< Back to front page Text size +

Back from injury, Latin Academy tennis star looks to regain No. 1 singles spot

Posted by Justin Rice April 30, 2013 06:00 PM


Latin Academy boys’ tennis captain Jimmy Ye finally returned from injury last week, only to have to fight for his No. 1 spot again — a position he held since freshman year before he went down with groin and wrist problems at the start of this season.

The senior, who recently decided to play tennis at Holy Cross in the fall, missed the first three weeks of the season.

In his absence, senior Mark Anthony Kenney filled in at the No. 1 spot superbly. Now the two will play a challenge match against each other as soon as this week to determine the true No. 1 singles player on the team.

“It’s good to be playing tennis again,” Ye said after last Friday afternoon’s practice at Carter Playground. “I think I have a shot [to beat Kenney]. It’s just how your mind-set is and how hard you fight for your spot. Mark Anthony is a terrific player, so you just have to fight for it.

“He’s been playing really well. He's basically destroyed every opponent he’s played. He had a tough match against BC High, he played Charles Shewalter, and playing a nationally ranked player is tough. He’s been terrific.”

Kenney, who attends Boston Community Leadership Academy, which feeds players into Latin Academy's tennis team, is 1-1 against Ye. But even if he does lose his No. 1 spot, Kenney said, having Ye back is a huge boost for the team because he takes pressure off everyone else.

“I know Jimmy can get wins and Jimmy plays well so that takes some pressure off me,”
Kenney said. “I don't feel like I have to maybe force or overthink my matches knowing that he has a spot behind me locked up.

“Competition between us makes us better. I'm hoping I can get this win, but he's playing a lot better since he came back. He's looking really good. Maybe he’s a little rusty but I’ve been playing rusty, too.”

Kenney said it wasn’t hard to play No. 1 singles in Ye’s absence because he’s played leadership roles on his previous teams at Boston Latin and Catholic Memorial.

“It's not hard really to try to lead the team,” he said, “especially when you have a group of guys who want do well and are looking out for each other. So me stepping into the No. 1 spot, that really wasn’t that hard.”

Kenney said he will most likely play tennis at Whittier College in Los Angeles next year.

“I went out there and those guys are really good players,” he said. “They are really supportive of each other and they train real hard, too. It’s not really going to be a different environment. That’s the kind of environment I’m used to as far as training really hard and trying to do my best each and every day.”

Ye said he met with the Holy Cross coach when the Crusaders played at Boston University recently.

“He seems to know a lot about tennis,” Ye said. “I talked to him for 30 minutes. It was by far the most tennis I’ve listened to. The guy is a genius so I’m excited. There are a lot of good players on that team. The only place to go is up.”

With two college-bound players in the lineup, Latin Academy coach Andy Crane said the sky is the limit this season.

“Our strength is our singles,” he said, “and when Jimmy is there, whether he plays No. 1 or No. 2 -- and in the end, we still have to decide that -- and then Ricardo Bailey is No. 3, it’s a very strong lineup.”

Last week Ye played No. 2 singles and won two matches against Medford and BC High. His 6-4, 6-4 win against BC High’s Jeremy Mendoza was Latin Academy’s only point in that match.

Crane said he wanted to make sure Ye’s injuries didn’t flare up for one full week of play before he set a challenge match against Kenney.

“He’s rusty,” Crane said. “That’s why we haven’t had another challenge match, because he’s still rusty.”

No matter who plays No. 1 singles, Latin Academy’s goals are the same.

“That’s the goal, state championship,” Kenney said.

The other goal will be to beat BC High on May 13.

“We lost to them, 4-1, yesterday, so that left a sour taste in my mouth along with the rest of the guys,” Ye said last Friday. “That's the one that we are going to look at and say, ‘We are going to beat these guys.’ ”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Boston English wins big against Brighton

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 29, 2013 07:28 PM

Just as Brighton started to gain a little momentum in its game against Boston English on a beautiful Monday afternoon, English coach Ricardo Figueroa’s team showed just how good its offense can be.

