February 2023

Naava Gibson

Naava Gibson has been selected the Female Athlete of the Month for February as a member of the Varsity Girls Alpine Ski team.  The first-year varsity skier has been skiing her whole life and has been on skis since she could walk growing up in Colorado.  Her slalom and giant slalom race experience started in 7th grade and has culminated in a very successful 2022-23 season.  Coach Murray stated: “Naava is just an all around great athlete.  She is very coachable, driven, and is fun to be around.  She also played a large role in our Sectional Championship.”  In February, the Wayland-Cohocton Girls Varsity Alpine Ski team earned the District’s first ever Sectional title in Alpine Ski.  Naava placed 6th in the giant slalom and 3rd in slalom that day, earning her a medal and place on the podium.  When asked what it takes to successful in her sport, Naava stated:

“Ski racing is a mental sport in so many aspects.  You have to push aside so many fears to allow yourself to succeed.  Everything is so tempermental so you have to be able to adapt to anything.  You don’t have to be the fastest skier because everyone has their off days so as long as you can stay on your feet and be consistent, you’re likely to be successful.”

This success has ben a long time coming and she wants to thank her dad for always encouraging her, pushing her to attend extra practices and races, and being her personal chauffer taking her and her friends to the mountain.  She appreciates how hard he worked to educate himself in the sport of skiing to offer her the best advice.  Her Naava, winning a Sectional title is a fond memory and a proud moment she will remember for a lifetime.

Favorite Athlete: Lionel Messi or Antonio Rudiger
Favorite Song to get hyped up: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - Can’t Hold Us Back
Favorite Food: Chicken Pot Pie

Vanyo Nielsen

Vanyo Nielsen has been selected the Male Athlete of the Month for February as a member of the Varsity Boys Indoor Track team.  Now a senior and in his third year with our indoor track and field team, he has exemplified what it takes to be a self-taught and driven athlete.  His specialty is the pole vault and his progress has reached its highest status.  In February, Vanyo not only won a Sectional Title with a 12 foot 6 inch vault, he also punched his ticket to the New York State Indoor Track and Field Championships by clearing a new personal best 13 feet during the State Qualifier meet days later.  As the lone representative at the State Championship, he had a lot to be proud about.  Even with all these individual accolades and accomplishments, Vanyo says he is most proud of the feeling of family that his team has provided over the years.  When asked who he wanted to thank, he stated: “Coach Dan, Coach Martin, Coach Knapp and his parents for supporting me and pushing me to go further.  Also, Jaden Rocha for helping me find a pole vaulting club.” 

When asked what it takes to be successful in track, Vanyo recognized a positive mindset, working hard, and the attitude to keep showing up.  Coach Martin has taken note of this commitment and remarked: “Vanyo is a hard worker in practice and is always coming up with some quirky thing to do at some point during practice to get his teammates hyped up.  He is a very coachable young man.”  His season culminated in one more personal best; 13 feet 3 inches at the State Championships in Staten Island surrounded by the State’s best pole vaulters.  Vanyo’s last vault propelled him to 9th place in New York State. 

Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Athlete: Chistiano Ronaldo
Favorite Song before an event: Lil Bab – Emotionally Scared

January 2023

Mackenzie Pickard

Mackenzie Pickard has been selected the Female Athlete of the Month for January as a member of the Varsity Girls Basketball team.  Now in her senior year, she has been playing basketball for a decade with her last three years at the varsity level.  When asked what it takes to earn this award, she remarked: “A lot of hard work, dedication, commitment, and love for the sport.”  Coach Balinsky considered Mackenzie the most coachable player on the team, a true senior captain, and leader on and off the court.  It was no surprise that despite a difficult schedule, Mackenzie had a knack for being the glue that kept her teammates together.  She was amongst the team leaders in points (76), rebounds (116), and blocks (23) through the month of January. When she commented on her fondest sports moment, Mackenzie stated:

“It’s hard to pick just one moment so being able to play and share laughs with the same group of girls for so long.”

In her questionnaire, Mackenzie wanted to use the opportunity to reminder her teammates and other athletes to never forget why they started to play the sport many years ago.  She recommends that we play for the younger version of yourself that fell in love with the game and give it your all no matter the outcome.  These are some wise words from a senior that will be sorely missed going into next season.  She would like to thank her past and present coaches, friends, and family for their unwavering support.

