Bay State All Stars

Alex Peebles-Capin, boys cross country

Senior Alex Peebles Capin was hooked by cross country from the get-go.
“I started doing it with a couple of friends freshman year, and I guess I just stuck with it,” Peebles-Capin said. “I enjoy the sport.”
Peebles-Capin attributed his Bay State All Star status career-best times this year to a culmination of hard work over time.
Peebles-Capin’s ability to participate in the sport in college depends on the school he ultimately decides to attend.
“I could probably run at a lot of the schools I’m applying to, but there are a couple that I wouldn’t be able to run competitively at,” he said.

Alex Jaynes, football

Senior Alex Jaynes said he was especially successful this year because he took the boys football team’s preseason seriously.
“I worked a lot trying to get my speed and strength up,” Jaynes said. “Also, I was a senior this year, so I wanted to show my underclassmen I could be a leader and a role model. I would go 110 percent in practice to make them better, and myself better.”
Jaynes said he was originally attracted to football because of the speed of the game and the atmosphere that came with it. Football differed in these ways, he said, from baseball, a sport he also played when he was younger.
Before looking to play football in a Division II or a Division III college, Jaynes said he has some other plans.
“I will be going to the Marines,” he said, “and so after, I will be even bigger.”

Theo Yannekis, boys soccer

“I’ve always played soccer,” junior Theo Yannekis, a center back on the boys soccer team said. “I assume it was my parents that signed me up when I was a kid. I just kept playing because I enjoyed the sport. It never really occurred to me to stop.”
A Bay State All Star for the first time this year and a first-year varsity player, Yannekis said he was struck by the recognition.
“It was a big surprise,” Yannekis said. “I don’t think I did anything different, other than step up to the varsity level.”
Yannekis indicated that he plans to continue playing soccer in college, even if at a lower level.
“I’m sure I’ll play something, but I don’t think I’ll do anything serious,” Yannekis said. “Maybe just club.”

Carrie Tucker, cheerleading

Having participated in cheerleading outside of school for 10 years, sophomore Carrie Tucker said she joined cheerleading this year in an effort to strengthen the program as much as she could.
“I just wanted to improve how the school looked at the cheerleaders, and what they thought of us,” Tucker said. “Anything to help the team.”
Tucker, who has plans to pursue cheerleading after high school, was immediately elevated to a leadership role on this year’s squad.
“I had a lot of responsibility because I was one of the captains on the the team,” she said.

Ben Pollak, boys cross country

Senior Ben Pollak took an unusual route to joining the boys cross country team.
“I swam club for a couple of years,” Pollak said. “I liked it at first, but then got kind of tired of it. I thought of doing a triathlon, that interested me. I competed in one in 10th grade, and I loved it. I decided I would stop swimming club and start running cross country to get better at the triathlon, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Pollak’s attachment to triathlons has continued, and he said he hopes to find a college with a triathlon team.
According to Pollak, runners are recognized as Bay State All Stars based on their performance during a particular meet. For this reason, he feels, many of his teammates were deserving of the merit.
“Any one of us could have gotten it,” Pollak said. “It really means that we made an impact on the league, I guess.”

Lisa Tarasyuk, girls volleyball

Senior Lisa Tarasyuk didn’t always have plans to play volleyball.
“When I was an eighth grader, I heard about the team, so I tried out as a freshman,” Tarasyuk said. “After a few days, I was moved up to varsity, probably because of my height.”
Since then, Tarasyuk has played club volleyball and participated in summer volleyball camps to improve her game. She said she has come to love the competitive and strategic nature of volleyball.
“It’s an incredibly logical game, and it doesn’t rely on physical advantages, which just gives even more dynamic to the game,” Tarasyuk said.

Nica Kovalcik, girls volleyball

Ever since a harsh gym teacher in eighth grade introduced her to volleyball, junior Nica Kovalcik found something to be passionate about.
“I served for the first time in my life, and she said that I did a good job,” Kovalcik said. “That gave me inspiration to keep going because she was just so harsh to everyone else.”
Kovalcik started playing volleyball at the high school the following fall, during her freshman year. She is now a member of the varsity team and, during the offseason, a club team.
“I’ve gone to a lot of tournaments over the past three years, and I got a lot of experience from all those games,” Kovalcik said.
From these experiences, Kovalcik said she has gained a love for volleyball rooted in the team atmosphere of the game.
“It’s really about the team communication, team unity, and I really like how it’s not an individual sport. You have to rely on others, and it’s definitely a great building block for communications,” Kovalcik said.

Jacob Harris, boys soccer

For junior Jacob Harris, playing soccer started as a simple way to make friends in a new town.
“I moved to Brookline when I was in first grade, and it seemed like everyone was playing soccer,” Harris said.
Harris loves playing soccer because he’s good at it, but he said it took him a lot of hard work and practice to get there.
“I played town soccer until eighth grade, and then in high school I started playing club,” Harris said. “That was just more playing and better competition, which helped me get better.”
Harris is goalie for the boys soccer team, and said he loves playing with the team because of the rush he gets every time he saves a shot.
“Being with my best friends, playing together and practicing everyday, it’s just great,” Harris said.

Brooke Gibbons, girls volleyball

For senior Brooke Gibbons, volleyball has always been a part of her life.
“Volleyball was something that, right away, I was really driven for,” Gibbons said. “It’s not like my parents did anything, it was just something I was always into.”
Gibbons credits her volleyball success to steadfast dedication to playing volleyball year round. “In volleyball, you can’t take a season off,” Gibbons said.
The team atmosphere is her favorite part of volleyball, Gibbons said.
“After every point, if someone gets a kill, it’s the whole team that supported them doing that,” Gibbons said. “So you have your own personal parts where you feel like you did well, and parts of the team where you celebrate together and where you feel like you competed well as a team.”

Lindsay Westlake, girls soccer

Senior Lindsay Westlake led the team as a defender to be the eighth-ranked team in the Bay State Conference for goals against average.
Westlake credits her success to hard work and dedication as well as the team atmosphere.
“All the support from my teammates and my coaches has definitely helped me get to this point in my soccer playing level,” Westlake said.
It is that same team atmosphere that is Westlake’s favorite part of playing soccer and the initial reason she started playing.
“It’s the team aspect of it; having that community to play with and hang out with after school,” Westlake said.
While Westlake does not plan on playing college soccer next year, she may consider joining a club team.

Emmanuel D’Agostino, boys cross country

Junior Emmanuel D’Agostino said he has not always been a gifted runner.
“My mom got me into running at first,” D’Agostino said. “She suggested that I try it; she ran in college. I wasn’t actually very good at it in seventh or eighth grade, but I kept trying and I figured I would do it at the high school level, and I’ve just been doing it from there.”
D’Agostino has participated in every cross country, indoor track and track season so far in his high school career. He mainly runs the 5k for cross country and the 1000 meter, mile and two mile for track. He is a Bay State All Star for cross country.

Aria Wong and Matthias Muendel can be contacted at [email protected]