Div. III Celebratory Signing Day at The Woodstock Academy
Posted by Marc Allard, Sports Information Director on 6/13/2019
Participating in Division III athletics next year will be (Rear from left to right) Luke Mathewson (Westfield State baseball); Ethan Holcomb (Keene State Men’s Lacrosse); Sophia McGee (Drew University Fencing); Blake Kollbeck (Utica College Football); Heather Converse (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Women’s Basketball); Hannah Chubbuck (Salve Regina Field Hockey); Emma Strandson (Simmons College Field Hockey); Samantha Mowry (Eastern Connecticut State University Field Hockey).
(Seated from left to right) Kathryn Mason (Massachusetts Maritime Women’s Lacrosse); Arielle Johnson (Springfield College Women’s Lacrosse) and Emma Ciquera (Fairleigh Dickinson Women’s Lacrosse).
12 Seniors participate in Division III Celebratory Signing Day
The thought was the same among the 12 senior student-athletes who took part in the Division III Celebratory Signing Day program at The Woodstock Academy Thursday.
They get to continue to play the sport they love at the next level.
Parents, coaches, teammates and friends all took part in the event which was held inside the dining hall on the North Campus.
Some tears were shed and many thanks given to those who helped the seniors achieve their goal of getting a chance to participate in college athletics.
“Think about how extra hard you worked in practice, how you helped your coach, got good grades, were nice to the freshmen and went the extra mile and were such a distinguished individual that coaches at the college level considered you,” Woodstock Academy Associate Head of School Holly Singleton told the gathering. “While you may think, sometimes, that we celebrate Division I and II athletes with different signings maybe because they get money and maybe they are more special but I have a preference for the Division III athlete. You have to be more dedicated because there is no incentive to do it other than your love for the sport and the camaraderie.”
For Heather Converse, it was a chance to follow in the family tradition.
Converse’s two brothers, Adam and Ian, played Division III college basketball in Worcester, MA. at Clark University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, respectively.
Their sister is going just a bit further away.
Converse will play basketball at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
“I’m following in their footsteps,” Converse said with a smile. “I really wanted to play basketball but my top priority is academics. I really want to major in engineering so I had a choice between RPI and WPI, both solid schools. It was a pretty tough decision for me but the coach at RPI (John Greene) came to a lot of my games and I just made a good connection with the team and everyone there. I felt really comfortable on campus.”
Sophia McGee didn’t have a chance to compete in interscholastic athletics at Woodstock Academy since the fencing program is just a club activity.
“I have to travel quite far. I train in Providence,” McGee said.
But she did get a different type of experience at The Academy.
She was one of the coaches for the club team.
“It’s really nice because I get to show people what I actually do in my sport and it’s kind of nice to give back to the community, too,” McGee said.
McGee will continue her fencing endeavors at Drew University in Madison, N.J.
“I always like a challenge,” McGee said.
Three members of The Woodstock Academy girls lacrosse team will move on to play the sport at the college level.
Kathryn Mason will compete at Massachusetts Maritime; Arielle Johnson at Springfield College and Emma Ciquera at Fairleigh Dickinson.
“It’s awesome that Katie (Mason) never played lacrosse until she got to Woodstock Academy and it shows that you can be new at something, and put the work in and accomplish great things,” Woodstock Academy girls lacrosse coach Kathleen Johnson said.
Ciquera became the first Centaurs’ girls lacrosse player to receive All-State honors when she was made a second team Class M selection.
Arielle Johnson, Kathleen’s daughter, overcame health issues to become a solid player at attack for Woodstock Academy and will go on to play the sport at her Mom’s alma mater.
Three field hockey players also signed celebratory documents.
Emma Strandson admitted on her first day of practice as a freshman, she didn’t even have an idea as to how to hold the stick.
Now, she will play for Simmons College in Boston.
Hannah Chubbuck will put on the uniform of Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
“Chubs, we’re going to miss you in the front field, your sense of humor and how you were always there with a smile and ready to go,” said Woodstock Academy field hockey coach Lauren Gagnon during the event.
Samantha Mowry will play for Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.
“This senior class of female athletes are some of the strongest that (Woodstock Academy) had in a significant amount of time,” Singleton said.
There were three male student-athletes in attendance.
Ethan Holcomb, The Woodstock Academy senior Male Athlete of the Year, will continue his lacrosse playing days at Keene State University in New Hampshire.
Luke Mathewson will play baseball at Westfield State University.
“I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Luke for three years and he’s a great young man and a great competitor. Whatever he does in life, he’s going to do well because he has worked hard,” Woodstock Academy baseball coach Brian Murphy said.
Blake Kollbeck will be an offensive or defensive lineman on the football team at Utica College in New York.
“I was looking for academics and they have a cyber-security (major) there and I’m really excited to get my bachelor’s there. It’s a new field, a high-demand job and I’m excited to go up there and play,” Kollbeck said.
Kollbeck said, in addition to playing football for the Centaurs, he has taken advantage of the strength and conditioning program offered by coach Brendan Ostaszewski at The Academy.
“It’s extremely important. If you don’t do any offseason training, you come in out-of-shape, football is not going to be fun. If you do that offseason training, you have a head start on everyone else,” Kollbeck said.