WHS Sports Roundup

WHS Football Team Cruises Past Salem

The Winthrop High football team earned its second victory of the season with a runaway, 35-18 victory over Salem under the lights at Miller Field this past Friday evening.

The Vikings gave an appreciative hometown crowd a lot to cheer about. Coach Jon Cadigan’s crew scored early and often to build a commanding 28-12 lead at the half.

The teams traded interceptions in the opening minutes, with junior David DiCicco picking off a Salem aerial on the visitors’ first possession. Winthrop returned the favor, throwing a pick on its first possession of the game, but the Vikings got the ball right back when Steve Perullo recovered a Salem fumble.

Winthrop then got down to business and scored the first TD of the contest when Bobby Hubert went in from six yards out, and then kicked the extra point, to make it 7-0.

The Witches struck back with a drive of their own to slice the lead to 7-6, but Hubert, who had a monster evening with 157 yards rushing on 18 carries, broke off a 28-yard TD jaunt. With Bobby splitting the uprights for the PAT, Winthrop held a 14-6 lead.

Salem once again bounced back with a TD drive to keep matters close at 14-12, but Winthrop made two unanswered forays into the end zone before the end of the half.

Bryan Conceição, who provided a powerful 1-2 punch along with Hubert in the Viking backfield, scored both TDs on runs of 23 and two yards to leave Winthrop firmly in control at the half, 28-12.

Conceicao, who accumulated 133 yards on nine carries for his night’s work, scored his third touchdown shortly after the intermission, hauling in a 39-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Mike Chaves. The connection  marked the first varsity TD pass of Chaves’s career.

Salem added a late and meaningless score at the end of the game for the 35-18 finale.

“We had two, 100-yard rushers in Bobby and Bryan, and anytime you have that kind of production, it is hard for any team to beat you,” said Cadigan.

The Vikings also displayed a different look for the Witches, alternating Chaves and Hubert at quarterback, with the latter moving into a running back slot when Chaves was calling the signals.

“We think we can be effective when we use both at quarterback,” said Cadigan. “It will give our opponent something more to think about.”

Cadigan praised the play of his offensive line and singled out the blocking of running back Austin Daigneault, who helped clear the way for Hubert and Conceicao all night.

“Austin was the epitome of an unselfish teammate,” said Cadigan. “His number did not get called very often because we were having good success with the other two, but a lot of their yardage was owing to Austin’s great blocking throughout the game.”

The weekly Black Shirt award for outstanding defensive play was awarded to linebacker Matt Hurley, who has stepped into a starting role in the absence of Tyler Rockefeller, who is injured.

“Matt made his presence felt in a big way,” said Cadigan of the junior, who also plays as an offensive lineman. “He really has made the most of his opportunity and has become a leader for us on the defensive side of the ball.”

Cadigan and his crew will trek to Manning Field this Friday evening to take on Lynn English. The Bulldogs, one of the top teams in the South Division of the Northeastern Conference, were ranked in the top 20 in the state earlier in the season and figure to present a tough challenge.

The contest has significance for Winthrop. The Vikings still have a shot at qualifying for the post-season state tournament in the Division 6 North, but in all likelihood will need a victory under the MIAA’s complicated ranking formula in order to leap from their present ninth-place ranking past eighth-ranked Hamilton-Wenham.

WHS Golf Team Competes in Tourney

The Winthrop High golf team, which finished at 8-8 during the regular season to qualify for the state tournament, competed in the state tourney semifinals on Monday at Sandy Burr Country Club.

The six boys who traveled with the team were Jack Sicurella, Evan Smotrich, Conlan Petersen, Mike Gillis, Nico Babine, and Connor Murphy.

Jack and Evan came in with the lowest scores of 84 (Jack) and 86 (Evan).

“The team did well,” said WHS head coach John Cross, “though we came up short on a victory.”

Captain Jack Sicurella led the Vikings throughout the 2019 campaign. “Jack had a great year with a winning record in the number one spot,” said Cross.

The lineup also featured a number of freshmen who played key roles in the Vikings’ success.

“Freshman Connor Murphy has played well all year and even had a chance to play the number three spot in the match against Salem., said Cross. “The team’s four freshmen, Murphy, Dan Liberty, Colin Kinsella, and Nico Banine, started in most if not all matches this year and will look to move up in the rankings next year.”

