“We were tied with less than a minute left and I had a free position shot,” recalled Karly Simpson ’13 of a home game against Suffield she played in as a seventh grader. “At the time I didn’t think it was a lot of pressure, but I did my little bounce shot, and it went in and it was crazy.”
The South Hadley native has been playing lacrosse since third grade and this is still Ms. Simpson’s favorite lacrosse memory. She was a member of the varsity team at the time, a very rare achievement for a seventh grader. “Karly was one of the best skilled kids out there right from the start…and grew to be one of our top players pretty quickly,” explained Jen Fulcher, the head girls varsity lacrosse coach.
This year Ms. Simpson co-captained the girls varsity lacrosse team to an undefeated season (15-0), Ms. Simpson was named both All-American and Academic All-American by U.S. Lacrosse. In addition, with her fellow co-captain, Amanda Cronin ’13, Ms. Simpson was awarded the Alumnae Bowl, a Williston Northampton award for the highest achieving female athlete.
“I’ve always strived for those two things, All-American and Academic All-American,” said Ms. Simpson. She said these honors meant even more to her after an undefeated season because, “it shows…[lacrosse] is a team sport.”
A Six-Year Lacrosse Legacy
“The neat thing about Karly is that as good as she was when she started, she just kept getting better and better, and that’s a really exciting athlete to coach,” said Coach Fulcher.
“Karly has that way of leading while making the people around her better,” said Coach Fulcher, “good athletes are very good themselves, great athletes make everyone around them better at the same time.”
Since Ms. Simpson joined the team, the girls varsity lacrosse program has held an impressive record of 72-3 with three undefeated seasons, Coach Fulcher said. For her part, Ms. Simpson says she learned a lot from the players who came before her. They taught her that, “the tight situations, like the game against Suffield, are the ones that matter,” she said.
In this spirit, with the help of her teammates, Ms. Simpson dominated in her senior year. She led the team in goals, assists, ground balls, and draw controls.
“You’re going to have more of a desire to get [the ball] back because you’re not just feeding it to one person, everyone is a part of the game,” said Ms. Simpson of her team-first mentality.
Ms. Simpson’s dominance does not stop when she steps off the lacrosse field. This year, at Williston Northampton’s 172nd Commencement, Ms. Simpson was recognized four times for her achievements at the school.
During the ceremony, Ms. Simpson, along with 10 of her classmates, was inducted into the Williston Northampton chapter of the Cum Laude Society. In the Academic Prize Assembly earlier that week, she was also awarded the Tim Wallace, Class of 1962 Prize, which is given to that senior, “who gets much from the school because he or she puts much in” and the Edward M. Lawton, Jr. Prize for Classical Greece.
“There’s never a stumble with Karly, she is so consistently high achieving and it’s because of the work,” said Mrs. Conroy.
“I have seen her grow from the little freshman to one of the leaders of the team,” said Monique Conroy, Ms. Simpson’s advisor and soccer coach. She added that Ms. Simpson is at her best when sharing the spotlight with her team.
Ms. Simpson says she particularly enjoys classical language translation, and she has worked with Latin teacher Beatrice Cody for the past four years. In her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, Ms. Simpson won the Lincoln D. Granniss Prize given by the Class of 1953. The prize is, “awarded for scholastic achievement and earnest, intelligent participation in the Latin courses.”
For her senior year Ms. Simpson embarked on a three trimester directed study under the tutelage of Mrs. Cody. For the first two trimesters she focused on Latin poetry like Ovid, Catellus, Virgil, and Lucretius, and in the third trimester turned to the fundamentals of Greek.
“It was really interesting to see how touched [Karly] was by some of the Latin texts,” said Mrs. Cody. “She really brings her heart to her work.”
Ms. Simpson will be attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut in the fall and will play lacrosse under Kathryn Livesay, head coach of the women’s lacrosse program.
“We are so excited to have her join us at Trinity,” said Ms. Livesay. “Not only is she a phenomenal lacrosse player, she is an incredibly hard worker and a great person. We couldn’t ask for more.”