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Posted Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015 

Jeb Brown '15 accepted into U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Whether it’s been as a prefect, student or athlete, Jeb Brown has quietly yet successfully stood out during his time at Wilbraham & Monson Academy.

As he winds down his four-year career at the Academy, it should come as little surprise Jeb has managed to stand out in an area that is typically stressful and drawn out.

Jeb has been accepted into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, where he will attend classes and play Division III lacrosse before serving his seven-year commitment in the U.S. Reserves. Jeb was one of just a handful of high school seniors from Massachusetts selected to the Class of 2019 at the service academy, which is located in Great Neck, N.Y.

Ironically, Jeb received the good news while he was driving back from a WMA Riflery match.

“I was coming back on the bus from a riflery meet (in February), and Congressman (Bill) Keating called and said ‘I wanted to congratulate you on being fully accepted into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Class of 2019.’ I was really overwhelmed and happy,” Jeb explained.

Jeb received the equivalent of a $250,000 scholarship and will graduate from the service academy as an officer.

Jeb received a detailed letter of recommendation from Head of School Brian Easler, who served in the U.S. Army Airborne Rangers. In the letter, Mr. Easler, who also serves as Jeb’s advisor, said, “From my personal observations, Jordan (Jeb) Brown is an outstanding candidate for any service academy. He is an honorable, respectful, hardworking and clean-cut young man. He is not prone to fickle adolescent temptations or weakness.

“Jeb has integrity and a strong value system that attracts other good students to his leadership and sound moral judgment. He is a fine young man with potential even beyond his awareness, and I have no doubt that he will serve with distinction.”

Jeb was recognized for his acceptance into the service academy during school meeting Feb. 19.

Posted Monday, Mar 2, 2015 

Wrestler Jordan Payne '16 places 3rd at Class A meet

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Jordan Payne ’16 placed third in the Class A Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 14 at Williston Northampton School. He was the highest finisher for the Titans.

“Jordan was seeded second,” explained Coach Tim Poole, “but he ran into a kid early on in the tournament who ended up beating him. What's interesting is that the kid that he lost to took second in the tournament, and Jordan took third. Jordan told me after that match that ‘the one thing I want to do is wrestle that kid again.’ As fate would have it, in the New England tournament he faced that kid again and beat him 7-5.”

Jordan has had an interesting season. For the majority of the 2014-15 campaign, he wrestled in the weight class above him, at 126, opposed to his usual 120-pound class.

“Getting into the Class As this year was actually one of the few times this year that Jordan wrestled at his normal weight class,” said Coach Poole. “He did a great job.”

Although Jordan was fighting an uphill battle throughout the majority of this season, Coach Poole believes the experiences he learned played a key role in helping him place third in the Class A meet. Jordan may have had a difficult year as far as having to wrestle in a heavier weight class, but he persevered and learned from the experiences.

Coach Poole said, “His record does not show what he did this year.”

Jordan’s coaches were critical in helping him overcome these challenges.

“I worked a lot closer with my coaches this year,” said Jordan. “That’s been very helpful.”

Coach Poole is very happy with Jordan’s progression from his freshman year to now. He said, “What I'm looking for in Jordan is for him to continue to progress as well as he has. He wrestled a very good Class A tournament and New England tournament. I just want him to carry that into next year.”

By James Sabatino ’16

Posted Friday, Feb 27, 2015 

Water Polo team visits Shriners Hospital

With strong swimmers like Austin Fabbo ’15, and twins Jack and Liam Kirwan ’15, Wilbraham & Monson Academy had a strong and enthusiastic Varsity Water Polo team.

The team’s real strength, however, was in its sensitive understanding and compassion for the athletically less able. With the thoughtful leadership of Lucy Abramian ’15, a three-year team member and a patient at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, she collaborated with the Water Polo team to raise money and collect can tabs.

