Sports 04-06-2017

WHS SPORTS roundup

MacPhail paces boys to win; McGrail, Navarro qualify for state meet

The Winthrop High boys outdoor track & field team opened their 2017 season in fine fashion with a 91-42 victory over Medford this past Monday.

Sophomore Cormac MacPhail was the top point-scorer for the Vikings. Cormac took first place in both the 400 hurdles (in a time 71.8 seconds) and the triple jump and grabbed two second-place finishes in the mile and long jump to post 16 points on the Winthrop side of the score sheet.

Senior captains Andrew McGrail and David Navarro also enjoyed banner days, with both qualifying for the state meet later this spring in one of their specialties. Andrew took first place in the discus with a toss of 132’-0”, while David qualified for the states in the 200 dash. McGrail also earned first place in the shot-put with a throw of 38’-1/2” and Navarro captured first place in two other events, the 100 dash and the long jump, to earn 15 points for the Viking cause.

Other fine performances for Winthrop were turned in by Patrick Haskell, who took first place in the 400 dash and came back to take second in the two-mile run in 12:59, and Dillon Doherty, who topped the field in the 100 hurdles, grabbed second place in the high jump, and snared  third in the 200 dash.

Other first-place finishers for Winthrop were Tyler Chiudina in the javelin and Tony Nargi in the 800 with a time of 2:15.9. Chiudina also took a second in the shot-put with a heave of 35’-9”.

Vikings who also contributed to the Winthrop point tally were: Patrick Texiera with a second-place in the discus with a twirl of 67’-4.5”;  Billy Hubert with a third in the disc with a throw of 66’-10.5”; Mark Amatucci with a third in the 400 hurdles in a clocking of 80.7;  Taylor St. George with third place finishes in the javelin and the 100 dash;  M. Marcoccio with a second in the 400; and Jacob Hain with a  third in the two-mile in 14:42.

Kevin Anderson turned in a strong effort in the 100 dash, but finished in fourth spot, narrowly missing a place in the scoring.

“The boys had a good meet and worked really hard,” said WHS head coach Mark D’Amico. “David Navarro and Andrew McGrail deserve a special shout-out for making states.”


WHS girls track sweeps past Medford

The Winthrop High girls outdoor track & field team opened its season with a runaway, 105-34 triumph over Medford, which is making its debut in the Northeastern Conference this season after coming over to the NEC from the former Greater Boston League along with Everett, Malden, and Somerville.

Senior captain Christa Vaccaro and junior newcomer McKayla Norris led the way for the Lady Vikings, combining for 35 points. Christa earned 20 points with four first-place finishes in the long jump with a leap of 14’-4”; triple jump with a distance of 29’-8”; 100 high hurdles in a clocking of 18.1; and 400 low hurdles in a time of 72.4.

McKayla took first place in three events, the 100 dash in 13.8, the 200 dash in 28.6, and the high jump with a leap of 4’-8”.

Other first-place finishers for the Lady Vikings were Heidy Benson in the 800 in 2:35; Fiona MacPhail in the 400 in 66.0 (Fiona also took third in the triple jump with a landing of 26’-7”);  Shanel Turransky in the high jump with a leap of 4’-8” (Shanel also took seconds in the triple jump with a distance of 28’-6” and the 100 dash in 14.4);  Mary Kate Pote in the shot-put with a toss of 26’-7” (Mary Kate also finished third in the discus with a throw of 60’-4”); Gabby Hinchion in the discus with a toss of 70’-7” (Gabby also earned a second in the 400 hurdles in 1:18); and Camila Miranda Llovera in the two-mile in 13:51.

Clare Nargi placed third in two events, the 100 hurdles in 20.6 and the long jump with a leap of 13’-3”. Captain Regina Garufo came across in second place in the 200 in 30.1.

Girls head coach Warren MacPhail said he was “pleased with the victory considering that the team has had no track time and had been practicing indoors all spring because of the cold weather.”

