Sports 06-22-2017

O’Leary completes an excellent career at Elon University

By Cary Shuman

Erin Helene O’Leary’s Winthrop High classmates won’t be surprised one bit that she went on to accomplish so much at Elon University in North Carolina.

O’Leary, a former WHS student council president, scholar-athlete, and two-sport captain, graduated cum laude from Elon University on May 20 with a Bachelor of Arts after majoring in Special Education and English.

O’Leary, who was a peer mentor at Winthrop High School to students with disabilities under the  direction of  former teacher Chris Donnelly, will begin her career as a special education teacher at Chelsea High School in August.

O’Leary is the daughter of Daniel O’Leary and Paula O’Leary.

She earned a Teaching Fellowship at Elon, one of 25 students to participate in the four-year scholarship program.

“As a Teaching Fellow, I participated in various educational opportunities such as undergraduate research and a semester studying in Costa Rica where I worked in an orphanage,” said O’Leary. “Costa Rica is a beautiful country.”

O’Leary also played club soccer and worked at Elon’s writing center, assisting other undergraduates with their school assignments.

Her Winthrop High record was extraordinary, excelling in athletics, academics, and extracurricular activities.

O’Leary was captain of the WHS girls soccer and girls lacrosse teams, an Agganis All-Star in both sports, an NEC All-Star soccer player and steam MVP, and a member of the Winthrop Lady Bulldawgs girls ice hockey team.

O’Leary is also a pioneer in WHS sports, having been instrumental in the founding of the girls lacrosse program. She collaborated with teachers Jen Droney and Peter Gobiel to launch the lacrosse program.

“Our pilot year for lacrosse was 2012 and we began our first season in the conference in my senior year (2013),” said O’Leary, who was the team’s leading scorer. “I really loved lacrosse.”

O’Leary said she had the distinct pleasure of competing on Winthrop teams coached by the Martuccis – Tracy (Gigliello), one of Winthrop High’s greatest soccer players ever, and her husband, Butch Martucci, a multi-sport standout and inductee in to the WHS Hall of Fame who led the Lady Bulldawgs.

‘I love them both,” said O’Leary. “They’re great coaches and people. I actually played hockey because of Tracy.”

O’Leary began her athletic career in the Winthrop Youth Soccer program and picked up lacrosse as a high school student.

One of the top students academically in the class, she was a member of the Winthrop High chapter of the National Honor Society.

“I think the Winthrop schools really prepared me well for college,” said O’Leary, noting that English teacher Lindsay McCracken, history teacher Jen Droney, as being her favorites.

O”Leary said she was inspired by working with former WHS teacher Chris Donnelly as a peer mentor to Winthrop students with special needs.

“It is the reason why I wanted to major in secondary special education,” said O’Leary. “I was really inspired by Mr. Donnelly and the kids. He was definitely a great teacher and role model.”

O’Leary, 22, chose Elon for its outstanding offerings for Education majors and its study abroad program. She has also considered UMass, UNH, Saint Anselm, and Salve Regina.

“I toured the Elon campus and I loved it,” said O’Leary.  “Elon has many Massachusetts students.”

During her club soccer career, she competed against college teams in North Carolina and in other southern states.

O’Leary said she is excited to begin her professional career in the Chelsea school system. Interestingly, she will be having her contract meeting with Winthrop resident Linda (Fucillo) Breau, who is the assistant superintendent of Chelsea schools.

“While I was in North Carolina, I student-taught for four months in a classroom for students with intellectual disabilities,” said O’Leary. “It was very rewarding. I enjoy this field, especially seeing my students’ faces light up when they learn something that we talked about in class or that I taught them – that’s the most rewarding part.

“Students with disabilities face a lot of challenges when it comes to academics. Making these students feel self confident and smart – which they are, they are all very capable – it just takes the right kind of person to help them. To me, that makes it all worth it.”

O”Leary thanked her parents for their support.

“I really couldn’t have done it without them. My dad always taught me to try as hard as you can to be successful in sports and in life. My mom is always the one that puts herself in the background to help our family. They did all they could to help me go to the college of my choice. My grandmother (Carol Nicoletti) also helped me go to the school of my dreams.”

While she will focus on her teaching career for now, O’Leary said she would consider a coaching opportunity in the future.

Also likely in the future for the multi-talented O’Leary: induction in to the WHS Hall of Fame. After all, how many athletes can say they we’re All-Stars in a program they helped launch.



WHS SPORTS roundup

Winthrop youth soccer teams play well in tourney; 8th grade girls win title

Four Winthrop youth soccer teams qualified for the Essex County Youth Soccer tournament that was held at the Pingree School this past weekend.

The Winthrop Beacons, coached by Al Barbosa and John Munson and composed of sixth grade girls, compiled a 5-1-2 record during the season to qualify for the playoffs. The Beacons played in the quarterfinals and came out on the short end of a 3-0 decision.

