Girls Track Team Wins Two Meets in Final Relay Event

There is nothing more exciting at a track meet than when the outcome hinges on the final event, the 4 x 400 relay. Such has been the case for the Winthrop High girls track team in both of its victories this season in successive weeks over Danvers and Gloucester. Winthrop trailed 42-39 coming into the relay in both meets and was in a position to win thanks to a total team effort in both meets in which the Lady Vikings captured first place in four of the nine individual events; second place in five of the nine; and third place in four of them.

In the more-recent match with Danvers, the Lady Vikings were led by Elizabeth Anderson, who was a double winner in the shotput with a toss of 28 feet, three inches (28-3) and the 55 meter dash in a time of 8.4 seconds.

Also earning five points for the Winthrop cause with first place showings against Danvers were Lexi Vaccaro in the 300 dash in 48.1 and Holly Benson in the 600 in 1:52.7. (Holly had captured the championship in the 600 at the NEC Freshman-Sophomore Meet 10 days previously in a clocking of 1:55.1).

In the Gloucester meet, first place finishers were: Amy Sena in the high jump with a leap of 5-0; Anderson with a shotput throw of 28-5; Vaccaro in the 300 in 49.6; and Carly O’Keefe in the 55 meter hurdles in 9.5.

Second place performers for Winthrop in the Danvers match, contributing three points for the Lady Vikings, were: Alissa Shea with a high jump of 4-2; Katherine Teixeira with a shotput toss of 26-0; O’Keefe in the 55 hurdles in 9.3; Heidy Benson in the 1000 in 3:42.7; and Victoria Helle in the two mile in 14:21.

In the Gloucester meet, second place finishers were: Anderson in the 55 meter dash in 8.1;  Holly Benson in the 600 in 1:50.7; Sena in the 1000 in 3:27.8; and Kristen Ford in the two mile in 14:20.

And in meets where every point would mean the difference between winning and losing (or tying), key third place performances against Danvers came from Rachel Wadkins in two events, the high jump with a leap of 4-0 and the 300 in a clocking of 51.8; Abby Love in the mile in 6:40.2; and Ford in the two mile in 14:40.

In the Gloucester contest, those key third place points were put up by Heidy Benson in the 1000 in 3:45.4; Love in the mile in 6:48.9; Wadkins in the 300 dash in 53.2; and Teixeira in the shotput with a throw of 25-4.

That left the scoresheets tallied at 42-39 in favor of Danvers and Gloucester with only the 4 x 400 relay left on the docket — with the victorious quartet earning a winner-take-all five points for their team. The Winthrop foursome proceeded to outsprint their Danvers and Gloucester counterparts in times of 4:38.5 (compared to 4:44.2 for Danvers) and 4:35.5 (compared to 4:38.7 for Gloucester) to win the races and the meets.

On the boys’ side in the Danvers meet, two Vikings won their events. Trevor Hetherton captured the 55 meter hurdles with a time of 9.9 and William Holden won the two mile run in 12:10. Holden, it should be noted, had earned a medal for his fifth place finish in the two-mile at the NEC Frosh-Soph. Meet December 28 in a clocking of 12:36.

Chris Beaudry also scored a point for the Winthrop cause with a third place finish in the 600 in 1:40.4 against Danvers.

In the Gloucester tilt, Alex Kelly took second in the shotput with a toss of 31-8 and Brady Magrath took third with a throw of 30-11; Beaudry finished third in the 300 in 42.2; Devin Racow raced to second in the 600 in 1:49.7; Shawn Preble came home in third in the mile in 5:54.1; and Holden took third in the two mile in 12:25.

Both the girls and boys track teams will be back in action today (Thursday) at Swampscott.

Boys hockey team wins three straight

The Winthrop High boys hockey team turned in its best week of the season, winning all three of its games, to raise its record to 8-4.

All three of the victories — 3-1 over Danvers, 2-1 over Peabody, and 2-1 over Scituate — shared the common denominator of a staunch defense in front of the fine work of goaltender Ray Feeley, a style of play that has been a trademark of the Viking hockey program under the direction of head coach Dale Dunbar.

In last Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Danvers at Larsen Rink, the Northeastern Conference rivals battled evenly through the first two periods, with the score standing at 0-0 after the first stanza and 1-1 after two frames. Pat Todisco, assisted by Chris “Buddy” Page, accounted for the Viking tally.

Page broke the deadlock for good with a lamplighter in the final period, assisted by Zack Deeb.  Buddy then sealed the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute for the 3-1 finale.

Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Peabody, also at Larsen, followed a similar script. After a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the middle stanza, with freshman Charlie Page potting the Viking tally, assisted by Dylan Driscoll and Johnny Orlando.

That set the stage for a closely-fought final 15 minutes in which the lone lighting of the lamp came from off the stick of Chris Page,ssisted by Deeb and Todisco, midway through the period for the game-winner.

