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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The 2016-2017 school year saw some incredible athletic performances by Walpole High School students. Amongst these outstanding efforts both on and off the playing surfaces by all Rebel athletic teams, the work of two athletes stands out in particular. Those two Walpole athletes are senior captain of Walpole baseball and Super Eight hockey hero, Cam Martin, and Bay State Herget Division MVP as well as Boston Globe Field Hockey Player of the Year recipient and Division I state champion, Melanie Weber.
Where to begin with Mel Weber? After leading the Bay State Conference in both scoring (29 goals), assists (27), and total points (56), the senior captain helped lead the Porkers to a Division I state championship (twelfth in program history) with a 3-2 victory over Longmeadow on November 19. Weber assisted on the game-winning goal in overtime by Emma Flynn, and finished her field hockey career at WHS with 72 goals, 65 assists (137 total points). She will play at Northeastern in the fall.
Along with her field hockey excellence, Weber also got after it during the winter and spring sports seasons, as she helped lead Walpole girls basketball to an MIAA South Sectional Playoff appearance (fell 36-32 to Westwood) as well as a South Sectional title in girls lacrosse. After winning the South, Weber and the lady-Rebels took down Groton-Dunstable (North Sectional champ) 9-5 in the state semifinals, where Weber tallied a goal and two assists in the win. Walpole came up just short in the state finals three days later, falling to a tough Cohasset team. However, despite the loss, Weber leaves WHS as one of the most accomplished dual-sport athletes in school history.
Like Weber, it’s hard to find athletes in today’s day and age that are as genuine and hardworking as Providence College-bound Cam Martin. A multi-sport star in both hockey and baseball who balanced his on-field endeavors with schoolwork, a social life, and a part-time job selling hockey merchandise, Martin is about as motivated and gritty as they come.
Martin’s senior year at Walpole High School in 2016-2017 began with high expectations for both himself and his teams. Hours upon hours of hard work on the ice and grueling off-ice summer workouts had Martin motivated and ready to make some noise in the Bay State Conference in 2016-2017, and then some.
Following an undefeated regular season (21-0-1, 15-0-1) in which Martin led the hockey team and Bay State Conference in scoring (23 goals) and total points (40), while friend, senior captain, and goaltender James Corcoran led the state in shutouts (14), the Rebs earned a Super Eight play-in round date with perennial power, Catholic Memorial, at Chelmsford Forum. It’s also worth noting that Walpole outscored their competition a ridiculous 107-11 throughout the regular season.
After a back-and-forth physical bout, Martin and the Rebels found themselves tied at one with CM at the end of regulation, meaning sudden-death overtime would determine who moved on to the Super Eight quarterfinals against BC High. Less than two minutes into the overtime, Martin delivered the biggest goal in Walpole High hockey history following an Owen Hunter faceoff win, as Martin stepped into a snap shot and sniped it top right corner to send the Rebels onto the Super Eight for the first time in program history.
After getting mobbed at center ice by his teammates and sending the Walpole side of Chelmsford Forum into a state of pandemonium, a humbled Martin gave credit to teammate Owen Hunter while describing his golden moment.
“Owen Hunter did a great job of winning the faceoff,” said Martin. “I saw a loose puck right in front of the net, so I said in my head ‘Why not?’ and then I shot it as hard as I could and hoped for the best. It was surreal.”
Following the win over CM, Martin and the gang took down No. 2 seed BC High 1-0 behind a 22-save shutout by James Corcoran in the first game of their best-of-three quarterfinal series against the Eagles. BC High fought back with a 2-0 win in game-two before winning a dramatic winner-take-all game-three in a shootout by a final of 3-2. Obviously, Martin and his teammates would love to have been able to make a deeper run, but the way they dominated the Bay State Conference during the regular season, got to the Super Eight for the first time in program history, and took a perennial power like BC High to a game-three shootout in the quarterfinals speaks wonders as to how hardworking and resilient this 2016-2017 group of Rebels were. Both Martin and Corcoran were voted to the 2016-2017 All-State First-Team as well as being named Bay State Conference All-Stars.
Following the conclusion of the hockey season, Martin immediately turned his focus to baseball, and was named one of the three Rebel captains for the 2017 season alongside Bentley-bound Charlie Auditore and prep school-bound Brian Gaughan.
As a speedy and versatile outfielder, Martin helped guide the Rebels to a 13-7 regular season record, the No. 6 seed in Division I South, and a first-round date with archrival and No. 11 seed Norwood. Behind a six-inning shutout performance on the mound by Gaughan and a four RBI effort at the plate by Martin, the Rebels cruised to a 15-0 victory over the Mustangs. Unfortunately, the Rebels fell 4-2 to No. 3 Bridgewater-Raynham four days later in the quarterfinals.
While his career under the command of Coach Costello might be over, Martin continues to thrive on the baseball diamond as a member of the Walpole Legion team this summer.
Throughout the last four years, Cam Martin and Mel Weber built legacies at Walpole High School that will forever be remembered, as the two each supplied motivation to win and swagger that became contagious amongst teammates. Both of these young athletes deserve the highest of recognitions for their hard work and services as Rebels, and we here at Hometown Weekly wish them nothing but the best of luck at Northeastern and Providence.