Sports 06-16-2016

Winthrop’s Most Valuable Player

Nina Bartlette receives full scholarship to Goldey-Beacom

By Cary Shuman

Nina Bartlette can lay claim to some eminent achievements in the Winthrop High School athletic program. Bartlette played a game in the TD Garden as the starting center for the Division 3 North champion 2014-15 Lady Vikings basketball team, averaged double figures in points and rebounds in her career, earned All-Star status in basketball and volleyball, and won basketball’s most improved and MVP awards. She received nine varsity letters (one for softball).

Some observers say that Bartlette’s superb contributions for the NEC champion Vikings hoop team were overshadowed regionally because she was the only junior on a star-studded team that featured four seniors: the amazing Tsiotos twins, Niki and Poli, daughters of all-time hoop legend Chris Tsiotos, a Division 2 scholarship (Caldwell College) player in Kristen Siscamanis, and Maura Lanza, a member of a well-known athletic family who displayed her talent in multiple sports.

College coaches, however, have known about the 6-feet-1-inch Nina Bartlette and her powerful all-around game for a long time. She received her first correspondence from a college (Brandeis) as a freshman and the letters piled up in the succeeding years.

After considering a few offers from Division 1, 2,  and 3 schools, Bartlette, 18, made a trip to Goldey-Beacom College (Delaware) where she enjoyed the campus environment, the basketball program, the facilities, and meeting her future teammates. She decided to accept a full athletic scholarship from the Division 2 school.

This summer she will work a couple of weeks at basketball camps in Delaware, do strength and conditioning workouts to prepare for college basketball, and then begin her career this fall for the Lady Lightning.

Bartlette was eight years old when she began playing basketball in a Winthrop summer league sponsored by Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo.

“I was okay back then. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I felt I might have the chance to play college basketball.”

As a sophomore, Bartlette began to show the athleticism, interior moves, and ability to alter opposing shots that helped her team win big games. The Vikings made it all to the way to the North final where they lost a tough 47-45 decision to eventual Division 3 state champion St. Mary’s High School.

One year later Bartlette and the senior-dominated Vikings avenged the loss to St. Mary’s in the North semifinal and then gutted out a 36-35 win over Bishop Fenwick in the final at Tsongas Center. Archibishop Williams bested Winthrop at the TD Garden but the experience of playing on the parquet floor is something Bartlette will remember forever.

“It was awesome, the best feeling in the world to play at the Garden,” said Bartlette. “That team was like a family. We had great chemistry and we all knew our roles. We had been playing together since our [St. John’s] CYO days. I’m still very close with the girls.”

In Bartlette’s senior year, Winthrop lost talented point guard Allie Love to a knee injury, allowing opponents to double and triple team Bartlette. Despite the extra attention, Bartlette averaged more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game.

“Nina owns the paint,” said her grandmother, Dawn Mahoney proudly. “That’s a quote from the other coaches and players.

Bartlette said her coaches helped develop her basketball skills throughout high school. Julie Love (Allie’s mother) was her freshman coach before Ignacio Oyola became her varsity coach and mentor.

“Coach Oyola ran intense practices that were like college-level practices,” recalled Bartlette. “I got to experience that type of intensity as a high school player and I really believe that helped make me the player I am. They were hard practices and they were tough but they made you tough. We were the toughest team in the league.”

John Gambale was the head coach in her senior season. “He was a good coach. He could see the potential we all had and he never gave up on us.”

Bartlette played AAU basketball for the Boston Sharks before moving over to the Lynn-based Mass Thundercats where she truly elevated her game.

Thundercats coaches Marvin Avery and Jim Ridley recognized that Bartlette was a college basketball prospect from her first practice.

“It was pleasure having Nina on our AAU team,” said Avery, “With all the hard work she does, we knew the sky was the limit for Nina. She has improved her game in each season. We’re not surprised that she received a full scholarship to Goldey-Beacom. I wish Nina the best of luck in college.”’

“I learned so much playing for the Mass Thudercats,” said Bartlette. “The competition was intense and I really feel they elevated my game.”

Dawn Mahoney never missed game when Nina was playing for Winthrop High School. She feels that her granddaughter has made the right choice for college.

“There’s no question Nina could play Division 1 college basketball,” said Mahoney. “But the Goldey-Beacom coach saw her play once and knew she wanted Nina for her program. She stuck with Nina through everything. She believed in Nina and offered her a scholarship. I’m so happy and proud that she will be going to Goldey-Beacom and realizing her dream of playing college basketball. I love the school.”