Favorite Song – Super Bass by Nicki Minaj
Favorite Athlete – Hope Solo
Favorite Food – Five Guys burger and fries
Pre-Game Ritual – Napping on the bus ride

Greg Reilly

Greg Reilly has been selected the Male Athlete of the Month for January as a member of the Varsity Boys Indoor Track team.  Now a senior, he is in the middle of his second year on the varsity team.  When asked what it takes to be successful in the sport, he stated: “Pushing yourself in practice and others to run with to push each other.”  Coach Martin included some impressive stats from the season which highlight Greg’s success as not only an individual runner but also as a member of several relay teams.  Individually, he posted a personal best 2:51.44 in the 1000 meter run and was a winner of the 4 by 400 and 4 by 800 relay teams during meets in December.  As a group, the 4 by 800 relay team is ranked 1st in their class.

When asked about his fondest memory, Greg remembers winning the League Championships last years a junior as well as their Section V win in the 4 by 800 meter relay.  He would like to thank Coach Martin, Coach Knapp, Coach Rizzieri and Coach Owens for their commitment to him over the last two seasons.  Greg says he is proud to be on a team and represent Wayland-Cohocton as an athlete.

Favorite Food: Dipped Chewy Bars
Pre-Game Rituals: Holding the baton as a group before relay races
Favorite Song: One Republic – Run
Favorite Athlete: Josh Allen

December 2022

Charidi Davis

Charidi Davis

Charidi Davis has been selected as the Female Athlete of the Month for December as a member of the Varsity Girls’ Indoor Track team.  Now a senior, she has been competing at the varsity level since her freshman year of high school.  When asked what it takes to earn this award, Charidi spoke a lot to the goal of beating her personal record times each time she competes.  In the sport of indoor track, doing your best means working hard enough to post a new personal best time each race.  But this starts with the mindset of wanting to improve, not just going through the motions. 

In nominating Charidi, Coach Martin stated: “Charidi has been so much more positive this year.  She has accepted our suggestions and has improved her times at each meet.”  She appreciates her work ethic and coachable attitude to become her best day in and day out.  This has resulted in a strong performances and new events added to her repertoire. 

Charidi would like to thank her coaches, past and present, for their push to propel her in the sport.  At the end of the day, she knows it’s best for her and her teammates that everyone strive to be better than the day before.

Favorite Food: Fried Chicken and Rice
Fondest Sports Memory: Late nights roaming Wegmans after track meets
What makes you proud to be a Way-Co athlete: Teams becoming family throughout the season  

Jett Meldrum

Jett Meldrum

Jett Meldrum has been selected as the Male Athlete of the Month for December as a member of the Varsity Boys’ Swimming and Diving team.  The third-year varsity swimmer has been swimming since 2nd grade and has developed a passion for the sport since his modified years.  He remarked: “It takes a mindset that is hard to push yourself into; one that is so uncomfortable yet so pleasing in the end.”  Swimming often comes down to intrinsic motivation and Coach Kreppel has been pleased with Jett all season long. 

When asked to comment on his character and coachability, Coach stated: “Jett is a real competitor.  He will give his all in every race that he competes in.  He is a true team leader, encourages his teammates, and is always positive.” 

This determination and will to push through adversity has resulted in Jett qualifying for Sectionals in the 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, 200 Individual Medley, and 500 Freestyle early in the 2022-23 season.  He is keenly aware that success in swimming requires patience, grit, optimism, and dedication.  He would like to thank his family, Coach Kreppel, Coach Brittingham, Coach Welch, Coach Hughes, and most importantly, his team. 

Favorite Athlete: Ernie Els
Favorite Food: Brie and Bread
Pre-Game Ritual: Goldfish before every meet
Favorite Hype Song: Kanye West – Ghost Town

November 2022

Rachael Gray

Rachael Gray

Rachael Gray has been selected as the Female Athlete of the Month for November as a member of the Varsity Girls’ Cross-Country team.  Now a sophomore, Rachael is competing at the varsity level for her 2nd season.  Known as Ray to her teammates, she recognized the importance of dedication, patience, perseverance, and a good mentality all season long.  These characteristics resulted in a 9th place overall finish at Sectionals in Letchworth State Park, earning her a Sectional patch.  When nominating Rachael, Coach Oas stated: “Rachael works hard every day and you never hear a complaint out of her.  If timing allows, she is always cheering for the modified and boys’ teams.” 

When asked what thoughts motivate her, Rachael shared: “Mind over matter; Your body can do so much more than you think.” 

This mentality resulted a memorable season for our varsity teams.  It was a close-knit group of runners that always encouraged and pushed each other to be their best.  Her fondest memory from the season was a close race where everyone was cheering her on and she ended up beating a girl she was competing against.  She thanks Charina, MaryLi, and Hope for all their support this season. 

