One exciting tidbit about area athletes is every year more and more seem to become college athletes. Coaches and guidance counselors appear to be doing a really good job of finding a place for their graduating seniors. Checking around, we found many athletes we tracked down over the past few days. If we miss your favorite performer who is still lacing their competitive shoes at the next level, e-mail us to bring us into their loop at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass their exploits along to our readers in a few weeks.
For the purposes of this little exercise, we will present the athletes alphabetically, first by their local school and then by their last name:
Bellows Falls Union High School:
Michael LaBeau- The senior righty is looking forward to his final season at Castleton State University. LaBeau burst onto the scene at the end of his junior season, when he earned Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player honors and then went on to star for the Keene Swampbats, making the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Star team last summer.
Spartan coach Ted Shipley in his 17th season at Castleton says, “Everything is presently going as positively as expected. He has done well this winter with his cardio and he has built strength. We had a good team last year, but we have to prove it again and it all starts with pitching and Michael is a big part of that.”
Kendrick Mills- This former Terrier hoop player is a role player this winter on the Lyndon State basketball team. Lyndon is 6-9 overall on the season and 5-5 in the Conference. Mills is averaging 2.3 ppg and plays six minutes a contest. He played much longer against the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, when he got red hot and tallied a career high 11 points.
Mills is a good example of a player who loves the game and hangs on. I saw Kendrick play in person versus UVM back in November and although the Catamounts easily romped over Lyndon 79-20, Kendrick, a junior, was estatic to have competed in the environment of a Division I game at Patrick Gym. At first, Mills had hoped his big game versus MCLA would gain him some more playing time, but new recruits have joined the team this semester, leaving Mills in a similar role.
Cassidy Santorelli- Excitement abounded around the Field Hockey program at Farleigh Dickinson University, College at Florham this fall. The Division III Devils were only the second team in the school’s history to earn their way to the Division III NCAA Tournament. They pulled a big upset victory over Utica College in the post season.
Santorell’s coach Jenn Noon says that the former Terrier, who is a sophomore at FDU, “is a huge asset to the program and portrays the true essence of being a Division III student-athlete. Cassidy’s work ethic is impeccable and she is always the first out to practice, last in the weight room and spends countless hours in the library. On the field, she is a spitfire relentless aggressor that wants the ball. This season, she was a spark for us off the bench, who created many scoring chances.”
Sarah Wells- This sophomore Field Hockey forward at Castleton University gets it. Her coach Jessica Kischko calls her “a coaches dream” and goes on to pour on the praise from there. Kischko took over a program sadly in need of a rebuild and for that environment Wells was the perfect fit. The former Terrier started every game, is the teams third best scorer with 8 goals and 4 assists and provided “direction on the field.”
Kischko, went on to say that Wells, “brings us energy, is passionate, and is excited to be a part of the rebranding of our culture. Sarah is super mature, understands change doesn’t happen overnight and is a strong student, who is becoming a part of our leadership group. We want not only the best players we can find, but the best people who care about one another’s well being. Sarah has fit that model well.” Kischko is headed to the fourth year of her rebuilding job and has local roots. She graduated from Springfield High School.
Black River High School:
Morgan Kathan- The Lady President graduate is a junior forward, who contributed 8 goals and 5 assists to this past falls Varsity Soccer team at Keene State College. The Owls had a strong season with a 14-6 record and finished 6-1 in Little East Conference play before being upset in the semi-finals of the League Tournament by Western Connecticut State.
Owl assistant coach, Sarah Testo, told us, “Morgan is great finding a way to score big goals for us. Last year, she had an ESPN worthy goal, in which our goalie made a save off from a penalty kick and Morgan was sitting up at midfield and collected it, blew past the opposition and scored. She should be a big performer during her senior year.”
Fall Mountain Regional High School:
Morgan Ferland- The former Lady Wildcat three sport star is on the path to success with another Cat family, the Vermont Catamounts track team. Morgan had a strong freshman year, finishing second in the discus in both her closest to home competition, the Dartmouth Invitational and in her America East Conference Championship meet last spring. Her event coach, Greg Wisser, told us “I think Morgan has a bright future for us. I think she should vie for the top positions in her events in our conference and possibly even on the national stage.”
In our conversation, Wisser mentioned something about a “sibling rivalry.” For those who don’t know, Ferland’s older sister, Jocelyn, also competed in weight events at the University of Vermont before Morgan’s arrival and stood out. “Morgan has a great attitude,” Wisser continued on adding, “obviously she would like to pass her sister’s performance and she has those capabilities. Jocelyn was All-conference and All New England, so we’ll see.”
Brandon Heath- The sophomore pitcher was able to get his feet wet last spring with five appearances and had respectable numbers with six hits allowed, a 4.50 ERA, walking two and striking out three, but the truth is, he was waiting his turn. Now, he will be in a battle for more opportunities as a sophomore.
Heath’s pitching coach with the Owls, Marty Testo, says he “is a strike thrower and that should help his chances. He isn’t the type to throw it by everyone, he is a pitch to contact pitcher, who, when he is at his best, has tremendous tilt to his pitches. He just has to keep working. We expect to use him more this year, and we expect him to push in such a way that he could develop a role at some time as a starter.”
Josie Holt- The freshman goaltender is a member of the Keene State soccer team and is at an important stage of her career.
She appeared in one game in net for the Owls in the fall of 2016 and is THE back-up goaltender behind the graduating All-Little East goalie, who basically saw all the time in net.
Assistant Owls coach Sarah Testo told us, “Josie definitely has the opportunity to win the starting job next year. She was the understudy this year, but she is very raw. If you watch her, sometimes her feet don’t seem to move fast enough, but her hands are incredibly quick and they often act like velcro.”
Springfield High School:
Sara Locke- The junior forward from Weathersfield averages 1.55 shots a game and has scored 10 goals and has 6 assists in her career at New England College. She appeared in 20 games for a strong team in Heniker, which reached the North Atlantic Championship Game for the very first time in the school’s Women’s soccer history.
We were unable to reach her coach Paul Vazquez for a specific comment on Locke’s contribution, but she played on a regular basis.
Chelsea McAllister- The sophomore 5-7 guard from the village of Baltimore is making a name for herself in another Springfield basketball program. This time around it is Springfield College. The Lady Pride is 12-5 and 7-1 in Conference this winter and McAllister is averaging 7.9 points per game.
Springfield Coach Naomi Graves in her 26th year coaching the hoop game at Springfield says, “we had contacts and we found Chelsea and she has really upped her game for us. She helped as a freshman, but now it is really exciting how she has developed as a player. She is playing 18 minutes a game for us and I am sure you know she can be a scorer, but she has really developed her overall game. She is becoming a better shooter and stepped up her defensive play and she is on track to become an impact player.”