The Berkshire Eagle is honoring Berkshire County's top high school athletes and coaches in 16 high school sports.

Each week, we reveal our top athletes and coaches of the year, leading up to the Berkshire All Star Gala on June 27 at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires in Pittsfield, presented by sponsor Berkshire Bank and cornerstone sponsors Haddad Dealerships of the Berkshires and the Berkshire United Way.

 

The chosen top athletes and coaches receive a free ticket to the gala.Gala tickets are on sale now at berkshireallstars.eventbrite.com with early bird tickets priced at $35. The public is invited to attend.

The honors won’t stop at athletic achievement. The student-athletes and coaches in attendance are also finalists for special awards for courage, perseverance and leadership.

In addition to athletes and coaches of the year honors for boys’ and girls’ sports, awards will be given for remarkable comeback stories, unsung heroes who made their teams’ success possible, and ambassadors whose effort and dedication promoted a positive reputation for their school and their teammates.

A team of the year also will be recognized for its 2017-18 athletic achievement.

 


 

 

 

3-time Olympian Heidi Voelker to headline Berkshire All Stars gala

Voelker

Heidi Voelker, the three-time Olympic alpine skier, will be the special guest and keynote speaker at The Berkshire Eagle's Berkshire All Stars Gala event in June. 

The Pittsfield native will join The Eagle and sponsor Berkshire Bank in celebrating the top student-athletes and coaches in the county's high school sports leagues for the 2017-18 school year.

RELATED: Voelker excited to return to her roots as keynote speaker for The Berkshire Eagle's Berkshire All Stars Gala

The gala is June 27, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires in Pittsfield.

Voelker was an eight-year member of the U.S. Ski Team, competing on the World Cup circuit in the slalom and giant slalom during that time, while also representing the United States and Pittsfield in the Winter Olympics held in Calgary (1988), Albertville (1992) and Lillehammer (1994).

Voelker hasn't been back to Pittsfield in a number of years, so this event will be like a homecoming for her.

"I'm coming back to my roots. It's really the heart of where I'm from," Voelker told The Eagle. "I'm thinking about things I'll say and want to get across. It's exciting and sentimental."

Fredric D. Rutberg, publisher and president of The Eagle, said one of the most gratifying responsibilities of a community newspaper comes with celebrating local heroes.

"And our high school athletes are future leaders and heroes," Rutberg said. "I can't imagine anyone more appropriate to bestow honors on today's student-athletes than Pittsfield's own Heidi Voelker, who represented the United States in three successive Olympiads with dignity and grace. The Eagle is thrilled to have a part in bringing Heidi back to Pittsfield." 

Making the event possible, Berkshire Bank is the Berkshire All-Stars Gala's title sponsor.

"We are so pleased to support this event to help celebrate and showcase our student-athletes who demonstrate their leadership both on and off the field and court," said Lori Gazzillo, the senior vice president and Foundation director at Berkshire Bank. "We applaud the Berkshire Eagle for organizing this effort and look forward to congratulating the students and their families for all they have accomplished."

The event's Cornerstone Sponsors include the Haddad Dealerships of the Berkshires and the Berkshire United Way.

Voelker joined the U.S. team at the age of 19. Her high watermark on the World Cup tour was a third-place finish in the giant slalom in 1994. Voelker was the national champion in that discipline the same year.

The youngest of four children, Voelker was on skis at the age of 2, tracking around with her father, Larry, and her three siblings. She is now the Ambassador of Skiing at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. 

In the coming months, top student-athletes and coaches in their respective sports from Drury, Hoosac Valley, Lee, Lenox, McCann Tech, Monument Mountain, Mount Everett, Mount Greylock, Pittsfield, Taconic and Wahconah high schools will be announced in The Eagle. Those athletes and coaches get to attend the ticketed dinner event for free, get recognized on stage for their sporting achievements, and get to meet and greet the evening's honored guest.

The honors won't stop with athletic achievement. The student-athletes and coaches in attendance are also finalists for special awards for courage, perseverance and leadership.

