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.
It’s hard to miss Xavier Thibault. Even on the football field, where identities can blend into a huddle of helmets and pads, Xavier, at 6’5” and 240 pounds, stands out high above the rest.
“His effort is relentless and infectious to everyone on the field,” said Jacob Rivers, Williston’s Co-Defensive Coordinator. “When you see a guy like that giving 100 percent on every play, you know what’s expected of you and that anything less is unacceptable.”
Aside from a stint in 7th grade when he was “short and skinny and couldn’t tackle,” Xavier quickly grew into a formidable force at at defensive end, a position he’s played since beginning his football career in 4th grade in his hometown of Quebec City, Canada. Continue reading →
The newest face on the girls’ varsity soccer team, Marielle McEnaney, has been lighting up the field. Marielle, an 18-year-old post graduate, has only been at Williston for three weeks, and has had a positive impact on her fellow athletes and students.
Marielle decided to do a PG year because she got injured while she was a junior at Nausea Regional High School in Orleans, Cape Cod. She wanted another year to get stronger so she could play in college.
“I want to play soccer at the collegiate level and be successful there,” Marielle said.
Her teammates and coach have the highest praise for her play.
“She has really great speed which makes her a great outside midfielder since she is able to beat people up and down the side line,” Madison Fulcher-Melendy ’18, one of the two captains of Girls Varsity Soccer, said. “She is also really great in the air which has proven to be an asset all over the field.” Continue reading →
In a sport where so many of his plays could end up on highlight reels, Michael Dereus’ selflessness, his resistance to reflect on his talent and accomplishments, can seem almost comical.
Dereus, a sophomore wide receiver at Georgetown, was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year his freshman year on the Hoyas. He said he was “unsure” but he “may have been in contention” for a larger, nationwide rookie award, but admitted, “I don’t really remember.”
“Awards are nice,” Dereus, 20, said, “but I just worry about getting better as a person and on the football team.”
This spirit of generosity is something Dereus said he grew up with, and something he carried from a childhood in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, to Another Course to College (ACC), his charter high school, and eventually to Williston, where he entered as a junior, and from where he graduated in 2016. Continue reading →
Ed. note: This story originally ran in The Willistonain. It was written by Staff Writer Oskar Lee ’18.
In a rare move, Duncan LeXander, rising basketball star, turned down a college scholarship and returned to Williston as a postgraduate.
Duncan signed his letter of intent to play at Presbyterian in South Carolina on November 16, 2016. In May he graduated from Williston. On June 29, 2017, he announced on Twitter that he had de-committed from Presbyterian.
“After careful consideration, and talking with my family, coaches, and those closest to me, I have decided to de-commit and ask my release from Presbyterian College,” he wrote. He went on to thank everyone for their understanding and ended by thanking former Presbyterian Coach Gregg Nibert for recruiting him. Coach Nibert resigned on April 12th after 28 seasons.
Duncan then played for his summer league team. Team Magic Elite, in Memphis for two-and-a-half months in tournaments throughout the United States such as Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Kansas City. Continue reading →
When Madison Fulcher-Melendy scored a header goal on the Northampton Hornets, her teammate, fellow third-grader Fiona Bundy, was right there cheering her on.
“I thought it was so cool,” said Fiona.
“That was probably the highlight of my career,” Madison jokingly added.
They have come a long way since then, but Fiona and Madison are still fans of each other, and still playing on the same teams. They’ve had plenty of on-field time to foster that friendship: When they stepped onto the soccer field for this year’s pre-season workouts, it marked the fourth year running playing on Williston’s varsity squad together under the coaching of Jen Fulcher (Madison’s mom). Continue reading →
The following story, offering a preview of the 2017-18 football season, ran in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on September 14, 2017:
By MARK DUNPHY For the Gazette
Thursday, September 14, 2017
EASTHAMPTON—The Dr. Frank L. Boyden Award sits in a trophy case just outside the Williston Northampton football team’s weight room. Coach Tom Beaton has no intention of moving it.
The award is presented by the National Football Foundation to the top prep school student-athlete in western Massachusetts for excellence on the football field and in the classroom. The last six names carved into the award are all Williston players, and Beaton said he knows a 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end with a great shot at making that number seven.
Xavier Thibault arrived on Williston’s leafy Easthampton campus via Quebec City and the senior captain and honor student isn’t feeling any additional pressure because of the college coaches who will be watching this season.
Athletic Director Mark Conroy presented the Athletic Awards during the spring athletic assembly on May 26. The program recognized the individual spring teams that finished their seasons and honored the Class of 2017’s participation in the athletic program. A slideshow celebrated a year in Wildcat Athletics.
See photos of the assembly here. And watch a video made by student Soma Mizobuchi ’17 that summarizes track and field life at Williston!
A small handful of Williston students rode this spring at Fuller Horse Farm in Westhampton under the guidance of Laura Etzel. The team was led by senior veteran rider Alex Foster. According to Laura, these athletes showed great determination and dedication in working towards achieving their individual riding and horsemanship goals. Continue reading →