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NEW ENGLAND PREPARATORY SCHOOL ATHLETIC COUNCIL
Goaltender Alyssa Naeher, Christian Heritage ’06, Helps Spark U.S. Women to World Cup Title SPONSORED BY SCOREBOARD ENTERPRISES
by Bob York
ection 21; Row 4; Seat 7; Cloud 9: That’s where John Naeher spent much of his time earlier this summer watching his daughter, Alyssa, help lead the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team to the 2019 World Cup championship. The sight of her holding up the cherished World Cup for all the world to see had to be one of those rare pinchme moments for her father, as well as her mother, Donna Lynn, and twin sister, Amanda, who attended the tourney held throughout France. As for the hundreds of fans who showed up for the watch parties in the Christian Heritage School gymnasium back home in Trumbull, Conn., they had to feel pretty good about what they were witnessing, too. Naeher’s performance on the world stage likely elicited memories for many who remember her storied career at Christian Heritage. The level of play she
IN THIS ISSUE Naeher at World Cup | President’s Letter | Treasurer’s Report | From the Archives | In Celebration of Charlie Butts | Fay School Presents | McBride Delivers Address at Williston Northampton | Curry Named Jr. NBA Coach of Year | NEPSAC at U19 Lacrosse Worlds | Project Highlight: New Thayer Sports Center | Flynn at Track & Field Championships | Gatorade Players of the Year | #NEPSAC
exhibited in goal, meanwhile, couldn’t help but rekindle recollections of how her reign of stinginess over NEPSAC opponents was rewarded by a Parade All-American nomination as well as the love she got from Soccer Buzz magazine, which rated her nationally as the No.1 high school goalie in her 2006 graduating class. “We’re all just so happy for her … the hard work and personal sacrifice she and all of her teammates put into just making the team … let alone winning the World Cup … was off the charts,” said a delighted dad, who was his daughter’s soccer coach at CHS as well as her basketball coach, a sport that saw Alyssa and Amanda both score over 2,000 points during their prep school careers. “We’re just so excited for her. “Playing at this level has been a lifetime dream for Alyssa,” added her father. “As a dad, you’re one of very few people who really knows what getting to this point entails and you just hope it turns out to be a great experience.” For Naeher, who was a three-time All-American, All-State and Fairchester Athletic Association All-Conference nominee during her CHS career, the sight of her grasping the World Cup shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. The Bridgeport, Conn., native has met with
Sweet victory for Alyssa Naeher and the US women’s World Cup team. Photo by John Naeher.
success at every level of the sport she has competed on and she came by that success early on.
continued on page 4
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New England Preparatory School Athletic Council President Bob Howe Deerfield Academy Vice-President George Tahan Belmont Hill School Secretary Leslie Guenther Hebron Academy Treasurer Jim Smucker Berwick Academy Directors of Championships Tiz Mulligan Westover School George Tahan Belmont Hill School Jamie Arsenault New Hampton School Director of Classifications Mark Conroy Williston Northampton School Past Presidents Jamie Arsenault New Hampton School Mark Conroy Williston Northampton School Richard Muther St. Paul’s School Middle School Representatives Ryan Frost Cardigan Mountain School Rob Feingold The Fay School District Representatives DISTRICT I
Leslie Guenther Hebron Academy Stefan Jensen Hyde School DISTRICT II
Matt Lawlor Brewster Academy Alexei Sotskov Vermont Academy Ryan Frost Cardigan Mountain School DISTRICT III
Rachel Horn St. George’s School Rob Quinn Berwick Academy Rick Forestiere Thayer Academy DISTRICT IV
Martha Brousseau Greenwich Academy Geoff Barlow Avon Old Farms School Rob Madden Taft School Tauni Butterfield Greens Farms Academy Communications Specialist Laurie Sachs The Rivers School “NEPSAC” and the NEPSAC logo are registered trademarks of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council and may not be used or displayed without permission. New England Preparatory School Athletic Council qualifies as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).
Bob Howe Deerfield Academy
reetings everyone! Already the summer seems like a distant memory having been full throttle for a few short weeks at our schools! By now all our teams are rostered and games are under way. The fall is definitely my favorite season, mostly because of the new energy the start of the school year brings with returning students meeting the new students and forming new friendships on our campuses and within our school teams. At Deerfield we’ve started the year well and already the weeks seem to fly by. By the end of this week all our teams will have had their first games, almost everyone will be in their right places and we can confidently say “the year has begun!” Last Tuesday (Sept. 17) the NEPSAC Executive Board had their first meeting of the year. The meeting agenda was full as we have a lot going on in a league with over 180 member schools. This year we set many goals for what we hope to accomplish. You’ve already had some experience with the new online coaching association dues payment system. Now you can also pay the annual NEPSAC dues online and this fall we hope to add the ability to pay tournament fees online as well. The feedback we’ve received so far is that paying online reduces our inboxes and allows athletic directors to manage the large number of association dues more efficiently. District dues will still be sent to officers of those districts. The coaching association presidents and liaisons are doing great work on our behalf. These individuals spend countless hours helping us to shape
policy, manage differences and help insure that our league competes fairly. I want to thank all of them for their support and for their good work. The NEPSAC Annual Meeting will be held again at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, on Friday, Nov. 15. Details on the meeting will be coming later in October. If you haven’t clicked on to the NEPSAC website recently I recommend you do. Over the last few years more and more information on our league and our schools is making its way there. You can find the information you might be looking for there or read about significant events happening at member schools. Be sure to send Laurie Sachs any story happening at your school that you’d like to share. It can be a former student doing great things at the next level, a coach at your school committing time in the season to community service, or recapping an event speaker at your school and the message that got delivered. The more we post on the website the more we learn about each other and share ideas. This makes us a better league and a stronger association. I wish you the best as we start off the year. Keep stressing to our students and coaches the values of good sportsmanship, fair play, and the importance of being good teammates. I’ve been reading a lot recently on “habits of humility” and how big-time athletics reflects more often the “ME” mentality instead of “WE.” We have a big job to do every day when we arrive at our offices and I believe it’s important that we always keep in mind doing the little things that matter and doing these well.
COMMUNICATIONS NOTE The NEPSAC AD email list is updated throughout the year. Please remember to check for the most recent version before sending an email blast. You will find it in the Athletic Directors section of the NEPSAC website.
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 3
NAEHER PLAYS FOR WORLD CUP TEAM continued from page 1 Naeher got an initial taste of what playing for her country was all about during her CHS days when she was called up to play for the U.S. U-16 and U-17 national soccer teams, which, according to her father, would result in her missing somewhere between 38 to 45 school days of school, “but the school work never disappeared,” he quipped. Naeher’s latest gig with the Red, White and Blue was her sweetest — as well as her best. Through seven World Cup games, she allowed just three goals for a minuscule .043 goals per game average and a hefty .800 save percentage. She chalked up four shutouts, including a 2-0 blanking of The Netherlands in the finale and along the way, became the first U.S. goalkeeper to post three shutouts during the group stage of the tourney. Her stingy stats proved a key component to her team’s success because once the U.S. entered the Knock Out Phase of the tournament; Naeher’s teammates never gave her much wiggle room. Heading down the home stretch, Spain, France
she’s just too good not to have someone coach her and England all fell by the slimmest of 2-1 margins and Naeher had to produce game-saving stops against Spain and France, then needed a spectacular diving save off a penalty kick against England in the 84th minute of a 90-minute semifinal game to ensure a third straight berth in the finals. “I took a couple of deeps breaths and tried to stay focused,” Naeher explained during an interview with Fox Sports following the game. Then, when asked if it was the biggest save of her life, she responded with a smile, “Probably up there, yeah.” “Just to feel my teammates excitement and joy … they have always had my back and I’ve always had theirs,” added Naeher, who was mobbed by her teammates immediately after the save. “To be able to share that moment together and play that out and finish out the game and get to the final was really exciting.” Although this was Naeher’s second World Cup competition and her second World Cup title, it was undoubtedly her most satisfying tournament, as she rode the bench during the 2015 tourney, unable to escape the giant shadow cast by former allworld goalie Hope Solo. In fact, entering the 2019 tourney, Solo and Briana Scurry had combined to start 36 of the last 37 Women’s World Cup games. Heading into this summer’s tournament, Naeher would have had to turn back time more than a decade to resurrect the last world competition in which she was able to contribute to her country’s success. Back in 2008 she won the coveted Golden Glove Award as the outstanding goalkeeper while helping lead the U.S. to the FIFA U-20 World Cup title. Reflecting on both his daughters’ soccer careers, Naeher likes to think that the early exposure both received to numerous sports was one of the main reasons why they have enjoyed so much success.
