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Kendall Coyne Schofield, Berkshire ’11


by Bob York


endall Coyne Schofield, a former standout at Berkshire School, became the first woman ever to take part in the National Hockey League’s Skills Competition prior to this year’s NHL All-Star Game. The former New England Prep School Athletic Council Player of the Year (2011) and two-time U.S. Olympic Team member (2014 and 2018) made the quantum leap by a foot — Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon’s bruised foot. With MacKinnon sidelined after being hit by a shot during a game against the Minnesota Wild just prior to the AllStar festivities, his team sent out a tweet that said: “Nate’s here in San Jose, but has someone else in mind to compete for Fastest Skater. Kendall Coyne, what do you think?” When informed of the sudden turn of events and her opportunity to become the first woman to take part in the NHL’s skills competition, Coyne Schofield

IN THIS ISSUE First Woman in NHL Skills Competition | President’s Letter | Classification FAQ | Calendar | Treasurer’s Note | From the Archives | Focus on Concussion | Hall of Fame | Coach of the Year | Coaching Milestones | King School Goes to China

Kendall Coyne Schofield (#26), Berkshire ’11, is the first woman to participate in the NHL skills competition. Photo courtesy IIHF/Images on Ice.

tweeted, “It would be my honor, I’ll get to the rink as fast as I can,” … and once she got to the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., she went even faster. “Obviously, I was a little nervous,” Coyne Schofield told reporters following the event, “but I knew it was a moment that was going to break a lot of barriers and a moment that would change the perception of our game.” The member of the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Women’s National Hockey League didn’t show that nervousness, however, as she took one lap around the rink in a time of 14.346. The clocking placed her seventh out of eight competitors, but was still quick enough to put her within one second of Connor McDavid’s winning time of 13.378, who would later tweet: “When she took off, I was like ‘Wow,” I thought she won the event the way she was moving.”

The way she moved around the rink may have left McDavid in somewhat of a sense of astonishment, but it certainly didn’t come as any shock to Sylvia Gappa, Coyne Schofield’s former coach at Berkshire School. “I wasn’t surprised that Kendall was invited to take part in the competition, nor was I surprised at how well she did,” said Gappa, who coached Coyne Schofield during a postgraduate season (2010–11) at Berkshire. “She’s the fastest woman I’ve ever seen on ice and even when she was here, fans use to turn out in droves to watch her play … she’s just an incredible athlete. “Believe me, the NHL knew exactly what it was doing when it issued her that invitation,” added Gappa “As the first woman to ever take part in the

continued on page 5

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508-339-8113 2 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019

President’s Letter


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 John Mackay St. George’s 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

Rick Eccleston Holderness School Matt Lawlor Brewster Academy Ryan Frost Cardigan Mountain School DISTRICT III

Brook Sumner Landmark School 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


arch break is here! I hope you have a little well-deserved time off to get you ready for the final sprint to graduation day. It will be here before you know it. It’s always important to keep this in mind while we deal with snow and rain in the month of April. Best wishes on all that anticipated planning and negotiating!

I thought we had a great winter as a league of schools! Congratulations to all of you who had teams participating at the New England Championship Tournaments. Here is a fun fact for us all and proof that we have great balance within the league we call NEPSAC. By my rough estimates there are 38 opportunities for schools to win a New England Championship title in the winter season, and this year we had 33 schools lay claim to a title either in their class size or division. Only 5 schools won two titles: Kent (girls Div. 1 hockey and boys large school division hockey), Greenwich Academy (Division 1 squash and swimming), New York Military Academy (boys basketball class D, and girls basketball class E), Dublin School (girls and boys Div. 1 Nordic), and Phillips Andover (boys class A squash, boys Div.1 swimming). We had 17 NEPSAC sponsored livestreamed championship games this season. Livestreaming is becoming more and more of a communications staple at our schools. Here are some more interesting statistics that show this growing trend; the number of games livestreamed at the girls and boys NEPSAC basketball and hockey tournaments are as follows: girls basketball had 21 of 38 total games livestreamed, boys basketball had 22 of 37 games, girls hockey had 8 of 14 games and boys hockey livestreamed 16 of their 21 playoff games. This is very different from just a few years ago. There are just a couple of messages I wish to pass along to you at this particular time as we head into the spring. The first item is that I would

like your help in monitoring how the NEPSAC brand gets used. Frequently we are coming across publications that are using the NEPSAC name when they shouldn’t be. If you come across any publications that you suspect might be in the wrong on this please let us know about it. Also, sometimes we see league championships get announced as NEPSAC champions, or all-star selections mistakenly being misnamed. The spring, because of graduations and it being a shortened season, has fewer NEPSAC championship opportunities and I’m asking all of us to be mindful how we might label our end-of-theseason league winners. My second point I’d like to share with you in this publication is the NEPSAC’s updated Classification timeline. Mark Conroy is our NEPSAC Classifications Director and he has done a great deal of work communicating with league presidents and athletic director liaisons in putting together a document that more clearly defines how NEPSAC defines a school’s classification and the process for requesting a change in your school’s classification. The Executive Board does believe that this clearly defined timeline will make it easier for both league presidents and member schools to know further ahead how to plan for the upcoming season with their scheduling. You will find our document on page 4. It will be added to next year’s NEPSAC Directory and is currently on the NEPSAC website. Have a great spring! I hope the warm temperatures arrive early and give us a chance to get on the fields as we open back up later this month.

NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 3

NEPSAC Classification Coaches’ associations are responsible for classifying all member schools for purposes of tournament selection. Communication should follow the classification timeline outlined below. Exceptions to this must be cleared with the NEPSAC Director of Classification. Winter sports will be classified by October 15, spring sports by February 15 and fall sports by May 15. As the timeline indicates, if a school and a coaches’ association disagree regarding classification, the school must forward its appeal to the NEPSAC Executive Board for a binding decision. While enrollment is the primary factor considered in determining a school’s classification a number of factors can be considered to include league affiliation, strength of schedule, and the program’s history of competitiveness with their schedule. A school electing to re-classify itself in a sport must make a three year commitment to the new classification.

Special circumstances related to classification: 1. Boys basketball — schools can self-select three choices: AAA, AA, or the Enrollment Division. In the Enrollment Division, schools are placed according to their enrollment. To accommodate enrollment fluctuations, there is a+/-10 between each class. If schools exceed the +/-10 bump for 3 consecutive years they must go up or down. 2. Boys hockey — all schools are considered Division 1. Each fall, the enrollment survey results will be applied to the process of dividing boys hockey into two even groups — large and small. When there is an odd number, the large group will absorb the extra school.


» NEPSAC Enrollment Survey conducted by Communications » » » »

Specialist and Director of Classification. This survey will be shared with all coach associations. Winter Coach Associations communicate classification (including changes) to NEPSAC Executive Board before Executive Board Meeting #1. Executive Board Meeting #1. Winter classification communicated to all schools following Executive Board Meeting #1 via NEPSAC website/email. Schools may appeal their classification to Coach Association and Executive Board by September 30.


» Executive Board Meeting #2 — Winter Classification appeals considered, decided and communicated (early October).


» Spring Coach Associations communicate classification (including changes) to NEPSAC Executive Board before Executive Board Meeting #4.

» Executive Board Meeting #4. » Spring classification communicated to all schools following »

Executive Board Meeting #4 via NEPSAC website. Schools may appeal their classification to Coach Association and Executive Board by January 30.


» Executive Board Meeting #5 — Spring Classification appeals considered, decided and communicated.


» Fall Coach Associations communicate classification » »

(including changes) to NEPSAC Executive Board (Board Classification Committee) by April 7. Fall classification communicated to all schools by April 15. Schools may appeal their classification to Coach Association and Executive Board by April 30.


» Executive Board Meeting #6 — Fall Classification appeals considered, decided and communicated.

Directory page 14

4 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 NEPSAC • 10 Technology Drive, Suite 40, #147, Hudson, MA 01749 • • 978-533-1942

KENDALL COYNE SCHOFIELD continued from page 1 skills competition, they knew she’d hold her own. Being the only woman to compete in the Chicago Pro Hockey League last summer, they knew first hand that she was able to stand up to the guys … and she did,” pointed out the former mentor of the 5-2, 125-pound forward. Coyne Schofield, who hails from Palos Heights, Ill., and who is married to Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman Michael Schofield, turned her season in the Berkshires into a winter wonderland for Gappa, her teammates, and the multitude of fans who showed up to watch her. For her beleaguered opponents, however, not so much. In just 25 games, she chalked up 55 goals and 22 assists for 77 points and led the Bears to the quarterfinals of the NEPSAC tourney that season, where they lost to Lawrence Academy. “Kendall could have had a lot more (goals) that season,” said Gappa, “but she was a very unselfish player and got as much enjoyment setting up one of her teammates for a goal as she did scoring one herself. She always had a knack of knowing when to shoot and when to pass ... she helped everyone around her elevate their game. “As good as Kendall was, she was also one of the hardest working athletes I’ve ever been associated with,” added Gappa. “There are a lot of kids who are outstanding athletes but that’s as far as they take it, they never push themselves to improve … Kendall did. “When Kendall came to Berkshire, she was already classified as an elite skater,” continued Gappa, “so we did our best to get her the ice time she needed to maintain that status and help her prepare for the top-tier tournaments she was to compete in.” So, in addition to practices and games Coyne Schofield chalked up with the Berkshire girls’ team, no one on campus was ever surprised to see her practicing with either the boys’ varsity or junior varsity teams. “She would practice with whatever team she could line her schedule up with,” said Gappa. That extra skating time ended up proving invaluable for Coyne Schofield, as she and her US teammates journeyed to the IIHF World Championships in Zurich, Switzerland, during the holiday break that winter, where she produced four goals and a pair of assists to help her squad earn a gold medal. For as long as Coyne Schofield has been considered a “can’t miss” candidate, she nearly missed out on attending Berkshire School entirely. Plan A for her collegiate hockey destination was Harvard University. That trek was forced to take a detour, however, when Harvard informed her she needed to get her test scores up in order to make the grade. A year of prep school suddenly became Plan B and Berkshire became the answer. Then she made her way onto the collegiate level — at Northeastern University. Prior to attending Berkshire, Coyne Schofield earned her elite status in the sport while spending three seasons skating for the Chicago Mission U-19 team, which is a Tier 1, AAA level of the Youth National Program, which can be translated as the best-of-thebest. During her three years in the Mission program, she registered 254 points in 157 games. In her final season there, (2009-10) she collected 87 of those points on 53 goals and 34 assists.