“We are a great team, they are a great team, but we beat them," said English junior Miguel Lorenzo after his team's 15-4 win. "We are better. One thing we all have is that we are all one team. We are together."

The Bengals scored two runs in the fourth inning after English had led, 6-1, through three. The life in Brighton’s dugout was apparent, and momentum began to shift.

They kept it going in the fifth when sophomore Jonathan Gonzalez came home on an RBI single by junior Jairo Veras. It looked as though the Bengals would cut further into the lead when English’s Nelson Barreiro walked sophomore Ramon Morales with two outs.

However, with runners on first and third, Barreiro got out of the inning with a strikeout and the lead remained 6-4.

From there, it was all English. In the bottom of the fifth, with a man on first, Lorenzo hit a triple to deep right field. He already had doubled in the second inning.

“That was great hitting by him, hit the ball in the gap and cleared the bases," said Figueroa. "That changed the attitude and everyone started to hit the ball good. It changed the momentum.”

English went on to score two more runs in the fifth and sealed the game with a six-run sixth. Juniors Frankely Gonzalez, Miguel Calderon, and Barreiro had singles and Stanley Vargas showed his strength with a ground-rule double.

Brighton just couldn’t overcome its error-filled performance.

“We’re looking for a big, big tent to put around the circus that we put on today,” coach Bill Mahoney said. “When you can’t catch the ball and you throw to the wrong bases and you get picked off and you make all kinds of mental mistakes, you don’t expect to win.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three baseball games to watch

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 29, 2013 03:09 PM

Brighton at Boston English at Rogers Park, 3:30 p.m., Monday

After winning a rematch of last year’s city championship against Latin Academy, Boston English is playing like the confident young squad that it is.

English has a right to be confident, too – it has the second-best defense in the City League.

While Brighton has the worst defense in the North Division, it should go into this game with some momentum after a 10-9 win against Madison Park.

O’Bryant at East Boston at East Boston Stadium, 3:30 p.m., Thursday

East Boston continues to try to separate itself from Boston International in the Central Division, but O’Bryant isn’t far behind both teams in the standings.

After a tough 12-2 loss to Latin Academy, the Tigers should go into this game with a chip on their shoulder.

Latin Academy at Boston International at Fallon Field, 3:30 p.m., Friday

Both squads suffered tough losses last week to division foes, with Latin Academy falling to English, 3-2, in extra innings and Boston International losing to East Boston, 7-1.

The city tournament is getting closer, so expect some intensity in this one.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three games to watch in softball this week

Posted by Justin Rice April 29, 2013 03:03 PM

Burke at South Boston, Wednesday, 3 p.m., at Kirby Field

With a 4-1 record, Burke is the surprise team of the season so far. It is in third in the North Division, behind East Boston and O’Bryant after beating Fenway, Madison Park, West Roxbury, and Boston International. All of those victories were by considerable margins except for the 13-11 win against West Roxbury.

South Boston (1-2) is trying to get its act together after a 14-3 loss to New Mission April 22.

O’Bryant at East Boston, Thursday, 3 p.m., at City Yards

This should be a good one, despite the team records being almost opposite of each other.

East Boston (1-4) is battle-tested against nonleague opponents Rockport, Billerica, Lynnfield, and Bishop Fenwick and is still at the top of the North Division with a 1-0 league record.

O’Bryant 7-0 in the north division, therefore this game could have huge implications for the city championship seeds when things shake out at the end of May.

New Mission at Brighton, Friday, 3:30 p.m., at Cleveland Circle

With New Mission's team almost entirely made up of Boston Community Leadership Academy students who were part of the Brighton softball team last year, emotions will be running high.

