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by Bob York


his time, the Big Blue got to swim for something bigger than its four straight New England Championships … something bolder than the eight regional titles it has accumulated over the past decade. This time, it got to swim for something more prestigious than its four consecutive undefeated seasons … something nobler than finishing first over 44 opposing teams at the Eastern Championships. This time, the Big Blue got to swim for the Red, White and Blue. Due to its distinguished resume, the Amateur Athletic Union selected Phillips Academy at Andover to represent the United States at the International School Sport Federation’s (ISF) World Schools Swimming Championships in Rio de Janeiro in May. The six Andover swimmers who competed in what marked the USA’s debut in these festivities were Sam Donchi (2020), Lance Freiman (2019), Marcus Lee (2021), Arnold Su (2020), Riku Tanaka (2020) and Jack Warden (2019), and they didn’t disappoint. The

IN THIS ISSUE NEPSAC Swimmers in Rio | President’s Letter | Treasurer’s Report | From the Archives | Girls in Sport Leadership Summit | Aliyah Boston | Wrestling Hall of Fame | NEPSAC Athletes on the National Stage | Project Highlight: Hopkins School

Swimmers from Andover, Hopkins and Brunswick at the International School Sport Federation’s World Schools Swimming Championships in Rio de Janeiro in May.

Blue Crew finished fourth among the 18 school teams, just two points shy of a podium finish. Turkey finished atop the leader board, while Taiwan was second and the Czech Republic was third. In total, 16 American high school age swimmers were invited to take part in the competition, which featured participants from 18 countries. In addition to Andover, which was the only U.S. contestant categorized as a school team entry, three other NEPSAC swimmers competed — Marcus Hodgson (2020) and Alex Hazlett (2022) of Brunswick School and Cristin Earley (2021) of Hopkins School — in a select-teams bracket. “Having the opportunity to participate in this tournament was a tremendous opportunity for everyone … swimmers as well as coaches,” said Andover swim coach David Fox of this aquatic showcase that has been convening every other year for more than three decades — but until now, never included a U.S. entry. “The

experience and exposure we received from competing on the world stage was truly unbelievable.” “It was much like the Olympics, in fact the competition took place in the same pool that hosted the diving and water polo events during the 2016 Summer Olympics,” added Fox. “They had opening ceremonies, in which all the competitors marched into the arena, and closing ceremonies as well. Plus, all the kids were given swim caps with the American flag on them and believe me, competing while wearing those really meant a lot to the kids.” Andover made its selection as the USA’s lone “school team” a no-brainer for the AAU officials, with an 8–0 regularseason showing, preceded by a fourth consecutive NEPSAC Championship, and the 2019 Eastern Swimming and Diving Championship.

continued on page 4

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508-339-8113 2 | NEPSAC News | Summer 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


reetings, and happy start of summer! I’m hopeful that this edition of the NEPSAC newsletter finds you feeling good about the year behind you, and excited about some time to yourself and thinking about the 2019–2020 school year. This part of the school year is one of my favorites. There is graduation, reunion weekends, and of course the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs! And this year there is the added bonus of the FIFA Women’s World Cup happening now in France. Should be a great start to the month of June for us all!

We had our last NEPSAC Executive Board meeting of the 2018–2019 year on May 7. It has been a busy but productive year for the Board, and I want to thank the members for making time to attend the meetings we have at the Bancroft School throughout the year. The combined experience and talent of dedicated school people in the room each meeting accounts for my annual professional development, and better yet, they are a fun group to work with. I’m excited for the year ahead and for our continued work with all the coaching associations in the NEPSAC league. Here too are some extraordinary people doing a lot of work above and beyond what is required of them at their own schools. Our athletic association is only as good as the people we have occupying leadership roles with all of the sports leagues we support. We’ll continue the work we’ve started this year placing dues payments for all the different associations in one place electronically, and making it easier for you to find the information you need on our NEPSAC website. This year we will be asking Districts to pay their NEPSAC dues online as well. Your District presidents will be in touch with you about this change. For 2019–2020 we hope to have in place a common post-season tournament application. This will give all post-season teams a consistent application that will incorporate the information needed by host committees in all the coaches associations. We

hope that this consistency will make all our lives easier in those busy periods of the school year when we are finishing a term and applying for post-season tournaments. We are already deep into the planning for next year’s annual meeting on Friday, November 15. We will stay at the same venue we’ve been at for several years now, the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. Put this date in your calendar now. I’ll close with a reminder to reach out to one another whenever issues arrive on your campus that cause you concern. Very often I will get contacted by someone who is upset with the way something was handled, and very often my response to the coach or athletic director will be; “Were you able to speak with the other school’s A.D.” or “Did you bring this to your A.D.” It’s important to remember that all NEPSAC schools are members for good reasons and 99% of the time we are all trying to do our best to be positive contributors in this great league we belong to. Good communication is where everything should start and if we commit to making this a priority most issues get resolved pretty quickly. The NEPSAC Board stands ready at any point you feel you haven’t been heard. Lastly, please continue to send Laurie Sachs news from your campus, and any ideas you might have for our NEPSAC website. She loves getting news and information from you! Have a happy, healthy and productive summer.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 3

