WHS Sports Roundup

WHS Boys Hockey Tops Marblehead, 4–1; Vikings Ranked 3 in D-4

The Winthrop High boys hockey team continued its solid play at both ends of the ice to record a solid and satisfying 4-1 victory over Northeastern Conference (NEC) rival Marblehead this past Saturday afternoon at Larsen Rink.

The contest was a hard-fought, up-and-down, physical battle from the opening drop of the puck. Both teams had scoring opportunities in the first period, but both WHS senior goalie Nico Babine (32 saves on the night) and his Magician counterpart proved equal to the task through a scoreless first 15 minutes of play.

However, the Vikings broke the deadlock in the middle frame thanks to a goal by sophomore 

Jay Fotiades, with assists from freshman Nick Ramano and junior Glen Calla.

Still, the large Winthrop fandom on hand were kept on the edge of their seats until Phil Boncore, assisted by captain Jack Hayes, gave the Vikings some breathing room with a power play goal early in the third period to make it 2-0.

However,  Marblehead refused to quit and made it a 2-1 contest with a lamplighter with just over five minutes to play.

Both teams ratcheted-up the intensity even further in the frantic final minutes, but Babine and the Winthrop defense held firm.  The Magicians pulled their goalie for a sixth skater with about two minutes to go, but captain Jack Hayes put the game on ice when he slid the puck into an empty net to make it 3-1, with an assist going to junior captain Petey Silverman.

Marblehead continued to skate with six, but Silverman found the open net to account for the 4-1 finale.

The big victory over perennial NEC North Division rival Marblehead improved the Vikings’ record in the NEC to 2-0-0 and 5-1-0 overall. Coach Dale Dunbar and his crew now are ranked third in Division 4 in the Hockey Night in Boston poll behind Norwell and Sandwich. The MIAA’s first power rankings of the season are set to come out at the end of this week.

Dunbar’s squad now prepares for a crucial stretch in which the Vikings will play four games in eight days (and five games in 11).

They were scheduled to travel to Gloucester’s Dorothy Talbot Rink yesterday (Wednesday) for a battle with the Fishermen, another key NEC North foe, and will return to Larsen this Saturday to host NEC South Division rival Swampscott for a 1:30 face-off.

The Vikings then will entertain a non-league opponent, Division 1 Lexington, on the holiday on Monday at 1:00 and will trek to Stoneham for another non-league contest next Wednesday evening at 6:00.

Looking ahead, Winthrop will face off against another key NEC rival, Masconomet, at Larsen  on Saturday, January 21, at 3:30.

Boys Basketball Hooks Fishermen in OT Thriller

The Winthrop High boys basketball team delighted a large and electric home crowd at the WHS gymnasium this past Friday evening with a thrilling 73-66 overtime victory over the Fishermen of Gloucester.

Both teams came out firing on all cylinders to start the game, with Gloucester taking a 16-13 lead at the first buzzer. However, the Vikings, led by Zach Bogusz, who poured in 27 points on the night to pace Winthrop in the scoring department, turned in a superb second period to grab a 36-25 lead at the half.

The Fishermen hung tough after the intermission, cutting the lead to eight, 46-38, at the third buzzer and then eventually drawing even by the end of regulation at 60-60.

However, the Vikings refused to yield the momentum in the five-minute OT session, playing inspired basketball at both ends of the floor. George Galuris sank 3-of-4 clutch free throws and Raesean Bebri sank a huge bucket to give Winthrop a 66-61 advantage to open the OT.

Gloucester hit a hoop to make it 66-63 with 1:40 to play, but Alex Daigneault countered with a free throw to keep it a two-possession game, 67-63, with 1:27 on the clock. A few seconds later, the lights in the gymnasium went out — apparently the lights at the high school are programmed to shut off at 9:00 — and when they came back on, a Fisherman drained a trey to make it 67-66 with 1:13 remaining.

