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: Emery McGraw, Wellesley High School junior
Sport: Girls ice hockey (center, captain)
When & how you got involved in this sport: My dad played hockey when he was younger and my mom figure skated. This led to my older siblings and I all growing up skating. I then started to play hockey in kindergarten.
What you love most about this sport: I love the competition it brings. I also love growing closer with my teammates and making memories along the way.
Pre-game ritual: Before games I eat a banana and listen to my favorite pump-up music.
Top goal for this season: To make it as far as we can into the playoffs.
Thoughts so far about this year’s team: I have enjoyed getting to know the new people on the team and getting closer with the returners. We all make each other laugh, while also pushing each other to our potential. We are lucky to have coaches who encourage and motivate us, while also making it fun.
An accomplishment that you’re especially proud of: I am proud of being a part of a team that goes into competitive games with positivity, grit, and belief. We all strive to support each other. It is great to see us connect as a group and work together to achieve our individual and team goals.
An inspiring story related to your involvement in the sport/this team: After the first and second period against Newton North, the team was frustrated because we knew we weren’t playing to our fullest potential. In between the second and third period we play the song “Calabria” and go around a circle, each person taking turns dancing. Everyone hyped each other up, while singing and laughing. Then during the third period, we played much better, scored multiple goals, and ended up winning the game.
Interests outside of your sport: I love hanging out with my friends, family, and dogs.
Other sports that you play, if any: Lacrosse
Coach Ashley Means’s take: Emery McGraw is an outstanding student athlete. It has been a pleasure getting to know her and see her compete. Emery brings an unmatched intensity and dedication to the team. She always gives 110%, supports her teammates, and goes the extra mile. She challenges her teammates to be better players. Emery consistently keeps a positive attitude and is unwavering in her work ethic. She is a fierce competitor who loves a battle and does it with a smile on her face. She is a calm and respectful leader who is accepting of her teammates while also having high expectations for their performance.
Athlete of the Week: Max Paladino, Wellesley High School senior
Sport: Boys ice hockey
When & how you got involved in this sport: I started skating ever since I could walk. My dad has played hockey his whole life so that’s what really got me playing. I began playing Wellesley Youth Hockey when I was around 4.
What you love most about this sport: I love how fast paced hockey is. I also love how much of a team game hockey is. Coming together as a team to win a game is a great feeling.
Pre-game ritual: I always eat two clementines and one banana.
Top goal for this season: My top goal is to get a home playoff game.
Thoughts so far about this year’s team: I have enjoyed every second of hockey this year. Coming off a phenomenal year last year, we have a great core of guys from that team. The bond has been awesome, and everyone is close.
An accomplishment that you’re especially proud of: I’m proud that after making JV as a freshman I’ve been able to be a part of the varsity team for three years. I grew up going to Wellesley high school games and I’m proud to be able to be a part of it now.
An inspiring story related to your involvement in the sport/this team: A lot of guys on our team have grown up playing hockey together. Most of the Juniors and Seniors have played together on youth teams throughout our hockey career and it’s been cool to see us all end up on the same high school team. We talk a lot about the memories we have from youth hockey teams, especially our tournament in Lake Placid that we won on the same ice where the Miracle on Ice was played.
Interests outside of your sport: I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, and playing golf when it’s nice out.
Other sports that you play, if any: Football and baseball
Coach Paul Donato’s take: Max is a senior forward for the Wellesley High Boys Varsity Hockey Team who plays multiple roles for the team. So far this year, Max has played on multiple lines in multiple different positions and has made the transition flawlessly. Max is always willing to do whatever is needed for the team, including playing penalty kill, power play, and switching positions in the middle of a game. Just last week, Max had the game winning goal late in the third period to help the Raiders beat Weymouth 5-3 on the road.