Emma Carleton received the Hart Memorial Most Valuable Player Trophy at the Winthrop High School girls ice hockey awards banquet on May 21 at the Cottage Park Yacht Club.
Head coach Butch Martucci made the presentation to Carleton, a senior captain who is winding down a spectacular, three-sport high school career.
The 5-foot-6-inch center also took home trophies for leading the team in goals and assists and a “Game of the Year” award for a four goal-two assist performance versus Beverly in January.
“It feels good, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my great teammates,” said Carleton humbly after the awards presentation ceremony.
A four-year varsity player, Carleton finished another state tournament-qualifying season for the team with 19 goals and 16 assists. She completes her career with 97 points, placing her fifth all-time in school history.
Carleton also excelled in soccer and lacrosse for the Vikings. She set the all-time lacrosse scoring record, eclipsing the mark previously held by her older sister, Abby, now a student at UMass/Amherst. A sister, Grace, is a student at Loyola of Maryland.
“I’m a proud mom,” said Gretchen Carleton.
An early start at Larsen Rink
Emma Carleton was introduced to hockey at the age of four after being a figure skater. Her mother, Gretchen, remembers how Emma’s affinity for ice hockey all began.
“Emma did her very first recital with bows and white skates and when she got off the ice, she said, ‘I want the black skates – why can’t I skate with a stick?”
She began skating in Winthrop Youth Hockey for the boys teams before joining the girls team exclusively, leading Winthrop to five league championships in the U-10, U-12, and U-14 divisions.
Emma has worn No. 4 on her jersey throughout her career, a nod to Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr and her father Sean’s hockey-playing heritage.
“I wore it all through Little League and youth sports,” recalled Sean Carleton, an assistant coach of the WHS girls hockey team and one of Emma’s youth hockey coaches who helped establish the Winthrop girls program along with Jim Letterie, Butch Martucci, and David Jeter.
Thanks the Winthrop coaches and teachers
Emma is ranked academically in the top 10 percent of the WHS Class of 2019. She intends to study biomedical engineering at Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI), one of the top engineering schools in the world.
She was also accepted to UMass/Amherst, Penn State, and Maryland, among other premier institutions.
She said several Winthrop High teachers and coaches inspired her throughout her career.
Her success story begins with the Martuccis, Butch, the girls hockey coach, and his wife, Tracy (Gigliello), the girls soccer coach.
“Coach Tracy has pushed me to be the athlete I am today and Coach Butch has just shaped me throughout my entire life,” credited Emma.
“For lacrosse, Coach [Ben] Cimmino helped me a lot in that sport,” said Emma. “Once he came here, we started winning and the team started improving overall.”
The Winthrop High faculty gets straight A’s from Emma Carleton.
“The teachers are excellent,” said Emma. “Ms. Alyssa Dano teaches my STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Class and that made me realize I wanted to be an engineer,” said Emma. “Mr. Brett Davis, my anatomy teacher, helped me realize that I wanted to go in to biomedical engineering so I can help people.”
She also praised Principal Matt Crombie and Athletic Director Matt Serino for their mentorship during her high school career.
Emma noted the support of her parents, Sean and Gretchen Carleton, and the benefit of having two older sisters as positive role models in her life.
Asked who her favorite athlete was while growing up, Emma replied, “My dad.”
Sean Carleton grew up in Medford where he and his brother, Tommy Carleton, were friends and teammates of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk.
Looking back on Emma’s career, Sean Carleton said, “I’m proud of her for everything she does, whether it’s school, hockey, lacrosse, soccer – she’s a great young lady who puts her heart and soul into everything. I love the fact she’s able to compete and to represent Winthrop High School.”
A future Hall of Famer
Butch Martucci is in his 11th season as the leader of the girls hockey program. He said Emma Carleton has earned her spot among the best players ever to lace up the skates for the Vikings.
Martucci also compares Carleton to some of the premier female athletes with whom he attended Winthrop High School including Lori Thomas, Liz Doherty, and a multi-sport standout who would be his future wife, Tracey Gigliello.
“Emma is definitely in the elite category of all-time Winthrop athletes,” said Martucci. “She just finished under the 100-point mark (in hockey) and is in the top five of point scorers all time. If I had played her more when she was a freshman, she would have broken the 100-point mark.”
But more importantly, said Martucci, Emma was a hard worker and outstanding leader (she was a captain in all three of her sports).
“She’s a tremendous player, but also a great kid and hard worker,” said Martucci. “She set a great example for our underclassmen. She loves everything about what she’s doing – her soccer, her lacrosse, her hockey – she’s 100 percent invested in it. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Martucci said he knew Emma was going to be a special player when she first entered the Winthrop High program.
“I knew that first year that Emma was going to be excellent,” said Martucci. “I had her on my teams since she was nine years old as a U-10 player. Even then I knew she was going to be great. She could skate terrific and she used to be all over the ice. But she just had something about the way she played the game – her effort, her relentlessness, you could just see it.”
This season Emma moved back to the center position after two years of skating as a left winger. Together with captains-elect Olivia Driscoll and Mia Martucci, they formed one of the most prolific lines in Division 1.
“It was a really good producing line,” said Martucci.
Emma has been selected to play in the Agganis All-Star Soccer and Lacrosse Games that will be held in June at Manning Field in Lynn.
“To play in two Agganis Games, be a three-sport All-Star, be in the top 10 percent of her class and heading to a great college like WPI speaks volumes of who she is,” said Martucci. “She’s a great all-around person.”
So it’s on to Worcester for Emma Carleton, where she will play college ice hockey and lacrosse and pursue her undergraduate degree.
And ten years hence, Butch Martucci has no doubt that he will making a presentation speech for Emma Carleton’s induction in to the Winthrop High School Hall of Fame.
Emma’s proud parents
Sean and Gretchen Carlson are watching the youngest of their three daughters conclude her career and move on to college. The journey has been one of numerous accomplishments in sports and academics.
“I will just say, I’m proud of everything she does, whether it’s school, hockey, lacrosse, soccer – whatever it may be,” said Sean Carleton. “She puts her heart and soul into everything and I love the fact that she’s able to compete and to represent Winthrop High School.”
Added Gretchen Carlson, “I’m just a proud mom.”