Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015
Peter Caine '16 attends U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar
The motto for the United States Naval Academy is "From Knowledge, Sea Power."
Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Peter Caine '16 lived that motto and then some when he attended the Naval Academy's 2015 Summer Seminar in late May, a challenging weeklong training camp designed to prepare those who attended for their futures as potential students at the Naval Academy. The camp comprised of numerous exigent obstacles and classes, challenging the students and their abilities.
Peter said, "We woke up at 5:30 every morning to go to a workout as a battalion, and after that, carried out our days. I went to workshops, including seamanship and navigation, topics in math, aeronautical engineering, astronautical engineering, oceanography, meteorology and finally a guided missile destroyer ship handling simulation.
"One day, we had what is called sea trials. It started at 5:15 when we woke up and went to breakfast. From there, we did PT (physical therapy) in different variations, including rifle PT, and poolside PT, as well as many other forms. We also did many fun things during sea trials, such as zodiac races, flak jacket races, and mile-to-mile runs in order to get to the different locations on campus where they were being held."
The camp simulated life serving the Naval Academy, even including MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat, which are prepared meals given to those in combat. The camp also tested the students' persistence, endurance and leadership skills.
"WMA definitely taught me a lot of leadership skills that I needed down there, and will continue to need if I get accepted there," Peter said. "From going out on yard patrol boats to listening to Marine Corps and Naval officers speak about leadership, everything about it was great.
"I've wanted to go to the Navel Academy since sixth grade, and you can only do this camp the summer after your junior year, so, after I applied in January and heard I got accepted in March, it was crazy . . . just so exciting. The camp overall was a great time and I wouldn't change anything about."
- By Mary Sparago '17
Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015
2 WMA faculty members serve as AP Readers
There are a few reasons why Wilbraham & Monson Academy students traditionally score above the national average on the Advanced Placement exams.
One of those reasons is the teaching ability of the Academy’s faculty, specifically, educators who have experience grading as AP Readers at the annual AP exam within their respective subject.
Center for Entrepreneurial & Global Studies Department member Gary Cook and World Language Department Chair Kevin Kane, as they have done many times, graded the 2015 AP exam in their field.
Mr. Cook, who has graded six of the last seven AP U.S. History exams, spent eight days in Louisville in early June. He read 500-600 essays for at least eight hours each day.
“It’s intellectually rewarding,” Mr. Cook said. “My table was five high school teachers and four college professors, so you get a sense of what’s out there in the field of history. The biggest reason is outside of a master’s degree, it’s the most intellectually rewarding thing I’ve done and it makes me feel incredibly good about what our students do here at the Academy.
“It keeps me thinking about what I need my students to do to prepare. At the end of the day, it comes down to what I can bring back to them.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kane was in Cincinnati for nine days in mid-June tackling the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam for the eighth time. He said the professional development he gains is invaluable.
“There has been an increased amount of professional development opportunities within the weeklong experience,” Mr. Kane said. “At least on the Spanish side, there’s been more of an outreach to connecting us for tip sharing and best practice collaboration. That’s been helpful. It’s interesting to hear the different approaches of a high school teacher and college professor.”
Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015
Baseball enjoys another banner season
The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team came within three outs of accomplishing all of its goals for the season. The Titans didn’t reach their final goal, but the program has reached new heights.
WMA enjoyed one of its best seasons in years, winning the Cleary Division and a semifinal before falling in the Western New England Prep Baseball League championship.
“Before we left for Florida I had the guys write down some individual goals and some team goals,” Coach Jim Irzyk explained. “When I put that list together there were clearly three things the guys wanted to accomplish as a team: win the Cleary, which we did; next was to get to the championship, which we did; and next was to win the championship, which we didn’t, but we accomplished two of the three goals.”
WMA lost to the Salisbury School 4-3 in the final after beating the Canterbury School 15-1 in a semifinal.
“We felt we were a championship team so we were very confident going into the semifinal game that we would find a way to win that game, and we did easily,” Coach Irzyk said. “In the championship, we believed we could win. Our guys know now that our expectation is to get to the playoffs every year.”
The Titans bought into Irzyk’s philosophy of “compete, think, team.” From the first game in Florida in mid-March to the final in late-May, the team prepared and worked well as a unit. “We competed each game, each inning, each pitch,” Coach Irzyk said. “That was the mantra, and that’s what it took to win the Cleary Division. It was a great accomplishment.”
Leading the way toward that accomplishment was a great group of seniors. The Class of 2015 – Shawn Boston, Alex Caldwell, Anthony Garro, Zane Kagan, Roy Goodman, Go Mekeda, Jeff Park, Luke Pelletier and Danzel Williams – all brought something to the table for the Titans, whether it was great play at bat and in the field, or support from the bench.
“The senior class . . . they were close,” Coach Irzyk said. “They worked together in the off-season and on the weekends. They were determined to make their senior season the best. What I appreciated was they accepted their roles on the team. I appreciated that, and they bought into the team aspect. It was a determined group of seniors who led by example and who have set a high bar for the sophomores and juniors going forward.”