The Milano Award for outstanding performance this week was presented to Gabby Hinchion and Micayla Norris for their fine work on the track and effort at practice.

The twin wins by the WHS boys and girls teams marked the first time in seven years that both squads have come home with a victory. Winthrop will head to Somerville next Wednesday to battle against the Highlanders, a traditional GBL powerhouse.


From the Press Box

The New Veterans Field

By: Jim Lederman

The 2017 Winthrop Vikings baseball team will play this spring on the ‘new Veterans Field’ baseball diamond. A $500,000 reconstruction of the field is part of the new sports complex (new high school, a new Miller Field) a ‘new’ or refurbished Wallace B. McClean tennis court would complete the sports complex!

The ‘old’ Winthrop high school was built on the old Veterans Field. The 1958-1959 WHS baseball team played on the diamond at the other end of the present ‘Vets’ Field! (Corner of Franklin and Payson Streets, across from the Senior Center. I watched Hall of Fame WHS athlete Frank DeFelice hit the ‘longest home run’ in WHS baseball annals – “former coach John Domenico in 1957 said, “It almost landed on Miller Field, bouncing on Cross Street.”

A classic baseball game at the ‘old Vets Field’ was the Woburn Tanners visiting Winthrop. The catchers were Bob DeFelice (WHS all-scholastic, Boston College captain, Boston Red Sox draftee, present Bentley athletic director and baseball coach) and Woburn high legendary athlete Joe Castiglione, they both hit home runs in the game!

The new diamond has new dugouts! You can come and enjoy a game. The three WHS baseball fields – Ingleside Park, Veterans Field, The ‘new’ (2017) Veterans Field – Let’s have the dedication of the new Vets Field!

The 1981 Vikings captured a NEC title, won a classic game in the playoffs with East Boston (Joe Giaquinto hit a monster homerun and Joe followed coach DeFelice to Boston College). The Vikings captured the State Title in 1981.

The following WHS baseball standouts inducted in the prestigious Hall of Fame include: Sheldon Bernstein, Richard Belcher, Howard Conley, Bob Usseglio, Milton ‘Bomber’ Neal, Frank and Bob DeFelice, Michael and Vin Eruzione, Robert Guidi, John Tiano, Joe Giaquinto, Michael Mason, Larry Thomas (Chicago White Sox) Walter ‘Brother’ Milano, John Monahan, David Tallent, Steve Marino, Jim Luti, Jimmy Evans, Danny Godfrey, Paul Pearl, Jimmy Gillis and Chuck Sullivan.

Winthrop baseball coaches – John Domenico, Jimmy Evans, Vin Eruzione, Jimmy Gillis and present Viking coach Frank DeMarco. All former WHS baseball standouts. The Vikings hope to have a successful season at the ‘new Veterans Field’ in 2017.

See you at ‘Vets Field’

Go Vikings!

Let the Games Begin!



Viking Schedule

The sun will be shining and the weather in April will be a reason to watch the Vikings playing at home. The baseball team will welcome new NEC rivalries with schools – Everett, Somerville, Malden and Medford.

The boy’s Lacrosse team will play home games at Celucci Field (behind the Gorman-Fort Banks School) and the girl’s Lacrosse will also play at Celucci Field.

The Vikings baseball team will play non-league games with Essex Tech, Peabody, Beverly and Manchester-Essex.

The baseball team under the tutelage of Veteran coach Frank DeMarco play two games this week at the new Veterans Field diamond.

Thursday at 4 p.m. Essex Tech and the Vikings (weather permitting) p lay ball! Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Manchester-Essex Regional (the Hornets) invade Veterans Field.

The rivalry with St. Mary’s of Lynn continues.



Three Captains

Coach Frank DeMarco has named ‘three captains’ to lead the 2017 Vikings baseball team. The captains are three senior multi-sport student-athletes.

