Posted Friday, Feb 21, 2014
Berkan Bolkan '15 places in top 10 at league championship ski meet
Just days after completing the Wilbraham & Monson Academy skiing season, Berkan Bolkan ’15 was already talking about hitting the slopes next year for the Titans.
After a strong regular season, Berkan raced to a pair of top 10 finishes at the NEPSAC Class C Meet Feb. 12 at Mount Sunapee in Newbury, N.H.
“I think I did pretty well,” said Berkan, who placed seventh in the slalom and eighth in the giant slalom at the Class C Meet. “After all of the training, it kicked in. All my experience from all of my previous training, everything came together that day.”
During the regular season, Berkan was often a top 10 finisher in the slalom. He placed 11th overall in the final regular season standings, which included skiers from all divisions.
“The season went well,” Berkan said. “I had a lot of fun. We went skiing, plenty. I used the Sunday Berkshire East trips to ski more often. For next year, I’m already starting to plan how to train myself. Next year I want to ski and practice even more.”
Posted Friday, Feb 21, 2014
Kieran Summers '14 takes 4th at Class A wrestling meet
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Kieran Summers ’14 had a successful senior season of wrestling, and he has the hardware to prove it.
Kieran finished fourth in the 145-pound weight class at the Class A Championship Meet at Loomis Chaffee Feb. 8.
“I’m happy with how I wrestled,” said Kieran, who received a medal for his fourth-place finish. “I lost my first match but then came back and won my next three matches to reach the consolation final.”
Kieran enjoyed a strong season for the Titans. Along with Olexandr “Sasha” Oliinyk ’14, he provided great leadership and helped set the tone for WMA Wrestling.
“We had some kids really step up this year,” Kieran said. “Some of them are going to do really well at New Englands in years to come.
“I’m real happy with my season. I won some tough matches and it was a great team to be on.”
Kieran was named the team's Coaches Award winner at the Winter Varsity Sports Banquet in Feb. 25 at Alumni Memorial Chapel.
"I went out there, worked hard, and came out with a couple awards," said Kieran, who won 14 matches for the season. "It felt great to win the Coaches Award. I tried all season to help anyone anyway I could."
Posted Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014
Celtic great Danny Ainge on WMA campus
Throughout the years, a number of all-time Boston Celtic greats have visited the Wilbraham & Monson Academy campus for one reason or another.
That list was added to Feb. 17 when Danny Ainge was in Greenhalgh Gymnasium to watch his son, Crew, play for Kimball Union Academy of Meridan, N.H., against WMA in a boys’ basketball game.
The Titans won the NEPSAC AA Conference game 74-64.
Ainge played on the great Boston teams of the 1980s with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, winning NBA titles in 1984 and 1986. He currently serves as the President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics.
Ainge joins five other Celtic greats who have been on the WMA campus: Bob Cousy, Tommy Heinsohn, John Havlicek, Bill Walton and Johnny Most.
Posted Monday, Feb 17, 2014
Entrepreneur Julie Cecchini '86 teaching business in China
Julie Cecchini ’86 said Wilbraham & Monson Academy opened her eyes to the world.
More than 25 years later, Ms. Cecchini is not only an entrepreneur, but she’s also working halfway across the world.
“Wilbraham & Monson Academy opened my eyes to the world,” said Ms. Cecchini, who was at the Academy Feb. 11 to talk to two CEGS classes. “My parents were supportive of me and I got to travel and do a lot of different things, but coming to Wilbraham opened my eyes to how many opportunities there were. There was also a big sense of community at the school.”
Ms. Cecchini founded Terra Americana in Westfield 20 years ago. The company manufactures specialty food products, and "the biggest focus of the business is we brand for our products for other companies.”
Terra Americana is currently working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. BCBS is making a push to promote better eating habits, and Ms. Cecchini’s business is making a spice blend with healthy recipes in a tin. Ms.
Cecchini is also a faculty member at Clark University. She teaches business courses at Shandong University of Science and Technology in China.
“In some degree I connect more with the students,” Ms. Cecchini said. “The classes are bigger, which is an extreme challenge, and they’re all different ranges (of abilities). For the most part the kids have a lot of heart and they want to learn.”
It was evident the students she addressed in the two CEGS classes wanted to learn also as Ms. Cecchini was surprised by the level of participation.
“I was thrilled with the students,” she said. “I was shocked they were asking questions. It just seems the world is their oyster. They seem very happy to be here.”