Coyne Schofield’s scoring touch has never abandoned her whether she’s been on the collegiate or the world stage. By the time she graduated from Northeastern in 2016, she did so with a degree in one hand and the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award — which is emblematic of the premier Division I player in women’s hockey — in the other. In short, Coyne Schofield won the Kazmaier Award, because she won just about every other women’s hockey award there was to win that winter and earned a spot on just about every conceivable All-Star team as well … from All-America … to All-Hockey East … to All-USCHO … to All-New England Player of the Year. She earned such distinction by leading the NCAA stat sheets her senior season in goals (50), goals per game (1.35), points per game (2.27), shorthanded goals (5) and hat tricks (5). She finished as Northeastern’s all-time leading goal scorer (141) and point producer (249). As for Hockey East records, she established single-season records for goals with 30 and points in league play with 55 during her senior season. She also bowed out as Hockey East’s all-time leading scorer with 91 goals and 167 points in 79 games. As for international play, Coyne Schofield might need to rent a wing at Fort Knox to show off her wares. In total, she has won 17 medals: 12 gold, four silver and one bronze. She has collected one gold and one silver following Olympic competition, while World Championship play has resulted in five gold and one silver medal. Four Nations play, meanwhile, has contributed six gold, two silver and one bronze to the mix. As the stat sheets show, these medallions are well earned as far as Coyne Schofield is concerned. During her two Olympics, she has registered nine points on four goals and five assists, while a half-dozen World Championship tourneys have yielded her 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points. During nine Four Nations gatherings, she has rung up 35 points off 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points. When you combine her blazing speed, with what Gappa described as her “nose for the net,” it’s easy to see how Coyne Schofield created such a media storm following her appearance at the skills competition. Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs wrote: “She was flying. I was giving (Clayton) Keller a hard time because she beat him. She came out for warm-ups, was buzzing around, and everyone was taking notice.” The Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau said: “It’s pretty impressive, obviously. It’s great. It’s really cool. And she’s American, so it’s even better.” Perhaps the tweet sent out by the LA Kings proved to be the most interesting, however. It said: “Hey Kendall, we’re looking to add some speed … interested?”

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NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 5

NEPSAC Newsbits NEPSAC Calendar APRIL 2019 2 | District IV meeting  Choate Rosemary Hall, 11:00 a.m. 4 | Middle Schools meeting  Park School, 10:00 a.m. 23 | District III meeting  Belmont Hill School, 11:00 a.m.

MAY 2019 2 | District II meeting  New Hampton School, 9:00 a.m. 7 | Executive Board  Bancroft School, 9:15 a.m. 20 | District I meeting  Hebron Academy, 10:00 a.m.

Congratulations! The schools listed below were recognized with a NATA Safe Sports School Award in Fall 2018. »» New Hampton School »» Deerfield Academy »» The Governor’s Academy »» Lincoln School Learn more:

31 | NEPSAC News  Summer issue deadline


he National High School Strength Coaches Association (NHSSCA) will be having their Northeast Regional Conference April 5-6 at The Noble and Greenough School. Past conferences have shown to be great learning and networking opportunities for any strength & conditioning coaches, teachers, sports coaches, and others who find themselves working with athletes in a weight room setting. You can contact Kevin O’Neill with any questions.

Help Wanted! Do you have an Archivist at your school? NEPSAC is looking to work with our member schools’ archivists to create a “NEPSAC Archives” resource page on our website. Please have them contact us at Does your school have a radio station or perhaps a podcast that is related to athletics? Does your school have a live stream channel or an online newspaper? Please let us know that information so we can correctly post it on our Media Outlets page here: Does your school have a student or a group of students who create videos? NEPSAC is looking to have some 30 second promo and PSA videos created and would like to showcase our own talented students.Please have them or their advisor contact us at

6 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019

TREASURER’S REPORT Coaches’ Association: Reminders and Updates by Jim Smucker, Berwick Academy NEPSAC Treasurer


EPSAC has begun to move forward in complying with the IRS guidelines for non-profit organizations as it relates to our Coaches’ Association’s finances. Coaches’ Associations: please remember to submit your Financial Report for the 2018–2019 season. Fall Coaches’ Associations: thanks for those who have already submitted their reports. If you have not yet, please do so as soon as possible. Winter Coaches’ Associations: expect to receive an email in mid-April explaining the process and format for this report. The deadline will be June 1, 2019. NEPSAC has started the process of transferring our Coaches’ Association’s banking to TD Bank falling under the NEPSAC umbrella. If any association has questions about this process please be in touch. Reminder: If there are changes to any Coaches’ Association dues for 2019–2020 season please submit changes to me by May 1, 2019.

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.

