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Posted Friday, Nov 21, 2014 

All-NE, MVP XC season for Adriana Russell '15 

Undefeated regular season; All-New England postseason; MVP all season.

After a great fall season of running, Adriana Russell ’15 was named Most Valuable Player for the Girls’ Cross Country team at the 2014 Fall Sports Awards Ceremony at Wilbraham & Monson Academy Nov. 11.

“I love running so much, and it’s great to be honored with the MVP Award,” Adie said. “Winning the MVP and running such a satisfying race the next weekend was definitely satisfying for me, and a good end.”

Adie went undefeated in dual and tri-meets, won the Marianapolis Invitational, and twice set the course record at WMA, with her time of 20 minutes, 32 seconds now the time to beat.

“I was definitely pleased with my season,” she said. “I proved myself. All the training I did definitely impacted how I ran. And being my last year, I wanted to do well.”

Adie earned All-New England Cross Country honors after she placed 12th at the New England Prep School Track Association Division III Meet at Vermont Academy Nov. 9. She capped her season by taking 11th in 20:01 at the NEPSTA All-Star Meet at St. Mark’s, which featured the top prep runners from throughout New England.

“The All-Star race was more fitting to how I run,” Adie explained. “My first mile was a 6:17, and my second mile was under 13:00, so I had a quick second mile. It was a good race. I was happy with how I placed. That race definitely showed how much I’ve improved over the last four years of high school. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I was pleased with it.”

“Adie ran an excellent race on a challenging course at the All-Star race,” Coach Marissa Axtell said. “She was focused and determined to leave everything she had on the course. All of her hard work paid off as she ran a smart race, placing herself in the top 10 for a majority of the race.”

Adie has drawn interest from Northeastern University, Boston University and Babson College.

Posted Friday, Nov 21, 2014 

Peter Labbe '17 named Coaches Award winner for Crew

After a promising start to his crew career, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Peter Labbe '17 was named the recipient of the Coaches Award for the WMA Crew team for the 2014 season.

Peter spent the summer training by rowing at the Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club to further hone his skills.

“It takes time going to a regatta and spending all day traveling around,” Peter said, “and how to rig and de-rig the boat. All that stuff . . . your first year there’s a little bit of a learning curve. This year was easier because I knew what to expect.”

Peter’s determination and persistence are ultimately what led him to receiving the Coaches Award. Peter is the perfect example of how hard work is the key to success.

During the Fall Varsity Sports Award Ceremony, where Peter received his award, Coach Heidi Ostendarp said, “The winner of the Coaches Award pulls much more than his own weight. He practiced rowing over the summer to increase his strength and refine his technique. He rowed a fantastic race in Springfield, in which his boat placed first, and in Northfield, which helped his boat a second place.

“Whatever seat he fills – sweeps, sculling, steering – he quietly strives to do his best. At the boathouse, he doesn’t ask, ‘What can I do?’ Instead, he looks around, sees what needs to get done and quietly does it.”

Coach Ostendarp’s use of the word “quietly” was appropriate, as Peter has proven to be teammate who does not strive for recognition, and does not need the satisfaction of public recognition to work just as hard as everyone else.

- James Sabatino ’16

Posted Thursday, Nov 20, 2014 

Sara Burke '15 wins Coaches Award for Girls' XC

The character traits of team dedication and humbleness make a great combination when describing a team captain. Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Girls’ Cross Country captain Sara Burke ’15 is a perfect example of a team captain upholding these core values.

Sara was the recipient of the Coaches Award for the 2014 Girls’ Cross Country team, which was presented at the Fall 2014 Varsity Sports Awards Ceremony at the Academy Nov. 11.

Sara exhibited remarkable dedication during the season. Due to prolonged injuries, she was not able to participate in the last three races of the season. However, she still attended these meets, one of which was the New England Championship, held on a Sunday at Vermont Academy. Sara clearly has a passion for her team, and made every effort to stand by her team’s side, even if that meant traveling across state lines.

“Sara was the glue that held the team together,” Coach Marissa Axtell said. “She was a veteran on the team, as it was her third year and she was one of the senior captains. She was a constant motivator for the team by pushing the girls both by encouraging words and example.

“Sara had to work through many injuries this season. She never stopped pushing herself and setting a high standard for the rest of the team that if she could push through it, they could as well. Sara led meet day rituals during warm ups and the girls’ famous Titan chant. She was the person that the team look towards everyday.”

