Sports Round-up: Nearing Post-Season
By Ellen Oliver
Indoor track and wrestling dominate, basketball and hockey knock off foes and swim team shines in their first season.
On February 1, the sixth-ranked girls brought their 11-3, undefeated-in-the-league record to Marlborough to face the 6-9 Panthers. With a comfortable 37-20 point lead at the half, the Chieftains ended up scoring 29 points to Marlborough’s 27 in the second for a final victory of 66-47.
While the Chieftains may be used to winning, the game against Central Mass top dog Algonquin on January 22 will surely stick in their minds. Although Nashoba led from the start tallying ten unanswered points, the entire game was a battle, resulting in a 38-33 victory for the Chieftains.
The boys only need one more win to punch a ticket to the post season. It looked like that win would come last Friday when Nashoba travelled to Marlboro to play the struggling Panthers. With a 0-7 record, safe money was on the 9-6 Chieftains to secure a playoff berth when the buzzer sounded. However, the Panthers shocked the crowd and the Chieftains by notching their first win of the season with a 68-59 victory.
The loss to Marlborough came days after Nashoba was on the better end of a shock ending. Nashoba battled to beat top-ranked Wachusett in Bolton 47-46 on January 25.
Swimming & Diving
The swim and dive team ended their first regular season with 2 wins and 10 losses and placed 10th (out of 12) overall at the league meet. “The team has blown our expectations out of the water,” said Coach Katie MacDowell. “They worked hard this year to establish new traditions and set an example for future NRHS varsity swim and dive teams.”
In her first season as a diver, Haley Doyle placed 5th at the league championships and will represent Nashoba at sectionals and states. “The kids have had a fun season and left a great foundation for next season,” said Coach Carly White. Coach White said their initial goals were modest: decrease the swimmer’s times, citing Spencer Dansereau as an example. “Spencer started the season swimming his 500 free in over 8 minutes and consistently dropped time each meet. By the end of the season he dropped about 1 minute.”
Several Nashoba swimmers also set team records: Julia Reverdy in the 100 fly, Steven Jiang in the 100 fly, and Steven Tang in the 50 free.
The Nashoba Wrestling team is currently ranked 10th in the All-State rankings and improved to an impressive 22-1 after wrapping up the dual meet season at Dracut on February 2. Nashoba swept the Dracut quad by beating Marshfield 45-33; Catholic Memorial 43-23; and Dracut (#18 All-State Rank) 39-34. The Chieftains also won the Midwach league with a 7-0 league record.
The boys’ ice hockey team is now 9-4 after a few recent stumbles. On January 23, Nashoba ran into Grafton, who held Nashoba to 2 while netting 6. Then on January 30, Nashoba was blanked by Worcester/Leicester 5-0. On February 4, Groton-Dunstable, a regular thorn in Nashoba’s side, handed the Chieftains an 8-0 thrashing.
Although Nashoba has clinched a playoff berth and may have fallen short against some strong teams, they aren’t relaxing. Before the losses, Nashoba extracted some revenge on Lunenburg on January 21, the team that handed them their first loss earlier this season. Nashoba shut out Lunenburg 2-0, earning the win and some satisfaction by preventing the Blue Knights from reaching the net.
Nashoba girls are playing as part of the Gardner/St. Bernards co-op team for the second year. The team is 6-3, splitting their last two games. On January 30, the girls were beaten 2-1 by Shrewsbury, but rallied to defeat Marblehead 5-2 on February 2.
Due to infractions unrelated to the hockey team, the MIAA had imposed sanctions preventing any Gardner teams from participating in playoffs. However, those sanctions have been lifted and with their strong record, the girls’ ice hockey team will have a post season.
On February 2, both the boys and girls indoor track teams won their League B championships. The boys edged out Westboro 121-110, capping another undefeated season. The Chieftains were led by strong performances by Markesh Harmon who placed first in the high jump, first in the 300m dash, then was part of the first place 4×220 relay team with Kraig Arsenault, Kurt Arsenault and John Militano. Militano also captured second in the 55m. Nashoba was also first in the 4×880 with Zach Honig, Matt Boelens, John Atkinson and Ben Mandelbaum.
Conor Ursuliak and Boelens were first and second in the 1,000m and Nashoba claimed three of the top four spots in the mile, with Forrest Hangen topping the podium, Jacob Hangen third and Honig fourth. Mark Puleo was first in the two-mile and Atkinson second. Cameron Rothfuss was first in the shot put.
Nashoba girls indoor track squad snagged the Mid-Wach B crown with an impressive 129.33 points, beating second place Westboro by 40 points. Nashoba swept the podium in the 2-mile, with Kelsey Horowitz first, Natalie Bettez second and Grace Dempsey third.
Speedy Sarah Militano was first in the 55m, Kristina Maclure second and Tatiana Jarostchuk third. Militano and Maclure were also first and second in the 300m.
The girls also grabbed two relay team wins. Charlotte Young, Isabella Susi, Anna Schab and Emily Stegner were first in the 4×880 and in the 4×220 with Jarostchuk, Sarah Mpelkas, Michaela Pelland and Stephanie Palis.
The Nordic ski team continues to plow on, with the girls placing 6th on January 29, with 274 and the boys coming in 7th with their two team members combining for 96 points. The girls had four “first page” finishers with Olivia Hurd 31st, Alison Gaffney 36th, Kiran Reed 47th and Charlotte Leonhardt 50th.
With one more race to go, Nashoba’s alpine team is attempting to propel its racers into the post season. Sitting solidly at third, Jenna Peabody is a sure thing to make States, while Jay Harvey (currently 16th) needs to use his last race to secure his berth. The top 16 racers go to states, along with four alternates.
On January 31, the girls were fifth (390 points) and the boys 7th (364). Harvey earned 90 points in the slalom event, placing 11th with a time of 30.93. Peabody took third (30.38) for 98 points. Peabody earned a first place in the squad’s first giant slalom race on January 16.