FROM THE ARCHIVES “At the Headwall, 1940”


his sun-drenched group from a 1940 championship ski team poses in The Bowl at Tuckerman’s Ravine. Note the square-toed leather boots secured to the skis with a leather toe-strap and cable binding at the heel. An ‘Amstutz’ spring secured to the aker and the rear of the ski allowed the heel of the binding to be loosened and lift for climbing in the Nordic fashion before the spring cable was locked to secure the heel for the descent; the “AT” binding of 75 year ago! What school did these skiers represent?

Congratulations to Rachael Ryan of Taft School, who correctly guessed that Robin Chandler of Hotchkiss School was featured in the last issue’s “From the Archives.”

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NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 7

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8 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019

Former NEPSAC Athletes Focus on Concussion Awareness with the Headway Foundation SPONSORED BY SCOREBOARD ENTERPRISES

by Bob York


aige Decker and Josephine Pucci share a few things in common. Both excelled as three-sport athletes at New England Prep School Athletic Council schools … both saw their collegiate hockey careers cut short due to concussions … both, as a result, are now determined to shine more light on what is known as “The Invisible Injury.” In an attempt to create more answers and less questions about concussions and the carnage they can leave in their wake, Decker and Pucci teamed up with Danny Otto, another collegiate hockey player who suffered a career-ending concussion, to create the Headway Foundation in November 2016. The foundation’s goal, which is spelled out on its website’s home page, “is to insure concussions are handled properly, beginning with prevention and symptom reporting and continuing with treatment, support and recovery.” Decker starred at Westminster School (’10) and Yale University before her career was cut short early in her senior season (November 2013) when she suffered a concussion as well as an accompanying whiplash injury. “My concussion healed relatively quickly,” said Decker, “but I struggled for years to reach a full recovery because many doctors completely overlooked the whiplash. “I felt like I owed it to myself and to all the other people struggling out there to try and make sure that nobody goes down the same path I did,” said Decker, who was named Westminster’s MVP her senior season after a team-high 30 points helped lead the Martlets to the 2010 Division I NEPSAC ice hockey title. “I would not wish what I’ve been through upon my worst enemy.” During her rehabilitation – which took Decker to more than 50 healthcare professionals throughout the United States and Canada – she finally found the help she needed at a physical therapy center near Toronto that dealt with neck injuries and its staff was cognizant of the fact that such injuries – including whiplash – are often associated with concussions. It was during her quest for a successful recuperation that she and Pucci, who had passed concussion protocol by this point, began comparing notes on their injuries and recoveries. Up until this juncture, the two had been long-time adversaries in the prep and collegiate athletic arenas. Pucci

attended archrival Choate (’09) before taking her game to Harvard University and was a member of the 2014 Olympic silver-medal winning United States women’s hockey team. Prior to her senior season at Harvard, however, she suffered a concussion (August 2012) while playing in an exhibition game with the Women’s National Team. “I knew right away it was a concussion because I’d had a couple others and I could tell this one was pretty significant,” Pucci told Martin Kesler in an interview following the injury. “I returned to Harvard in September for my senior year but after just one week of classes, I found myself confined to a bed. “I stayed there for an entire week,” remembers Pucci, who was voted Choate’s MVP her junior and senior seasons after helping lead the Boars to the 2007 New England Championship and the 2008 Founder’s League title. “I went to a doctor in Boston and she basically told me, ‘you need to leave school, not play hockey and just focus on recovering.’” Pucci’s road back eventually took her to a clinic in Atlanta where she began a recovery effort that would allow her to participate in the 2014 Olympic Games. While in Atlanta she not only began to mend, but also discovered a new passion in life. During her rehab, the psychology major began noticing the joy her fellow patients were exhibiting in recovering from their concussions and it ultimately inspired the now 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army to apply to medical school, where she is currently a first-year med student at the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md. “Concussion awareness is improving, but many people still don’t know what to do when they get one,” said Otto, who sustained his concussion and whiplash complications while playing for Yale in 2011 and was forced to withdraw from school during his final semester. “The foundation advocates an interdisciplinary approach to treatment, centered on a “quarterback,” a medical professional who coordinates care across different specialists and health-care professionals,” Otto told Evan Frondorf in an interview. “Headway is also working to change the culture around concussions with its ‘New Tough’ pact,” added Otto, who played

continued on page 10

NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 9

HEADWAY FOUNDATION continued from page 9 for Yale after captaining the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League and still resides in New Haven where he now works in the school’s investments office. “It does so by asking athletes to pledge to report concussion symptoms as soon as possible. The ‘old toughness’ was that you should play through it like any other injury. This is a way to change the mindset … it requires more mental toughness to pull yourself out of the game if you suspect something isn’t right.” Decker, who is a client solutions manager for Facebook in Los Angeles, emphasized the need for “New Tough” in her Concussion Blog by pointing out that according to the Center for Disease Control there are two worrisome trends on concussions: even with the recent attempts to publicize the seriousness of concussions, approximately 69 percent of student/athletes are still neglecting to report possible concussion symptoms. The second trend is the overall increase in studies highlighting the risks posed to athletes who continue to play with head injuries. Headway isn’t simply promoting “New Tough” on its website and blogs, however. It has taken its fight to the battleground: the rink. For the third straight year the foundation has sponsored a Concussion Awareness Weekend. This year’s promotion was held Feb. 1-2, during which Headway partnered with a number of NEPSAC boys and girls teams, as well as the 24 men’s and women’s teams representing the Eastern College Athletic Conference, plus other standbys as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the National College Hockey Conference. “The two major goals of our awareness program are to help athletes prevent concussions and if they do occur, to help them to be cognizant of their side effects,” said Decker, who has not only been mindful of concussions as a player but as coach as well. She headed up the girls hockey program at The Gunnery (2016-17), “and as a coach, I always put the health

