The 2018 Student-Athlete College Commitment ceremony held this past Friday in Alumni Hall saw 17 Wyverns commit to playing at the college level. Director of Athletics Debbie Fiske said that these talented students put in the time crafting their game, played through sore muscles, experienced injury and recovery, and highs and lows. "Anyone can be a student, but not everyone can be a student-athlete," she said.
The following students will play in college:
Eloise Bavier – Middlebury College, Women’s Soccer
Ian Britt – Wagner College, Football
Nicholas Casiano – Eastern Connecticut State University, Men’s Basketball
James DiVirgilio – Susquehanna University, Baseball
Robert Downes – Vassar College, Men’s Crew
Abigail Eberle – St. Lawrence University, Women’s Lacrosse
Ryan Goss – Babson College, Men’s Soccer
Noelani Jackson-Sherman – Wheaton College, Softball
Julia Lantieri – Endicott College, Women’s Lacrosse
John Leuschner – Colby College, Football
Dakota McMahon – Sacred Heart University, Women’s Ice Hockey
Anthony Melody – Trinity College, Football
Jackson Meshanic – Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Men’s Basketball
Colin Regan – Oberlin College, Men’s Lacrosse
Jacob Rowland – Union College, Baseball
Emma Smith – Wesleyan University, Women’s Volleyball
Benjamin Tauber – Middlebury College, Football
Ellie was a three-year varsity starter for the Wyverns in the central midfield and helped the team to two NEPSAC Class B tournament. A captain in her senior season, Ellie had 10 goals and seven assists in her career. Coach Tracy Deeter said, "Ellie entered KO during her sophomore year and had an immediate impact. She's competitive in everything that she does and demands a lot, not only from herself but also from her teammates. She loves the game and that passion is evident every time she takes the field."
Ian was a three-year varsity player at KO and earned FAA All-Conference Honors as well as being a Nike Opening and Rivals 3 Stripe camp invitee. His coach Jason Martinez said, "Ian is one of the most dedicated football players I've ever coached. He spends the entire off-season going to camps all over the country to better himself. He never stops working on his craft. What I admire the most about Ian are the sacrifices he has made to play football at KO. He has over an hour commute each day and I have never heard him complain once about his daily routine. He is passionate about the game of football and his passion earned him a Division I roster spot."
Nick leaves KO having scored 2,000 points in his high school career while helping the boys' basketball program re-establish itself as one of New England's stronger Class B teams. Nick was a big part of KO's run to the Class B semifinals in 2017 and to the KIT title in December, the first KIT title for the Wyverns in ten years. He earned All NEPSAC Class B honors as a junior and Honorable Mention honors this past season. Coach Brad Seamans said, "Nick's competitive drive ensured that practice was always going to be intense. His transition to college ball should be easier than most because of the hard work he puts in during the off-season."
A three-year varsity player at KO, Jimmy is a versatile member of the Wyverns program. He was a standout catcher who also spent time in the outfield, second base and even pitched. Coaches Ryan Radmanovich and Steve Cannata said, "He's been a huge part of the KO baseball program. He's continued to improve every year with his hard work and dedication to the program. He was very versatile throughout his career at KO by playing many positions. Jimmy batted over .400 this season and broke a school record with an amazing 17 game hot streak. He is a true team player and we will miss his leadership and great attitude."
While KO doesn't have a crew team for Robert to compete on, he didn't let that stop him from pursuing his dream. Robert has been rowing at Riverfront Recapture for the past three years and on the varsity team for the past two seasons. He rowed in the IV8+ (the varsity fastest 8-man boat) his first year. This past year, he rowed both the 1V8+ and the 1V4+ (the varsity 4-man boat) in the fall and spring seasons.
Entering Saturday's regular-season final game against Kent, Abby has scored 86 goals and added 11 assists over her four-year career. She has also been a two-time New England All-Star. Abby also won the lacrosse MVP award in 2016 and the Coaches Award in 2017. She is also a four-year member of the KO soccer team.
Following a family tradition, Ryan will play soccer in college like his sisters. Ryan was a four-year varsity starter for the Wyverns and a captain the last two seasons. He joins a Babson program that has been to the NCAA Tournament three out of the past four years.
A two-year varsity player and captain her senior year, Lani has been a valuable contributor for the Wyverns on the mound and at the plate. During her two years at KO, she has pitched 81 innings and recorded 101 strikeouts. Coach Jason Bradley said, "Having Lani at KO for the last two years has had a major impact on the program. The knowledge and experience she brought will linger over our program for years."
