The program that already knows what it takes to go all the way is Varsity Baseball. New England champions last year, Coach Brad Chernovetz’s squad returns with plenty of firepower, despite the departure of a number of key contributors such as Cam Maldonado, who is already making plenty of noise with his bat at D1 Northeastern, and Chris Scanlon. Coach Chernovetz commented, “We will be young and it might be difficult to score runs early on. We will have to play defense and throw strikes. Our strength will be our pitching staff.”
Junior Gavin Lyons, who is already on Northeastern’s radar, will likely see the most time on the mound. He will be joined by fellow junior Ryan Lynch and freshman Shaun Flannery. Returning catcher, Brady Chernovetz, will also help lead the staff. Gavin, Brady, and right fielder Kaleb Cohen are the team captains with plenty of experience, who understand what it takes to win. Chernovetz added, “They will need to mentor the young guys and pick up the slack until the freshmen are fully ready to contribute.”
In addition to Flannery, who will add a powerful bat as well as his heat, the excellent pool of young talent that Coach is referring to includes standout shortstop Amato Civitello, as well as Carlos Reyes, and Nick Scillia. Chernovetz is also looking for returnees, such as Nick Criscuolo and Will McGarry, to provide plenty of hits and help out on defense. The coach finished his comments with a big shout out to his assistants: Marek Drabiniski, Mike Perry, and legendary Jim Bradanini. “We continue to have the best coaching staff in the state. Every day the boys are learning from the best.”
The team will need every edge they can get in order to succeed in the Fairchester League, one of the toughest baseball conferences in New England. However, they are off to a hot start, beating Greens Farms 5-0 and then dominating Hopkins 8-0 behind a strong performance by Flannery who was unhittable on the mound, and then helped himself out with a two run dinger.
Another program with outstanding coaching is the Girls Varsity Lacrosse team. Head coach and Lower School teacher Emily Anderson, who was a standout at U Conn, begins her seventh year at the helm. She is excited to welcome Shelby Page as her assistant - a former standout in both lax as well as ice hockey at the University of Southern Maine.
Coach Anderson says this year’s team will pride itself on hustle and heart, with players able to play well at several positions. “This team is versatile; they are willing to jump in wherever they are needed at any given moment. They already can be counted on to lift each other up and help each other be the best they can be.”
The team has a balance of new and returning players and are working hard to learn more about one another in order to assimilate themselves into a competitive system. Newcomers include not only talented 9th graders Kyla Welby and Anya Carter, but also sophomore Ella Bessoni and outstanding junior captain Lily Schoonmaker, who will be attracting plenty of attention from colleges this spring. Senior Jiao Zhou will step between the pipes this season and should have a steady and intense defense in front of her. The team enjoyed an early trip to Lexington Christian in Massachusetts for a two day tourney and earned a split, including a 14-9 win over Kents Hill from Maine.
Boys Varsity Lacrosse has also begun the season with high hopes. Second year head coach, Kiernan Griffin, has brought in several excellent additions to the staff. Ty Hong boasts 20+ years of experience, and is diligently grooming the goalies and defense. Tricia Simon, a two time All American at Duke, assists with the offense.
Griffin already points to the leadership experience of his tri-captains, John Golioto, Tyler Gibson, and Danny Vining, in helping set the positive tone for the team. “John is a second year captain, and is a 'lead by example' guy. Danny is a captain of the Hockey team, and is always on top of details and delegating tasks, while Tyler is captain-elect of the football team and a true motivator.”
Golioto, who will be playing at Clark University next year, will be joined at midfield by senior football quarterback Ethan Coady. The attack includes Drew Grillo, who scored 32 goals last season, plus Niko Millhouse, as well as freshman sensation Joey Swan. Coach Griffin is also hoping for big seasons from a young cohort including sophomore Graydon Nichols, freshman Caden Christopher, and talented 8th graders Jason Reitman.
“We have plenty of new vitality on the roster," remarked Griffin, “both younger players as well as upperclassmen, with great lax experience. The key to success this season will be the progress of our faceoff execution and winning possessions on defense in front of Caden, who is a solid ball stopper."
The early season practices have been directed at learning concepts and developing schemes as quickly as possible. Griffin has stressed to the team the need to leave everything on the field. “We want the players committed to ‘unpacking our bags’ each day - not only taking our sticks and equipment out, but unpacking all our effort and energy to focus on the job and support our teammates.”
Like the girls, the boys team traveled to Massachusetts for the Lexington Christian Invitational and earned a split, besting Chapel Hill- Chauncey Hall 11-0, but falling 5-4 to Kents Hill School of Maine in overtime.
March Madness is done for the 2023 year; it’s time for Spring Fever!