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“When they were little, say about three or four years old, I was the school AD and boys basketball coach and they’d tag along with me to the gym for practice … they became gym rats,” remembers Naeher. “The boys loved to practice with them and I think all the early positive experience they had in sports really paid off. “I think, by age 11, we began to feel as though the girls were at a different athletic ability level than many of their peers,” added Naeher, “and by age 14, both girls were enrolling in advanced summer camps and both were holding their own.” Despite the one-two punch the Naeher twins brought to the Christian Heritage lineup, which often included Naeher’s secret offensive weapon: Alyssa. Naeher would often bring her out of the goal and insert her into the offense to help Amanda with corner kicks. “We never won any NEPSAC soccer titles,” said their dad. “We won some conference titles, but never any New England tournaments. We did better in basketball, though. During their junior year we made it to the NEPSAC tournament finals, then we won it all their senior year.” According to Naeher, Alyssa’s big break in soccer came at the age of 12 when Paul DelloStritto, a noted Connecticut goaltending coach, first saw her playing in net. He was impressed with her athleticism and offered to train her and the elder Naeher remembers DelloStritto telling him, “’she’s just too good not to have someone coach her.’” In fact, DelloStritto told Caitlin Murray during an interview with The Athletic, “I remember saying to her early on that she could be as good as anybody who ever lived and I really believed that. All she needs is more hours trained and she should be the best. She has all the tools … why wouldn’t she be?” Amanda, meanwhile, found a home at the other end of the field: forward. Today, she is the girls soccer coach at Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High School and ended up forging quite a career on the college soccer field, too. She opted for the Div. III route and played at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa., which has long been a national powerhouse in the sport. During her four years there, she tallied 220 points off 96 goals and 28 assists to help lead the school to four straight Final Four berths in the NCAA Div. III National Women’s Soccer Tournament. Messiah won two of those titles and Amanda was named the National Div. III Player of the Year following both title runs. Alyssa, who was rated as the country’s premier girls soccer goalie coming out of high school, had over 100 top-tier college programs expressing interest in her services. Among those high on her wish list were North Carolina, Duke, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Florida State, with her final choice being Penn State University. Today, a decade following her graduation, they’re still smiling in Happy Valley over the fact that she decided to stop by. During her tour of duty with the Nittany Lions, Naeher chalked up a record of 54-19-5, including 24 shutouts. She also produced an .820 save percentage, stopping 301 of 367 shots. In total, she allowed 66 goals over 75 games for an 0.89 goals against average. Those credentials earned her FirstTeam All-American status as a sophomore, junior and senior as well as being named Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year her sophomore year.
That collegiate resume was obviously instrumental in the Boston Breakers selecting Naeher with the 11th pick of the 2010 National Women’s Soccer League Draft and a selection that ended up paying off big time. In 2014 she played every minute of the Breakers season and was named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year after setting a league record by registering 106 saves in 24 games. In turn, it was her stingy play on the professional level that helped open the door to a roster spot on the 2015 World Cup team. The following season, Boston traded Naeher to the Chicago Red Stars, where on Aug. 18, 2018, she was penciled into a NWSL starting lineup for the 100th time while earning a 2-2 tie against the Portland Thorns. Through three seasons in the Windy City, she has started 71 games, with 20 of them being classified in soccer terminology as “clean sheets” or in layman’s language: shutouts. In fact, during the 2016 campaign, Naeher established a league record for the longest streak without allowing a goal at 485 minutes, which figures out to be just over a five-and-one-half-game stretch. Naeher’s celebrated life between the posts is about to come full cycle, however, as Christian Heritage is planning a homecoming for one this fall as arguably, its most celebrated alum ever is returning to campus. According to John Egan, the Christian Heritage athletic director and girls soccer coach, CHS is planning to honor Naeher sometime in October after her NWSL season ends. “It’s going to be something truly special,” said Egan. “Alyssa’s really elevated the interest in soccer on campus and the kids can’t wait to meet her … she’s become a real hero around here.” This article is sponsored by Scoreboard Enterprises. Scoreboard Enterprises is a Sports Technology Company and exclusive Daktronics dealer in the New England area. We provide, install and service scoreboards, video displays and audio systems designed specifically for athletic facilities. Contact us for more information at www.scoreboardenterprises.com; 274 Fruit Street Mansfield, MA 02048, 508-339-8113.
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»» Fall NEPSAC Championship tournaments: November 13, 16 and 17, 2019 »» Holiday Tournaments: December 20–22, 2019 »» First peg date in January: Saturday, January 11, 2020 (2019 date was January 5) »» Long winter weekend (for most schools): February 7–10 »» Winter NEPSAC Championship tournaments: March 4, 7 and 8, 2020 »» Spring NEPSAC Championship tournaments: May 16–17, 2020
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 5
TREASURER’S REPORT Coaches’ Associations: Reminders and Updates by Jim Smucker, Berwick Academy NEPSAC Treasurer Reminder Dues are available to be paid online (www.nepsac.org):
»» Coaches Association Dues (paid by Oct. 15, 2019) »» NEPSAC Dues (paid by Oct. 15 2019) »» $225 per school Tournament Fees
NEPSAC Calendar SEPTEMBER 2019 17 | Executive Board Bancroft School, 9:15 a.m. 19 | District I meeting Hebron Academy, 10:00 a.m. 19 | District II meeting Holderness School, 9:00 a.m. 23 | District IV meeting Loomis Chaffee, 10:00 a.m.
OCTOBER 2019 1 | District III meeting St. Mark’s School, 12:00 p.m. 8 | Executive Board Bancroft School, 9:15 a.m. 24 | District II meeting Proctor Academy, 9:00 a.m.
Tournament fees to be available for online payment starting this fall. Stay tuned for more details.
12 | District I meeting Hebron Academy, 10:00 a.m.
14 | E xecutive Board Hilton Garden Inn, Worcester, MA, 3:00 p.m.
Please pay for your Directories online (www.nepsac.org) as soon as possible.
Online Payment Account For efficiency and to help with our record keeping, we ask that you only create one online account per school.
Championships Apparel The Coaches’ Associations and NEPSAC will collaborate again to sell apparel items at certain championship venues. NEPSAC will communicate with those selected Associations to begin the process.