Posted Monday, Feb 17, 2014
Baseball set to play in Florida during spring break
For the second year in a row, the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team will travel to Vero Beach, Fla., during spring break to play in the High School Baseball Spring Training Tournament at Historic Dodgertown, former home of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s a time for the kids to bond and come together,” WMA Coach Casey Brown said. “Hopefully they’re putting the work in now so when they go down there we’re really just fine tuning instead of starting from step one. But for me, it’s about the team and building friendships.”
Twenty-one Titans will travel south March 17-24 to compete in six games, including one junior varsity matchup. WMA will also have seven practices during its stay.
“My big word is ‘opportunity’ this year,” Coach Brown said. “This is a great opportunity for the players and coaches.”
WMA played at Historic Dodgertown last year as well. The team was either winning, tied or down by just a run through four innings in every game.
“It opened up a lot of eyes. It was new last year: I was a new coach and we were going to a new place,” Coach Brown said. “The most important thing was that it was special: the kids bonded together and played for one another.”
Posted Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014
Christina Wakefield '14 of Girls' Soccer signs with BU
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Christina Wakefield ’14 of Girls’ Soccer signed her National Letter of Intent Feb. 10 to play next season at Boston University.
To read the story on masslive.com, click here.
To view a video of the signing, click here.
To view photos of the signing, click here.
Posted Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014
After weeks and months of quality effort and steady improvement, the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Riflery team earned a big reward.
For the first time in at least six years, the Titans won a riflery match, beating visiting Xavier 946-940 Feb. 8.
“I honestly could not be more proud of the students' dedication, hard work and enthusiasm,” said Coach Brian Easler. “They love it, they work hard and they support one another. What more could we ask for? And now it's paying off for them.”
Even more impressive than the win was the total team score of 946, which ranks as one of the highest scores in the league this season.
“That’s a huge improvement,” said RJ Taylor ’15, who led the team against Xavier with a score of 193 (out of 200). “Last year we were in the high 800s, but throughout this year we’ve had steady improvement.”
Sally Qiu ’16 finished with a 192, which remarkably gave WMA two shooters above a 190. Valeria Surkovaite ’14 (189), Dimash Aimurzayev ’14 (187) and Hope Williams ’15 (185) rounded out the Titans’ top five.
“I think the team has worked very hard since the beginning of the season,” Valeria said. “We take it seriously because the coaches put a lot of time into the team. Long and hard practices finally paid off.
“Riflery is a team sport. Even though we’re trying to improve individually, we need a minimum of five shooters to shoot well.”
WMA’s score of 946 shows the Titans have the ability to contend for the league championship, which will be held Feb. 19.
“All the other coaches and teams in the league are talking about us, and they are so impressed at the rate and degree of improvement from the WMA shooters this season,” Coach Easler said. “They are referring to us as the ‘Dream Team.’”
Posted Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014
Jonathan Lee '15 selected to All-State Orchestra
When it comes to the violin, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Jonathan Lee ’15 continues to work at another level . . . a very high level.
After his performance at Senior Western District Festival Concert, Jonathan was selected to the Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra, which will have the honor of playing at the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March.
“I’m excited to see how big the Boston Symphony Orchestra is and I’ll prepare for it,” Jonathan said.
It took a hard lesson to be learned, but Jonathan was well prepared for this season’s orchestra competitions. He qualified for Western Districts last year but could not attend because one of the rehearsals fell during WMA’s winter break.
This year, however, Jonathan made sure his winter break travel plans were conducive to playing at Western Districts, if he was selected. He was, and he performed brilliantly at the concert, which was held at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
“I know at the auditions he scored high on every category,” said Mr. Thad Wheeler of WMA’s Fine & Performing Arts Department. “Performance-wise, he sat in the fourth chair at Western Districts, which is very good. He did a great job.”
Jonathan did such a great job he was selected to the All-State Orchestra, which will play at the BSO March 20-22.
“It’s fantastic he’s on that level,” Mr. Wheeler said. “He’s worked really hard and he’s going to continue to work hard.”
Jonathan’s selection to the All-State Orchestra has also given him the confidence to try out for the All-National Orchestra, as well as the youth symphonies in Worcester and Hartford.
“He’s very enthusiastic,” Mr. Wheeler said. “He’s not hesitant. He has a strong heart. He’s like a warrior.”