Tag Archives: James Hickok

James Hickok ’13 Competes In Super-20 National Championship

By winning a pair of games last weekend — 9-2 and 6-1 — Beachside’s team qualified for the Super-20 National Championships. James Hickok ’13 is a goalkeeper on the squad, which travels to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for the tournament (July 18-21).

All games will be livestreamed. For details, click here.

James Hickok heads to the U-20 national championship this weekend.

Goalkeeper James Hickok heads to the U-20 national championship this weekend.

James Hickok Named Scholar All-American

James Hickok has made Staples soccer history.

The 4-year varsity player, 3-year starter, 2-year captain and 2012 All-New England goalkeeper has just been named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team. He is the 1st Wrecker ever to receive this honor.

James Hickok

James Hickok

James will be honored by the NSCAA at their annual convention next month, in Indianapolis. Former women’s national team star Julie Foudy is the guest speaker. James will also be cited at the Connecticut State Coaches Association banquet in January.

“I could not be happier for James, or prouder of him,” said head coach Dan Woog. “We’ve had 4 NSCAA All-Americans in our history, but never a Scholar All-American.

“This award was voted on by a national committee of coaches, based on James’ accomplishments this year, his entire Staples career, and his achievements in the classroom and the community. The application specifically states that Scholar All-American is only for top-level players. I don’t think they consider anyone unless they’re at least All-State or All-Region as a player. It’s huge, and incredibly well-deserved.”

James will continue his education — and soccer career — at Dartmouth College.

James Hickok was on top of his game -- on the field and in the classroom -- throughout 4 years at Staples.

James Hickok was on top of his game — on the field and in the classroom — throughout 4 years at Staples.


One of Staples soccer’s most important traditions is #15.

The number — worn by Preston Hirten ’07 — is passed along to the next worthy Wrecker, when the current #15 graduates. Preston epitomized tenacious play, passion for soccer, and commitment to his team. He died on the field at the University of Mary Washington, during pre-season training in 2009.

At this year’s soccer banquet, Preston’s Wrecker teammate Nicky Hoberman — the current conditioning and agility coach — spoke about his friend. Nicky said:

With every year that goes by, fewer and fewer current Staples players and parents will have had the privilege of watching Preston play. Even fewer will have had the privilege of knowing him as a person. But this is exactly why the tradition of #15 exists. 15 is all about representing the qualities that Preston embodied as a person and a player: tenacity, dedication, heart. It’s all about being that player on the field who never quits on his team, who makes everyone around him better. 15 is that player other teams hate to see, because they know he’ll never take a break.

Preston HIrten loved playing against anyone, no matter what size. (Photo by Kerry Long)

Preston HIrten loved playing against anyone, no matter what size. (Photo by Kerry Long)

This is why my teammates and I were all so happy to see James wearing 15 for the last 2 years. James has shown real character and leadership both on and off the field, and has done Preston’s memory proud. Like Preston was on the field, James is determined, hardworking, and one heck of a soccer player.

But they also shared similarities off the field. Like Preston, James always has the best interest of his teammates in mind. Whether he was watching numerous hours of game film or organizing team hangouts, James did what he thought was best for the team. On behalf of all my teammates, we were very proud with the way you represented Preston.

Oftentimes people forget about the person who an award is named after. That’s OK, time passes, memories fade. What we can’t let happen is forgetting the spirit the award is based on, because wearing #15 isn’t only about representing Preston. It’s about honoring all those who’ve continued the tradition: Liam Bohonnon, Frankie Bergonzi and James Hickok. But this is why I’m so glad James is here to choose who comes next. I know whoever James chooses will be a deserving successor. I cannot wait to watch Staples soccer games next season and see a #15 running around.

Preston Hirten 15

James then stood up. He said:

When I received this honor 2 years ago, I was full of mixed emotions. I was proud that I would be able to be the next in line of a chain of honorable men, but also humbled. It was so overwhelming. I had to live up to these men, and match their work ethic, determination, and passion for the game.