And even though the Titans are sitting in second place in the South Division with a 2-2 record, the last-place Bengals (0-3) will be up for this one as well as they look to get their first win of the season against their old teammates.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


City League all-stars get their moment at TD Garden

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 29, 2013 02:28 PM

167077640_Celtics_Knicks_BBG4_607.jpg

The winners of the Boston City League All-Star Game finally got to have their photo taken on the floor at a Celtics game, doing the honors at Game 4 Sunday against the Knicks. The players were supposed to have their photos taken at the April 7 game against Washington but a miscommunication left them in their seats during halftime. (Photo courtesy of Boston Celtics)

The city all-stars finally got their acknowledgement from thousands of fans at TD Garden Sunday at Game 4 of the Celtics Knicks first-round playoff series. The boys and girls were split into two co-ed teams and played a seven-minute scrimmage at halftime in front of a crowd of 18,624 fans.

“It was exciting, exhilarating," said Ceejae Agnew-Carter of Dorchester. "There was a whole bunch of things going through my mind at that time."

The honor came after the all stars were overlooked during the Celtics-Wizards game April 7. The players were supposed to be honored either during pregame or halftime, but no one ever came to get them from their seats.

After that game, the Boston Scholar Athletes program and the Celtics organization vowed to make up for the mistake.

“They’re a classy organization,” BSA director Chris Rooks said of the Celtics. “They’re one of our best partners overall and we were really happy they were able to bring our kids out on to the court and showcase their accomplishments amongst 18,000 or 19,000 people at the TD Garden.”

Brighton’s Hugh Coleman and Latin Academy’s Emily Coleman led the all-stars onto the court as the recipients of Coach of the Year honors. The couldn’t express enough appreciation for the Celtics and the BSA.

“They went above and beyond by even providing us with jerseys, and it was great," said Emily Coleman. "Trophies, acknowledgement at the halftime so it was great. It was great. I really appreciate the Celtics but also the BSA making it right."

Latin Academy’s Fiona Sugrue and Agnew-Carter took home MVP honors from the scrimmage.

“It was a really good idea to have us play to show what we can do and how we’re all together,” Sugrue said.

Agnew-Carter said he would love to return to the court – as a member of the Celtics.

“I’m going to try and go to college, get an education, and then try and pursue those dreams,” Agnew-Carter said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Author Steve Marantz talks about his book, "Next Up at Fenway: A Story of High School, Hope and Lindos Suenos"

Posted by Justin Rice April 29, 2013 01:38 PM

fen-Cover-Front2.jpg

Steve Marantz’s new book about a former baseball player at Fenway High called Next Up at Fenway: A Story of High School, Hope and Lindos Suenos was published earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Steve Marantz)

Former Boston Globe reporter Steve Marantz’s new book about a former baseball player at Fenway High called Next Up at Fenway: A Story of High School, Hope and Lindos Suenos was published earlier this month.

Marantz, who currently works for ESPN E:60, took a few moments last week to answer some questions about the book via e-mail. (Full disclosure: Marantz asked me to review an early draft of the book.)

Marantz275.jpg

JAR: Can you give me a quick summary of the book?

SM: "Next Up at Fenway" is the story of Fenway High, located next to the ballpark, and Marcos Baez, a kid from the Mission Main projects who went to the school. Fenway High is one of the gems of the Boston public schools, recognized for its success with Latino students. Marcos loved baseball and he hoped Fenway High would help him toward a career in baseball. But Fenway did what it does best -- turned Marcos into a student. On the back cover, the summary is this: "Marcos Baez had many loves. First was his mother. Next came baseball. Reggaeton and bachata. A girl stole his heart. Then he realized a love greater still. Learning."

JAR: Can you tell me a bit more about Marcos and why you chose to follow him and his story?

SM: Marcos had an unusually articulate and sensitive writing voice. His written assignments, and his college essay, drew my attention. When I met him, he was comfortable talking about his classroom work, his life at Fenway High, his aspirations, and his perspective as a teenager and a Latino. Both he and his mother seemed interested in my project, and wanted to share their stories.

JAR: What was it about Fenway High that attracted you? Why did you think they had a story to tell?

