Sports 03-02-2017

WHS SPORTS roundup

WHS boys basketball wins tourney opener, faces St. Mary’s tonight

The Winthrop High boys basketball team advanced to the quarterfinal round of the MIAA Division 4 North Sectional of the boys state basketball tournament with a runaway, 73-44 victory over the Maimonides School of Brookline in a first round contest Tuesday night at Brookline High.

The Vikings entered the tourney as the 11th seed of the 11 teams in the D-4 North with an 8-12 record. Winthrop qualified for the tourney thanks to the Sullivan Rule, which allows a team to qualify for the post-season even with an overall record under-.500 if it has a .500 record against teams in its own division.

Despite being the lowest seed in the D-4 North, the Vikings had little difficulty dispatching Maimonides, which was seeded sixth in the D-4 North with an 8-4 record.

The outcome was not surprising, given that Winthrop plays against teams from the Northeastern Conference that consists primarily of D-1, D-2, and D-3 opponents, whereas Maimonides’ schedule was limited to small schools.

The Winthrop Vikings will take on their bete noir of state tourney play, St. Mary’s of Lynn, this evening (Thursday) on the the Spartans’ home court.

The St. Mary’s boys are the defending D-4 state champs and once again appear to be primed for another title bid under the direction of head coach Dave Brown, a St. Mary’s alumnus who coached the Winthrop boys’ program for about a decade, culminating with a state title in 2011.

However, the Vikings, who have been led this year by the dynamic 1-2 punch of Devin Pulsifer and Tayjuan McKenzie, play an uptempo, attack-the-basket style of play that has led to some impressive victories this season.

In terms of common opponents, St. Mary’s defeated both Lynn Classical and Lynn English by almost-identical scores of 60-51 and 61-53 respectively. Winthrop defeated English in a shootout, 84-75, but fell to Classical, 80-52.

The winner of tonight’s battle will meet the winner of the Hamilton-Wenham vs. Pope John contest that will be played tomorrow (Friday evening).


WHS girls hockey to meet Westford Saturday in Tyngsboro


The Winthrop High girls hockey team will take to the ice for the first round of the MIAA Division 1 girls state hockey tournament Saturday afternoon at the Skate 3 Rink in Tyngsboro where they will meet Westford Academy. Face-off is set for 1:20.

Coach Anthony Martucci’s Lady Bulldawgs, who concluded their regular season last Thursday with a 6-4 victory over Marblehead in the consolation game of the Newburyport Bank Tournament, enter the tourney as the 11th seed among the 19 teams who qualified for the D-1 tournament. Winthrop compiled a fine 12-6 record during the regular season.

Westford is the sixth seed in D-1 after finishing with a 15-3-2 regular season mark.

The teams shared a number of common opponents during the season and based on the outcomes of those games, Saturday’s match figures to be a close battle. Westford defeated Masconomet, a team with whom Winthrop split their games during the season. Westford edged Andover, 1-0, while Winthrop was nipped by Andover, 2-0. Both teams earned tight, hard-fought victories over Algonquin Regional.

The winner of Saturday’s Winthrop vs. Westford contest will earn the right to face the victor of the Woburn vs. Arlington or Peabody matchup at a date and place to be determined.


WHS gymnastics team competes in North Sectional


The Winthrop High gymnastics team competed in the North Sectional of the MIAA State Gymnastics Tournament Saturday afternoon at Hudson High School.

“This was the first time any of the girls on this team had been a part of a sectional-qualifying team,” said WHS head coach Daria Millrick, whose squad entered the tourney as the 11th seed among the 12 teams that qualified for the meet. “Although it was their first experience, they acted like they had been there before.”

The Lady Vikings opened on the beam and displayed some solid performances. Captain Kaitlyn Carter started off and had one of her best routines of the season. Kaitlyn stayed up on the beam and hit all of her connections. Next up was Assistant Captain Lacey Scott who also had a great routine. Scott wowed the judges with her added bonus.

Scott was followed by underclassman Megi Zogasi, who is a favorite of the judges because of her sky-high jumps. Danielle Carter displayed a beautiful routine and scored the highest on beam for Winthrop with an 8.1. “Danielle competes with ease and confidence, which is what you might expect from a senior veteran, but she’s only in eighth grade,” said Millerick.

WHS captain Christa Vaccaro completed the rotation for Winthrop and scored an 8.05.

“After beam, we knew we could gain more momentum as we were moving to floor, our best event,” noted Millerick, whose Lady Viking squad hit six straight routines with only some minor deductions. Underclassman Gracie Armitstead wowed not only the judges, but the entire team with her contagious smile.

“It was the first time I saw her show it off like that and it was incredible,” said Millerick.

Gianna Guarino was up next and attained her highest score of the season with an 8.2. “This is a great feat for Gianna because this is her first year doing gymnastics,” said Millerick. “She has grown tremendously in these past few months. For her to get her highest score of the season at a tournament where the judging is tougher than the regular season, that’s pretty noteworthy.”

