Posted Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
Matt Naumec '15 qualifies for U.S. Amateur Championship
Matt Naumec ’15 came to Wilbraham & Monson Academy with a reputation as one of the best junior golfers in the country.
This summer, he proved it.
Matt placed second at a U.S. Amateur qualifying event at Torrington Country Club in Goshen, Conn., July 22. This qualified him for the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship, which is the highest level of non-professional golf in the world.
“Entering the tournament in Connecticut, I knew if I played my game I would have a shot at the U.S. Amateur,” Matt said. “But when I qualified I was still shocked because it’s the biggest amateur tournament in the world. Not many people at the age of 17 or going into their senior year of high school can say they qualified for the U.S. Amateur.
“I was really relieved because all of my hard work paid off.”
Connecticut’s qualifier drew players from throughout the country. Any non-professional with a handicap better than a 2.4 could enter.
In a field of 80 players, sporting his WMA golf bag, Matt shot a 3-under par 69 for his first round to put him in second place. He answered with a second round of par 72, making him only one of two players to finish the 36 holes under par.
“Going into the Connecticut tournament I knew I could shoot a good number, so when I got a 69 it felt good to go low,” Matt said. “But I wanted to shoot a good number for the second round because it could be won or lost there.
“When I came in from the second round I knew I had a good number. I thought it was good enough but I just had to wait.”
Matt waited a little more than an hour for all of the golfers’ scores to be recorded before he learned he had earned one of the two berths at the U.S. Amateur. More than 6,800 golfers competed in 97 qualifying events this summer vying for the 312 slots at the U.S. Amateur, which will be held at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Ga., Aug. 11-17.
“It’s an honor to qualify for this,” Matt said. “I’m just trying to make the cut. I’m going for the experience, and if I make the cut I make the cut.”
WMA’s Jack Dowding ’15 served as Matt’s caddy.
“Having one of my best friends on the bag was great,” Matt said. “Jack kept me calm. He helped me select clubs and read putts. He was a good caddy. It was awesome having him on the bag.”
Posted Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
Katelyn Mercer '15 pitches club team to silver medal
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Katelyn Mercer ’15 must have one of the most durable pitching arms in New England.
Katelyn pitched in five games in two days, helping her Southington Lightning Softball team to a silver medal at the Nutmeg Games in Connecticut July 19-20. The right-hander went 4-1 in the circle for her team.
“I thought I did alright,” Katelyn said. “On Saturday I didn’t do as well as I usually do, but on Sunday I came back and pitched well.”
Katelyn’s team played three games one day and three more the next. The tournament drew eight teams from throughout Connecticut.
“It was exciting,” said Katelyn, who also batted fifth in Southington’s lineup. “The team we lost to, we beat on Saturday. We knew we could have beaten them in the final but we were tired and missing a few players.
“It was a lot of fun. My team plays tournaments every weekend and they all feel the same, but this was a big Connecticut tournament. It was good competition.”
Posted Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
Carly Venditti '16 wins national softball tournament
Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Carly Venditti ’16 played in the biggest softball tournament of her career this summer, and she sure made the most of it.
Carly helped the Connecticut Titans win the 18-and-under division at the World Fastpitch Connection Summer National Tournament in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., July 14-19. The event included teams from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee.
“It was crazy,” Carly said. “There were tons of divisions. There were girls in the 8-and-under division who were amazing.”
Carly and her team were amazing, too. The Titans went 3-1 in pool play to advance to the double-elimination round of the tournament, where they beat a team from Pennsylvania in the final. Carly pitched in four of the team’s nine games, and also played third base.
“The competition was really tough,” Carly said. “Going into the double-elimination tournament we thought there were three teams that we thought could win it: us, a team from Pennsylvania and a team from Tennessee.
“I think I played pretty well. My hitting could have been better, but I felt like I played a solid third base.”
Carly and her teammates received trophies and rings for winning the championship.
Posted Monday, Jul 21, 2014
Cousins Nicole and Katie Cronin win soccer gold at Bay State Games
There's something special about spending time with cousins, regardless of the venue or situation.
