Class of 2020 leaves lasting impact on sports community

Jun 17, 2020 by

Published June 17, 2020

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WAKEFIELD — There was something about this class.

It’s always hard to identify. No matter your perspective, a young fan in the crowd, a parent, coach, teacher, underclassman or alumna, you know it when you see it. Every now and then, a class just stands out.

The Wakefield High Class of 2020 officially said goodbye over the weekend, tossing their tassels together even though it didn’t feel like it.

They deserved better. These Warriors ironically had a reputation for being close.

At least from the perspective of the sports community, the Class of 2020 showed up for each other. So, the fact that they couldn’t physically do the same as one big group on graduation day hurts. But if any class can handle it, it’s them.

They showed up in the fall. The highlight being the volleyball team rallying around senior Rachel McNall to host a fundraiser game in memory of her mother, Jen. Jen McNall was a Wakefield native, a graduate of Wakefield High and a beloved member of the Wakefield community. That much was easily picked up, even by someone who never met her, largely because the Class of 2020 made sure to show up as a group. It was powerful and heartfelt.

The girls’ soccer team later hosted their own fundraiser to add to the volleyball team’s impressive donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Along the sidelines was another strong Red Sea, something these Warriors made a habit of throughout the year.

The seniors showed up to Manning Bowl in beyond freezing conditions to support the boys’ soccer team who made a magical run to the Div. 2 North semifinals.

The field hockey team put together a terrific season that ended in what would become a statewide controversy after a report on the Wayland team, which featured three boys. Led by their seniors, the Warriors lost by one goal, inspiring their community with hard work and an indomitable spirit.

That performance helped fuel the Warrior community to travel to Weston two days later to watch the upstart football team take on a powerful Wayland program. Wayland took a three-score lead into halftime, this game coming one week after they dismantled eventual Div. 2 North champion Lincoln-Sudbury by 37.

Wakefield then outscored Wayland by a touchdown in the second half. Their seniors led the charge, the same group who has played such a vital role in helping Wakefield football build over the last four years. The Class of 2020 leaves behind a culture of unity. How else would you describe their take on Warrior Prince Pizza night? Typically a tradition for upperclassmen, the seniors encouraged everyone, even freshmen, to come with and mash some pizza as a group.

The cross country boys won another Freedom Div. title thanks to a senior class who will graduate not knowing any other result. It was the fourth consecutive title for the Warriors.

More importantly, the girls’ and boys’ teams along with their coaches and some incredible work from community members like Keith’s Tree Service and Chris Barrett, christened the new Kelly Ledoux-Walsh trail at the high school. The teams held a ceremony on Oct. 7 to officially open the beautiful course.

The girls’ swim team had a record-setting season including 6th out of 20 at Div. 2 states, and 3rd in the Middlesex League Meet, the best finish in school history.

The golf team accomplished similar feats, their 4th place finish at the Div. 2 North tourney the best in school history.

Most of your questions about this class could probably be answered at the Charbonneau Field House on a wintery Friday night.

The seniors led the Red Sea to hold court in what was certainly the toughest place to play in the league. They built on existing traditions like the silent night game in which they don’t say a word until Wakefield scores 10 points and the tide breaks loose.

Whether in black, white or red, the sea made a case for loudest in recent memory while both hoop teams provided them with many highlights.

The six seniors on the girls’ hockey team led the Warriors to a Freedom Div. championship.

The seniors on the wrestling team led Wakefield to a Freedom title after an epic win over Melrose at the Brawl in the Hall.

Some gymnastics seniors have spent five years with a program that was barely alive when they joined up. Now Wakefield gymnastics is consistently one of the best in the league and competing in state meets. They finished 7-1 this year, got second at the league meet and 5th at sectionals, the best in school history.

The four senior captains on the boys’ hockey team not only helped a new coach set up a system but they led the Warriors to one of their best seasons of the last decade with 11 wins.

The seniors led the boys’ indoor track team to another undefeated season and their fourth consecutive Freedom crown.

One senior earned his second straight state championship in swimming and led the Lynnfield-Wakefield co-op team to a 5-1 record.

Not bad for a class that lost approximately 35 percent of their senior year. That’s an “educated” guess. Hopefully the Class of 2020 payed more attention in math class.

But even if they didn’t, the Wakefield High Class of 2020 calculated the best way to leave a lasting athletic legacy on Farm Street: Stick together. Even and perhaps especially when they became the first class in history to be physically pulled apart, the ‘20 Warriors were there for each other. For that reason, their impact will always be felt.

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