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Posted Thursday, Oct 16, 2014 

Ben Ochola '15 wins national award

Ben Ochola’s smile said it all.

Ben, a member of the senior class, was honored at Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s all-school meeting Oct. 9 as an Outstanding Participant by the National Achievement Scholarship Program. With a smile on his face from ear to ear, Ben received a certificate from Mr. Erik Kindblom, WMA’s Dean of Studies.

Ben scored in the top 3% among black Americans on the Preliminary SAT in the fall of 2013.

“I was taken completely by surprise,” Ben said. “When the award was being announced I was expecting it to be someone else.

“I told my dad (about the award) when we were driving to pick up my brother and he gave me a long talk, basically telling me ‘congratulations.’ I felt really proud.”

Ben took the PSAT a year ago, and since then has taken the SAT, which he found easier than the preliminary test.

“I didn’t feel I had done exceptionally well on the PSAT, but I thought I had done well,” Ben said.

“I found the PSAT harder than the SAT. I’ve heard that from a lot of kids and I feel that way, too. I scored 200 points higher on the SAT."

Ben is an honor roll student at the Academy. He plans to major in engineering and apply to Northeastern University, Boston University, Tufts University and Trinity College.


Posted Friday, Oct 10, 2014 

Field Hockey shuts out Cheshire

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Field Hockey team continued its turn-around season, beating visiting Cheshire Academy 3-0 Oct. 8 to improve to 3-1-2 on the season.

The program has never finished with a record above .500.

“The team played pretty well,” Coach Liz Fontaine said. “We worked on attacking the ball and our press, and our defensive movement for their free hit situations. We controlled most of the free hit plays. Offensively, we had a lot of different scoring opportunities and different girls shooting and scoring, which was good to see.”

Marissa Fabbo ’17 assisted on all three goals. Emma Kindblom ’17 and Syd Reilly ’17 scored in the first half, and Emma found the back of the cage in the second half as well.

Defender Alex Garrison ’18 broke up a breakaway, and goalie Jenna Paszek ’17 finished with six saves as the Titans recorded their third shutout.

Every field player on the team got into the game for WMA.

Posted Friday, Oct 10, 2014 

Boys' Soccer thumps Millbrook 6-0

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys’ Soccer team played its best match of the season Oct. 8, and the final score certainly showed it.

The Titans scored five times in the first half en route to a 6-0 home victory over Millbrook School. The win lifted WMA’s record to 3-4-2.

“After a bit of a shaky start, I thought we settled in and moved the ball real well,” Coach Gary Cook said. “We’ve had flashes in every game to be a very good team to play in combination and to be dangerous and to find each other, and I thought yesterday was probably our most complete game of the season in terms of being a dangerous team for 90 minutes. I thought we possessed the ball well; I thought the timing of our runs were very good; I thought the guys played unselfishly; and we finished our chances, which we haven’t been doing.”

Rahmi Shawki ’15 and P.J. Miccoli ’17 scored twice for the Titans, and Chris Kalil ’17 and Jazario Brimmer ’17 also found the back of the net. Christian Mercadante ’18, making his first start, recorded three saves for the shutout.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Academy, which was coming off a string of three matches against Class A opponents.

“We play such a good schedule, the team responded knowing it could be successful,” Coach Cook said. “We step into every game thinking we can win, and clearly yesterday we raised our game a little bit. We had a lot of guys score and a lot of guys with scoring chances. Defensively, it was a solid effort.”

Millbrook is the three-time defending Class C champion. The teams played to a wild 5-5 tie in 2013.

Posted Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014 

Katie Cronin '17, Gianna Mitchell '17 named to Teen Board at Ronald McDonald House

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Katie Cronin ’17 and Gianna Mitchell ’17 are well known on campus as being athletic and bright.

Add caring and unselfish to the list.

Katie and Gianna have been selected to the Teen Board of the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, which provides housing and care for families whose children are being treated at nearby hospitals.