15 | ANNUAL MEETING DCU Center, Worcester, MA
JANUARY 2020 7 | Executive Board Bancroft School, 9:15 a.m. 28 | District III meeting St. Mark’s School, 12:00 p.m.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
New Hampton Football, 1903
Coaches’ Associations Banking Transfers Completed: Football, Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Boys Ice Hockey, and Girls Ice Hockey. If you have any questions or need any assistance please reach out to Jim Smucker. Boys and Girls Basketball: NEPSAC anticipates moving forward with transferring both of these accounts to TD Bank during the fall months so that these Associations can comply with NEPSAC’s 501(c)(3) status. Jim Smucker will be in touch with each Association’s President and/or Treasurer to begin the process.
Stay in touch with NEPSAC Phone 978-533-1942 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Mail NEPSAC, 10 Technology Drive, Suite 40 #147, Hudson, MA 01749
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Check out this pocket-sized 1903 football schedule from New Hampton. Now we can keep all this information in apps on our phones! Want to see more archival photos from NEPSAC schools? Check out our archives slideshow, courtesy of Vidigami. Do you have photos to share? Get in touch with Laurie Sachs at email@example.com
OAKWOOD FRIENDS SCHOOL | POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK
In Celebration of Charlie Butts Coach, Colleague, Teacher, Mentor, Friend: 1981 - 2019
e are immensely grateful for the time we were given with Charlie and for all he gave to Oakwood. We are also immensely saddened by his passing on August 10th, due to complications from a planned surgery. It is impossible to quantify the impact Charlie Butts had on our community; as he was our teacher, our dorm parent, our coach, our mentor and our friend. Over the last four decades Charlie called Oakwood home. He shared his warmth, his intelligence, his humor, and his calm demeanor with hundreds and hundreds of students and faculty. Whether it was by delving into the glyph of the Mayans as a senior, arguing the Hammurabi Law code
in front of a panel of peers and faculty as a freshman, learning the true meaning of teamwork in basketball and softball, or perhaps (faculty) throwing the occasional after-work dart or two with him down the road; the entire Oakwood community was elevated by Charlie’s light. We will miss you Charlie. We thank you for what you have given us, and we look forward to carrying on your work. We are holding you, your family, your friends, and the entire Oakwood community in the Light. Thank you Coach. Thank you for everything. Oakwood Friends School will hold a memorial followed by a field dedication for Charlie on Saturday, September 28 at 2:00 p.m. Details to follow.
FAY SCHOOL | SOUTHBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS
Fay School Presents: Ideas and Insights - David Epstein
ay School is delighted to welcome New York Times bestselling author David Epstein on Thursday, September 26. Epstein uses research on the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, and scientists to argue that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see. Epstein makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency and for exploration across domains, showing how people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive in a world where computers now master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans. David Epstein is the author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, and of the top 10 New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, which has been translated into 21 languages. He was previously a science and investigative reporter at ProPublica, and prior to that a senior writer at Sports Illustrated. His writing has been honored by an array of organizations, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, to the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Center on Disability and Journalism, and has been included in the Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. His story “Following the Trail of Broken Hearts,” on sudden cardiac death in athletes, was chosen as one of the top 100 stories of the last 100 years by Columbia Journalism alumni. His TED Talk about performance science and the uses (and misuses) of data has been viewed 7 million times.
Questions? Please contact Erin Sullivan at 508-490-8219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more information and to RSVP. Event Date: Thursday, September 26, 2019 Event Time: 7:00 p.m. Location: Fay School’s Root Meeting Room, located in the Root Academic Building Parking will be available in Harlow Circle (23 Middle Road) and behind Brackett House (31 Main Street). Signs will be on campus to direct visitors.
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 7
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WILLISTON NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL | EASTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS
Bryant McBride ’84 Returns to Address Williston Northampton Convocation by Kate Lawless
tart-up entrepreneur, youth hockey coach, NHL executive, and mostrecently, filmmaker Bryant McBride ’84 was the Williston Northampton School’s 179th Convocation speaker on September 13, 2019. McBride has more than 20 years of experience as an executive, entrepreneur, and investor. In the past 10 years, he has focused on building businesses that link technology, family, and sports. McBride is the CEO and founder of Burst, a technology platform that allows content creators to share mobile video into live television systems without requiring consumers to download an app. He worked to create, grow, and sell four companies: myteam.com, Vision Williston Northampton alumnus Bryant McBride ’84 returned to campus in September Sports and Entertainment Partners, to address the school community. Photo by Doug Levy. Football Scouts Inc., and Sports Technologies Inc. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and leading consumer brands, including M&M Mars, Subway, Dunkin’ organizers of the New York City Marathon. He also serves Donuts, Kraft Foods, Sunkist, Sam’s Club/Walmart, Bank of on the Board of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in America, Choice Hotels, and United Technologies. downtown Boston. In his spare time, McBride is a youth hockey Before that, McBride was the vice president of business coach and he has started and completed 26 marathons. development for the National Hockey League, where he led Read a profile of McBride that ran in the spring 2019 issue the evaluation and creation of new businesses, including of the Bulletin. international broadcasting, rink development, and multiple grassroots fan-base-building initiatives. While at the NHL, he brought on Willie O’Ree, the first black hockey player, to be a diversity ambassador. O’Ree was inducted into the NHL Hall of Check out the NEPSAC Online Fame in 2018. This spring, a documentary McBride produced, store for all of your NEPSAC gear! Willie, premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the largest documentary festival in North America. The Boston Globe review of the film is here. After he graduated from Williston, McBride was elected the first African American class president at The United States Military Academy at West Point where he served as a Cadet from 1984 to 1986. He graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1988 where he also became the first African American to be elected class president and was voted an All-American defenseman for Trinity’s Championship hockey team. In 1990, McBride obtained a master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Outside of work, McBride serves on the boards of directors of the New York City Track and Field Armory and the New York Road Runners Club, the biggest running club in the world and
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Jason Curry, Former Cheshire Standout, Receives Jr. NBA Coach of Year Award SPONSORED BY SCOREBOARD ENTERPRISES
by Bob York
ason Curry is a “King of Queens,” too. Curry was born and raised in the same New York City borough that Kevin James introduced to the world via his television sitcom: “The King of Queens.” In it James portrayed Doug Heffernan, a parcel deliveryman with a smart-aleck personality and a love for food that won him an Emmy. He will likely be remembered forever — thanks to syndication — by this municipality for his impersonation, even though he loaded up his delivery truck one final time on May 14, 2007, and rolled out of town forever. Fortunately for the estimated two-and-a half million people who call Queens their home, about the only thing Curry and Heffernan appear to have had in common was a zip code. Curry prefers playing sports — particularly Big Apple Basketball founder and 2019 National Junior NBA Coach of the Year Jason basketball — rather than watching them. Curry was inducted into Cheshire Academy’s Hall of Fame last spring. Photo courtesy More importantly, however, Curry has no Cheshire Academy. plans of leaving town and that’s good news for the residents of Queens and its surrounding boroughs, because over the past two decades he’s the New York City area who go unnoticed that it’s a privilege to delivered big time for many of them. even be recognized in this capacity.” Curry, a former New England Prep School Athletic Council What convinced the Knicks to sponsor Curry in this basketball standout at Cheshire Academy and later a four-year contest — and the Coaching Alliance to ultimately crown him — was starter at St. Michael’s College, began playing the game on for what Curry described as a “labor of love,” in using his foundation the courts of Queens as a youngster. Now, as far as lessons to annually assist anywhere from 500 to 1,000 student/athletes learned are concerned, he’s paying it forward to student/ between the ages of 7 and 18 with preparation for college athletes following in his footsteps. He began that process athletics and scholarship opportunities. It does so by providing back in 1999 by founding Big Apple Basketball, a non-profit skill development, mentoring, exposure to college coaches, media organization that teaches prospects to use basketball as a tool and the general public that are focused on helping improve their to further their academic and professional careers. educational, athletic, professional and life development abilities. “I’ve always enjoyed playing basketball and helping people Adding to his aura, as well as his electability, was the fact and being in a position to help student/athletes is why I do that since starting BAB two decades ago, Curry has made it what I do,” explained Curry, who has set the bar so high for what his responsibility to personally oversee its daily operations and he does and the way he does it, the Junior NBA and Positive supervise every one of its programs — and they are numerous. Coaching Alliance recently named him its 2019 National Junior They include a High School Challenge, which showcases top NBA Coach of the Year. high school talent; a High School Invitational, a two-day event “It’s a tremendous honor,” said Curry, who was one of 31 showcasing elite high school teams; a Shooting Challenge, candidates representing an NBA or WNBA team as their local which is designed to select top free throw and three-point community’s coach of the year. “I’ve been blessed to have an shooters; Scholarship Games, which are designed to help raise amazing support system of friends and volunteers who have money for college scholarships as well as academic eligibility helped me live my vision and mission of Big Apple Basketball,” seminars, a mentoring program and basketball training. added the BAB boss, who represented the New York Knicks in the voting. “There are so many great coaches and mentors in continued on page 13