SM: How many high schools are next to a major league ballpark, let alone one as iconic as Fenway Park? There had to be a story at Fenway High. I knew it had a solid academic reputation. That was important. I did not want to write about an underperforming school -- what's the point?

JAR: How did you get unlimited access to the school? How did you build rapport with students, staff and most importantly parents?

SM: Access was granted by headmaster Peggy Kemp. I laid out my proposal and she accepted it, perhaps because she felt Fenway High's success had been overlooked, or underappreciated. Rapport was built by spending time at the school, in the classrooms and assemblies, and getting to know teachers and students, day by day. My work with ESPN did not permit me to be at Fenway on a daily basis, but I tried to be there at least two days a week.

JAR: What were you surprised to learn about the school and its community once you got in there and started reporting?

SM: Fenway High operates on the "Essential" school model, developed in the 1980s by former Harvard educator Theodore Sizer. The "Essential" philosophy was new to me. The curriculum is deep rather than broad. Teachers don't lecture so much as they coach. Sizer stressed that teachers express, in deed and tone, the values of trust, fairness, generosity and tolerance. He believed that character could be taught as a kind of non-cognitive intelligence equal in value to cognitive skills. Latino students thrive at Fenway because it has a kind of family closeness that they value at home.

JAR: What is the relationship between the school and the Red Sox?

SM: The Sox Foundation chose Marcos for its summer Lindos Suenos program, which pairs up 10 American kids with 10 Dominican kids at the Sox academy in the D.R. Marcos loved it and used the experience to write his college essay. Marcos also did a "job shadow" at the office of the Red Sox Foundation. A few Fenway High kids have been chosen for the Red Sox Scholars program. The Sox Foundation gives $5,000 to the school foundation each year. And each spring the Sox send over about 200 bleacher tickets for a day game. But overall, the school would like more of a relationship -- particularly for its senior internships.

JAR: What role does the baseball program play in the school's culture?

SM: The Fenway baseball program is hugely popular with Latino students. They put up with a lot of inconvenience -- practices are a 30-minute bus ride to Dorchester -- but the kids do it because they love baseball. The girls' softball program also is popular; they play over at the Fens.

JAR: Spoiler alert: What is Marcos doing now? Is he playing baseball?

SM: Marcos is finishing up his sophomore year at Holy Cross. He tried out for the team and didn't make it But he knows there are a lot of jobs in baseball that don't involve playing. He loves the game. He could end up in the front office of some organization.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


East Boston powers by Boston International

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 25, 2013 09:37 PM

EB_third_607.jpg

Rafael Perez gets to the bag before East Boston's Connor Henry during the Jet's victory against Boston International on Wednesday afternoon. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

His teammates call him “Mikey Baseball” for a reason.

Junior pitcher Michael Theriault delivered for East Boston in Thursday’s Central Division game at Boston International, going all seven innings with 12 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

“Any division game, we've got to get a win, and I felt good today," said Theriault. "I got lucky. Everyone played good behind me, good defense, everybody was hitting today. It was just a good day for all of us."

The pitcher also managed to provide the spark on offense that broke the game open in the fourth inning.

After Boston International pitcher Eriken Calderon walked home a run with the bases loaded to give East Boston a 3-1 lead, Theriault lined a two-run single.

“That broke it open, and then after that I didn’t need anything else,” Theriault said. “I just felt good today. [Catcher] Ramon Quinones was good behind the plate, called a good game, and everything was going. Every pitch was working with me today.”

Daniel Marifiote completed the four-run fourth inning for East Boston when he came home on a balk by Boston International pitcher Angel Concoso.

Concoso, who relieved Calderon in the inning, was the third pitcher used by coach Christian Irizarry. Sophomore Christopher Reynoso started the game but came out in the second inning after throwing consecutive wild pitches.

Errors plagued Boston International throughout the day and resulted in two East Boston runs, including its last run in the seventh inning. Junior Bryan Estrella came home on a wild throw to third by catcher Derlin Tejeda.

