Melrose Sports

Red Raider football team is Super Bowl bound

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Melrose Sports, Melrose Weekly News | Comments Off on Red Raider football team is Super Bowl bound

Melrose punches ticket to Gillette after 22-8 win over Hopkinton Published in the November 24, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—It’s another trip to Gillette Stadium for the undefeated Melrose High Red Raider football team, who advanced to the Div. 4 Super Bowl after beating Hopkinton, 28-8 in the Div. 4 State Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Weymouth High.  This represents Melrose’s third trip to Super Bowl in four years. Melrose (11-0) fell to Dartmouth in both the 2014 and 2015 Super Bowls and now hope that a third time will be a charm when they face a new rival, D4 Central champion Nashoba (9-1), at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11:00 a.m. Melrose junior running back Isaac Seide scored twice against Hopkinton, rushing for 161 yards on 28 carries, including a 79-yard TD run. Melrose playmakers Cam Rosie, Colin Kiernan and Chris Cusolito made mincemeat of Hopkinton’s passing game, forcing two interceptions against its widely-regarded aerial game. Hopkinton also came into the contest with an average 6.8 points allowed, nearing the top of the state. No problem for the Red Raiders.  After the game, Melrose head coach Tim Morris soaked it in. “We always talk about not looking at what’s down the road, but just to enjoy the journey and get better every day,” he said. “But the boys come out every day with a great attitude. I’m proud of them for where they’ve come from and where they are going.” Melrose battled to a scoreless first quarter, forcing the Hillers to consecutive punts, thanks in part to defensive work by Melrose’s Cam Rosie, who sacked Hopkinton quarterback Ryan Kelleher early in the game. Melrose then killed the clock with an 18-play, 92-yard drive manned by Isaac Seide and Colin Kieran that resulted in a 1-yard touchdown by Melrose quarterback Charlie Stanton to make it 7-0 with 6:00 remaining in the second quarter. But the Hillers struck back on their next drive when Kelleher connected with receiver Will Abbott on a 42-yard touchdown. Hopkinton scored on a two-point conversion and held 8-7 lead into halftime. But the tide changed for the Hillers after the break. Hopkinton received the ball at the opening of the third but Melrose’s defense clamped down and forced the punt on a critical series. From there, Melrose’s Colin Kieran took command of the ball, helping steer a 10-play drive that culminated in a 5 yard Seide TD. A two point conversion by Seide gave Melrose a 15-8 lead. It was a score that effectively took the air out of the Hiller’s game.  Hopkinton wouldn’t score again, thanks to Melrose’s tough defense. After forcing another Hiller punt, Melrose scored again when Seide broke several tackles to hoof a 59-yard touchdown run that made it 22-8, took Hopkinton out of the game and had Melrose fans thinking Super Bowl.  Their rivals refused to give up however, and launched a series of passes that advanced them to the Melrose 6-yard line. On a critical 4th and 6th, Melrose’s Chris Cusolito broke up a Kelleher pass, ending the scoring threat. Hopkinton got another shot on their next drive and advanced on a series of carries to the Melrose 22 with 6:00 left in game. But Cam Rosie picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it to the Melrose 40, causing Melrose fans to go wild. The Hillers would try one more offensive drive, bringing the ball to the 50 and, faced with a 4th and 10,...

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Seventh heaven for Melrose swim team

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Melrose Sports, Melrose Weekly News | Comments Off on Seventh heaven for Melrose swim team