Looking back at her years in the Winthrop school system, Bartlette said she wouldn’t change a thing.

“The Winthrop schools and Winthrop basketball made me the person I am today,” said Bartlette. “Basketball, especially, shaped me in so many ways. I had a blast. Everything has worked out well.”

Asked whether she considers herself among the all-time Vikings, up there with Linda Wessling, Maureen McManus, Lisa Montelone, Amy Sullivan, Liz Doherty, Lori Thomas, Courtney Finn, Johnna Fisher, Kristen Siscamanis,, Niki Tsiotos, and others, Nina said humbly, “I just did my best every time I took the court.”

Bartlette said that Dawn Mahoney has been a guiding light in her life, her No. 1 fan and best supporter.

Bartlette is happy with her college decision. She had some Division 1 offers but opted for Goldey-Beacom.

“I love basketball but I really want to absorb the full collegiate experience,” said Bartlette. “I’m going to study Sports Management. I love sports.”

WHS SPORTS Years

10 years ago

June 22, 2006

The 5K Road Race sponsored by the Winthrop SeaSide Striders Friday evening was a big success.

Kristin Corolla of Winthrop was honored as the Savio Prep Female Athlete of the Year recently. Corolla was the MVP of the Savio soccer team and the Unsung Hero of the basketball squad.

Coach Vin Eruzione’s American Legion Post 146 baseball team is off to a fast 4-0 start. The team has been led by Jarrett Herdt, Joe Frasso, Cory Collins, Matt Moore, Paul Eruzione, Robert Giarratani, and Chris Carew.

Coach Tony Fucillo and 35 members of the WHS football team left for Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania this week for a football camp.

20 years ago

June 20, 1996

The annual WHS football Father’s Day Pancake Breakfast was a big success.

Lou Ristaino captured the 5K race of the REW Home Health Care Gold Medal Day Saturday in a time of 16:30. Paul Caruccio was second in 17:17. Ann Silck was the top female runner in a time of 21:06.

30 years ago

June 25, 1986

The School Committee has voted to open up the position of hockey coach for Winthrop High School and will be advertising in the Boston Globe for a replacement for long-time WHS head coach Bill Falasca, who reportedly is in disfavor with the members of the committee and School Supt. Peter Finn. Finn told the Sun-Transcript that Falasca, who has been the WHS mentor for 14 years, “Doesn’t do a good job handling kids.” An editorial in the Sun-Transcript criticizes the decision, asserting that the real reason for Falasca’s ouster is a matter of personal differences with Athletic Director Jim Evans. Falasca has the winningest record of any coach in WHS history and this past year was named the Coach of the Year on the North Shore by the Lynn Item. His 1976 WHS squad won the state championship.

More than 200 runners competed in the 7th annual Michael’s Mall Road Race. John O’Leary of Dedham edged last year’s winner, Lou Ristaino, in a time of 31:45.

FROM THE PRESS BOX

Winthrop is Worth It

By: Jim Lederman

The vote for a new athletic complex-a new Miller Field stadium and track takes place on Tuesday, June 21st.

The new Miller field project is an investment, not a cost! Winthrop is on the move, the real estate market is booming! Many new families are finding the ‘hidden jewel’ – the town of Winthrop.

We have visited new high schools in Marblehead, Swampscott, Danvers, Gloucester, North Reading and Manchester. Our student athletes have played at the new Harry Della Russo stadium in Revere, Manning Field in Lynn and in September the Vikings will play at the new football stadium in Danvers.

There is an athletic surge in town with boys and girls lacrosse teams. WE need a new track so more athletes can compete in track.

Winthrop will compete in the new enlarged 16-team Northeastern Conference (NEC). We need all the people who voted ‘yes’ for a sparkling new middle/high school to vote on Tuesday, June 21st for a new Miller Field stadium and track in Winthrop. It takes a “village” to build a child, we need the village to get out and vote ‘yes’ so we can watch many student athletes compete in our new Miller Field stadium.

Yes on Tuesday!

Let the Games Begin!

Father’s Day Tradition

Sunday is ‘Father’s Day’ and a 40-year WHS Viking football tradition – the ‘Pancake Breakfast’. Calling all Viking fans and ex-Viking players! The football program is one of the most successful on the North Shore and in the NEC.