Julia has been a four-year varsity lacrosse player and a captain during her junior and senior seasons. She has been named a Western New England All-Star. Entering Saturday's regular-season finale, Julia has 184 goals and 66 assists for her Wyvern career. This season she set the single-season goal scoring record with 84 goals and has added 22 assists.
John developed into a two-way starter for Coach Martinez and the Wyverns during his junior and senior seasons and he earned the Most Improved Award after his junior season. While at KO, he was an honor roll students all four years. Coach Martinez said, "John was such a wonderful man to coach. He would never complain and did everything he could for the betterment of the tea, He was a total team guy. In fact, he was such a team player that he played the entire season with a torn labrum and never once used his injury as an excuse. He knew his team needed him, and he was not going to disappoint the tea, He ended up being our inspirational leader down the stretch."
Dakota played two seasons of ice hockey for the Wyverns and has also played for the Central Connecticut Capitals Youth Hockey Organization, the Connecticut Polar Bears, and the Hartford Junior Lady Wolfpack during her career. Coach Hissick said, "Dakota was all business from the first time she hit the ice as a ninth grader. She was a solid contributor her first year on the team. She gives 100% every time she hits the ice whether it be practice or a game. She is highly coachable and focused."
Anthony was a senior captain and three-year varsity player for the Wyverns while developing into one of the top kickers in program history. As good as he was on the field, Anthony was just as strong a role model off of it. For every extra point and field gal he made this past season, Anthony was raising money for his "Kicking It for Cancer" campaign. Coach Jason Martinez said, "Anthony is one of the hardest working athletes I've ever coached. Good leaders must lead by example and that's exactly what Anthony did. He never expects someone to do something he himself wouldn't do. He is usually the first guy on the field and the first guy in drill lines. Everything Anthony does, he does it with passion."
Jackson did it all as a Wyvern, finishing his career with over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Jackson was a big part of KO's run to the Class B semifinals in 2017 and to the KIT title in December. A three-year varsity player, Jackson was an Honorable Mention All-New England selection as a sophomore and Third Team All-New England as a junior. He was named First Team All-New England after a stellar senior season. Coach Seaman said, "Jackson's approach and mentality encompass all aspects of a coach's dream. He works tremendously hard in the gym, the weight room and the classroom. Hobart is lucky to be gaining a winner and a leader."
A four-year letter winner and captain for his senior season, Colin finished his senior season with five goals and three assists, impressive totals for a defenseman. An honor roll student every semester, Colin also won the KOKO Spirit Award in the fall. Coach Mark Conklin said, "Colin has worked hard as a member of the varsity team over the past four years to develop a better understanding of the game. It is his understanding of lacrosse and his smart play that will allow him to compete at the college level. He has learned to maximize his physical tools with sound technique and excellent body position."
Jacob has been a three-year starter for the Wyverns, playing solid defense at third and providing a valuable left-handed bat in the lineup. An honor roll student, Jacob attended KO since eighth grade and has gone on to be a big part of the KO baseball program since he has been here. He had a great season his senior year, and he hit over .300, batting in the middle of the Wyvern lineup. Coaches Radmanovich and Cannata said, "Jake has been one of the hardest working and most passionate players here at KO. Jake leads by example with his hard work, whether it was taking extra swings in the cage or extra ground balls. He was always trying to make himself better. He showed tremendous perseverance through his four years at KO as he battled through a number of injuries."
It's going to be hard to see KO volleyball take the court without Emma after she played five seasons of varsity volleyball for the Wyverns. She was team MVP her sophomore and junior seasons and a captain every season starting with her sophomore campaign. Coach Scott McDonald said, "It's hard to imagine a KOVB before Emma; she has been a five-year varsity player, a three-year captain, and as our setter, Emma has been the key to our success offensively. Emma's dedication to growing as a volleyball player has been exemplary and extended beyond her five seasons with us to include her many years playing on her club teams in the off-season. Our program has been the beneficiary of her commitment, her passion for the sport, her tremendous skill as a player and her supportive leadership as a captain."
A two-time captain of the KO varsity football team and a two-time MVP, Ben was also a member of the 2015 New England Championship team. He played four seasons of football for the Wyverns and was an All-New England selection as a junior. Coach Martinez said, "Ben has been a leader of our program for two years. Although Ben amazed me with his field performance, it was his leadership qualities that impressed me the most. Words that describe Ben: focused, committed, hardworking, helpful and leader. Ben realized early in life that it's character that defines you as a person and not football. He never swayed from the person he wanted to be and that's a credit to his upbringing. His desire to become a better person is what ultimately provided him with this amazing opportunity to play football for Middlebury. We are not only losing a good player, we are losing a good man."