Sports

Souhegan hockey teams eyeing solid seasons

Thursday, December 19, 2013

By TOM KING

Staff Writer

Keep an eye on Souhegan in Division III. The Sabers have the high scoring line of Mike Hayden, Joe Nutting and Matt Wilson back, and they also have more depth from a team that lost in the semis to eventual champ John Stark/Hopkinton and are looking to take it to the next level.

“We needed depth, and I think that’s what we have this year,” Sabers coach Dan Belliveau said. “We have some good wheels. We have a second and third line and we could even go a fourth.”

No numbers crunch there. As for other Division III contenders, one would think Berlin will be hungry after losing to John Stark/Hopkinton last year. Reportedly, highly touted, 70-goal scorer forward Connor Jewett has returned for his senior year.

On the girls side, Kelli Warecki is marveling at her good fortune with a roster of 20-plus skaters. The Sabers won three games last year, but after going six seasons without a win, that’s like winning a title. This year they’re shooting even higher with nine seniors on the roster.

“Win or lose, we must be doing something right to keep girls playing hockey,” Warecki said. “These seniors are the girls I started with four years ago.” So, she says, it would be nice for them to have a year to remember. Seven wins, and a playoff berth perhaps? Not out of the question, with players like defensemen Caree Pits and Peyton Kent leading the way. Hailee (senior) and Kaylan Forest (sophomore) can put the puck in the net.

“It’s kind of funny coming from Souhegan,” she said, “but we’ve got our sights sent on the playoffs. This year’s going to be a good year. We have more talent than Souhegan has ever had.”

TRACK

The Milford girls have finished as runners up in Division II in four of the last five years and will be looking to finish there once again this winter. Sophomore Olivia Rougeau was a high jump champion a year ago and will also be a threat in hurdles and relay.

The boys of Milford have plenty to gain this year with a plethora of returners. After a ninth place finish a year ago, the Spartans will have the skill and experience to find themselves in the top five at season’s end with the relay team and hurdles being the driving forces behind their surge.

The Souhegan girls could be competing with the Spartans in the top five. The Sabers will have a strong sophomore class after a legitimate showing from the freshman class a season ago which includes sprinters Mikayla Hickey and Hannah Gillis who placed in the top ten in the finals last year.

The reigning Division II champion Souhegan boys have reason to be confident this winter with plenty of experience on the track due to 12 seniors out of the 28 boy roster. Graduation claimed a few of the top performers from last year, but Eli Moskowitz, Ben DeForest and Patrick Lynch will be filling the running shoes in distance and hurdles.

Hollis Brookline track is in a new era with Yolanda Flamino as head coach. The boys and girls both will get a boost from having members of their successful 2013 cross country team joining in. Emma Newton, Sarah Cramton and Meghan Philpot will be key contributors in long sprints and mid distance for the girls. The Cavalier boys will expect to be strong in sprints and hurdles with help from promising junior transfer, Bryce Bowden.

GYMNASTICS

Coach Tom Williamson runs the gymnastics programs at four local schools and has gotten to know some of the local gymnasts over his six years of coaching. Like any mentor, Williamson gets attached to his athletes. Including his relative longevity, he now has to prepare to see some of his athletes compete in their final season. In the four programs, Tom will be losing eight seniors who he has coached for over eight years.

“They started in classes and then went to the high school teams with me,” Williamson said, “(so) I am really looking forward to this season.”

Meanwhile, Marilyn Kasper inherits two gymnastics programs in Nashua North and South. Kasper has had previous coaching experience, including being an assistant for Nashua, but now has the task of evaluating new gymnasts. Luckily, she can rely on some of her senior captains.

“It is really great to see the captains taking charge and leading their teammates,” Kasper said, “I am really proud of their efforts so far.”

Some of her newest members include athletes who have never participated in the sport before.

“We have six freshmen (on the two teams),” she said, “Some haven’t done gymnastics, but they’ve made tremendous improvements in just a couple of weeks.”

While the familiarity with their respective teams may differ, the combined experience of the two coaches will surely mean success for the squads during the upcoming season.

SKIING

Local ski teams often have trouble maintaining any continuity on their squads. They consistently lose athletes to graduation and, as is the case in the ski-hub that is New Hampshire, to the International Ski Federation.

At Souhegan High School, head coach Kathy Maddock doesn’t have all her stars back, but the Sabers added more bodies than they lost.

“Last year we had a strong boys and girls team, but not all those skiers returned,” Maddock said. “However, this is the biggest team Souhegan has ever seen.”

With such young teams, many coaches are looking to capitalize on the random New England weather to gain experience prior to their meets.

Many of the skiers just had their first opportunity to hit the slopes this past week.

“Last year we didn’t get a chance at preseason training,” Nashua South head coach Matt Denaro said. “This season we’re going through a lot of training. I’m hoping that’s going to help them out more. Hopefully we can step up our game.”

Based on the relative inexperience on each team, it’s looking like local squads are going to have to rely on their preseason training to compete in what is expected to be a very open field.

Correspondents Ben Levine and Brett Ferrell contributed to this report.

BOYS TRACK

Milford

COACH: Mike Wright.

LAST SEASON: Ninth.

KEY RETURNERS: Ian Michaud, sr, Evan Perron, sr, Jack Nichols, sr, Alex Tamulonis, sr, Aaron Ladeau, sr, Jacob Drescher, sr, David Addington, sr, Connor Gosselin, sr, Eric Baerenrodt, jr.

COACH’S COMMENT: “We have a lot of seniors this year,” Wright said. “We usually put together some pretty strong relays.”

Souhegan

COACH: John Eastman.

LAST SEASON: Division II champions.