Five days after falling in the final, the team received some good news when it was announced at WMA’s Prize Day that it won the school’s sought after Trustees Cup, awarded annually to one team based on performance on the field, performance in the classroom and WMA citizenship.
“Winning the Trustees Cup was a complete surprise,” Coach Irzyk admitted. “We didn’t mention it as a team goal. I’m happy that it happened through the hard work on the field, in the classroom and how they presented themselves on campus. They were a team. The Trustees Cup takes into account a lot of different factors a team does during the season, and how they handle themselves on campus.”
Postseason awards included:
- Team MVP: Shawn Boston ’15
- Team Coaches Award: Roy Goodman ’15
- Cleary Division co-MVP of the Year: Shawn Boston ’15
- Cleary Division Pitcher of the Year: Steve Fleury ’16
- First Team All-League: Jake Breton ’17, Anthony Garro ’15, Joey Mack ’16, Tom Quinn ’16
- Second Team All-League: Alex Caldwell ’15, Roy Goodman ’15, Andrew Wood ’17
- Underclassman All-Star Game: Jake Breton ’17, Jonathan Cotto &rs
Posted Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015
Steve Fleury '16 repeats as pitcher of the year
For the second year in a row, when it came to pitching in the Cleary Division, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Steve Fleury ’16 was considered the best.
Steve, who won more than half of WMA’s games this season, was named Pitcher of the Year for the Cleary Division.
“It was great to win the award,” said Steve, a 6-foot-1-inch right-hander. “I’m proud the league recognized me for my performance this year and I felt I earned it with all of my work in the off-season.”
Steve did his work during the season, also. He went 6-1 for the Titans, with 57 strikeouts in 37.3 innings. He only allowed 31 batters to reach base.
“Steve knew going into the year he was going to face the best teams,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “It was going to be our #1 vs. their #1, and he came through. His Williston game was probably the highlight of his last two years, where he pitched a complete game shutout with 13 strikeouts. But Steve is at his best in the most difficult situations. When he needs to strike out a batter, he does. He has that ability to strike guys out.”
“I wanted our team to win the league and the championship, so my goal was to win as many games as possible for the team and do my part,” Steve said.
Steve earned the win in the Western New England Prep Baseball League semifinal against Canterbury School to help the Titans reach the final, where they lost to the Salisbury School 4-3. He’s already drawn serious interest from Merrimack, Hartford and Southern New Hampshire, and more than five colleges have contacted Steve about seeing him pitch this summer.
“He digs down in those tough situations,” Coach Irzyk said. “He loves to compete. He’s going to be a good college pitcher.”
Steve will play in tournaments this summer in North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Posted Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015
Shawn Boston '15 among the best in WMA Baseball history
From here on out, whenever anyone talks about the single greatest season in the history of Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball, Shawn Boston’s ’15 senior year has to be part of the conversation.
“Shawn took every clutch situation to heart this year,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “You could see in his eyes when there was a big moment in the game, whether it was defensive or offensive, he wanted to be the guy to make things happen.”
And Shawn made things happen all season. He finished with a batting average of .593. In 17 games he had 35 hits, 34 RBI, 19 runs scored and four homers. Most importantly, he led the team to the championship game, with WMA falling to Salisbury School 4-3 in the final.
“One of my main goals was to make it to the championship,” Shawn explained. “Last year we won the division. I felt like it would have been a letdown if we didn’t earn a #1 seed, and we did that. And we went to the championship.
“I had some individual goals as well, with one of those being Player of the Year in the league, and having a higher batting average than last year. Overall, I had a great senior season, individually and as a team captain. I’ll never forget this season.”
Shawn earned co-MVP honors in the Cleary Division while helping the Titans claim the league title for the second year in a row.
“I was very excited,” said Shawn, referring to being named co-MVP. “To be mentioned in that conversation is a big thing for me. There were so many great players in the league. I’m thankful for my parents, coaches and God to be in that position and it’s something I will never forget.”
“Shawn worked hard in practice,” Coach Irzyk said. “He kept his focus and helped the team keep its focus. He was a leader by example. Others saw his approach and what it takes to be an excellent player and how to prepare for games.”
With Shawn’s example leading the way, WMA enjoyed success from the start, all the way back to the team’s March trip to Florida, where they had a winning record while competing against teams from throughout the country.
“In Florida we realized we had a great team if everyone put their efforts in,” said Shawn, who will play at Division II Post University next season. “I said that in Florida – that we could be the best prep team in Massachusetts if we put the work in. It showed during the year. Even though we won the division last year, a lot of teams didn’t think we would be that good and didn’t give is the respect we deserved. This year we showed them who we really were.”
Posted Monday, Jun 15, 2015
Evan Roy '15 named Shaw Award winner
No doubt, Evan Roy ’15 is a soccer player from top to bottom.
However, two experiences in the spring, one on the field and one off, gave Evan the two biggest highlights of his athletic career at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.
