Some bittersweet: The last Stolle leaves Wamogo
Some bittersweet: The last Stolle leaves Wamogo
LITCHFIELD - It’s kind of an idea that you have to get your mind around – no Stolle at Wamogo. It just doesn’t register at first and then you think about it and you figure the whole notion is preposterous. There’s always been a Stolle at Wamogo, seemingly since Columbus drifted a bit off course and ended up somewhere off of Florida.
Gilbert has its Reas, Thomaston its Matthews and Hurlberts, Nonnewaug its Martlands and the list goes on, each school ingrained with a name that has become permanently part of its culture. So it has been with the Stolles and Wamogo.
The physical connection is no more. Former Warrior Athletic Director Mary Stolle has accepted a job at New Fairfield High School as the new Athletic Director and K-12 Health and Physical Education Coordinator.
“I saw the position was open, applied and to my surprise and pleasure I was selected as the person,” said Stolle. “I was thinking about getting my administration degree anyway since in the future athletic directors will have to have it and I was also thinking about an assistant principal position somewhere. I am thrilled, New Fairfield is a wonderful school system with a great athletic program and wonderful facilities.”
Stolle ends a 12-year stint at Wamogo, 11 of those as the Athletic Director up until the 2011-12 school year. But it goes deeper than that. Mary was just the last physical link. We’re talking about the first family of Wamogo athletics, the most decorated family in Wamogo school history.
There was John with his short basketball tie who coached virtually every sport the school offers, basketball, baseball, assistant track coach and most of the middle school programs for many years before leaving two years ago. Then there was a quartet of girls, all of whom wore No. 23 and wrote a family story of accomplishment that probably won’t be matched by siblings at any school any time.
There was Tracy (1995 graduate) with radar that tracked the bottom of the net with astonishing efficiency, the greatest shooter in school history, certainly for the girls and probably the boys too. Tracy, Wamogo’s all-time leading scorer and the BL’s all-time leading girls scorer with 1,924 career points, the focal point of the 1994-95 state championship team.
Then along came Kelly (class of 2000), state of the art field hockey player that went on to have a solid career at national power UConn. Her shot came with a stick but her game was equally mesmerizing. While not her No. 1 sport, she also scored 713 points on the basketball court. Tracy would have been enough to make sure the name stood the test of time, Kelly strengthened the legacy. But you know, the Stolles are prolific and giving people and they weren’t done yet.
Along came Kristi (2002), left-handed and lethal, along with Sandy Mosley producing a potent one-two punch for the Warriors that included a 2002 trip to the Class championship game which was won by Trinity Catholic, 65-61 in overtime. Not to be left behind her sisters, Kristi bagged 1,488 points.
All this time, Mary and John would say, “Wait to you see the little one, Kerri.” They weren’t just blowing some red and white Wamogo smoke. Kerri (2012) scored 1,140 points and may have had the best all-around game of any of the sisters. She was All-State in three sports, softball and soccer added to her basketball brilliance.
The Stolles have never been a name that just passed through the halls of Wamogo. They just didn’t come and play, they all came and excelled beyond even the highest of expectations. The Stolles and Wamogo have become synonomous over the years. Wamog without a Stolle, yeah, keep dreaming. Even Mary admitted that along with the excitement of moving on, there is a bittersweet touch here.
“It is not an easy thing,” she said. “I put my heart and soul into the building, the kids went there. I live in Warren and I was taking care of people’s kids I knew there. “
Stolle also worries about what she is leaving behind.
“I am concerned about some athletic traditions, I don’t want the kids here to be forgotten,” Stolle noted. “Kids near to hear about these things (what happened in the past). I hoping these things aren’t forgotten. That is one of the things that is hard about leaving. I worry some time-honored traditions will be lost.”
Wamogo is working on its third A.D. (John Threlfall) since Stolle left two years ago . She has told Threlfall if he has any questions to call her.
So she takes all that concern with here. You know, you can take a Stolle out of Wamogo but you can’t take Wamogo out of a Stolle. There is too much there. Too many hours, too many moments, too much of a family’s growth and excellence forever ensconced between the walls of the school on the hill in Litchfield.
Still, don’t get the idea that Stolle isn’t leaving with her eyes focused forward. It was time to move on and she does so with eager anticipation.
“Things change and if you are not part of the change you go out and find opportunities,’ said Stolle. “It didn’t look like we were going to part of the change. Sometimes it is time to move on and I felt I could do some great things at New Fairfield.”
There is no longer a Stolle at Wamogo. I know, a crazy thought. But, the legacy, well that isn’t going anywhere for a long, long, long time. Meanwhile, Mary Stolle looks ahead with heart holding on to what is behind her.