Winthrop has ‘super bowl’ titles – more NEC championships than Beverly and Danvers combined! More super bowl titles than Swampscott, Beverly and Marblehead! Yes, what school will ever break coach Bob DeFelice’s 33-game unbeaten streak? 1981-1983.

Coach Sean Driscoll has the prospects for another NEC “title team” in 2016.

This is the football teams only fundraiser – $7 dollars for a filling breakfast and reunion on Sunday morning. The last breakfast at the high school on Pauline Street. See you there Sunday (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.).

Faces in the Crowd

A special shout and get well soon to Robert ‘Doug’ Donahue in the hospital. The ‘patriarch’ of a family of nine, his grandchildren hold the WHS record’ of goals scored at Larsen Rink. We miss him at Larsen Rink!

A salute to two former Viking football standouts – Chris Beranger and Anthony ‘Spinner’ Spinazzola. The two jayvee Viking baseball coaches did a great job (8-10) this season at Vets Field! Hope to see them on the ‘new’ diamond in the spring of 2017.

When I think of the “greatest games” played at Miller Field, the 2007 catch made by the all-scholastic Viking halfback in the last second thriller on Thanksgiving it could be number one.

Trivia Answers: Punch and high school is the old name of Andover High School. I remember the trip to watch the ‘Blue Devils’ win in 1956.

The old WHS basketball gyms, the ‘band box’ in the old jr. high school on Hermon Street. The Holland gym in ‘the new’ 1965 WHS gym – the legendary Memorial Gym on Pauline Street. Winthrop used to be the basketball capital of the North Shore ’37 NEC titles. – When will it return?

The two former Viking coaches who had careers coaching at Wakefield. Whip Halliday and Ira Yauner.

Swampscott has been trying to pass and raise money for a new ‘turf’ field at Blocksidge. A yes vote next week and we will have a new turf stadium in Winthrop. Think ‘investment’ in Winthrop not the small expense – if every ex-Viking player gets to the polls on June 21st we will have a ‘jewel’ of an athletic facility for every citizen and young athlete will be proud. Have ‘Viking Pride’ vote yes on Tuesday, June 21st.

Let the Games Begin at the new Miller Field!

 

Congrats to MacKenzie Chiudina

She was awarded the Wallace B. McClean Athletic Trophy. It is presented to the outstanding female athlete w ho has been a good school citizen, has achieved a commendable scholastic record and has done the most for athletics during here high school career.

A salute to her proud parents Tom and Sue and grandparents Jim and Ginny. Mr. McClean was my former coach and ex-WHS athletic director.

Congrats to Michael Norris awarded the prestigious “Michael Eruzione Olympic Spirit Award.” The award is presented to a graduate who has the characteristics of leadership, determination, unselfishness and loyalty demonstrated by captain Mike on the 1980 U.S. Olympic championship team of 1980. Michael Norris was an outstanding three-sport athlete who will attend UNH (University of New Hampshire).

Congrats to ex-WHS assistance hockey coach and Merrimack College athletic director, Robert ‘Barney’ DeGregorio.  Bob was awarded a three-years contract extension to remain Commissioner of Atlantic Hockey through the 2018-2019 season.

Bob has been head of AH since its inception in 2003-2004. The Atlantic office is in Winthrop.

Happy Birthday to Tony ‘coconuts’ Martucci, who celebrated his 76th birthday. I find it hard to reflect back 60 years when the ‘big guy’ played next to me on the defensive line on Miller Field!

Let the Games Begin!

The X-Man

In 2013 when the Red Sox had their last winning season, a young 20-year old prospect was on the roster. Xander Bogaerts looked like a future star.

The Red Sox decided to trade Jose Inglesias to the Detroit Tigers, the decision was the only good trade made by GM Ben Cherington.

The X-Man is playing like an all-star and leads the league in batting .358, total hits (92) and runs scored (58). His OPS is up to .934 (statistics as of Sunday). Boegaerts is one of three players in the majors with consecutive four-hit games this season. I watched another big ‘X-Day’ on Saturday. The ‘X-Man’ went 4-for-5 for the second straight day. He was 8-for-10 with two homers and seven RBI. Lifting his batting average to .358.

Only two shortstops in the last 50-years have finished a season with an average over .350: Nomar Garciaparra (.372) in 2000 and Alex Rodriquez (.358) in 1996.

Is this as good as Bogaerts, 23, can possibly be? We are blessed with young talent – Bradley, Betts and Boegaerts. The ‘Killer Bees’ – Let’s Go Sox!

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