Souhegan out to defend title
Thursday, December 12, 2013
As the defending NHIAA bowling champion, the Souhegan team clearly has a target on its back.
It is not the only local team with lofty expectations, though. Merrimack and Hollis Brookline, the NHIAA champion only two seasons ago, also look to be particularly strong heading into the season.
“Every team is very good, well coached and competitive,” Souhegan coach Timothy Frye said.
“We will continue to improve and take it one match at a time.”
The Sabers will bring back only two starters from their championship team, but early showings by some of the newcomers have been positive.
Frye is also counting on the persona of past teams to continue on to the 2013-14 squad.
“Our team’s mental toughness and relentless attitude last year was a huge key to our success,” Frye said, “Even if our team is mathematically eliminated, we still compete, and that will continue this season.”
The Hollis Brookline team is only one season removed from being the defending champs.
While last year’s quarterfinals elimination may have been disappointing, returning the majority of last year’s squad should lead to more success.
“We weren’t as productive during the beginning of the season last year,” coach Rich Bergskaug said, “We finished strong at the end, but we weren’t consistent enough on the whole. I think we have some really talented bowlers this year… (we) just need to find consistency early.”
For the Hollis Brookline wrestling team, the highest of highs has been reached and yet there is still more to be done.
The two-time defending Division II champions, the Cavaliers return a trio of individual champs. Senior Jonathan Lopez (113 pounds) will anchor the lower weights while sophomores Zach McPherson (132) and Caleb Lomme (145) will look to dominate their divisions for years to come. HB also returns three wrestlers who finished in the top four.
The Cavaliers were the highest finishing Division II team at last year’s Meet of Champions, finishing fourth.
Expect to see Milford and Merrimack in the mix as well in Division II. The Spartans return seniors Scott Danewicz (170) and Devin Dolliver (138), who finished
second at the division meet. The Tomahawks return six wrestlers who finished in the top six, including Ben Cronin (120), who took a third last year.
The temperature in the pool still points to two local programs that are hoping to heat up en route to potential state championships this winter in Divisions I and II – Bishop Guertin and Souegan.
The Cardinals finished second in both the boys and girls state meet last February, and would like to take that next step. The Sabers, meanwhile, captured the boys title but finished third in the girls meet.
“I can see five school records fall this season from both the boys and the girls team,” Souhegan coach Jim Rezzarday said.
Rezzarday’s philosophy is simple.
“I like to let the team members swim the events they love to swim and develop toward a stronger swimmer,” he said. “You also get a swimmer who will give you their greatest effort.”
The defending champs are led by the return of juniors Alex Bedard and Tyler Howard. Bedard captured the 100 breast stroke in last year’s title meet while Howard won the 500 free.
Senior Jamie Freud, who won the 100 free last year, leads a returning contingent for the Saber girls who hope to improve on last year’s third place finish.
“I’m excited about this team,” Rezzarday said.
Hollis Brookline and Milford both look to improve. The Cavs are hoping to get enough team qualifiers on the girls side after missing out a year ago, and have some talent back from a boys team that finished fifth.
The Seacoast teams (Exeter and Dover) are expected to be strong in both genders, as is Bedford, which finished third in both meets last year.
COACH: Timothy Frye, fourth year.
LAST YEAR: First place in
RETURNING STARTERS: Sam Bannon, so.; David Wieczerzak, so.
OTHER RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Rosters not finalized as of press time.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Simplify the game, educate, and bring a positive attitude and structure,” Frye said.
COACH: Dana Bourassa, 37th year.
LAST SEASON: Third in Division II.
RETURNING LETTERWINNERS: Devin Dolliver, 138 Sr.; Scott Danewitz, 170, Sr.; Dominic Nguyen, 113, Sr.; Robert Parker, 132, Sr.; Alex Parkhurst, 160, Sr.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “We’ve got a really competitive division and we also have a competitive area,” Bourassa said. “You’ve got to put seven guys in the finals and one guy’s got to win it.”
COACH: Dennis Olson, second year.
RETURNING LETTERWINNER: Mitchell Illacqua, 126, Jr.
PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Nick Clay, 113, Fr.; Sergey Clay, 120, Fr.; Cole Rogers, 145, Fr.; Jake Upton, 138, Fr.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Just grind away and Keep working to get individual wins and milestones,” Olson said. “(Illacqua) has the potential to win states. Skills and just getting the kids used to the sport is what I’m shooting for this year.”
COACH: Jim Rezzarday.
LAST SEASON: Won Division II title.
RETURNING SWIMMERS: Alex Bedard, jr.; Tyler Howard, jr.; Alex McNally, jr.; Dave Kibbie, sr.; Nick Fichtner, so.; Tim Saunders, sr.; Blake Burnley, sr.; Mike Robicheau, jr.
PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Garret Early, fr.; Andrew Whitney, fr.; Tom Lipkin, fr.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Coming off our best year we’re still a strong contender for Division II this season,” Rezzarday said. “We look great.”
COACH: Nancy McManus.
LAST SEASON: Did not qualify for state meet.
RETURNING SWIMMERS: James Halstead, jr.; Jason Magri, jr.; Nathan Oesterley, sr.; Erick Rimalover, jr..
PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Bryce Desrochers, fr.; Noah Lavoie, fr.; Zak Parker, fr.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “We’re hoping to have some state meet qualifying times by our top boys this year so they can have the state meet experience,” McManus said.
COACH: Jim Rezzarday.
LAST SEASON: Third in state meet.
RETURNING SWIMMERS: Margaret Dean, sr.; Jamie Freud, sr.; Ivy Buxton, so.; Victoria Chistolini, sr.; Kate Ede, so.; Liz Lapsley, sr.;Tamara Morley, so.; Erin Quinlan, so.; Erica Meehan, so.; Hannah Whitney, jr.; Alex Safarz, sr..
PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Amber Britton, sr.; Emma Estabrook, fr.;Maddy Gillespie, fr.; Stephanie Jewett, so.; Jessica Lapsley, fr.; Anna Redway, fr.; Mary Rego, fr..
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “I’m excited about this team,” Rezzarday said. “I like the freshmen as well as the returning team. Keep an eye on Estabrook and Rego; you will see great things from these two strong swimmers.”
COACH: Nancy McManus
LAST SEASON: 11th in Division II state meet.
RETURNING SWIMMERS: Julia Anderson, so.; Nova Grummon, so.; Kaitlyn:McManus, jr.; Jenna Place, sr.; Adriana Putney,sr.; Nattie Visco, so.
PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Zoe Daudier, fr.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “We’re hoping to improve that finish with some strong relays this year,” McManus said.
Staff Writer Tom King and Correspondent Michael Abelson also contributed to this report.