Macphail “Coach of Year,” Five Named to All Star Team

Winthrop High girls track coach Warren MacPhail was named the Coach of the Year of the South Division of the Northeastern Conference this week. For MacPhail, who has been at the helm of the Lady Viking track program for 15 years, the honor marks the seventh time that he has received Coach of the Years recognition, a remarkable feat at any level of athletic competition.

“Of course, it’s nice to be recognized, but when your athletes go on to do great things, that’s even better,” said MacPhail. “I think I’m more proud of how many kids have gone on to compete at the collegiate level.”

Among the Lady Vikings who have been mentored by MacPhail and who have performed successfully in college are Jenny Fucillo at  Bates and Notre Dame; Nicole Giaquinto at the Univ. of Lowell, where she was the captain and holds records for the relays;  Andrea Gray at the Air Force Academy; Liz Doherty at Holy Cross;  Colleen Lally at the Univ. of New Hampshire where she was the captain; Danyelle Dillard at Westfield State, where she holds the 200 dash record; Brittany Page at Bridgewater State, where she holds the hammer throw record; Elizabeth Wallace at Bates; Elizabeth Lewis at the Univ. of Lowell;  Keriann Benjamin at the Univ. of Lowell; Cortney Nolan at Westfield State;  Kaitlyn Hershey at Salem State; Mia Lewis at Salem State where she hold the triple jump record; Aubrey Gray at St. Joseph’s; and Christina Russo at Stonehill College.

“When you look at that list, as a coach and as a school, we have to  feel very proud of our graduates’ achievements,” said MacPhail, adding, “I just wish we had a track that could hold home meets so the town of Winthrop could see these kids compete.”

In addition to MacPhail’s coaching honors, five members of the Lady Viking squad that captured the South Division championship were named to the South Division All Star team: Lexi Vaccaro, Alyssa Mackey, Carly O’Keefe, Ashley Jurovich, and Amy Sena.

Lady Vikings do well at NEC all-league meet 

The Winthrop High girls track & field team turned in a strong sixth place finish at Saturday’s All-League Meet of the Northeastern Conference that was held at Manning Field in Lynn.

Although the Lady Vikings did not claim an NEC title in any of the contests, a number of the Winthrop girls came through with outstanding performances in their respective events.

Lexi Vaccaro was the top point getter for Winthrop with 12 points, garnering third place finishes in the 200 dash in a time of 27.42 seconds and the triple jump with a final landing of 32 feet, two inches.

Amy Sena and Ashley Jurovich also came through with third place performances. Amy took third in the 400 meter hurdles in 70.62 and Ashley took third in the shotput with a toss of 30-9.75. Sena also contributed 0.5 of a point to the Winthrop cause by tying for sixth spot in the high jump with a leap of 4-8.

Teammate Julia Wallace grabbed fourth in the high jump with a leap of 4-10. Carly O’Keefe finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles with a clocking of 17.55, a nice move upwards from her sixth place finish in the preliminaries. Mayomi Meggison also added four points to the Winthrop score sheet with a fourth place long jump of 16-4.25.

Alyssa Mackey rounded out the Winthrop scoring with a fifth place finish in the long jump with her leap of 16-3. Alyssa made it to the finals of the 100 dash and finished in eighth place in a time of 13.79. Isabella Kennedy made the top 10 in her event, the 800 run, with a clocking of 2:42.39, good for ninth spot.

“The girls performed very respectfully, holding there own amongst a conference which seems to be getting better each passing year,” said WHS head coach Warren MacPhail. “Our biggest goal for the meet, as it will be this week at the state level, was to just compete hard against great competition. Competing hard against the best only brings out the best in people. This was the case with our girls on Saturday, improving their personal bests in almost all events. I was really proud of the way the girls competed.”

Among the individual plaudits accorded by MacPhail were:

“Carly O’Keefe placing 4th in the 100 high hurdles after being seeded eighth was huge. She was sick all morning and just gutted it out. Very impressive. Carly is a true example of an old-school Viking athlete!!”

“Ashley Jurovich started out slowly and was throwing not at her best, but with the help of Brittany Page, she bounced back and responded with a strong last throw to place third overall.”

“Lex Vaccaro, another old school Viking, jumped and ran so well with aching  shin splints. Just a true competitor!!”

“Alyssa Mackey who has established herself as the heart of this team, couldn’t get her steps down, but managed to jump off her wrong foot and still jump over 16 feet. She could be the best girl athlete in the high school.”

“Amy Sena, Miss Consistent all year, ran to a strong third in the hardest event on the track, the  400 low hurdles, with a PR of 70.18.”

“Michaela McCarthy and Julia Wallace qualified for the states for first time.”.

“I was really proud of Shanel Turransky, Isabella Kennedy, Sarah Burnett, and Christa Vaccaro, all middle schoolers, all the bright future of the team, all competing well, but coming up short, trying to qualify for the states. They’ll have many years to do so!!”

“Lastly, Jordan Griffiths and Gina Giuliano both were amazing captains this year and they both were hoping to qualify for the states in the  4 x 400, but we came up short.”

A contingent of Lady Vikings, Lexi Vaccaro, Julia Wallace, Michaela McCarthy, Amy Sena, Carly O’Keefe, Ashley Jurovich, Mayomi Meggison, and Alyssa Mackey, all have qualified for the Division  4 state meet on Saturday at North Reading.

WHS baseball team seeks tourney berth

The Winthrop High baseball team will close out its season this week in quest of earning a berth in the post season MIAA Division 3 State Tournament.

Coach Frank DeMarco’s Vikings presently stand at 3-3 against their D-3 opponents and need to finish at .500 against the D-3 teams on their schedule in order to punch their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney. Winthrop has two remaining games on its schedule vs. other D-3 schools, Saugus yesterday (Wednesday) and Watertown Friday and thus the Vikings need to win one of those contests in order to get the opportunity to play in the post-season. Winthrop also will host Danvers today in its final Northeastern Conference contest.

DeMarco and his crew reached the .500 mark on its D-3 schedule with an 8-4 triumph over East Boston last Friday. Sophomore righthander Chris Fucillo went all the way on the mound, tossing what DeMarco termed “a great game for us.” Chris yielded just six hits and two earned runs, while fanning seven enemy batters.

The Vikings’ principal offensive punch came from the bats of Chris LeBlanc, who belted a bases-clearing gapper for three RBI, and Dylan Driscoll, who knocked in two teammates with a base hit.

Steve Goddard, another sophomore pitcher, has become Winthrop’s most consistent pitcher on the season. Goddard tossed a four hit gem against Gloucester last week, but a lack of run support resulted in a 2-0 loss. “Steve pitched a fabulous game against one of the top teams in the league,” said DeMarco, who noted that Goddard went all seven innings, throwing just 82 pitches of which 60 were strikes. An indication of Goddard’s outstanding control in the contest was that he went to a three-ball count on only two Gloucester hitters all game.

By contrast, the Vikings’ 16-6 loss to Marblehead Monday was one of those games in which the Vikings beat themselves. Eight Marblehead hitters were issued bases on balls, of whom seven scored. Winthrop also committed six errors on the day. Marblehead scored 16 runs on only seven hits, a statistic which speaks for itself.

However, despite the ups and downs of the 2012 campaign, DeMarco has been pleased with his team’s overall performance and effort. “We have a very young team, so we knew at the start of the season that this would be a learning experience for us,” said the veteran coach. “But the team has worked hard all year to improve and never has given up in any game we’ve played. We’ve been competitive against the best teams in the league. It has been very satisfying to see how much our younger players have progressed and we’re looking forward to playing well in our final week to get into the post season.”

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