In Monday’s encounter with non-league foe Scituate from the South Shore, Winthrop’s Larsen Loyalists no doubt felt they were watching a version of the movie Groundhog Day, as their host Vikings once against battled their guests to a 0-0 deadlock after the first 15 minutes of play.

The second period saw the teams initially trade goals, Chris Page (from Todisco and Steve Goddard) scoring for Winthrop with a powerful wrist shot to beat the Scituate goalie. However, Orlando broke the 1-1 stalemate before the period ended with a superb individual play in a shorthanded situation in which Johnny broke up a Scituate pass, stickhandled past a Scituate defender with a beautiful move, and then went in on the Scituate goalie and beat him cleanly.

“John really made it happen,” lauded Dunbar. “It was just a great, all-around play.”

The Vikings, who have reeled off four straight wins, appear to be hitting their stride as they enter the latter half of the season.

“I’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve been playing,” said Dunbar.

“We’ve got our full team back after some injuries and we’re getting better with every game. Our younger players are stepping up and we’re coming together as a team.”

Dunbar and his crew will hit the road for a contest Saturday evening against Marblehead at Salem State College and then make the long trek to Gloucester next Wednesday.

Viking hoopmen beat Pope John, reach tourney

The Winthrop High boys basketball team defeated Pope John XXIII of Everett, 55-26, Monday afternoon. The victory earned a spot for the Vikings in the post-season state tourney under the Sullivan Rule,

which allows schools to qualify for the high school version of March Madness if they achieve a .500 record against teams in their own division, which for Winthrop is Division 4 The Vikings took control of the game from the outset and never took their foot off the gas, moving out to a 29-16 lead at the half and building on their advantage until the final buzzer. “I told the team this was a measuring-stick game for us,” said WHS head coach Mike DMarino. “Pope John had played us fairly evenly in our first meeting three weeks ago (a 54-46 Winthrop victory), so it was a good way to assess  how much we’ve improved the second time around with them.”

Cody Wasson turned in a double-double night for the Vikings, scoring 15 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Jake Chiudina reached double figures with 10 points. DiMarino also lauded the fine defensive play of Vin Sparacino and Loran Shuka, who blocked three enemy shots to go along with his six points.

The contest also marked the first varsity points scored by freshman Chris Zuffante, as DiMarino was able to give some playing time to his younger players.

The Vikings were scheduled to host Innovation Academy yesterday (Wednesday), weather permitting, and will trek to Salem Friday night. Tuesday the Vikings will host arch-rival Revere that will feature Youth Night activities. All students who wear blue and gold will be admitted to the game free-of-charge.

Girls hockey team improves to 9-2; girds for St. Mary’s

The Winthrop High Lady Bulldog hockey team won two of its three contests this past week, raising their record to 9-2 on the season and qualifying them for a berth in the post-season state tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs this Saturday evening will host St. Mary’s of Lynn, their big North Shore rival, at Larsen Rink in what promises to be the game of the year thus far this season. Face-off is set for 6:30 at what no doubt will be a rockin’ & rollin’ Larsen Rink.

Winthrop began its week Thursday with a 6-1 win over Masconomet in what WHS head coach Anthony Martucci termed his team’s “best performance of the season. “Masco is a well-coached and hard-skating team that never stops coming at you,” said Martucci. “But our defense was up to the task against their relentless pressure and we rose to the challenge at both ends of the ice.”

The Lady Bulldogs skated to a commanding 4-0 lead in the opening period thanks to goals by four different Winthrop players: Savannah Norcross (assisted by Kasey Harris and Emma English); Jilllian Olevitz (from Cat Salvetti) on a fine play on which Jillian beat two Lynn defenders and then went top shelf with her shot; Sydney Adamson (from Katie Jenner), on which Sydney put home a rebound of Jenner’s shot; and Jenner, who unleashed a booming slap shot after a feed from Ariana Dembro. Emma English, assisted by Olivia Shkliew, matched a Masco goal in the middle period and Norcross, from English, added the coup de grace with a lamplighter in the final frame.

The Lady Bulldog offense also accounted for six goals in a 6-2 triumph over Cambridge on the holiday Monday afternoon. Norcross gave Winthrop a 1-0 lead in the opening period when she put home a rebound from a shot by Caroline McKinnon, who had carried the puck into the offensive zone and let go a hard shot that the Cambridge goalie was unable to handle, allowing the opportunistic Norcross to scoop up the rebound. “We came out of the box a bit on the sluggish side, but Caroline and Savannah got us going,” said Martucci.