Sara takes great pride in her team. “As a team we grew in talent and size, and also as a family because we all became really close,” Burke said. “We had a lot of new talent on the team, both international and domestic – we went from nine girls to 19. We were all hard working and we had a great season.”

- By James Sabatino ’16

Posted Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014 

Derick Newton '15 signs NLI to play hoop at Stetson

To the friendly chants of “Here we go, Newt,” Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys’ Basketball player Derick Newton ’15 signed his National Letter of Intent Nov. 18 to attend Division I Stetson University in Florida.

“I can’t wait to get to Stetson and play for Coach Corey Williams and the coaching staff,” Derick said. “It just feels right.”

“I know Derick’s excited to become a Hatter and go to Florida and enjoy the warm weather down there,” Coach Mike Mannix added. “They’re getting a very good player, and more important a good person. Derick’s a high-character person. He’s a skilled player and I’m sure he’s going to do great things here at Wilbraham & Monson and leave here as prepared as he can be for Stetson.”

Derick signed his NLI at WMA before a group of a dozen friends and teammates. Wearing a gray Stetson University men’s basketball T-shirt and a black and green SU baseball hat, he thanked his family, coaches and friends for the support he’s received along the way.

“I appreciate everything everyone has done for me,” Derick said. “I want to thank Wilbraham & Monson for giving me a second shot my senior year. Not a lot of kids get a fifth year of high school.”

Derick, a postgraduate at WMA, played for Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles last season. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward, slowed during his high school career by a shoulder injury, felt under-recruited following his senior season.

Posted Tuesday, Nov 18, 2014 

Girls' Soccer places 2nd in New England

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Girls’ Soccer team concluded its season Nov. 16 with a nice, new shiny piece of hardware as the Titans claimed the runner-up trophy in the New England Prep School Athletic Council’s Class B tournament.

WMA fell to a rock-solid team from the Groton School 2-0 in the final at the Williston Northampton School.

“To win two great games in the playoffs, and to get to the New England final for the first time since 2008 was a great accomplishment for the Titan team,” Coach Don Nicholson ’79 said. “The girls should hold their heads high. They wanted that title. I’m really proud of them, especially the seniors, who we will miss greatly next year.”

WMA went 12-2-2 and earned the Women’s Western New England Prep School Soccer Association Class B title during the regular season. The Titans were seeded second in the eight-team Class B field for the playoffs, where they topped Lawrence Academy 2-1 on penalty kicks in a quarterfinal before posting a 4-2 triumph over Governor’s Academy in a semifinal. Both games were at home.

“We had an outstanding season,” Coach Nicholson said. “Right from the beginning, our girls were a great group that came together. They were very close, on and off the field, which is sometimes unique. Right from the beginning, we had a great regular season. We had a couple bumps here and there, but to finish up with a 14-3-2 record was fantastic.”

The team received exceptional leadership from its two captains, Tori Bernardo ’15 and Molly Socha ’15 all season, as well as from the remainder of the seniors on the team: Alex Baltazar, Nica Bernardo, Nicole Cronin, Meg Harrington and Kirstyn Kelley.

“With our co-captains, Molly and Tori, they were excellent,” Coach Nicholson said. “And then the other seniors fell in behind them. There were no issues about who was leading the team. They all worked very well together. The group functioned as an efficient group, and it was a solid group on the field. They took us far and helped the younger girls grow and develop.”

Tori, Alex and Molly were named to First Team All-League, while Nicole and Gianna Mitchell ’17 were selected to the Honorable Mention list.


Posted Friday, Nov 14, 2014 

2 WMA students selected for elite orchestra

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Ashley Bradway ’18 and Jonathan Lee ’15 weren’t just selected to an elite orchestra – they were featured.

Ashley and Jonathan performed solos for the Worcester Youth Baroque Orchestra at a concert at the Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester in Auburn Nov. 1.

“Jonathan and Ashley have a great love for music and are willing to make time in their busy schedules to take advantage of performing opportunities,” said Thad Wheeler, who teaches music in the Academy’s growing Fine & Performing Arts Department. “Even though they had to travel 45 minutes each way for the rehearsals and concert, they were always enthusiastic and had a great time. They were each featured as soloists and were sophisticated and professional.”

