10 moments to remember from winter sports season
As deadline approaches, a weather forecaster is talking about the track of yet another approaching storm. Really? We’ve all had enough of winter at this point ... unless of course you’re a high school sports fan. Yes, there was plenty of snow and cold, but in places such as Reading, Duxbury, Millis, and Attleboro, they enjoyed every minute. That’s because those communities celebrated state championships and there’s nothing like a trophy to make staying indoors worthwhile. Whether it was a senior capping off a great year (Westford’s Jennifer Marrkand) or a freshman winning his first state title (A-B’s Corben Miles), success found many homes. From Barnstable to Newburyport, it was a season of great accomplishments. The following are 10 moments that stood out.
Another year, another state swimming title for St. John’s Prep. But this one wasn’t without challenges, both for competitors and fans. The Eagles were pushed by a Westford team that won six events at the Division 1 state meet, but still won their ninth straight title. “Every single one has been special and incredible,” said coach Tony Padvaiskas. Even the fans felt the heat this winter with the state championship site forcing ticket restrictions. But the online sale didn’t prevent Prep fans from turning out in force. The team came through with a title, and as for the crowd, let’s just say nobody hits the refresh button like a St. John’s Prep fan.
2: After sport survives close call, Attleboro boys do same
Talk about living on the edge. First boys’ gymnastics had to survive the potential loss of MIAA sponsorship last year and the potential end to their sport. Then, given a reprieve by the Franklin organization in charge of high school sports, Attleboro won the state championship by 0.35 points over Newton North. “This is just unbelievable,” said Attleboro coach Dick Seibert. “I figured this meet was going to come down to tenths.” With depth coming from a state-high 32 gymnasts, the Bombardiers, led by junior Matt DePippo, collected enough points to hold off Newton North and individual state champion Jonathan Wang.
3: Lincoln-Sudbury skiers make it two in a row
Graham Taylor turns 89 in April and the teenagers in the pages to follow should know that even on their best day they have half the energy and passion for life that Lincoln-Sudbury’s longtime ski coach has. Hanging around with state champions will have that effect on you. Taylor combined with coach Rami Alwan to lead a Warrior ski program that has now won back-to-back nordic ski titles. L-S was led by Clara Cousins, who finished fourth at the MIAA state meet. “We were pretty sure we were the favorites going in because everyone was back,” said Taylor. “They were exhuasted but they were also very pleased.”
4: Malden Catholic Invitational has a familiar conclusion
Swimming, skiing, gymnastics ... how about a little hockey? For the fourth straight year Malden Catholic won the Super 8 hockey tournament, skating to a win over a talented Austin Prep team for the second straight year. You want talent? Then look no further than Tyler Sifferlen, MC’s senior captain who was named team MVP after scoring seven goals and adding two assists during his team’s 4-0 Super 8 sweep. “That’s what you expect from great players,” said MC coach John McLean of his UMass-Lowell bound star. “He just loves to play on the big stage.” Seniors like Sifferlen and teammate Nick Rolli didn’t lose a Super 8 game in four years.
5: Coyle & Cassidy star makes tough call
U.S. Army National Guard Sergeant Andrew Bumila deployed for Afghanistan Saturday. If the last name sounds familiar it may be because his younger sister Linsay is a talented basketball player for Coyle & Cassidy. The Warriors had a good team this winter, making it to the Division 3 South final against Archbishop Williams. But Linsay had a conflict that day. Andrew was getting married in Maine — she was a bridesmaid — and the game time of 6 p.m. meant doing both was impossible. Her coach, Mike O’Brien, told her to go. Her brother said stay and play. She listened to her coach. “To me it was no question she made the right decision,” said O’Brien. “She needed to be there.”
6: One giant leap for Marshfield’s DiPietro
It was a great season for some of track’s best. From Hingham’s Andrew Bolze to Hopkinton’s Jessica Scott, runners turned the Reggie Lewis Center into the place to be this winter. But when the All-State meet concluded, the best was yet to come for one athlete. After winning the high jump at the All-States, Marshfield’s Ellen DiPietro won the high jump and the 55-meter hurdles at the New England championships, then took it a hop, step, and a jump further at the New Balance Nationals in New York City. The Michigan State-bound senior cleared 5-10½ to win the national title and All-American honors.
7: New division, no problem for Green Dragons
What do you do when you’ve proven you’re the best in one division for three straight years? The answer is obvious: You try another. This winter three-time Division 2 state hockey champion Duxbury moved up to Division 1 and the result was more of the same, a state title. “I think we answered all of our doubters tonight,” said Duxbury coach Friend Weiler. “The more people said we couldn't do it, the more that energized us.” As always, the Green Dragons success started in net with senior Rachel Myette. In her four appearances on Garden ice, Myette has allowed a Tuukka-like three goals. And in those four years, Duxbury has gone 82-5-9. Any other divisions left?
If Westford is to win a fourth state girls’ swimming title next year, the Grey Ghosts will have their work cut out for them. That’s because a talented group of seniors got credit for bringing home a third straight Division 1 title this winter. “We have a phenomenal senior class,” said Westford coach and former All-Scholastic swimmer Caitlin Klick. “We are really going to miss them next year.” Leading the way was Virginia-bound Jen Marrkand, who broke state records in the 100 back and 200 individual medley. Earlier that day at MIT, Wayland won another Division 2 state title, giving the Dual County League a sweep in girls’ swimming.
9: Nobles girls turn season into winter playground
If you finished 27-1-1 and earned a spot in the championship game you’d think school bragging rights would belong to you. But not at Noble and Greenough. The Nobles girls’ hockey team lost to Westminster in the NEPSAC Division 1 final, their only loss of the year. Impressive, but not as much as the girls’ basketball team, which finished 28-0, giving the Dedham school 65 straight wins and three straight New England Class A titles. “We always say it’s not about the Xs and Os, it’s about how much we love each other,” said coach and athletic director Alex Gallagher. Corny? Maybe, but 65 straight wins is hard to argue with.
21: For Cardinal Spellman, it was all for Joey
As time ran out at the DCU Center there was no question where Cardinal Spellman basketball fans and players got their inspiration. With No. 21 jerseys filling the crowd and patches that read JG21 on player uniforms, Joey Glynn was in everyone’s thoughts. The former Spellman star died last summer playing basketball and his loss provided motivation to a talent-laden team already in the championship discussion. “To get a ring for him is the best feeling,” said senior point guard Ryan Roach, who scored 14 points in the Division 3 title-clinching win over Tyngsboro. “That’s what we’ve been working for this whole year, ever since the day he died.”