SPotlight: Dana, Alex, Julia, Matt, and Maya

The SPotlight is a weekly introduction to five Stadium Performance athletes. Their friendship, family, and humility, makes these SP athletes role models to many others that will come after them. As The New Culture, we aspire to promote their successes and character alike in the absence of negativity, defamation, or social exclusion. This is their story.

Dana Dinardo, Weston High School/Holy Cross Commit

Photo Jul 15, 1 22 52 PMHigh School: Plays field hockey and lacrosse for the Weston High School Wildcats. Field Hockey Head Coach Kim Desto describes Dana as “dangerous” at her position. Committing to The College of Holy Cross as a sophomore to play lacrosse, Dana continues to fulfill her athletic goals one day at a time.  

SP Compliments: A natural born leader on and off the field, Dana brings the dedication and intensity of a 7-foot All-American and squeezes it into a five-foot athletic frame. Striving to be the best she can be in the classroom as well as on the field, Dana has no problem sacrificing fun for school and athletic development. Commuting 80 minutes three days a week from Newport, RI while working full time during the summer presents some significant challenges. For Dana, it’s just part of the process of becoming the best she can be. Dana is a delight to be around and a role model for any female athlete trying to find the balance between fun, sun, and getting *hit done. We are so very proud to have her here at Stadium Performance.

Alex Cherry, St. Sebastians School 

Photo Jul 15, 1 29 13 PMHigh School: Alex plays Varsity Football, Hockey, and Baseball for the St Sebastian’s Arrows.

SP Compliments: The Sky is the limit. Those are the first words out of my mouth whenever I’m asked about Alex. Coming to Stadium Performance as a freshman in the Fall of 2015, Alex was just beginning to develop a sense of his own physical capabilities. I would say it was somewhat like watching a baby giraffe just learning to walk. However, in this case,  a baby giraffe that would suddenly begin to develop into a 6’5′ youth faster than a snake loses it’s skin. Alex embodies what we expect from every athlete. He arrives early and stays late if we ask him to. He is eager to improve every fundamental through each rep. Aside from his gifted physique, his work ethic, focus, and  willingness to accept constructive criticism is what is going to set him apart from the rest of his peers. As Alex blooms into a mature athlete while developing as a man over the next few years, you are going to see a physical presence unseen by many previous to today. Remember this name: Alex Cherry. I said it first.

Julia Strachan, Attleboro High School

Photo Jul 15, 1 29 45 PMHigh School: 
A rising senior at Attleboro High School, Julia is a force to be reckoned with on the Basketball court. Her stellar performance in the 2015-2016 North Attleboro season earned her the position of Captain for the 2016-2017 season. Recovering from an ACL injury this Spring, Julia is a player to watch this winter.

SP Compliments: I met Julia braced, down in the dumps, and on crutches. Her knee has just been cut open, chiseled, and sewn back together by Dr. Gill. Her peers told me she was “an amazing basketball player”, “something special”, and “has an unreal handle.” Fast-forward six months – her knee is 100% recovered, she gained four pounds of lean mass, dropped 7 pounds of body fat, and kicked the crap out of every exercise we gave her. Her rehab started out slow with frustration, impatience, and aggravation but by simplifying her expectations and trusting her Physical therapist, Colleen Caligiuri, the path became clear. Julia evolved from a talented young lady in a struggling state to a matured warrior in a battle state. Rather than dwelling on what was going wrong, she utilized her 6-month recovery to address weaknesses and compliment strengths. In stride, like a baseline power-move to the basket, Julia surpassed all my expectations en route to a final physical test here at SP. In an effort to prove her physical readiness for a competitive recruiting summer, Julia sprinted, cut, and leaped her way through a 30 minute session that tested every angle, force, and ligament in her rebuilt knee. She is ready – more ready than I’ve ever seen a female basketball player. Open the mailbox Julia, the recruiting letters are coming.

Matt Paul, The Rivers School/Dartmouth Commit

Photo Jul 18, 1 02 53 PMHigh School: A standout Hockey and Lacrosse player at Rivers, Matt was listed as one of the top 30 Massachusetts “Players to Watch” for the 2016 Lacrosse season. Matt will be taking his talents to the Dartmouth lacrosse program following his upcoming senior season where he will attempt to captain the Rivers lacrosse program to an ISL league title.

SP Compliments: “Undersized”, “lacking burst”, “lacks off-field leadership” – all phrases used by critics scrambling to find a reason not to believe in Matt Paul. I don’t see it. He’s not undersized, he’s 17. He doesn’t lack burst, he lacks people teaching him how to burst. He’s not a poor leader, he’s an amazing leader. Matt leads with actions – in practice, during games, along I-95 during his 30 minute commute, in the weight room, and under the 95 degree sun eagerly sprinting up a rocky incline here at Stadium Performance. From what I can see, Matt has all the tools to be a successful athlete at the next level. He has intangibles like footwork, hand-eye coordination, worth ethic, determination to improve, conditioning, and above all, a great attitude. Matt always says hello and never fails to say thank you. He hears criticism but does not listen to it’s tone. He respects his sisters, admires his parents, and appreciates those who help him succeed. Voted a unanimous captain for the 2016-2017 season, Matt is a sure bet to possess the ball when the game is on the line. He’ll have burst. He’ll beat his defender. And he’ll lead his team to victory – that game, and the next. Rivers is lucky. The Big Green are too.

Maya Davis, Middlebury College

Photo Jul 15, 1 29 38 PMHigh School:
Maya played Basketball for the Milton Academy Mustangs. In her Junior season, Maya earned All ISL honors and played in the ISL All-Star game. Her senior season was unfortunately cut short by an ACL injury, but we are excited to see her perform at the next level when she enrolls at Middlebury this fall!

SP Compliments: The adversity we face in life is largely out of our control. What is in our control however, is how we respond to that adversity.  After her injury, Maya trained relentlessly at Stadium Performance in order to prepare for surgery. She never complained, felt sorry for herself, or asked “why me?”. Her positive demeanor through physical therapy was truly impressive. Despite missing out on her senior season, and unable to walk without a brace or crutch, Maya always had a smile on her face. She took every challenge one day at a time, always looking forward to the next goal and never looking back at what could have been. Maya constantly provides us with a perfect example of how to handle adversity. She is an ideal role model for any athlete who is experiencing setbacks in their life. With 8 weeks remaining in her Summer, Maya will continue to progress through her ACL rehab at an amazing rate. In November when the clock strikes midnight, Maya will dribble her way not just onto the Tigers court, but more than likely into their record books. Classy people are rare. Great athletes are rare. Classy, great athletes are defined right here. We are proud to be represented by such a wonderful young lady.


*No filters were used in the above pictures. Imperfection is in the eye of the beholder.

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