Hardware collected at best-ever State Finals Published in the November 24, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—What could arguably be deemed the best girls’ swim team to compete at Melrose High had their greatest showing in state competition on Sunday, November 19 at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Melrose’s lucky 7 swimmers finished in seventh, well ahead of their Middlesex League rivals, with Reading taking the top spot. Melrose walked away with seven medals in the State Finals, proving to be among the best in all of Massachusetts.  Representing Melrose on Sunday were Natasha Brown, Sam D’Allesandro, Olivia DeCecca, Maddie Hughes, Virginia Guanci, Jennifer Kahler and Molly Williams.  Melrose coach Deb Deacon lauded her athletes. “It’s such an amazing feeling to know that we beat teams like Lexington, Winchester who are in the ‘big’ league as well as all of the smaller teams who beat us during the regular season. It was a true testament to the talent and hard work of the girls. Seven fearless, committed swimmers. Simply amazing.” The Lady Raiders’ best results came courtesy of senior Sam D’Allesandro, now a state silver medalist in the 100 freestyle, and Molly Williams, now a state bronze medalist in the 500 free. The two also medaled in the 200 free (4th place, Williams) and the 50 free (3rd place, D’Allesandro, a best time.) Additionally, D’Allesandro broke two of her own school records in the 50 free (24.59) and 100 free (53:09) making this an incredible day for the senior. Melrose’s Virginia Guanci took home two medals when she cracked the top five in the 100 breaststroke (5th) along with a 6th place finish in the 200 IM. Maddie Hughes placed 16th in the 100 fly at 1:05.15., and Melrose’s Jennifer Kahler had a strong day in relays and enjoyed a finish of 26.64 in the 50 free. Melrose’s 200 medley relay team started the day strong with a sixth place, medal-earning finish behind the efforts of Hughes, Guanci, D’Allesandro and Kahler. And their 200 freestyle team performed just as strong behind the efforts of Williams, Hughes, Guanci and D’Allesandro, a 6th place finish in 1:45.08. Both sets of relays medaled.  This has been coach Deacon’s 20th season as MHS coach, and no doubt, it has been one of her favorites. “I am one proud coach, this is the end of an amazing year and phenomenal careers of the senior girls.” For Melrose, it is a true culmination of four years of high school swimming—combined with four years of year-round swimming—something that helped turn around the program. Says Deacon, “They showed hard work, grit, commitment and sheer determination. They are an incredibly committed and talented group.” Over the course of the season, Melrose’s goals were focused on personal best times and breaking records. That was accomplished early and often in 2017. “We also kept things a true team effort, all of these were achieved and exceeded over the past two weekends.” Melrose will see an exceptionally talented senior class leave, with big fins to fill. Having them on the squad for four years has been both a pleasure and advantage.  “This is a special group of young ladies and we will miss them for many reasons,” says Deacon. “These young swimmers broke, set and re-broke many records throughout their four years. Some were their own records (Sam D in the 50/100 set, broke and re-broke) and others were teammates...

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Melrose volleyball team upset at States by Westborough

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Melrose Sports, Melrose Weekly News | Comments Off on Melrose volleyball team upset at States by Westborough

Published in the November 24, 2017 edition By LUC SULLIVAN MELROSE—The Melrose Raider Volleyball team suffered a crushing loss at the hands of the Westborough Rangers over five sets, 3-2, on Saturday, November 18 at Worcester State University. Melrose was appearing at their first State Final since their championship-winning year of 2012. They end their season at 24-3 and as reigning Div. 2 North champs.   Melrose started the game off extremely strong. Saoirse Connolly (9 kills), Emma Randolph (16 kills) and Jill Mercer (13 digs) stepped up big time in the first set, with Mercer making the impressive digs when necessary, Randolph racking up kills like a navy seal, and Connolly spiking the ball relentlessly at the Westborough Ranger’s feet. Melrose also performed almost flawless at the service line. Lily Fitzgerald (29 assists) was on point as well putting the ball exactly where it needed to be so her teammates could rain fire down on the Rangers. After what seemed like no time at all, Lydia Lombardo (5 kills) came through with the supersonic finishing spike to push Melrose ahead by one set, 25-17. The second set started with Melrose riding an absolute tsunami of momentum and Westborough barley able to keep their heads above water. The Raiders came out swinging: making the important digs, setting the ball practically gift wrapped, and spiking with finishing power. So it was no surprise when Melrose rushed ahead in the second set as well, with Emma Randolph providing some excellent offense, and Jill Mercer coming in clutch with dig after dig. Halfway through the set the score was Melrose 12, Westborough 8 when the ball came soaring over the net for Jill Mercer to stop, getting under it in the nick of time for the dig, sending the ball over to Lily Fitzgerald who set the ball nicely from the off angle in just the right spot for Lydia Lombardo to come down on it for a major spike to keep Melrose rolling. Immediately following this point, Lily Fitzgerald set another volley that came her way, this time for Emma Randolph to spike with the swiftness for another Melrose point. From here Fitzgerald kept the points rolling in with a series of fantastic serves that brought the score all the up to Melrose 20, Westborough 8. Emily Hudson stepped in for a bit of misdirection here leaping up, feigning the spike but then lightly tapping the ball over the net for Melrose’s 21st point. Erin Torpey, Emma Randolph and Mary-Catherine Mahoney followed up with some excellent sets that would all result in spikes to bring Melrose to the game point, which was handled by Saoirse Connolly who jumped up to successfully block a Ranger spike, and then immediately leapt back into the air to spike a brilliantly set ball to drive the nail into Westborough’s second set coffin, 25-15. The third set started with the arena positively shaking from the crowd roaring as the teams lined up, everyone was anticipating a Melrose sweep. Westborough was full of surprises though as they jumped out to an early 3-1 lead and kept on adding to it. However, Melrose was able to catch up thanks to points from a block by Emily Hudson, a massive dig by Mary-Catherine Mahoney and a bit of misdirection from Lily Fitzgerald....