“I’m surprised," said Irizarry. "I don’t know if it’s the excitement or them just wanting to do extra. That’s where they’re making a lot of the little mistakes. I expected that to happen maybe today, but they’re getting there, they’re working hard.”

Irizarry added that his players might have gotten too excited, knowing that East Boston is their biggest competition in the Central Division.

However, that excitement proved to be just what East Boston needed to make a statement.

“We made the [city tournament] last year, they made the [city tournament] last year," said coach Phil Brangiforte. "We knew they were a good team. They moved up to our division. We didn’t take anything for granted, we just played East Boston High School baseball. That’s how we wanted to do it.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

English slides by Latin Academy in rematch of last year's city championship

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 25, 2013 12:56 PM


English_BLA_607.jpg

Arcibiadez Pena scored two runs for English after coming off the bench in the sixth inning (Billy Owens/ Boston Globe))



Coach Ricardo Figueroa said his English players were more excited than usual going into Wednesday’s game against Latin Academy, which was a rematch of last year's city championship.

Considering how his team overcame a late rally by the Dragons, it looks as though he was right.

“We’re going to beat them next time,” said English senior pitcher Nelson Barreiro after his team's 3-2 extra-inning win. “We’re going to beat them. They are a good team, but we are better.”

While Barreiro pitched great -- going all 8 innings, with 13 strikeouts -- the win was far from easy. After English took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, Latin Academy found itself in need of a spark.

Latin Academy pitcher Vincent Lopriore drew a walk with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, then senior Dan O’Connell reach first on an error, advancing Lopriore to third.

The late defensive woes for English continued when catcher Miguel Calderon overthrew the second baseman on a steal attempt by O’Connell. The error allowed Lopriore to score and O’Connell to advance to third.

“I was so sad because the defense couldn’t make the play," said Barreiro. "I was so mad."

But the rally wasn’t over. Junior Mark Guerard hit an RBI single to left to tie the game up.

“They had a really good pitcher throwing, down 2-0 in the last inning, but our guys kept fighting and had some good at-bats and they never gave up, which is good," said Latin Academy coach Anthony Bernazzani. "That’s what we need."

However, the defending city champions didn’t give in. With one out in the eighth inning, English had runners on first and second. On Frankely Gonzalez's grounder, Latin Academy made the forceout at third, but an overthrow at first allowed Arcibiadez Pena to score.

“You have two good pitchers going at it like that, it’s going to be a low-scoring game, so any run could be the difference," said Bernazzani. "So you've got to make sure you play tight defense."

It looked like Latin Academy had one last rally in it when senior Patrick Owens hit a shot to deep center in the bottom of the eighth. He appeared to have an inside-the-park home run -- but the umpires ruled that he did not touch second base.

“He missed second base," said Bernazzani. "The umpire said he missed second base so that’s an out."

Figueroa had nothing but great things to say about Barreiro.

“He’s been awesome all year long," said the coach. "This guy’s unbelievable. This guy’s got a good arm, he throws strikes, and he knows what he is doing on the mound."

Gonzalez also had a great game, with a double and an RBI triple.

With the Memorial Day city championship approaching, the first-year English coach said he felt confident with his squad as it goes deeper into the season.

“We can have a good run this year but we need some additional players because I’m running short of players on the bench," said Figueroa. "When next time comes, there’s going to be more competition."

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

More rescheduled baseball and softball games

Posted by Justin Rice April 24, 2013 09:58 AM

The following are the most recent makeup dates for BPS baseball and softball games:

-O’Bryant vs. Boston International at Fallon Field, varsity only, at 3:30 p.m. on May 23.

-West Roxbury vs Boston International varsity baseball at Fallon Field at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

-Latin Academy vs East Boston varsity baseball at East Boston at 3:30 p.m. on May 6.

-Brighton vs Boston English varsity baseball at Rogers Park at 3:30 p.m. on April 29.

