Hyde School teams ready for new season

By Thomas D’Agostino - ReminderNews
Region - posted Fri., Sep. 14, 2012
Right tackle Greg Munetz, linebacker Daniel Palmer and quarterback Connor McLaughlin enjoy a little sports talk with assistant football coach Steve Sheehan during the Hyde School Sports Media Luncheon on Sept. 7. Photos by Arlene Nicholson.
Right tackle Greg Munetz, linebacker Daniel Palmer and quarterback Connor McLaughlin enjoy a little sports talk with assistant football coach Steve Sheehan during the Hyde School Sports Media Luncheon on Sept. 7. Photos by Arlene Nicholson.

“At Hyde, sportsmanship is defined by a tradition of putting forth your best effort, respecting your opponents, and being gracious both in victory and defeat.” This motto demonstrates that the athletics department aims to create not just good players, but good people.

For most schools, athletics is largely an extra-curricular activity, but at Hyde School in Woodstock, sports are part of the regular curriculum. The school has a current student body of 165 - a diminutive number in comparison to other schools - but their influence and sportsmanship in their athletic divisions is no less than superior.

The Wolf Pack unveiled its winter athletic season on Sept. 7, and everyone from Director of Athletics Sean Saucier to the athletes are enthusiastic about the upcoming season.

The school’s sports teams compete in several leagues around New England, and for a small school, they can be a force to be reckoned with. Last year, boys’ soccer competed in the Southeastern New England League championship, boys’ basketball won the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Class C championship, and boys’ track and lacrosse took the Southeastern New England championship trophy home.

Hyde is a boarding school attracting students from across the state and the nation, so the students get to know each other as friends as well as team members.

Assistant Director of Athletics Jon Mellinger is excited about the coming year. “It’s been great so far… These kids have been working absolutely to the bone… getting into the training room before practice... They are very dedicated athletes. The thing that separates us from everybody else is that this is a boarding school.”

Saucier is proud to be part of the school. “Academics, athletics and performance are co-curriculum. Even the faculty must participate. It is a great philosophy. It is why I love working here,” Saucier said.

Boys’ soccer coach Kevin Folan, reflecting on last season and realizing that this season, other teams will be “gunning for them,” had this to say: “We have big shoes to fill from last year. We lost some key players. Last year was the most successful season we ever had, but we have an experienced back line and a big striker, 6-foot-8 Christian Ejiga.”

Ejiga grew up playing soccer in Nigeria before coming to the United States. He is presently a senior and would like to see the team go all the way to the championship. “I would like to leave a legacy behind,” he said.

The athletes were more than happy to share their excitement for the upcoming season. Marcos Mercado is a four-year veteran and captain of the wrestling team. He is looking forward to a very competitive season with the Wolf Pack. He is also on the cross-country and track teams as well.

Many of the athletes are involved in more than one sport at the school. Girls’ varsity soccer team leader Hannah Peters said the girls do not have captains, but some step forward and lead the team. Peters is also on the lacrosse team.

Daniel Palmer is a post-grad student who is playing football his first year with Hyde School. He has been playing football since he was 6 years old. Palmer hopes to win a scholarship to continue his education and passion for football hopefully to the professional level. The University of Massachusetts has had eyes on his talent.

Rachel Folan, one of the girls’ varsity soccer coaches, was optimistic about the season. “It can be tough. Every year you lose some key players after graduation. You start from scratch every year,” she said. She added that the returning players have helped to make the new players feel welcome and cultivate the chemistry needed for a winning team.

Check out the athletic season schedule at http://www.hyde.edu/athletics/woodstock-athletics/fall-season.


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