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Cross Country girls finish historic season

Posted by on Nov 22, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Cross Country girls finish historic season

performs among the best at All States Published in the November 24, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—It’s a wrap for the 2017 Melrose High School girls cross country team, who’ve finished their remarkable fall season with a first-ever appearance at the 2017 MIAA All States Meet in Wrentham, MA on Saturday. Melrose placed 11th among all teams, what amounted to their most successful post season ever. Melrose finished strong after a winning season, completing dual meet play 4-1 and clinching their first ever appearance at MIAA State Final.  According to head coach Nick Tuccinardi, it was a fitting finish to a great season. “We’re really happy. Placing eleventh out of twenty qualifying Div. 2 schools, including over a team like Stoneham, who topped us for the league title, feels really good. It also helps us determine where we fit in next season as a ranked team.”   Competing at All States this season for Melrose were Tara O’Shea, who represented Melrose’s best time of 20.24 for an overall #49 finish, teammate Katie Duffy right behind her at at 20.29. Teammate Alex Cutugno followed at 20.48 with a #76 finish. Senior captains Mykayla Olvert and Holly Moore wrapped up their high school careers in fine fashion with finishes of 22:02 and 22:43, respectively. And Ashley Palmer and Annie Kavanaugh finished at 22:24 and 22:41.  “This was a great example of having a solid foundation between experience and youth,” says the coach. “Tara has been our number 1 runner for two seasons and a pleasure to watch run. She gives everything she can. Her 45 second PR against Wakefield is something that doesn’t happen often. And Mykayla and Holly, they battled injury, it wasn’t a storybook ending, but it takes so much to battle back healthy enough to compete at such a high level. It takes so much conditioning and work, I give them a lot of credit for that.” Leading the team next year will be a trio of incoming seniors: Sarah Mackowski, Emily Healy and Nicola Tysall. “Every junior on our team got a vote, so I think that says a lot about how our upcoming group of seniors will all be leaders and respected teammates,” says their coach. “We’re really looking forward to next season.” The MHS Cross Country program has more reason to celebrate.  This season the boys and girls teams were the recipient of the 2017 Ted Dutkiewicz Team Sportsmanship Award. The award is to be presented to the high school cross-country program in each division (boys & girls) that exemplifies the sportsmanship qualities of the late Ted Dutkiewicz, former cross country and track coach at Springfield Central High School. Mr. Dutkiewicz was an active member of the M.S.T.C.A. executive board and was the MIAA Western Mass Cross-Country meet director....

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Red Raider football are Div. 4 North Champs

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Red Raider football are Div. 4 North Champs

