High school students applying to college want to portray themselves as well-rounded individuals who can handle a busy schedule.
Melissa Almeida, a rising junior at Foxborough High, has not only shown that she can multitask, but that she is multitalented.
She starts in goal for the varsity boys’ ice hockey team, along with the girls’ field hockey team during the fall season.
She qualified for the state track meet in her first season as competitor in the discus and the shot put. And she volunteers two days per week at Boston hospitals.
The 5-foot Almeida has played Northeast Elite Hockey, based in neighboring Walpole, since the age of 6, following the lead of her older brother, Brian. Their father, Alan, also played the game in high school.
She fell in love with the sport, and played it along with soccer.
As a freshman at the Rivers School in Weston, she decided to bypass soccer for field hockey. She started as a forward, but found herself in net when the starting goalie went down with an injury.
But she had already played goal on the ice for her Northeast Elite team, so the transition was fairly seamless.
“I started as a forward, and during Mites each kid has to take a turn in goal, and when it was my turn, I liked it so much I decided to stay in goal,” she said.
After playing field hockey that fall as a freshman, she transferred to Foxborough High two weeks into the hockey season.
She received a waiver to play on the varsity boys’ team. Head coach Jim Genovese, who had previously coached her on a summer league team, welcomed her aboard. Her brother had been the varsity starter in goal his final two seasons, earning all-Hockomock League honors.
Almeida was not concerned with being the only girl on the squad.
“I played with [the boys] on my youth team, so they were glad to have me back and I was glad to be back,” she said.
“They’re really great kids. I’ve known all of them for a long time. My coach is also really supportive and he’s very big on the fact that I’m not a girl hockey player. I’m a girl who plays hockey.”
The first day that she was eligible, with the senior starter sidelined, Almeida was in net at the opening face-off, and made a handful of starts the rest of the way.
Her sophomore season on the field hockey team, she started in goal for a Warriors’ squad that qualified for the state tournament before losing to Scituate in the first round.
On the ice this past winter, with Almeida firmly entrenched as the starter, Foxborough earned the 23d, and final seed, in the Division 3 South tournament before losing to eventual state champion Medway.
“We made the tournament for the first time in I can’t even tell you how long,” she said. “The whole season was a success for us. It was an absolutely fantastic year. At one point we won five games in a row and almost beat our rival, Mansfield. It was a huge game for us. We played well, but ended up losing 2-0 when we had lost 13-0 the year before.
“She played excellent the whole season, kept us in a lot of games, and won us games that were very close,” said Genovese. “In the last tournament game she certainly held her own.”
Her dedication during the summer is impressive.
Almeida is juggling three summer leagues: Extreme Field Hockey on Thursdays in Canton, an ice hockey league with high school mates at Foxboro Sports Center every Sunday, along with a private ice hockey league in Walpole on Thursday nights.
She also plays for the state champion U16 Assabet Valley club hockey team, based in Concord.
Earlier this summer, she helped backstop the Southeast scholastic field hockey team to the silver medal at the Bay State Summer Games.
After playing lacrosse as a freshman, she went out for the track team at the suggestion of a close friend, registered a personal-best of 20 feet 8 inches in the shot put and 90 feet with the discus.
She is intent on returning next season. “I’m hoping to make nationals,” she said.
And this week, she was participating in an Elite Field Hockey camp at Bentley University until Wednesday.
Athletics are a major priority, but her ultimate goal is to become a pediatrician.
She volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital on Tuesday and Friday mornings. And on Fridays, she heads from Mass. General to Children’s Hospital to volunteer in the afternoon.
With her eyes on Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth, Almeida keeps her focus on her studies when she’s not on the ice or field.
She currently has a 4.1 grade point average on a 4.0 scale because she took advanced placement US History.
Almeida keeps a humble attitude, crediting her success to those around her.
“I have a really supportive family that drives me everywhere, trucking me around from place to place,” she said “All of my coaches are really really supportive in everything I try to do. They’re very understanding when I show up late from another practice. They’re really good about letting me achieve everything I want to.”