Chris Zuffante, Luigi Spinazzola and Jack Wallace are three-year veteran players. Jack will be one of the outstanding pitchers in the NEC this spring. Jack has accepted a full scholarship to pitch for Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. Jack was named the number one golfer last fall in the Northeastern Conference.

Chris Zuffante is a three-sport captain. Chris was quarterback, all NEC and Lynn Item All-Star. HE was recipient of the prestigious Alexander Memorial Trophy. Chris was co-captain of the hoop team.

Luigi is also a three-sport co-captain. He was center on the Vikings football squad, a Viking basketball player. The big first basemen hopes to lead the baseball team to the MIAA playoffs.

Go Vikings!

Let the Games Begin!



NEC-GBL Merger

The new Northeastern Conference – Greater Boston League merger will be in effect this month.

The NEC has absorbed the four remaining teams from the GLB (Everett, Malden, Medford and Somerville).

For the spring teams in each sport will be placed in one of two divisions, called North and South.

The breakdown for baseball and softball is North: Peabody, English, Classical, Beverly, Marblehead, Everett and Marblehead: South: Danvers, Salem, Gloucester, Saugus, Swampscott, Winthrop, Somerville and Malden. All teams within the merged league will play each other once.

In boys and girls tennis, the breakdown is: North: Malden, Everett, Peabody, Danvers, English, Classical, Revere and Beverly; and South: Medford, Somerville, Salem, Swampscott, Marblehead, Gloucester and Winthrop. All teams play each other once.

In track, Classical, English, Medford, Somerville, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott and Winthrop are in the South.



The Agganis Tournament

The 62nd Harry Agganis Invitational Basketball Tournament was held last weekend. The event has taken place since 1956, a year after the tragic death of Lynn legend Harry Agganis.

Harry was a Lynn legend who played for Boston University and the Boston Red Sox. The tourney celebrates one of the greatest Greek-American athletes who died form a pulmonary embolism.

Over 25 teams consisting of Greek-American players from all over the United States. On Saturday, the 12th Annual “MAZ’ Award was presented. This year’s recipient was Nick Tsiotos of Winthrop.

Established in 2006, the George K. Mazareas recognition award recognizes individuals who display tremendous passion, courage and maintain competitive spirits with fair play and sportsmanship on and off the court while playing in the tournament. These qualities were exemplified by George during his years as a participant in the tournament and especially now as he fights his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The Harry Agganis Tournament Committee honors his life of leadership, courage and sportsmanship with this award in his name.

Nick played in the tournament and is the author of two books about the life of Harry Agganis.

“I was really humbled and honored to receive the award,” said Nick upon accepting the award. Nick was captain of the Vikings 1972 team (17-1) that played in the legendary Boston Garden. Nick and brother Chris Tsiotos led Suffolk University to the Division 3 – NCAA Tourney and the Tsiotos brothers play pro ball with the Sporting Athletic Club in Greece.

Nick was inducted into the Winthrop high school Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. Nick retired after 36 years of teaching in the Boston school system.

We salute Nick! Yasu!

Let the Games Begin!



Trivia Answers

Winthrop had another athlete in the NBA – Mark Schlafman, WHS – 1960 and Brandeis University was a NBA referee.

The ex-Viking player and coach is former Salem State Viking – Tom Thibidean, the present Minnesota coach. Tom previously was a Celtics assistant and head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

Jimmy English, ex-Vikings quarterback played quarterback at Boston University and had a tryout with the Patriots.

I omitted another Ivy League athlete from WHS. Danny Godfrey played baseball at Dartmouth.

Ex-Vikings who played for the Northeastern Huskies – Larry ‘Hucky’ Larsen, Kevin McGee and Keith Welch!



The Dance is Over

The North Carolina ‘Tar Heels’ (33-7) captured the National Championship, defeating the Gonzaga Bulldogs (37-2) 71-65, before 76,165 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

(Ed. Note – the same stadium the Patriots defeated the Arizona Cardinals in 2016)

The game was a physical battle with m any questionable calls by referees, who called 47-fouls, (27 in the second half).