KEY RETURNERS: Eli Moskowitz, jr, distance; Ben Platt, jr, distance; Patrick Lynch, sr, distance, Brady Camplin, sr, distance; Brett Quinn, sr, distance; Ben Massa, sr, distance; Ben DeForest, sr, hurdles, high jump.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Chandler Fleurette, fr; Keelan MacKenzie, fr; Cameron Behn, so, sprinter.

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ve got a good group of seniors,” Eastman said. “That experience will help a lot. We did graduate a lot of points from last year’s team so we’ll have a lot of work to do to make up for that.”

GIRLS TRACK

Milford

COACH: Mike Wright.

LAST SEASON: Second.

KEY RETURNERS: Brittany Gentilhomme, sr, Taylor Fagan, sr, Megan Tyrell, sr, Camryn Johnson, Aimee Krafft, jr, Miranda Couture, jr, Brianna Lippitt, jr, Nicole McMorrow, so, Olivia Rougeau, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Amy Arena, fr

COACH’S COMMENT: “We’ll have a good shot at second place,” said Wright. “First is a reach, Coe-Brown is just crazy.”

Souhegan

COACH: John Eastman.

LAST SEASON: Ninth.

KEY RETURNERS: Taylor Behn, sr, sprinter; Shannon Disco, sr, sprinter; Min Lu Kelly-Durham, sr, distance; Miclyn Noorda, sr, distance; Emily Stauble, sr, distance, Ether Johnson, jr, thrower; Mikayla Hickey, so, long jumper, sprinter; Caleigh Burns, so, sprinter; Hailey Johnson, so, sprinter; Brooke Tanguay, so, jumper; Hannah Gillis, so, distance, Amy Lambert, so, mid distance.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Madeleine Hunt, fr, distance; Casey Johnson, fr sprints; Ally Mazur, fr, middle distance.

COACH’S COMMENT: “We expect the girls to improve from 9th place last year to a top five team,” Eastman said.

BOYS HOCKEY

SOUHEGAN

COACH: Dan Belliveau.

LAST SEASON: 14-6, lost to John Stark/Hopkinton in Division III semis.

RETURNING REGULARS: Mike Hayden, sr. fd; Matt Wilson, jr. fd; Joe Nutting, so. fd; Alex Maresco, jr. def; Vincent Silvestri, sr. def; Mike Balanger, sr. fd; Riley Connor, sr. fd; Alex Medic, jr. fd; Jon Erlich, so. def.

OTHER RETURNING SKATERS: Alex Mendola, sr. def; Cullen Johnson, sr. def; Paul Stacy jr. fd; Robbie Duarte, so. fd., Connor McCall, sr. goalie.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Taylor Farrow, jr. def; Kevin O’Brien, fr. fd; James Wilson, fr. fd., Maro Vogt, fr. goalie.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Last year we needed depth, and I think that’s what we have this year,” Belliveau said. “Now we have a second and third line and can even go to a fourth if we need to.”

GIRLS HOCKEY

Souhegan

COACH: Kelli Warecki.

LAST SEASON: 3-14, did not qualify for tourney.

RETURNING REGULARS: Caree Pitts, sr. def; Peyton Kent, sr. def; Korina Hahn, sr. fd; Hailee Forest, sr. fd; Sam DeFilipo, sr. fd; Ellie Arrowsmith, sr. fd; Kaylyn Forest, so. fd; Elizabeth Silvia-Chandley, so.; Cailin Dix, jr. def; Sarah LaFleur, jr. goalie.

OTHER RETURNING SKATERS: Mikaela Sullivan, sr. goalie; Lauren McCormick, jr. fd; Katie O’Connell, sr. fd.; Gina Mancini, sr. fd; GabiSellers, sr. def.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Anna Tobin, fr. def; Leah Troie, so. fd.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “I think this team can do really well,” Warecki said. “We’ve got our sights on making the playoffs.”

GYMNASTICS

Milford

COACH: Tom Williamson (sixth season)

RETURNING STARTERS: Shannon Kolasinski, sr.; Brittany Lusczyk, sr.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Both gymnasts have been working hard,” Williamson said, “(They are) looking to have a great season.”

Souhegan

COACH: Tom Williamson (sixth season)

RETURNING STARTERS: Hannah Johnson, sr.; Jessica Duston, sr.; Maisy Rohrer, sr.; Taylor Hennas, jr.; Courtney Kenny, jr.; Erin King, jr.; Hannah Camplin, so.; Samantha Carlen, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Caylin Enoch, sr.; Sydney French, fr.; Sophia Mancini, fr.; Riley Koch, fr.; Sarah Schweizer. fr.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Our success will be based on our newcomers helping us increase our overall score,” Williamson said.

Wilton-Lyndeborough

COACH: Tom Williamson (sixth season)

RETURNING STARTERS: Meghan McClure, sr.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “Meghan placed in the top-25 last year,” Williamson said, “(She) is looking to improve all her routines this year.”

BOYS ALPINE

Souhegan

COACH: Kathy Maddock (18th season).

LAST YEAR: Third.

RETURNING STARTERS: Logan Landrum; Jack Lowell; Matt Saunders; Bob Sampella.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Dillon Pollio, Billy Seguin, Tyler Pike.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “This is a team with tremendous potential,” Maddock said.

GIRLS ALPINE

Souhegan

COACH: Kathy Maddock (18th season).

LAST YEAR: Third.

RETURNING STARTERS: Hannah Culver, Lauren Ostrowski, Lyndsay Hogan.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Lily Sullivan, Shannon Early, Emily Ehrenstein.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SEASON: “This is a team with tremendous potential,” Maddock said.

NOTE: Milford information was not available at presstime.

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