Juniors Evan Smotrich, Conlon Petersen, and Mike Gills played well at the two, three, and four slots and also will look to improve next year.

“While we had a good shot to win the conference, we came up short in matches against Lynn Classical and Salem and just missed out,” noted Cross.

The 2019 season will conclude today (Thursday) with the NEC Open at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead, featuring the top two players from each of the 12 teams in the NEC. Winthrop will be represented by Sicurella and Smotrich.

Volleyball Team Wins Two Contests

The Winthrop High volleyball team had an outstanding week, earning a pair of victories over Northeast Regional and Salem.

In a 3-0 shutout of Northeast last Thursday, Lily Dias and Katie Gagnon led the team in hitting. Elle English had an overall strong game with her hitting and serving. Senior Alex Vera also contributed a great hit in the victory.

The Vikings followed up that win with an impressive 3-0 triumph over Salem this past Monday, the second time this season that Winthrop has shut out the Witches.

Katie Gagnon turned in a strong performance with five kills and served 10 aces. Lily Dias added four aces and led the team with eight kills.

Captain Caroline Earl tuned in a nice, all-around effort wth three aces, four blocks, and three kills. Captain Carolyn Kinsella delivered eight aces and had an overall great setting game.

The victories improved the Vikings to 9-8 on the season.

“We are one win up from last year and the previous year, so it shows that we are continuing to improve,” said WHS co-head coach Rachel DelSolio.

Winthrop was scheduled to host Lynn English yesterday (Wednesday) evening in a contest that will be highlighted by Senior Night festivities.

Winthrop then will await the announcement of their seeding and first round opponent in the state tourney.

Boys Soccer Comes up Just Short vs. Salem

The Winthrop High boys soccer team came up just short in their contest with Salem this past Monday, dropping a 3-2 decision.

Senior Abdul Hamada, assisted by freshman Esteban Alvarez, scored both goals for the Vikings in a first half that saw the teams head into the locker room deadlocked at a level 2-2.

However, Salem scored the game-winner after the intermission with 10 minutes to play to claim the victory.

Coach Kyle Gagin and his crew were scheduled to host Saugus yesterday (Wednesday) and will travel to Lynn English today (Thursday). They will trek to Keefe Tech on Monday and close out their regular season at Arlington Catholic next Thursday.

Girls Cross Country Team Defeats Salem

The Winthrop High girls cross country team earned a 24-31 victory over Salem recently. Libby Carney ran her best race of the season, coming in second overall with a time of 26:55. Libby was followed by Fiona MacPhail who came across the line in third place in 27:52. Heather Buccini also ran her best race of the year, coming in fifth overall in a time of 29:52.

Zara Powell was next in sixth place in a time of 30:57 and rounding out the top five in eighth place was Carly Zichella in 34:33.

On the boys side, captain Patrick Haskell ran a strong race, coming in first for Winthrop in ninth place  with a time of 20:15. Second for Winthrop was Andrei Opincaru (17th overall in 25:14) and the third Winthrop finisher was Matt Conner (22nd overall in 29:24).

Last week’s meet with Lynn Classical was highlighted by Senior Day festivities.

Although both the boys and girls came up short vs. their Ram rivals, they turned in some outstanding performances.

In the boys meet, Haskell ran his best time of the year, 15:49, to finish in second place, just 1/10 of a second behind Classical’s Max Gonzalez.

Opincaru was second for Winthrop (11th overall) and Matthew Conner finished in 15th overall.

On the girls side, Beatriz Holzbach ran her best time of the season, 17:58, to lead the Lady Vikings and finish in third place overall. She was followed by Carney in a time of 20:16 in sixth place, Ana Baurle (20:21 in seventh place),  Heather Buccini (24:40 in 11th place), and Carly Zichella (27:40 in 12th place).

The girls concluded their season with a record of 3-1 in the conference and 3-3 overall. Classical was their only loss in the conference, leaving the Lady Vikings just shy of winning the league title.

“This was a good year for the girls, especially because we were in a rebuilding stage,” said WHS head coach Mark D’Amico. “The boys and girls worked hard all season and put in a great effort.”

Both the boys and girls teams will compete in the Northeastern Conference Cross Country Championship in Gloucester this Saturday at Stage Fort Park:  1 p.m. for the boys JV; 1:30 p.m. for the girls JV; 2 p.m. for the boys varsity; and 2:30 p.m. for the girls varsity.

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