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CURRY NAMED JR. NBA COACH OF THE YEAR continued from page 10 Although the vast majority of BAB’s programs are designed for middle and high-school players, Curry’s itinerary manages to keep the adults busy, too. Those would be a Pro Touring Team and a Pro Summer Team, which Curry coaches. The Pro Touring program features former NBA players as well as players from college powerhouses, including 18 alums who participated in this year’s NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Enrollment allows players an opportunity to gain exposure as well as using it as a springboard to other basketball openings. The Pro Summer Team, meanwhile, is designed to give current pro level players a chance to play in elite summer leagues during their off-season, including the Nike Pro City Summer League, which is officially sanctioned by the NBA and has recently entertained league standouts such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in the past. It’s unlikely that immersing himself in a project such as BAB would surprise anyone who knows of Curry’s passion for basketball, nor would they be shocked to hear that during the program’s growing pains, Curry paid for everything – basketballs, uniforms, gyms and staff — out of his own pocket to insure its continued development. “I had no idea when I started out that this would become a full-time occupation for me … but I’m glad that’s the way it’s turned out,” said Curry, who spent the four years prior to starting BAB in broadcasting as a college basketball TV color commentator, analyst and sideline reporter on such networks as CNN, WNBC-TV and WABC-TV. “It’s not only given me the opportunity to help future generations of basketball players learn how to play the game, but to learn how to take advantage of the game and allow it to open doors that otherwise may never have opened.” Turns out, Curry proved to be an ideal orator for discussing what his charges can do for basketball as well as what basketball can do for his charges. During his days at Archbishop Molloy, Forest Hills and Hillcrest high schools in the Queens and LawrenceWoodmere Academy, a private school on Long Island, Curry did plenty on the court to attract the attention of college scouts and coaches. As a standout point guard, he earned both All-Queens and Honorable Mention All-City nominations while averaging 21 points and six assists per game during his career. His exploits in the classroom, however, failed to garner such plaudits. “During high school, I proved to be a much better basketball player than a student,” confessed Curry, “and through Big Apple Basketball I want to stress to the kids that they need to strive to be their best in both areas … because to be truly successful in life, you’re going to need both.” That fact was made crystal clear to Curry during a postgraduate year at Cheshire Academy — and he responded. In the classroom, he graduated with academic honors and earned a scholarship to St. Michael’s College. As for his basketball talents, they continued to rise, as he helped lead the Cats to a QUarterfinal appearance in the NEPSAC tournament. “Attending Cheshire was the best thing that could have
ever happened to me … Cheshire changed my life,” admitted Curry, who was elected this spring into its Athletic Hall of Fame. “When I got to Cheshire, I knew it was my last chance to really make something of myself. I knew that’s what I wanted to do … I just didn’t know how. Fortunately, the teachers and coaches at Cheshire showed me how, then refused to let me fail and for that I will forever be indebted to them.” One of those mentors who helped Curry get his act together was Cheshire basketball coach, Bill Casson, whom he remains close to and who currently coaches basketball and is associate director of admissions at Trinity Pawling School. “I’m proud to know him and I’m proud to say we’re good friends,” said Casson of his former point guard. “Jason’s a special human being … not just anyone could have gotten something like Big Apple Basketball up and running and kept it running the way he has for the past two decades. He’s done an amazing job with it and is truly deserving of this award. “As for his year at Cheshire, Jason came knowing what he had to do to be successful in the classroom as well as on the basketball court and he hit the ground running to achieve
I had no idea when I started out that this would become a fulltime occupation for me
success in both,” added Casson of Curry, who would go on to perform at a level at St. Michael’s that would earn him a spot in its athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. When Casson inferred that Curry “hit the ground running” when he got to Cheshire, he meant it literally, too. Casson, was also the school’s cross-country coach and to insure his players were in shape come basketball season, he encouraged them to compete in cross-country during the fall. Curry obliged, and did quite well. “I won two meets and finished in the top three in five others,” remembered Curry, who would earn team co-MVP honors, “which, considering I’d never run cross country before, I don’t think it was too bad a start.” He may not have run like a rookie, but he certainly looked like one. There was one telltale sign that Curry was more at home dribbling on a basketball court than running through forests and fields. That indication was his footwear. “I ran in my white, hi-top, Converse sneakers,” quipped Curry, “and by the time basketball season rolled around, they were pretty dirty.” This article is sponsored by Scoreboard Enterprises. Scoreboard Enterprises is a Sports Technology Company and exclusive Daktronics dealer in the New England area. We provide, install and service scoreboards, video displays and audio systems designed specifically for athletic facilities. Contact us for more information at www.scoreboardenterprises.com; 274 Fruit Street Mansfield, MA 02048, 508-339-8113.
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 13
NEPSAC Athletes and Coaches Have Role in U19 Women’s Lacrosse World Championships SPONSORED BY SPORTSGRUB
by Bob York
he City of Peterborough is located in the southern portion of Ontario, Canada, 78 miles Northeast of Toronto and 167 miles Southwest of Ottawa. It is situated in a largely recreational region of the province, surrounded by rolling hills, rich farmland and neighboring towns — according to Google Maps — such as Bridgenorth, Pontypool, Bewdley, Buckhorn and Bailiboro. Despite its rural setting, the Federation of International Lacrosse opted to make this city of nearly 80,000 the site of its 2019 U19 Women’s Lacrosse World Championships — and it couldn’t have selected a more appropriate host. During its bygone days, Peterborough earned the nickname “The Electric City,” as it was the first town in Canada to use electric streetlights and when the FIL took over the town during the first 10 days of August, sparks spewed once again. This year’s Quest to be Best attracted 22 countries, which was the tournament’s largest field ever and in the end, the United States prevailed, besting Canada, 13–3, in the championship game. The victory marked the fifth time in seven tries that the Red, White and Blue captured the tourney, which has been held every four years since its inception in 1995. Australia, meanwhile, wound up being the third team to reach the podium, besting England in the Bronze Medal Game, 13–8. Despite an overwhelming international flavor of team rosters, the New England Prep School Athletic Council still managed to play a hand in helping prepare at least four of its rank and file — two coaches and two players — to take part in this international showdown. The coaches were Kelly Amonte Hiller, a former NEPSAC All-Star at Thayer Academy (’92), who is the current women’s lacrosse coach at Northwestern University and the mentor who guided the United States U19 squad to the 2019 World Championship. The other was Catherine Conway, who is the athletic director and girls lacrosse coach at the School of the Holy Child in Rye, N.Y. She is an assistant coach with the Irish Women’s Senior National Team and stopped by the U19 championships, “to do a bit of scouting … to get a look at our future recruits and future opponents.” Another reason why Conway was on hand was to watch, Katherine Forst, one of her players at Holy Child, who was competing for the Irish. Ironically, the last time Conway had seen Forst in action was during last spring’s season opener when she lifted Holy Child to victory via a 10-point — seven goals and three assists — effort. The very next game, however, she suffered a season-ending injury. “From what I saw of her during the tournament, she looked good competing at this level of competition,” said Conway. “She said she felt good too, so we’re hoping for big things from her this spring.”