NEPSAC SWIMMERS continued from page 1 The way the Big Blue has gone about its winning ways has been impressive, too. This season it broke 74 national, eastern, New England, school, pool, and meet records and surpassed the standard times of qualifying for All-American status no less than 42 times during the season and postseason. One of those marks included the 200 Medley Relay, in which Warden, Freiman, Su and Neil Simpson all earned All-American status by collaborating to win in a time of 1:29.42. That is the seventh fastest time ever recorded in that event in high school swimming history and was the fastest time recorded this year. Hodgson, who has already earned seven All-American nominations in just two years at Brunswick, proved to be the first American to ever climb the medals podium at these Championships when he collected a Bronze Medal for a thirdplace finish in the 50-meter Butterfly in a time of 25.41. The Bruin standout proved to be the most productive of the USA swimmers as well, as he returned to the podium twice more during the festivities to come away with three Bronze Medals. Hazlett, meanwhile, joined Hodgson on the podium for the third-place finishes the Select Team posted in the 400 Freestyle Relay (3:39.48) and 400 Medley Relay (4:00.62). Overall, both Brunswick swimmers piled up a half-dozen top-10 finishes during the two-day event. “It was awesome,” said Hodgson of the swimming summit. “I’ve got to admit, though, I was a little nervous about how things would go down there during my flight. I feel fortunate though, the 50-meter Butterfly was my first event and earning a medal really helped calm things down for me. After that, I knew I belonged.” In addition to his trifecta of Bronze finishes, Hodgson also placed fourth in the 100 Butterfly (56.79), fifth in the

The 16 high school swimmers representing Team USA included nine from NEPSAC schools.

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Phillips Andover swimmers and coaches.

50 Freestyle (24.11) and sixth in the 200 Individual Medley (2:13.23). Hazlett, who has earned All-American status on his resume as well, was fourth in the 100 Backstroke (59.77) and the 50 Backstroke (27.71) and eighth in the 100 Breaststroke (1:11.10) and the 50 Freestyle (24.71). “Going in, I really didn’t know what to expect. We made up the first contingent of U.S. swimmers to ever compete in this World Championship so there was nothing to compare ourselves with … guess you could say we were the test dummies,” quipped Hazlett.” “Overall, considering the level of competition, I feel we did pretty well for ourselves,” added Hazlett of a US contingent that headed home with nearly 30 top-10 finishes in the record book. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget … standing up there on the podium receiving my medal along with fellow competitors from Brazil and China was an awesome experience.” “It was a great way to break the ice,” quipped Brunswick coach Aaron Montgomery of Hodgson’s victory. “It proved we belonged there … that we could compete at the same level as everyone else,” added the Bruins’ mentor, whose team had stepped up all season long. The Boys of Brunswick chalked up an 8-0 regular-season showing, before turning it up a notch for the postseason. Once there, they posted a fourth-place finish out of a 30-team field at the Easterns, captured their second straight Fairchester Athletic Association crown, then finished second behind Andover at the New England Championships. As for Andover, Warden was the pace setter for the 12 top10 finishes its swimmers registered during the tourney. His third-place finish in the 50 Backstroke (27.12) represented the Big Blue’s lone trek to the podium where he picked up a Bronze Medal. Elsewhere in individual competition, Freiman concluded the showcase with four top-10 showings with a fourth-place finish in the 50 Butterfly (25.19), sixth in the 100 Butterfly (56.53), seventh in the 50 Freestyle (24.30) and tenth in the 100 Freestyle (53.31). “After having watched the Olympics so many times on TV, this all seemed so surreal,” said Freiman. “To experience a similar situation and compete for my country was a once-in-a-

lifetime experience that I never dreamed I’d ever be a part of … it was awesome.” “It was a very competitive meet and I’m happy with my performance … I think we all were,” added Freiman, who, as well as his five of his teammates, has logged numerous AllAmerican nominations while swimming for the Big Blue. “I feel so fortunate to have had an opportunity to participate in it.” Donchi, meanwhile, recorded three clockings to put him in the top 10, finishing fifth in the 200 Freestyle (1:56.26), seventh in the 100 Backstroke (1:00.47) and tenth in the 100 Butterfly (57.71). Su posted a pair of ninth-place finishes, one in the 100 Breaststroke (1:07.30) and the other in the 100 Freestyle (53.29). In the relay competition, the Big Blue finished fourth in the 6X50 Freestyle, as all six Andover swimmers took part and finished in a time of 2:26. In the 4X50 Medley Relay, Warden, Donchi, Freiman and Su were clocked in 1:48.97 to finish seventh. The only girl to represent the NEPSAC congregation was Cristin Earley, a sophomore at Hopkins School, “and she represented her school, her league and most of all, her country, very well,” said Chuck Elrick, the Hilltoppers coach. “The entire Hopkins community is very proud of her. “This was a tremendous experience for everyone who was fortunate enough to take part in this tournament,” added Elrick. “It’s the first time the United States has ever competed in this global meet and to be a part of it was well worth the wait. Now, I just hope we can continue to be a part of it.” Earley, who like her NEPSAC counterparts has earned All-American status, certainly did herself proud during the competition, as she headed home with a half-dozen top-10 performances. She grabbed a sixth-place finish in the 100

The sole NEPSAC girl, Cristin Early of Hopkins School, took home a half-dozen top-ten performances.

