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Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

Jack Faulstick's future will include college football, that's for sure.

But what Jack wanted for the present was something he'd never accomplished as a high school quarterback – a winning record.

With the help of Jack's efforts, the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Football team enjoyed its first winning season since 2007, going 5-3 behind a three-game winning streak to close the season.

"It was our first winning record since '07, and also my first winning record as a high school quarterback," said Jack, who earned the team's Coaches Award. "I had five years of high school and I've never been with a team that was so cohesive and together. But overall, the season was a great success. We had an explosive offense, and a fast and tenacious defense. We went out and killed an ant with a sledgehammer every day."

Jack brought a great attitude to practice every day, which made the two-time captain an easy choice for the team's Coaches Award.

"The Coaches Award is a great honor," Jack said. "It's an award on leadership and coach-ability. I pride myself on those two aspects of my game, more than my athletic ability. I was incredibly honored to receive the award."

"He's been a tremendous leader for our team," Coach Jeff Vartabedian added. "Jack was an outstanding captain for us this season. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious. He makes practice fun; he makes games fun. And he had a dynamite senior year. He had some receivers he could throw to. He made us tough to defend. He made plays. He fought through some injuries but had a great year. He made us a fun and exciting team to watch."

Jack and the offense were exciting to watch. He threw for 1,667 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also ran for 135 yards and a pair of scores.

"I'm hard on myself," Jack admitted. "I threw more interceptions than I've thrown in my life, but at the same time I tripled the touchdowns I threw for last year and doubled my yards thrown. But what matters to me are the wins. I would have loved to go to the playoffs but that's the way it goes. Overall, my season went well."
Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

Xuanji "Jack" Chen '16 didn't have too much running experience before he joined the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys' Cross Country team last season as a junior.

"I went to school in California. I ran in physical education class," Jack explained.

When he arrived at the Academy, though, he joined the Cross Country team and grew into a runner, and eventually, a leader, so much so he was named the Coaches Award winner for 2015.

"He came in this year and worked really hard," said Coach Dan Moran of his captain. "He was our number three runner throughout the entire season, but what impressed me was as a second-year runner, his approach and his enthusiasm day in and day out really helped drive the program forward."

"I was just doing what I could do," said Jack, who ran daily in a park during the summer in China. "I was happy to win the award. I'm honored to know Coach Moran thought I was working that hard. I was happy to help lead the team. I felt helpful to lead such a young team."

Jack ran third for the Titans all season after routinely placing eighth or ninth during 2014.

"My season went surprisingly well," said Jack, who plans to join a running club in college. "I broke 20 minutes, and I never did that last year. I did that most of the time. I got my personally best. I hope to do better in the future."
Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

Peter Caine '16 loves water polo.

"It's a great sport and everyone should watch a game," Peter said. "Not a lot of people know about it and I think it deserves more attention."

Peter's efforts during the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Water Polo season merited attention, earning him the Coaches Award for 2015.

"Peter's work ethic has raised the standard for the younger team members to live up to," Coach Steve Gray said. "He brought leadership, experience and dedication to every aspect of the game. He was tireless and relentless in his pursuit of both team and personal success. He was a force on defense, usually taking on the opposition's most skilled player. He'll be missed next year."

A three-year senior captain, Peter was one of the few players on the Titans this season with water polo experience. Along with his defensive prowess, he finished with 18 goals.

"I worked out during summer for water polo and wrestling," Peter explained. "We had some high hopes for the Water Polo team and we accomplished most of our goals. We had some tough workouts. We wanted to win a lot of games."

Peter joined his brother, Michael, as a Coaches Award winner for WMA Water Polo. Michael earned the honor as a senior in 2013.

"I was shocked and didn't expect it," Peter said. "I didn't expect to be captain, either. I guess everything worked out in my favor."
Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

It would be more appropriate to call this season's Coaches Award winner for Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Cross Country team the "You've Come A Long Way" Award.

As a sophomore, Wilasinee "Bee" Daloonpet '16 disliked running so much she would make excuses to try and get out of practices and meets.

"I was the slowest person on the team and my time didn't get any better," Bee said. "And I walked a lot during the meets. I hated running."

Bee's running experience got a little better as a junior before it took a big turn at the end of the season when she was named captain for her senior year. It was an unexpected role she embraced.

"Bee helped to bring the team together both on and off of the field," Coach Marissa Axtell said. "She set a positive example everyday when she got to practice and consistently pushed herself to her limit."

"Being a captain, I couldn't complain nearly as much," Bee said. "Sophomore and junior year I would constantly complain. I hated running. But this year I had to keep the team positive. Even if we were doing a hard practice, I had to pretend to enjoy it so my teammates would enjoy it with me."

Bee's times have improved over the last two years. She wasn't one of the top runners on the team, but she certainly wasn't coming in last anymore, and her appreciation for the sport grew as she got better.

"I enjoy running," Bee said. "Part of it is I'm not last and I'm a lot faster. I enjoy meets and look forward to them.

"I didn't think I was going to win the Coaches Award because I think there are better runners on the team. But I'm happy the coaches saw the characteristics of winning the Coaches Award in me."

Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Daniel Qin-Dong '17 is a natural leader, so it's really no surprise his priority entering the 2015 Boys' Cross Country season was to help his teammates.

"Overall my season went well," said Daniel, who was named the team's Most Valuable Player at the Athletic Awards Ceremony Nov. 17. "In terms of personal goals, I achieved most of them and I intend to go further with them.

"However, my biggest goal . . . I knew it was going to be a new team, and a young team, and I wanted us to get more experience, get into the right work ethic, and get everyone to love the sport. I wanted the team to have equally as close a bond as we did last year, and I think we exceeded those expectations."