That’s when Bogusz donned the Superman cape for the Vikings, responding with a three-pointer moments later to boost Winthrop back into a four-point margin, 70-66. The Viking defense then forced a turnover and Zach sank a free throw to make it 71-66 with 0:35 remaining. After a Gloucester miss, Galuris sealed the deal with two more free throws for the 73-66 finale.

“It was a great high school basketball game,” said WHS head coach Mike Triant. “We got out early and let Gloucester get back in, but give them credit for hanging with us.

“This was a game of mental toughness,” added Triant. “Both teams responded and counter-responded with runs throughout the game, but in the end, we had that little extra, both offensively and defensively, on the boards and fighting for loose balls, that proved to be the difference.”

In addition to Bogusz’s 27 points, Galuris hit for 15 points and Bebri reached double figures with 10. Jeremy Matias made a nice contribution with nine points, Vasili Tsiotis and Bebri hit for five each, and Eddie Ramadani added two.

This past Tuesday, the Vikings came out on the short end to Danvers by a score of 67-50 in which Galuris and Bogusz scored 14 points apiece.

Triant and his crew, who now stand at 4-6 overall, trek to Peabody tomorrow (Friday) evening and return home to entertain Swampscott next Tuesday.

 WHS Girl Gymnastics Opens Season With Win

The Winthrop High girls gymnastics team vaulted into the 2023 season with a 131.6-127.15 victory over Bishop Fenwick Sunday afternoon at the Winthrop Gymnastics Academy.

Despite losing what coach Pete Gobiel termed “the backbone of Winthrop’s  gymnastics team for the last six years to three graduating seniors,” the 2023 edition of the Lady Vikings squad, led by captains Alayna Ronan, Ellie O’Donnell, and Shannon Abbott, demonstrated that they are ready to assume the mantle of excellence in the WHS gymnastics program.

Sara Jurovich opened the meet for Winthrop on bars, working through a new routine with her signature dismount. Abbott followed with a clean routine, scoring a 7.0 and O’Donnell pushed through her routine, adding a layout to her dismount and scoring a 7.2.

New freshman sensation Zoe Rey started her first season with a beautiful bar routine tying for second place in the event. Ronan took first place on bars with an 8.1, followed by sophomore  Isabella Rice.

The Lady Vikings held a slim lead after the first event, 30.3-29.5.

The balance beam, which has been a strong event over the last few years for Winthrop, proved to be more of the same for 2023.

Freshman Jillian Buonopane, leading off on beam for the Vikings this season and competing in her first high school competition, hit her routine, scoring a 7.1. Returning sophomore Julia Hurley also hit her beam routine, taking second place in the meet with a score of 8.4.

O’Donnell and Ronan both scored an 8.2. However, the top beam routine of the competition was turned in by sophomore all-around Rice, who scored a meet-high and personal best of 9.15.

“The team is going to rely  a lot on Isabella this year after taking over for National Champion Brandi Dicicco,” said new WHS coach Christa Vaccaro, the former WHS star who is co-coaching with Gobiel this season.

Isabella’s beam performance was the only score in the 9s in the meet and paced the Vikings to outpoint Fenwick in that event,  33.80-32.65, giving Winthrop a slim lead, 64.10-62.15 midway through the meet.

On Winthrop’s next event, the vault, the Lady Vikings showed why this most likely will be their strong suit this season. All six of the WHS girls scored in the 8s, led by Rice with an 8.6 and Ronan, who topped the competition with an 8.9.

Winthrop won the vault by a slim margin, 34.3-34.0, setting the stage for the outcome of the meet to be determined in the final event, the floor exercise.

Freshman Buonopane led off for Winthrop, scoring a 7.6. Next up was sophomore Julia Hurley, who scored a 7.75, followed by captain Abbott, who tallied a 7.95.

Freshman Ray hit her routine, scoring a 7.5. Captain O’Donnell and Rice tied for second place, with Ronan taking top honors on the floor with a mark of 8.55 to seal the Lady Viking victory.

