Nick Wilson (left) and Alix Talkow (right) stand with MKA AD Todd Smith. Wilson will be attending Lehigh University next fall, while Talkow will be at Lafayette College.
ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

by Andrew Garda

garda@montclairlocal.news

The past week, athletes across New Jersey signed their letters of intent and secured their destination for college.

Montclair Kimberely Academy had two student-athletes put pen to paper, one from the field hockey team and one from the cross country team.

Alix Talkow and Nick Wilson will be both taking their talents to Pennsylvania, as Talkow committed to Lafayette College, with Wilson committing to Lehigh University.

For Talkow, who originally was looking at larger schools, the decision to play field hockey for the Leopards ended up being really simple when she got on campus in Easton.

“It has everything I could ever want in a school,” she said at the MKA campus on Thursday. “It has the perfect balance of academic rigor as well as the athletic experience I was looking for. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and I really think I’ll be able to thrive there both academically and athletically.”

The combination of academics and athletics was a big reason why Wilson chose Lehigh as well.

“Going into the college search I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for with athletic programs,” he explains. “I knew I wanted something competitive but something which would also round out my college experience with education. The second I saw Goodman campus, how much they really devoted to athletics as a school and how they were able to round out the student experience for a student athlete, I fell in love with [it]. I thought the coach had a great thing going and the program looked great.”

Wilson also said that competing in the Patriot League was a big draw as well, and most of the colleges he was interested in competed in it.

“I was really excited about that and [knew] I’d be seeing great competition there with plenty of room to push myself.”

Alix talkow (center) stands with coach Gia Nappi (left) and MKA AD Todd Smith (right).
ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

For Talkow, the familiar feeling the Lafayette campus shared with MKA’s had an impact as well.

“Coming from MKA, especially, I didn’t realize how much I cherished the environment here and going to Lafayette, which is somewhat of a fairly similar environment, I just think the community oriented-ness and having a small campus and a small town all right there will help me.”

She’s also looking to step right into the field hockey team and said she had already been able to meet and interact with oth the current team members as well as other prospects this summer at a camp on the campus.

Both coaches were happy for their charges, though also sad to see them go.

“Obviously because we’re going to miss [Talkow’s] play on the field and leadership off the field,” field hockey coach Gia Nappi said. “But I’m [also] really happy for her. Any school she chose was going to be lucky to have her. She’s just an all around great kid, great leader and hard worker so I’m happy for her wherever she goes.”

For Wilson, their is a bit of bittersweet as well. With the death of Tom Fleming last spring at the age of 65, the cross country and track and field communities both at MKA and across New Jersey were stunned. For Wilson, the idea of figuring out where to compete in college without Fleming’s guidance was daunting.

Nick Wilson (center) stands with cross country coach Matthew Bach (left) and MKA AD Todd Smith.
ANDREW GARDA/STAFF

“In the college process, Tom was an invaluable tool, so it was sort of scary for me diving into the college process without him. So that was me personally, that was something I struggled with.”

However, Wilson said he has been proud of how the team has rebounded from the loss and feels that coach Matt Bach has everyone going in the right direction.

“I think [Coach] Bach is a great guy,” Wilson said Thursday. “I think he’s got an incredible approach to training and the team really opened up to it, are really adapting. I’m so proud of them and how far they’ve come. It’s a lot different without Tom, it’s not the same by any means. But we’re really making things work and we’re keeping his legacy alive.”