Pre-Game Superstition: “See you on the other side”
Favorite Food: Sushi
Hype Song: Pirates of the Caribbean Theme Song

Connor Mead

Connor Mead

Connor Mead has been selected as the Male Athlete of the Month for November as a member of the Varsity Boys’ Cross-Country team.  The 1st year junior runner quickly improved and continued to do so all season long.  Compared to his first meet, Connor improved by over 2 minutes by his final run.  All the while, he was recovering from a quad injury that occurred early in the season.  When asked what it took be successful in this sport, Connor sited: “Resolve and a clear mind.”  

Coach Oas commends Connor for his dedication to the sport and morale he cultivated for the team.  She stated: “Connor was always willing to put in 110% for our workouts.  He was a strong leader and despite being injured, attended every team event to help.”

Connor would like to thank Coach Oas and Coach Curtin for teaching them about the sport.  He has come to realize that cross country season was the best sport he has ever played.  Connor mentioned that he is proud to represent Wayland-Cohocton as a member of such a great program.

Nickname: Meatball
Pre-Game Ritual: Drinking Pedialyte to be hydrated
Favorite Food: Sushi

October 2022

Marissa Abbott

Marissa Abbott

Marissa Abbott has been selected as the Female Athlete of the Month for October as a member of the Varsity Girls’ Volleyball team.  The senior captain has played volleyball for 6 years, this being her 2nd at the varsity level.  Her effort on the court has led to a fulfilling season and earned her a spot on the 2022 LCAA Volleyball Exceptional Senior roster.  Coach Jerome has enjoyed her time working with her over the years and said:

“Marissa is a wonderful young lady.  She leads by example and is a high honor roll student as well.” 

When asked what it takes to earn the award, Marissa remarked: “Hard work, dedication, focus, and the ability to work with a team.”  All these areas have resulted in a successful senior campaign and no memory is more fond than the feeling of winning.  She would like to thank her coaches over the years from modified up through varsity.

Superstition: Serving from the same spot every time
Favorite Food: Grapes
Hype Song: Killer Queen by Queen
Favorite Athlete: Karri Walsh Jennings, Olympic Beach Volleyball

Issac Mehlenbacher

Issac Mehlenbacher

Issac Mehlenbacher has been selected as the Male Athlete of the Month for October as a member of the Varsity Boys’ Soccer team.  Now in his 2nd year at varsity, Issac has played soccer for about 11 years.  Issac wanted to thank Coach Owens for pushing him to not only be a better player but a better person as well.  Over the years, he has fond memories of all those fun practices in the rain.  When nominating Issac, Coach Owens appreciated the hard work and coachability that Issac brought to every practice and game day.

When asked what makes him proud to be an athlete at Wayland-Cohocton, Issac stated: “The people that help out at the games are nice people and the fans are the best.”

Issac and his teammates gave our fans a lot to cheer for this season.  A motivator for him all season was the motto “slow progress is better than no progress.”

Favorite Food: Chicken Alfredo
Hype Song: Go Off by Lil Uzi Vert, Quavo, and Travis Scott
Favorite Athlete: Josh Allen

September 2022

Claire Donlon

Claire Donlon

Claire Donlon has been named as the Female Athlete of the Month for September as a member of the Varsity Girls’ Swimming and Diving team.  The 4-year Varsity swimmer and diver, now a junior, has a lot to be proud of this season.  This includes new personal best scores in her feature event, diving, with an in-season high score of 205.05.   When asked about Claire, Coach Hughes stated: “Claire has worked very hard at her own diving, but has also played a key role in helping by working closely with our younger divers to develop their abilities.  Claire sets a high standard for her teammates to follow.”

When asked what it takes to earn this award, Claire said: “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”

The sport of swimming and diving is challenging.  Yet, Claire lives by an attitude to not aspire to be the best on the team, rather, aspire to be the best for the team.  She would like to thank her parents, coaches, and administration that have supported all her years in the sport.  She has fond memories of beating Bath-Haverling this year along with her other individual accomplishments. 

Favorite Athlete – Josh Allen
Hype Song – We Ready by Archie Eversole
Favorite Food – Clams

Evan Gotshall

Evan Gotshall

Evan Gotshall has been named as the Male Athlete of the Month for September as a member of the Varsity Football team.  The senior has played 8 years of organized football, this being his 4th year on the Varsity team.  When asked what it takes to be an athlete at Wayland-Cohocton, Evan remarked:

“I’m proud to be an athlete because it takes a lot of time and work to play sports and to be successful.  I love being a part of a team and helping others improve so we can continue to succeed.”

Coach Pieri attributes a lot of Evan’s success to his evolution as a leader over the years.  He said: “He has become more vocal, has led by example on the field, and pushed his teammates to compete each day.”  It’s no surprise that with his years of hard work, Evan has earned the nickname “Tasmanian Devil.”

Favorite Food – Mashed Potatoes
Favorite Athlete – Aaron Darnold
Hype Song – Thunderstruck by AC/DC