The Titans didn't win too many races this season. By the end of the schedule, though, they were running well and running as a unit. Thanks in part to Daniel, the 2016 season is already looking promising.

"He worked hard," Coach Dan Moran said. "He's a leader. He's a great individual and helped pull the team together. He taught people the ropes and we were lucky to have him."

Daniel placed second on the team most of the season, and even crossed first a few times. He now finds himself on the same page as some of the runners he's admired at the Academy.

"I didn't expect to get any sort of award," said Daniel, a junior captain. "I've always looked up to the previous MVPs and previous captains. It was really a big honor to be compared to them and be on the same level as them, not only in terms of caliber and skill but also in leading a team. It was a big honor but I'm proud it happened."
Posted Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 

For most of the months, weeks and days leading up to the 2015 Wilbraham & Monson Academy Football season, James Halloran '16 thought he was going to be forced to watch from the sidelines while he recovered from knee surgery.

Then, to his surprise, he received good news – he was cleared to play for the start of the season. From there, James didn't take a single day for granted.

James' dedication was rewarded at the Athletic Awards Ceremony Nov. 17 when the coaching staff granted the senior captain the team's 12th Player Award.

"I was nervous before I was cleared because initially I was told I wouldn't be able to see my doctor until October, so I was thinking half the season was going to be gone," James said. "But once I got cleared, starting that week and getting the starting position, I wasn't nervous, but rather I was just ready to play. Being around the team for three weeks and not being able to play fired me up."

"Once he got cleared, he never missed a beat and left it all on the field, offensively and defensively," Coach Jeff Vartabedian said. "He had a great year as a senior and left a legacy here as one of the guys who helped build the team and get us going."

James, a four-year member of Titan Football, said he was most proud of the team finishing over .500 (5-3) for the first time in his career.

"It was amazing," he said. "It was always upsetting to be part of a team that wasn't doing as well as we wanted. But at the same time, it was motivating and we grew as a team because we wanted to get to that point. To go .500 was a different feeling and the best thing that could have happened to me my senior year."

James excelled at center and inside middle linebacker, where he averaged 6-7 tackles a game. He's being recruited by Division II and III programs.

"He had a dynamite year for us as a captain," Coach Vartabedian said. "He's one of our three four-year players. He's been with us a long time. He's extremely unselfish on the offensive line, playing everything from guard and some tackle to eventually center. He really solidified our offensive line for the second half of the year."

"I was far from the star of the team," James added, "but I knew I was doing my job and everything I could for the team."
Posted Monday, Nov 23, 2015 

The moment he took to the football field this year for a scrimmage, Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Dylan Dupont '16 knew he was a different player from a year ago.

And Dylan wasn't just a different player – he was suddenly an MVP-type player.

Dylan was named Lineman Most Valuable Player at the Athletic Awards Ceremony Nov. 17 at the Academy.

"I wasn't really expecting it. It's a weird feeling," Dylan described. "You always feel there's someone who did a little more than you or who deserves it a little more than you, and it's hard to be happy with it. But I guess I should just be happy with it. There are other kids on the team who could have won it, too. I'm thankful the coaches chose me."

The coaches noticed early in the season Dylan had transformed himself from a teenager playing football to a dominant player. Behind his off-season conditioning, he rarely came off the field, starting at left tackle and defensive tackle.

"I was really impressed early in the season to see the improvement he had made," Coach Jeff Vartabedian said. "Come mid-year, it became an expectation that he was going to keep playing at that level, and he did. He fought through some injuries, but didn't come out and wouldn't come out. It was satisfying to see that hard work pay off for him because he worked his butt off. He set a great example for the younger guys."

Dylan worked out nearly every day since the spring. On his weight training days he lifted twice, and ran sprints and went on long runs on the other days. He also attended four football camps.

"I've always loved football," Dylan said. "It's been a part of me since I was little. I started playing when I was in South Carolina, and it was really intense there. It's how I think about myself."

"Along with being our Lineman MVP, he was also our most improved player, and that was due to all of his hard work in the offseason," Coach Vartabedian added. "He lifted all winter, spring and summer. He went to camps to get better, and it showed. He played our toughest, most demanding position at left tackle. We threw the ball a lot this year, so having a left tackle we could depend on to block the opponent's best pass rusher week in and week out, he did a great job. At 200 pounds, it's not always easy to do, but he's strong and athletic and tough."
Posted Monday, Nov 23, 2015 

Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Megan Wells '16 missed most of the 2014 field hockey season with a broken foot.

That setback, though, only pushed Megan to be even more prepared for 2015.

"I wanted to have the best season I could have, and I wanted the team to have the best season in school history," she said.

Both worked out, as Megan earned the team's Coaches Award and the team posted a school record for wins.

"Meg is a coach's dream," Coach Liz Fontaine said. "She followed the workout packet, asked for critical feedback, followed through on the feedback, and somehow dragged her teammates along to do extra core and conditioning exercises.

"Meg missed almost all of last season due to injury, but you would never have known it based on her play this season. She was a force to be reckoned with in goal. She defeated many of our top opponents and earned three shutouts."

Megan's best performance came in a 19-save showing against the Canterbury School, which earned the #2 ranking in New England Class C this season.

"Coach Fontaine coming here five years ago shaped the program and I have full confidence the program will continue to improve and continue to send people to collegiate field hockey," said Megan, who plans to play Division III college field hockey.

"It was a big honor to receive the Coaches Award because I tried really hard to do the best I could and to be a role model for the last four years on varsity field hockey."

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