The Lady Vikings’ next competition is tomorrow (Friday) evening at the Winthrop Gymnastics Academy at 7:00 versus undefeated Danvers. They will trek to Hamilton-Wenham next Thursday.

Vaccaro Joins Coaching Staff for WHS Gymnastics

Christa Vaccara, the most-decorated gymnast in WHS annals, has joined long-time coach Pete Gobiel as a co-coach for the 2023 season.

“The girls are very excited to have Christa coaching this season,” said captain Ellie O’Donnell. “She practically holds every possible record at the high school.”

Vaccaro graduated from Rhode Island College, where she enjoyed a highly-successful college career after her stellar years at WHS.

WHS Girls Basketball Topples Danvers, 46-32

The Winthrop High girls basketball team earned a key Northeastern Conference victory with a 46-32 triumph over Danvers this past Tuesday evening at the WHS gym.

Grace Fleuriel led the way for the Lady Vikings with a powerful double-double, hitting for 14 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. Kaylee Farrell also turned in a superb performance for Winthrop, hitting for 12 points and grabbing six boards.

Maddie Stiglets made a nice contribution at both ends of the floor with six points, 10 rebounds, and four steals. The Lady Vikings also received what WHS head coach Anthony Hatzisavas termed as “huge minutes off the bench” from Hailey Forsyth, Lilly Conway, and Sophia Lindinger.

The victory capped a stretch of four games in six days for Hatzisavas’s crew. Last Thursday 

the Lady Vikings made the long trek to non-league foe Newburyport and dropped a 58-24 decision to a strong Newburyport team in which Stiglets and Bailey Ferguson each had five points.

The following night the team made another long bus ride, this time to NEC rival Gloucester,  and came up just short, 43-40. Fleuriel turned in another double-double with 13 points and 12 boards, while Stiglets hit double figures with 13 points. 

 The Lady Vikings then hosted Newburyport for a rematch on Monday and dropped a 59-20 decision.

“At the half it was 29-9 and we talked about having a good third quarter,” said Hatzisavas. “We played much better, turning the ball over only twice in the period, and were only outscored 12-9, and at one point we cut the lead down to 16.”

Stiglets led Winthrop in the scoring department with eight points.

“It’s never easy playing four games in six days, but the girls showed their mental toughness and really impressed me,” said Hatzisavas, whose squad stands at 3-6 overall and 3-1 in the NEC. “No matter what the result, the girls show up every day ready to work and put in extra time in the gym. They are a very hard-working and committed group.”

The Lady Vikings will host undefeated NEC foe Peabody tomorrow (Friday) and will travel to NEC rival Swampscott next Tuesday.

Viking Track Teams Compete in Tri-Meet

The Winthrop High boys and girls indoor track and field teams traveled to Beverly last week to take on Northeastern Conference rivals Beverly and Swampscott in a tri-meet.

In the competition with Swampscott, Libby Carney won first place in the 1000 meter event with a time of 3:58.5. Libby’s performance also earned the lone point for the Winthrop girls vs. the powerhouse Beverly Lady Panthers with a third-place finish.

Olivia Nystrom also was a winner in her event vs. the Lady Big Blue, taking first place in the 600 meter dash with a clocking of  2:10.5. Teammate Maria Vittoria Cimaglia took third place vs. Swampscott in 2:19.3.

Olivia Skomro scored three points for Winthrop vs. Swampscott with a second-place finish in the 50 yard dash with a sprint of 7.3 seconds and Iris Clancy likewise added three points to the Winthrop scoresheet with her second-place effort in the 300 meter dash in 57.9.

On the boys’ side, Benjamin Prew took top honors in the mile vs. Swampscott with a time of   5:42.3.

Seth Sacco scored three points for Winthrop vs. Swampscott in the 600 meter dash with a second place finish in 1:40.9.

Sean Dolen earned a point vs. Beverly with a third-place finish in the 300 meter dash in 46.8.

Owen Munson took third vs. Swampscott in the 1000 meter run in 3:45.9, as did Daniel Guauque in the 50 yard dash in 6.2.

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