The championship was called ‘redemption’ for the “Tar Heels” after they lost the 2016 title game to Villanova by one point!

The ‘Bulldogs’ lost two key players – 7 footers 0 Prezemer Karnowski (from Poland) and Frosh Zach Collins (who fouled out).

Coach Roy Williams won his third NCAA Championship, the sixth in school history.

‘March Madness’ is over – 64-teams played in the month long tourney, March is a very exciting month – let’s bring the ‘April playoffs’ for another thrilling month!

Let the Games Begin!



Apropos of Nothing

If you were a ‘Bulldogs’ fan you had two teams in the ‘final four.’ The Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Mississippi’s ‘ Lady Bulldogs’ in the ‘women’s’ final four. The Lady Bulldogs ended Connecticut’s 110-game win streak!

The name Road Warriors fits all the Viking parents and fans, of the Lacrosse teams that have to play their spring games out of Miller Field (under construction).

If you watched the March Madness – Did you notice the number of teams that did not have senior or junior players?

I call – Kentucky, Louisville the one and done schools. What do you think are the graduation rates for the Wildcats and Cardinals?

* Can the Celtics win a ‘playoff round’ in the Brad Stephens Era? Will the Celtics advance to play the Cavaliers?

* Speaking of Bulldogs – the Winthrop Vikings have a rematch with the Lynn English Bulldogs at Manning Field this year. The Vikings lost an overtime game in the pouring rain to Lynn English in 2016! Go Vikings in 2017!

* Boston ‘The Home of Champions’ – our four big league franchises have combined for 10 championships in this young century! Bring back the ‘Duck Boats’.

* The new Red Sox outfield – Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts aka the ‘Killer Bees’. The Winthrop Vikings had a stellar trio of outstanding linebackers – Rob Doherty, Greg Danker and Mark D’Ambrosio aka – the ‘Killer D’s’! That’s another ‘Voice’ form the past!

Let the Games Begin!


Can’t Stop This Stopper:Howard defies odds, named an All-Scholastic goalie

By Cary Shuman

In the end Gretchen Howard’s determination, fortitude, and courage – and superstar-caliber athletic performance – were recognized with the highest honors in her sport.

Howard, a 5-foot-9-inch senior goaltender for the Winthrop/Lynn/ Lady Bulldawgs high school girls hockey team, has been selected to the Boston Herald Dream Team and the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team. The awards culminate a  sensational seven-year career in the varsity hockey program that she began in the sixth grade under the direction of head coach Butch Martucci.

Howard joins a pantheon of highly accomplished Winthrop greats that includes Lisa Monteleone Ferrara, Maureen McManus Hill, Sue Goldstein, Courtney Finn, Erica Towlson, Sharon Belliveau, Taylor Brown – and her mother, Lisa Gill Howard, who starred on the 1984 state champion WHS softball team.

Gretchen Howard overcame physical obstacles to become one of the state’s best goaltenders. She faced a daily battle with Celiac Disease and underwent two major hip surgeries in successive years, both times returning to the ice following months of physical therapy.

Martucci, who coached Howard in youth hockey and in high school, saw the struggles that his goalie encountered on a game-by-game basis.

“She’s been a hard worker since the time she first started playing hockey,” said Martucci. “She’s had to deal with a lot going through her life. She has Celiac Disease and that’s something she’s had to deal with before every game. She has a certain diet that she has to follow so she doesn’t feel sick or hurting. She’s dealt with a lot but that kid is as tough as nails.”

Martucci also praised Howard as “a team player” who leaves his program with every goaltending record: most wins, most shutouts, most saves, and most All-Star appearances.

“Gretchen has been a really great player for us since she was a sixth grader,” said Martucci. “She’s the Wayne Gretzky of the program. She holds all our records. It’s so fitting that she’s the first Winthrop player to be a Dream Teamer and All-Scholastic honoree. That’s pretty impressive.”