“Even though I’m a soccer player, the highlight of my high school athletics was this season’s Rugby team, not necessarily because of me but because of the guys I was with, such as Andy (Goncalves ’15), Drew (Mele ’15), Miles (Nallen ’15), Austin (Fabbo ’15) . . . we’re all really close friends,” Evan said. “Playing together this spring solidified our friendship and made it a blast. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun season.”
Soon after the season concluded, Evan’s fun continued before he graduated from the Academy when he was named the winner of the Philip Shaw Award, given annually to the male athlete who demonstrates outstanding performance and a great desire to improve in athletics.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it. It’s an honor. It’s a real confidence booster. It’s overwhelming. When I got it my heart was racing.”
Evan put his heart into three sports his senior year. Playing center back, he was a key reason why the Boys’ Soccer team closed the regular season on a 10-game unbeaten streak and qualified for the New England Class B tournament; in the winter he helped the Winter Track team to a successful season; and in the spring he led the Rugby in scoring and helped the Titans to a winning record.
“My athletic career was pretty full,” Evan said. “I played a bunch of different sports: soccer, winter track, rugby, spring track and basketball. I tried a bunch of different sports with a bunch of different kids and it helped make friendships the way they are now. I tried in every sport.”
Evan will try out for the men’s soccer team at Connecticut College next season. He was named to the All-League First Team as well as Massachusetts All-State his senior year at WMA.
“Evan played all four years as a very coachable and hardworking, solid teammate,” Boys’ Soccer Coach Gary Cook said. “Evan is a quiet leader and led by example. He will be missed greatly next year.”
Posted Wednesday, Jun 10, 2015
Molly Socha '15 wins Shaw Award
Athletically, Molly Socha ’15 was rightfully regarded as a talented and successful soccer player at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.
Molly, though, was much more athletically, so much that she was honored May 22 with the Academy’s Shaw Award, given to the female who demonstrates outstanding performance and a great desire to improve in athletics.
Now bound for Division I University of Hartford to play soccer, Molly starred on the pitch for the Titans. During her career the team went 43-14-8 and won three Western New England Division championships. In her senior year, where she played center midfield and served as captain, WMA reached the Class B final.
“The highlight was probably the senior year of soccer season,” Molly said. “I’ve talked about this multiple times: those girls meant the world to me. They were my family.”
“As a coach, I worry about replacing a player like Molly,” Coach Don Nicholson ’79 said. “To be truthful, I cannot replace her. I cannot replace a player who contributed to this team’s success for four years as a key player and as a leader.”
Molly worked her way into being a key player and leader in Girls’ Basketball and Girls’ Tennis as well, which is remarkable considering she had never competitively played either sport prior to entering the Academy.
“It’s been great,” Molly explained. “When I entered the Academy I had never played basketball, and had only played tennis a little bit. But once I got into my junior and senior year, I learned to love different sports.”
And the coaches loved the different characteristics Molly brought to the team, particularly her work ethic and leadership abilities.
“She has excelled at tennis, but more importantly, it has been her leadership as a captain that most stands out,” Girls’ Tennis Coach Jay Hamilton said. “Molly set an example, was organized and was dedicated to her team and her teammates.”
“Molly was a scrappy, feisty and relentless worker,” Girls’ Basketball Coach Durelle Brown added. “Through the sheer force of will and pride, Molly went from being a reserve player to a player who I could not take out of the game.”
Molly earned Coaches Awards for Girls’ Soccer, Girls’ Basketball and Girls’ Tennis her senior year.
Posted Tuesday, Jun 9, 2015
Emma Kindblom '17 enjoys historic season for Softball
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Emma Kindblom ’17 enjoyed one of the best seasons in the Softball program’s history this spring, and she was rewarded for her performance with a spot on the prestigious 2015 Preps All-Scholastics Boston Globe Team.
“It’s nice to be recognized by more than the WMA community,” said Emma, who earned a place on the Boston Globe team for the third year in a row.
It was easy to recognize Emma on the softball field, whether it was at shortstop or at bat. Offensively, in 16 games, she had three homers, four triples, nine doubles, 23 RBI, scored 36 runs and batted .623. She also stole nine of 10 bases.
“I thought my season went well,” she said. “I wanted to bat over .500 for the season. I got in the groove as the season went on.”
Defensively, where she made a number of all-out diving stops and over-the-shoulder catches, she only made five errors on 64 attempts.
“Emma is a lot of fun to watch play this game,” Coach Erik Kindblom said. “She is aggressive and she plays full speed on every out. She thrives on competition and loves playing in high-pressure situations. She is a true competitor and we are fortunate to have her for two more years.”
Emma played a big part in the Titans making it to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. WMA won its final seven games to earn a berth in the Class B field.
“The team did really well this year,” explained Emma, who was selected to the Western New England Prep School Softball Association All-League team for the third year. “The beginning was rough but we overcame a lot of difficulties we had in terms of injuries and getting back into the swing of things like we did last year.
“We fought really hard and earned a playoff spot. We knew we had to win to be able to make the playoffs. We just rose to the occasion.”
Emma is being recruited by a number of colleges, including multiple Division I schools. She’ll play in tournaments this summer in South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and California.