The academic honors he has received nine times during his high school career at Essex Tech is certainly noteworthy. She is the fact that he's the Hawks' all-time leading scorer in hockey, a player who eclipsed the hallowed 100-point mark this winter.
But what really stands out when talking about Chris Masta is his loyalty and leadership in everything that he does, be it in the classroom, in his athletic endeavors or in his everyday life.
"Chris defines the true measure of being a leader as a student-athlete," said Farah Lalli, the athletic director at Essex Tech. "Chris has demonstrated the ability to cope with contrasting personalities. He has the skills necessary to make moral and ethical judgments when difficult situations arise in the classroom or on the athletic field. Chris is a true competitor who strives to do his best while encouraging his classmates and teammates to do the same."
Masta, who is also a three-year varsity baseball player and team captain, played high school hockey for four seasons. His first was with the co-operative program at Salem High, then the new varsity program at Essex Tech when he was a sophomore. By his junior year, the speedy right wing with a quick shot helped his team reach the state playoffs, and they repeated the feat this past winter. He led the team in scoring each of his final three seasons and served as team captain on both of those postseason squads while finishing his career with 59 goals, 46 assists and 105 total points.
"The quality that likely separates Chris from other candidates is the loyalty that he has shown to his teammates, coaches and the entire Essex North Shore community," said his hockey coach, Mike Geary. "Chris is a tremendous player on the ice, but his focus is also on making his teammates better players today than they were yesterday. There is no award for that, but Chris takes pride in helping his brothers on the team.
Geary noted that several times Masta had the opportunity to leave Essex Tech for so-called greener pastures and play hockey for more established programs, but never considered doing so.
"His loyalty is now being rewarded," Geary said. "In only a few short years he built Essex Tech hockey into a reputable and established program. In today's society, that selflessness needs to be honored and, quite frankly, made public."
Owner of a 3.97 grade point average, academics are something Masta is equally passionate about. His social studies teacher and baseball coach, Jed Beauparlant, calls him "a pillar at Essex Tech" who volunteers his time for a variety of school events as well, including serving as a student ambassador to underclassmen.
"Christopher dedicated substantial time to independent study and has developed a wide range of study skills to insure that his understanding of the subject matter is thorough and meaningful," Beauparlant stated. ""Christopher would tell me that this persistence, and the willingness to go beyond the basic requirements of the Honors class for two years was so he could have the opportunity to pursue his goal of becoming a Massachusetts State Trooper, and these qualities would be needed to meet that goal."
College you will be attending: Fitchburg State University
What is your favorite book?: "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden
What is your favorite movie?: "A Few Good Men"
Who are your favorite singers?:Dan + Shay or Luke Combs
What is your favorite app?:Snapchat
What is your favorite class in school?: Government/Politics
What athletic feature are you most proud of and why?: I believe that my best feature as an athlete is the ability to manage stress. Stress has the power to debilitate just about anyone, but athletes have to deal with it on the daily. The stress of losing, the stress of injury, the stress of embarrassing themselves ... the list never ends. High-performing athletes are unique in that they have the ability to manage their stress. Whether that ability comes naturally or has been learned over many years, these athletes are able to compartmentalize their worries to focus on the task at hand. I believe this is a huge part of who I am on and off the field.
What does being a leader among your peers mean to you?: I believe it means first off not shying away from your leadership role. While you don’t want to rule with a so-called iron fist, you want to take control and allow your teammates to see that you are someone they can follow. You want to be decisive and guide your team; this means being confident in your abilities. Leaders tend to be natural leaders both on and off the field. Leaders are known for their focus, sense of motivation, and ability to bring out the best in both themselves and those around them.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?: I see myself protecting the citizens of my local community and state. I hopefully will be a Massachusetts State Police officer at this time. I also have serious interest in becoming a firefighter or paramedic. I want to be able to protect and give back to my communities.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?: Most people don’t know that I love to read.