In addition to athletes and coaches of the year honors for boys and girls sports, awards will be given for remarkable comeback stories, unsung heroes who made their teams' success possible, and ambassadors whose effort and dedication promoted a positive reputation for their school and their teammates. 

A team of the year also will be recognized for its 2017-18 athletic achievement. 

Chosen athletes who participate in field hockey, soccer, football, cross-country running, volleyball, wrestling, snowboarding, ice hockey, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, golf, track and field, Nordic and alpine skiing, and swimming will attend the event for free.

 

Click on a sport to be taken the corresponding part of the page. 

FALL SPORTS

GOLF   VOLLEYBALL

BOYS CROSS-COUNTRY

GIRLS CROSS-COUNTRY

GIRLS SOCCER    BOYS SOCCER

    FOOTBALL

WINTER SPORTS

SWIMMING    SKIING

HOCKEY

WRESTLING BASKETBALL

SPRING SPORTS

TENNIS    LACROSSE

TRACK & FIELD

BASEBALL  SOFTBALL

If you go ...

Three-time Olympic alpine skier Heidi Voelker will celebrate Berkshire County's top high school athletes and coaches June 27 at The Berkshire Eagle's Berkshire All Stars Gala. Here are details about the event.

Who: The top high school athletes in the Berkshires will be honored on stage at the gala. Watch the newspaper and website as we announce who they are for each sport. The gala’s special awards for athletes and will only be announced at the event. 

Where: Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires in Pittsfield.

When: Wednesday, June 27, 6-8 p.m.

Sponsor: Berkshire Bank

Cornerstone sponsors: Haddad Dealerships of the Berkshires, Berkshire United Way

Tickets: Buy online at berkshireallstars.eventbrite.com. Early-bird tickets for the public, family, and friends of the athletes are $35. Athletes selected for special honors can attend free but must claim their ticket online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOLF

Carlino

COACH

Matt Carlino

Lee

Carlino, who led his team to a Western Mass. Division III championship three seasons ago, followed that up with consecutive third-place finishes.

The Wildcats missed qualifying for the state tournament by one stroke.

Last year, Lee was the top team finisher among all Berkshire County golf teams across the MIAA's three divisions.

He has helped guide golfers like Fraser to their current heights. The Wildcats won the South for the second consecutive year and have won 24 Berkshire matches in the last two seasons.

 

Fraser

CO-MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Thomas Fraser

Lee, Junior

Fraser knocked on the door in 2016, but finally opened it and won his first Western Massachusetts championship in the fall, when he conquered the course at The Orchards in South Hadley, with a 77.

He had tied for second the previous season.

"I've always dreamt of this since I was in the seventh grade and just starting varsity," Fraser said when he won Western Mass. "It finally happened."

Fraser was a medalist in 10 of Lee's 13 matches, plus the Western Mass. final. Twice when he was medalist, he shot under par.

 

 

DosSantos

CO-MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Nate Dos Santos

Wahconah, Sophomore

Dos Santos set the bar high for himself now, winning the Western Massachusetts Division II championship at Cranwell in Lenox.

He shot a 4-over-par 75 and had to make two birdies in the final three holes to pull away from James Longhi of Southwick and Jacob Allard of South Hadley.

"There was a point where they had me by two strokes. It was crazy," the Wahconah sophomore said after winning at Western Mass. "I had them by two strokes, but I double-bogeyed 10, and they caught up. I got some back. It was a lot better than I thought the round was going to go."

The other highlight for Dos Santos was shooting a 4-under 31 on the front nine at Wahconah Country Club, setting a school record. Coach Pete Terpak, who has been coaching for nearly two decades, called it the best round he had seen.

Dos Santos had no bogeys and was one stroke away from four straight birdies. He played in the same threesome with Jack Ter Doest of Hopkins Academy and Luke Willenborg of St. Mary's and beat both by two shots.

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FOOTBALL

 

Clayton

OFFENSIVE PLAYER

Tim Clayton

Wahconah

Clayton came off the bench for injured starting quarterback Jeremy Girard and the Wahconah offense did not miss a beat. His stabilizing presence helped the Warrior win the Western Massachusetts Division VII title.

