Two seniors - Bristol Central’s Meghan Hamel, a midfielder for the Bristol co-op girls lacrosse team, and Zach Marquis, a pitcher and outfielder for the Bristol Eastern baseball team - share “Athlete of the Week” honors for area high school sports.
A two-time lacrosse captain, Hamel is the daughter of Kim and Tim Hamel.
She stood out in two wins last week, scoring five and three goals, respectively. She and her teammates placed a 19-14 loss on the host Master’s School in Simsbury on Tuesday and edged St. Paul 12-11 on Saturday in a match played at Bristol Eastern.
Her coach, Kyle Phelan, praised his senior leader.
“I have had the pleasure of coaching Meghan in some aspect of all three high school sports,” Phelan said. “The one thing I can say is consistent with Meghan is that she gives everything she has every game. Not that anyone likes to lose, but Meghan really doesn’t like it. Her efforts in the games last week were amazing.
“The way that she played in the game against St. Paul was incredible. We would have gotten crushed if it wasn’t for her effort. She was not going to let her team lose that game.
“It has been incredible to see how she has grown as an athlete over the four years I have had her for lacrosse, and we are really going to miss her personality and production next year.”
The team won four games last year and Hamel hopes to improve on that this season.
“We haven’t been doing as well as we should be, but I think after our win against St. Paul on Saturday it really helped our confidence,” Hamel said. “We have two conference wins and one exhibition win and I think if we keep up the competition we can beat last year’s record.”
A captain in soccer, basketball and lacrosse, Hamel has a lot of experience in being a team leader.
“It’s to motivate the team and keep on track,” Hamel said. “We’re like the extension of the coach, so if they don’t want to go to the coach [with a problem] then they can go to us.
“Overall, it’s to make sure the team has a good season and have fun at the same time.”
As a three-sports athlete, Hamel says it’s tough for her to pick a favorite. She added that it has not been fun without her twin sister by her side in two of the three sports their senior year. Brianna Hamel was injured at the start of the basketball season and missed that, along with current spring lacrosse play.
“It’s been difficult, especially in lacrosse,” Meghan Hamel said. “She was a huge part of last season and was last year’s leading scorer with 33 goals, and it’s been difficult to fill that hole. I miss her out on the field with me ... a lot!”
Her plans for the 2017-2018 school year are to study business at URI and probably play intramural sports.
Marquis, the son of Bob and Karen Marquis, who has also been selected as the “AOW” on several occasions, pitched the Lancers to a 3-0 win over Bristol Central a week ago under the lights at Muzzy Field.
He allowed only two hits during his complete seven-inning performance, which included five strikeouts and no walks.
During six of those innings, he took down each of the three batters he faced.
His coach, Mike Giovinazzo, was pleased with his lone returning 2016 all-conference player.
“He really has come into his own as a pitcher this year,” Giovinazzo said. “He has developed three pitches that he throws for strikes, keeping batters off-balance throughout the game.
“He is a fierce competitor who inspires his teammates with his efforts and has the ability to lift a team on his shoulders and carry them through tough times.”
Marquis, in talking about the Eastern game, called it a team win.
“Definitely, we were all strong,” Marquis said. “Everybody did their part. Everybody was in the right position at the right time. The bench was in it, everyone was just focused on the game. Offensively, everybody got hits in clutch positions. Our batting line-up has been hot.”
Asked about his team goal this spring, Marquis says it’s to go all the way. In 2016 the Lancers were 21-3, the CCC South Blue champions and Class L semifinalists.
“I’d like to add another ring to my hand,” Marquis said, “my other one is for wrestling. Tom Brady has five, so why not.
“To do this, we need more hits and our pitching has to stay on point. We have a new staff, because Nate Carney graduated and Tyler Troth transferred to Torrington and they did pretty good last year.”
When asked what he likes about the game of baseball, he said it was a number of things.
“It’s a team sport,” said Marquis, who also plays for the Bristol American Legion team. “I have trust in everyone. If they’re [the opposition] going to hit, I know they’ll have my back. It’s a brotherhood.
“The competitive side is something to try to improve on. Every day on the field, there’s a place for improvement.”
Marquis has also won “AOW” honors in wrestling and this past winter he was one of three Eastern grapplers to take a Class L crown, doing so at 182 pounds.
Although knocked out early in the State Open, he put together an overall 26-4 slate for the season and won both all-conference and All-Press honors.
His plans for next year are to study psychology and play baseball at Western Connecticut State University.
Contact Bob Montgomery at .