For most of their lives, Noble & Greenough’s Hayden Cheek and Nick Loring have followed the lead of their most immediate role models .
Nick’s older brother, George Loring, as well as Hayden’s older brothers, Morgan and Watson , all starred at Nobles before playing lacrosse at Harvard University.
Now cocaptains of the Nobles lacrosse team, Loring and Cheek accomplished what their older brothers never did, clinching a share of the Independent School League title Friday with an 18-6 win at Milton Academy, the school’s first championship since 2005.
“They might be a little jealous,” said Cheek, who surpassed Morgan as the all-time points leader at Nobles with three goals and two assists at Rivers Wednesday.
The Wellesley native also led the ISL with 111 points this spring, setting a single-season Nobles record.
Of course, both players recognized that their brothers helped set the stage for Nobles’ glorious season.
When Cheek and Loring were underclassmen, George and Watson were the senior captains, guiding them through the rigors of ISL play after teaching them the basics of the game in backyard sessions throughout their youth.
“They really led the way for us,” Loring said of his and Hayden’s older brothers.
“We’ve been playing in the backyard for years and we learned so much from them in terms of in-game adjustments and leadership. They’re some of the best captains we’ve ever had and it was really nice to have those role models.”
That relationship will continue next year when Loring and Cheek join their brothers at Harvard.
Loring, of Dedham, originally committed to Princeton as a freshman, but decided his sophomore year that he wanted to stay closer to home.
Cheek is a triple legacy and always had his sights set on Harvard, verbally committing the summer before his sophomore year.
“It’s really important, being third generation there,” said Cheek. “I don’t want to let [the family] legacy [to] be forgotten, and I want to make my own legacy.”
At Nobles, Cheek and Loring have led a senior class that honored more than just their families or school this season.
This past fall, former Nobles goalie McCrae Williams passed away while attending Lafayette College, sending shockwaves throughout the lacrosse community.
Cheek and Loring were amongst Williams’ former teammates who lent their support by paying visits to his family in Weston. The tragedy served to unify Nobles’ lacrosse team and give it a sense of purpose on the field.
“Given the circumstances of this fall, our senior class has gotten really close,” said Loring. “We were playing for more than an ISL championship. We realized that any game could be our last, so we really cherished that time on the field with each other.”
On May 9, Loring scored three goals to help Nobles defeat Belmont Hill (12-9) for the first time in six years. Cheek and Boston University commit Jett Dziama added four goals.
Two weeks later, Cheek scored three goals with three assists and Loring netted a game-high four goals to help Nobles hand Governor’s Academy its only ISL loss of the season, paving the way for a tie atop the standings.
Nobles (16-4, 14-1 ISL) finished the season on a 14-game winning streak after losing to 2017 ISL co-champion St. Sebastian’s in the first McCrae Williams Memorial Game April 6.
“After the Sebs game, we sort of let it sit as a coaching staff,” said Nobles coach Matt Rowley , referring to his team’s season-long objective to honor Williams. “It’s a sensitive thing to talk about. I think it’s been prevalent the whole way without it being necessarily something we speak about. When we do talk about it, it has a lot of meaning for us.
“But we remind the kids that this is no Disney movie, you can’t write a script for this. You have to go out and make it happen.”
And they did just that.
Three sophomores stepped up in goalie Dan Donahue , faceoff specialist John Dixon and attack Oliver Bernstein . Long poles Sam Montgomery , Andrew Johnson , junior attack Will Zink and Dziama were also integral parts of the Bulldogs’ success.
At the center of it all were Nobles’ senior captains, and Loring and Cheek hope that they can continue their success at the next level
“The opportunity to play together at [Harvard] makes us want to work harder at our games,” said Loring. “We’ve built a lot of chemistry and we’re hoping this season is something we can build off of for years to come.”
■ Seedings for the 2018 MIAA tournament will be announced Friday morning with pairings being released by noon Saturday. The sectional finals are scheduled for June 15-16, the state semifinals from June 18-19 and the state finals for June 23 at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
■ Hingham’s John Todd was named National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Todd has guided Hingham to an 18-1 season in the program’s first Division 1 campaign.
■ Westwood defeated Medfield, 9-8, on Monday evening for the first time in program history. The Wolverines will share the Tri-Valley League title with the Warriors after both teams finish 9-2 against conference foes.
■ Bishop Guertin (Nashua, N.H.) wrapped a perfect regular season Friday, finishing at 18-0 with wins over Massachusetts powers Duxbury, Xaverian, BC High, Reading and Needham. Guertin has won seven of the last eight D1 state championships in New Hampshire. Senior long pole and Siena commit Ryan Flynn hails from Bedford, Mass.
■ Two games suspended while in progress over the past couple weeks will be finalized this Wednesday: At Xaverian, the Hawks trailed Billerica, 7-6, with 5:17 remaining when lightning forced a postponement. The game will resume at 5 p.m. this Wednesday; Wayland and Concord-Carlisle will resume a suspended game Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Concord’s Memorial Stadium with the Patriots leading, 5-4, early in the third quarter.
Players of the Week:
Liam Burke, Central Catholic – The Saint Anselm-bound senior tallied his 100th point by scoring three goals with an assist in an 11-5 win over Lowell Wednesday.
John Dixon, Noble & Greenough – While senior Hayden Cheek grabbed headlines for breaking the all-time points record for Nobles Wednesday, the Bulldogs’ dramatic comeback win at Rivers may not have been possible without a sterling effort from their sophomore faceoff ace.
Peter Raei, Westwood – A midfielder throughout his high school career, the senior was thrust into net Monday with junior starting goalie C.J. Adourian injured. Raei made several key saves to help his team defeat Medfield for the first time in program history.
Brendan Fennell, Melrose – The sophomore scored three goals and assisted on two more to help his Red Raiders in an 11-5 win over visiting Hamilton-Wenham Wednesday.
Maverick Woods, BC High – The senior netted a team-high five goals in a 13-4 win over Cohasset Wednesday, then tallied two goals and two assists in the first half of an 18-4 win over Malden Catholic Saturday.
Games to Watch:
Tuesday, Newton North at Needham, 4 p.m. – These Bay State Conference rivals face off Tuesday after their initial matchup was postponed.
Tuesday, Winchester at Lincoln-Sudbury, 6 p.m. – Having lost three of their last four, the defending D1 state champion Warriors are unusually vulnerable. The Sachems will look to exploit any weaknesses in this tough road test.
Wednesday, Hingham at North Andover, 5 p.m. – The ninth annual Coaches Challenge Cup was delayed due to weather, moving this tournament final to the last Wednesday of the regular season.
Wednesday, Cohasset at Marshfield, 7 p.m. – These old rivals tangle one more time as the Skippers hope to tune up their skills before entering the D3 state tournament as a potential title contender.
Thursday, Bridgewater-Raynham at Walpole, 3:30 p.m. – The one-loss Trojans have been rolling through their competition, but how will B-R fare against the Rebels’ elite defense?Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.