Puts deep freeze on Marblehead, 28-20; 1 game to Super Bowl Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider football team are Div. 4 North Champions and remain one step away from a trip to Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium after beating undefeated Marblehead Magicians, 28-20, in the Div. 4 North Finals on Friday, Nov. 10 at a blistery Fred Green Field in Melrose. The Red Raiders remain perfect at 10-0 and face off against Hopkinton in State Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2:00 p.m. at Weymouth High, with a trip to the Division 4 Super Bowl on the line. Friday’s victory represents Melrose’s fourth Sectional title since 2013. On a bitter cold night, the Melrose Red Raiders were red hot. Junior running back Isaac Seide scored 3 TDs for Melrose and ran for 245 yards on 30 carries, including a late game touchdown that lifted top-seeded Melrose over No. 2 Marblehead. The stakes could not have been higher, the competition more intense and the weather colder. Both Melrose and Marblehead came into the game undefeated with four sectional appearances behind them. Melrose came fighting for a right to earn their third Super Bowl appearance in four years; Marblehead, a return to Gillette after last year’s Super Bowl loss against Falmouth. All the cards were on the table.  “Marblehead was a good team,” Melrose coach Tim Morris said after game. “They made some great plays when it counted. And their quarterback [Clough] was a load to bring down, but we managed to slow him and man up and score early, which was huge for us.” Melrose struck first in the end zone and never gave the Magicians a lead. Receiving the ball first, Melrose killed the clock and ran 75 yards on a series of Isaac Seide carries, including a 50-yard dash and 7-yard scamper into the end zone. A good point after from Mike Calvert made it a 7-0 game. “It was huge for us to score early,” says Morris. “We planned that coming in. Isaac is such a talent, with great speed and great feet. He never gives up on a play and the more he plays this season, the better he gets.”  The Red Raiders soon battled against imposing Magician quarterback, Andy Clough, a 6’6 college recruit who struggled against a bitterly cold win (9-25, 85 yards 1 TD) during a night that called for a running game. So Melrose’s Isaac Seide and Charlie Stanton (QB) went toe-to-toe with Marblehead’s Clough (75 yards rushing) and Magician running back Tim Cronin. While they proved a tricky duo, they were thwarted in their first two drives, thanks to defensive efforts from Melrose Drew DiFraia and Colin Kiernan. By the end of the first quarter, Melrose remained 7-0. “I thought our offensive and defensive lines were big for us and came through when we needed them,” says Morris of their early drives.  Melrose forced a fourth down during the Magician’s next possession, but Marblehead faked the punt with a pass that was broken up by Melrose’s Derek DiRaffaele. It would prove to be huge for Melrose, who took over on their own 40 and saw Seide hit pay dirt on a 60-yard touchdown run that gave Melrose an advantage of 14-0. In their next drive, Marblehead’s Derek Marino scored in the end zone to put his team on board, 14-7. Melrose was forced to punt on their next drive, then paid for it as Marino ran the ball back  57...

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Melrose Lady Raiders are Div. 2 North Champs

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Melrose Lady Raiders are Div. 2 North Champs

Reclaim trophy with 3-1 win over Danvers; 1 win away from States Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—After a five year drought, the MIAA Div. 2 North volleyball trophy is back in Melrose High School’s hands. The Melrose High Lady Raiders became 2017 Div. 2 North champions after defeating fourth-ranked Danvers, 3-1, at the Div. 2 North Sectional Finals on Saturday, Nov. 11 at Whittier Tech in Haverhill. It represents the team’s eighth Div. 2 North title in 15 seasons.  Melrose prevailed in four sets of 25-19, 19-25, 25-16 and 25-22, behind hitters Emma Randolph (13 kills) and Saoirse Connolly (12 kills) while setter Lily Fitzgerald helped guide the team with 29 assists. Offensively, it was the most collaborative effort of the season with game-changing kills from Lydia Lombardo and Erin Torpey and powerful service runs from Lombardo and Fitzgerald that closed the door on the Falcons. After the match, Melrose head coach Scott Celli soaked it in. “It’s been five years since our last title, so this feels good. We feel like it’s our trophy. And we’re happy to have it another year.” With the win, Melrose is slated at press time to face Div. 2 West champ Minnechaug in the D2 State Semifinals this Wednesday at Fitchburg High (post deadline). Should they prevail, they will advance to the Div. 2 State Finals at Worcester State (time TBD, venue subject to change) on Saturday, Nov. 18 to reclaim their state championship title earned in 2012. (fans are encouraged to visit www.miaa.net for up to date scheduling) Sophomore hitter Emma Randolph, who scored the game winning shot in set 4, thinks Melrose has what it takes to bring it home. “We’ve been more aggressive in our hitting between today and against Arlington Catholic, and I think we can go all the way. This is our year.” Randolph brought power hitting up front throughout the day. ″Emma was awesome today,” says Celli. “That last point was a planned play to go to her, because we felt like they didn’t have anybody that could stop her. We knew [Danvers] would be a good opponent.” A 9-0 service run by Lily Fitzgerald in set 4 took the air out of the Falcons game at a critical time. The fire of her serving gave Melrose a lead that Danvers ultimately could not come back from. After the game, Danvers coach George LeVasseur tipped his hat to Melrose. “We lost to Melrose two years ago. It was only our third year as a program. We knew they were gong to be strong. Lily [Fitzgerald] is one of the best setters we’ve seen out of this area in a very, very long time and she served phenomenal. But we’re very young. We only have two seniors this year, so to make it to the North final speaks volumes.”  For Celli, the difference in the day was serving. “Our serving [flipped the switch]. Lily, Lydia and Nicole [Abbott] served the ball well and it turned the match around, put them on the defensive. We didn’t do that in game two, we struggled passing the ball and give them [Danvers] credit, they took advantage of it.” All through the day Melrose had to contend with a tough Danvers Abby Skinner, a tall hitter with 12 kills who forced Melrose to the brink several times. Danvers junior libero Grace Leete also impressed. But Melrose’s defense was exceptional in the last two sets with key block...

