Wellesley Athlete of the Week is made possible with sponsorship support from Deland, Gibson Insurance. The family-owned and operated business has carried on this Wellesley tradition for over 30 years.
Athlete of the Week: Tara Battaglino, Wellesley High School sophomore
Sport: Girls basketball (power forward/center)
When & how you got involved in this sport: Formally at 8 y/o, but I played a lot of pick-up with my older brother and his friends before that.
What you love most about this sport: I love the competition and rivalries that come from basketball. I also love my team and how much fun we have playing together. We make memories that I am so grateful for.
Pre-meet ritual: I listen to music, do form shooting, think about my goals for the game, and eat a banana.
Top goal for this season: To win a state championship.
Thoughts so far about this year’s team: I love our team. We have a lot of fun together and are always encouraging one another. We
laugh, sing, and dance and I am so grateful for every single one of my teammates. I feel that we truly see each other as family.
An accomplishment that you’re especially proud of: I am proud to be part of helping build our team back up. Wellesley had gone through a couple of tough seasons and getting to be a part of the rebuilding last year, and seeing our team continue to grow this year has been a huge accomplishment. I love being able to be in during high-pressure situations, and bringing my team together through hugs, celebrating, and laughing. My captains, Avery Moore, and Laura Girouard, have been amazing in leading our team this year. I have learned so much from them about team spirit and they always keep our team going no matter what.
An inspiring story related to your involvement in the sport/this team: This year against Walpole we had a tough game. There was a high intensity coming from both the opposing players and parents in the stands. There was tension, and it was hard to keep our heads on straight while having to deal with constant fouling and pressure. My captains led me and my team to keep fighting. We were down 14 points in the fourth quarter and getting hammered in the paint. They had an aggressive inside defense, and I was being double-, and triple-teamed every time I got the ball. It was a hard and frustrating defense. I was getting knocked around a bit, but my teammates picked me up and kept me fighting till the end. It was an amazing game and I felt so lucky to have such a great team and set of captains to fight with. We ended up losing by 3, but I was so proud of how hard our team fought and everyone contributed. I am excited to get another chance at Walpole this week!
Interests outside of your sport: Lacrosse, coaching, reffing, and volunteering to work with youth to help them build confidence and skills. I remember learning from Coach Magpiong and Shannon and TJ Magpiong when I was younger and want to give kids the same great experience they gave me. I also love listening to music, playing guitar, reading, and writing. I do Key Club as well.
Other sports that you play, if any: Lacrosse
Coach Glen Magpiong’s take: Tara, like the rest of her teammates, is a tireless worker, extremely competitive, very coachable and is relentless in her support and encouragement of others. Her infectious spirit on the court, league leader in on court hugs, inspires not only her teammates and coaches, but also the fans who are watching. She is our leading scorer and rebounder and is averaging a Double-Double through 9 games (13.9 Points and 10.2 Rebounds).
Tara not only excels on the basketball court, but she is also one of the top lacrosse players in the state and her willingness to support also spills over into the classroom. One of her former teachers recently shared with me, “Tara used to work with one of my students-she took such care to include her and support her.”
Tara and her teammates have a uniquely special bond, which they hope helps propel them to an even better 2nd half of the season.
Athlete of the Week: Justin Williamson, Wellesley High School senior
Sport: Boys basketball (guard, captain)
When & how you got involved in this sport: I have been playing basketball since I was 3. My mom used to coach at Weston High School
so I have been in a gym pretty much my whole life.
What you love most about this sport: I love the competitiveness and how fast paced it is.
Pre-meet ritual: I eat a sandwich and listen to music.
Top goal for this season: My top goal for this season is to make the playoffs but I would also like to create strong
relationships with my teammates that last longer than just while I’m playing.
Thoughts so far about this year’s team: I have really enjoyed becoming closer with the younger guys that I have not gotten to play
with yet and doing other activities with the team such as bowling and team dinners.
An accomplishment that you’re especially proud of: I am proud that I started on the Freshman team, worked my way up to JV and eventually becoming a starter and a captain of the Varsity team.
An inspiring story related to your involvement in the sport/this team: I have met some of my best friends through basketball all the way from youth teams to middle school to AAU to high school.
Interests outside of your sport: I love to hang out with my friends and family.
Other sports that you play, if any: I play football and run track.
Coach Mike Reidy’s take: “Justin is a remarkable teammate and leader. He maximizes every opportunity in practice to get better by giving maximum effort, trying to learn and do what may be new or less comfortable, and asking questions. During practice, he competes against his teammates with intensity, and can then transition into walking and talking the younger or less experienced players through drills and schemes. He translates these strengths into games, too. He’s developed into a starter/finisher this season, largely through how often and how consistently he makes the right plays, and certainly because of our comfort assigning him the most challenging opponent to guard each game. He is the kind of player and person that would make every team that I’ve ever coached in my career a better one. His teammates and the younger players in the program are fortunate to have him as a role model, and I am grateful for knowing and coaching him.”