GMHS Athletes of the Month

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Kyle Desjardins

Sports played: Baseball

Academic accomplishments: During the Summer of 2017, I committed to Nichols College where I’ll be attaining an Accounting degree with a minor in Sports Management. The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants awarded me with the High School Accounting Student Certificate of Merit in recognition of excellence in accounting. I was also awarded with Meritorious Achievement in Business for my Junior year.

Athletic Accomplishments: When I was a Sophomore at Granby Memorial, I won First Team All-Conference for the NCCC as a catcher and a pitcher. The next year, I won it again as mainly a catcher batting a little over .350. From starting on Varsity as a Freshman to Junior year, I was also awarded High School Scholar Athlete for my excellence in the classroom. At the end of my Junior year season, my coach, Todd Shufelt, gave me the Coaches Award.

How I prepare for a game/match/meet: It all starts with hydration. When it gets to the middle of the Summer, I drink four or five bottles of water the night before so I don’t get exhausted so easily in the heat. As a catcher with all that gear on, it can get extremely hot so I make sure I have enough water or Body Armor on hand before and during a game. Also, as a strong Italian, I try my best to load up on carbohydrates and eat a big pasta dinner made by my own Italian mother. If I can, I’m at the field an hour and fifteen to an hour and a half before a game. I have my classic rock music ready and I head straight to the cages to hit off the tee or, if there are coaches there, get some live batting practice before we start stretching and get to work. After getting some of my own work in, I lead the dynamic and static stretches which are at least twenty to twenty-five minutes. I like to take my time stretching because I don’t want to pull a muscle or get a cramp. Throwing is such an unnatural motion that I can’t take any risks. After we go through our regular throwing, I get someone to throw some blocks to me so I can get a feel for the motion. To get in the right mindset, I have someone throw fifteen to twenty balls in the dirt and fifteen to twenty balls where I catch them bare handed. This is to get my soft hands going so I can receive pitches in a game a lot easier. You have to slow the game down and, for me, that’s the way I get prepared for that. Right before the game starts, I finish with saying a prayer. It’s usually a quick one but I feel it necessary to thank God for the opportunity to play this wonderful sport!

Most memorable moment as a BEAR: My most memorable moment as a Bear is when I played one of our rivals, Canton, during my Junior year. I went three for three this game with four RBI’s, a double, and my first home run in my high school career! We won 16 to 1 in this game and it felt so great to do so well against our rival.

Favorite athlete: My favorite athlete is Dustin Pedroia from the Boston Red Sox. He is the most prime example of a hard working, dedicated, motivated player.

Plans after high school: I am attending Nichols College where I will get a Master’s degree in Accounting and play Division III baseball in the CCC. Once I am out of college, I want to try my luck professionally for baseball. During the winter, my hitting coach is the manager of the South Bend Indiana Cubs who is the Single A team of the Chicago Cubs. With connections through that, I am hoping something might happen where I can play in the Cubs organization. If my plan for baseball doesn’t go the way I want, I am going to try and be a Forensic Accountant for the FBI. This has been a goal of mine for a little while now as I’ve always found the FBI an interesting job because my cousin works in the field for them. After that, I am looking to pursue a job in the front office of a professional baseball team if I can’t manage a team of my own!

Favorite quote: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”—Thomas Edison

Mackenzie Stahl

Sports played: GMHS Girls Soccer, GMHS Girls Basketball, GMHS Track

Academic accomplishments: Member of National Honors Society, Member of Spanish Honors Society

Athletic Accomplishments: All State Junior and Senior Year (soccer), State Champion 2017 (soccer), All Conference Junior and Senior Year (soccer), All Conference Sophomore and Junior Year (Track), 2 time NCCC Girls Discus Champion, 1 time NCCC Girls Javelin Champion, 3rd place Class M Discus finish

How I prepare for a game/match/meet: For soccer and basketball I always bring my big speaker and sing and dance with my teammates. Music is essential to my game/meet preparation.

Most memorable moment as a BEAR: In the quarter final of the Class M girls soccer state tournament against Rocky Hill the match went into overtime, and with last minute goal by Rocky Hill, penalty kicks. Although I had prepared extensively during practice, I never thought one of our games would come down to them. When my coach, Moose, looked at me and told me I was taking the first penalty kick, my nerves took over. Walking up to the line hearing everyone chant gave me the confidence I needed. I heard the whistle blow and saw the ball hit the back of the net and instantly ran to the arms of my teammates. Taking the win in such an emotional and intense game was truly unforgettable.

Favorite athlete: Marta Vieira da Silva, member of the Brazil Women’s National Soccer Team

Plans after high school: I plan to attend a four- year college and two-year masters school in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant

Favorite quote: “Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living.” —Anonymous

Keon Lawrence

Sports played: Football, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field

Athletic Accomplishments: outdoor track all conference 2017-2018 season indoor track all conference 2017-2018 placed 13th at new England’s for long jump

How I prepare for a game/match/meet: I prepare for my games/meets by separating from the rest of the team and listening to music and doing 10 push ups.

Most memorable moment as a BEAR: My most memorable moment as a BEAR was at the last chance NCCC qualifier freshman year when I broke the school record for long jump with a distance of 19 feet 1.5 inches

Favorite athlete: Marshawn Lynch

Plans after high school: I plan to attend college

Favorite quote: Success isn’t given. It’s earned. On the track and on the field. With blood sweat and the occasional tear.

Katie Martel

Sports played: Lacrosse

Academic accomplishments: Honors all 4 Years Meritorious Award in Math

Athletic Accomplishments: First Team All State Midfield 2017 All Conference 2017; Lower New England – Connecticut National Team

How I prepare for a game/match/meet: Put on my favorite music and get relaxed

Most memorable moment as a BEAR: My most memorable moment as a bear was playing in the State Finals and winning in double overtime.

Favorite athlete: Tom Brady

Plans after high school: Going to college and majoring in physical therapy.

Favorite quote: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell