Summer 2020 NEPSAC News Magazine

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A Trusted Voice: Mets Announcer Colin Cosell SUMMER 2020

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In this issue


New England Preparatory School Athletic Council President George Tahan Belmont Hill School Vice-President Martha Brousseau Greenwich Academy Secretary Ryan Frost Cardigan Mountain School Treasurer Jim Smucker Berwick Academy Co-Directors of Championships Lisa Joel Phillips Andover Academy Bob Howe Deerfield Academy Jamie Arsenault New Hampton School Director of Classifications Mark Conroy Williston Northampton School Past Presidents Bob Howe Deerfield Academy Jamie Arsenault New Hampton School Mark Conroy Williston Northampton School Richard Muther St. Paul’s School Middle School Representatives Amber Kuntz Beaver Country Day School Rob Feingold The Fay School District Representatives DISTRICT I

Stefan Jensen Hyde School Nan Hambrose Kents Hill School DISTRICT II

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A Trusted Voice: Mets Announcer Colin Cosell


ix Ways Coaches Can S Promote Long-Term Athletic Development


hen Schools Close, the W Track Goes Virtual



Geoff Barlow Avon Old Farms School Rob Madden Taft School John Egan Christian Heritage 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).


EPSAC in N the National Football League


T he Rivers School’s Evon Burroughs ’98: Uniformly Great



occer Icon Abby Wambach S Visits Loomis Chaffee



HL Internship Offers Insights N to Kimball Union Senior


Matt Lawlor Brewster Academy Tara Brisson Tilton School Ryan Frost Cardigan Mountain School Rob Quinn Berwick Academy Betsy Kennedy Pingree School Jen Viana Cushing Academy Rick Forestiere Thayer Academy

I nvesting in the Game: Spotlight on Prep Fields

E Q Sylvester Honored by St. Paul’s School Alumni Association ardigan Mountain C Community “Helping the Other Fella” Remotely reens Farms Academy’s G Record-Breaking Virtual Dragon Dash

Spotlights John Baldwin ’20 ������������������������������41

Kylee McCumber ’20 ����������������������� 43

St. George’s School

Winchendon School

James Kontulis ’21 ��������������������������� 42

Tom Barry ����������������������������������������� 44

St. Luke’s School

Greens Farms Academy

Departments 4 Around NEPSAC

8 Laurels


ON THE COVER: Mets announcer Colin Cosell on the job in the press box.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 3


President’s Letter George Tahan Belmont Hill School


know this note finds each of us, and our schools, dealing with a summer unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges that we can now most assuredly say will significantly impact the 2020–21 school year. This summer finds all of our member schools trying to determine how to offer academic and extracurricular programs, including athletics, while complying with constantly evolving state COVID-19 regulations. At the same time, our country continues to grapple with serious issues involving systemic racism. This summer also finds NEPSAC member schools leaning into this issue and thinking hard about how to make a difference in their local communities and beyond. The NEPSAC Executive Board has been meeting weekly to work on the above issues in an effort to support our membership as you lean into these complex and challenging issues. As you may recall, the Board sought feedback from member schools to determine what might be needed in order for schools to be able to offer robust athletic programs in 2020–21 given the constraints of COVID-19. That feedback guided the Board to expand NEPSAC’s Out of Season Coaching Policy for the fall of 2020 to allow schools to provide opportunities for winter and spring athletes to work with their coaches, in addition to a school’s normal fall athletic offerings. The Board will continue to consider other ways to support athletic programming as additional COVID-19 regulations become public. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or any Board member, if you have any questions as you work toward finalizing your schools fall athletic offerings. The Board stands ready to help. COVID-19 has also required the Board to spend time working on various options for the NEPSAC Annual Meeting, in the event we are not able to meet in person in November. Several options for the Annual Meeting are being considered including: postponing the meeting until April in the hope of being able to meet in person then; offer a virtual meeting that would allow for online webinars for ADs to attend; offer online webinars throughout the entire school year in lieu of the normal one-day annual meeting. The Board expects to make a decision regarding the Annual Meeting by September 1st. The Board has also spent significant time and energy thinking about how NEPSAC can support member schools as they consider issues of race and equity in the context of their athletic programs. To that end, in order to better support our athletic administrators, coaches, and ultimately, our studentathletes, the NEPSAC Executive Board unanimously approved a proposal to pursue the creation of a new Executive Board position entitled Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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District Presidents were asked to facilitate discussion this summer in online District meetings, as Districts continue to meet in preparation for the fall season. It is the Board’s hope to receive feedback in order to make sure the job description reflects the desires of the membership for the position. Once we have received input on the job description from our Districts, the final version will be presented for a vote of the membership. Finally, the Board has passed a measure to include the following statement on the NEPSAC website: MESSAGE FROM NEPSAC As a core value, NEPSAC believes in and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion among its member schools, student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. The deaths of Black Americans and countless others who have been targeted because of their race are reprehensible and unequivocally wrong. These tragedies, and systemic racism, go against everything NEPSAC and our member schools stand for. NEPSAC will not tolerate racism in any form and remains dedicated to working with member schools to ensure a safe, healthy, fair, anti-racist, and rewarding athletic experience for all. The Board feels it is important that NEPSAC not remain silent at this important time. It also the Board’s hope that once the Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is approved, and a person is appointed to the position, that he or she would begin work on a similar statement to be added to the NEPSAC Bylaws. In closing, I wish you all good luck and good health as you prepare for the challenges ahead in the 2020–21 school year. As always, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions and concerns.

COMMUNICATIONS NOTE The NEPSAC AD email list is updated throughout the year. Please remember to check for the most recent version before sending an email blast. You will find it in the Athletic Directors section of the NEPSAC website.



NEPSAC Calendar

Online Payments and Bank Transfers


by Jim Smucker, Berwick Academy, NEPSAC Treasurer

hank you for your continued support and efforts in 2019–2020! It is clear that the payment process is becoming more efficient every year. NEPSAC will continue to distribute funds to the appropriate groups, work with our bookkeeper and accountant to comply as a non-profit organization, and we will continue to keep you updated as things progress. 2020–2021 Dues are now available to be paid on online ( and are all due on October 15:

September 15 | Executive Board at TBD (9:15 a.m.) October 6 | Executive Board at TBD (9:15 a.m.) November 16 | Executive Board at TBD (3:00 p.m.) November 17 | Annual Meeting at TBD January 12 | Executive Board at TBD (9:15 a.m.) February 16 | Executive Board at TBD (9:15 a.m.) May 4 | Executive Board at TBD (9:15 a.m.)

Got news to share with other NEPSAC schools? Are congratulations in order for a student, coach or team?

Coaches Association Dues The following Coaches Associations will not be having dues for the 2020–2021 year:

»» Field Hockey »» Boys Soccer »» Volleyball

Send the details to and we’ll put it in the next issue.

NEPSAC Dues »» $225 per school District Dues »» District I - please send check to your President »» District II, III, IV - please pay online NEPSAC Directories NEPSAC Directories will be available in mid-September. At that time you will receive more information regarding online payments for these Directories. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Jim Smucker or Laurie Sachs

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NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 5


Henry T. Lane


enry T. Lane passed away peacefully on April 23, 2020 in Vero Beach, FL. Born on July 10, 1930, to Henry T. Lane Sr. and Margaret (Shea) Lane, he grew up in Newton Centre and spent many happy days playing baseball at the Weeks Field. He attended St. Sebastian’s School in Newton, graduating in 1949. Henry served in the Marine Corps during the Korean Conflict. Upon his return, he resumed his studies at Boston College and graduated in 1955. He returned to St. Sebastian’s as a teacher and hockey coach in 1955. Henry would spend his entire career at St. Sebastian’s teaching various courses, as well as coaching hockey, baseball and tennis. He was appointed Athletic Director in 1973, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1998. The Henry T. Lane Rink, at the school’s new location in Needham, was named in his honor. Henry married Patricia A. Burns on August 20, 1958. He always said she was the perfect wife for him. Both avid tennis enthusiasts, Henry and Pat moved to Sherborn, MA in 1970 where they spent many happy years playing tennis, with family and friends. He continued to play tennis competitively throughout his life. He won the Father Daughter National Grass Court Championship in 2010, playing with his daughter Jennifer. After 43 years, Henry retired in 1998. They moved to Osterville, MA, spending the winter months in Vero Beach, FL. He was frequently in touch with former students who often came to visit or talk on the telephone. A life-long sports fan, he loved watching sports, especially baseball, with his son and grandchildren. A devout Catholic, Henry was a communicant of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Osterville and Holy Cross Catholic Church in Vero Beach, FL. He was predeceased by his wife Patricia, in 2015 and his brother Kevin in 2009. He is survived by his son Mark, his wife Susan and grandchildren Lily and Graham of West Barnstable, daughter Jennifer, her husband Patrick Pitts of Vero Beach, FL, brother-in-law Henry Burns and his wife Mary Jo of Olympia, WA, sister-in-law Mary Lane of Falmouth, MA and many nieces and nephews. Due to coronavirus restrictions, burial will be private. A Memorial Mass will be scheduled at a later date. Donations may be made in his memory to the Henry T. Lane ’49 Scholarship Fund at For online guestbook, visit www.johnlawrencefuneralhome. com. For video tributes, visit

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Thomas H. Buffinton


homas H. Buffinton, age 99, of Plymouth, formerly of Marion, died peacefully on Saturday, May 16. He was the husband of the late Sally (Waring) Buffinton for 69 years. Born Nov. 8, 1920 in Williamstown, to the late Professor Arthur H. Buffinton and Mary (Edwards) Buffinton. As a young student at Williamstown High School he was a class officer, Student Council member and Captain of the football team. He graduated from Williams College in the Class of 1944 and earned his Master’s degree from Trinity College in 1955. He served in the Pacific in the Navy, as a Lt (jg) Combat Information Officer. His destroyer, the USS Sutherland, was the first US war ship to enter Tokyo Bay at the conclusion of World War II. Proud to be an educator, his first assignment was at Suffield Academy in Connecticut. In 1952 he moved to Marion and taught at Tabor Academy where he spent the remainder of his career as a History Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, Dean of the Tabor Summer Camp and Chairman of the History Department. He received the Trustees’ Award for Distinguished Service and was inducted into the first class of the Tabor Athletic Hall of Fame. He also received a Fellow at the John Hay Summer Institute at Williams College; served as the Assistant Director of the John Hay Summer Institute at the University of Oregon; served as President of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC); was awarded the Rudolf Weyerhaeuser Driscoll Chair for History at Tabor and received the NEPSAC Distinguished Service Award. What was most important to him throughout his career, was his time teaching. He taught English, math, European, Medieval and Ancient History and finally, his true passion, American History. He didn’t teach dates and places, he taught “what, when, how and why.” In the context of an historical event, he taught what happened, how it occurred and why it impacted life and history. Additionally, he taught his students how to write and to think critically. During retirement, his days continued to be full and he was happiest when spending time with his beloved family, sailing on Buzzards Bay, consuming history books, gardening and cheering for his favorite sports teams. He is survived by his son Thomas H. Buffinton, III and his wife Wendy of Plymouth, and his daughter Holly Buffinton Bove and her husband Vic of Essex. Additionally, he leaves five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren, along with several nieces and nephews. Due to current restrictions, a private service will be held and a celebration to honor his memory will be planned at a later date. To acknowledge the incredible care he received, the family has asked that contributions be made in his memory to Cranberry Hospice, 36 Cordage Park Circle, Suite 326, Plymouth, MA 02360. Arrangements by the Waring-Sullivan Home, Fairhaven, MA. To leave a message of condolence, please visit:


Writing Home

Postcards from the Districts

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 7


Girls Hockey Coach of the Year Award Named for Lori Charpentier by Christa Talbot Syfu


ver the past few years, the New England Prep School Girls Ice Hockey Association (NEPSGIHA) has received the suggestion to have an annual award to honor a coach of the year. This past year we honored six former coaches and their contributions to girls prep hockey by naming our end of year tournaments and MVPs after them. We felt this would also be a great opportunity to start a tradition of honoring an outstanding coach at the end of each season with a Coach of the Year award. Nominations will come from our coaching group, then we will vote and award this annually at our spring meeting. In 2020 we decided that the Coach of the Year Award will be in honor of Lori Charpentier and she will be our first recipient. The award recognizes her outstanding leadership, vision, dedication and the valuable contributions which she made to the cause and stature of New England girls prep hockey. It will be awarded annually to a coach Lori Charpentier’s contributions to girls ice hockey will be long remembered.

Career Roundup Kimball Union Academy

1994–97 (3 seasons) 73–6–2 record 3 New England Finals 2 New England Championships

Berkshire School

1997–2007 (10 seasons) 224–45–16 record 4 New England Finals 3 New England Championships

Brooks School

2009–10, 2012–2020 (9 seasons as head coach) 130–82–15 record 1 New England Finals

8 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

who displays “integrity, mentorship, achievement, and leadership;” someone consistently giving back to the game and looking to promote the growth of our sport in and out of the league. In 22 seasons as a head coach, Lori’s teams made 20 playoff appearances, and she racked up a career record of 427–133–33. She stepped away from coaching at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

We greatly appreciate all of Lori’s outstanding contributions to our sport. She served as a tremendous role model for her athletes and our association. Lori is a fierce competitor and pushes her athletes to excel while teaching them the importance of teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship. We are so pleased to honor future coaches in her honor.

Got news to share with other NEPSAC schools? Are congratulations in order for a student, coach or team? Send the details to and we’ll put it in the next issue.


Jack Schneider named Grinold Scholar-Athlete


hayer Academy’s Jack Schneider ’20 was recently named to the 45th annual Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation Team. The prestigious award recognizes studentathlete excellence on the football field, in the classroom, and within the community. Thayer Head Football Coach Jeff Toussaint ’82 congratulated Schneider on the award and for maintaining such a strong academic record throughout his high school career. On the football field, Toussaint said, Schneider has the speed, strength, and ability to elude and defeat tacklers, which makes him a threat to score anytime he has the ball. He can catch the short pass, run the deep route, take a handoff, and return punts and kicks. On defense, Schneider is a hard-hitting, sure tackler with a knack for making big plays. “He holds just about all of the school’s receiving records,” added the coach. But what truly separates Schneider, said Toussaint, is his work ethic. “What impresses me about Jack is his desire to get better every day,” said Toussaint. “He is tireless in his extra work, running routes before and after practice. He sets a great example for his teammates.” A Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic and an ISL AllLeague selection, the wide receiver / defensive back captained the 2019 squad with Danya Abrams ’20 and Myles Wilson ’21.

Jack Schneider ’20 makes a catch this past fall. He holds many of the school’s receiving records.

Schneider will continue both his academic and football career this fall at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. For a link to the Boston Globe article on the selection, please click here. For a link to the Boston Herald article on the selection, please click here.


Doug Burbank Receives Squash Lifetime Achievement Award


ongratulations to Brooks School coach Doug Burbank, who received the New England Interscholastic Squash Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award on February 29, 2020, in recognition of his decades of success as a coach and champion of the sport in New England.


Tori Whitcher Receives Humanitarian Award

Dexter Southfield coach Tori Whitcher.


ongratulations to Dexter South­field field hockey coach Tori Whitcher, who received the USA Field Hockey Humanitarian Award in June. The award is presented to an individual who has transcended the game of field hockey and achieved something inspirational to us all. This individual has used field hockey to better themselves, his/her community and beyond. Tori Whitcher is the co-owner of Sport EuroTour, a family-owned company that is built around giving high school field hockey players from the United States the opportunity to travel abroad and experience European field hockey culture from a training and travel standpoint. She is constantly providing guidance to athletes everywhere regarding college-recruiting, goal-setting, creating good habits. Most recently, Whitcher has been running weekly free seminars to help the field hockey community through the current COVID-19 situation. Her topics cover everything from mental health awareness to creating drills at home and offers outside resources to stay active and mentally fit during this time. Tori embraces the field hockey community by connecting players as much as she can, especially through the use of social media, promoting other hockey clubs and programs doing good. The experience she gives athletes has a big impact in shaping who they become as future females in sport.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 9

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A Trusted Voice

King School Alumnus and New York Mets Announcer Colin Cosell by Bob York SPONSORED BY: SPORTSGRUB


t’s been nearly four decades now since a 5-year-old youngster routinely crawled up into his grandfather’s lap, slipped on a pair of headphones to listen to a sound check of “Papa’s” radio sports talk show and then was handed the microphone to try a little jock talk of his own. The youngster was Colin Cosell. His grandfather was Howard Cosell, “and I knew right then and there that whatever I did when I grew up, it would have to be something related to talking into a microphone,” said Cosell. Well, bingo, that dream job of his became reality three years ago when he, along with Marysol Castro, were named public address announcers for the New York Mets. “It was mesmerizing,” recalled Cosell of listening to his late grandfather’s voice that was heard throughout the country via his daily “Speaking of Sports” show on ABC Radio that aired from his home in the Hamptons. “In fact, I pride myself on doing the best imitation of my grandfather in the world,” quipped Cosell of his impersonation of the booming voice that helped his grandfather become one of America’s best-known sportscasters and a voice that still resonates to this Colin Cosell calls a Mets game in the press box. day on ESPN’s Classic Channel. Like his grandfather, Cosell doesn’t appear to have strayed too far from a microphone during his Cosell — out of the park. This deadly plague hasn’t silenced first 40 years. Following his days helping “Papa” prepare him, however. for his talk shows, he became quite adept at singing and Gone, for now, are the days Cosell would find himself in the frequently performed in school musicals — such as “West Side Mets’ press box, announcing to everyone in Citi Field everything Story” — while attending The King School (’97) in his hometown they needed to know about the game’s next batter, whether he of Stamford, Conn. This spring, meanwhile, would have marked be friend or foe. As each and every batter made his trek from Cosell’s third season in the Mets’ press box, but as everyone the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, Cosell would speak those knows by now, the coronavirus has knocked baseball — including magic words “now batting” into his mic and then announce the player’s position … then his number … then his name … in that exact order. This spring, Covid-19 stole the game … the fans … the press box … the player introductions away from Cosell and left him with only his trusty microphone, but that’s all he really needs. Those thespian skills he acquired while at The

whatever I did when I grew up, it would have to be something related to talking into a microphone

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 11

in length and takes Cosell between seven to 10 minutes to create. The majority of time he spent on constructing the introductions was devoted to finding and inserting the requested walk-up music. “All they had to do was provide me with their name … a uniform number … a position … plus a favorite song they’d like to hear on the call-up,” explained Cosell, who knows a bit about being introduced in the athletic arena. During his four years at The King School he didn’t exactly lock himself away in the theater, as he played hockey and soccer as well. In fact, his love of both theater and athletics would later team up to help Cosell earn three Emmy Awards for his work with the Madison Square Garden Varsity Network. While the majority of his customers have been staunch Mets fans, some haven’t, such as the Atlanta Braves’ follower who contacted Cosell and wanted him to fashion his introduction as though he were a visiting player, thus missing the love — but not the boos — a member of the home team would receive. He has also received requests from nonbaseball buffs seeking intros featuring football, basketball and hockey. He even received a call-up assignment from Colin Cosell returned to his prep school roots last year when he called a King vs. someone seeking an introduction for a Ridgefield Academy football game. Photo by Wendell Maxey. niece, who was a synchronized swimmer. And there’s more … Cosell received bids that had nothing to do with sports what so ever. He received King School and would later elevate him to earn an internship call-ups from couples whose weddings were postponed due on “Saturday Night Live,” weren’t about to abandon him now. to the coronavirus and he’s performed his magic for couples Working from one of two places: a closet in his home on wishing to announce they were now first-time parents. Others, Long Island — with a lot of clothing to help absorb the sound — or meanwhile, simply use the recordings for their phone ringtones from his car, Cosell opted to replace his introductions of big or on outgoing messages. league batters during this health-induced quarantine with As for the music requests, those have had Cosell searching personalized and customized introductions for, quite simply, files for everything from classic rock to country in order to anyone and everyone who wanted one. All they had to do was keep his customers happy. In the end, however, he had to contact Cosell on Twitter at “Call Me Up Colin.” rank “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC as the most frequented pick to “I started ‘Call Me Up Colin’ (on March 14) because I felt accompany the requested introductions. it was a good way of keeping in touch with the fans during a While Cosell played four years of varsity soccer during his harrowing time … at a time when they’re scared … when they’re stay at King, hockey was where he left his mark – although it unsure of the future and need some normalcy in their lives,” may have taken a while to do so. explained Cosell. “Plus, I’m doing something I love to do and “During my freshman year, Adam Rosenthal, a teacher at it just snowballed … to be honest I never dreamed it would be the school, opted to revive the hockey program … and that’s this successful. When I cut off taking requests back on May 6, exactly what he did,” remembers Cosell. “That first year was I’d had just over 1,200 applications.” rough, we barely scratched together enough kids for a team … Although Cosell, who received about 150 requests that first as I remember we recruited just enough players to make up two week, made it his mission to fulfill every request he received, offensive lines and two pair of defensemen.” he quickly began prioritizing those requests. Atop the list were That left just one position to fill: goaltender. And that job those from essential workers during this pandemic such as would go to the one and only member on the roster who had any healthcare workers, first responders and others who had been prior experience at defending the pipes: Colin Cosell. directly affected by the virus. Each request is about 30 seconds

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“I’d played goalie before … I’d played quite a bit, in fact,” explained Cosell, who would be named captain of the team his senior year, “the only trouble was I’d just played goalie in street hockey … I’d never played ice hockey before. So, like just about everyone else on the team, I faced a learning curve. “We weren’t very good that first year,” remembers Cosell, whose debut for the Vikings resulted in a 14-3 loss. “We

looking to find a sense of normalcy. Whether it is connecting with a familiar face via a video chat, or hearing a friendly voice via the phone, we are all looking for something or someone to provide comfort. For Mets fans, that comfort may be in hearing Colin Cosell … his audio has certainly been a delightful sound during this unsure time.” As far as the way Cosell viewed his bid to bring a bit of normality to a chaotic world, he closed out Carafelo’s story by saying: “Thank you to all the fans for participating. Your reactions have been touching (and some he would admit had also brought grown men to tears). Thank you for allowing me to give you a sense of normalcy. This is truly an honor and a privilege.”

it was a good way of keeping in touch with the fans during a harrowing time steadily improved over the years though, and were a .500 team by our junior season and we went 10-4 our senior season and qualified for the playoffs.” As for a highlight of his goaltending career, Cosell remembered that moment as though it happened just yesterday, rather than his senior season nearly a quarter-century ago. “It was a 10-0 shutout of the Harvey School, our archrivals,” said Cosell. “I had 23 saves.” Howard Cosell, who was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2007, died in April of 1995, during Colin’s sophomore year at King, “so he didn’t get to see me play much hockey,” said Cosell, who went on to play intramural hockey at The State University of New York, “but he did get a chance to watch a number of plays I performed in. “He was your typical doting grandparent,” added Cosell, “and I always looked forward to spending time at his house and not just because of being a part of his radio broadcast. I also enjoyed going there because you never knew who was going to be there … it seemed as though there was always some wellknown person there, whether it be an athlete, a movie star or a politician. For a 5-year-old, having the opportunity to meet some of the people who would show up at his home on any given day was pretty neat.” The elder Cosell was probably best known for joining Frank Gifford and Don Meredith in the broadcast booth in 1970 as the trio who brought Monday Night Football to life and marked the first time that American football was televised weekly in prime time. “Another thing he was well known for was his deep friendship with Mohammad Ali,” said Cosell. “The two became very close over the years and I remember my grandfather telling me that Ali was the brightest man he’d ever met.” What a lot of people might not be aware of, however, is that Ali suffered from dyslexia, “and my grandfather helped teach him how to read and write.” Cosell is hopeful Major League Baseball will find its way back to playing ball this summer and allow him to return to his job in the Citi Field press box. Whether he does or doesn’t, however, this will still likely mark the most influential time he has ever spent in front of a microphone. The way Will Carafelo, the Mets social media director, wrote of his colleague, “During this world-wide pandemic, everyone is

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Investing in the Game

Spotlighting the top prep facilities in New England by Jonathan Sigal, New England Soccer Journal


nyone who’s played soccer in New England knows that fall includes beautiful scenery, with foliage and the cool air creating a perfect environment for the beautiful game. But that’s only part of forming a memorable gameday experience, with the field often a complete gamechanger. Teams can desire attractive soccer — a proactive style where they’re on the front foot and pinging passes around to create final-third

chances — but those hopes go out the window if the surface is poor. Bumpy grass, turf that feels more artificial than real and tight confines all factor in. Prep schools around the region have confronted those challenges head-on, with many investing to maintain ideal fields for boys and girls teams. Here’s a selection of six throughout New England that lead the way.


Dusty Richard Field, Anna K. Trustey Field

This Independent School League program is home to one of the best soccer facilities in the entire NEPSAC. Brooks serves up six game fields, allowing for rotation and avoiding overuse issues that other schools sometimes confront, especially as colder temperatures and rain settle in. The three girls’ surfaces overlook the lake on Brooks’ campus in North Andover, Mass., and the boys’ are closer to the turf field. One notable surface is Dusty Richard Field, named after the school’s longtime boys varsity head

coach, which was resurfaced in 2014. There’s also the Anna K. Trustey turf field, which is lighted and allows for night games. Brooks also hosted the 2018 NEPSAC girls championship games, showing how the entire facility is well-respected around the region. For one more touch: Training grids allow Brooks to save the wear and tear of game fields.

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Peter Carriuolo ’77 Field There’s something special about playing on a manicured grass field, especially when compared to turf’s easier maintenance requirements. Peter Carriuolo ’77 Field contains one of the best grass surfaces across the NEPSAC, letting this all-boys school remain an annual contender in Class A. The complex was built in 2006, opened in 2007 and features bluegrass with an automatic irrigation system. Sitting at 115x73, there’s training space on the side and a hillside area for spectators. The covered benches are a nice touch, too, especially when rainy days set into Avon, Conn.


Farr Field, Father’s Field

This all-boys school in South Kent, Conn., is no stranger to success, with the Class B powerhouse program winning six NEPSAC titles during the 2010s. The Cardinals have two great surfaces where the magic happens: Farr Field and Father’s Field. Farr (116x76) is a turf complex that was built in 2017 and has Kwik Goal covered benches, netting behind the goals and elevated viewing and film areas. As for Father’s (120x80), the natural grass field was redone in

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2013 and complements a 50x70 natural grass training area that allows head coach Owen Finberg’s team to prepare. Soccer has priority access to both fields year-round, and the school’s also hosted Beachside and New York City FC academy teams for preseason games. South Kent continually produces Division 1-level players, and has a facility befitting of such prestige.



New Balance Field, Morse Field

Compton Family Field, Peller Family Field The Hoggers are home to arguably the NEPSAC’s best all-around soccer facility, with seven grass fields and two turf fields. The girls program plays on Compton Family Field and the boys program competes on Peller Family Field — two grass surfaces that allow a dynamic, possession-oriented style to shine.

There’s no better prep school field in New England than New Balance Field, a grass surface that’s around five miles from the main campus in Worcester, Mass. It’s aptly named, too, after investment from New Balance CEO Jim Davis, one of the school’s most-prominent alums. The full-size surface is maintained impeccably well, and it allows the Hilltoppers to get the ball down and play. It’s seen plenty of wins, with the boys program Class A champions

in 2019 and the girls program a regular in the NEPSAC tournament. If New Balance Field isn’t used, Worcester Academy also has Morse Field, which is named after former head of school Dexter P. Morse and his wife, Barbara, and is a half-mile away from the main campus. The turf surface has lights and was memorably used to host the 2018 NEPSAC boys soccer championships on an emergency basis when snow required a last-minute shift.


Smoyer Field

The varsity fields are both crowned and irrigated, and are nestled in the Connecticut River Valley, creating a picturesque backdrop along the hillside. Both Compton and Peller Fields are 115x75 and have ample space for fans along the fenced-in sidelines, while the turf fields allow the grass ones to be preserved. NMH has hosted the NEPSAC championship matches Smoyer Field is immediately distinguishable for and served as a desits pristine grass surface and the surrounding tination for Yale pracblue track, a testament to the school’s colorway. tices during their way The single field in Andover, Mass., hosts dozens to play Dartmouth. of games each fall, allowing the Big Blue to get Former NMH and the ball down and play a proactive style. Yale captain Miguel Smoyer exists separate from Phelps Yuste said, “Peller is Stadium, Andover’s lighted facility that boasts a truly special place seating for more than 2,000 spectators. And to me… In all my while the track is an unusual touch for grass career, whether in fields, the entire setting is ideal for playing the Spain, prep school or game the right way. college, I rarely found Looking historically, Andover’s boys a pitch that matched program last won the Class A title in 1995, while the quality and atmothe girls brought the trophy home in 2007, 2009 sphere of Peller.” and 2015.

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2020 NFL Season to Include Plenty of NEPSAC Talent by Bob York



hat light at the end of the tunnel that AJ Dillon often imagined seeing during his days at Lawrence Academy and Boston College wasn’t the light from an oncoming train, after all. It turned out to be the bright lights of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Granted, Green Bay isn’t known for its bright lights, but it has more than enough to illuminate Lambeau Field and as of April 25, they’re the only lights Dillon is fixated on. Lambeau is the home of the Green Bay Packers and that’s where he’s hoping to be hanging out for the next decade or so after the Packers made the former LA and BC running back the 62nd pick in the second round of last month’s National Football League draft. Dillon was one of the marquee names plucked from the NCAA ranks during the draft and is also one of the top running backs to ever appear on a New England Prep School Athletic Council football roster. He wasn’t the only NEPSAC alum whose tunnel vision went viral during the draft, though, as Matt Peart, an offensive tackle out of the University of Connecticut — by way of Governor’s Academy — was chosen 99th in the third round by the New York Giants. NEPSAC also had five other former standouts see their dreams come true following the draft as they signed on the dotted line as free agents. They were Yale offensive guard Dieter Eiselen (Chicago Bears), who played his prep ball at Choate, while Georgetown wide receiver Michael Dereus (Baltimore Ravens), got his start at Williston Northampton. Ole Miss defensive lineman Austrian Robinson (Carolina Panthers) played at Trinity-Pawling, with Temple wide receiver Isaiah Wright (Washington Redskins) having played at KingswoodOxford. Tulane offensive guard Christian Montano (Steelers), meanwhile, began his climb to the NFL at Hamden Hall. “I’m not surprised at all that AJ was selected in the second round of the NFL draft … the first time I ever saw him play football, I knew he was going to be a great one,” said Paul Zukauskas, who was the head coach at Lawrence Academy during Dillon’s four-year run through NEPSAC and the Independent School League that saw him help the Spartans chalk up a pair of bowl titles as well as three straight ISL pennants. “He’s one of the premier running backs to ever play New England prep school football,” added Zukauskas, of Dillon, who completed his stay at Lawrence — which ended four games into his senior season with a broken leg — with 4,280 yards rushing and 65 touchdowns in just 26 games. “I don’t know of any running back to come through these parts in the past 20 years who could run with a football the way he could. He had the (6-3, 240) size to run over linebackers and the speed (he owns the school’s 100-yard dash record) to outrun defensive backs.” In fact, during his junior season alone, Dillon, who was

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actively recruited by schools such as Alabama, Wisconsin and at one point, had committed to play for Michigan, rambled for 1,887 yards and 26 touchdowns and for his exploits, was later named both the NEPSAC and ISL Player of the Year. Zukauskas knows of what he speaks when it comes to football as he earned All-State honors as well as Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic laurels while playing at St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.) and later garnered All-American and All-Big East laurels during a four-year career as an offensive tackle at Boston College. He was the first true freshman in 20 years to start on the Eagles offensive line and during his senior year, prior to being selected in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Zukauskas was part of a BC line that allowed just six sacks all season. Zukauskas reflected on a young Dillon out of New London, CT, who entered Lawrence Academy at just over six feet and 215 pounds and left four years later at 240 pounds, “and he only got faster,” said his mentor. In fact, Zukauskas liked him so much, he played Dillon on both sides of the ball. On defense, he played linebacker, “and he played it so well, I’m quite confident he could have played linebacker at BC if they had wanted to make the switch. Dillon’s versatility and overall athletic ability shined during the NFL combine where he graded out with an overall score of 84. He earned that grade by posting a time of 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, which is equal to 18.06 miles per hour. He bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times, had a vertical leap of 41.0 inches and a broad jump of 131 inches. Ironically, both NEPSAC draftees kept in touch with each other — literally — during their NEPSAC and collegiate careers as they faced off against each other every fall; both Lawrence and Governor’s are members of the ISL. “As I remember, I think we split those four games,” said Jim O’Leary, the Governor’s coach, “and they were always highly competitive games, as are all ISL games. The key to victory in all of those games against Lawrence was shutting down AJ. Fortunately, we had someone like Matt (Peart) who, at 6-6, 260, played both offensive tackle and defensive end for us and helped keep AJ at bay.” The two also met on the collegiate level their sophomore seasons, when BC hosted UConn at Fenway Park. The Eagles won the game, 39–16, thanks in great part to Dillon, who rambled for 202 yards on 24 carries, including touchdown jaunts of 53 and 20 yards.

Lawrence alumnus AJ Dillon will suit up with the Green Bay Packers. Photo courtesy Lawrence Academy/Jon Chase

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Dillon also crossed paths with at least one other NFL wannabe during his days at Lawrence Academy when he took on Williston Northampton and its No. 1 weapon, wide receiver Michael Dereus, in a 2014 bowl game. “It was one of the most memorable football games I’ve ever been involved in,” recounted Mark Conroy, Williston’s athletic director and its football coach at the time. “I can remember that behind the running of Dillon, Lawrence jumped out and led 27–0 at halftime. In the second half, however, we managed to contain him and finally got our offense going and came back and at one point, led 28–27. In the end though, we lost a tremendous game 35–34.” “AJ’s just a freak when it comes to running backs,” said Rich Gunnell, the Eagles running backs coach who was a wide receiver at BC and ranks third in career receptions with 181. “He has all the physical ingredients … the size, the power and the speed … to run over, around and through his opponents,” he said of Dillon, who earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors as well as three straight berths on the All-ACC first team and AllAmerican laurels. “I’m not surprised AJ went so high in the draft … we all knew what he brought to the game and obviously, the Packers did, too,” added Gunnell of the future BC Hall of Famer, who despite leaving college a year early for the draft, departs as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,382 yards as well as its leader in rushing touchdowns (38), total touchdowns (40) and all-purpose yards (4,618). It’s probably hard to believe now, but Matt Peart, who stands in at 6-7 and 303 pounds, was a late bloomer. When Peart was a freshman at Governor’s, he was just 6-5, 250. The other fact that’s hard to believe, according to Jim O’Leary, Peart’s coach at Governor’s, was “he’d never played football before he came to school here. He came here primarily as a basketball player and now look at him … he’s a third-round pick in the NFL draft by the New York Giants.” Under O’Leary’s tutelage, however, Peart caught on quickly and was soon playing on both sides of the ball — at offensive tackle and defensive

end  —  and helped Governor’s capture four consecutive league crowns as well as four straight bowl appearances. “Because Matt was new to the game, it was a rather slow process at first,” said O’Leary, “but once he caught on, he became a natural at what he did both on offense and defense. With his size, his long arms (35 5/8 inches) to help keep defenders away from him and his quick footwork, I always felt offensive tackle would be a perfect position for him on the collegiate level. “Matt’s a great kid,” added O’Leary. “He worked hard to get to where is now and deserves this opportunity. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.” While offensive linemen don’t make a habit of hogging the stat sheets, Peart’s record at UConn speaks for itself: he started on the offensive line in all 48 games on the Huskies’ schedule during his four-year career there. What’s more, the senior captain, who was named to the first-team American Athletic Conference All-Conference Team, was invited to play in the 2020 Senior Bowl and take part in the NFL Combine. “Matt’s a great kid and an extremely hard worker who does whatever is asked of him,” said UConn line coach Frank Givfre. “There’s a lot to like about his size, his strength, his lengthy arm span and his quick feet. They’re all necessary to play anywhere along the offensive line in the NFL, but particularly at tackle. “Matt put up some good numbers for himself at the combine,” added Givfre, “and if he just keeps putting one foot in front of the other come training camp, I feel quite confident he’ll do all right for himself.” Mike Dereus was a two year student at Williston Northampton where he earned first-team All-League both seasons and All NEPSAC honors as a wide receiver his senior season. In fact, he finished his 15 game Williston career with 52 catches for 1,115 yards and 16 touchdowns. “Mike was not only an impact player for us … he was an impact person for Matt Peart had never played football prior to attending Governor’s. He was a third round pick for the Giants in the NFL draft.

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the entire Williston community,” said Williston football coach Mark Conroy. “He was a tremendous representative for his family and for his school. “He had God-given speed and a tremendous work ethic and we tried to take advantage of both here at Williston,” quipped Conroy. “In fact, I use to joke that our favorite play when he was here was, ‘Mike, go long!’ Our quarterback could not overthrow Mike (who owns the school records in the 100 and 200 meter dashes) who specialized in big plays in big moments!” “For Mike, getting this shot with the Ravens has to be the thrill of a lifetime,” added Conroy, “and it’s a testament to his hard work and his athletic ability that has put him in this spot and I know the entire Williston Northampton community wishes him the best of luck.” As a Hoya, Dereus wrapped up a productive career this past fall by earning a first-team berth on the AllPatriot League squad following a season in which he chalked up 41 catches for team-high marks in yards (726) and five touchdowns. Through four years of collegiate action, Dereus posted 115 catches for 1,879 yards and 13 touchdowns. His first appearance on a Hoya highlight film came during his freshman season when he posted a 100yard kickoff return against Holy Cross. Like Matt Peart, Dieter Eiselen entered the realm of prep school football without ever having played the game. Peart had four years to prepare for his collegiate debut, however. Eiselen, who entered Choate as a postgraduate, had just one. “Dieter attended a Yale football camp the summer prior to coming here,” explained LJ Spinnato, the Choate football coach, “and despite his lack of experience, they liked what they saw in a 6-4, 315-pound kid who could run a 40-yard dash in 5.26.” So, Yale signed him up and Choate supplied this South African, who was well versed in rugby, with a crash course in Football 101. He passed with flying colors, too, as he

Williston’s Mike Dereus earned a spot with the Ravens after an outstanding Georgetown career.

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get his shot at a job in the NFL,” said Trinity Pawling coach Nick LaFontaine. “The Rams were also very interested in him, but in the end he opted for the Panthers because he felt he had a better opportunity at earning a roster spot with them.” Robinson highlighted his career at Old Miss prior to his senior season by being named recipient of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which is the school’s most cherished football honor. It’s named in remembrance of Chucky Mullins, an Ole Miss defensive back who was paralyzed following an injury he sustained during a game in 1989 and subsequently died from complications of those injuries in 1991. In 1990, the school created the award, which is South African Dieter Eiselen picked up American football during a postgraduate year at annually presented to a defensive player Choate. This former Boar will become a Bear in the NFL. and recipients receive a framed Mullins jersey as well as the honor of wearing settled in quite nicely along the defensive line and helped lead Mullins’ No. 38 uniform the following season, which Robinson the Boars to a 2015 NEPSAC championship. did his senior season. “Being so new to the game, we figured we’d start him off on Robinson’s career at Trinity-Pawling caught many a defense and as he grew more comfortable playing the game, we recruiting eye, as various scouting services rated him as the began using him at offensive tackle over the last four games No. 33 defensive end in the country his senior season, as well of the season as well. He’s a smart guy and he caught on to as the No. 59 offensive tackle. As far as his home state of New playing offense pretty quickly.” Eiselen was situated at guard while playing at Yale and earned All-Ivy League honors his junior and senior seasons. As a junior he helped the Bulldogs chalk up the top-rated rushing game in the Ivies, while as a senior, his blocking sparked Yale to the top spot in the league in total offense. For his outstanding play, Eiselen earned first-team All-Ivy and Third-Team All-American honors, plus Yale’s Hammer Award, which goes to the team’s hardest hitter. Austrian Robinson entered Trinity Pawling as a 6-5, 280-pound basketball player and three years later, he departed for Ole Miss as a football recruit. Then, late last month, he inked a free agent contract as a defensive lineman with the Carolina Panthers. “Austrian’s just a great kid, who’s very humble and very grateful to be getting this opportunity, but he earned it … he worked very hard over the years to

Trinity-Pawling alumnus Austrian Robinson will be flying high in his new Carolina Panthers uniform.

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York was concerned, he was listed that season by various scouts as the second or third leading prospect in the state. Isaiah Wright is one of the most dynamic football players to ever slip on a KingswoodOxford football uniform as he played on both sides of the football for coach Jason Martinez and helped lead KO to three league titles and a pair of NEPSAC bowl appearances. “Isaiah was rated as the number-three college recruit in Connecticut his senior year here,” said Martinez of his charge, who earned all-conference laurels for three consecutive years and was voted All NEPSAC as a junior and senior before heading off to a productive career at Temple University. “He had the athletic ability, the speed and the intelligence to be an outstanding football player and now he’s going to get an opportunity to show what he can do on the NFL level with the Washington Redskins and I can’t wait to see how he does. “In addition to his talent level, I think his versatility will also help him land a job in the NFL,” added Martinez. “In addition to being able to catch a football, he can also throw it and he can also run with it too … he has good speed and is very elusive.” While at KO, Wright registered 91 catches for 1,917 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also played in the secondary on defense and logged 74 total tackles, 44 of them being solo tackles. He also registered four interceptions as well as a pair of fumble recoveries. During his sophomore season at Temple, Wright showed off that versatility for all the world to see by becoming just the sixth FBS player in the past decade to score five different ways – receiving, rushing, passing, kickoff return and punt return—in the same season. Overall, Wright covered a lot of territory during his career with the Owls. As a receiver, he caught 134 passes for 1,552 yards and 12 touchdowns while he rushed for 552 yards on 91 carries and three scores. A total of 84 kickoff returns accounted for 2,029 yards and two TDs, while 43 punt returns added 444 more yards and three more scores to his credit. In all, Wright finished his career at Temple with 4,577 yards in total offense.

Kingswood alumnus Isaiah Wright will play for the Washington Redskins this fall. Photo by Clayton J. Miles

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Christian Montano’s trek from the preps to the pros began at Hamden Hall, where the 6-4, 300-pounder proved to be the center of attention of coach Joe Lenta’s offensive line. “Chris was not only a hard worker, but a tireless worker as well,” remembers Lenta of his former center and defensive tackle who signed on as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers following this year’s NFL draft. “Whether he was playing offense or defense, he was always prepared to do his job and his physical and mental preparation served him well.” It did indeed, in addition to being named team captain his senior season at Hamden Hall, he culminated his prep career by being named first team All NEPSAC and first team All-Fairchester League. He then moved on to Brown, where he moved over to tackle early in his junior season and made the most of the shift by earning All-Ivy credentials following his junior and senior campaigns.

This past fall, Montano took his game to Tulane as a graduate transfer student and started all 13 games at center for the Green Wave. He then wrapped up the year by being named the 2019 Walter Camp Connecticut Football Player of the Year. This award is presented to the top college football player who is a resident and/or played scholastically in the state of Connecticut.

The NEPSAC SPECIAL NEWS is sponsored by SportsGrub. SportsGrub provides athletic teams with nutritional meals delivered directly to their event. We provide a diverse menu that athletes can order from directly in our app. Don’t just play to win, plan to win with healthy and delicious meals from SportsGrub. Contact us for more information at

Chris Montano is trading Hamden Hall green for Steelers gold this fall. Photo by Joe Sapiente.

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Six Ways Coaches Can Promote Long-Term Athletic Development by Dr. Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch



esearch shows that kids begin sports earlier and specialize in sports sooner than they did in the past. The trend toward earlier specialization may improve sports skills in the short-term, but it is not leading to better long-term athletic development (LTAD). In fact, seven out of 10 kids drop out of sports by age 13 because it’s not fun anymore. Unfortunately, kids are dropping out of sports long before they’ve had a chance to fully mature and reach their athletic potential. The reality is that coaches have limited time with players and tend to skip ahead to the skills and strategies necessary to compete in games or win tournaments instead of building

Build an Athletic Foundation Most sports offer opportunities to learn and practice skills like agility, balance, and coordination. These skills are also highly transferable between sports. Coaches should incorporate and develop these basic athletic building blocks. A solid athletic foundation improves performance and reduces injury rates. In addition to teaching proper movement patterns, coaches can also incorporate strength and conditioning into their sport-specific training. For instance, coaches can have athletes move through agility ladders before making a pass in soccer, basketball, or lacrosse. The National Strength and Conditioning Association developed guiding pillars for long-term athletic development which are a great starting point. The most important guideline is to make fitness fun. Help athletes feel invested in their fitness and physical literacy. Stronger, better-conditioned athletes are more likely to stay healthy and continue to develop a wider repertoire of sports skills over time.

Encourage Free Play Athletes today engage in less free play than athletes in past generations. Whether it is unstructured play outside with friends or “pick-up” games at the local park, kids are “playing” less and it shows in their sports performance. Free play is how kids learn to be creative, problemsolve, and make their own decisions. Free play also promotes intrinsic motivation in sports. Encourage athletes to play “pickup” games in and out of season. Encourage female athletes to play with male athletes and vice versa. Encourage younger athletes to challenge older athletes. Create a fun, challenging environment through pick-up style play (and all for free!). Most athletes will say their favorite part of practice is when they get to “play” their sport. Yet most practices end with games instead of beginning with them. Consider flipping practices to start with semi-structured free play. Set up small-

physical literacy — and having fun. As a result, young athletes are increasingly specialized and lack the necessary mental and physical skills to pivot from one sport to another. This limits kids’ athletic options and reduces their potential for long term athletic success — and perpetuates the dropout rate. What if sport coaches shifted their focus from simply coaching their sport to developing athletes? It would give kids a chance to build their overall athleticism, develop transferable skills, and stay in sports longer. How can sport coaches promote long-term athletic development?

sided fields, courts, or spaces and let athletes arrive and play. Coaches should give minimal instruction and simply support the flow of the games. After 10-15 minutes, then transition to structured portions of a practice, before returning to game-like conditions.

Promote Multi-Sport Athletes The consensus in the research is that specializing in a single sport is not necessary before age 12 (aside from sports in which athletes peak early, like figure skating or gymnastics). Coaches should encourage athletes to play multiple sports throughout adolescence. Athletes who play multiple sports are less likely to get overuse injuries or experience burnout. Coaches can also emphasize transferable skills between sports. For example, when teaching offense in basketball, show how it is similar to attacking in lacrosse. Similarly, defensive approaches in soccer resemble tactics in hockey. Helping athletes build skills that are beneficial across sports enhances their overall athletic development. Transferable skills also make it easier for athletes to pivot from one sport to another at later stages of their development.

Communicate When Scheduling One of the most critical ways coaches can support the athletic development of their athletes is to be mindful of other sports and activities when scheduling their primary sport. Making an extra effort during the preseason to schedule around other sports enables an athlete to participate in multiple sports longer, with less stress. Let the in-season sport set a schedule and carefully work in other sports. Avoid forcing athletes to prematurely choose between sports. Adolescents are not fully physically developed, nor are they capable of making long-term decisions under adult pressure. Exhaust the schedule possibilities in a collaborative

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manner. Create ways for hockey players to play recreational basketball in the winter or for lacrosse players to still play club soccer in the spring. Athletes and their families will appreciate the opportunity to balance commitments. Don’t forget to take time off completely from each sport for rest and recovery. The off-season is also a great time to cross-train and build general athleticism.

Understand Athletic Timelines Most kids drop out of sports by age 13, before they’ve matured. While development differs for every athlete, most don’t peak in middle school! Coaches and parents can help athletes to develop realistic expectations and understand where they are developmentally and what the timeline may be like before they reach their maximum athletic potential. Help early bloomers develop their technical skillset so they do not rely too much on being bigger, stronger, and faster first. Chances are, their peers may catch up. Reassure the late bloomers by encouraging them to do age-appropriate strength and conditioning with their sports skills. The late bloomers often surpass the early bloomers in the long run – as long as they don’t get cut or quit first. In addition, support the awkward adolescents by helping them grow into their changing bodies. Help awkward athletes to relearn agility, balance, and coordination. Teaching all athletes how to use their bodies more effectively and develop a well-rounded skill set promotes long-term athletic success across sports.

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Identify Talent and Potential Experts agree that talent identification is a difficult and imperfect process. Most coaches can easily pick out the athletes who are bigger, stronger, and faster. It takes a more experienced eye to identify potential. Coaches should learn to identify talent and potential. Try to identify the athletes who are not the most physically developed yet, but are building other good habits over time. Look for intangibles like grit and hustle. Youth sports evaluations and even high school tryouts are a constant challenge. When appropriate, consider pool play situations or mobility between varsity and junior varsity rosters (or A and B teams). Allow youth athletes opportunities to be promoted to an A roster spot over time or build confidence temporarily on a B team. A fluid situation can be very effective with proper communication and consideration between coaches, parents, and athletes. With a mindful, flexible approach, athletes aren’t cut or discouraged, or quit before they’ve really gotten a chance to develop. The end goal is to have every athlete compete at a level where he or she is optimally challenged. Promoting long-term athletic development in every sport will benefit athletes in their primary sport. The key to long-term athletic success is to help athletes Build Good Habits Over Time. Dr. Lynn Pantuosco-Hensch is an Associate Professor at Westfield State University in the Movement Science Department. She is also a licensed soccer coach with the United Soccer Coaches. Her current research is on LTAD and youth sport specialization. She thanks Paula Leahy Welch for her editorial support. Reach her at: or

When Schools Close, the Track Goes Virtual

by Grant Gonzalez, Northfield Mount Hermon


unning can be a solitary activity that requires very little equipment. When we pivoted to remote instruction this spring, most runners were able to keep training on their own with guidance from their coaches. What makes running enjoyable however, is the community. Along with the loss of our spring track seasons, we lost the routines that bring us together as runners. There was no daily practice throughout the unpredictable New England spring weather. We were not hosting meets, or getting on a bus on Saturdays. No one was gathering around the track after a long day, cheering on the last leg of a 4X400 team. With our students scattered around the world, and with social distancing guidelines in place, we needed to be intentional in how we could connect with one another and keep our running community going throughout these uncertain times. With a simple Google form, we were able to put on a series of virtual meets for our league. Runners had the option of competing on the track or on the road, with distances ranging from 100m to 3000m. The first virtual meet took place from April 3 to April 5, and had just ten participants from the NEPSTA Division I schools. After discussing with NEPSTA president, Mark de Kanter and the rest of the board, we decided to extend the opportunity to schools across all three track divisions. Over the next three virtual meets, we had 265 entries from over twenty different schools. It was great to see how many students responded to this offering. While we’re all hoping that we can get back to in-person competitions soon, we can build on this experience if necessary for the coming year. For example, if students are on campus, but are not traveling, we can consider how to make virtual meets more interactive using live streaming platforms. Running may indeed be a solitary activity, but it persists only through purposeful community. View the results here.

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Soccer Icon Abby Wambach Visits Loomis Chaffee


merican soccer icon Abby very different retirement than her male Wambach, a two-time Olympic counterparts — especially in financial gold medalist and FIFA Women’s terms. This left her angry and confused World Cup champion, shared some and she decided to do everything in her of what she’s come to know and power upon her retirement to advance believe through her storied career as a women in sports and in all areas of life. decorated athlete, activist, and author Over time Ms. Wambach said she’s at an all-school convocation on March 3. learned “Failures in life are actually Ms. Wambach’s visit continued Loomis’ opportunities,” and she gave some conversation on this year’s school theme representative examples. In one, she of “Belonging.” pointed to when she was, at 35 years After an introduction from Athletic of age, told by her coaches that she was Director Sue Cabot, Ms. Wambach bound not going to be a starting player on the into the Olcott Center to thunderous 2015 Women’s World Cup, and would, applause and gave a shout out to her instead, come into the game from the nephew, Ben, who is a senior at Loomis bench as a “game-changer.” Despite Chaffee. being heartbroken, disappointed, and “What do you know? What do believe embarrassed, Ms. Wambach, who in? What feels like home to you?” Ms. admits to being super competitive, knew Wambach asked. She said she knows that she could give her team the best that high school students are not often chance to win by offering her full support World champion soccer player Abby asked what they believe and, indeed, as a bench player. Wambach shared stories about failures adults often just try to tell them what to Reflecting on that experience years and success in her career. believe. later, Ms. Wambach realized, “Everything “You all need to figure out what you believe. … You are going I needed to learn about leadership, I learned on that bench.” to be tested throughout your life and every decision you make “If you are a leader on the field, and you don’t call yourself is relevant,” Ms. Wambach said. a leader on the bench, then you, in fact, aren’t a leader at all,” A compelling, vocal advocate for leveling the playing field she stated. for women in sports and everywhere, Ms. Wambach shared Ms. Wambach spoke of the strength and value of bonds several anecdotes from her career that point to the inherent formed in groups through physical and mental challenges as unfairness of female athletes making less money and being well as in shared joy. Students should find their “wolfpack” of treated as “less than” their male counterparts. For the U.S. teammates, friends, classmates, teachers, and adult mentors women’s national soccer team to make less than the men’s with whom to share dreams and experiences. They will leave national team, despite repeatedly having more successful their imprint on you, and help “make you into what you want to seasons and generating more money for the sport, is just unfair, be,” she said. she said. At the conclusion of her talk, Ms. Wambach answered questions from the audience regarding her stance on whether leaders are born or made; how much she thinks revenues generated by a sport should correlate to athletes’ salaries in that sport; and how women can find the courage to push boundaries. After the convocation Ms. Wambach met with students Women often feel instinctively “grateful” upon achieving a in Loomis’ Longman Leadership learning community, and measure of success in a male-dominated realm, Ms. Wambach members of the girls and boys soccer teams and their coaches. noted. Such was the case in 2015 when Ms. Wambach was a Her two two books, Forward: A Memoir, published in 2017, recipient of a prestigious ESPY Icon Award (Excellence in Sports and WOLFPACK: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, Performance Yearly) and stood on the podium of a nationally and Change the Game, published in 2019, are available in televised ceremony alongside Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning, the Alexander Bookstore in the Scanlan Campus Center, and both giants in professional sports. She said she felt “grateful” booksellers everywhere. which is “often the only emotion women are allowed to feel,” she Ms. Wambach’s visit to campus was made possible with stressed. She came to understand that while all three athletes support from the Robert P. Hubbard ‘47 Speakers Series. were being celebrated for the same level of professional achievement, she would walk away from the event to face a

Everything I needed to learn about leadership, I learned on that bench

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 31


Internship Offers Insight to How the NHL Connects with Fans


hen Patrick ’20 applied for his Cullman Scholarship in the Winter of 2019, he planned to work in the marketing department for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks that July. Through some unexpected twists and turns, a tale of injury, recovery, and community support, Patrick found his way to a different internship altogether with the Tampa Bay Lightning this spring. In early March, Patrick finally embarked on a two-week internship with the Lightning, where he worked with the team’s promotions manager and the director of hockey administration to create social-media content, host away-game watch parties with fans, and conduct community outreach projects with the mascot ThunderBug, including a visit with patients at the local children’s hospital. “Marketing is something I have been interested in, so I wanted to use the Cullman Scholarship as an opportunity to explore this as a career option,” says Patrick who is attending Bentley University in the fall. “My first attempt at my Cullman was brought to an unexpected halt when I broke my leg last Kimball Union Academy student Patrick was able to participate in an internship with summer jumping off a boat in Costa Rica. the Tampa Bay Lightning this spring. When I was supposed to be starting my Cullman, I was in a hospital bed having surgery.” pandemic prompted the NHL to put its season on hold and Although the Canucks rescheduled his internship for this the Lightning paused Patrick’s internship and offered him the coming summer, Patrick still wanted to experience a Cullman opportunity to resume at a later date. Scholarship before his Kimball Union Academy graduation. “This whole experience has taught me to always keep going With the support of the Cullman Scholar Committee, Patrick and never give up,” says Patrick, who is now looking at business searched for alternative internships to complete within this and sports marketing options to pursue in college, and has two future NHL internship opportunities lined up to continue down this path. Patrick, after growing up a die-hard New England hockey fan acknowledged that “the whole experience was amazing. Obviously, the Bruins are still my favorite team, but Tampa is up there too now.” Patrick’s experience was a part of the Cullman Scholarship Program, which supports students in off-campus study opportunities. The scholarship program, academic year. With help from Associate Dean of Students established in 1983 by Hugh Cullman ’42, provided 11 Sam Ftorek, Patrick was able to land a spot with the marketing students with opportunities like Patrick’s in 2019. This spring, team in Tampa. 10 students were awarded Cullman Scholarships for 2020. At the end of his first week on the job, the COVID-19

When I was supposed to be starting my Cullman, I was in a hospital bed having surgery

32 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

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NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 33


Evon Burroughs ’98: Uniformly Great


by Jane Dornbusch

rofessionally, Evon Burroughs ’98 wears two hats. Well, neither is exactly a hat: one is actually a helmet, and the other is a referee’s jersey. As a Boston police officer and a certified NCAA basketball ref who has officiated Division I games at the top echelon, Burroughs juggles two demanding jobs that have a surprising amount in common. “They’re very similar in nature,” says Burroughs, who serves in the Boston Police Department’s motorcycle unit and SWAT team. “Corny as it sounds, if someone commits the foul [in basketball], you have to ‘arrest’ them.” And each job has informed the other: “My work in law enforcement has made me a better communicator,” he says, giving him the perspective to be less emotional about what happens on the court. What happens on the court isn’t always pretty. “You have to have intestinal fortitude,” says Burroughs. “Crowds can get crazy, coaches can get crazy, you have to make calls that are not popular, and even when tempers flare up, you have to do your job.” Burroughs became interested in officiating as a high school athlete. While attending a summer football camp during his freshman and sophomore years, he got involved in a basketball tournament that the players put together in their down time. “One of the kids asked me to ref,” he recalls, “and I got hooked.” He took classes at Tufts to become certified to call high school games and made it official during his senior year at Rivers. Burroughs recalls Rivers as “an amazing place.” Beyond the classrooms and the playing fields, he says, Rivers emphasized “how to respect and treat people, and how to listen to people.” The school, he says, “put me in a lot of leadership positions, which is not something I would have sought had I gone to a different school.” Later, as a student at Clark University, he continued to ref high school basketball, eventually moving on to officiate at the college level. He says he’ll never forget his first Big East League game, several years ago. It was at Notre Dame, and in that basketball bastion’s storied arena, it suddenly hit him that this was indeed the big stage. “There I was, officiating for the greatest basketball league in the nation. It was an exciting moment to be living my dream.” Serving as a ref was one side of Burroughs’s dream; serving as a police officer was another. He explains, “I thought about being an English teacher or a fire fighter, but law enforcement just fit with my personality.” As a motorcycle officer, he does parades and traffic enforcement, and escorts dignitaries; as a SWAT team member, he executes search warrants, deals with barricaded suspects, and works with the gang and drug units. It’s challenging work, made possible by the camaraderie he shares with his fellow officers. “We can’t do what we do without trusting each other and being there for each other,” he says. Basketball officiating also presents plenty of challenges, physical and mental. Burroughs says he once heard that an

34 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

Evon Burroughs ’98 in action wearing one of his two “hats.”

official makes something like 1,000 decisions in the course of a game. “It’s exhausting,” he says, especially at the highest levels, where so much is riding on the outcome. No one—not players or coaches, and certainly not fans—possesses the same encyclopedic knowledge of the rules that a referee must, he says. And a ref must bring his or her A game at every moment. “When there’s a timeout, you check in with your partners; you might have to have a conversation with the assistant coach; you have to make sure the clock is right and the book is right. There’s no break until the game is over. Then you can take a shower and breathe—and talk about it on the way back to the hotel.” Despite the sacrifices it requires, Burroughs says, “The whole ride has been exciting,” adding, “No one knows how long their ride is going to be at this level.” That precariousness makes the experience more precious, he says. “You’ve got to be out there and excited about every game, because you’re just one blown knee from ending it. But if it were over tomorrow, I’d have no regrets.”

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36 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020





EQ Sylvester ’57 Receives St. Paul’s 2020 Alumni Association Award


n 2012, Edmund “EQ” Golf Alliance (USAGA), Sylvester, St. Paul’s which he considers “a ’57 left New York’s natural outgrowth of Roosevelt Hospital a the FGA, which was its triple amputee. Admitted first member.” What with an infection from a started in 2015 with five kidney stone that resulted member organizations in sepsis, Sylvester has blossomed into a awoke from a two-weeknational entity, boasting long coma to discover 38 members groups and doctors had been forced providing competitive to remove both of his legs pathways to more than and his left hand in order 36,000 disabled golfers to save his life. A slew every year. of additional surgeries The highlight of the followed, as did a grueling 2020 USAGA schedule is five-month recovery at the currently set for October Rehabilitation Institute of 20–22, 2020, when the Chicago. organization plans to hold Sylvester eventually its fourth global para-golf started to regain competition, the USAGA his strength, began International in Dallas, swimming, and was even Texas. Public health St. Paul’s alumnus EQ Sylvester reinvented his golf game after illness able to ride a horse on his guidance permitted, forced amputation of his legs and left hand. own. But when it came to nearly 100 competitors golf, his favorite sport and from more than 10 greatest passion, he was barely able to make contact with the countries will vie for the USAGA World Cup in a tournament ball. In his search for instruction, Sylvester was inspired to not supported by the United States Golf Association and coonly reinvent his own golf game, but help others like him find sponsored by the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of joy through the sport. America. Fans will likely even be able to catch the action live “My research indicated that there were nearly 20 million on the Golf Channel. In collaboration with the Japanese Golf physically disabled people who could not find adaptive golf Association and Japanese Disabled Golf Association, USAGA instruction, and were unwelcome or being turned away from golf had also been slated to hold a para-golf exhibition in Japan courses,” says Sylvester, who was chosen as the 2020 SPS Alumni Association Award recipient. That was all the motivation he needed and, in July of 2012, Sylvester founded the Freedom Golf Association with a mission to use the game to create community, confidence, and a sense of joy to others. “I knew I had found a new mission in life and, in its first year, FGA provided adaptive golf lessons to 178 disabled individuals.” That number more than tripled over the next two years as part of the ongoing effort to have para-golf recognized as a as Sylvester expanded the reach of the FGA, partnering with Paralympic sport. organizations such as the Special Olympics, the Wounded Warrior “There’s no end to the joy seen on the faces of the disabled, Project, and the First Tee. While attending a para-long drive who have overcome their personal setbacks and then taken on competition in Mesquite, Nev., in 2014, Sylvester was awestruck the challenge of golf,” says Sylvester. “These individuals never by the athleticism of the para-golf competitors and inquired ask, ‘why me?’ or say ‘I can’t.’ I’m proud to be a member of this about their desire to compete in the Paralympics. Discovering it group, and proud to make a small difference.” was a hot topic within the group, Sylvester accepted their request to lead the initiative and founded the United States Adaptive

I’m proud to be a member of this group, and proud to make a small difference

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 37


“Helping the Other Fella” Remotely Cardigan community helping others


or the most part, we’ve been lucky. Situated in a small town in central New Hampshire, the Cardigan Mountain School campus has been insulated from the heartbreak that many areas of the globe have faced. We are safe and healthy and, thanks to the kitchen crew, well fed. While isolated from each other, we also have plenty of room to explore; long

Take for example, math teacher Kyla Joslin. Early on, she decided to help out by making cloth masks. Ms. Joslin found a pattern online and used scraps of fabric from old sewing projects. “I researched a little bit and found that double sided bias tape had the best results for a tiestyle mask,” she says. “By doing it this way, it makes sure that anyone who has a latex allergy, has sensitive skin, or can’t put straps around their ears has access to a mask.” So far Ms. Joslin has made 75 masks. “I have sent some with Gracey Welsh (wife of Dean of Academics Jamie Welsh and a veterinarian at SAVES Pet Hospital),” she says. “My best friend from home, who works at a nursing home in Bradford, VT, also needed some; and I had a few personal requests. One student reached out after the post on Instagram of all of my masks and asked if I could send some to his mom who works at a hospital in Boston.” Anders Silitch ’21 also wanted to help out by making masks. Although

walks around campus are the perfect break from distance teaching and learning. But being isolated doesn’t mean we aren’t engaged in the world beyond our campus. In fact, it is from this position of safety and health that several members of the Cardigan community have figured out ways to help.

he doesn’t own a sewing machine, he does have a 3D printer, and when he heard others were printing N95 masks, he wanted to give it a try. After talking with engineers in Michigan and Nashua, NH, Anders says, “I printed a few prototypes at home and then connected with Cardigan and [Director of the Gates Program] Mr. Escalante so that I could use the school’s 3D printers in the E.P.I.C. Center. These masks could not have been produced without the generous donations from Canaan Hardware and Cardigan Mountain School as well as other individuals.” So far, he has produced 20 masks. “Typically, the N95 mask is used by healthcare workers and others more exposed to the virus,” says Anders. “The particular mask that we are making has a replaceable filter and can be easily disinfected after use. One New Hampshire ER nurse reports being very happy with the design and comfort of her 3D printed mask. She changes the filter after each 12-14 hour shift.”

Anders Silitch ’21 used the school’s 3D printers to make masks with replaceable filters that can be easily disinfected after use.

Cardigan math teacher Kyla Joslin decided to help out by making cloth masks.

38 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

For those who were in the mood for something more athletic, Diego ’20 and Mateo ’22 Escalante provided another way to give back. When local non-profit Positive Tracks announced they were organizing a race to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19, they decided to get in on the action.


GFA’s Virtual Dragon Dash Sees Record-Breaking Fundraising

G Mateo ’22 and Diego ’20 Escalante organized a race to raise funds for the fight against COVID-19.

“We found out about the Crush COVID Virtual 5k through Mrs. Gray [wife of English teacher Al Gray and mother of Emery ’14 and Seth ’16 Gray], who works for Positive Tracks,” says Diego. “Then, Mr. Frost [Cardigan’s Director of Athletics] emailed and said that the athletic department would like to support the cause too! We decided to get involved to help do our part. It’s extremely upsetting to not be spending this final trimester with our Cardigan brothers and we hope we can get over this ordeal soon!” Diego and Mateo created a video announcing the competition on April 10 in which any child ages 12-25 could register with Positive Tracks and run five kilometers anywhere in the world. In return Positive Tracks donated $10 per child to a National COVID-19 Response Fund at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “We are not sure how many Cardigan students participated,” says Mateo, “but in total over 2,300 people were involved and just over $21,000 was raised.” We are indeed in this together and while isolation is the best way to fight the virus, there are still ways in which Cougars have found to reach beyond campus and help those in need. Go Cougars!

reens Farms Academy’s first-ever virtual Dragon Dash on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 saw record-breaking fundraising, making it one of the schools most successful races to date. Throughout the weekend-long event, over 319 participants ran 5Ks, went on family walks, biked around their towns, and celebrated the annual spring event in fun, socially-distant ways. The event brought in a total of $6,331.50, all of which will be donated to Komera — and four of the GFA Komera Club’s scholars, Olive, Solange, Ruth, and Scovia. Since the shelter-in-place order went into effect, Komera has helped to ensure that these young women and their families all have safe shelter, food, necessary supplies, and access to health and social services. Komera will continue to support the girls’ education through distance learning. Solange is at the University of Rwanda studying Applied Mathematics. Currently, she is in her final year of studies, where she will have to complete an internship and a final thesis. She started her internship at the university doing data analysts and biometric management in the Department of Information Technology. She is expected to graduate in December 2020. She was also elected as her class representative! Ruth is in her Senior 6 year, and just completed her national exams! She attended the Komera Leadership camp last week. Once the exam results come in, she will know her options of applying to university. She will start in the Komera Post-Secondary Transition program in mid-January, where she will study business, English language, and entrepreneurship skills. Olive graduated this year from Rwanda Polytechnic IPRC East! She has a degree in Hospitality Management. She moved to Kigali and started her own business of making and selling beverages. She is looking to expand and start selling food. Watch the video linked below for more about the Dragon Dash.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 39



40 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020


Baldwin Wins Rhode Island Junior Amateur by Dalton Balthaser, Rhode Island Golf Association


ny athlete wants to close out their career in a sport or a division the right way. Not many get to go out on their own terms and win the last event of their career. While John Baldwin isn’t retiring from golf, he is retiring from Junior golf. Baldwin, backed by a tremendous tee-to-green game, claimed the Boys’ Division of the 99th Rhode Island Golf Association Junior Amateur defeating No. 4 seed Harry Dessel of Rhode Island Country Club, 4&3, in the Final at Alpine Country Club (par 72, 6,672 yards) Thursday. Baldwin, the No. 6 seed, defeated No. 15 seed Ben Sapovits of Ledgemont Country Club, 4&3, in the morning semifinal match. “It means a lot to be the champion,” said Baldwin, 18, of Little Compton, R.I. “This was the first event I started to play in when I got serious about playing competitive golf. With it being my last year of eligibility, getting it done was a great feeling.” Baldwin, a recent graduate of St. George’s School in Middletown, made the turn with a 2-up lead as a result of eight pars and one bogey on the front. Nothing special about it. But it was working. “I knew Harry was a good player,” said Baldwin, who will play golf at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. “I knew I A happy John Baldwin with his Junior Amateur trophy. Photo by Dalton Balthaser, needed to go out and play my best. At Rhode Island Golf Association. the end of the day I can bore the people I play against with pars. My 2-iron didn’t miss the fairway so that helps put the pressure on Harry.” “I didn’t really make anything,” said Baldwin. “My lag putting “John was tough,” said Dessel, 17, of Barrington, R.I. and was great the whole match and he had to give me basically a rising junior at Moses Brown School in Providence. “He kept everything. I didn’t have to stress over 3-footers.” making pars and it seemed like I was always trying to halve the He didn’t have to make anything. He just needed to keep hole. I know that I can win this. It just wasn’t my time yet.” the pressure on Dessel, who said his game lost its form as the Baldwin’s high school career helped prepare him for this afternoon Final began. moment. He was the 2019 Independent School League MVP, Now that Baldwin ends his Junior career as a winner, he where they play match play in their meets.” couldn’t help but smile when discussing what he’ll remember “I am comfortable in match play,” said Baldwin. “Our league about this week. is stacked and our meets are nine holes of match play. So, I have “Having one of my best friends caddie for me [Peter Alofsin] a lot of practice in this format. You have to be OK with a bad hole.” and laugh with me along the fairways was helpful,” said Baldwin. Fairways and greens are the staples of a good match play “It’s one of those things that I’ll never forget.” competitor. But good lag putting can’t be discounted.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 41


Squash Captain Organizes Food Drive by Kate Parker-Burgard, Center for Leadership

St. Luke’s School rising senior James Kontulis delivers food packages to Simba Muhwati, director of StreetSquash.


ames Kontulis, a rising senior at St. Luke’s School and co-captain of the boy’s varsity squash team is deeply passionate about squash and very involved with an organization called Streetsquash, which “provides consistent, long-term and reliable support to children, families and schools in Harlem and Newark.” Through relationships that he’s built with people in the program, James learned of the devastating impact that the coronavirus has had on the families in the program. He wanted to do something to help. “After talking to Coach Cynthia Badan,” James said, “I thought that I could try to organize a food drive with the Varsity, JV and Middle School squash teams, trying to promote a broad SLS squash community project.” James got a list of food and supplies

42 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

needed by families in the program and spread the word among his teammates. On the weekend of June 13, he went to people’s houses to pick up and then deliver the items to Streetsquash. In a follow-up email to the SLS people who participated James wrote, “Thank you for your generosity and contributions to the food drive for Streetsquash. Today I delivered the donations to Simba Muhwati (director of Streetsquash), and he was so appreciative and grateful. He said that the food and supplies will be a tremendous help for many families at the program. I know this has been a difficult time, so I especially appreciate everyone’s willingness to help out.” Many thanks to James for his leadership and the thoughtful way he mobilized the SLS community to help.


Fighting Food Insecurity: A Service Learning Story by Winchendon Admissions


wo days after winning the NEPSAC Class C Volleyball championship, Kylee McCumber interviewed her head coach, Logan King, and fellow teammate, Cassie Burdick, as part of her afternoon activity interning with the The Winchendon School communications team. Over the past seven years, Kylee has gotten used to being on both sides of the camera as she receives recognition for the 501(c)(3) she founded when she was ten. Most recently, Boston’s WCVB interviewed her for their A+ segment. Watch the video about the championship run. The four-year local day student balances her academics with being President of the Model UN Club, Secretary for the School’s National Honor Society chapter, and a Service


Kylee McCumber, 18, of Leominster, Massachusetts, a senior at The Winchendon School, provides weekend meal kits for 570 children in her town and in four nearby towns who otherwise might go hungry when school is not in session, a situation that Kylee herself has experienced. When she was 10, she noticed one morning several children eating breakfast at school, and asked her grandmother why they didn’t eat at home. Her grandmother told her they were food insecure. Kylee had never told anyone that she, too, had also once gone hungry. “When I was younger, my mother had a drug addiction and she often fed that instead of feeding me,” Kylee said. Determined to help other kids experiencing food insecurity, Kylee and her grandmother founded “Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to feeding children who might not get enough to eat on weekends, when they’re not getting meals at school. Initially, Kylee held two yard sales to raise money to provide food for eight children. She and her grandma installed shelves in their basement to store food, shopped for groceries, packed the kits and delivered them to the school every Friday. But each week, the number of children in need grew, so they recruited volunteers to help and stepped up their fundraising efforts to include online appeals, food drives, “fill-a-truck” events and corporate sponsorships. Today, Kylee’s program feeds children in need at all of her district’s nine schools, as well as at schools in four surrounding towns. “My goal is to ensure that no child goes to bed hungry,” she said. She also has conducted collection drives to provide kids with new backpacks stuffed with school supplies, and with holiday gifts at Christmastime.

Learning leader for a group called Food Justice. Bringing the experience she gained as the founder of Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kids, an organization that provides weekend meals to foodinsecure students, to the Food Justice group, Kylee was able to assist in writing a grant request proposal. In doing so, she helped secure $100,000 to address healthy aging, including gaps in food access, housing, transportation, and community safety. The grant was awarded through Tufts University to Growing Places with support from The Winchendon School’s Food Justice Service Learning group. Kylee, along with the Food Justice Service Learning group founder, Kiley R. ’19 and previous leader Taylor A.’19, were involved with this initiative since its inception. Like The Winchendon School, Kylee understands community matters.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 43


Eight Questions for

Grounds Manager Tom Barry TOM BARRY »» M.S. in Turfgrass Management from UConn »» NESTMA’s 2020 Sports Turf Manager of the Year »» Sustainability Champion

What was your first job in the industry?

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

I was 15 years old and worked on the grounds crew at a public 18-hole golf course.

When I was in grad school at UConn, my advisor Karl Guillard told me that when you are starting out in the industry never say no to an opportunity. That really stuck with me. For me this includes teaching opportunities, meeting other industry members, being a guest speaker at events, etc. Not saying no has helped me get to where I am today.

What are your current responsibilities at Greens Farms Academy? I manage the maintenance of 45 acres of grounds which includes three natural grass multi-use fields, two artificial turf fields, general lawn areas, landscape beds, pollinator gardens and all hardscaped areas with a crew of four. I develop and implement cultural programs for the maintenance of turfgrass and landscape plants without the use of “lawn care” pesticides. I also teach high school level courses to students related to the landscape and sustainability.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in today’s sports turf industry? I believe there is a greater level of professionalism. Over the years, I have seen NESTMA and STMA bring value to the Sports Turf Manager. When I go back and talked to my instructors from college, they tell me there is a more equitable split between students interested in golf and sports turf management, which tells me there are high-quality positions for trained, educated turf managers. Also, with the great educational programs NESTMA and STMA put on we have the best science and technology to bring sports turf management to a new level, creating some of the best playing conditions.

44 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

What is the next “game-changer” you see on the horizon for the sports turf industry? I am very passionate about sustainability and the game changer is technology that reduces reliance on pesticides. Whether it be a fraze mower, or another mechanical method for managing weeds on athletic fields, or turfgrass breeding of species and cultivars with greater pest resistance and reduced input requirements, we as an industry need to promote ourselves as the environmentalists that we are so that we can stay ahead of potential regulations.

What’s your favorite/most useful:

Equipment? Redexim overseeder, Procore aerator

Product? Grubgone (BTg) Earthworks: Replenish 5-4-5





Technology? Hunter ET Sensors for Irrigation system and IMMS Central Command System for managing controllers remotely

NESTMA SPOTLIGHT Can you share a bit about your family life and/or what you enjoy doing in your free time? My amazing wife Nicky and I have two children: Ben (8) and Makena (6). We love to ski together. Both of my kids have been skiing since they were 4 years old. I coach my son’s baseball team and love watching him play. He’s obsessed with the Yankees. Even though I am a Mets’ fan, I begrudgingly take him to Yankees games. We live in a great community in Milford, CT. We love to have friends over and enjoy a fire in the back yard while all the kids in the neighborhood play together.

What advice would you share with people starting out in sports turf management today?

NESTMA members get more.

Get involved with the NESTMA and STMA and meet as many people as you can working in the industry. I have made some great relationships and have learned a ton from other Sports Turf Managers and vendors. It is amazing how much knowledge others are willing to share if you just ask.

Sports turf professionals from across New England join NESTMA for meaningful networking, relevant education, and career building resources.

Be a part of NESTMA.

Tom Barry with his wife Nicky, and children Makena and Ben.

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 45


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46 | NEPSAC News | Summer 2020

NEPSAC News | Summer 2020 | 47

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