Howard concluded her high school career in the Shriners All-Star Game, playing close to two periods of shutout hockey.

“Gretchen’s on-ice stuff is great but the kid that she is, the way she conducts herself in school – her schoolwork is always good and she’s just a very good person all around,” said Martucci.

Howard began her hockey career in Winthrop Youth Hockey for coach Martucci’s 10-year-old team. She helped Winthrop win two state championships in the U-10 and U-14 divisions. Howard also sharpened her skills for the Islanders and Boston Shamrocks select teams before advancing to the highly competitive New England Women’s Junior Hockey League (NEWJH), where she competed for the Walpole Express team.

While always putting her team’s goals first, Howard said she was honored to be an All-Scholastic by both Boston newspapers.

“I know it’s the highest awards you can get, so it’s a really good feeling,” said Howard. I couldn’t have achieved this without my teammates and my coaches. I’ve had some great defensemen like Taylor Brown, Cat Salvetti, Casey Harris, and Meghan Chavis.”

Howard said she’s especially grateful to coach Martucci for being an excellent mentor and a source of inspiration.

“Without him, I would not be where I am today – hockey wise, school wise, and in life,” said Howard. “He’s been like my rock. Without him, I would not be playing college hockey and I would not have made it this far in my hockey career.”

Her most memorable game: making 38 saves in a shutout of Beverly that clinched the conference championship. She had a few 50-plus-save games against Beverly, the team she considers Winthrop’s biggest rival.

“I’ve played hockey with Beverly’s best player, McKinley Karpa and she’s one of my good friends and she’s on the Dream Team with me,” said Howard. “She’s an unreal player.”

Howard had surgeries on her right and left hips respectively following her eighth grade and ninth grade years, forcing her to miss two off seasons.

“Gretchen had an amazing [orthopaedic] surgeon, Dr. Bojan Zoric, and an amazing physician’s assistant, Ray Feeley, who did a great job,” credits her mother, Lisa Howard about the medical team that is based at Sports Medicine North.

Lisa Howard said her daughter has to be careful with her daily intake of foods, noting that Gretchen eats 100 percent wheat and gluten free. “You can’t mess with Celiac Disease. If you get exposed to wheat or gluten, you can’t play.”

Lisa Howard also noted the contributions to her daughter’s career from the late Dr. Robert Harney, “who gave her pointers on anticipatory visual training” when she was starting out as a goaltender.

Gretchen Howard said she learned a lot from her predecessor, current Boston College goalie and former Lady Bulldawgs’ teammate Katie Burt, about goaltending and the preparation it takes to be exceptional athlete.

“I was like Katie’s little prodigy and I wanted to be Katie,” said Howard, who took Burt’s jersey No. 33 and wore it for the remainder of her career. “She’s a great athlete, very humble, and was a great coach, too, when I went to Prospects Camp and she was one my trainers. I’ve always looked up to Katie and she’s was one of the best, a hard worker, and a positive role model.”

Howard caught the eye of college coaches at the Hockey Night In Boston Tournaments, eventually selecting Salve Regina University (Newport, R.I.). “I toured Salve and I fell in love in the campus and their nursing program,” she said. “Out of all the schools, that was my favorite, especially that I could play hockey there.”

Two months away from graduating from Winthrop High School, Howard said her parents [Rudy and Lisa Howard] have been supportive every step of the way.

“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without them. The amount of the time, effort and money they put in to my hockey career is incredible. They’re my biggest support system and I’m very thankful for everything they’ve done for me.”

Howard also thanked her grandfather, former Winthrop Town Council president Peter Gill, for his support and encouragement from youth hockey through high school hockey.

“My grandfather was at every single game. He was a staple behind the net. He’s very dedicated to me and I’m so appreciative to him for everything he’s done for me. He’s truly a great grandfather.”



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