I may be one of the last recipients to have seen Preston play on the field. I remember running down from Bedford and sitting on The Hill to watch the team play. My sister was also part of the class of 2007, so I would always hear things about the soccer team and how tight knit they were.

But most of all, it was clear as day to everyone watching that this team was something special. Preston was an integral part of that team, and his work ethic and passion for the game were unrivaled. Thus, just as it was for Frankie, bearing the #15 on my jersey and continuing Preston’s legacy was the greatest honor of all.

James Hickok shares Preston's pumped-up excitement for the game. (Photo by Christian Abraham/Connecticut Post)

James Hickok shares Preston’s pumped-up excitement for the game. (Photo by Christian Abraham/Connecticut Post)

What Preston set the standard for and what Frankie passed on was a top notch work rate and attitude toward soccer, and towards life. Knowing that you may not be the best player on the field, or the fastest — which I am often criticized for — I do know that I can work the hardest and achieve the same standard; something that Preston and Frankie made me aware of.

But to me, one of the most evident characteristics of Preston’s play was passion. Passion for playing a game with 10 other people you love and want to win for just as badly as you do for yourself. His teammates have continually expressed how important not only this tradition is, but how important passing on his legacy is.

Currently, goalkeeper Dave Sharpe has the #15 tattooed on his thigh. Along with that, every summer they host a large tournament in Westport, all in honor of Preston. I can’t stress enough how important Preston is to his friends, teammates, and family. Personally, I can only hope to have lived up to his work rate, drive, and passion on and off the field. I want nothing more than to have successfully passed on Preston’s legacy in my time

The next player who will receive this honor embodies the same ideals that I have spoken about so far — passion, drive, work rate, and determination — and will continue to stretch the limits of each of those ideals.

It is my responsibility and honor to hereby pass on #15 to Jack Scott.

Nothing stops Jack Scott on the soccer field.

Nothing stops Jack Scott on the soccer field.

James Hickok, Greg Shikowitz Help Senior Bowl Team To Victory

Keeper James Hickok and defender Greg Shikowitz helped lead the Region 4 (Western Connecticut) team to a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s Senior Bowl. The annual match was played at Middletown High School.

Greg Shikowitz and James Hickok.

Staples Soccer Program Honored As Sunrise Rotary “Students Of The Month”

Westport Sunrise Rotary bestowed its “Student of the Month” honor on 68 students today.

All 68 are members of the Staples varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. They were cited for their community service during Hurricane Sandy. The Wreckers helped JV tri-captain Sebo Hood, whose Soundview Drive home was devastated by many tons of sand.

The next day, team members helped former Staples football coach Paul Lane — the Hoods’ neighbor — dig out from his own sand. Lane is 85 years old.

During today’s 7:30 a.m. ceremony at Bobby Q’s, varsity player Charlie Leonard told the Rotarians and guests (including Staples principal John Dodig) how he came up with the idea to help. Varsity co-captains Joe Greenwald and James Hickok thanked the club for the honor, and described how their work fit in with the values and ideals of the Staples boys soccer program.

Rev. Ed Horne presented the team with a certificate, which will be placed in the soccer trophy case outside the Staples gym.

Charlie Leonard addresses the Sunrise Rotary Club. Joe Greenwald (left) and James Hickok look on.

Wreckers Announce College Choices

A month remains before graduation, but the 12 seniors in Staples’ soccer program are already looking ahead to the fall.

Four were recruited for soccer at the intercollegiate level. Captain Jake Malowitz continues a long line of Wreckers to play at Union College. Ben Root is the 1st Staples player in many years to head to Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Steve Smith will play at Southern Connecticut State University — home of several former Wreckers — while Alex Tonsberg is the 1st-ever Staples booter at Endicott College.

Max Hoberman has been recruited for track at Emory University.

The other grads may take their talents to club or intramural soccer:  Dylan Evans (University of St. Andrews, Scotland); Terence Gibbons (Catholic University); Kyle Hoberman (Syracuse University); Jay Kaplan (George Washington University); Aaron Liu (Colby College), Taylor McNair (Emory University) and Will Meinke (Hobart College).