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Northwestern University coach Kelly Amonte Hiller (Thayer ’92) guided the United States U19 women’s team to the 2019 World Championship tournament. Photo by John Strohsacker/ LaxPhotos.com
Rounding out the NEPSAC quartet was Tiana Vazquez, who graduated from the Storm King School, Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., in May and will compete in lacrosse on the Div. I level at the University of Hartford, where she will major in biochemistry. The STS standout played for Team Puerto Rico, which used this tournament to make its international debut in the sport. “It was exciting to be named coach of this year’s U19 team and it was awesome to achieve the level of success that we did,” said Amonte Hiller, whose own athletic accomplishments were first realized throughout NEPSAC Nation and now, after reaching All-World status in 2005, everybody knows her name. “This was a special group of young women … they were talented athletes who had one goal and that was to win a world championship and they all worked tremendously hard to achieve that goal. I couldn’t be prouder of them or of what they accomplished.” Amonte Hiller’s return to the USA program gave this former Thayer standout, who earned Independent School League AllStar status for four consecutive years in lacrosse, basketball and soccer, an opportunity to finish a feat she was unable to as a player. Amonte Hiller helped the U.S. win World Cup titles in 1997 and 2001, but despite her worldly efforts, the Red, White
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NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 15
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NEPSAC ATHLETES AT LACROSSE U19 WORLDS continued from page 14 and Blue fell in the 2005 finals to Australia. That loss, later coupled with the 2015 setback the U19 team suffered in its finale to Canada, only added to the frustration. “It was very difficult,” explained Amonte Hiller of that loss in 2005. “I knew it was my last experience as a player, so, I felt the pull of getting involved in USA lacrosse again and hoped to help turn things around … only this time as a coach.” Coaching, as Amonte Hiller explained, “is what I do and what I do best,” and she wasn’t just blowing smoke when she made that statement. Her resume is second to none. Through a 17-year stay at Northwestern, Amonte Hiller has chalked up a record of 296–78, nine Big 10 titles, seven NCAA Championships and 16 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. She is a five-time Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Coach of the Year and this year’s Big Ten Coach of the Year and a 2012 inductee into the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame. As for her playing days, those were pretty awesome, too. “I never met a high school athlete with more intensity, dedication, drive and most of all, passion,” said Karen Geromini, who served as Thayer’s athletic director from 1992–2001 as well as the Tigers lacrosse and field hockey coach. “She possessed a passion for competition at the highest level for herself … her teammates … her school. Coaching her was a true highlight of my career. “Another trait that Kelly had that set her apart from her peers was grit. Back in the early 90s, you didn’t hear the word “grit” very much … especially when describing girls sports, but Kelly had plenty of it,” added Geromini, who is now director of operations and auxiliary programs at The Winsor School. Geromini, who owns a pretty impressive athletic resume of her own, played both lacrosse and field hockey at the University of New Hampshire and was a member of the Wildcats’ 1985 lacrosse squad that chalked up the school’s one and only national title when she and her teammates captured the NCAA championship.
Storm King’s Tiana Vazquez fulfilled her dream of introducing lacrosse to Puerto Rico and played for the first PR team at the world tourney.
Geromini’s name also pops up quite frequently in the Wildcat record book, particularly under career (1984–87) milestones where she is second in assists (101) and points (235) and seventh in goals (134). She stands second in assists in a single season (35) and eighth in goals (64). She also owns the fastest time for scoring consecutive goals (:03), which she couldn’t remember accomplishing. During Amonte Hiller’s time with the Terps lacrosse program, she posted a school record 319 points on 187 goals and 132 assists to help lead Maryland to a pair of NCAA championships. In doing so, Amonte Hiller was named a four-time All-American in lacrosse and in soccer as well — and that’s not all. She was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Female Athlete of the Year in 1996 and was selected as the NCAA’s National Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Catherine Conway, who helped coach the Irish Senior Women’s squad to a seventh-place finish during the 2019 European Championship earlier this summer thus qualifying for the 2021 World Championships, has taken School of the Holy Child girls lacrosse a long way in a short period of time. The former Boston College and Team U.S.A. standout took over a sub .500 program just five years ago and has turned it into a successful (52-18) program and a N.Y. Independent School contender. “The kids have really bought into the program … that’s been the big difference,” said Conway, who played at Acton-Boxboro High School in Acton, Mass., and earned a Boston Globe Player of the Year Award for her efforts. “We’ve created a winning culture and it begins in the middle school and that positive outlook sticks with the kids throughout the program.” Following Conway’s time with Team USA, it was her goal to remain involved with the sport she had come to love and so, thanks to her mother, who is a citizen of Ireland, she sought out a job with the Irish National Team. “I Googled the program and saw they had four coaches openings,” said Conway, “so, I showed up for a trial and was offered a position.” That position found her specializing in a rare but yet familiar combination for her of goaltending and draws (face-offs). Plus, she was also named sports information director of the team. Conway’s ability to fill such an unusual job description was due to her career at BC. “It was a bit strange, to say the least,” admitted Conway of a career that saw her spend three-and-a-half seasons playing in goal during which time she was credited with stopping 45 percent of the shots she faced, “while I started as a midfielder and did draws during the first half of my junior season … you just do what your team asks of you.” Katherine Forst is destined to be one of Conway’s building blocks at Holy Child for the next two years, now that she has recovered from the season-ending injury she incurred at the outset of her sophomore campaign. Conway saw Forst was 100 percent back with her own eyes during the U19 festivities as Forst netted a pair of goals and set up another to lead Ireland to a 7-5 win over Chinese Taipei in a final-day battle to determine 19th place in the final standings. “Katherine’s a heady player, she always knows what she’s doing and she always knows what her teammates are doing
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NEPSAC ATHLETES AT LACROSSE U19 WORLDS continued from page 17 when she’s out there,” said Conway. “She’s an accomplished player who makes the people around her better. She’s the type of player you want to build your team around.” Despite her lack of years, Tiana Vazquez wore numerous hats during her five years at Storm King in doing her part in getting the girls lacrosse program up and running. She had a hand in helping recruit her peers, then came to the forefront in helping to teach those recruits the basic fundamentals of the game. “I think the process, although a bit frustrating at times due to a lack of wins, really helped me grow as a person … as a teammate … as a leader,” said Vazquez. “Looking back, I’m proud of how far the Storm King program has come over the last five years.” With that mission accomplished, Vazquez’s quest to earn a roster spot in the U19 World Championships led her to another: to bring the sport of lacrosse to Puerto Rico and connect with her roots while helping to cultivate the game she loves. Although she lives in New York, Vazquez was eligible to compete for Puerto Rico because both sets of her grandparents were citizens of the island, and she, as well as her teammates took full advantage of the situation. Like Vazquez, the entire team was comprised of players of Puerto Rican heritage living in the United States and so all journeyed to the island to promote their game. “We wanted to introduce the game of lacrosse to the island communities that had few recreational opportunities for young girls … especially after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017,” said Vazquez. “We all donated sticks and balls and conducted lacrosse camps for the kids. I think our being there allowed them to forget all the destruction they had