Backstroke with a time of 1:08.88, an eighth spot in the 200 Individual Medley in 2:30.23 and ninth-place showings in the 50 Freestyle and the 100 Butterfly in respective times of 28.68 and 1:07.74. She also took part in a pair of Select Team relay races: the 4X100 Freestyle and the 4X100 Medley, and finished fifth in both with times of 4:10.65 and 4:39.40 respectively. “Having an opportunity to compete in this tournament really boosted my confidence,” said Earley. “I really didn’t know what to expect going in except that the level of competition would be high. Now, though, I can look back and can say that I feel pretty good about the way I competed.” In addition to the U.S. contingent, this tournament also attracted high school age swimmers from Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates. The NEPSAC SPECIAL NEWS 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.

Photos by David U. Fox and Robert Hazlett Brunswick School’s Marcus Hodgson (second from left) and Alexander Hazlett (right) were part of the third place 400 Medley Relay team.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 5

TREASURER’S REPORT Coaches’ Associations: Reminders and Updates by Jim Smucker, Berwick Academy NEPSAC Treasurer Dues Dues will be available for online payment ( after July 15, 2019. Coaches Association dues must be paid by Oct. 15, 2019. NEPSAC dues must be paid by Oct. 15 2019. Dues are $225 per school. District Presidents will provide updates at your next District Meeting.

Tournament Fees Tournament fees to be available for online payment. Stay tuned for more details.

NEPSAC Directories NEPSAC Directories will be available in mid-September. At that time you will receive more information regarding online payments for these Directories.

Championship Apparel Sales Coaches associations and NEPSAC both benefit from championships apparel sales. The coaches associations and NEPSAC earned revenue to help offset some tournament costs. This has allowed some coaches associations to significantly increase their balances. NEPSAC will be communicating and collaborating with each coaches association about this process as we move into the 2019–2020 seasons.

Coaches Associations Banking Transfers Banking transfers are complete for football, girls soccer, volleyball, boys ice hockey, and girls ice hockey. NEPSAC anticipates moving forward with transferring both boys and girls basketball accounts during the summer and fall months so that these Associations can comply with NEPSAC’s 501(c)(3) status. I will be in touch with each association’s president and/or treasurer to begin the process.

COMMUNICATIONS NOTE  The deadline to ensure that your updated school athletic department information will be included in the 2019–2020 NEPSAC Directory is June 30. Use this link to update your information and order directories if you have not done so already.

6 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2019

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Hotchkiss Football, 1892

Many thanks to David Stonebraker of Hebron Academy for sharing the ski photo in the last issue. This time we’re featuring a photo of the Hotchkiss football team, from 1892. Now that’s a handsome bunch of young men! And look those cleats!

Check out the NEPSAC Online store for all of your NEPSAC gear!

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

NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 7

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8 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2019


Meghan Duggan Delivers Keynote at Girls in Sport Leadership Summit


ver 50 young women representing 15 New England boarding schools came together at Cushing Academy on April 22 for an empowering celebration of female leadership during the 2019 Girls in Sport Leadership Summit. The day began with a keynote from three-time U.S. Olympic women’s hockey medalist and 2018 team captain Meghan Duggan ’06, who demonstrated strength, humor, and vulnerability as she shared personal stories of goal-setting, reflection, passion, and perseverance, both on and off the ice. Outlining her guiding principles for leadership, Meghan urged attendees to work from the ground up: take time to envision goals; communicate with others; pause to reassess or redirect; and execute together. “As a captain, you need to find different ways to communicate with your teammates to be effective. Pay attention to body language and continue to listen… When you recognize when there’s a problem and if there needs to be change, don’t be afraid to pull the cord and ‘stop the line.’ Go back to communicating. Go back to that vision. Assess and move forward.” During a Q&A session following her address, Meghan reflected on her own path as an athlete and as a leader. “I’ve had a lot of great mentors along the way and I’ve learned that if you are willing to work, you’ll be given opportunities.” The participants then attended a series of three interactive workshops, each of which challenged the young leaders to consider and explore aspects of leadership including conflict management, sacrifice, promoting positive team culture, and the importance of owning your space as a female athlete and leader. A dynamic lunch panel offered the students an opportunity to hear more from three of the workshop leaders as they addressed questions related to sport-specialization, the

Cushing Academy alumna and three-time U.S. Olympic women’s hockey medalist Meghan Duggan was the keynote speaker at the Girls in Sport Leadership Summit, held at Cushing in May.

importance of developing self-awareness, and the process of building trust with teammates. Said Cushing faculty member and event organizer Dr. Jennifer Willis, “Now in its second year, the Summit proved to be a powerful day in which young leaders capitalized on the opportunity to hear from strong female role models and received affirmation for the contributions they are making to strengthen their teams and their schools.” Use this link to see a gallery of photos from the day.

