Juniors Step Up As Varsity Captains


Credit: Williston Flickr

While rewarding, being a captain of a sports team is also a demanding task. Usually the prestigious position is held by seniors, however, a few juniors have demonstrated sufficient leadership skills to earn the coveted responsibility.

For a varsity sport, the team votes on who they want as their captains at the end of the season. But ultimately, the decision comes down to the coaches, and they decide who is right for the position.

There are a few juniors that have already earned the title: Sonia Whitman — tennis, Anna Richardson — cross country, Lily Shields — skiing, and Brodie Fazio — lacrosse.

Sonia Whitman, from Greenwich, Connecticut, will be the captain of the Girls Varsity Tennis team in the spring. She has been playing since she was three years old. “I learned how to play because my dad was a tennis player, and he encouraged all of us [her sisters] to do it and try to teach us,” she said.

Sonia has been playing on varsity since freshmen year. She said the most challenging part of taking on the captain role will be “finding the balance of leadership and friendship and also being able to take control in moments where I feel like the seniors want to take control.”

Sonia tried to keep the team going last year even when they were losing. “I tried to keep the spirits high on the team last year because we’re not the winningest team, ” she said. “But it felt like we had such high energy, and I just tried to keep that going for everyone.”

She is ready for the position this year, and she hopes that there will be the same kind of high energy. She chuckled and added, “and also the winning part too.”

She credits her senior co-captain, Hana Tsukamoto, for being there for her. “I’m lucky because I’m not doing it alone. I have Hana, and I think she’ll be a great captain too,” she said. “She’s a talented player and also has strong sportsmanship.”

Anna Richardson, from Granby, Mass, has been running on the Varsity Cross Country team since 7th grade. At first she was a little surprised that she received the captain position, but she quickly adjusted to it. “It was a weird feeling to be in charge and not be the oldest one,” she said. “My biggest challenge was definitely figuring out how to be a captain to seniors.”

There are many responsibilities along with the title. “[We had to] organize team bonding, make sure people knew what time people had to go to practice, be in charge of stretching and cleaning up the course after races.”

After this past season, Anna began to appreciate what her past captains did for her while she was on the team. “A lot of it I’ve taken for granted, I didn’t realize how much hard work the captains were putting into every little thing. They had to get materials, and make sure everything fits with the practice schedule.”

Nikhil Sierros, a junior from Florence, Mass, will be the captain of the Boys Varsity Tennis team this spring. He started over seven years ago after watching his sister play. Nikhil has been on varsity since the 7th grade and has only played the #1 and #2 seed in singles.

Nikhil feels he has big shoes to fill this year . “For most of my tennis career at Williston, I was the youngest of the top six players,” he said. “However, now most of those players have graduated and our team needs to recruit more strong talent.”

He is also looking towards the season with a new coach. “It is very important that whoever we have as a coach can bond with our team and give us the proper support that an individualistic sport like tennis requires,” he said.

Lily Shields, a junior from Lee, Mass, will be the only captain of the Girls Varsity Ski team this winter. She has been skiing since she was three years old, but got into ski racing at five. Her whole family competed as skiers and racers on the Williston varsity team, including her dad, aunt, cousin, grandfather, and currently her two brothers. Likewise, she has been on varsity since freshmen year.

“I’m really looking forward to a great season with the team and pushing my limits throughout the season,” she said.

She wants to focus on the team chemistry this upcoming season. “I want to do some bonding, whether it’s going somewhere fun or just coming together just to talk about our day or anything that wants to be shared among the team,” she said.

Lily continued, “The winter is long and it is extremely important to me that everyone feels included and is able to make new friends or become closer with the other racers.”

Brodie Fazio, a junior from Longmeadow, Mass, will co-captain the Boys Varsity Lacrosse team with seniors Kevin Talbot, Noah Brooks, and Joe Rees this spring. He began playing lacrosse in second grade when his parents signed him up at a small clinic in his town because all his other friends were doing it.

Even though Brodie has only been on the team for one year, he has already become a crucial member to the team as a goalie. He thinks that they have a great season. Brodie looks forward to working with the guys and coaches. “We have a really close team this year and our coaches are great with building relationships with the players.”

Brodie said a great way for the team to come together is coming together during preseason. “During March break we have our preseason at school, where we stay in dorms for a few days and practice,” he said. The team also does a lot of team-building activities “like going to see a UMass Amherst lacrosse game and going bowling.”