18 | NEPSAC News | Fall 2019
endured for a little while and helped put a smile on their faces.” Puerto Rico was one of nine U19 teams making their first appearance on the international stage this summer, but would have likely received the Rookie of the Year honor had one been handed out. The Islanders surprised everyone by chalking up an 8–0 record in tourney play, as Vazquez came up big, particularly during a game against Haudenosaunee, for which she was named Player of the Match. She earned the honor via a threepoint effort off two goals and an assist. The team’s perfect showing would not be enough to allow it to move on to the tournament’s quarterfinal round, however. This being Puerto Rico’s first year of competition in this tourney, the team was categorized as an associate member of World Lacrosse and only full members are allowed to advance further in the tournament. “It was a discouraging way for us to conclude the tournament,” continued Vazquez, “but everyone of us is truly delighted with the way we competed and I’m sure future generations of lacrosse players back in Puerto Rico are extremely proud of what we accomplished and will want to continue what we started. “After all,” added Vazquez, “the main mission of our organization was to introduce the sport of lacrosse to the youth of Puerto Rico and in having the opportunity to play for this team, I had the opportunity to give back to the island while connecting with the people and the place I am from ... that’s the most important part as far as I’m concerned.” This article sponsored by SportsGrub. SportsGrub provides athletic teams with nutritional meals delivered directly to their event. We provide a diverse menu that athletes can order from directly in our app. Don’t just play to win, plan to win with healthy and delicious meals from SportsGrub. Contact us for more information at www.sportsgrub.com
THAYER ACADEMY | BRAINTREE, MASSACHUSETTS
project highlight: New Thayer Sports Center Now Open
SG Associates (Edge Sports Group) and Thayer Academy announce that the new Thayer Sports Center is officially open. The new, boutique 90,000 square-foot sports complex houses two sheets of ice and a state-of-the-art removable turf field atop basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and tennis courts on Thayer Academy’s South Athletic Campus. It will serve as home to the Thayer Tigers and East Coast Militia hockey. It will also be available for use by local youth sports organizations. A centerpiece of the new sports center is the Arthur T. Valicenti Rink, the first on-campus home rink in Thayer’s history. The name honors the legacy of Arthur Valicenti, Class of 1951, the founder of the Academy’s hockey program and its longtime boys hockey coach. “We are very pleased to have worked with the ESG Associates to bring online a versatile athletic complex that complements our commitment to nurture well-rounded young people by providing them with top-tier academic, artistic, and academic programs housed in the very best facilities,” said Ted Koskores, Head of School at Thayer Academy. “Thayer’s new fieldhouse is a best-in-class facility that will provide a full spectrum of athletic offerings to Braintree,” said Brian DeVellis, President of ESG Associates. “We’re excited about the benefits this new facility will bring to the community and youth sports organizations across the South Shore.” ESG Associates, a leader in the design, development, and operation of public and private recreational facilities, managed the construction of the facility under a long-term ground lease and will manage daily operations.
The Arthur T. Valicenti Rink at the Thayer Sports Center. (Thayer Academy photos by John F. Grant)
About ESG Associates (EDGE Sports Group) ESG Associates Inc. is a leader in the design, development and operations of public and private recreational facilities. The company brings over 25 years of private and public recreational design experience and offers the full gamut of strategic and operational services. ESG helps clients navigate public processes at the local, state and federal levels; works with private capital and conventional lenders to obtain financing; and establishes the programming and operational framework required to sustain the model. Services include: assessment, feasibility and market studies; design, permit and construction management; programming and operations.
About Thayer Academy Founded in 1877, Thayer Academy is an independent co-ed day school in Braintree for grades 5-12. Thayer students thrive in an environment distinguished by the challenges of rigorous academics and diverse extracurricular activities within a supportive and vibrant community. Classes are small, designed to foster intellectual and personal growth. Because of the way days are scheduled, students don’t need to choose at Thayer —they can be performers, artists, athletes, and curious and engaged students. Easily accessible from public transportation and bus routes from Boston, Metrowest, and the South Shore, Thayer draws from 76 communities.
Members of Thayer Academy’s girls varsity hockey team enjoy a first skate on their new home ice. Seniors from left are: Stefanie Joe, Hannah Pauly , Rivers Morris, and Meghan Webb.
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 19
HEBRON ACADEMY | HEBRON, MAINE
Hebron’s Flynn Dominates at USATF-Maine Youth Track & Field Championships by Andrea Savignano
ebron Academy is pleased to share that Jenni Flynn, Middle School student and athlete, had a stellar performance at the USATF-Maine Youth Track & Field Championships on August 10, 2019 by winning two individual state championships. Jenni placed first in the 100-meter dash (time of 13.3), first in the 200-meter dash (time of 27.7). Jenni also placed third in the girls shot put (with a mark of 22-10). Jenni competed as a member of the Panther Track Club, a summer track club for kids ages 5–14, located in Poland, ME. During the academic year, Jenni is a member of the Hebron Academy Middle School Track team. Jenni also competed in July at the USATF Junior Olympics Regional Qualifiers in Long Island. Jenni placed 5th in the long jump, 5th in the 100 meter, and 3rd in the 200 meter events. She qualified for the national meet in Sacramento California in all three events. HAMS Track Coach Steve Pelletier says, “the Hebron Academy Community should be extremely proud of Jenni and her accomplishments this summer! Jenni recorded some of the fastest times in the state this past spring running for the HAMS Track & Field Team in the 100m and 200m sprints. She ran virtually unchallenged during the season and I was not
Hebron Academy’s Jenni Flynn is a powerhouse, and she’s only in Middle School!
all surprised how well she did in the USTAF Region 1 Junior Olympic Championships in July.” We are proud of Jenni’s athletic accomplishments and look to seeing more from her in the future!
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11 NEPSAC Athletes Receive Gatorade Player of the Year Honors SPONSORED BY SCOREBOARD ENTERPRISES
by Bob York
he votes are in … the ballots counted … the envelopes opened … the winners announced. Now, all that remains is to applaud the 2018–19 Gatorade State High School Players of the Year, or as we like to interject in this neck of the woods: the Gatorade State High School (and/or Prep School) Players of the Year. This past school year, 11 student/athletes representing New England Prep School Athletic Council schools finished atop the polling in 12 sports. Gatorade established this award in 1985 to recognize the nation’s most elite high school-age student/athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. In each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Gatorade selects a player of the year in the following sports:
football, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball as well as boys and girls track. Breaking down the NEPSAC winners sport by sport, boys basketball and boys soccer collected three winners each, while girls basketball registered a pair of chart toppers. Football, boys cross-country, girls cross-country and girls track posted one winner each. As for the schools themselves, Loomis Chaffee School (boys cross country and boys soccer), St. George’s School (boys and girls basketball) and The Marianapolis Preparatory School (girls cross country and girls track) all rang up two winners each.
