With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the closure of schools across the state for the remainder of the 2020 school year, the Winthrop High spring athletic season also was canceled, taking away from the members of the senior class their opportunity to compete for the last time in a Viking uniform.
The Sun-Transcript invited the coaches and members of the WHS spring sports teams from the Class of 2020 to reflect on the season that so abruptly was taken away from them in order that we might give these young athletes some of the recognition that they deserve.
We also asked that they provide some insight into what it means to be a Winthrop High varsity athlete and briefly to discuss their plans for the future. This week we feature WHS boys lacrosse coach Brian Donnelly and the six senior members of his 2020 team: Joe Mahoney, Julian Osorio, Michael Morano, Chris Rodriguez, Samir Hadria, and John Alberti.
We are certain that our readers will be as impressed as we were with the comments from these outstanding young men and join us in wishing them the best in their future endeavors:
The Sun-Transcript will continue to publish additional comments from the spring sports athletes and coaches as we receive them.
WHS Boys Lacrosse Coach Brian Donnelly
Hearing the news of the cancelled season was devastating.
Throughout the year you talk to your players about the upcoming season, trying to prepare them physically, mentally, and emotionally to come out as strong and prepared as possible. When I got word that we would be cancelling the season, all I could think about was how hard the seniors had worked to get the program to where it was.
All I could think about was how tough it was going to be to break the news to our core group of seniors that they would not have the chance to defend the NEC championship that they had won the previous year, that they wouldn’t get the feeling of walking out together as brothers on Senior Night to give that one last pregame speech to the underclassmen, or march onto the field in a Viking uniform one last time.
My heart goes out to the seniors and I hope they all know that the sacrifices, hard work, and dedication that they made throughout their four years here at Winthrop High School means they will forever be a part of the team.
They will be missed and I cannot wait to see all of the wonderful strides they are going to take to make this world a better place in the future.
(Coach Donnelly’s comments about his six seniors are as follows:)
Joe Mahoney is a dream for any athletic program. He is an intelligent, dedicated, hardworking, and focused athlete who will go above and beyond for his teammates, program, or coaches. He elevates the skills of everyone who surrounds him and constantly pushes himself and his teammates to be the best that they can be.
Joe has shaped the Winthrop High School lacrosse program to become a force within the NEC and his impact on the program will far outlast the four years he spent at the school. Joe was the captain of our 2020 team and his leadership, selflessness, and hard work is something that every athlete should strive to achieve.
Joe was a leader and competitor on and off the field. He is the embodiment of hard work-equals-success. Joe is the type of player who only came off the field to catch his breath for a second before charging back on looking for any ground ball.
Joe would have no doubt led this team to excellence this year. He will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison next year where he will no doubt continue to grow as an individual, leader, and learner.
Julian has been a force for us at the midfield position and made huge strides over the last few years to become an excellent competitor at midfield. He has worked tirelessly to establish his skills to become a formidable opponent at midfield.
Julian is one of the fastest athletes in the NEC and he was able to use his speed to create opportunities for himself and other players to score. He had some pivotal goals throughout his career, including during some excellent wins against Revere last year.
He always came to practice with a smile on his face ready to compete. He was going to be a force at midfield for us this year. I have no doubt with his positive attitude and work ethic that he will be successful in the variety of challenges he undertakes in the future.
Michael Morano took every opportunity he could to improve his skills. Mike joined the team with no experiences and swiftly grew into a more confident, skilled, and fast competitor. Mike grew to have a serious cannon of a shot that would take goalies by surprise and he swiftly developed his stick skills.
Mike constantly overcame obstacles in his way to ensure that he was a good teammate, serious competitor, and an amazing addition to the team. This year Mike was poised to make a big difference for us at the midfield position.
Mike has plans to enter into the armed forces next year into the United States Air Force where his dedication, drive, and intelligence will serve him well. The WHS boys lacrosse team wishes him the best in the future.
Chris Rodriguez, or “Crod” as he is better known to the team, came to us from private school to the WHS lacrosse team his junior year and made a massive splash. Chris was one of two fabulous long-stick middies who was relentless when it came to the ground ball battle.
Chris grew as a player, leader, and person every single day of the season and swiftly became a player I wanted on the field at all times. Chris brought a certain levity to practice, bus rides, and film sessions that would cut through the seriousness of what we were trying to achieve.
He was an excellent addition to the WHS lacrosse program and his personality will be sorely missed. I was excited to have seen the strides Chris would have made this year on the field and am excited to see all of the accomplishments he will make to our society in the future.
Samir has played in only a few games as a Winthrop High School boys lacrosse player, but he certainly made his mark. In his few games Samir had some excellent goals from our attack position and was in line to be a formidable part of our offensive system.
Samir, or as his friends call him, “The Sultan,” does everything with his own style and lacrosse was no different. The team was excited to see how he was going to perform on the field this year, and it is a massive disappointment we will not be able to experience a Samir celebration dance after his first goal.
John was slated to make his first run for the WHS Viking lacrosse team this year. John worked hard within the off-season to gain the respect of his teammates and coaches and was ready to make his mark in whatever way possible.
John had an excellent attitude going into the season and we had no doubt that he was going to be a great addition to the squad.
(Following are the comments from the athletes themselves:)
Though the news of having my senior season canceled was heartbreaking, it is important to remember that we are making sacrifices for the greater good and that there are millions of nurses and doctors making much greater sacrifices to keep us all safe.
I am beyond proud to have been able to compete for Winthrop High School as a student-athlete in both lacrosse and basketball. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who made my high school experience unforgettable. I miss my teammates and coaches now more than ever and never will forget the memories we made together.
Next year I will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison where I plan on playing club lacrosse.
When I transferred to Winthrop High School before the beginning of my junior year, I had no idea what to expect. I did not know a ton of people. I was nervous how it would look for colleges and many more things.
The one thing that I did know was that I was going to try out for the lacrosse team. Coach Rich is extremely close to my family and I loved playing for him in the youth program, so I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.
The memories that I made during the one season I did get to play were truly special and will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved every second of competing, going to practice, and winning Winthrop’s first NEC title.
I fell in love with the game once again, to the point where I found myself constantly watching film during the summer, fall, and winter, whether it was of the team, at the collegiate level, or the professional level.
To say that I am heartbroken over the season being lost would be the biggest understatement of my life. After putting in a lot of work for the months previous to the beginning of the season, I know that the other seniors and I were devastated. I was really looking forward to being a leader on the team, as well as winning consecutive NEC titles, and even pushing to win the North Division.
Hearing the news truly ripped my heart out because I will always remember this season as the best season that never happened. I will always cherish the moments that I did have with my teammates and look forward to watching the underclassmen do what we did not have the chance to do next year upon returning from college.
I will be attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the coming fall and cannot wait to try out for the club lacrosse team. I played a lot of sports at Winthrop High School over the course of the past two years, but I have never (and probably will never) have as much fun as I did playing lacrosse.
The game will always be close to my heart and I would like to thank all of my coaches and teammates throughout the past 10 years of playing the game for everything that they have done for me. I am sure most of it means more to me than they will ever know.
Being an athlete at Winthrop High school goes beyond winning games and trying to be the best in the state. Being a part of Winthrop High school begins to feel more like a family rather than the traditional sports team.
After being a part of the WHS lacrosse team, I’m proud to say that not only am I a better lacrosse player today, but I’m definitely a better person. There have been countless times when coaches Donnelly, Cifuni, and Parsons have been there to give me advice through some of my toughest times.
Hearing that the 2020 lacrosse season was cancelled hit me hard, not only because it was it my last season, but also because the team as a whole had put so much work in the off-season thanks to a weekend team, winter league, and early speed-ball games before school.
It’s sad that the season now is just gone with the wind and I’ll never get to play for WHS again. But once a Viking, always a Viking!
This fall I’ll be continuing my commitment to the Air Force National Guard, focusing on cyber security. I’ll also be attending UMass Boston and hopefully continuing my lacrosse career in college. GO VIKES!
Being a Viking athlete was a fun experience. It was a time for my friends and me to bond on a field and a time to focus on winning a game.
Throughout my years at Winthrop High School I played lacrosse, track, and football. I think that I would not be the person I am without these sports and the coaches who run them.
Being a Viking athlete showed me how to balance my priorities and be a student while also being an athlete. My senior year I got to play track and football, but my lacrosse season was completely cancelled.
Lacrosse was by far my favorite sport. I picked up my first stick going into ninth grade and I fell in love with the sport. This was my senior year season and I was supposed to lead the team, but we were all stripped of the opportunity to lead on the field.
Although my senior year was cancelled, I still am very driven and have been trying my best to be the best lacrosse player that I can be, so I hopefully can join the team at the University of Rhode Island