Wakefield celebrates a great teammate and friend

Published in the March 23, 2018 edition


WAKEFIELD — Hailey Lovell, the athlete, is a fan favorite.

The soccer and basketball star for Wakefield Memorial High School is tough, talented and competitive, with a unique blend of All-Star ability combined with an underdog mentality.

Hailey Lovell, the friend and teammate? Now, that’s where she really shines.

Lovell recently signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Merrimack College starting next fall. Surrounded by friends, family, coaches and teachers, you could feel the love on a day that was happy but very difficult for the Lovell’s.

HAILEY LOVELL signs her National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Merrimack College with her mother, Janelle. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

“She’s worked very hard to get to where she is,” said Hailey’s mother, Janelle. “I’m very proud of her and her father would be very proud of her as well.”

Hailey’s father, Wayne Lovell, passed away in September. Spend some time asking those in the Wakefield sports community about Wayne and you are presented with an immediate problem: Where do you start?

The following is from the Wakefield basketball program book, explaining why they dedicated their season to Wayne Lovell: “Whether he was coaching on the sideline or watching from the stands, his presence was always known. Wayne loved an underdog and especially appreciated and supported those players that may not have received as many accolades as others, but he always made them feel like an important part of the team. There is always a void that is left behind when someone leaves us too soon. The void left by Wayne is palpable and felt by our entire community. There is something missing from every game and while we all continue to cheer and support our teams, it simply isn’t the same. His presence is all around us, his initials are on the jerseys and we talk often of how much he enjoyed being a part of this Wakefield sports family. We know he is cheering us all on from above.”

How Hailey, her teammates, and the community responded was extraordinary.

“Seeing her strength and determination to make her dad proud has been inspiring for me,” said Ally Coggswell, Hailey’s teammate on the basketball team and one of her best friends since childhood.

“She’s the toughest girl I know,” said Allee Purcell, a soccer and basketball teammate who will also be attending Merrimack next year.

TEAMMATES and close friends from left to right, Allee Purcell, Hailey Lovell and Ally Coggswell, helped lead the Wakefield basketball team to the program’s best season in 22 years.

“She just stands out,” said WMHS girls’ soccer head coach, Steph Martin. “Her character is great and her work ethic is unmatched. She never gives up. She’s just a good role model for not only the younger kids but the older kids too.”

“When I think of Hailey I think of perseverance,” said WMHS athletic director Brendan Kent. “She overcame so much this year and still gave everything she had and was one of the hardest working players every single game. She’s just a tough, resilient kid.”

“I don’t think I’ve been more proud of an athlete,” added Wakefield girls’ basketball head coach Jason Pavey. “She’s just as tough as they come. My five-year-old daughter’s favorite player isn’t Kyrie Irving or Steph Curry…it’s Hailey.”

During extreme tragedies, sports often have a unique way of providing a release for those in pain. It certainly helps when you reside in a tight-knit community. Having Warriors as teammates helps too.

“My teammates definitely push me every single day to work hard and be a good teammate and I’m just really thankful that all of them have helped me so much through this,” said Hailey.

“Between soccer and basketball, that’s been one of the driving forces of this community that has helped us keep going, keep getting up and doing what we’re doing,” agreed Janelle Lovell. “The people greeting us everyday and being there for Hailey everyday, it’s been amazing. The support has been off the charts.”

Starting with the soccer team back in the fall, the reinforcements from the Warriors was evident.

“Our team was unbelievable the way they stepped up and supported her,” said Martin. “I was so happy that the character of the kids really shined through such a difficult time. They became even closer.”

Sporting WL bands over their socks, the Warriors fought through this difficult time, with their best player, Hailey Lovell, leading the way.

Coming into the basketball season, a similar feeling of unity and support followed the team, all the way through the program’s best season in 22 years.

“Going into the season, we talked about how we wanted basketball to be a release for her,” said Pavey. “A time she could just go for a few hours, have fun and compete. I knew that wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded, but Hailey competes with the best of them.”

“Our soccer and basketball teams really rallied and came together,” said Kent. “You can see it on the field and the court; they’re a family and everyone has rallied around Hailey.”

It’s easy to rally around such a good teammate.

Purcell will compete for the Merrimack track and field team next year. The first year away from home is always difficult, but the anxiety of a new situation should be much easier for Purcell with Lovell around.

“Hailey is the type of friend that always has your back, always looking out for her friends,” said Purcell. “To be honest I’m somewhat nervous about that next stage of my life but it’s comforting to know Hailey will be with me. She’s just that type of friend.”

Friendship and loyalty seem to be common themes when inquiring about Wayne Lovell. That, and his dreams of happiness and success for Hailey and her older brother Ryan, a lacrosse player at Hartford. 

“Getting Hailey to the level of being able to play college soccer is something that Wayne worked very hard at for many years,” said Coggswell. “I know how proud he is of her and how hard he is smiling. I’m so happy that her dream came true and I know she is going to do great things at Merrimack.”

As for Merrimack, it’s a school that felt familiar for Lovell. Why not go from one group of close Warriors to another?

“When I stepped on campus everyone just seemed so together and I really liked the community,” said Lovell. “I just felt good about it.”

It’s a community that doesn’t know yet the type of student-athlete they’re getting. It won’t take long for them to find out.

The Wakefield basketball program book says that when it came to the Warriors, Wayne Lovell “was their biggest supporter, always there to encourage them when they needed it and to congratulate them on a job well done.”

So, to Hailey Lovell, congratulations on a job well done. Wakefield will always be rooting for you.