Also, Joseph Mack ’16, a first-year member, spearheaded a successful effort to collect books, games and toys for the enjoyment of the young patients during their hospital stay. Then, members of the team devoted their time by personally delivering the gifts and visiting the hospital in November. The team’s caring generosity was greatly appreciated.


Posted Friday, Feb 20, 2015 

Baseball set for 2015 Florida trip

For the third year in a row, the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team will escape the New England winter weather and start its season in sunny Florida.

The 2015 Titans will play eight exhibition games and partake in eight practices during its March 11-16 stay at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.

“The Florida trip gets us into game form,” said outfielder Roy Goodman ’15, who played in the previous two March trips to Florida. “It gets us on the field and gives everyone a chance to show what they can do, and gives the coaches an idea of what everyone can do. It gets us a step ahead of everyone else when the season comes around.”

WMA will play against teams from North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as a pair of games versus a club team from Ontario, Canada. Three of the eight games will be played under the lights. All of the games will be live streamed.


Posted Thursday, Feb 19, 2015 

Molly Socha '15 inks NLI with Hartford

Molly Socha ’15 said her senior season on the Girls’ Soccer team at Wilbraham & Monson Academy was like a movie. There was definitely a sad scene late in the movie, but overall, it was a great movie.

“It was like a movie: we had a great regular season, then we won a quarterfinal in the playoffs in penalty kicks, and then we won our semifinal, and then we went to the final,” Molly explained. “Making it there was . . . I couldn’t ask for any better. Obviously it was sad to lose, but we were all crying because of our chemistry and leaving each other. I think that’s what everyone believed. I’ve never been on a team where the chemistry was so close. It was a family – a true family.”

On the field, the season didn’t end the way Molly and her teammates had wanted, with the Titans losing in the New England Class B final. Off the field, though, Molly’s season had a great ending, with Molly signing her National Letter of Intent to attend Division I University of Hartford.

“At first, I went and I didn’t know what to expect because it’s in Hartford,” Molly said. “But I loved the campus. It was beautiful. I really, really like the coach. I met the girls on the team and loved the atmosphere and felt I could fit in great.”

Molly was a great fit for the Titans during her four-year career. She received the team’s Coaches Award following her senior season, which she co-captained with Tori Bernardo ’15.

Coach Don Nicholson ’79 said, “Molly concludes a tremendous career at the Academy – four years of being a starter and being a tremendous contributor to the team, and culminating her senior season by being named a captain and leading the team to the New England final, and also a division championship along the way.”

Molly has known for nearly a year she was going to attend and play at Hartford. She verbally committed in June of 2014. She said the Academy has her prepared for the rigors of being a Division I student-athlete.

“WMA made a huge impact on me when it came to picking out colleges,” Molly said. “Soccer-wise, I wanted to play at the highest level I could. And, in an academic sense, I can achieve my grades at the highest level due to the AP and honors courses I’ve taken and to the pressure. I’ve built skills. WMA has influenced me picking a college, and has influenced me as a person since freshman year.”

Posted Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015 

Riflery beats Avon

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Riflery team bested Avon Old Farms 946-944 on Feb. 14. The team’s score of 946 (out of 1,000) was its high for the season.

This victory is significant because Avon Old Farms is one of the strongest teams in the league. This is the first time WMA has beaten Avon Old Farms in more than a decade. The team also defeated Xavier High School last year with the same score of 946, which was its first win last year, as well as its first win in more than a decade.

Not only was this win remarkable for the Titans because they were the underdogs approaching the match, but this was the team’s first win of the year, making them 1-4 as of Feb. 17.

The team’s top scores were 193 (out of 200) for Winner Le ’15, and 191 for Sally Qiu '16. Winner is new to the sport of riflery, and has quickly honed in his skills.

“I didn't know that Avon was a good team,” said Winner. “It felt even better when I found out we beat them.”

Although both Winner and Sally had commendable marks, scores from RJ Taylor ’15, Josh VanVoorhis ’16 and Jeb Brown ’15 of 189, 188 and 185 helped the team beat Avon Old Farms.

