Alex Cohen, a three-year varsity basketball player at Natick High and two-year captain, was named a Boston Globe all-scholastic after his senior season. The 5-foot-8 point guard with the smooth outside shot took home the Bay State Carey Division MVP award after averaging 17 points and five assists per game.
Gann Academy’s soccer goalie Elijah Wiesman also earned Globe all-scholastic honors last fall. The senior from Arlington accrued an impressive 0.58 goals-against average in addition to winning MVP honors in Gann’s division of the Massachusetts Bay Independent League.
Both were able to complete their final high school seasons before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Wiesman’s mother was sick with the virus and had to quarantine from her family for 50 days before she eventually recovered. Cohen missed playing club hoop, and was limited to shooting in his driveway.
For both players, their skills extend beyond the pitch or the court. For Cohen, an excellent ball handler, his most admirable traits stem from his leadership ability, according to Natick basketball head coach Mike Masto.
This past season was Masto’s first in Natick, and Cohen was on the interview committee that decided to hire him. In preparation, Masto reached out to Cohen to talk about the team.
“We sat down at 10 o’clock and before I know it, it’s 12:30 and it feels like 10 minutes have gone by and I’ve been with my best friend,” Masto said regarding their meeting at Einstein Bros. Bagels. “Throughout the whole conversation, he never once mentioned himself. He only talked about his teammates and how important is was for them to have fun.”
Some of the key topics during the conversation were team chemistry and having a strong plan for each game. Cohen emphasized that his focus was “to make sure everyone is working as hard as they can and to get the best out of everyone.”
Wiesman, who comes from an interfaith family, made the switch to Jewish day school approaching high school after going to public schools in Arlington. He said that the caring community provided by Gann in Waltham attracted him to the school.
He also went on a six-week trip to Israel with his class. “The bonds created doing that are invaluable,” he said.
Wiesman has been hailed for his attention to detail and reliability, two traits that benefit him on and off the field. Yoni Kadden, Gann’s history department chair and mock trial coach, said Wiesman prides himself on those attributes.
Kadden spoke about a moment from mock trial that stood out to him. According to Kadden, lawyers usually take on two roles, ranging from the opening statement to examinations. Two weeks before the season began, Gann’s opening statement member dropped out. “The captains and I thought about it for five seconds and realized that Elijah was the person who could do it,” Kadden said. “He immediately took it on and within a day came to me with a better opening statement than the original.
“It’s a gift as a teacher or coach to know that you have a kid who you can count on,” Kadden said.
On the pitch, Wiesman has been playing goalie since he was 8 years old. He played club soccer for Lexington Development Academy and then Global Premier Soccer, and led Gann to a 13-1 record as captain.
Cohen played AAU basketball for the Mass Commanders. Head coach Rudy Crichlow Jr. showed a lot of appreciation for Cohen’s mindset, always positive despite coming off the bench. “He’s highly respected. He’s a hooper,” Crichlow Jr. said.
Cohen, who will be attending the University of Maryland, is thinking about playing club basketball in college. He also plans on going on a Birthright trip to Israel.
Wiesman will be attending Washington University in St. Louis, where he is planning on studying law and international relations.