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ALL-NEPSAC Congratulations to the Spring 2019 All-NEPSAC athletes! Visit for the list of honored athletes.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 9


Aliyah Boston: First NEPSAC Girls’ Basketball McDonald’s All-American SPONSORED BY SCOREBOARD ENTERPRISES

by Bob York


et this story serve as a shout-out to Jenaire Hodge. It’s not about her, but it couldn’t have been written without her. Without her, it’s quite likely the gold medals from the last two New England Prep School Athletic Council Class AA Girls Basketball Tournaments wouldn’t be sitting in Worcester Academy’s trophy case today. Without her, college coaches and scouts wouldn’t have had to spend the past four winters memorizing New England’s highways and byways in an effort to check out a prospect who would culminate her prep school career rated No. 3 on the espnW HoopGuriz Rankings of the top 100 collegiate recruits in the country. Without her, NEPSAC would still be awaiting its first representative to ever participate in the McDonald’s AllAmerican Girls Basketball Game since its inception 18 years ago. Without her, Daniel’s Gymnasium would never have become a proving ground for her niece, Aliyah Boston, who has arguably become the best girls basketball player to ever compete under a NEPSAC banner. When Boston came to the City of Worcester as an eighthgrader five years ago, she came here with a lofty goal and some even loftier assistance in mind. “With God’s help,” she said, “I wanted to become a McDonald’s All-American.” Well, Aliyah, mission accomplished. On February 13, that dream became reality when McDonald’s notified her that she was one of 24 seniors from throughout the country selected to play in that prestigious game. Six weeks later, on March 27, Boston, a 6-4 center who will now move on to the collegiate level where she will play for the University of South Carolina, drew her storied prep school career to a close on the floor of the State Farm Arena in Atlanta by chalking up nine points and 10 rebounds to help lead the East past the West, 83-68. Boston’s love affair with basketball began a long way from the hills of Worcester, as she grew up in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and was attracted to the sport after tagging along and watching her older sister, Alexis, play the game. As their affection for the game and ability to play it both increased, a change of venue appeared inevitable if they hoped to excel in the sport. After all, in the Virgin Islands, most kids their ages spend their time kicking balls into goals rather than shooting them through hoops. So, following some family discussions, it was decided a change of scenery was essential to afford the sisters a better chance to thrive on the court as well as in the classroom. As

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for a destination, that would ultimately lie some 3,000 miles away, where Hodge … aka Aunt Jenaire ... aka Aliyah’s mother’s sister … was living about a 10-minute drive from the Worcester Academy campus. While Aliyah has been playing just down the street, Alexis has not. The 6-3 forward attended Holy Name High School in Worcester for two years before moving on to play a year at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio, then, this winter spent her sophomore season at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kansas. While playing the post, she helped the Cardinals (21-11) finish ninth nationally in the National Junior College Women’s Basketball Association. “It’s been hard,” acknowledged Aliyah of leaving her parents back in St. Thomas, “but both our mother and father were very supportive of the move and we feel very lucky that our aunt offered to take us in … none of this would have been possible without her. She’s been great, she supported the plan right from the start and she’s been our biggest fan ever since we arrived here.” As for their supportive parents, both their dad, Al, who only dabbled in athletics recreationally, and their mom, Cleone, who admitted to being “too timid” to compete in sports as a youngster and “that’s why we’ve encouraged them to try whatever sport they like … because I wish I had someone to push me when I was younger,” Cleone told Walter Villa during an interview. As far as family ties are concerned, this move has proven to be a win-win situation – for Aliyah and for Worcester Academy.

continued on page 13



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NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 11


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BOSTON NAMED MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN continued from page 10 As for capturing the last two Class AA NEPSAC crowns, that’s literally just the tip of the iceberg for the Rams during Aliyah’s presence. During her four-year stay, Worcester chalked up an 84-10 record. That remarkable showing was the result in great part to Boston, who averaged a hefty 17.3 points per game to close out her career as the school’s top scorer in girls hoop history with 1,795 points. She also hauled down 11,070 rebounds during that four-year span, while handing out an average of 10.5 assists, 3.2 blocked shots and 1.8 steals per game. “I feel very fortunate for the way things have turned out,” said Boston. “Without the understanding and backing of my parents to allow us to come here and without the willingness of my aunt to take us in, none of this would have ever been possible … to my family I’m deeply indebted. “I’m also very thankful to the game of basketball,” added Boston. “I’m truly grateful for all the doors it has opened to me over the past four years.” Boston’s personal trophy case back at Aunt Jenaire’s house has proven to be a receptacle for the hardware she has collected as payback for her hoop heroics. Front and center on the top shelf are the two NEPSAC Class AA MVP Awards she won following the 2018 and 2019 championship runs. Another



hile Aliyah Boston is the first girls’ basketball player representing a NEPSAC school to receive an invite to participate in the annual McDonald’s All-America Games, a dozen male NEPSAC players have suited up for their game since its inception in 1977.