Coach John Lombard is proud of his team, and impressed with the team’s performance so far this year.

“I give a lot of credit to the students,” said Coach Lombard. “We have a lot of veterans who have been good mentors.”

Riflery will be participating in the Prep Gallery on Feb. 18.

By James Sabatino ’16

Posted Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 

Justin Jang '15 named National Merit Scholarship Program Finalist

It’s official - academically, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Justin Jang ’15 is among the elite of the elite nationally.

Justin has been named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist, which ranks him among the top students in the country and in position to receive a college scholarship.

WMA Head of School Brian Easler presented Justin with his National Merit Scholarship Program Certificate Feb. 10.

“Being named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist in Massachusetts is particularly honorable, because of the strength of the competition,” Mr. Easler said. “Those selected as Finalists represent roughly less than the top 1% of PSAT scores in any given state, and there is an equal allocation by state. This means that states with particularly robust educational systems and prep school networks, like Massachusetts, present an even greater challenge to overcome. Justin has brought honor to himself and to his school . . . we are all very proud of his hard work and determination.”

Of the 1.5 million students who took the PSAT in 2013, Justin was one of 16,000 students to be recognized in September of 2014 as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. Then, based on his academic information, SAT scores, a recommendation and essay, he was named a Finalist.

“I thought I did OK on the PSAT, but I thought I was right on the threshold,” Justin said. “It moves up every year so it was ambiguous to whether I was going to get it or not.

“I’m thoroughly surprised and excited. I hope I move up. I know this is the stage where they really get down to business. It’s selective.”

Justin, who is now one of 15,000 students nationally being considered for one of 7,600 scholarships, said the framework at WMA is a big reason why he has enjoyed so much academic success.

“At first I was a bit worried about attending WMA,” Justin explained. “This is a smaller school and I didn’t think WMA would have the resources available I would have liked. But on the contrary, I feel because I’m in a smaller school, the faculty is able to take care of the individual as opposed to a big class of students. The faculty advances the individual student – that’s something that drove me.”

Justin is on the Academy’s “As Schools Match Wits” team, a writer for the school newspaper, a writing center tutor, and a member of the Finance Society. He has applied to Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, New York University, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Berkeley, University of Southern California and University of Chicago.


Posted Monday, Feb 16, 2015 

Nicole Cronin '15 commits to Southern Conn.

It was a long wait, but for Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Nicole Cronin ’15, it was worth it.

After waiting 10 months, Nicole signed on Feb. 13 to attend school and play soccer at Southern Connecticut State University.

“I really liked the campus. It was more modern and fit what I was looking for,” said Nicole, who said she knew she wanted to attend SCSU since April of 2014. “It had the major I wanted and I got along with the coach so well that it seemed like a good fit.

“This was the top and where I wanted to go.”

Nicole helped the WMA Girls’ Soccer team reach the top game of the 2014 season, with the Titans qualifying for the New England Class B final.

“During Nicole's four-career at the Academy, she has had a tremendous impact on our program as a player and as a person,” Coach Don Nicholson ’79 said. “Nicole was a central marking back for us and did her job with efficiency and great determination. She was always given a tough assignment, but Nicole never backed away from a challenge. She played a key role in the overall success our program continued to experience during her tenure on our team.

“Nicole will be greatly missed, but I know she will be a welcome addition to the program at Southern Connecticut."

Nicole, who will major in Therapeutic Recreation at SCSU, has earned the opportunity to play Division II soccer. She said that particular good fortune came largely due to the chance she was given at the Academy.

“My four-year career was great and special,” Nicole said. “Having the opportunity that Coach Nic gave me . . . I appreciate it very much. I loved playing with the girls here, and stepping onto the field every day with them made it easier to go out onto the field and play with the team. I’m definitely going to miss the school; it’s where I met most of my friends.”


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