Gazette honors 2016-17 Winter All-Stars at banquet

  • The Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars are shown Sunday during the awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Brandon Palmer, Northampton boys track and field coach, left, Nik Smith of Northampton boys track and field and Sarah Fudger of South Hadley girls track and field chat during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony April 30, 2017 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Aiden Foucault-Etheridge of Amherst Regional boys track and field, left, receives a Gazette All-Star certificate from Ali Doswell, guest speaker and basketball player at Amherst College, during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony April 30, 2017 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Twins Meredith and Ali Doswell, both basketball players at Amherst College, are shown April 30, 2017 during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Ali Doswell was the guest speaker. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Michael Rifanburg, publisher of the Daily Hampshire Gazette, The Recorder, Amherst Bulletin and the Valley Advocate, speaks April 30, 2017 during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Haley Synan of Belchertown girls swimming, center, and Sharon Hall-Smith of Northampton listen to a speech April 30, 2017 during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Synan was named "Player of the Year" by the Gazette for girls swimming. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ali Doswell, guest speaker and basketball player at Amherst College, addresses the crowd April 30, 2017 during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nik Smith of Northampton boys track and field, left, Deb Foucault-Etheridge, Aiden Foucault-Etheridge of Amherst Regional boys track and field and Brandon Palmer, Northampton boys track and field coach, chat during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony April 30, 2017 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Nik Smith of Northampton boys track and field, left, and Sarah Fudger of South Hadley girls track and field chat during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony April 30, 2017 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Ali Doswell, guest speaker and basketball player at Amherst College, addresses the crowd Sunday during the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars awards ceremony at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@Hargraves24
Published: 4/30/2017 6:10:50 PM

HOLYOKE — The collection of athletic talent was immense at the Winter 2017 Gazette All-Stars Award Banquet — there were representatives from every sport.

Athletes from the ski slopes, basketball courts, indoor tracks, swimming pools and hockey rinks all came together to be honored Sunday afternoon at the Log Cabin.

One by one, players were honored for their outstanding performances in their respective sport.

Amherst College women’s basketball senior Ali Doswell was the featured speaker. Doswell won a national title with the Mammoths and was the Division III women’s player of the year in 2017.

There were also player of the year awards, picked by the Gazette.

Northampton senior Nik Smith (boys indoor track), Amherst Regional sophomore Sophia Jacobs-Townsley (girls indoor track), South Hadley senior Isaiah Cardenales (wrestling), Amherst junior Margaret O’Connell (girls alpine skiing), Northampton freshman Jay Mahoney (boys alpine skiing), Northampton junior Nick Whitcomb (boys swimming), South Hadey senior Nick Thibault (hockey), South Hadley senior Sophie Gatzounas (girls basketball) and Amherst senior Meikkel Murray (boys basketball) were honored as players of the year.

Murray led the Hurricanes to the Western Massachusetts Divison 1 Tournament finals. He also became Amherst’s first boy 1,000-point scorer since 1999.

“This is a cool experience,” Murray said of the banquet. “This is my first time. It’s a good environment with great people.”

Murray is waiting on an acceptance letter from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut.

Haley Synan won the girls swimming player of the year for Belchertown.

“I am really excited. It’s nice to get some recognition,” Synan said.

Synan enjoyed seeing fellow swimmers, but also players from other sports.

“It was a really nice banquet. It’s a great way for players to mingle and get to know each other,” Synan said.

Doswell, who is from Richmond, Virginia, spoke about ignoring Amherst’s repeated requests to recruit her and her twin sister Meredith.

“We got several voice mails from Amherst,” Doswell said. “But our response was it’s too far away and it is a D-III school.”

After some research about Amherst, the Doswell sisters found out about its rich academic culture and the history of the women’s basketball program.

During a visit, coach G.P. Gromacki promised Ali and Meredith a national title during their time at Amherst.

“We were sold,” Doswell said.

Doswell offered advice to the all-stars.

“Slow down and appreciate the little moments along the way,” Doswell said. “My team this year appreciated the small victories along the way and enjoyed the ride.”

Amherst College went 33-0 in Doswell’s senior season. She is Amherst’s all-time leading scorer with 1,572 points, including 273 3-pointers, also a school record.




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