Girls Cross Country and Track Sydney Masciarelli put a face on the phrase “sophomore sensation” this past school year by capturing two Gatorade Awards. She began her 10-month trek in September when she bested all comers all season long to be named Connecticut’s premier girls cross-country runner. It concluded in June, when she was summoned to the podium one final time, this time to be acknowledged as the state’s best girls track athlete. Similar to the impeccable game plan she used in cross-country, Masciarelli taped a “Follow Me” sign on her backside and that’s exactly what her competitors did: they followed her. During the New
continued on page 22
Marianapolis Prep’s Sydney Masciarelli notched awards in cross country and track.
NEPSAC News | Fall 2019 | 21
GATORADE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR continued from page 21 Balance Nationals this spring, she captured the two-mile run in a time of 10:11.99, and the 5,000-meter run in 16:16.20. The 5-10 speedster prepped for the National showdown by sweeping her three events at the Div. III New England Prep School Girls Track Association Championship Meet — for the second consecutive year — by capturing the 800-, 1,500- and 3,000-meter races. She prevailed in the 3,000-meter race in a time of 9:21.44, which, along with her clocking of 16:16.20 in the New Balance 5,000-meter race, proved to be the fastest times recorded this spring on the national high school stage. “Sydney is a hard working student, compassionate community member and an outstanding athlete in three sports … cross country, basketball and track and field,” said Marianapolis track coach Dave DiCicco. “In each she brings focus, a positive attitude and an incredible work ethic. She is always looking to learn and grow as an athlete and knows hard work is critical to realizing her goals. “She has earned incredible success this year … as the Foot Locker National Champion in the fall and the New
Balance National Outdoor champion in the 5,000-meter and the two-mile run in June … and yet remains humble when it comes to her own talents,” added DiCicco. “As aptly noted by Emily Gaudet, our cross country coach and distance coach in track and field, we all want running to remain fun for Sydney and to make sure she stays healthy. We will take her racing career one race at a time and would like to continue to see her compete at a national level.” As successful as Masciarelli’s track season proved to be, her crosscountry exploits refused to take a backseat in the achievement category. Following an undefeated regular-season performance, she kicked up her heels during postseason action and, as usual, led the way. She captured the New England Prep School Div. IV championship in a time of 17:51, and that got the juices flowing. Next on her to-do list was the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championships, which she won in 17:12.6, she then captured the Foot Locker National Meet by hitting the tape over the 3.1-mile course in 17:00.3. The time proved to be the 10th fastest time by a girl in the 34 years the meet has been held in San Diego. “That was the closest finish I’ve ever been a part of … I was so nervous
Aliya Boston of Worcester Academy took home her third consecutive award in girls basketball.
22 | NEPSAC News | Fall 2019
as I watched her head down the home stretch and toward the finish line,” said Gaudet, in describing the stretch run that saw Masciarelli prevail on the National stage by a mere .7 seconds. “It was truly thrilling … something I’ll never forget and I doubt Sydney will either.” In the classroom, Masciarelli, who was the leading scorer on the Golden Knights girls basketball team, will enter her junior year owning a 3.51 GPA, and when’s she’s not competing or studying, she’s busy lending a helping hand around town. She volunteers locally on behalf of a food pantry, spends her summers as an instructor at youth basketball camps and during Christmas break, helps out with the U.S. Marine Corp Toys For Tots Fund.
Girls Basketball Aliyah Boston of Worcester Academy can’t say she has won two Gatorade Awards in the same year like Masciarelli has, but she can say she has won the last three straight when it comes to voting for the best girls basketball player in Massachusetts. In fact, her streak marks only the second time the same Massachusetts player has won three consecutive girls basketball awards. The first was Katie Benzan of Noble & Greenough, who won from 2014 through 2016. During Boston’s four-year stay at Worcester, the school captured the last two Class AA NEPSAC championships and posted an 84-10 record along the way. That showing was due in large part to the University of South Carolina-bound Boston, as the 6-5 center, and the No. 2 college recruit in the country, did it all for the Rams. She closed with a hefty 17.3 points per game average to become the school’s top scorer in its hoop history with 1,795 points. She also hauled in 11,070 rebounds over that four-year span, while handing out an average of 10.5 assists, 3.2 blocked shots and 1.8 steals per game and thus, this past spring, became the first girl to ever represent a NEPSAC school as a participant in the McDonald’s
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GATORADE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR continued from page 22 All-America Games. Boston, who hails from the Virgin Islands, but who lived in Worcester with her aunt, turned her aunt’s home into a basketball shrine. The shelves in the living room became a home for plaques and trophies. Front-and-center were the three Gatorade Awards, as well as a pair of NEPSAC Class AA MVP trophies she earned during the two title runs. When Boston wasn’t playing ball for Worcester, she was playing for USA Basketball, where she helped lead the USA to a Gold Medal at the2018 Youth Olympic Games as well as the 2018 International Basketball Federation U-17 World Cup, where she earned a berth on the all-tourney team, and the 2017 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship, where she was named tourney MVP. “The first time I saw Aliyah playing basketball was in middle school” said Sherry Levin, the Worcester hoop coach, “and I knew right then and there that if she came to Worcester, I’d have to make her my focal point. Even as an eighthgrader, she could do it all … shoot, pass, rebound, block shots, run the court. “Aliyah is dedicated to getting better and finding athletes with that kind of commitment is hard to do in this day and age,” added Levin. “It was easy to see she had all the tools to make it to the next level and way back at the beginning of her freshman season I told her, ‘I’ll show you how to get there, but you have to do the work.’ Well, she’s done the work and four years later, she’s still getting better and better.” Boston, who maintained a B average in the classroom, donated her time locally as a student ambassador for her school and as a youth basketball coach in Worcester. The only other NEPSAC girls basketball player to earn a Gatorade Award was Leiya Stuart of St. George’s School of Rhode Island. During her junior season, Stuart, a 5-10 guard averaged 20.8 points per game, while hauling down 6.2 rebounds, handing out 2.9 rebounds, posting 2.2 steals and
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1.0 blocked shot every time she suited up for the Dragons. The two-time All-NEPSAC Class B AllStar earned back-to-back nominations as a First-Team member of the AllIndependent School League All-Star Team. She earned her latest all-star berth for her efforts this winter that saw her help St. George’s (14-8) make it to the quarterfinal round of the NEPSAC Class B Tournament. “Leiya was asked to do many things on the court and she excelled at all of them,” said Bill O’Dwyer, coach of archrival Thayer Academy. “She is dangerous and has had a big impact on her team’s success.” Away from the court, Stuart has maintained an A- average in her studies and volunteers locally as part of community beautification projects as well as a councilor at St. George’s Summer Camp.
