Sheehan Scholar-Athletes for the 2014 spring season were, from left to right, Carl Verch, Eileen Hinman, Zachary Wissbrun, Makayla Ricci, Andrew Gilmore, Willie Stone, Jason Chulock and Danielle LaButis.
June 27, 2014 05:10PM
WALLINGFORD — Of course it’s the saxophone that catches your eye.
In all the years of the Record-Journal Scholar-Athlete series, it’s unlikely anyone has appeared in a group photo ready to make like Clarence Clemons, dressed all-black like Johnny Cash, no less.
Well, leave it to Carl Verch to push the envelope. The eclectic son of Chip and Diane Verch did plenty of that in his four years at Sheehan High School.
Verch was Valedictorian of Sheehan’s Class of 2014. He had a grade-point average of 4.2381 and punctuated that with the Superintendent’s Award and the Harvard Book Award.
He was a SCC Scholar-Leader and an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Along with being a musician, Verch ran track, both indoors in the winter and outdoors in the spring. Distance and middle distance were his events, commitment his calling card.
“Carl is a perfect example of an athlete who has spent the past four years slowly improving and not giving up because he wasn’t the top runner,” said veteran track coach Charles Farley. “He is a key leg in our 4x800 and 4x400 relays. He is a role model for his teammates because of his work ethic and maturity. He will be greatly missed next year.”
Verch was one of nine Record-Journal Scholar-Athletes selected at Sheehan for the 2014 spring scholastic season. The others are as follows.
Jason Chulock, boys lacrosse: While Verch was running his laps this spring, Chulock was on the turf field inside the track, helping the Titans qualify for the postseason in their first season of varsity lacrosse.
Chulock was also very close to Verch in the upper echelons of the Honor Roll. With a 3.98 GPA, Chulock was No. 5 in the Class of 2014.
He was also an AP Scholar with Honor, a National Merit Commended Scholar, a CAPT Scholar and a Varsity Scholar.
“Jason is a very hard-working student who is a great teammate and senior leader,” commented coach Dan Wostbrock. “Jason is able to balance AP classes and performing as a varsity athlete. Jason is a great example of a hardworking and dedicated student-athlete.”
Andrew Gilmore, boys tennis: The junior played No. 1 doubles for coach Chris Dailey.
He and partner John Oliveria posted a 13-8 record, then took off in the postseason, reaching the third round of the CIAC Class M tournament.
He takes a 4.0 GPA into his senior year.
Eileen Hinman, girls track: The daughter of Bob and Keria Hinman is in position to be the Carl Verch of the Class of 2015. She ranks No. 7 in the junior class with a 3.8786 GPA.
She’s a High Honors student who was selected to the SCC All-Academic Team and has been recognized for Overall Excellence in a World Language.
In track, Hinman competes in both hurdling events, the long jump and the triple jump.
“As a second-year athlete, Eileen has done very well in track and field. She is our horizontal jumper and a key member of our hurdle group,” noted coach Charles Farley. “Her work ethic and team spirit help to create an enthusiasm that permeates the entire team.”
Danielle LaButis, girls lacrosse: LaButis brought versatility to the Titans. She scored three goals playing center and made 25 saves when called upon to tend the net.
Whether up front or in back, LaButis helped the Titans reach the CIAC Class M play-in round in their first year of varsity existence.
The program now moves on without LaButis and the other seniors. A Varsity Scholar and CAPT Scholar, LaButis graduated this week with a 3.86 GPA, which ranked her No. 12 in the 220-student Class of 2014.
The daughter of Tom and Louise LaButis was a member of the National Honor Society. She received an award in Italian 2.
“Danielle is an exemplary student and versatile lacrosse player who excels in and out of the classroom,” remarked coach Charissa Zbikowski. “She is a role model to her classmates and teammates.”
Riley Mayne, girls tennis: Mayne played No. 1 doubles. Paired with Nicki Petit, she helped the Titans advance as far as the CIAC Class M team tournament semifinals.
Mayne and Petit also qualified for the State Open.
A National Honor Society member, Mayne graduated with a 4.2 GPA. She was a Varsity Scholar and AP Scholar with Honor. She recently received the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education Leadership Award.
“Riley was an excellent co-captain and exhibited excellent leadership and communication skills,” said tennis coach Doug Sime. “She was a key component to our team making it to the Class M state semifinals.”
Makayla Ricci, softball: Ricci patrolled center field for the Titans and she’ll be back there next spring as Sheehan looks to contend once again for the SCC Housatonic Division title and make a deeper run in the CIAC Class L Tournament.
Ricci was a team captain this season. She hit for a .233 average and slugged .400.
“Makayla is a leader on and off the field,” remarked coach Jocelyn Chang.
Willy Stone, golf: Coach Kevin Ainsworth reports that Stone had one of the most successful seasons ever for a Sheehan golfer.
Not bad for a guy who, in his first tryout, did not make the team.
Two years later, Stone was senior captain. He won four medals this spring, including one match in which he shot 1-under par. He shot a 77 in the 18-hole SCC Tournament, which placed him in the top eight out of a field of 60-plus and earned him All-SCC status.
Stone was also named Sheehan golf’s Most Valuable Player.
“He really achieved his potential by not taking any match for granted,” Ainsworth said. “He played every match over the last two years and just kept trying to improve, getting better and better as this season rolled along. Our captain really stepped his game up and led this team by example both on and off the course.”
Zach Wissbrun, baseball: Dedication does not go overlooked, at least not by Sheehan baseball coach Matt Altieri.
Wissbrun, a first baseman, missed his entire senior season this spring to injury. Strike that: he didn’t miss the season; he just missed playing.
“Zach came to every practice and every game,” Altieri reported. “He fully supported the team all year long and was totally dedicated to the team throughout the season. It was one of the most unselfish acts I have ever seen as a coach.”
The son of Fred and Lori Wissbrun graduated with a 3.7 GPA. He was a CAPT Scholar and Varsity Scholar. He was recognized for Excellence in German and was named to the SCC All-Academic Team.