In addition, James Hickok — current junior and 2-year captain — has verbally committed to Dartmouth College for the fall of 2013.

Meanwhile, Court Lake — who took a post-graduate year at Hotchkiss following Staples graduation last year — will play soccer at Middlebury College.

“We are very proud of all our graduates,” head coach Dan Woog said. “And I know all Staples soccer fans will follow their careers with interest — whatever they do, in college and beyond.”

Jack Scott Wins 2nd Straight Octathlon

Jack Scott won his 2nd straight Octathlon of Champions event this afternoon.

The sophomore midfielder raced to a 20:50 finish in the 5K race (actually, 3.3 miles — slightly over 5K). The course — designed by Ethan Bradeen — started and ended at the Minuteman statue by Compo Beach. It included a hill heading north from Elvira’s, 2 very long hills on Green’s Farms Road, and another tough stretch under the railroad bridge on South Compo Road.

Scott’s victory — on the heels of last month’s win in the Xbox competition — added another 15 points to his 1st-pleace lead.

Connor Weiler finished 2nd. Also earning points: Ethan Bradeen (3rd place), James Hickok (4th) and Diego Alanis (5th).

The Octathlon is an 8-month, 8-event competition for all varsity returnees and last fall’s 11th grade JV players. Each returning varsity player designs and organizes one event.

Next month: go-karting, led by Noah Bender.

Connor Weiler, Jack Scott, Diego Alanis, James Hickok and Ethan Bradeen, shortly before the opening gun.

Jake Malowitz, James Hickok’s Banquet Speeches

Here is what co-captain Jake Malowitz said at tonight’s Staples soccer banquet:

First, I want to thank our coaches Dan, Kurt, Tom and Rich. Without your constant belief and support it would have been impossible for us to achieve nearly as much as we did.

This was a group that was written off before the season even began. Nobody expected anything out of us. 2011 was the year the staples soccer dynasty was supposed to finish. Had it not been for this special group of guys that might have been the case.

All of the credit in the world should be given to this team and the character of individuals who made a difference.

It was evident throughout the season that Taylor McNair grew to be a third captain. Taylor single handedly kept us in games with his ruthless determination and leadership.

Switching out of the center midfield position is no easy task. However, when the coaches called on Tonz to play left back, he put the team above himself. Tonz played with the skill and fire at left back of somebody truly devoted to the team’s achievements not his own.

A mark of a great teammate is somebody who always gets the job done whenever called upon. That being said, I think everybody can agree that Aaron Liu was a great teammate. Every time Aaron was on the field he played with unmatched intelligence and calmness.

Whether it was Max Hoberman’s overtime-game winning goal against Manchester, Dylan Evans sparking our midfield with relentless work down the wing, Steve Smith running the show from the most difficult position on the field, Ben Root’s always solid play in the back, David Hoffman stepping up game after game, Terence scoring clutch goals, Will Meinke and Jay Kaplan working hard every minute they were on the field, or Kyle Hoberman’s toughness…much of our success was due to the often unnoticed leadership and hard work of the members of this team.

This was a group of guys who refused prove our critics right. We worked day after day during the offseason, pushing ourselves to improve, pushing ourselves to be better. Although we had set goals to win championships, there is no doubt that above all we worked hard for each other. This was not a team divided among seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen. This was a team that was one solid unit.

Before our New Canaan game, Tom told us that the most important thing we would take away from this season was the solid and unbreakable bond of being teammates with some of our best friends. He explained how we would carry this special relationship throughout our lives and let it resurface whenever we might cross paths in the future, well Tom must have understood this group perfectly.

There is no doubt that we will cherish each other and the memory of being teammates for a very long time. I can say with complete certainty that the friendships and relationships that we solidified through this program will last much longer than 80 minutes on a soccer field.