Twenty-five high school students from Western Massachusetts serve on the board, which promotes awareness through fundraisers for the Ronald McDonald House and creates fun activities for the residents. The board meets once a month and each member must volunteer at least four hours per month.

Since being accepted in August, Katie has helped organize a carnival for the kids, and Gianna has participated at a car wash that raised money for families who are currently living at the house. Both spent time baking apple pies for the kids and families.

“The idea of giving back and helping these kids out, since they’re going through such a hard time in their life . . . just trying to make that a little easier for them to deal with what they’re going through,” Gianna said.

Katie’s family volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House last year, and while she was there a staff member told her about the Teen Board. Katie and Gianna decided to apply for the board, which required filling out the application, handing in two letters of recommendation, writing an essay, and a formal interview.

“It’s a good experience because I don’t see kids like that everyday,” Katie said. “I don’t see disabled kids too often. It’s sad. This gives me a chance to see a different side of life.”

Katie and Gianna have helped plan building scarecrows with the kids and hosting the Lupa Zoo in-house as upcoming events.

“It’s a great way to give back and get a great experience out of it,” Gianna said.


Posted Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014 

Water Polo making a big splash

Before the season even began, there was a certain vibe about the 2014 Wilbraham & Monson Academy Water Polo team.

And now that the schedule has begun, that vibe is carrying into the season, with the Titans over .500 and playing a high level of competitive water polo.

“The season is going well,” captain Austin Fabbo ’15 said. “We’re playing together as a team and we’ve been able to come together for games. We had a couple close losses but we’re playing well.”

The Titans opened the season with a win over Loomis Chaffee before falling to the Williston Northampton School and Hopkins School. The team rebounded with victories over Suffield Academy and Eaglebrook School.

WMA has an experienced starting lineup, led by Austin, twins Liam and Jack Kirwan ’15, and R.J. Taylor ’15. New international students Giacoma Arena ’15 (Italy) and Tim Beloborodov ’16 (Russia) have allowed Coach Steve Gray ’70 to put a solid starting unit in the pool. Peter Caine ’16 and Netiwat Phukhachee ’15 have also played quality minutes, and first-year players Wenyen Gabriel ’16 and Brenden Vessichio ’16 have stepped up and performed very well in goal.

“We have a lot of experience on the team,” Austin said. “All of the starters are not first-year players – that’s the first time in a while that’s happened. Plus, we have a really good offense.”

Since the season began, Coach Gray and the Titans have taken practice seriously, working as a unit and correcting their weaknesses.

“We practice like we play,” Liam said. “Every practice we usually scrimmage, and we’re all friendly and tell each other what we did right and wrong, and when it comes time for a game we know what the other person is going to do.”

Some of the Titans got in extra practice before the season even began, with the Kirwans and Peter attending the Navy Water Polo Camp at Annapolis, Md.

WMA has a big home contest against Deerfield Academy Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. The team’s goal is to finish over .500 for 2014 and to play well Nov. 8 at the Hopkins Invitational, which serves as the season finale. This is the 30th anniversary of the program at the Academy.


Posted Thursday, Oct 2, 2014 

Girls' Volleyball climbs to 6-1

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Girls’ Volleyball team continued its exceptional season, topping Miss Porter’s School 3-1 at the Academy Oct. 1.

The Titans (6-1 overall) improved to 6-0 against prep school competition with the win over the Class A school.

“I’m really proud of how we played against Miss Porter’s,” Ashley Theriault ’15 said. “We started out slowly, losing the first set, but we were able to pick each other up, which allowed us to win the next three sets.”

WMA dropped the first set 21-25 before responding with 26-24, 25-21 and 25-10 set victories. Most impressively, the Titans beat a solid team without four-year starter Bailey Giese ’15 (concussion).

“The team played great,” WMA Coach Donna Barone said. “They went from learning a new rotation to all of a sudden becoming a true team. By the fourth set, Miss Porter’s didn’t know what hit them – we were playing so well as a unit. I’m so ecstatic.

