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HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK

Voices carry on: Longtime public address announcers a big part of athletics traditions

Peter Mundy (left), shown with spotter John Larkin, has been calling Natick football games for three decades, including a Thanksgiving matchup with Framingham at Fenway Park in 2018.
Peter Mundy (left), shown with spotter John Larkin, has been calling Natick football games for three decades, including a Thanksgiving matchup with Framingham at Fenway Park in 2018.Courtesy

When Peter Mundy attended the Natick boys’ hockey season opener in 1989, he noticed a palpable silence in an arena that should have been filled with energy considering Natick had played in the state tournament at Boston Garden earlier that year.

So Mundy, who has a background in radio and a degree from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, petitioned then-athletic director John Carroll to let him announce during home games.

“[Carroll] said to me, ‘Are you any good?’ And I said, ‘I’m better than what you have now,’” Mundy said with a laugh. “From there, I basically melded into it. Now if there’s an event on the [Natick] turf field, I’ll be announcing for it.”

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Mundy became the voice of Natick football two years later and was one of the busiest public address announcers in the state before the pandemic. He’s been announcing from Athlete’s Village in Hopkinton at the start of the Boston Marathon for more than 20 years, is the voice of Natick’s annual Fourth of July Parade, announces for Merrimack College football and UMass Lowell men’s hockey, and handles most MIAA Super Eight games for baseball and boys’ hockey.

Throughout it all, Mundy has showcased selfless professionalism while raising the standard of high school athletics.

“My mantra has always been: ‘It’s not my game, it’s theirs,’” Mundy said, referring to the athletes.

Thanksgiving mornings are particularly special for Mundy, as an opportunity to honor not just the football players, but also the cheerleaders and band members while putting on a show for the community.

“I go out of my way to reach out to everybody,” Mundy said. “I’ve worked with [current AD] Tim [Collins] to make a senior ceremony where everyone goes away with a smile on their face. It’s unfortunate we won’t have it this year [football is postponed to the Fall II period], because it’s such a time-honored tradition.”

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Peter Mundy has been the voice behind the microphone at Natick High since 1989.
Peter Mundy has been the voice behind the microphone at Natick High since 1989.Courtesy

When Natick hosted Mansfield in the Division 2 South football final last November, another PA veteran was in the crowd.

Mansfield announcer Tom Faria has also been at his post for 30 years. A Mansfield native and a three-sport athlete in high school before graduating in 1974, Faria rarely misses a road game, and he said that when he took in the action during Mansfield’s 22-3 win at Natick, “You could tell [Mundy] was a pro.”

Faria’s journey started humbly with public address announcements at his sons’ Pop Warner games. In 1991, the Mansfield Gridiron Club reached out to him with an offer to start announcing home games, and he jumped on right as 33-year coach Mike Redding was turning the program into a perennial powerhouse that secured a pair of state titles this past decade.

“I’d be hard pressed to find a big difference in the 30 years,” Faria said. “The best part? We’ve just had incredible continuity. The minute Redding took over the program, we knew right away things were going to be different.”

Mansfield's Tom Faria is another longtime voice behind the microphone, who got to call the Hornets' Thanksgiving game against Foxborough in 2018 at Fenway Park.
Mansfield's Tom Faria is another longtime voice behind the microphone, who got to call the Hornets' Thanksgiving game against Foxborough in 2018 at Fenway Park.Courtesy

Faria and Mundy have blazed a trail for the next generation of high school announcers.

Former Everett running back and coach Josh Del Gaizo began announcing for the Crimson Tide in 2006, when he was still a junior at Salem State. A communications major, he was volunteering on John DiBiaso’s staff when the affable coach asked him to get behind the mic for Everett’s next home contest.

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“Growing up [in Everett], football is kind of a religion in these parts,” said Del Gaizo, who also works for Everett Public Schools Channel 15.

“It’s something you watch growing up and something I wanted to be a part of and when my playing career ended. Of course I said yes [to announcing] right away and I was very nervous, but once you started with that ‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen’ it all just flowed, and it became second nature.”