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Watertown ends Melrose’s dynamic soccer run, 2-0

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Watertown ends Melrose’s dynamic soccer run, 2-0

Red Raiders conclude best season in 15 yrs at D3N Final Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE  MELROSE—The Melrose Red Raider soccer team wrapped up their remarkable post season run after a 2-0 loss to Watertown (15-6-1) in the Div. 3 North Finals on Sunday at Manning Field in Lynn. Their joyride season was the best in over a decade and had culminated in a North Final appearance after a 3-0 semifinal win against Dracut on Nov 9. Fifth seeded Melrose finishes their season at 11-4-6, and wraps up their most prolific playoff run since 2002, when they made an appearance at the Div. 2 North Finals (after earning a sectional title in 2001).  The Red Raiders battled to 56 minutes of scoreless soccer against #5 seed Watertown before Akif Yagcioglu found the net for the Watertown fifteen minutes in the second half to give Watertown a lead of 1-0. Ultimately, it was a goal Melrose could not come back from.  “We played really well and I’m proud of them,” said Melrose head coach Dean Serino. “Watertown is a team we’ve beaten, and could beat any day, but we just couldn’t back from that first goal. I think our middle worked well, Dylan [Vienot] Brett [Botto] and Anthony [Bilbilian]. Everyone did their job. It was just one hiccup and the game is out of your hands.” Melrose and Watertown share a deep rivalry, having twice faced each other in the regular season (swapping 3-0 victories) and sharing the ML league title. But familiarly can be a funny thing. The two teams weren’t able to lend itself to mystery, thus zeroing in on the other flaws. “Familiarity breeds contempt as they say,” says Serino. “Most of the game it felt like it could have gone either way. But I’m proud of our kids, they handled themselves well.”  Melrose and Watertown remained locked in a stalemate at the half, with Melrose’s Jared Dowell at the net making some impressive saves at the 22:45 and 20:00 marks. Melrose was awarded several corner kick opportunities that were promptly cleared away by an impressive Watertown defense. But Melrose showed tons of fire of their own, with tremendous efforts from Owen Thorsteinsson and Tarekegn O’Neill, who limit movement of a tough attacker, José Mendoza. Melrose fended off a direct kick by Sammy Deossa of Watertown shortly before the half, proving that Melrose’s defense is one of the best in the division.  The two teams slugged it out again for another 11 minutes of scoreless ball in the second half, until Yagcioglu was fed an outlet pass from from Sammy Desossa within reach of Melrose goalie Jared Dowell, drawn out of the net. Yagcioglu got his foot on it and kicked it in for a goal. With the game 1-0, every possession from then on mattered for Melrose, and they remained determined to get the ball to Shea Champagne, and other Melrose attackers at the net, but fell short. The Red Raiders’ two best scoring opportunities came under the 10:00 minute in the second half when Sava Vlajkovic fired a shot that drifted just over the cross bars and later, David Kurti, who fired a missle just high of the net. With less than 2:00 to go, Watertown’s Alex Egan found scored a goal again to give Watertown an ultimate 2-0 victory.  And while it is the end for this talented, senior-heavy Melrose squad,...