The Winthrop Warriors, composed mostly seventh grade boys and a few eighth graders, went 8-0-0 in the regular season under the guidance of head coach Kye Gagin and assistant coach Lucas DeOliveira. The Warriors won their quarterfinal match, 5-3, against a very good and physical Peabody team. The Winthrop squad then won their semifinal contest in overtime, 4-2, with goals by Caleb Mauricio and Nate Scheung providing the winning goals in the two, five minute OT sessions. Playoff games that go into overtime are not decided in sudden death via a so-called “golden goal’. Rather, the teams play the pair of five-minute periods with a shootout deciding the outcome if the score still is tied after the two extra periods.

In the finals, Winthrop came up short against a phenomenal team from Lynn and lost 4-0. Most of the team consisted of seventh graders and will remain with coach Gagin for next year.

The high school boys team, which consisted of 9th and 10 graders, cruised through their regular season, compiling a 5-0-1 record. The Viking squad  won their semi-final game against Lynnfield, 5-0, but dropped the final against Topsfield, 4-1. The squad was coached by Deanna Cordes.

However, the Winthrop Wizards eighth grade girls’ squad, coached by Jerry Dorr and Gerry Gigliello, won the playoff championship. The Wizards posted a 7-1 mark during the regular season and then won two contests in the playoffs to capture the title.

The Wizards defeated North Reading, 4-0, in the semifinal and then topped Hamlton-Wenham 3-0, in the championship game.

A majority of the girls will continue to play at Winthrop High School. The Wizards also featured two sixth grade girls, Mia Norris and Haven Pereira.

From the Press Box

Danny the Dealer

By: Jim Lederman

I have been a long time Boston Celtics ardent fan. I have watched the Celtics capture eight of their 17 World Championships in the legendary Boston Garden.

We were all excited when the Celtics won the first round of the NBA draft. I watched Danny Ainge play on a championship Celtics team; he is the president of basketball for the Celts.

Ainge and the Celtics were fortunate enough to have the ‘ping pong’ balls bounce their way in the NBA Draft Lottery, landing the top overall selection and the right to draft, putative top pick Markelle Fultz. But ‘trader Danny’ feels he can make his own luck in advancing the Celtics to true NBA contenders in 2018.

Take a minute to look at freshman point guard Markelle Fultz from the University of Washington.

Fultz had a ‘glitzy’ 23-point average; his team had a (9-22) record. He took 18-shots per game – the highest average in his league – (The Pac – 12). They (other coaches) say he is not a team leader; he was not a first or even a second all-American team selection!

Danny feels he is not the foolproof, franchise ‘fortune changing’ star. He has been billed in the NBA circles. The Celtics are not sure he is the ‘best player’ in the draft.

The experts in the PAC-12 (the league Fultz played for) at the U of Washington. His team was picked to finish sixth in the pre-season – they finished 11th –(9-22) and he took more shots than any player in the league.

The present point guard for the Celtics is Isaiah Thomas; second team all – NBA with a scintillating 29-piont average. “Dr. Thomas” is also a University of Washington player. The Celtics have traded their ‘number one’ pick to rival Philadelphia and will take the number three pick in the trade.

Thursday night is the NBA Draft. We will all be tuned to the ‘tube’ to watch who our beloved Celtics (17-time NBA champs) select.

The Celtics have many first round draft picks over the next two seasons. The Celtics have the Brooklyn Nets picks (thanks to ‘Trader Danny”) and will receive Philadelphia’s first round pick from the Lakers.

Will the Celtics make a big trade on Thursday night? Will they sign a potential first team player like Jimmy Butler or Mark Hayward from Utah (College coached by Celtics coach Brad Stevens)?

I will consult with trustworthy experts (Joe Delorey, Billy Schmidt, Max or Chris Tsiotos) see you on Draft Night – June 22nd.

We trust in “Trader Danny”!

Let the Games Begin


The Chris Tsiotos Court

The long awaited dedication of the Chris Tsiotos basketball court, will take place tonight (Thursday), June 22nd at 7 p.m. The new magnificent high school will be filled with ex-Vikings, teammates, family and friends to honor the legend of Winthrop basketball.

Chris has dedicated many hours to give back to Winthrop basketball, raising money and helping keep “The Tradition” alive.

Congrats to the ‘Big Guy’!

Let the Games Begin!


On Second Thought

The ‘Viking Pride’ yellow school bus just passed my house. Can you believe it is 13-years since Winthrop high school sports was in Sports Illustrated?

“Winthrop Drops Sports” was the headline. Yes, ex-superintendent Tom Gianchristiano cut sport from the school budget.

The picture of Viking Pride board member – Vasilli (captain Billy) Mallios and members of the lacrosse teams, sporting their new uniforms provided for by Viking Pride! We were in Ipswich last week (stopped at the famous ‘Clam Box’) and passed Ipswich high school. I cheered for captain Mallios and his Vikings almost pulling off an upset of the ‘Tigers’ in a MIAA playoff hoop game. We salute the Viking Pride for savings sports back in 2004.