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of my players first and foremost … I’d never ask them to play if they didn’t feel right. “Although hockey is an aggressive sport,” added Decker, “we speak to its cultural side in an attempt to prevent concussions and urge players to avoid illegal hits to the head and neck area. And, if one should occur, or you suspect one has occurred, we urge them to be mindful of their side effects of concussions, the most common of which are headaches, blurred vision and nausea.” “Participating in ‘New Tough’ gives the kids an opportunity to play for something much bigger than themselves,” said Williston Coach Christa Talbot-Syfu, who is also the president of the New England Prep School Girls Ice Hockey Coaches Association. “It’s a real conversation starter as far as concussions and their prevention are concerned. “Every year, more and more prep teams are getting involved in these games,” added Talbot-Syfu, whose Williston squad squared off against Berkshire School in one of the ‘Awareness’ pairings. “Prior to the game we talk to the players about concussions and about being able to detect and report symptoms they might be suffering from as well as being able to detect them in a teammate who might have suffered a concussion. To me, the highlight of the ceremonies is when the players take the pledge to be more aware of concussions and to report any symptoms as soon as possible.” In addition to Williston and Berkshire, other NEPSAC schools whose boys and girls teams participated in this year’s concussion awareness program included St. Paul’s, Choate, Loomis Chaffee, Greenwich Academy, Pomfret, Kent, Gunnery, Vermont Academy and Millbrook. “We’re thrilled to see the growth and participation of so many hockey teams during our third annual Concussion Awareness Weekend, more than 4,500 student-athletes took the New Tough pledge this year” said Decker, whose foundation helped promote the cause by issuing Headway stickers for all prep and collegiate skaters to put on their helmets. “The sheer number of athletes rallying behind this campaign is a testament to the progress being made about the proper ways to handle concussions, and we are just grateful to be involved. “Our goal over the next two to three years is to have representation from every men’s and women’s collegiate hockey conference in the country,” added Decker, who in addition to the ECAC, WCHA and NCHC, welcomed teams representing three more college conferences to the foundation this year: Hockey East, New England Small College Athletic Conference and Atlantic Conference. This year’s head count also included an ever-increasing number of NEPSAC teams, as well as junior hockey clubs, but the application process no longer stops at the collegiate level. This year, professional hockey made its debut as teams from the East Coast Hockey League took part. Concussions in sports have long been a topic of conversation – with football taking center stage. A study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine examined the occurrence of sports-related concussions at the college level in 25 NCAA

10 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019

continued on page 13





NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 11


William Taylor




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HEADWAY FOUNDATION continued from page 10 sports, from the 2009-2010 school year, to the 2013-2014 school year. That data was collected and reviewed by the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program as well as calculated to determine national estimates. There were 1,670 reported sports-related concussions, with an estimate of 10,560 nationally each year. Of the 25 sports examined, men’s ice hockey had the second largest concussion rate at 7.91 concussions per 10,000 exposures, while women’s ice hockey was third at 7.50. Men’s wrestling (10.92) was first, while, surprisingly, football was fourth at 6.71. Headway’s founders haven’t attempted to achieve these goals by themselves, however. The foundation has stacked the deck against this injury by recruiting numerous people for its board positions who have run the gamut of experience on concussions … from those who have suffered them to those who treat them. Among those who have joined the fight are four board members who, like Decker and Pucci, hail from NEPSAC schools. Those four are: Zac Hamilton (Westminster), Nic Pierog (Canterbury), Alexis Banquer (Kent) and Liz Mullarney (Covenant of the Sacred Heart). “I never really thought much about concussions until I was diagnosed with one and it pretty much turned my life upside down,” confessed Hamilton, who, as a goalie at Colgate University, admitted “I started getting concussion symptoms before I ever really suffered any severe hits. I wasn’t very big (5-11), so I think those smaller hits I received here and there throughout my career finally caught up with me in January of my sophomore year. “It took me four or five months to get back on the ice but I had to sit out my entire junior season before I adequately recovered,” added Hamilton, whose efforts to make it back and his performance once he returned for his senior year resulted in him receiving Colgate’s Coaches Award as well as being named to the ECAC All-Academic Team for a second time. Hamilton highlighted a four-year prep career at Westminster by being elected team captain his senior year and followed that up by being named the team’s MVP after posting a stingy .911 save percentage. “I got involved with Headway my junior year at Colgate … during its first ECAC Concussion Awareness Weekend,” said Hamilton. “Being sidelined with a concussion, my coach asked me if I’d like to be the team representative and I’ve been working with Headway ever since. It’s really proven to be a great opportunity for me … I was able to relate to my teammates what I’d been through as far as concussions and rehabilitation were concerned. ” Hamilton, who majored in cellular neuroscience and currently works as a health care consultant in Boston, serves as director of Headway’s media relations and spends much of his free time talking with and offering support to other athletes who are suffering from concussions and their accompanying side effects.