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Record breaking day for Melrose swim team

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Record breaking day for Melrose swim team

5 school records broken at North Sectionals Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—It was a historic performance for the 2017 Melrose High School girl’s swim team, who broke five school records and collected medals at the MIAA North Sectional Championship at M.I.T. on Nov. 11. Melrose walked away in 5th place, a remarkable feat that puts them toe-to-toe with state heavyweights and represents Melrose best showing ever in statewide competition.   “I am beyond proud of their efforts,” said head coach Deb Deacon. “It was surreal in the first races when we broke records—I knew it was going to be a good day for the girls. So to finish right behind reigning state champs Andover, league champ Reading and a loaded Belmont was incredible.” Junior Molly Williams commanded during the day. Williams became a North Sectional silver medalist in the 500 free, nearly breaking the school record set by Aley Quinn in 2003 with her 5:15.82 time, 16 seconds off her seed time. Williams also earned bronze with a new Melrose High School record in the 200 free style. Deacon was thrilled for Williams. “She swam out of her mind. She’s so close to breaking the 500 too.” Other record-smashers include Melrose’s 200 medley relay team of Williams, Virginia Guanci, Maddie Hughes and Sam D’Allesando, who started the meet off on the right track and placed 4th at 1:53.96, breaking Melrose High’s record.  Virginia Guanci was also power for Melrose. The swimmer shattered her record of 100 breast of 1:11 with a time 1:08 and then set a new record in the 200IM with a time of 2:13.94 (6th). Sam D’Allesandro also set a new school record in the 50 free with a time of 24.81 (5th place) and earned 4th place in the 100 free with a best time of 54.12. It was a lot to take in for coach Deacon. “I was proud to see the sheer elation on their faces when they saw their times..it was amazing. Like the song – these girls were on fire.” Melrose showed plenty of depth during the day during individual and relay races. Maddy Hughes qualified for States in the 100 back, smashing her seed time of 1:08 with a finish of 1:03. She also swam her best time in the 100 fly with 1:04.16. Jen Kahler swam her best time in the 50 free with a 26.31 time. Melrose’s 400 free relay team was well represented by Olivia DeCecca, Natasha Brown, Jen Kahler and Maddie Hughes.  For Deacon, it was important that the team focused on rest before the event. “I told them it was very important to get a lot of rest and to eat well over the week and clearly they listened. Our seven girls were a lucky seven. They were incredible. That Melrose is up there with the best-of-the-best in swimming makes me so proud.” But there work doesn’t end now. Melrose will compete at States this Sunday for a chance to collect more hardware. Melrose will return their Lucky 7 to swim events: Natasha Brown, Sam D’Alessandro, Olivia DeCecca, Virginia Guanci, Jennifer Kahler, Maddy Hughes, and Molly Williams. Swimming individually are D’Allesandro (50 free & 100 free), Virginia Guanci (200IM, 100 breast) Jennifer Kahler (50 free), Maddy Hughes (100 fly, 100 back) and Molly Williams (200 & 500 free). There is a lot of work ahead and...

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Melrose girls’ cross country sprints way to States

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Melrose girls’ cross country sprints way to States

A first-ever feat after Melrose’s strong EMass finish Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—The Melrose High girls cross country team made history on Saturday, Nov. 11 by being the first Melrose High School girl’s cross country team to advance to State Finals after a strong sixth place finish at the 2017 MIAA EMass Divisional Championship in Wrentham, MA. Melrose averaged 21:02 among Div. 4 teams, rounding out the top six with the top spot going to Westwood, followed by Nauset, Newburyport, Dennis Yarmouth and Notre Dame of Hingham.  It was the team’s most impressive performance of the season, with a strong showing from an emerging sophomore class and a top spot earned by senior Tara O’Shea, who earned 12 points for Melrose with her 14th overall finish (19:54.) Less than a minute behind her was sophomore Katie Duffy, a face to watch who finished 20:44 (27th) along with her sophomore teammate Alex Cotugno, who finished 37th at 21:03. Senior captain MyKayla Olwert finished behind them in 21:37. Rounding out a well-balanced roster were Annie Kavanaugh (21:50), sophomore Ashley Palmer (21:54) and senior captain Holly Moore (23:51).  “This was an unprecedented performance,” said head coach Nick Tuccinardi. “Each girl had a mile split they wanted to achieve. They had to run close to perfect and the margin was slim, three seconds tops and the elements brutally cold. For us to place 14th here last year and 6th now says so much about their growth.”  Getting here took a season-long training and preparation, and Melrose notched several impress victories over the season, going 4-1 and just nearly missing a Middlesex League title. Tuccinardi spoke of the team’s planning and dedication that went into this day. “This was our goal from Aug. 24 to Saturday. 87 days of planning and training. We spoke of making the most of those 87 days. It’s a privilege to have made the most of those days to get where we are now.” Keeping their intensity is something that could have fallen by the wayside. “We suffered some injuries to Holly [Moore] and Mykayla [Olwert] this season and were lucky to have a great sophomore class pick up the reigns. And after leagues, the girls never dipped in performance. We doubled down.” For their efforts, Melrose has named three All Stars in Tara O’Shea, Alex Cutugno and Katie Duffy this season. And with Olwert and Moore taking All Star honors last year, Melrose finishes their season with 5 All Star runners on their squad. To Tuccinardi, it’s an indication of the strength of the program. “Last year we had 17 girls, this year 29 and our All Star list is growing. Girl’s cross country is a winning program, very competitive, and talented athletes are opting to run for us. Word has gotten out that we are welcoming and fun but also able to beat our rivals.” Melrose will compete in the MIAA State Finals on Saturday, Nov. 18 at Wrentham Development Center with a shot gun start of noon.   Even better? After their super successful season, Melrose will enter 2018 season as a ranked team. Until then, they are out to prove their mettle this  Saturday at States , “We’re proud to be there. Relaxed going in. These girls never complaint. They will train in the rain. I’m proud of their...