The junior finished with 17 passing touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. He completed 107 of 197 attempts (54.3 percent) for 1669 yards. He threw a touchdown in eight of 11 games and threw for multiple scores in five of 11 games. He threw for four scores against Frontier and West Springfield.

 

Bush

DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Adam Bush

Hoosac Valley

Bush was one of the few defenders capable of making impact plays at multiple levels of the defense.

He played with his hand in the ground on the interior of the defensive line, and he could play on the edge, playing from a two-point stance as a hybrid end/linebacker.

Bush's versatility required constant attention from opposing offensive linemen. He finished the regular season with 35 total tackles, seven tackles for loss and one sack. In addition to being a playmaker on the field, his intensity and passion made him the vocal leader of the MIAA Division VIII runner-ups.

Vance

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Vance Eugene

Hoosac Valley

Eugene was truly a jack-of-all-trades for Western Mass. Division VIII champion Hoosac Valley. On offense, the senior operated the quarterback position with dynamic dual-threat ability.

He rushed for 580 yards and 13 scores on 77 attempts. Through the air, he went 46 of 81 passing (56.7 percent) for 1000 yards. He threw 14 scores to just 4 interceptions.

Defensively, Eugene was a shutdown defender in the secondary. He wasn't afraid to come down and lay a big hit on a ball carrier, and in coverage, he ended the season with five interceptions.

 

 

Poirot

COACH

Dayne Poirot

Hoosac Valley

Poirot improved his team from a 5-5 2016 season to an 11-1 2017 season that landed the Hurricanes in the MIAA Division VIII championship game.

Poirot inserted Vance Eugene as his full-time QB after splitting time last season, and the offense flourished.

The 'Canes out-scored opponents by a 525-218 margin. Hoosac scored a season-high 76 points in the state semifinals against Nashoba Tech.

Defensively, the 'Canes notched shutouts against Westfield and Pittsfield.

 

 

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 BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

 

 

Seid

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Jesse Seid

Mount Greylock

There are bigger cross-country runners in Berkshire County than Seid, with longer strides and likely more stamina.

However, no one in the area is stronger than the Greylock junior and no one is tougher to race against.

Seid spent his formative years on the Mounties cross-country team racing against some of the best distance runners in the state, most of whom he shared a school building with. 2017 was Seid’s turn to take over the storied program.

During an MVP regular season, Seid claimed numerous firsts, including the Berkshire County title in October. His teammates followed him to a team tile, just as they did later on en route to an eighth-straight Western Mass. championship.

Seid led the entire Division II pack with a run of 17:06.97. It was 14 seconds before the second-place finisher came into view in Northfield. Seid was 18th at states.

Lenox Coaches

COACHING STAFF

Laura Najimy, Albert Najimy and

Head Coach Jeanne Teasedale

Lenox

A once-dominant program, the Lenox boys cross-country team had taken a step or two back in recent years. It needed an injection of some new life and new ideas.

Enter Al Najimy to the Millioniaires' staff of overall head coach Jeanne Teasedale and assistant Laura Najimy. Suddenly, Lenox was back to prominence, not because of an individual superstar running alone into the late fall, but a full team placing third and Western Mass. and qualifying to run at the state meet.

Freshman Ted Yee placed fifth in Northfield, while senior Ryan Silverstein was 10th. Both were quick to credit Al Najimy for putting in the time and having the right eye to turn the program back around.

A year after placing just two in the top 55 at sectionals, Lenox crammed all seven of its varsity runners into the top 55 in 2017. The Millionaires sent no boys to states in 2016. Last fall the full team was on hand.

 
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GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

 

 

Wells

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Jackie Wells

Mount Greylock

A freshman transfer at a new high school, where one’s main sport happens to be one of that school’s major pastimes is a tenuous position. However, it is one Wells navigated with quiet intensity and big-time chops.

The Mount Greylock newcomer scorched onto the scene early on last fall with a season-opening win in the literal lion’s den at Lenox, and never faded. She racked up wins against some of the best runners locally, and kept growing until she helped her new squad claim a Division II state championship.

With the help of her older sister, Lily, coach Larry Bell and stacked team pushing her, Wells claimed a Western Mass. title by 13 seconds over her former teammate at Mohawk. In doing so, she also helped Greylock unseat rival Lenox as sectional champs.