Danielle Carter performed beautifully as always, scoring an 8.45, followed by Rachel Farley with an 8.55, and Brandi DiCicco with an 8.525. Lastly was Vaccaro, who showed up with a smile and stuck her tumbling to earn a 9.225, a score that earned her a seventh place ranking overall on the floor exercise.

“Their floor performances literally brought tears to my eyes,” said Millerick. “Not only that, but even to the rest of the team. They were all standing the entire time on the edge of the floor, cheering the girls on — it was very special to watch. Out of the 12 teams, we placed sixth overall on floor, which is not a surprise to me. We have a solid line up on floor and to hear that we were in the top six with the other teams was very exciting.”

On the vault, Winthrop experienced what Millerick termed “some wonky landings, which cost us around a point or two.” The line up was Scott with an 8.0, Kaitlyn Carter with an 8.025, Zogasi with an 8.05, Farley with an 8.125, DiCicco with an 8.15, and Vaccaro with an 8.925.

In the final rotation on bars, the Lady Vikings went out with a bang. Each girl hit her routines without major mistakes, which (similar to the beam) is rare.

“With that being said, it shows our girls are consistent and were deserving of qualifying for this meet,” noted Millerick.

Underclassman Mary O’Donnell started off, earning a 7.05. Rachel Farley scored a 7.4. Danielle Carter followed, receiving a 7.6, then Zogasi with a 7.8. DiCicco was second to last with an 8.05, and Vaccaro finished her Winthrop High School team career with an outstanding routine, scoring an 8.8.

“These scores were lower than we were used to seeing, but we were being compared to the best of the best, and my girls did their absolute best,” enthused Millerick, whose squad’s bar score placed seventh among the 12 teams.

“I think the best part of this entire day was the fact that the girls had a blast,” said Millerick. “They were all smiling the entire day, they were all laughing, cheering each other on, and the nerves were low. As their coach, it made me emotional to see our team’s bond shine and to watch them here at sectionals, when it was just a dream a few months ago. The girls can’t wait for next season, and I’m sure this is the start of some record-breaking years ahead.”

Winthrop captain Christa Vaccaro will travel to Florida in May to compete with the Massachusetts National team.”I’ve been on this team for six years,” said Christa,  “earning a waiver in 7 and 8th grade and I’ve never felt so much a part of a team before. We all get together and we create a momentum that is unstoppable. Not once in these past six years have I gone to sectionals and this was an incredible end to my career and the start of an era for the younger girls. This season especially, I have created some unforgettable memories and I’ll cherish those forever. I owe thanks to my team for that, and to everyone who has cheered me on along the way.”



From the Press Box

March Madness

By: Jim Lederman

Who Let the ‘Dawgs’ Out?

Coach Anthony ‘Butch’ Martucci’s Lady Bulldawgs finished the regular season with a (12-6) record. Coach Martucci’s squad will play Westford Academy (the Grey Ghosts) in the Division One MIAA playoffs on Saturday at 1PM in Tyngsboro.

The ‘Grey Ghosts’ beat us (4-0) in last years playoffs and we would like to make this a revenge game, said the highly successful coach.

“We’re excited to be in the tournament and we have a chance to play against a very strong Westford team.”

“We did not finish the season on a strong note,” said coach Butch. The Bulldawgs are led by all-star goalie captain Gretchen Howard. Coach Butch feels Gretchen is one of the best goalies in the state.

Gretchen has accepted a scholarship to lay for Salve Regina College, located in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. The ‘Lady Dawgs’ scoring was led by junior ‘number five’ McKayla Norris. Coach Butch will need a very strong game from the seniors, Kelsie Griffiths, Abby Carleton, Mia Price, Meghan Chavis and Sydney Adamson.

The ‘second season’ is a fine way to have strong senior leadership and ‘super’ goaltending from number 33 – captain Gretchen Howard.

We hope the ‘Dawgs’ and the Vikings can play on separate nights so all Viking athletes and fans can cheer for two exciting Winthrop hockey teams.

See you at the Arena

Let’s fill the rink with Vikings fans!

Let the Games Begin!




The 1995 Vikings defeated Cohasset to capture the state hoop title in the legendary ‘Boston Garden,’ under the tutelage of the late Peter Grimes.

The 1963 State (Tech Tourney) champions the 1976 Division One state hockey champions and the 1995 state hoop titlists were three WHS state championship teams.

Xaverian was once coached by Frank DeFelice, ex-WHS standout in 1956, who coached football for 50 years. Frank is in the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

In 1983 the undefeated Vikings (33-0-1) coached by Bob DeFelice defeated Xaverian at Sullivan Stadium (Gillette) 14-3. Dana Barros (Boston College, Boston Celtics was the wide receiver for the Hawks. Steve Staffier rushed for 225 yards).

