Senior athletes are signed, sealed & delivered
By JENNIFER GENTILE
MELROSE—It’s not a rare occurrence for Melrose High School to send athletes to some of the best colleges to compete on courts, fields, gyms, tracks and pools. This year, they recognized all their 2023 MHS committed graduating athletes at an event on Monday, May 22, when they held an official signing at the David Driscoll Learning Commons to honor their college athletic commits.
Being honored that day were senior athletic commits Ian Gauch (football), Ellis lurilli-Hough (cross country) Stephen Fogarty (lacrosse) and Chloe Gentile (volleyball). Not attending that day, but also reportedly playing collegiate ball at press time, include Branden Marceau Olayinka (previously signed at MHS) and commits Ryan Dolan (St. Josephs Maine, baseball) Charley Krygowksi (Assumption, football) Jack Claeys (Plymouth State, football), Joey Beshel (Colby College, soccer), a list that was provided to Melrose Weekly News at press time.
Family, friends and staff were on hand to celebrate Melrose High’s latest college athletes on May 22, a group that left big marks on their varsity programs at Melrose High over the course of four years. Here’s a look at those there who were singing ink to paper.
Three-sport athlete Stephen Fogarty, a captain and multi year All Star, has collected oodles of varsity letters as a member of the MHS football, wrestling and lacrosse teams, earning many league titles in the process. But its lacrosse that he will play in college when he joins his brother at University of New England, where he will be coached under Charlie Burch. Fogarty was a key cog in the dominant Melrose High wrestling team, who secured three state titles under his guidance in the years of 2020, 2022 and 2023. Can you say dynasty? Fogarty will play next fall at University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.
Melrose’s sole female commit, Chloe Gentile, senior captain of the MHS volleyball and girls’ basketball teams, will be attending Trinity College in CT, where she will lace up her volleyball sneakers as a member of the 2023 Bantam Squad under the direction of Jennifer Bowman, who is entering her 20th year coaching the Little Ivy school. Gentile is a four-year MHS volleyball starter and multi-year All Star who was named captain as a 14-year-old freshman. She also served as a four-year member of the MHS girls hoop team, senior captain, where she was named All-League. As a middle hitter, she helped the Melrose volleyball team win 4 league championships and two Div. 2 sectional trophies. After collecting eight varsity letters, volleyball remained the focus of her NCAA athletic college ambition.
Another Little Ivy signee includes Ellis lurilli-Hough, one of the most prolific runners on the Melrose High’s boys cross country and track teams ever. He started as a freshman on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams in 2019, collecting multiple letters and All Star honors. While collecting numerous medals, he has improved his personal times over the years with a 4:31 time in the mile, a 2:44.77 in the 1000m, a 6:23 in a steeplechase and a 16:17 in a 5k. Just last week he qualified for Nationals in the 2-mile with a personal best time of 9:47. He also helped his MHS boys outdoor track team qualify for All States as a team this month. The runner will lace up for the Camels this fall in New London, Connecticut under the coaching of Sam Alexander and will compete in the exclusive NESCAC division. Last year the Camels reached the NCAA Div. 3 Championship.
Football standout Ian Gauch personifies industrial style grit after two terrific junior and senior seasons with the MHS football team, during which his size wrought trouble for opponents and drew the eye of scouts in the area. The one that won: Massachusetts Maritime. The All Star will now suit up under the guidance of coach Jeremy Cameron and compete as a Buccaneer in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC). Gauch looks forward to studying in a field that feels both inspiring and familiar. “I’ve always loved being by the ocean, and my family has a boat, so Mass Maritime was natural,” he says. The future collegiate lineman may explore maritime transportation there. “This school and team will open areas for me in life,” he says. “I had been encouraged to find the right place, a place where you want to wake up in the morning.”
It’s a family affair for lacrosse commit Stephen Fogarty, who will join his brother Shea on the fields at University of New England in Maine for the Nor’easters lacrosse team under the coaching of Charlie Burch, under his 11th season at UNE. Fogarty will compete in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) alongside his brother, who started in all 18 games in 2022. Like Shea, Stephen also led Melrose High in wrestling and football through state championships. At some point a decision was made on what sport to take into college. Stephen realized early it would be lacrosse. “Out of the three sports, it was lacrosse that I focused on in club play,” he says. “I feel like it’s a real free sport, where you can choose what you want to do on the field.” Life will be easier for mom and dad with both boys in Biddeford. “My brother being there is a huge part of why I go,” says Fogarty. “When I visited, I loved the campus and the area.” There, he may pursue an athletic training major.
Ellis lurilli-Hough knew right away Connecticut College was it for him. “What drew me in was the culture they created, where I could grow as a runner. The team sold me— they were goal oriented and serious minded about the sport.” There, he may study humanities, but he contends that life is an unwritten story. “I’m an inherently curious person and my likes and dislikes change. I love philosophy reading and writing but I don’t believe your path is determined at my age.”
Wise words from a wise kid.
Chloe Gentile began her volleyball recruitment process early. “I started emailing coaches and sending them film around 8th grade. The key is consistency, keeping your option open and reaching out to as many coaches as you can.” Though Gentile had several other offers, it was the Bantams that won the day when she accepted an offer last July. “Trinity really stood out to me because their volleyball team had such a positive environment from their energetic coaches to the obvious team chemistry.”
Speaking of chemistry, Gentile will pursue a science path on route to a possible career as a Physician’s Assistant. “I’m interested in studying biology or neuroscience there.”
With graduation just days away, the time was ripe for these commits to look back and reflect on their favorite athletic memories at Melrose High.
Ian Gauch offered a favorite memory at MHS. “The Thanksgiving game senior year. Even though it was a loss, everything set in, and you realize what the game meant, you have that one-on-one time with your friends on the team, so it was a fulfilling experience,” says the senior.
For Ellis lurilli-Hough, there was a lot to choose from. “Beating Wakefield this season for the first time in 14 years, goat yoga with coach and qualifying for Nationals. But our spring track team also qualified for All State as a team and helping them do it was a great moment of blood sweat and tears.”
MHS fans might remember some storm the court moments in volleyball, like in 2022 when Melrose earned a sectional title after an incredible fifth, tie-breaking game. Faced with chants of “Warm the buses” from opposing fans on the road, Melrose climbed back to win, 16-14, to take home the Final Four trophy. That’s an easy choice for Chloe Gentile. “That game against Billerica when we made it to the Final Four after the fifth set comeback was absolutely my favorite,” she confirms. Her team would go on to repeat the same feat this past fall.
Stephen Fogarty also has loads of favorite memories to choose from: from wrestling state titles, grueling lacrosse playoff games and Thanksgiving pigskin action. A personal favorite? “I’ve been on some great teams, but it has be us winning those three state titles in wrestling. Love those rings!”