Cousins Nicole '15 and Katie Cronin '17 of Wilbraham & Monson Academy sure enjoyed their time with each other in July, giving themselves and their families a special lifetime memory.
Nicole and Katie helped the West soccer team to a gold medal at the 2014 Bay State Games, rallying the team to a 2-1 victory in double overtime against defending champion Central at the Veterans Memorial Athletic Complex in Waltham July 20.
"Playing with Katie was really fun," Nicole said. "On and off the field, we get along really well. This is my last year I'll be playing with her so it's good to play with her as much as possible, and winning the gold with her was really fun."
"It was great," Katie added. "The only other time we play soccer together is at Wilbraham & Monson, so it was great to spend more time with her."
Nicole and Katie were key figures in the West's run to the gold medal. Katie, who played predominantly forward but also saw time at midfield and defense, recorded four goals and four assists in six games. Nicole, meanwhile, proved to be the team's most reliable defender, starting every game at center back and playing every minute of overtime in the championship.
"Katie played really well," Nicole said. "The game before the final, we had to tie or win. We were down two goals and she came back and scored both of our goals to tie the game and put us in the final."
"Nicole played really well," Katie explained. "She was definitely our strongest defender. She shut everyone down."
The victory was particularly sweet for Nicole, who played on the 2013 team that lost in the final to Central on penalty kicks. The West also fell to Central 2-1 in the first game of this summer's tournament.
"Winning the gold was obviously better than winning silver," Nicole said. "The team worked really well together."
Posted Monday, Jul 21, 2014
Megan Wells '16 wins medal at Bay State Games
For the second year in a row, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Megan Wells ’16 helped the West field hockey team to a medal at the Bay State Games.
After earning a silver medal in 2013, Megan and the West took home the bronze this summer, beating Coastal 2-0 July 20 at Veterans Memorial Athletic Complex in Waltham.
“We tied Coastal 1-1 earlier in the tournament,” explained Megan, a goalie. “But that was on the first day of games and we got a lot better as the tournament went on.”
Megan made five saves in the medal game against Coastal. She also posted a shutout in a 4-0 victory over Metro/Northeast July 19.
“It was a great experience,” Megan said. “Last year was my first year at Bay State Games. I really didn’t know what to expect. I was much more comfortable this year.”
Posted Thursday, Jul 17, 2014
Trevor Moran '10 returns to captain URI soccer team
Trevor Moran ’10 graduated from Wilbraham & Monson Academy as a talented and polished member of the Boys’ Varsity Soccer team, and certainly prepared for the collegiate level.
When he took to the pitch at the University of Rhode Island, though, Trevor found himself behind two returners for playing time at the Division I program. It wasn’t easy, especially for someone of Trevor’s ability, but he looked at the big picture and decided to redshirt his freshman season.
That extra season has arrived, and Trevor’s picture looks great. He’ll be returning as URI’s starting center midfielder, and he’ll again serve as captain for the Rams.
“At the time it was very tough because at the time I thought I was good enough to play, and I wanted to play, obviously. That’s the competitive spirit anyone at that level would have,” Trevor said. “But I also looked at it as a way to develop me as a player and I could play the most I could.”
Trevor is particularly happy to be returning to URI this season because he feels the program is on the rise. The team won only two games last season, but the Rams’ new coach now has a year under his belt and the team brought in some good recruits for 2014.
“We have a young team,” Trevor said. “Being a returning captain, I just want to lead the team and help the team progress. We didn’t have a real successful season last year, but we had clear potential with the group we had. We’ve brought in some players, and being able to lead the team a second time is appealing.
“This year my focus is to win as many games as possible. I’m excited to have the chance to come back and be a fifth-year player. I want to make the Atlantic-10 Tournament and win it. It’s my last shot to win the Atlantic-10 Tournament.”
Even though he redshirted his freshman year of soccer, Trevor said WMA had prepared him for collegiate athletics and academics. The transition was easy.