Tilton School, New Hampton School, Thayer Academy and The Governor’s Academy led the way with two representatives each, while Brewster Academy, Winchendon School, Vermont Academy and Beaver Country Day had one each. Wayne Seldon (2013) and Alex Oriakhi (2009) hailed from Tilton, while New Hampton sent former standouts Noah Vonleh (2013) and Rashad McCants (2002) to the festivities. Thayer’s Michael Jones and Torin Francis made the trek in 2003 and 2002 respectively, as Dan Gadzuric (1998) and Steve Bucknall (1985) represented Govrernor’s. Brewster’s T.J. Warren was picked to play in 2012, while Simisola Shittu (2018) is Vermont’s lone selection to date. Winchendon’s Randell Jackson participated in the 1995 contest, as did Wayne Turner of Beaver Country Day.

top-shelf addition is this year’s Gatorade Massachusetts Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year Award, which will fit in quite nicely with the identical Gatorade plaques she received following her sophomore and junior years. When she’s not playing ball for Worcester, chances are she’s playing for USA Basketball, where she has also been quite successful. Recent endeavors have seen Boston and her countrywomen capture gold at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, as well as at 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, after which she was named the tourney MVP. “The first time I saw Aliyah playing basketball was in middle school,” remembers Sherry Levin, the Rams head basketball 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 eighth-grader, 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 that 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.” Her coach readily acknowledged that she felt very fortunate she never had to send her team out on the same court against Boston “because it was nearly impossible to prepare to play against her … she’d force you to change your strategy … both offensively and defensively,” admitted Levin. “Offensively, at 6-4, and averaging more than three blocked shots a game, opponents had to be leery of how they approached the basket. Defensively, they’d double- and triple-team her. Although it never stopped her from scoring, it did take a physical toll on her … but she never missed a game in four years.” “Aliyah has been a real find for this school … she’s the finest female basketball player I’ve ever seen,” said Worcester Athletic Director Ed Reilly, who has been overseeing Ram athletics for the past 16 years. “With her size, agility and footwork, she has the ability to alter a game. We’ve been able to surround Aliyah with a lot of talented teammates during her four years here, but she’s undoubtedly been the hub of those teams. “She’s a remarkable player but more importantly, she’s a better person,” added Reilly. “She’s been a model student/ athlete. She’s remained humble despite attaining so much notoriety and the entire Worcester Academy community is very proud of her.”

The NEPSAC SPECIAL NEWS 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 | Summer 2019 | 13

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14 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2019


Toubman Inducted into Wrestling Hall of Fame


fter 38 years of continuously improving the Nobles wrestling program and sharing his passion for the sport with hundreds of students, Nobles wrestling coach and math faculty member Steve Toubman will be inducted into the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on April 13. The “Lifetime Service to Wrestling” hall of fame category acknowledges his “dedication to the development of leadership and citizenship in the youth through the sport of wrestling.” Steve Toubman started wrestling in eighth grade, weighing only 80 pounds as a wiry 13 year old. At Conard High School, he placed third at the CIAC (Connecticut) State Tournament in the 98-pound weight class in 1972. In addition, he won the Connecticut Freestyle title at 108 pounds in 1973. A threesport athlete at Conard, Steve also played soccer and goalie on the lacrosse team. After high school, Steve matriculated at Amherst College where he wrestled for that highly successful Division III team under the guidance of Henry Littlefield for two years and then for two years under Tim Walsh, a 2005 Massachusetts Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee. At Amherst, Steve was a four-year starter, a three-time New England Tournament place-winner, and captain during his senior year. While in graduate school at Northeastern and then during his two-year business career, Steve continued his involvement with wrestling, although on a limited basis. During that time, he volunteered with the MIT wrestling team and also helped prepare the Massachusetts freestyle wrestling squad for summer competition. Steve joined the Noble and Greenough School faculty in the fall of 1981, where he inherited a wrestling program which had gone through 5 coaches in 5 years. With Steve’s stability, passion, and technical expertise, Nobles wrestlers earned two New England titles (Andrew Pritchard and Paul O’Boyle) and one National Prep title (Clift Georgaklis) in 1982. During those early years at Nobles, Steve competed actively in freestyle wrestling tournaments throughout New England, finally retiring from active competition at age 29. He also competed in two Maccabiah Trials, one in 1981 and the other in 1985. Steve was the President of the New England Independent School Wrestling Association in the late 1980s and also earned his USA Wrestling Silver Level Coaching Certificate in 2004. He coached youth wrestling clubs in Franklin, Dedham, and Natick. In addition, he worked at many wrestling camps in New England and Pennsylvania.