The five ex-Vikings hockey players, who played for Harvard and Yale University – Harvard – Ed Rossi, Bobby McDonald Jackie Burke.

Yale – Kevin Lydon and Danny Brugman.

Danvers has captured one – NEC football title in 60 years.

The Falcons hockey team has five NEC titles.

The Vikings have 13 hockey titles, the football team – 13 NEC title, 3 super bowl titles.



All Stars

The Northeastern Conference All-Star team was announced last week. Captain Charlie page was named League MVP (Most Valuable Player).

Page follows his brother Chris (Buddy) Page, who was NEC MVP in 2013. Chris plays for Stonehill College. The selection of NEC MVP is the third Viking player named in the last four years. Pat Todisco was NEC MVP in 2015.

The Vikings also added two more standouts to the first team. Senior defenseman David Barry and junior Henry Brooks were first team all-stars.

Senior defenseman Matt Tarantino, junior Steve Holgerson and soph goalie Ryan Skoczylas, were six Viking NEC hockey all-stars.

The Lady Bulldawgs had six hockey all-stars named to the NEHL all-star squad. Gretchen Howard was named first team goalie, her fourth years as a NEHL all-star. Senior Mia Price, junior McKayla Norris, junior Katie O’Shea and sophomore Bella Perrotti and Abby Stafford were six Lady Bulldawg all-stars.

We salute the outstanding all-stars from Winthrop.

Let the Games Begin!




Extra Points

The Vikings need to light the lamp as they enter the MIAA –Division 2 North playoffs. Captain Charlie Page was selected NEC MVP – his statistics for 2017 – 21 goals – 26 assists – 47 points – over 130 points in his outstanding four year career.

The top three NEC scorers

Tom Mento (Danvers junior) 30 goals – 20 assists – 50 points.

Charlie Page – 47 points

Braeden Haley (Marblehead) 18 goals – 23 assists – 41 points

Swampscott captain – Louis Oliveri 21 goals – 24 assists – 45 points.

The Conference was loaded with six strong teams. The Vikings need scoring to win in the playoffs. Page, Brooks, Yarrow, Holgerson, Chalmers and Barry can score, but the offense has to take more shots and show they are a better team than they played in their last six games.

Shoot – Score – Win!

Let the Games Begin!

Let’s Go Vikings!



Faces in the Crowd

Coach Sean Driscoll has invited past recipients to the presentation of the Alexander Memorial Trophy, following the football season.

The first award recipient was center Jim Merchant in 1953. I spoke with ‘Big Jim’ at the ceremony at the Winthrop Arms two years ago.

We want to send our best to Jimmy who is sick and is at the Don Orione Home in East Boston.

It has been great to see all the concerned citizens that have filled the town council hearings on the ‘issue’ of keeping the Wallace B. McClean Tennis Courts, named after former A.D. and coach Mr. McClean.

We had Winthrop’s College All-Americans hoop player Courtney Finn attend last weeks meeting in support of her mother – coach Marie Finn.

We need to ‘refurbish’ the McClean Courts, so more young tennis players and adults can play tennis. No more parking!

Let the Kids Play!

Let the Tennis Begin at the McClean Courts!


WHS sports years

10 years ago

March 1, 2007

The WHS girls basketball team capped a perfect 20-0 season with a 57-40 victory over Westwood, which also was undefeated at 19-0 entering the game, in the championship contest of the Westwood Winter Classic. WHS sophomore Courtney Finn was named the tourney MVP, scoring 38 points in the two games. Katerina Mallios and Nicole Giaquinto also were named to the all-tourney team. Coach Peter Grimes and his team now await word of their opening round opponent in the Division 3 State Tournament.

The WHS boys basketball team ended its regular season on a winning note with a 79-63 victory over a 17-3 Wilmington High team that is the third seed in the Division 3 North state tournament.  Coach Dave Brown’s Vikings, who finished the season with a 9-11 record, are the eighth seed in the D-4 North and will host Tyngsboro in the opening round. Jason Griffin scored 20 points and Anthony Giuliano hit for 18 in the win over Wilmington.

The WHS hockey team failed to make the state tourney for the second year in a row, losing to NEC champion Revere, 5-3, and to Watertown, 2-1, in their final two games. The Vikings fell shy of qualifying for the tourney by just one point .


20 years ago

March 6, 1997

Despite a 39-point effort by Lawone Bennett, the all-time leading scorer in Winthrop high history, the WHS boys basketball team could not overcome a 39-18 first half deficit and dropped a 76-69 decision to Weston in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament. Coach Peter Grimes’s squad previously had defeated Greater Lawrence, 65-57, in the tourney opening round.

WHS track star Jaclyn Costonis took second place in the high jump at the All-State Meet last week with a leap of 5′-4″. Costonis had won the Class D Meet the week before.

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