The Vikings have captured more NEC titles, a Super Bowl title, a state hoop championship, can they make that claim in Swampscott or Marblehead?

Great to see a legendary Viking fan Dick Dimes (91-years young) at the football Pancake Breakfast on Father’s Day. Dick was at Revere on Thanksgiving morning to cheer for the Vikings!

Among many ex-Viking athletes at the Pancake Breakfast was Chris Tacelli – Ex-Viking football player in from California.

Six members of the undefeated NEC championship 2014 Vikings football team were ‘in the house’. Captain Dylan Driscoll, Jake Chiudina, Jimmy Griffin and Brady Magrath were present.

The Vikings will play at Lynnfield this fall. We recall  it was the unfortunate ‘costly turnovers’ in the “battle of Undefeated” in the MIAA playoff game in 2014, won by the Lynnfield Pioneers.

Captain Mike Magrath was the first Vikings football player to play in the Shriner’s All Star Football Classic in 1981 from Winthrop. ‘Big Mike’ was with his son Brady on Sunday!

Jimmy Noiles and family were enjoying the Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast. He will be in the stands this fall cheering for his grandson Tyler Chiudina playing for the Vikings. Tyler is the younger brother of Jake, a standout on the 2014 NEC champs, now at WPI (Worcester Poly).

The backfield looks strong with quarterback Jake Adamson and halfbacks – Jaidon Brown and Tyler Chiudina!

Mr. Noiles (ex-WHS principal) was on the Miller field gridiron in 1959 playing for the Woburn Tanners. They won the ‘NEC title’ defeating my WHS football team. Woburn a large city vs. the small town Winthrop team. My class had 250, Woburn had 700! Another memory from the old “Miller Field Gridiron.”

Summer officially begins this week (June 21) if you are planning a trip. New Hampshire and Maine offer exceptional beaches and lakes.

I have not been to the Cape in 20 years. Why fight the traffic when in an hour your in Maine and don’t forget a trip to Hampton Beach or visit Lake Winnipesauke – Rte. 93 North – Weirs Beach is a great spot for attractions, amusements and Weirs Beach has plenty of fun for children. The Margate Resort is excellent!

We are heading to Ogunquit – 68 miles from Winthrop. The beach is ranked – ‘sixth best’ beach in New England. The Meadowmere Resort is tops for children – great restaurants – Enjoy your summer!

Everyone in the Water!

Let summer begin!


Camp Huckins

There are many memories from ex-Viking football players, when they return home. At the recent Father’s Day Football Pancake Breakfast, Chris Tacelli asked me does the Winthrop football team still train at Camp Huckins?

Chris Tacelli was back home for the dedication of the Richard Tacelli Science Wing. The late Richard ‘Doc’ Tacelli was a long time Science teacher at WHS.

Monday morning my favorite landscaper stopped by to give me a copy of the ‘Conway Daily Sun.’ The newspaper for residents of the Mount Washington Valley’s Daily newspaper. Billy has had a summer home on Lake Ossipee and has memories of good old Camp Nellie Huckins in Freedom, New Hampshire.

‘Camp Huckins’ is celebrating their 90th Anniversary this summer. The camp has 385 campers each session. In the 70’s coach Bob DeFelice would bring his Winthrop Vikings football players for pre-season camp.

I would read the weekly stories written by the late Robert S. Remer, the sports editor of the Transcript. Bob would tell stories about another local legend – Mr. Winthrop – the late Anthony ‘Lefty’ DeFelice.

I vividly remember my trips to Camp from Campton, New Hampshire. We had a mountain top condo at Waterville Valley. WE would love our family trips to Lake Winnipesauke.

We had many great trips to the Weirs Beach Amusement Park – the water slides – the trips around the lake and many trips to Meredith, New Hampshire.

Thanks Captain Billy Floyd! I know you are enjoying your retirement. 40 years at Camp Hockins! If you were on the Vikings, I’m sure you had great memories.

The DeFelice Era!

Two Super Bowl titles!

A 33-game win streak!

Let the Games Begin!


The Champion

The highlight of the NBA playoffs for yours truly, was watching Bill Russell on the podium in California, to hand out the Bill Russell ‘Finals MVP’ Award.

Bill ranks as the greatest center in NBA history. Russ holds a distinction that ranks as the ‘best.’ As a player, Russell was the first to win an NCAA championship (University of San Francisco) and an Olympic ‘Gold Medal’ – (high jump) in 1956 – I watched ‘Big Bill’ lead the Celtics to their first NBA title (they have 17) in 1957.

Russell was named finals ‘MVP’ five times and was an all-star 12 times. He has ’11 rings.’ He was an accomplished shot blocker who helped revolutionize ‘defensive concepts.’ I remember attending a Celtics game and watched Russell score 25-points. Garner 22-rebounds and block 12-shots! Talk about a ‘double-double’!

Russell will receive the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ on Monday, June 26th.

Let’s Go Celts!

Let the Games Begin!

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