As for Pierog, who averaged more than a point per game during a two-year career at Canterbury by notching 61 points over 58 games on 21 goals and 40 assists, he’s still putting pucks in opponents’ nets. He is currently playing for the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL, where he has chalked up 27 goals and 18 assists for 45 points in 55 games this season. In fact, those lofty stats have also allowed Pierog to log some playing time in the American Hockey League this winter while on loan to the Providence Bruins. “I owe the sport of hockey a great deal and having been a representative of Headway at Clarkson (University) and watching the foundation grow has allowed me to feel as though I’ve been able to give something back to this game,” said Pierog. “I was Headway’s team rep at Clarkson for three years,” added Pierog, who is a rarity among the foundation’s ranks as he signed up before suffering a concussion. “It’s been really rewarding for me to help promote this foundation and to help navigate athletes who have suffered concussions through the ups and downs of what can sometimes be both a long and difficult recovery period,” Pierog hasn’t shunned his representative responsibilities now that he’s on the professional level either, as he’s not only making the Monarchs aware of concussions, he’s spreading his knowledge to at least two other ECHL teams, as well. “In addition to working with the Monarchs, I’ve got some good friends playing on the Maine Mariners and the Adirondack Thunder,” said Pierog, “and through them I’m trying to spread the word throughout the ECHL” As for the other two former NEPSAC athletes on the Headway board, Banquer, who is a junior at Wesleyan, played hockey and lacrosse at Kent and is doing the same for the Cardinals. The fact that she has suffered three concussions has likely played a role in her pursuing a career in medicine. She is majoring in neuroscience and psychology and is currently researching human memory at the school. Mullarney, meanwhile, attended Georgetown after graduating from Sacred Heart and suffered a concussion her senior year while practicing on the sailing team. She graduated in 2016 and began working on Wall St., before suffering a second concussion. She was forced to take a leave of absence to recover and has used that time to spread the medical knowledge she finally found. For more information on the Headway Foundation, check out its website at

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NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 13

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14 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019


Foresteire inducted into MBCA Hall of Fame


hayer Academy Athletic Director Rick Foresteire P ’19, ’21 was throwing batting practice when he learned he’d been inducted into the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He’d been throwing BP indoors to his son, James Foresteire ‘21, as part of the first day of winter workouts. Realizing he’d left his phone in the car, he’d asked James to get it for him. James returned, held the phone up to his father, and asked, “Whaddya think about this, Dad?” It was a text from good friend Dwayne Follette, a fellow Brandeis alumnus and Plymouth North High School baseball coach, congratulating Foresteire on his induction. “True story,” said Foresteire, smiling. Asked what he and his son did afterwards, the coach responded: “We finished batting practice.” The MBCA recently announced that Forestiere and three fellow coaches — Mark Baldwin of Northampton High School, Patrick Forbes of Whitman-Hanson High School, and Bill Mahoney of Brighton High School  —  would be association inductees for its Class of 2019. Ceremonies are slated for Jan. 26 at the Four Points Sheraton in Wakefield. Foresteire has earned the honor. This spring, he will begin his 23rd season as a high school baseball head coach, and he has yet to have a losing season. “That’s what I’m most proud of,” said Foresteire, who was head coach for 19 years at his alma mater, BB&N. “My philosophy has always been that our number-one goal is to have a winning season. We tackle that first.” As a head coach, Foresteire’s record is 370 wins, 130 losses, and four ties. His teams have captured six ISL championships. He’s coached three MLB draft picks, four former pros, and a

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Thayer Baseball Head Coach Rick Foresteire P ’19, ’21.

host of players who’ve succeeded at the collegiate level. The Melrose native was quick to praise his players for their work on and off the field. He also credited his coaching staffs throughout the years. “I was blessed to have unbelievable assistant coaches,” he said. Foresteire added that, as a young coach at BB&N, he received great support from Thayer’s coach at the time, Don Badger ’63 P ’98, ’01. Foresteire said he received a solid education in baseball fundamentals from Jack Etter, his coach at BB&N, and has tried to pass those lessons on. He also singled out his college coach, Pete Varney, a legendary figure at Brandeis after his years as a legendary two-sport athlete (Football, Baseball) at Harvard University. According to the MBCA website, Foresteire is only the fifth private school coach to earn Hall-of-Fame honors and just the second coach from the ISL. The name of the first ISL inductee, so honored in 1992, should ring a bell: Thayer Academy’s Arthur Valicenti ’51 P ’75, ’75, ’77 GP ’10, ’14.