Boys Soccer The Gatorade Award in boys soccer proved to be a popular piece of hardware for NEPSAC to garner this school year, as three players — Ousseni Bouda of Millbrook School, Mike Suski of Loomis Chaffee and Jacob Shaffelburg of Berkshire School — all won for a second straight year. Bouda, one of the most heralded high school soccer players to ever come out of the Northeast, was voted the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year following his junior season after the 5-11, 165-pound forward chalked up 49 goals and four assists to lead his Mustangs to the NEPSAC Class C finals last year. This fall, Bouda, who will be paying soccer at Stanford University in the fall, got his team over the hump. He posted 73 points on 61 goals and 12 assists and ran his two-year total to 126 points on 110 goals and 16 helpers to lead the Mustangs (15-4) all the way to the Class C championship. “Ousseni is the most natural and prolific goal-scorer I’ve seen at his age,” said Dan Simpson, the head soccer coach at Brunswick School. “As a forward, he has everything: strength, power, pace,
first touch. He’s selfish at the right times and a good teammate at others. To say he’s one of the finest players I’ve seen in 25 years of coaching in the U.S. is an understatement.” In addition to maintaining a B-plus average in the classroom, Bouda is also a pretty busy guy around school. He has served as an advisor for international students at Millbrook and has collected used sports equipment for the children of his country of origin, Burkino Faso. At the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, he served as a dorm prefect, one of eight students selected by the faculty. He also serves as a student ambassador at Millbrook for both prospective students and alumni. Shaffelburg, who recently signed a professional contract with Toronto of Major League Soccer, will obviously be missed by Berkshire — but not by its opponents. Last fall, Shaffelburg proved to be the go-to guy once again for the Bears as his 16 goals and 14 assists led them to the NEPSAC Class A Tournament title with a 3-1 win over Worcester. While priming for a professional career, Shaffelburg finished his four-year stay in the Berkshires by surpassing the century mark in scoring with 105 points on 66 goals and 39 assists. Over the past two years, the Bruins, who went 19-0-0 during their title trek, were 38-1-1 and made the title tilt both years. “Jacob’s pace is outstanding, making him difficult to defend,” said Ozzie Parente, the head coach at Taft School. “He also has great technique with the ball at his feet and is extremely dangerous running at players. He can create for himself, but he’s not selfish.” Shaffelburg, who owned a B average in the classroom, spent his time at Berkshire volunteering as a youth soccer coach. As for Suski, the soccer abilities he exhibited at Loomis Chaffee over the past four years earned him a scholarship to kick up his heels at Boston College for the next four years. He was the guy the Pelicans have come to look to over the years as he concluded
his time there with a school record 127 points on 82 goals and 45 assists, including 22 goals and 11 assists his senior campaign. The three-time First Team All-State selection participated in the High School All-American Game in Orlando following a 15-3-2 season that saw the Pelicans unable to defend their NEPSAC Class A crown when they were bumped in the semifinal round. “The Loomis attack was centered around Suski,” said Charlie Fuentes, the head coach at Choate. “He could quickly turn things on and score a goal. “His skill on the ball and ability to keep the ball close to his feet while running at speed made him dangerous from any part of the field.” Suski maintained a B-plus average in the classroom and volunteered at an eldercare facility and donated his time to the Special Olympics as well as multiple community service initiatives through his church.
Boys Basketball Boys basketball was another sport that picked up a trifecta, as Chris Ledlum of Northfield Mount Hermon School (Mass.), Tyler Kolek of St. George’s School (R.I.) and Tre Mitchell of Woodstock Academy (Conn.) led the balloting in their respective states.
Ledlum, a 6-7, 230-pound senior forward sparked NMH to a 32-6 record as well as the NEPSAC class AAA Tournament crown by averaging 25.4 points per game, as well as 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals. The transfer from St. Peter’s High School in New York City also set Hogger records for points in a game with 51, and points in a season with 939. “Chris is the most impactful player I have seen during my time at Cushing Academy,” said Jim Cormier, the Penguins head basketball coach. “He takes over games on a consistent basis against some of the best schools in the country.” The Harvard-bound grad maintained an A-minus average in the classroom and volunteered at NMH’s Bolger Center for Early Childhood Education as a youth basketball coach. Kolek, a 6-2, 180-pound junior guard, chalked up some pretty impressive hardware after helping St. George’s to a 16-9 record and a trip to the NEPSAC Class B Tournament quarterfinals. The transfer from Cumberland High School, where he earned an All-State selection as a sophomore, didn’t miss a step with
the Dragons as he was voted the Independent School League MVP as well as a NEPSAC Class B All-Star. “Tyler Kolek is a stud,” said Lamar Reddicks, the head coach at Milton Academy. “He can score at all three levels. He is a very dangerous shooter with an extremely quick release. The bigger the game … the better he played.” While maintaining a B average in the classroom, Kolek volunteered with the local Boys and Girls Club as a youth basketball coach. It wasn’t hard to find Tre Mitchell on the basketball court this past winter, as the 6-9, 235-pound senior center stood out in the crowd. It was hard to stop him, however, as the Centaurs’ big guy, who was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 72 recruit in the Class of 2019 poured in an average of 16.6 points per game, as well as 13.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 blocked shots. Although he remains undecided as far as a collegiate destination is concerned, you know the two-time Power 5 Conference AAA Player of the Year and two-time Hoophall Classic MVP has plenty of options available. “Tre Mitchell is an excellent basketball player,” said Tristan Wilchcombe, the head coach at Redemption Christian Academy. “He’s got soft hands and a good touch, and he can play the oldschool game, with his back to the basket. He’s very consistent on the court and he’s a very smart kid.” Mitchell maintained an A average in the classroom and volunteered for the YMCA and for climate change initiatives.
Football NEPSAC’s lone gridiron representative proved to be Cornelius Johnson from Connecticut’s Brunswick School. The 6-3, 198-pound wide receiver latched onto 50 passes last fall for 826 yards and a dozen touchdowns as he helped lead the Bruins (8-2) to a berth in a NEPSAC Super Bowl game. Overall, he finished his prep career with All-New England nominee Cornelius Johnson, of Brunswick School, picked up a Gatorade award in football.
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GATORADE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR continued from page 25 33 touchdowns and 2,167 receiving yards. Although Johnson has yet to make a decision on where he will be playing collegiately, he’s got plenty of suitors. He is a two-time All-New England nominee and participated in the U.S. Army AllAmerican Bowl, where he scored two touchdowns, one on a pass and another on kickoff. “Cory is an outstanding player with good speed, fantastic body control and elite hands,” said Chris Phelps, the head football coach at Salisbury School. “I believe it’s safe to say that everyone’s game plan centered around controlling Cory.” In the classroom, Johnson maintained a B average and he volunteered as a board member with Jack and Jill of America, which focuses on developing leadership and community service among African American youth.
Boys Cross Country Matt Farrell of Loomis Chaffee was Connecticut’s premier boys’ cross country runner according to the Gatorade balloting, as the 5-10, 120-pound junior raced to the New England Track Association
Cross Country Championship last fall in a time of 15:42. He later finished eighth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Championship, then placed 23rd at the Foot Locker National Meet. He also paved the way at the Founders League Championships and at the Canterbury Invitational. “Matt has been the fastest runner in our program since he arrived as a freshman,” said Loomis coach Sally Knight. “He gives meticulous attention to every aspect of his training and racing. His self-discipline and commitment to his goals extends well beyond those of his peers.” Farrell maintains a B average in the classroom and as a devoted member of the church community, has volunteered on behalf of the Special Olympics.
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Dempsey Arsenault, New Hampton School
2018–2019 NEPSAC | GATORADE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR AT A GLANCE GIRLS Cross Country Basketball Track & Field BOYS Cross Country Football Soccer
Sydney Masciarelli Aliyah Boston Leiya Stuart Sydney Masciarelli
Marianapolis Preparatory School Worcester Academy St. George’s School Marianapolis Preparatory School
Matt Farrell Cornelius Johnson Ouseni Bouda Mike Suski Jacob Shaffelburg Chris Ledlum Tyler Kolek Tre Mitchell
Loomis Chaffee School Brunswick School Millbrook School Loomis Chaffee School Berkshire School Northfield Mount Hermon St. George’s School Woodstock Academy
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Rob Moore and Tyler Beede, Lawrence Academy
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