2011 captains James Hickok and Jake Malowitz. (Photo by Carl McNair)

And here is co-captain James Hickok’s speech:

I want to start off with a quick story that Dan told me during my post-season meeting. After one of the games this year MSG Varsity filmed an interview of me, and was supposed to broadcast it that night. But for some reason they did not air my interview that night. Hmm. Well, Dan let me know in my post-season meeting that my interview was literally incomprehensible. Most of the guys know that I “mumble” sometimes and make fun of me for it, but this was bad. Anyway, just letting everyone know that this speech is part of my road to recovery from the mumbles, since Dan has recommended I get a speech teacher and my dad wants me to get voice/singing lessons! So keep that in mind.

So many years players try to extract the meaning of Staples Soccer in their banquet speeches, and for me as a junior, I want to leave that to my co-captain Jake Malowitz. I am a pretty lucky guy right now, because it is so rare that you get a second opportunity to lead a team. For me to be able to look at what I did right and wrong over the past few months, then get right next year, is something that doesn’t happen very often. So, I want to first applaud Jake for doing such an excellent job this year. He always left everything on the field and I think we all know how much this team meant to him after we fell to Farmington. So thank you Jake for everything you’ve done for this team, and how you have been a role model for all future captains and myself.

I have learned so many lessons in my three years here, one of which is how to lead a team, and I will continue to learn from Staples Soccer. But my time here is not complete, so I will have to save that until next year.

But what I found the most humbling yet important about this year was the memories. And like I said my days here aren’t over, so I just want to talk about the team that I had so much fun with this year.

The year started looking like there weren’t going to be any memories. Losing 8 starters and not having our annual team-bonding trip, there were doubters. But the mood changed in pr- season. You could see that 3 years of anxiety had been building up in many of these seniors — and they all wanted to be on the field. So, I want to credit the seniors for fighting this year and blowing everyone’s mind when we returned to the FCIAC finals, and came literally millimeters away, thanks to the refs.

And there are so many things I will never forget: the exciting bus rides with live performances by Joe Greenwald and Tucker Rizzi, who somehow know the words to every song on planet Earth and by Tenacious D.

Pasta dinners playing hide and go seek with Tonsberg’s car around the neighborhood.

Seeing “Planet of the Apes” as a team, and never letting go of Cesar… not to mention acting like Cesar the ape during warm-ups at STA camp.

Also our “Meet the Wreckers” questionnaire. Who knew that Taylor was born with 12 toes, that Tucker is the Batman, or that Max hasn’t had a carb since 2000?

Trying to secretly incorporate words like xylophone, Hufflepuff, llama, sock -puppet, and ambiguous into our post-season meetings. So Dan, if you were confused by what we said in the meetings at any point, you know why.

And the best for last: that infamous game versus Greenwich. Now that it is months in the past, I think we all realized it was one of the worst decisions of our lives, but at the same time, it made winning that much better. To inform everyone, most the of the team, including myself, decided to go to NYC to see a concert by DeadMaus.. yes it is an appealing name.

Anyway, we ended up meeting the entire Greenwich boys soccer team at the concert, so I already knew it was going to be an interesting game. Dan reported on the website that we came out “playing like dead mice” after going down 2-0 in ten minutes. But in an anomaly of a game, we somehow came back and scored 3 goals. It still baffles me today how we did it. How a team that struggled to score even 1 goal each game all season, scored 3 goals against a great opponent. Some people said we should go to a concert before every game… but don’t get any ideas. But like I said, it makes winning that much better, and that memory I will take with me forever, as I am sure the team will too.

The list goes on, but somehow with all that fun these guys managed to destroy New Canaan in the FCIAC semi-finals (not to mention receive serious threats from the other team) and continue Staples’ reputation as one of the most hated teams in the state. And even though our first game against Greenwich was an anomaly, our second was not. We proved both that we were better than them with a 1-0 win, and that we were hated thanks to a great quote by a certain person on that Greenwich team, saying, “the better team lost today.” That is victory.

But I have also realized that our teams aren’t just given that reputation, we’ve earned it. Earned it in the sense that every year the guys from Westport work their butts off on and off the field to have a winning season. And I think all of the alumni here can agree that they also worked extremely hard in their time to be the best. Staples Soccer means that you work harder than any other team in the state, and I really think we did that this year.