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16 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019


Two All-Americans and National Coach of the Year for Brunswick School at Wrestling Prep Nationals by Joe Early, Brunswick School


restlers Chris Perry and Luca Errico both earned All-American status, as Tim Ostrye was honored as the National Coach of the Year at the 2019 National Prep Wrestling Championships, hosted by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Perry (126-lb.) and Errico (138-lb.) both posted fifth-place finishes at the national showcase. As a team, the five-member Brunswick contingent collected 37 team points, good for 21st-place out of 122 teams at the 84th meeting of the top prep school wrestlers from across the country. National powerhouse Blair Academy won its fifth-straight team title with 354 points, collecting nine of 14 individual crowns. Blair has won 16 out of the last 17 Prep Nationals. Ostrye, the longtime Brunswick wrestling coach, was recognized as the National Head Coach of the Year in front of the Stabler Arena crowd prior to the start of the championship round. A week earlier, Ostrye was tabbed by the NEPSAC coaches as the Coach of the Year. This year the Bruins posted an 18-1 record, won both the FAA and WNEISWA tournaments and finished fifth at the NEPSAC tournament. Perry posts his second-straight All-American finish, following a seventh-place finish in 2018 at 113 pounds. This year, Perry, the eighth-seed at 126, won his opening two matches, but fell to the top-seed in the quarterfinals. Perry battled through the consolation round, knocking off the sixthseed and fifth-seed, before a setback against the 10th-seeded grappler in the consolation semifinals. In the battle for fifth place, Perry picked up a 4-2 win over the fourth-seeded wrestler. Over seven matches, Perry faced six ranked wrestlers and went 5-2 overall.

Errico, is now the seventh AllAmerican for the Bruins and the second one in his family to earn the award while at Brunswick. Brother Jon Errico ’16 was a two-time AllAmerican for the Bruins. Following an opening round bye, Errico, holding a sterling 44-0 mark as the seventhseed at 138, National Coach of the Year Tim Ostrye topped the 10th- was honored before the national seed, but dropped championships. a 10-7 decision to the second-seeded wrestler in the quarterfinals. Errico followed a similar path as Perry in the consolation round, knocking off two ranked wrestlers before a setback. Errico topped the 12thseed and the eighth-seeded opponents, while the fourth-seeded wrestler bested Errico in the consolation finals. Errico picked up a 6-5 win over the fifth-seed to earn a fifth-place finish. Against six ranked opponents, Errico posted a 4-2 mark. Making the trip with Perry and Errico were three other Bruins. Returning Nationals competitors Tim Saunders and Nick Bell joined first-timer Jackson Wolfram on the Lehigh University mats. In the double-elimination tourney, Wolfram (113-lb.) dropped his first two matches, while Bell (145-lb.) went 2-2 on the opening day. Saunders, ranked fifth at 195 pounds, won his opening match, dropped the quarterfinal bout and picked up a pair of wins in the consolation round. For the second-straight year, Saunders reached the Round of 12, also known as “the blood round”, falling one win short of a top-eight finish and All-American status. In his final match, Saunders lost to the seventh-seed, 3-1. For the tournament, Saunders held a 3-2 mark. Final season records for the Bruins at Prep Nationals: Errico (48-2), Perry (42-4), Bell (34-10), Tim Saunders (41-5), Jackson Wolfram (28-12).

The Brunswick School wrestling staff.

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Coach Tara Brisson Celebrates 200 Wins by Sarah O’Neill, Tilton School

Athletic Director and Head Girls’ Varsity Basketball Coach Tara Brisson celebrated her 200th win in February, as the RAMS secured a W against Vermont Academy. This momentous occasion comes on the heels of Brisson being inducted into the Bishop Grimes High School Hall of Fame in January. Brisson has coached girls’ varsity basketball since joining Tilton in 2009 and took on the role of Athletic Director in 2014. In her time as head coach, she has led the RAMS to nine consecutive Lakes Region Championships. Four of those seasons ended with Tilton also being named NEPSAC Class B Champions. She celebrated her 100th win in 2014. Hailing from Syracuse, New York, Brisson graduated from Hobart and William Smith College where she played on the women’s basketball team for all four years. She went on to secure a masters in athletic administration from Plymouth State University. She served in assistant coach positions at Williams College and Saint Anselm University before becoming a RAM. Congratulations to Tara Brisson for continued success on the court and beyond!

Tilton School’s Girls’ Varsity Basketball coach Tara Brisson and her team celebrating her 200th win.



Mike Hart Earns 500th Win

John Carroll Notches 300 Wins

The St. Andrew’s Director of Athletics and Boys Basketball coach had his 500th career win on December 12 in a 75-61 win at home over Phillips Andover. Coach Hart’s teams have won 7 New England Championships, have been New England Finalists three times, and have made 14 New England Final Four appearances in his 25 years at St. Andrew’s. Coach Hart was honored by his school on February 12 with the dedication of the court in Sage Gymnasium in his honor. St. Andrew’s won the Class AA NEPSAC Championship on March 3.

With the boys’ basketball 68-65 win over St. Thomas More on Feb. 6, NMH Head Coach John Carroll ’89 became the winningest coach in NMH basketball history with 301 wins, passing NMH Hall of Famer Bill Batty ’59. John has been a part of 428 (and counting) wins for NMH basketball as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. His team won the NEPSAC Class AAA Championship on March 3, and is now competing for the National Prep Championship title.