Steve introduced and administered the Nobles Wrestling Pinathon, from the late 1990s until 2016. This initiative raised roughly $50,000 during that time period for Campuses Against Cancer. During Steve’s 38-year career coaching wrestling, Nobles wrestlers garnered 5 Prep National medals (1 champion), 54 New England medals (7 champs), and 23 Graves-Kelsey titles. Some of Steve’s favorite years were when his son Dan (2013 New England runner-up) was a varsity wrestler, his daughter Sarah was one of the wrestling managers, and his wife Ellen was a captain’s parent. Below are words from a speech by Nobles Athletic Director Alex Gallagher in 2016, honoring Steve Toubman as he stepped away from head coaching after 35 years. “High School Wrestling is an incredible sport. It takes immense courage to walk out onto the mat and put it all on the line, face-to-face, with another young man or woman who wants to take you down and pin your shoulders to the mat. It takes heart and grit, but it also takes strong technical coaching. I believe that Mr. Toubman is one of the finest technical coaches that this school has ever seen. Every winter, kids who have never wrestled before make the choice to join his program and he honors their choice by teaching the sport with professionalism, patience, and dedication that have made him a model for countless other coaches to follow. Thirty-five years ago, Coach Toubman set out to positively impact the lives of student-athletes, using the sport that he loved to show them what it means to be organized, disciplined, hardworking, supportive, kind, and loving. Mr. Toubman has been a life-changing figure who countless former wrestlers refer to as one of the most important people they have ever met in their lives. I have known Steve Toubman since I was 15 years old. It is hard to put into words the impact that he has had on my life as a man, as a father, and as a coach and, therefore, I can say with great certainty that it has been one of the great privileges of my career to share these remarks about a man who very quietly went about becoming one of the greatest coaches in the 150 year history of this school.” The hall of fame induction comes on the eve of his retirement from Nobles. During his nearly four decades of service to the school, Toubman earned the 2018 Vernon L. Greene Award for Faculty Excellence, the creation of the Steve Toubman Award for passionate and sportsman-like leaders among Nobles wrestlers, and an ISL Excellence Award.

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Fitch Flip-Turns into the Record Books

Hunter Henderson ’21 Named to U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team


hile at Williston, David Fitch ’17 seemed to break a record every time he got into the pool, and his streak continues in college. In March, he broke two records during the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championship for the Kenyon College Lords. First, he won the 100-yard butterfly in NCAA-record time, using an unorthodox flip turn. He also touched the wall first during the 100-yard backstroke, setting a new Kenyon record. The efforts garnered him the NCAA Division III Men’s Swimmer of the Year Award. “It’s rare to have a swimmer of David’s caliber,” says Athletic Director Mark Conroy. “We can’t wait to see what he does next!”


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ew Hampton School is thrilled to congratulate Hunter Henderson ’21, of Madbury, New Hampshire, who has been named to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Freeski Rookie Slopestyle and Big Air Team. Hunter arrived at New Hampton School as a freshman, living on campus for his fall and spring semesters, and contributing fully in the life of the school. For the past two years, he has spent his winter season at the Waterville Valley Academy. At Waterville, he has ample time to train, travel to competitions, and manage his school work. According to the U.S. Ski Team “nominations for this year’s team include a balanced team dynamic of experience and youth. Leading the way for the U.S. is an elite group of seven Olympic medalists and coming up through the ranks is an energetic and talented group of rookies from Freeski programs around the country.” Hunter finished his season at the FIS Junior World Championships in Klappen, Sweden in April where he took 6th in Slopestyle and 10th in Big Air. He topped the podium this season with three 1st place finishes in the FIS NOR-AM, giving him a third place overall NOR-AM title. Hunter will join his sister Grace Henderson (Waterville Valley Academy ’19 and University of Denver ’23) on the US Freeski Team. Grace has been a member of the US team for two years. Both Hendersons are excited to represent the US in Freeskiing. They also join Olympian and New Hampton School alumna Annalisa Drew ’11 (Andover, MA) who will compete in her seventh season with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team this year. An official team announcement will be released in the fall.

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Brandon Wu ’15 Captures Men’s Golf National Championship by Carly Barbato, Deerfield Academy


eerfield Academy’s Brandon Wu ’15 and the Stanford University men’s golf team defeated higher ranked Texas to win the 2019 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship on May 29 in Fayetteville, Arkansas at Blessings Golf Club. It is the ninth title in program history and the first since 2007 for the Cardinal.