Also, our team became so close-knit throughout the season too, and our Facebook group is a great example. Essentially, the team was talking 24/7 for four months. Whether it was inspirational speeches, funny videos, organizing pasta dinners or finding out if Ben Root was actually still alive, I looked over the posts from that group and miss every day of our season. But one speech stood out to me. The senior can remain anonymous, but he said:

LETS GO BOYS, seniors tomorrow could be our last ever game playing for staples, think about that, never playing in front of all those fans ever again, never being able to represent your school, and most importantly never being able to play soccer in a meaningful game with one another ever again. I am not ready to let that go, i will not let manchester come into our home and take that from us, i couldnt wish for a better team to have spent the last 3 months with, and i want u all to know that i will do what ever it takes to win tomorrow, lets do it for one another.

That exact quote perfectly describes the will-power of this senior class.

So… it is safe to saw that this team will once again go down in the record books as a successful team. The FCIAC finals was no easy feat, guys, and I am proud to be on this team, and playing for this program.

Lastly.. none of this would be possible without two groups of people: the parents and the coaches. I realize now how much work the parents have to do too, behind that scenes, after seeing my mom going crazy trying to organize this banquet. I realize that every parent contributes to every pasta dinner, and every game they are out there supporting us. So, a round of applause for the parents.

Finally: the coaches. It is hard to realize that our 4 coaches have any other job in the fall, because each of them spends so much time with the team. Rich came to almost every practice and game just to make sure we were injury-free, and remained that way. Not to mention how heel pumps and inch worms changed our world, but Rich dedicated so much of his time to us and we all thank him for that.

Next Kurt. Kurt is one of our soccer masterminds, who has played at the very highest level, and coaches ask him year after year… how did you do it? Next, Tom can be considered the backbone of the team at times, bringing incredible intensity when he plays in goal (because I know how much he wants to steal my spot in the starting 11) but also focusing the entire team at the most urgent times. Finally, Dan. Dan brings all of this together, all of us together, and is the man that keeps Staples Soccer running at high gear. His constant involvement and coaching ability helps every team reach their potential every year.

So- Thank you to the 2011 coaches, parents, and most importantly, the team. You guys all made this great year possible.

I want to end with this fantastic speech written by a fellow goalkeeper after our loss at Farmington:

And the fellowship… though eternally bound by friendship and love… was ended. Three months to the day since Daniel sent us on our long journey… we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight. We were home. How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on… when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend… some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold. Someone once told me their part in this tale would end… that each of us must come and go in the telling. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

James Hickok Named To All-State Team

Junior captain James Hickok has been named to the Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association All-State team.

This is the 4th year in a row the Wreckers have had an All-State player — but he is the 1st Staples goalkeeper selected by the CSCA since Alex Deegan in 1990.

James Hickok

The honor is based, in part, on coaches’ rankings of players on All-League teams.  James, Jake Malowitz and Taylor McNair were the Wreckers’ 3 All-FCIAC selections.

The Connecticut All-State players will be feted on January 29, at a dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

James registered 12 shutouts this year.  He allowed just 13 goals in 21 games.

“I’m very glad for James,” said head coach Dan Woog.  “He’s worked tremendously hard on all aspects of his game — from dominating the box to distribution to communication.  He’s got a fantastic mentor in our keeper coach, Tom Henske, and this honor is really a tribute to both of them.”

Shane Kennedy ’72 Gives Keepers A Workout

Today’s goalkeepers may not know who Shane Kennedy ’72 is:  the state championship-winning keeper who  set an NCAA record for career shutouts at Babson College, then was drafted by the New York Cosmos.

They may not have even heard his name.

But yesterday Kennedy — in town from his California home — spent nearly 2 hours putting Michael McCarthy ’10 and rising sophomore James Hickok through their paces at Wakeman.

Kennedy — wearing a “Dominate the Box” t-shirt — is a noted keeper coach in Northern California.  Many of his players have gone on to stellar college careers.

By the end of the session, McCarthy and Hickok knew who Kennedy was:  the real deal.

Shane Kennedy '72 (center) warms up Michael McCarthy (left) and James Hickok.