Posted Friday, Oct 24, 2014
Adie Russell '15 sets course record for third time
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Adriana Russell ’15 ended her final home Girls’ Cross Country meet of the 2014 season the same way she began – with a course record.
Adie, who led from start to finish, smashed her own course record by 18 seconds with a time of 20 minutes, 32 seconds Oct. 18 during a tri-meet against Suffield Academy and Kingswood Oxford School.
“I was definitely trying to better my time, and it happened that I broke my own record for a third time,” Adie said. “It means a lot to me because it’s my senior year and I’m not going to be able to run the course again. It was a good ending on the home course.”
“Adie came into the race on Saturday focused and determined to break her own course record again,” Coach Marissa Axtell said. “Since it was her last home meet, her motivation to secure the course record as hers pushed her through the race.”
Adie set the course mark in 2013 with a time of 21:11 before running a 20:50 at the first of two home meets of this season. The season couldn’t be going much better, with Adie proving to be one of the top runners in New England. She’s undefeated in dual- and tri-meets.
“My season is going really well,” said Adie, who’s being recruited by Division I programs. “We’ve been training a lot and that’s impacted our races. I definitely feel more confident running this year compared to previous years. I don’t know why but I know what I can do and what I want to do.”
“It has been amazing to watch Adie grow as a runner throughout the season,” Coach Axtell added. “Her ability to run a smart race, her excellent form, and her overall love for running and motivation to run the best race she can continues to push her everyday and is the making of a great runner.”
Posted Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
LaBrecques honored with dorm
Wilbraham & Monson Academy took the lead in global education when it trademarked itself The Global School®.
This school year, the Academy has again stepped to the front of global education, doing something no other school in the United States can match.
During Family Weekend, WMA had a ribbon-cutting event for the Dedication of The Rodney and Shirley LaBrecque House, which serves as a dorm for 12 Grade 8 middle school students. “We’re the only boarding school that offers boarding for 8-postgraduate,” former Head of School Rodney LaBrecque said.
“This is a different model. I’m pleased with how it came out, and the quality of the students, from what I understand, is great.” Head of School Brian Easler and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Jacobs ’75 offered a welcome to the more than 200 people who attended the ceremony, which was held Oct. 18, in front of the dorm.
Since he began at the Academy in 2002, Mr. LaBrecque felt the Middle School needed a boarding component. In his final year as Head of School, he saw his belief become a reality, with construction beginning near the end of his tenure. Students from China, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine moved in at the start of the 2014-15 school year.
“What is happening here is to the future well-being of our planet,” Mr. LaBrecque said. “These middle school students are forging a new tradition.”
“The Middle School dorm is another pillar in the career of Rodney and Shirley LaBrecque,” Middle School Director Charlie D’Avanzo said. “Our middle school students will now look beyond their own world to the globe.”
Project donors S. Prestley and Helen Blake, William Faulkner ’57, Edward Gramse ’39 and family, Craig Rubin ’63 and Kent Pecoy were recognized for their generosity during the ceremony.
Also, “There was an anonymous donor who cleaned up a whole lot of extras, I will say,” acknowledged Timm Marini, a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair for the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Mr. Marini added the project was completed in time for the school year due to the efforts of many people, including former Board of Trustee member Mike Flynn.
“Although it was a hard process and a driven process, it was done with class and poise,” Mr. Marini said. “As a result we have a beautiful facility for the kids.”
Mr. LaBrecque was on campus for the first time in more than a month. He greeted friends, faculty and students as they entered the dormitory for a tour at the conclusion of the ceremony.
“It was fantastic to see all of the students and families here, and enjoying this beautiful campus,” Mr. LaBrecque said. “This dormitory will add to the quality of the student body and the quality of the student life, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the school as we move ahead with being a leader in global education.”
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.”