“WMA prepared me to be a player on the field, and it prepared me to deal with what it takes to be a student-athlete. I already had that in my skill set going into URI, which made the whole transition seamless. I was able to study and play soccer, and not let one affect the other.”
WMA went undefeated in the regular season during Trevor’s senior year. The Titans won the New England title when Trevor was a freshman for the Titans.
“I’m grateful for everything WMA has done for me,” he said.
Posted Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014
Nick Martinelli '13 to play soccer for UMass
Nick Martinelli’s ’13 goal of playing soccer at the Division I level has been reached.
Nick, who was named All-State in 2012 at Wilbraham & Monson Academy and played last year at Skidmore College, will suit up for the University of Massachusetts men’s soccer team this season.
“I was looking to better myself in an environment where everyone cared as much as I did about soccer,” said Nick, an outside right defender. “I’m getting good academics at UMass, and I’m also going to get the soccer. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little to play Division I soccer.”
Nick was accepted into six of the eight schools which he applied to as a senior at the Academy, including Division I Boston University and Syracuse University. UMass, though, was always appealing, largely due to a WMA-UMass connection.
“I’m excited he will play for my former team,” WMA Coach Gary Cook said. “In his time at the Academy, Nick was as fine a play-making outside back as anyone I've coached. He was composed on the ball and tactically sharp. I look forward to bringing the guys to Amherst to see him play.”
“Mr. Cook and (UMass) Coach (Sam) Koch have a strong relationship,” Martinelli said. “I know how Mr. Cook is as a coach and they are pretty similar. Knowing they are both similar, that helped a lot in my decision.”
Nick has spent the majority of his summer training for the intense Division I schedule, which includes a preseason trip to California to play Santa Clara University and San Jose State University.
“I got my fitness packet a few months ago and I’ve been doing that constantly,” Nick explained. “My whole summer has consisted of training and getting stronger and trying to better my game for the fall.”
Nick will enter the Pre-Dentistry Program at UMass.
Posted Monday, Jul 14, 2014
Kathryn Schmidt '14 wins Frank Chapin Cushman Memorial Award
The Frank Chapin Cushman Memorial Award is considered to be one of the highest prizes awarded during Commencement at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, and it was awarded this year to Kathryn Schmidt ’14.
In 1928, Mrs. Rufus P. Cushman presented a bronze tablet “to honor right living achieved and to keep high purpose glowing in the soul of youth.” It bears the name of Frank Chapin Cushman, with the motto “LIVE CLEAN, SPEAK TRUE, WORK HARD, PLAY FAIR,” and the inscription, “THESE WERE HIS IDEALS.” It is awarded annually to the student at the Academy who best lives up to Mr. Cushman’s ideals.
Kathryn attended WMA for four years of high school, earning high or highest honors every trimester. Kathryn was a member of the Varsity Cross Country team and the Varsity Winter Track team. She was a yearbook editor and a Student Government Representative for her class. Kathryn plays both the violin and the viola, and will be attending McGill University in Montreal, where she plans to study International Development.
“The combination of history, economics and regional studies really appealed to me,” Kathryn said. “Given these interests and my passion for learning languages, I believe International Development Studies is the appropriate fit for me.”
Kathryn also speaks several languages, having studied Spanish and Mandarin at the Academy for four consecutive years. She studied French at a Middlebury-Monterrey immersion program, and spent several summers continuing her study in Québec City, Canada, at the Collège Saint-Charles-Garnier.
Last summer, she secured a scholarship from the State Department's National Security Language Initiative for Youth to study Turkish in Bursa, Turkey, and achieved oral proficiency as measured by a state administered examination. While in Turkey she engaged in several community service projects and wrote articles about Turkey for the Boston Globe Passport series.
“Language and cultural understanding builds bridges between people,” Kathryn said. “Through the study of five languages, and three summer immersion programs outside the United States, I have learned to use my experiences to ‘close the gap’ between people and cultures. The summers I have spent immersed in Quebec and Turkey have taught me the value of being multilingual and culturally aware, and have given me an appreciation of the world as a global village.”