qualifies him for All-American consideration.  The 200 Freestyle Relay team of Calvin Frye, Chris Lansill, Mark Wei, and David Fitch took home the NEPSAC title in thrilling fashion as Fitch entered the water in third place and anchored the relay in a blistering 20.40 seconds, the fastest relay split in team history.  The 400 Freestyle Relay team of Calvin Frye, Jason Albanese, Chris Lansill, and David Fitch also made the podium with an impressive third place finish.  Every boy on the team scored points and swam great as the team looks to build on a strong performance heading into the offseason.

– David Koritkoski

New Premier League and Coach for Williston Northampton Football

EASTHAMPTON, MA February 12, 2016 – The Williston Northampton School announced today that its football team will compete next fall in the NEPSAC Division A Erickson League, and will be led by a new head coach.

The Erickson League, one of the premier stages for New England preparatory school football, consists of Avon Old Farms, Hotchkiss, Taft, Trinity Pawling, Brunswick, Salisbury, and Kent. Williston had played in the Division B Colonial League from 2004 until the league disbanded in 2014. “Choosing to join the Erickson League was seizing an opportunity to provide stability for our schedule while aligning ourselves with schools that share our commitment to both football and independent school education,” explained Williston Director of Athletics Mark Conroy.

In addition, Mr. Conroy, the school’s head football coach for the past 16 years, will be stepping down from that position next fall. Under his leadership, the Wildcats posted a 84-47 record, and earned three prep bowl appearances, most recently in 2014, when the team lost 35-34 to Lawrence Academy. Mr. Conroy will continue in his role as the school’s Director of Athletics.

Taking the helm as head football coach is Tom Beaton, who for the past six seasons served as Assistant Coach at Tufts University, working most recently as the recruiting coordinator and coaching running backs and slot receivers. A 2010 graduate of Bates College, Mr. Beaton was a captain and an All-NESCAC selection in both football and baseball. He received his Master’s Degree in Education at Tufts. Originally from West Newbury, Massachusetts, he and his wife Robyn will reside on campus. “I am beyond excited to be offered the position of head football coach at the Williston Northampton School,” Mr. Beaton said. “To be a part of the Williston community and to be associated with such a first-class, prestigious school is something I have always dreamed of.”

“Williston was very fortunate to attract a deep and talented pool of applicants for the job of head football coach,” Mr. Conroy said. “We are absolutely thrilled that Tom Beaton has accepted our offer. He is widely regarded in New England college coaching circles as a tremendous young coach. We are confident that he will be an outstanding role model for our athletes, while providing exceptional leadership for our program.”

The Williston Northampton School is a coeducational boarding and day school for students in seventh grade through post-graduate year. The 125-acre campus offers a challenging learning environment with a rich academic curriculum, leadership opportunities, and a full range of extra-curricular activities in the arts and athletics. Located in the heart of the Pioneer Valley, the school is within a 15-mile radius of Amherst, Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts. Williston’s community of over 500 students provides a diverse and culturally rich educational experience for students.

Caroline Wysocki Signs with the University of New Hampshire


Caroline Wysocki had done her share of traveling as a member of her elite U-18 club soccer team, the FC Stars of Massachusetts, so when it came time to look at colleges, the Agawam senior and honor student wanted to find a school close to home. Her parents couldn’t fault her reasoning, mom Colleen recalls: “She said, ‘If I’m going to be playing soccer for the next four years, I want you all to be able to come and watch me play.’ ”

No doubt they will. Colleen and her husband, Bill, will have to travel only as far as Durham, NH, for their daughter’s home games at the University of New Hampshire next fall. Caroline signed a national letter of intent to play for the Division 1 school in a ceremony Wednesday in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center. As a bonus, her parents can still say their daughter is a Wildcat.

And one that will not soon be forgotten at Williston. “Caroline is one of the best overall athletes that I’ve ever coached,” says soccer coach Jen Fulcher. “She can be dangerous anywhere on the field. We put her up front, and she came up with numerous big goals, numerous game-winning goals, and was a threat from start to finish in every game.”

Indeed, Ms. Wysocki broke the Williston school record for most goals per game in a season, netting 15 in 16 games. That season total is also the second highest in school history.

Such success reflects a work ethic that impresses even her parents. “There were many nights when she would come home after sports practice at Williston,” her mother recalls, “and then go to Lancaster where her club team plays. You’ve got to be a pretty driven kid to be able to come home, sometimes at 10 or 10:30 at night, and then do your homework. I don’t think every kid could handle that, but she was able to. And she still made the honor roll.”

