Justin Weekes
Front left Sarah Pascale, Jenna True and Samantha Becker Rear left James Burnham, Matthew Arellano, Kyle Smith, and Shane Duhamel Lyman Hall March,26 2014 | Justin Weekes / For the Record-Journal

Becker a pivotal force

WALLINGFORD — Samantha Becker is in the starting five for Lyman Hall in more ways than one.

A National Honor Society member with a grade-point average of 4.14, Becker currently ranks No. 5 in Lyman Hall’s 208-member Class of 2014.

As a three-year varsity basketball player, Becker was also a key piece for a Trojans team that, two years removed from a winless season, won 19 of 24 games, won a share of the SCC Housatonic and reached the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class L tournament.

The daughter of Scott and Susan Becker played forward and was named a scholar-athlete by the New Haven Tap-Off Club. She is a CAPT Scholar and received the Excellence in Algebra 2 Award.

“Sam works hard in practice and games and has a positive attitude at all times,” said LH girls basketball coach Tom Lipka. “Sam is one of the reasons we had a successful season and finished as co-champions of the Housatonic Division of the SCC.”

Becker was one of seven Record-Journal scholar-athletes selected at Lyman Hall for the 2013-14 winter season. The others were as follows:

Matthew Arellano, boys swimming: The son of Pasqual and Nophie Arellano delivered A-1 results for Lyman Hall in school and in the pool. He’s got a 4.22 GPA and was a member of the state-qualifying 200 medley relay.

Arellano swam for all four years of high school. He’s a member of the National Honor Society, an AP Scholar and a CAPT Award winner. He’s also vice president of the Student Council.

“Matt has been a valuable member of the LH swim team,” said coach Donna Neary. “He will be missed.”

James Burnham, boys indoor track: With a 4.11 GPA, Burnham is a sure bet academically. As a member of the 4x200 relay, which qualified for the state meets, Burham also proved his mettle athletically.

“James is the one athlete that I can count on to run any event, no questions asked,” said coach David Palmer. “He is a leader on the track and in the class room.”

Shane Duhamel, ice hockey: Here’s a guy you’ll be reading more about simply for diversity of resume alone.

Duhamel, who will be playing lacrosse this spring as both Wallingford schools make the jump to varsity status in that sport, is a volunteer firefighter and has been recognized for being the school’s “most agricultural” student.

Duhamel plans on joining the military after graduation. He was a captain and defenseman for the LH-HK hockey team. He holds a 3.2 GPA.

“Shane is a great leader on and off the ice for the younger players,” remarked coach Rich Minnix. “Shane is an asset to our special teams.”

Sarah Pascale, cheerleading: When writing about Sarah Pascale, coach Christopher Mendyka’s punctuation mark of choice is the exclamation point.

Pascale was a senior captain and helped the squad win the SCC championship. She’s also a high honors student at 3.88.

“Sarah Pascale was an exceptional senior captain and athlete!” Mendyka remarked. “Sarah helped lead the team to three first-place achievements and a top-five placing at states.

Her positive leadership and personal hard-working attitude motivated every other athlete around her to want to achieve their highest goals of the season,” Mendyka added. “Sarah not only worked hard in cheerleading, but was a consistent motivator in school to help all other cheerleading athletes to want to succeed educationally.”

Kyle Smith, boys basketball: Smith stepped off the football field and onto the hardwood for the Trojans, going from quarterback to center and not missing a beat.

He averaged 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game. Although only a junior, he was a team captain.

“Kyle is a good role model for younger student-athletes,” remarked coach Jim DiNello. “As a multi-sport student-athlete, his dedication and efforts are excellent.”

Academically, Smith holds a 3.63 GPA.

Jenna True, girls indoor track: True was a captain this winter and ran legs on both the 4x400 and 4x200 relays. She’s carrying a 3.73 GPA.

“Jenna is a great student-athlete. She sets an example that all kids can look up to. As a captain, she was everything that we needed and more,” said coach David Palmer.

“I am very proud of her and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her.”

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