The middle period saw Winthrop score three times, with Jenner putting home a rebound of a shot by Norcross; Harris unleashing a hard shot from a pass off the boards; and Norcross, assisted by English and Shkliew, potting her second goal of the game. Cambridge, which had gotten on the board in the second period, made it a 4-2  affair with a marker early in the third. However, McKinnon scored one of the prettiest goals of the season when she skated in from the corner and lifted a high backhander as two Cambridge defenders closed in on her that beat the Cambridge goalie. Freshman Jeanna Eruzione put the frosting on the WHS victory cake with her first career    varsity goal on a give-and-go with Adamson on which Jeanna caught the rebound of Adamson’s shot in full stride and put the puck past the Cambridge netminder.

The Lady Bulldogs’ lone setback of the week came Saturday at Medford by a tight 2-1 tally. Winthrop started slowly, trailing 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 midway through the second. A goal by Harris on a shot from the point narrowed the gap to 2-1 and with the Lady Bulldogs coming to life, it appeared as though a Winthrop comeback might be in the cards in the final frame.

However, despite controlling the play in the third period and eventually outshooting Medford by a wide 36-18 margin, the Lady Bulldogs proved unable to dent the Medford net the rest of the way.

“Our slow start put us in a hole from which we never recovered,” noted Martucci. “We did everything but score when we pulled our goalie in the final 1:30. It was just one of those games.” After Saturday’s encounter with St. Mary, the Lady Bulldogs will play at Beverly next Wednesday with first place in the Northeastern Hockey League on the line.

Lady Vikings win two more, now 9-2

The Winthrop High girls basketball team won two more games this past week, defeating Northeastern Conference North Division rival Beverly last Thursday and then taking the measure of Somerville of the Greater Boston League on Martin Luther King Day. The contest with Beverly saw the Lady Vikings fall behind early, 15-9, after the first quarter.

“We weren’t shooting very well and we crossed signals on defense a number of times,” said WHS head coach Ignacio Oyola. “So at the break we went over what we wanted to do on defense.” The Lady Vikings heeded their coach’s words and the second quarter proved a different story, as the Lady Vikings limited Beverly to just four points over the eight-minute span. The Winthrop offensive output also improved a bit and the result was that the six point deficit at the first buzzer turned into a 20-19 edge for Winthrop at the half.

The Lady Vikings maintained their pressure defense after the intermission, showing either a full-court, man-to-man or zone press, and their lead increased to 32-26 after three frames.

Winthrop continued to maintain its momentum into the fourth period and when Beverly began to press, the Lady Vikings handily beat it to earn some easy buckets that spread the final margin to into double digits for the 47-30 finale. Kristen Siscamanis topped the Winthrop scoring chart with 13 points. Theresa Jones also reached double figures with 10 points, followed by Ashelyne Babb with nine, Nina Bartlett with seven, Poli Tsiotis with six, and sister Nikki T. with two.

On Monday the Lady Vikings trekked to Somerville and made their return trip a happy one with a 46-27 triumph over the Division 1 Lady Highlanders. Somerville had beaten Winthrop handily in both of their meetings last season, but this time the Lady Vikings turned the tables. Winthrop took control in the opening period, leading 13-6 at the first horn, and never was headed, thanks primarily to a stifling defense that held Somerville to under 10 points in all four periods (6-7-7-7).

However, similar to the Beverly win, the Lady Viking offense took a while to get untracked. The principal hindrance to the Winthrop offensive effort in the first half (20 points with just seven coming in the second frame) was the turnover factor. The Lady Vikings committed 16 miscues in the first 16 minutes, a ratio that would spell doom for any basketball team at every level of play.

Winthrop committed just five turnovers after the intermission and the Lady Vikings’ lead grew to 14, 34-20, after three quarters, from where they cruised to the win. Siscamanis again was high scorer with 12 points and pulled down six rebounds. Jones hit for 10 and the foursome of Babb, Jen Adamson, Nikki T., and Bartlett all chipped in with six points apiece. Tsiotis also was a thorn in Somerville’s side with five steals (out of

Winthrop’s 13 thefts on the night) and Bartlett grabbed a team-high seven boards and blocked three shots. Although his team stands at a lofty 9-2, Oyola said there is much that the Lady Vikings need to improve upon in the second half of the season as they gear up for a Journey to the Tourney.

“A lot of our wins may appear to be convincing based on the final score (seven of Winthrop’s nine victories have been by 10 points or more), but the reality is that we have been playing inconsistently in most of those games,” said the coach. “We especially need to start reducing the number of turnovers and work to improve basically every aspect of our game.”

Another worrisome aspect for the Lady Vikings has been their free throw shooting. Winthrop hit on just six-of-14 from the charity stripe vs. Beverly and made only two-of-11 vs. Somerville. That’s a combined eight-of-25 for a success rate of just 32 percent, a statistic that will spell an early one-way ticket home from the tourney against a quality team.

The Lady Vikings will host Salem Friday and take the short ride to Revere Tuesday. Tip-off for both games is 7:00.

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