By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Southborough – One athlete to keep an eye on in the area’s high school sports scene this coming winter and spring is Southborough’s Sheila Gadbois.
Gadbois, a sophomore, is a three-season athlete at Worcester Academy (varsity field hockey, varsity hockey and varsity lacrosse) who recently concluded a successful field hockey season starting at center-forward. Her growth from last year to this year has been exceptional, said assistant lacrosse and field hockey coach Stephanie Jackson.
“Sheila is the type of player that seeks feedback on her play and incorporates any critiques in order to improve,” said Jackson. “Her stick skills are strong and she plays hard to the last second of the game. She has the ability to see the field, which is important on attack.
“Sheila, as well as the rest of the team, plays unselfishly which is why we have been so successful this year. She is always the first one to pump up the team and cheer on her teammates. Her fun but committed approach is infectious on the team.”
Gadbois was the team’s second leading scorer with nine goals and nine assists and is calm under pressure as was proven when she scored on a penalty stroke in a regular-season game against Wilbraham and Monson.
The Hilltoppers shook off last year’s tough 2-15 season surprising some with a 10-game win streak to open the 2015 season. Thayer Academy ended the team’s streak with a 4-1 triumph, but the stage was set for a successful year. Worcester Academy finished the fall campaign at 15-5.
Gadbois began skating at age 2 and made the leap into team ice hockey at age 6. She has talent on both sides of center ice rotating between defense and forward.
Field hockey participation came along in middle school, but lacrosse began in in the third grade with her dad as a former player, helping her become introduced to and gain skill in the sport. She plays both defense and midfield for the Hilltoppers.
“I like to help my teammates stay positive,” said Gadbois of her relationship with her peers. “It’s important that we don’t let any negativity affect us because we won’t play as well. We had a much better season this year because we held our heads high and kept a positive attitude.”
Balancing homework, sports and other facets of high school life is not always easy, she admits, but over time she has employed sound time management to keep up.
“I’ve gotten used to the demands of playing sports and school so it’s not new to me,” Gadbois said. “It’s all about setting priorities.”
“Personally, I have the opportunity of teaching her in the classroom as well as coaching her in field hockey and lacrosse,” said Jackson. “Her approach to academics is the same as it is on the field. She is constantly looking to improve her understanding of the task in front of her.”