At Hingham, Holy Cross graduate Greg Patryka became a staple of the athletics program when the Harbormen debuted a new multi-purpose field with a complex scoreboard.

The IT consultant tackled the challenge and was soon scoring football, girls’ lacrosse, and wrestling contests. Then he figured he could add announcing to his responsibilities, and now he does more than 200 varsity and nonvarsity events each year.

“[Greg] started helping when our oldest daughter, Kathleen, was on the girls’ basketball team [in 2007], and he just never stopped,” said his wife, Maureen. “Now if there’s a game at the multi-purpose field, chances are, he’s there.”

Like Mundy, Patryka said the goal is to give every kid a varsity experience through official game presentation, even the kids playing nonvarsity contests. That commitment has become even more important with attendance strictly limited during the coronavirus pandemic.

These announcers, each one mainstays in their communities, are part of what makes the tradition of high school athletics so significant in the Greater Boston region.

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“People see me around town and say, ‘It’s the voice! It’s the voice of Mansfield football,’” Faria said.

“It’s just an incredible thrill and that recognition has made it fun, but I keep doing for the players, and the cheerleaders, because everyone wants to hear their name over the loudspeaker.”

Taking note

▪ The MIAA Board of Directors voted Friday to approve a Dec. 14 start date to the winter season. The season will include modified versions of basketball and ice hockey, as well as Alpine and Nordic skiing, gymnastics, and swimming & diving. Wrestling has been moved to the spring season (April 26 to July 3), and indoor track has been moved to the Fall II season (Feb. 22 to April 25).

▪ Modifications for the winter season were also approved by the Board of Directors. For all sports, masks will be required at all times, except during competition in gymnastics and swimming & diving. Gameday rosters are limited in basketball and hockey.

▪ For basketball, the jump ball is eliminated, halftime is eliminated, but quarter breaks are longer, and there are adjustments to free throws and inbounding plays.

▪ For ice hockey, locker rooms are closed and players must arrive in uniform. Only two players can be involved in a scrum near the boards and if a third joins the scrum, officials will stop play. There are social distancing measures in place for the bench area and penalty box.

▪ Only dual meet in-person competition is allowed in swimming & diving. Teams will sit on opposites sides of the pool, and diving will be conducted first in these meets. Schools may opt for remote competition in swimming and gymnastics.

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▪ Former Cohasset boys’ lacrosse coach Stew Curran recently had a cancerous mass removed from his head and his sons have started a fund-raiser (https://us.movember.com/mospace/14431668) for his ongoing treatment.

Jesse Rich, a youth goalie from Sudbury who suits up for the 2008 Northstar Hockey Club and the 2008 South Shore Kings Elite, is raising funds for “Ando Saves” to honor Yoshitaka Ando, the 33-year athletic trainer at Lincoln-Sudbury who died last December of esophageal cancer. As part of his Bar Mitzvah, Rich is gathering pledges for each save he makes from Sept. 15-Dec. 15. “Ando left behind four children, all of whom would like to go to college,” Rich said. “I want to give back to Ando and his family in the same way he gave to my community.” Go to pledgeit.org/ando-saves for more information.

BC High lacrosse standout Carter Rice (3) is committed to Syracuse.
BC High lacrosse standout Carter Rice (3) is committed to Syracuse.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

▪ The following athletes recently announced or formalized their college commitments:

Football: Brenden Dowling, Barnstable (Bentley), Max Wolfgang, North Andover (Bentley).

Lacrosse: Collin Bergstrom, Roxbury Latin (Harvard); Joe Conley, Chelmsford (Merrimack); Reilly DelPonte, Hopkinton (St. Bonaventure); Keegan Palmer, Central Catholic/Pomfret (Quinnipiac); Carter Rice, BC High (Syracuse); Ethan Schena, Methuen (Belmont Abbey).

Track & field: Loeden Rodrigues, Marblehead (UMass).