Entering the 2019 NCAA tournament, the Cardinal were ranked as the 12th seed out of the 30 teams selected to the championship tournament. In the opening rounds of play, different members of the Cardinal squad stepped up in the final two rounds of play to help the team secure the sixth spot in the next round eight match play berths. In route to the final, the Cardinal knocked off higher seeds Wake Forest and Vanderbilt 3-2 and drew fifth-seeded Texas in Wednesday’s final. The Cardinal once again took care of business, defeating the Longhorns 3-2 to claim the national title. Brandon Wu and his upperclassmen teammates, Henry Shimp and Isaiah Salinda were the first golfers on the course in the final round for the Cardinal at 4:45 am PT (to beat thunderstorms). Each of these golfers delivered wins to secure the 3-2 victory for Stanford.

The win was particularly special for senior Wu and fellow classmate Salinda as it marked the last time each golfer would don the Cardinal uniform. Wu was quoted in the Stanford Athletics article saying, “It’s crazy. You can’t script a better ending to your career. This whole week we knew that every round could be our last so to end up on a high note is great.” As quoted in the NCAA article on the victory Stanford coach Conrad Ray said, “Isaiah (Salinda) and Brandon’s (Wu) leadership is huge. They were rock solid all year, so we leaned on them a lot. They left a strong legacy of leadership. I’m happy they could end their career like this because they are a huge part of our success.” Furthermore, the NCAA title culminated in an impressive five event win streak, dating back to March 5th, that Wu and the Cardinal posted prior to entering NCAA Championship play. Capturing the NCAA Men’s Golf title is only part of Wu’s golf success this season. On the amateur circuit, as announced in November 2018, Wu was selected to attend the practice sessions in December at Seminole Golf Club for the selection of team USA for the upcoming 47th Walker Cup to be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, September 7–8, 2019. The Walker Cup is a biennial amateur team competition between the USA and a team composed of players from Great Britain and Ireland. The United States Golf Association hopes to select the final roster by August At press time, Brandon was playing in the U.S. Open and posted this photo on Twitter. Be sure to visit Deerfield’s website for updates.

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Deefield’s Brandon Wu was interviewed on the Golf Channel about his winning strategy for the NCAA Championship.

2019. Although, it is not a guarantee that Wu will make the final roster for the upcoming Walker Cup, it is an honor to be selected as one of the 16 players invited to the practice sessions. Hopefully, we will see Wu on Royal Liverpool Golf Club course in September. Additionally, earlier this spring in March, Wu was named to the Arnold Palmer Cup team to represent the United States. The Cup will be played at The Alotian Club from June 7–9, 2019. Brandon is one of six golfers to be selected to the Men’s Arnold Palmer Cup Ranking. Wu, a product design major at Stanford, has built himself an impressive resume throughout his four years as a Cardinal including; multiple All-Region, All-Pac-12 and All-American honors. He was named team MVP in 2017 for posting the best team score in the 2017–2018 season. On the Amateur circuit, he was a semifinalist at the 2018 Western Amateur Championship, and he won the 2017 Porter Cup, to name only a few of his accolades. With the Arnold Palmer Cup and Walker Cup coming up in the near future, there is lots more golf ahead for Wu and we look forward to tuning in to watch and support him along the way! Congratulations to Brandon and the Cardinal men’s golf team on winning the 2019 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship!

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project highlight: Building Proper Homes for Softball and Track at Hopkins by David Holahan


hink musical chairs. Except in place of individuals circling anxiously about, hoping to find a place to sit, substitute an entire sports team. Hopkins School’s Varsity Softball has been playing musical fields for years now: from Parr Field to Far Field and in between. This spring the girls have moved to yet another of their temporary homes, where JV soccer is played. But not to worry: In 2020 this band of sisters will have a brand new — and permanent — home field, one that will be commensurate with their proficiency and perseverance. (They have gone 10–3 the past two seasons, winning the league championship in 2017 and qualifying for the playoffs both years.) Far Field is now undergoing an extreme makeover: it will emerge as a state-of-the-art and exclusive haven for Hopkins Varsity Softball — and perhaps a JV team, too, if enough girls are inspired to try out. Ava Pfannenbecker ’21 plays first base and is ecstatic. She and two other players met with Head of School Kai Bynum last spring to lobby for the new field (they were hardly alone in that): “I’m super excited about it, and the fact that he listened to us and we got the new field is huge for our team and for the softball program.” The new field is one piece of a $2.7 million athletic upgrade that includes a new home for another deserving Hopkins sport: track and field. Girls and boys teams will be able to host home track meets next year — if not for the first time ever, at least in recent memory. Perhaps more important, they will be able to train on a regulation rubberized track surface, as opposed to grass or unforgiving pavement. The new oval will be a 400-meter track, with eight sprinting lanes and areas at either end for jumping events and the pole vault. It will enable Hopkins athletes to compete in every track and field event and have a shot at winning meets as a team — again for the first time in anyone’s memory. As matters now stand, Hopkins track and field athletes do not have the ability to practice — and therefore don’t compete in — the following events: pole vault, high jump, long jump, triple