Ashley and Jonathan auditioned for and were selected to the 11-member orchestra in October. The group performed music from the Baroque Era (1600-1750).

Ashley was the only oboe player chosen for the orchestra. She played a duet with a flute player during the concert.

“I could have done better but I’m proud of how I performed,” said Ashley, who has been playing the obo for five years. Ashley plans to audition for the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra in the spring.

Jonathan, who is already a member of the WYSO, had a solo during the baroque concert.

“The solo went well,” said Jonathan, who is considering majoring in music in college. “I think I did my best.”

The orchestra will reconvene in February in preparation for a concert in March of 2015.

Posted Friday, Nov 14, 2014 

John Tierney '15 inks NLI to play lax at UMass

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s John Tierney ’15 met a number of men’s lacrosse college coaches during his recruiting process. He liked them all. However, one stood out, and he’ll play for that coach in college.

Before a large contingent of family, friends and teammates, John signed his National Letter of Intent Nov. 13 at WMA’s Athletic Center Board Room to play lacrosse on scholarship for Coach Greg Canella at the University of Massachusetts.

“I loved the course studies they were offering at UMass, and most of all I loved Coach Cannella,” said John, who was decked out in a UMass sweatshirt and hat during the signing ceremony. “We immediately connected. He’s an awesome coach and I’m excited to play for him in college.”

John was heavily recruited following his freshman season at WMA, and he verbally committed to become a Minuteman in the fall of his sophomore year.

“This is a big signing for John - it’s a big recognition of his accomplishments,” Coach Phil Roland said. “John is clearly the finest player that I’ve ever coached. He’s an unselfish player. He’s come through fire to get where he is now. He had a rough freshmen year here, but he’s overcome all obstacles to success. He persevered, he’s a team player, true leader, and this year we’ll nominate him as an All-American.”

John represented his country in September when he played for Team USA against Team Canada in an all-star game featuring the best high school players in the Class of 2015.

John has led the Titans to the Division II semifinal round the last two seasons. He set single-season records his sophomore year for goals (68), assists (56) and points (124), and he followed that up last season with 51 goals and 56 assists for 107 points.

The three-time First Team All-League selection can’t wait to take to the turf for the start of the 2015 schedule.

“WMA has been an awesome experience,” John said. “We’ve grown the lacrosse program over the last couple years. We’ve improved our record each year and Coach Roland has done a great job getting recruits. He’s building an awesome program and we’re excited for the 2015 season.”


Posted Friday, Nov 14, 2014 

Matt Naumec '15 signs NLI with Boston College

From the moment he stepped onto the campus of Boston College, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Matt Naumec ’15 knew where he wanted to attend college.

On Nov. 13, it became official. Matt signed his National Letter of Intent to play golf on scholarship at Boston College during a ceremony at the WMA Athletic Center Board Room.

“I looked at a lot of places in the country, and I never thought I’d end up in the northeast to play golf,” Matt said. “But there’s that saying about going to college: ‘you know when you feel it.’ I didn’t believe in that, but when I stepped onto the campus at B.C., I knew. I came home and told my family that’s where I wanted to go. It’s about the feeling and the place. It has great balance between academics and athletics. I’m looking forward to it.”

“During his time here Matt has been an excellent community member and student-athlete at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, and we wish the same for Matt as a Boston College Eagle in the future,” Golf Coach Doug Hutcheson said during the ceremony.

Matt, whose mom, Michelle, graduated from B.C. in 1988, also considered Notre Dame, Maryland, Penn State, Purdue, UConn, Rhode Island and Georgetown.

Matt is coming off a great summer of golf, which included playing with the best non-professional golfers in the world at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Georgia. He also won the Massachusetts Junior Open, and helped Team New England beat Team USA in a contest between the best high school golfers in the country.

“I made long strides with my golf game during the summer,” Matt said. “It’s coming around. The swing feels good. I’ve been working hard. Hopefully at B.C., practicing with the team every day and with better players will help me get to the next notch and I can really turn it on.”

Matt, who won the New England prep title in 2013, has a lofty goal for himself for the 2015 schedule.

“I want a strong season, first match to last match,” Matt explained. “I feel like I get hot midway through the season, but hopefully I can get hot quickly enough and every match can be a good one: par or under-par every match would be good. Hopefully the team will do well this year. A bunch of us have been working hard. It should be fun.”


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