“Not having Bailey out there was initially a challenge, but I think it was a great opportunity for the other players to see what they’re made of. They rallied around each other and they’re learning that you don’t have one superstar in volleyball. It’s a team sport.”

Unlike recent years, the Titans have one thing they can always count on going into a match: experienced senior leadership, with the Academy sporting seven members in the Class of 2015.

“I’ve seen a significant change in the team this year,” Ashley said. “As a team we’ve grown together. It helps most of us have played with each other for three or four years. We have a big senior class. We’ve been able to grow each year.”

Anna McCartney ’15 and Meera Miller ’18 played very well at the net for the Titans, and Ashley was superb in her new role as setter. Ally Faulstick ’16 gave Miss Porter’s problems with her serving.

Coach Barone said her new assistant coach, John Reidy, has been an invaluable addition to the team this season. “He has this presence with the girls where he can joke but he’s teaching them,” Coach Barone said.

“He’s forcing them, in a good way, to take their game to the next level. He’s helped me learn more as a coach.”


Posted Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 

Football beats Berkshire 12-8

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Football team earned another great win for the 2014 season, beating the Berkshire School 12-8 on the turf at WMA Sept. 27.

The game came down to the final play, with the Titans winning after forcing a pass by the Berkshire quarterback to sail out of the end zone.

“It was a really hot day and we hadn’t been in that type of heat for a little while, so for our guys to come through was incredibly fun to watch and it was exciting to see them pull out the win,” WMA Coach Jeff Vartabedian said. “We’re so incredibly proud of the effort the guys put in.

“The guys dug down deep. The d-line and linebackers played really well. The effort and pursuit on the defensive side of the ball was a key to the game.”

The Titans, who are off to a 2-0 start for the first in more than seven years, have allowed just three touchdowns this season.

Caelen Etti ’17 scored on a one-yard run late in the first quarter, and quarterback Jack Faulstick ’16 found Max Alpert ’15 for a 14-yard strike midway through the third quarter as WMA took a 12-0 lead. Berkshire scored early in the fourth quarter to pull within 12-8 before the game was decided on the final two series.

Jack gave WMA a huge lift when he converted a third-and-long situation with a 22-yard run with five minutes remaining, putting the ball in Berkshire territory. The Titans eventually punted, but they took key time off the clock and pushed the Bears back to their 15-yard line.

Berkshire moved the ball down the field on its final position, and had a first down-and-goal from the six-yard line with less than a minute to play. A holding penalty against the Bears pushed them back, and the Titans’ defense held strong on the final four plays of the game.

Overall, WMA stopped Berkshire three times on fourth down situations – all inside the Titans’ 35-yard line. Defensively, Aaron Louis ’15 and Miles Nallen ’15 led WMA with 15 tackles, with Drew Mele ’15 had nine. Shungo Tanaka ’17 picked off a pass for the first interception of his young career, accounting for the only turnover of the game.

Posted Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014 

Girls' Soccer blanks Williston

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Girls’ Soccer team extended its undefeated season, pumping in three first half goals to beat the visiting Williston Northampton School 3-0 Sept. 27.

“This game with Williston is certainly a rivalry game, and this past Saturday was no different," WMA Coach Don Nicholson ’79 said. “This is always a very intense match and our girls had to play their best to beat this very good Williston team 3-0.

“WMA has a very good balance on the team right now as the contributions are coming from so many different players, both offensively and defensively. The three goals scored against Williston were put in by three different players, and the assists were also added by two other members of the team.”

The Titans improved to 5-0-1 and already have four shutouts in 2014.

Annika Bruce ’17, Gianna Mitchell ’17 and Molly Socha ’15 scored 15 minutes apart late in the first half against the Wildcats, with Nica Bernardo ’15 and Katie Cronin ’15 earning assists.

The midfield play of Molly, Nica, Gianna, Annika, Payton Grande ’16 and Mary Sparago ’17 never allowed Williston to get going offensively.


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