A week later, Wells finished 14th at states, earning an individual medal. A little while later, though, she found out her teammates had helped carry her and the program to a state title. 

Bell

COACH 

Larry Bell

Mount Greylock

Bell has long been one of the state’s best cross-country coaches. This year was a validation of the highest order.

Bell coached his Mount Greylock girls squad to a Division II state championship, the first title the Mounties have earned in more than 20 years.

Granted, Greylock had an abundance of talent, it took molding and some brutally difficult decision-making to put this group of girls in position out in Wrentham last November.

Bell guided the Mounties through a season-long rivalry with powerhouse and three-time defending Western Mass. champion Lenox.

But it was girls in red who peaked at the right time, taking that trophy at Northfield Mountain and then grabbing the big one a week later.

 

 

 

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 VOLLEYBALL

 

 

wang

DEFENSIVE MVP

Anna Wang

Lee

Anna Wang was the anchor of the best team in Berkshire County. Her consistency and presence made it easier for her teammates to execute their roles. In her third year starting at libero, she led the team in digs with 261.

Wang is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the County and is also a willing teacher off the court to her younger teammates.

 

 

McCullough

OFFENSIVE MVP

Emma Parkington 

Wahconah

Parkington combined high-level athleticism with energy and passion, as she put together a dominant senior season for the Warriors. The outside hitter guided her team to the Division III Western Mass. quarterfinals where they fell to eventual runner-up Lee.

She led the team in kills with 222 and finished second in digs and assists with 116 and 14 respectively. She finished third in total blocks with 17 and recorded 46 aces.

 

Warner

COACH

John Warner

Lee

Lee coach John Warner has built the Wildcats volleyball program from the ground up, producing one of the top teams in all of Western Mass.

He's never had a losing season in his 17 years at the helm, going .500 from 2003 to 2005 when Lee competed as a club team. He led the Wildcats to a 13-2 record in their first full varsity season.

Recently, he's led the 'Cats to three straight Western Mass. Division III finals. Last season, the team swept Berkshire County in route to 19-2 record. Lee's won Berkshire County eight out the last 10 years. He currently has a record of 235-57 (75.8 percent).

 

 
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GIRLS SOCCER

 

 

Gamberoni

GIRLS MVP

Nicole Gamberoni

Lenox

Nicole Gamberoni put together an impressive statistical campaign, while also serving as a lynchpin in the middle of the field for Berkshire South champion Lenox.

She tallied four points in a postseason win that eventually helped the Millionaires advance to the Western Massachusetts Division IV final.

Gamberoni is one of the fastest players in Western Mass., and has the stamina and strength to play physically in the midfield as well.

Few stars possess the scoring ability of Gamberoni, which she accents with heady play and a willingness to make those around her better.

She amassed over 20 points this season and was voted South MVP by county coaches.

 

 

 

DeFelice

DEFENSIVE PLAYER

Gabi DeFelice

Monument Mountain

The Berkshire North champion Spartans were strong across the field, but it was their back line that provided the steady play necessary to take down the division and reach the Western Massachusetts Division III final.

Gabi DeFelice was the key to that unit. Monument’s playoff run featured a shutout, two 2-1 wins (one in overtime) and a 2-1 PK loss in the title match.

Throughout all of that, DeFelice commanded attention on the field and presided over a stout defense. She was impenetrable one-on-one, and consistently maintained positioning while keeping her teammates aware and in line. DeFelice could also transition to the offensive end and racked up eight assists with her superbly placed set pieces coming off corner kicks or indirects.

 

 

 

 

 

COACH

Jess Platt

Monument Mountain

Navigating the treacherous Berkshire North in 2017 was no small feat.

All five member teams clinched postseason berths, but it was Jess Platt’s Monument Mountain squad that took home hardware.

The Spartans overcame some significant losses, including a senior goalkeeper. Platt started a rookie between the pipes and still tallied seven shutouts en route to allowing just one goal a game.

Offensively, Platt’s girls spread it around and were always passing crisply and cleanly through some thick defenses

 

 

 

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