jump, and the hurdles. Individually, Hopkins track athletes have done well. Last year, for example, the boys finished second in their division in the 4 x 400-meter relay at the prestigious Penn Relays in Philadelphia. The project was kick-started by generous and anonymous donations from several families that totaled just over a third of the cost. Construction is underway and fundraising continues. The softball diamond will sport a regulation, skinned-clay infield, as opposed to uneven grass. Right field will be dead level rather than on an incline; left field will no longer be marshy, and the entire outfield will be graded, well drained, sodded and irrigated with an underground watering system. There will be a scoreboard, a proper backstop and fencing in front of the players’ benches and down the foul lines. Lauren Gillespie ’20 plays second base, and last year she mastered the bad hops of the makeshift diamond out on Far Field. But she can’t wait to play her last two seasons on regulation softball facilities. “I’m so excited about our new field,” she said. “Everyone is happy we’ll have an official field. It will definitely have an effect on team morale. It will make it more fun. I think getting girls on campus to come out and play will be easier now.” She added, referring to the new 1,000-squarefoot storage building that will be located near third base, “It will be nice not to have to lug all our equipment out there every practice.” Not for nothing is it called Far Field, which is at the extreme southwest corner of campus. “The girls are excited to have their hard work recognized,” said softball coach Angelina Massoia, who added, “Especially because there has been a whole other implication in the past with it being a women’s team and there being a really nice baseball field for the boys; the optics of that are going to improve.” Hopkins Chief Operating and Financial Officer David Baxter, who is overseeing the project, said, “Our goal was to make sure we were bringing real parity in the quality of facilities for the girls, so we, and our architect, took cues from the boys’ field,

NEPSAC News | Summer 2019 | 21

including such features as batting cages, bullpens, everything that you would expect to see in a quality facility.” Head of School Kai Bynum couldn’t agree more. “The softball field made complete sense, to enhance a program that didn’t have a dedicated field on campus,” he said. Putting the project in the context of Hopkins’ Master Plan, Bynum said: “As we deepen our commitment to academics, we want to balance that out by making sure we have excellent experiences in the arts and athletics. The timing for this project was motivated by the generosity of the community. We had several families saying, ‘We’d like to make this happen right away.’” It should be noted that Bynum knows more about track and field than your average head of school. He was a varsity track athlete in high school, competing in all three facets of the sport: in running, jumping, and throwing events. Under persistent questioning, he revealed that his best time in the 100 meters was 10.9 seconds. The new track, under construction now, will be located where track and field athletes have practiced for years, adjacent to the new softball field. It will have a huge impact on the Hopkins Track and Field teams, girls and boys, varsity and JV. It will help female and male athletes to excel in both team and individual competition. Heretofore, Hopkins athletes could not compete in many events or perform in others, like sprints and relays; they were hampered by the lack of a regulation surface to practice on.

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“This will definitely be a game-changer for younger runners,” said Connor Hartigan ’19, a senior on both the track and crosscountry teams. “We’ve always had to do cross-country style training during track season. When I was on the starting line for the 1,500-meter race during my first track meet, I was still trying to figure out when I would be able to break out of my lane!” He added, “Sprinters suffered especially from our lack of a regulation track to train on.” Track Coach Michael Christie said that the new facilities will enhance the possibilities for recruiting. He added, “For example, we have a girl who is really good in the long jump and she wants to get better, but we have been at the mercy of our facilities.” The new track also will be a training, fitness, and wellness resource for participants in other sports, such as cross-country and soccer, and for others on campus who simply want to take a brisk walk around the oval or get in shape for a 5K fun run. According to Dick Webb, senior principal with SMRT, the architectural firm in charge of the project: “The new sports venues will be very competitive, on par with or better than facilities at most other public and private high schools.” The 400-meter oval track will have six lanes for distance events, along with eight straightaway lanes for the 100- and 200-meter sprints. “We start producing the track surface with a bituminous pavement base similar to a road or parking lot,” Webb explained. “Then a synthetic surface goes on top of that base, a resilient rubber system that is paved onto the bituminous concrete; and finally color and additional texture are sprayed on to create the final layer.” The rectangular area inside the track oval will remain grass, where varsity soccer and lacrosse will continue to play. An area inside the south end of the oval will be the venue for the long jump, the triple jump, and the pole vault; a similar space on the opposite end of the oval will be dedicated to the high jump. Throwing events—the shot put, discus, and javelin—will be held two fields over, between the JV baseball and JV soccer fields. “Students, parents, and alumni/ae have been lobbying for this for years,” said Rocco DeMaio ’86, Hopkins Director of Athletics. “It came up a lot. I give campus tours all the time and it is always nice to show off what we have here. The new facilities will be a big plus.” Samantha D’Errico ’20 is a junior and co-captain this year of the Hopkins Softball Team. She will get to compete on a firstclass field, at home, in her senior year. And she is fired up about it. She is fired up about having more people try out for the team and maybe even more spectators making the trek all the way out to Far Field to root for her and her teammates. “Having the new softball field and track is going to be really good for the school,” she said. “It will bring people out to the games and the meets. It will be great for school morale.”

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Views from the Hill.

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