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Unfinished business for Melrose in 58th Thanksgiving Classic

Posted by on Nov 16, 2017 in Melrose Sports | Comments Off on Unfinished business for Melrose in 58th Thanksgiving Classic

Melrose and Wakefield will face off at home on Nov. 23 Published in the November 17, 2017 edition By JENNIFER GENTILE MELROSE—The 58th Melrose-Wakefield Thanksgiving Classic takes place next Thursday, Nov. 23 at 10:15 a.m. at Fred Green Memorial Field in Melrose. The meeting is the 107th clash between the two teams in a rivalry that dates back to 1901.  Overall, Melrose leads that series 59-41-6. In 1960 the two teams transitioned their annual contest into the Thanksgiving Classic, making this year their 58th meeting on the holiday. Melrose has dominated recent competition (seven straight wins) while Wakefield holds the edge since 1960 with a record of 29-24-3. At press time, Melrose is one game away from a Super Bowl bid, and scheduled to fight in the State Semifinals against Hopkinton on Sat., Nov. 18 at 2:00 p.m. at Weymouth High. As of this writing, Melrose is perfect at 10-0 and has clear eyes on a Super Saturday at Gillette Stadium. But before any of that, they must take on old foe Wakefield on Thanksgiving Day.  Wakefield has been a team that is hard to pin down. The Warriors beat state semifinalist Watertown, made a game out of undefeated Marblehead in October, and recently beat a tough Gloucester squad. But last week, the Warriors suffered a big loss to Wayland, 41-6, so there is no telling which team will show up at Fred Green Field on Nov. 23. But given the fierce rivalry and always-competitive nature of Melrose-Wakefield games, it’s clear this season can’t be considered a flawless one for Melrose without a victory over their neighbors to the north.  According to Melrose coach Tim Morris, Wakefield (4-6 overall, 2-3 league) may be down this season, but not out. “This is a team who can beat anyone in the league. They’ve had some great efforts and some bad breaks. We haven’t seen them obviously this season but they always have weapons, they’re big up front. I know they will be ready for us.” The Warriors bring to the field an experienced quarterback in Mike Lucey, a talented senior line, including All Star Devon O’Brien and Alex Joly. Their running game comes courtesy of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Danny Marinaccio.  Wakefield showed improvement over the season and had to fight in (quite possibly) the toughest division in the North (Freedom Division) loaded with state semifinalists Watertown, Stoneham and a surprisingly tough Wilmington team, which may have only made the Warriors stronger as a team. While Melrose certainly has the advantage going in, they won’t be able to rest easy, as Wakefield will most likely be chomping at the bit to get the Thanksgiving trophy out of Melrose’s hands after four long years.  “The Freedom League was very tough this year,” notes Morris, who pointed to the incredible success of Melrose, Watertown, Stoneham and Wilmington. “It’s been like this for a long time. We have very good coaches and players who play sound football. There has been great parity this season and it speaks the strength of our programs in the Middlesex.” With two football games ahead of Melrose before a potential Super Bowl appearance (1 playoff, 1 non), Morris notes it is a day-to-day approach. “We’re still studying, conditioning and have a lot of football ahead of us.” The 58th Thanksgiving Classic takes place at Fred Green Field at 10:15 a.m. on Thanksgiving...

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