“I love to compete,” says Caroline, who was also recruited to play lacrosse. “And to create friendships with teammates and coaches that are like nothing else. Facing adversity can be difficult, but the positive energy from other people on my team keeps me going.”

One teammate she will miss is Emily MacDonald, who also signed a letter of intent Wednesday with Assumption College. The two have been playing together since they were 9 years old and together formed the core of a Wildcat team that will be hard to replace, says their coach.

Caroline and Emily “represent four-year impact players, both as people and as leaders—they were both captains of the team—and will certainly go down as two of the best players to play here,” Ms. Fulcher says. “They are the perfect balance of talent, personality, and leadership, and making everyone around them better.”

Caroline will be joining a UNH team coached by Steve Welham, who took over the program in 2014. Colleen said her daughter connected with Mr. Welham from their first meeting. “He was so enthusiastic about taking over the program, his vision going forward, and that was definitely another draw,” she says.

The Wysockis, both public school teachers, credit Williston with helping make their daughter’s next step possible. “Williston challenged her, athletically and academically, to a level she would not have experienced elsewhere,” says Colleen. “We cannot say enough about it. For us, it was a privilege to be able to have our daughter go there.”

View photos from the signing ceremony on Williston’s Flickr site.

Aaron James signs with the University of Virginia


As one of the top-rated U-18 club soccer players in the country, Williston senior Aaron James has traveled extensively with his New England Revolution Academy club and trained with candidates for the U. S. National Team. Still, he says, “Playing under the lights on Sawyer Field are some of my favorite memories. Getting to play in front of friends and community is always exciting.”

Now the Amherst, MA, forward will get the chance to play before the fans at the University of Virginia, a Division 1 soccer powerhouse that won its most recent NCAA championship in 2014. He signed his national letter of intent to play with the Cavaliers Wednesday at a signing ceremony in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center.

Aaron played his freshman and sophomore years as a Wildcat “before receiving a very rare waiver to pursue soccer on this elite national level team,” explains Mark Conroy, Williston’s Director of Athletics. (U.S. Soccer requirements prevented him from continuing with his high school team.) In his time with Williston, notes assistant coach Andrew Syfu, “Aaron made an immediate impact and started on a team that earned a number eight seed in the New England Tournament his freshman year. He was one of two freshman that started and played significant minutes on a senior-heavy team. His sophomore year he played a much more prominent role and was the focus of our offense. He scored 5 goals his sophomore year and 3 goals as a freshman.” That year, he was one of just two sophomores named to the Western New England Prep School Soccer Association all-star team. More recently, Top Drawer Soccer rated him the number 2 club player in the Northeast region and the number 15 club forward in the country.

But he still appreciates his time as a Wildcat. “Playing for Williston was at times challenging because we always played a tough schedule,” Aaron recalls. “However, I enjoyed it and it enhanced my skills as both a leader and competitor.”

As a member of the Revolution Academy club team, Aaron “made 33 appearances, including 21 starts on the season, tallying four goals and eight assists,” the club reports. “He appeared 13 times for the Under-16 team, scoring once and adding five assists, while he also appeared 20 times for the Under-18s, where he notched three goals and three assists.”

At Virginia, he’ll be joining a program that has qualified for the NCAA Division 1 championship tournament a record 35 years in a row. “He’s really excited about Virginia, and so are we,” said his mother Lara, who with his father David attended the signing. “Obviously we are immensely proud of him and all the hard work he has put in. He’s a hard-working kid.”

Before joining the Revolution Academy, Aaron lived with his family in the Washington, D.C., area and played with D.C. United’s Under-14 team. He also served as captain of D.C. Stoddert’s U-13 team. With his decision to attend Virginia, he’ll be returning to the soccer-friendly mid-Atlantic, but taking some of New England with him.

“Williston has had a profound impact not only on me as a player but also on me as an individual,” Aaron says. “It has been a place where I’ve been able to grow and I’m keen to bring these traits I’ve learned with me to the University of Virginia.”

View photos from the signing ceremony on Williston’s Flickr site.

Emily MacDonald Signs With Assumption


From her sweeper position in the soccer backfield, Emily MacDonald always had a panoramic view of her Williston teammates as they battled their opponents downfield. That perspective may have been a key to her remarkable success. “Something that has always inspired me and keeps me going no matter what the situation might be,” says the senior honor student and team captain from Ludlow, “is seeing other people want something just as bad as you do, or seeing someone working their butt off, which kind of lights the fire for me.”