18 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019

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Coach Smith’s Historic Achievement by Lynne Palmer, Brewster Academy


n Monday evening in the Tilton School gymnasium the Boys’ Prep Basketball Team played their 33rd game of the season and came away with a victory. The final score of the game was 93–55. The gym was full of Tilton students and community members, and not surprisingly, they were rooting for the home team. The game ended, the teams and coaches shook hands, and the boys headed to their respective locker rooms. No one would expect that anything remarkable had just taken place on that court. As Jason Smith attempted to lead his players out the back door to the waiting Brewster vans, Athletic Director Matt Lawlor ushered them into a small room off the court to let them know that something exceptional did happen, and they were a part of it. Their coach Jason Smith had just celebrated his 500th win Brewster assistant coach Josh Lee (left), the 2015 NEPSAC Championship team, and at Brewster — something that has never Coach Jason Smith. been accomplished in the school’s history. The path that led Jason Smith to this accomplishment character and drive. Al also highlighted Jason’s deep humility, began in 2000 when he arrived at Brewster as an instructional which complements his talent as a coach so impressively and support teacher and basketball coach. He joined the admission helps to engender the enduring loyalty and respect his players team after that year and has been involved in recruiting and have for him as a coach and a mentor. enrolling new students for the past eighteen years. On Monday In typical Jason Smith fashion, he allowed only a few night former assistant coach and close friend, Al Simoes, quick minutes for pictures and handshakes, hugged his proud shared some personal reflections on and praise for Jason. Al parents, and then hustled his players out to the vans, reminding talked about the extraordinary amount of time Jason invests them about study hall. He then got behind the wheel and drove to find the right student-athletes for Brewster, all young men of back to Wolfeboro to Elizabeth and Jonah waiting at home. On Saturday the team will travel to Vermont Academy to seek their eighth Lakes Region banner. It will be Jason’s 624th game with Brewster Academy. Then it is on to the NEPSAC quarterfinals. And while these events are unfolding, the NCAA March Madness will begin, and commentators will inevitably remark on Brewster Academy, acknowledging implicitly all of what Jason Smith has done for the Academy, for basketball, and for the young men lucky enough to play for him. Many people would use words such “dynasty” and “legacy” to describe what Smith has built at Brewster. However, I think Congratulations to the Jason would characterize his success by talking about the relationships he has forged and sustained during the past 19 Winter 2018–2019 years. No one arrives at his 500th victory without caring deeply All-NEPSAC athletes! about winning. However, what distinguishes Coach Smith is how he has gone about his winning — with discipline, principle, Visit for the list humility, and care for all involved in the program. He is a model of excellence for all of us at Brewster.


NEPSAC News | Spring 2019 | 21


King School Basketball Embarks on China Trip with Exhibition Games by Wendell Maxey, King School


ast August Dr. Gilles Chosson, Director of Global Studies at King School and Micah Hauben, Dean of Athletics introduced the interdisciplinary program and King School China trip. The trip included Global Education students and students studying Mandarin from March 7–March 17 in Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an and Beijing, and also featured basketball players in all grades from the Upper School Boys Basketball Program. The Vikings played four exhibition basketball games during the trip, with one game in Shanghai and three taking place in Beijing. After taking in a Chinese Basketball Association between the Shanghai Sharks and Shenzhen Leopards on Thursday and touring Shanghai on Friday, the Vikings will faced Shanghai High School International Division (SHSID). The team traveled to Chengdu and Xi’an, before getting ready for the next game on Monday, March 11 in Beijing at the Western Academy against the Beijing Falcons. Tuesday, March 12 had the team touring the Beijing Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Center and Summer Palace prior to going up against Jr. NBA China Zhongguancun Middle School.

Time in Shanghai included a full morning of joint practice and drills between King School players and the SHSID Stallions, led by SHSID head coach Jayme Lawman and King head coach Nate Jean-Baptiste. The drills were not only designed to engrain the fundamentals of the game into the players’ workout but also provided the chance for the two teams to come together on the court to help each other get better and the Vikings prep for their next game on Monday in Beijing against the Beijing Falcons. After practice, all players and coaches enjoyed a Shaanxi cuisine lunch thanks to the hospitality of Coach Lawman and the Stallions!

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On Wednesday, the team visited the Great Wall of China, were guests at the NBA China Office, and were hosted at the NBA Flagship Store in Beijing on Friday. Day 10 of the King China Trip had a “friendship” basketball game scheduled between the Vikings and Jianhua School in Beijing before closing out the exhibition games with a banquet and celebration. For a full recap of the trip, be sure to visit the King School website.

Ask the students on this King School China trip about the one thing they are most excited to see or do while in China, and the most popular response is the Great Wall of China. That dream became a reality on Day 8 as the tour continued with a group excursion to the Wall (More than 1800 steps in the section of the wall the students visited), language immersion program at Beijing Jianhua School, a Peking Duck dinner, and some shopping at the Silk Street market highlighted the day in Beijing!

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24 | NEPSAC News | Spring 2019