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Posted Thursday, May 14, 2015 

Softball earns spot in postseason

With the majority of its players returning from the 2014 tournament team, Wilbraham & Monson Academy Softball had everything in place to make another run at the league title in 2015.

Injuries to three starters early in the season, though, posed an unexpected challenge.

The Titans, however, were strong enough to overcome that challenge as the team qualified for the Western New England Prep School Girls' Softball Association Class B Tournament for the second year in row. Fourth-seeded WMA (10-5) will hit the road to take on top-ranked Ethel Walker May 16 at 2 p.m. in a semifinal.

"This was a more challenging year to make the playoffs," Coach Erik Kindblom said. "We've shown resiliency and the ability to handle difficult situations."

"I think we had a really good idea coming into the season that we were going to be competitive, but we started off with a lot of injuries," said pitcher Carly Venditti '16. "But we've really pulled together and we're headed to our peek right now and we're really going to bring it to Ethel Walker on Saturday."

The Academy started the season 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the league. The Titans, though, closed out the season on a seven-game winning streak, including five wins in the league, to clinch the fourth and final spot of the tournament.

"We started to get healthy again," Coach Kindblom explained. "It's been a team effort – not one or two defining players. We've had young players (Emelia Boyko '18 and Chloe Roux '19) step up to fill in for veteran players who became injured, and them playing to a level that exceeded my expectations."

WMA qualified for the postseason with a 7-2 win at Cheshire Academy Wednesday.

"We put a lot of pressure on them, and we were able to put pressure on them for seven innings and come out on top, and that last win got us into the playoffs," Coach Kindblom said.

The Academy beat Marianapolis Prep in a semifinal a year ago before falling to the Kingswood-Oxford School in the final.

Posted Thursday, May 14, 2015 

Baseball to host Canterbury in semifinal

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team won the Cleary Division title for the second year in a row, clinching a home playoff game for the Titans.

WMA will host Canterbury May 16 at 4:30 p.m.

Click here to read a story posted on masslive.com.

Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2015 

Alex Baltazar '15, Andrew Faulstich '15 named McScholar Athletes

Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Andrew Faulstich '15 and Alex Baltazar '15 were honored by McDonald's at the McScholar Athlete Awards Banquet May 6 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Andrew and Alex were among the 89 high school student-athletes from Western Massachusetts who were recognized for their performance in the classroom, community and on the athletic field.

"It was an honor to be selected," said Alex, who starred at Girls' Soccer and Winter Track this season. "I didn't know I was getting it until I got the letter in the mail. Being chosen from all of the senior girls was an honor. And it was nice to see kids from all over Western Massachusetts. I saw people I've played soccer with before."

"It means a lot that what I've done has been noticed," added Andrew, who excelled at Cross Country, Winter Track and Spring Track his senior year. "(Athletic Director) Mr. (Don) Nicholson has always been very supportive of me. I've worked with him for captains' council for the past six seasons. It was nice to have this event to kind of end my athletics here at WMA."

Former NCAA and WNBA basketball champion Kara Wolters was the keynote speaker. Alex got the opportunity wear her Olympic gold medal, while Andrew was impressed with her presentation to the audience.

"She talked a lot about perseverance, working athletically through a lot of things," Andrew said. "She talked about her time as an athlete and how she was told by a lot of people she was never going to be an athlete and not be any good. She's won an Olympic gold medal and she's overcome what people told her. It was a great message and a great night."

Alex will play soccer next season at Connecticut College, while Andrew will run cross country at the University of Rochester.

Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 

Kiana Smith '17 selected for intensive NYC dance program

Since she was 7 years old, Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Kiana Smith '17 has loved to dance.

This summer, Kiana will dance among the best ballerinas in New York City.

Kiana was selected to attend the Dance Theater of Harlem, where she will learn from famous dancers and choreographers for three weeks in late June.

"I wanted to expand on my intensives," said Kiana, who found her love for dance with the help of her mom, who started a dance program at a young age. "I applied to some others. Dance Theater of Harlem is one I have never done, and it's strictly ballet. It was something different. Being away from home I don't get a lot of technique so I wanted to expand.

"Hopefully my ballet technique will improve. I want to have fun, and I want to work with great dancers and choreographers on a daily basis."

This was the first year Kiana applied to the Dance Theater of Harlem. Initially, she didn't think she got in.

"At first I didn't think I made it. I read it wrong," explained Kiana, who hopes to minor in dance in college. "My sister and I were contacted at the same time and she got in. My first reaction was sad. But then I read it again and it said 'Congratulations' so I was really excited."

Kiana will have a busy summer on various dance floors. She will also attend the Princeton Dance Theater in New Jersey and the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts in Connecticut.

Posted Friday, May 8, 2015 

Winner Le '15 named to all-state riflerY team

Nguyen "Winner" Le '15 took his steady hand and sharp eyesight from photography and applied it to becoming a marksman, and those traits were so strong he received an impressive honor for the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Riflery team.

Winner, who had never fired a rifle prior to coming to the Academy, was named to the Connecticut All-State Honorable Mention team.

"It definitely feels real good," said Winner, referring to being selected to the all-star team.

Despite having never participating in the sport, Winner took right to riflery.

"From my love of photography, I have developed a keen eye," he said.

"Winner attributed his quick start in riflery to his love of photography, which got him in the habit of using his eye and waiting for the correct picture or shot to come along," Coach John Lombard added.

And that eye was exceptional. He averaged a score of 187.17 (out of 200) for the season, and his high score of 193 against Avon Old Farms helped the Titans to their only win of the 2014-15 campaign. He ranked No. 18 of the 139 shooters in the league.

"Winner was a tremendous asset for the team this year," Coach Lombard said. "As a first-time shooter, he came to each practice with a calm, low-key, can-do, approach to the sport that is every coach's dream come true. Many of the top shooters in the league compete in riflery tournaments year-round across the nation, but the prep school students pretty much just shoot during the winter season."

Winner improved throughout the season. He earned the team's MVP Award at the Winter Varsity Sports Awards Ceremony.

"You figure it out as the sport goes on, when one day everything falls in place," Winner explained. "My scores weren't always consistent, but they were better than the early practices of the season."

Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015 

2 WMA students land international scholarships

Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Danielle Bellefeuille '16 and Ashley Bradway '18 have been named a Swaniker Scholar for Global Citizenship.

Only 20 students in the country were selected for scholarship awards, which are in its inaugural year.

"I was honored to receive the award," Danielle said. "I was surprised."

"I was really, really surprised," Ashley added. "I checked my phone during a break in dance class, saw it and started freaking out."

Applicants had to write a Proposal for Action, as well as answer a series of questions. Danielle and Ashley both earned a $1,000 scholarship, which can be used toward a volunteer service-learning trip run by Global Leadership Adventures in the summer of 2015 to Asia, Africa or Latin America.

"I was fascinated by the different places and opportunities Global Leadership Adventures offered," Ashley said. "I'm interested in the trip to Peru."

Danielle was honored just to apply for the scholarship, let alone receive one.

"I researched Fred Swaniker, and he's a political activist in Africa," Danielle said. "I feel even more honored knowing it was from such an accomplished person."

An educational entrepreneur, Mr. Swaniker opened a high-level school – the African Leadership Academy – as a way to keep African students in Africa.

Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015 
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Posted Thursday, May 7, 2015 
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