On Wednesday, however, in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center, all eyes were on Ms. MacDonald, as she signed a national letter of intent to continue her soccer career at Division 2 Assumption College in Worcester.

Among those present was her coach, Jen Fulcher, who did her own share of admiring when Ms. MacDonald was on the field. “Emily is just a beautiful soccer player to watch,” she says. “Much of what she does is so difficult, and she makes it look so easy. We gave up fewer goals this season than we have ever given up. We broke the school record. That is clearly a team effort, but Emily was central to that.”

The previous Williston record was set in 1997, when the Wildcats allowed 12 goals. This year the team gave up a miserly 8 goals over the course of 15 games, and also recorded a record 10 shutouts.

Ms. Macdonald will be joining an Assumption team led by head coach Kevin Meek that finished 10-8-1 last year. Ms. Fulcher says Assumption may move MacDonald to a forward position, which is where she plays for her Elite Clubs National League team, FC FSA. “I really believe she could play anywhere on the field,” Ms. Fulcher says. “She’s one of the most talented kids we’ve ever had when it comes to controlling the ball.”

Emily’s parents, Melissa Kudla and Kurt MacDonald, are looking forward to their daughter’s college career. “We cannot wait to see her play at Assumption,” says her mother. “It will be a very exciting and memorable moment for her when she steps on the field in Worcester for the first time. It hasn’t always been easy—long car rides, a lot of travel, missing events at school—but she has really persevered and remained constant in her goal to play in college.”

 And when she does take the field, she’ll be bringing the memories of her Williston success with her. “Playing soccer at Williston for four years has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined,” she says. “I will always appreciate the support that the girls soccer team was given by the school and I will never forget the amazing memories that the team has given me to remember for the rest of my life.”

View photos from the signing ceremony on Williston’s Flickr site.

Nick Garofano Signs with Army West Point


Nick Garofano was originally recruited by Williston to play hockey. As a football running back, however, he eventually would rush for more yards and score more points than any player in school history. So what Division 1 sport will the Yorktown Heights, NY, senior be playing next year at the U.S. Military Academy?

Lacrosse, of course.

Mr. Garofano, a three-sport athlete and four-year honor student, signed his national letter of intent with Army West Point Wednesday in a ceremony in the Dodge Room of the Reed Campus Center. He’ll be joining a Black Knights lacrosse team coached by Joe Alberici that reached the Patriot League championship game last year and took the league title in 2010. “On his visit to West Point, he just fell in love with the whole place,” recalls his father, Ralph. “The coaches were just awesome and stayed in touch with him.”

In his three seasons of lacrosse at Williston, Mr. Garofano has scored a total of 77 goals with 69 assists. He was named 1st team All WNESSLA Division 2 after his sophomore season and his junior season, and he was selected as the William LaBelle Offensive player of the year for WNESSLA Division 2 after his junior season. As a player, he has stood out for his athleticism, his strength, and his determination, says his coach Christopher Dietrich. “He’s faster than most of the people who try to cover him. He’s got a really strong shot. He’s just a relentless competitor.”

That same competitive fire also came to serve him well in school, once Nick arrived at Williston, says his father. “He just jumped on board and became very intense in the classroom,” he recalls. “I don’t know if he would have been able to go to an Ivy League-type school or a West Point and be prepared in the classroom without going to Williston. I know he wouldn’t.” Adds his mother, Anna, “His determination and perseverance have made him a well-rounded young man. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

For his part, Nick credits Williston with providing him with a challenging but supportive environment. “What is so special about the program is that my coaches and teammates all want to see me succeed and pushed me to the best of my abilities, something that is very important to me,” he says. At the same time, says his father, Nick always pushed himself. “He woke up in the morning and went to the gym, always watches what he eats, lifts like a maniac,” he says. “He works hard.”

As dedicated as he is to lacrosse, Nick is not ruling out continuing his football career at West Point. That would not surprise his Williston coaches. “There is no question in my mind that Nick would be a tremendous college football player,” says Mark Conroy, Williston’s director of athletics and head football coach. “He is the finest running back I have had the privilege of coaching during my career.”

Whatever he ends up pursuing, Nick is sure to approach it with that same determination that helped him set athletic records at Williston, say his coaches. As an example, Mr. Dietrich recalled a lacrosse game last year against Taft. “The boy who was covering Nick was a senior, a very, very good defensemen. Nick has a competitive fire. When he is playing against someone who is supposed to be better than him, who is supposed to shut him down, those often are his best individual performances. We won that game 9 to 8.”

As for Nick, he had 5 goals and 3 assists.

View photos from the signing ceremony on Williston’s Flickr site.