-Brighton vs. Boston English JV baseball at McKinney Field at 3:30 p.m. on April 29.

-Dorchester at Burke varsity softball at Casey Field at 3:30 p.m. on May 21.

-South Boston vs Cathedral varsity baseball at 3:30 p.m. at King Field on May 2.

-Dorchester vs. New Mission varsity baseball at 3:30 p.m. at Ross Field on May 20.

-Latin Academy vs. South Boston varsity baseball at King Field at 3 p.m. on May 21.

-Fenway vs Madison Park varsity softball at Madison Park at 4 p.m. on May 24.

BPS baseball, softball postponed

Posted by Justin Rice April 23, 2013 03:52 PM

Due to inclement weather in Tuesday's forecast, all Boston public school baseball and softball games were postponed late Tuesday afternoon.

Stay tuned to find out when Tuesday's games will be rescheduled.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Future Virginia Tech pitcher still has goals for Latin

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 22, 2013 06:03 PM

Not a lot of people would expect anybody to be playing catch on a cold winter day in Dedham, let alone in the parking lot behind a Stop & Shop. But for Boston Latin pitcher Patrick “Packy” Naughton and his father Michael, it is a place of solitude.

The 300-foot long toss in 35-degree weather is nothing new for the father and son; they do it almost every day in the winter. The parking lot just happens to be best open space with the least amount of gathered snow.

According to Patrick, it is this kind of dedication which opened up the opportunity for him to commit verbally to the Virginia Tech baseball team in just his junior year of high school.

“Everyday at the field, he’s always there making sure I play proper catch and everything and he paid a lot of money for my pitching coach and he’s pretty much the reason I’m committed to Virginia Tech right now,” Naughton said of his father.

For Michael Naughton, all of the sacrifices are worth it, whether it’s hiring former St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Ace Adams or helping out Patrick himself.

“I’m part of it but when I step back I feel how fast everything has moved over the years. I can see him yesterday throwing the ball when he was 4-years-old to me and now we’re talking about college,” Michael Naughton said.

It was at that time, when Patrick Naughton was just 4-years-old, that his father realized he was going to be baseball player. At that early age Naughton could catch the ball properly with two hands and didn’t need his father to throw to him underhand like his peers.

The young pitcher couldn’t stay away from the diamond, even if it was shagging balls or throwing batting practice for his older brother Jake.

“Jake would be six and “Packy” would be four and he wanted to do everything his brother did,” Michael Naughton said. “Playing out in the backyard with Jake, he’d be right next to him, so we’d have to do a three-way catch.”

When his older brother graduated from the Latin school last year to attend Fairfield University, Naughton took over as captain of Latin.

In his sophomore campaign, he was a Dual County League all star with a 1.47 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 13 walks. The great performance on the mound led to a 6-0 undefeated record.

The junior has followed up last season well thus far with 2-0 record. In his most recent win against Concord-Carlisle, Naughton threw 18 strikeouts, his second time doing so in his career, while giving up just two hits and two walks over 7 innings.

The accomplishments would already make a worthy resume for colleges, especially considering Patrick was also a member of the 2008 Parkway National Little League that played in the New England championship against New Hampshire. Had they won that game, the Latin player would’ve pitched in a Little League World Series game in Williamsport, Pa.

“We won the state tournament out in Worcester and we just went there and we had a ball, it was so much fun. My whole team was great and I remember every minute of it,” Naughton said.

Whether it is pitching for Parkway, Latin, practice with Ace Adams, or just one-on-one time with his father, Naughton said that the baseball mound is where he feels most comfortable.

However, even though he has already verbally committed, the junior knows that a starting position is never safe.

“I am trying not to be as complacent as I can because I know once I start being complacent then the other kids that are right below me, they’ll start to work harder than me and they’ll pass me,” he said. “That’s one of my biggest motivations that I want to be the best that I can be.”

Even if his fastball and changeup may be more advanced, Patrick knows that he still has room to improve and has set goals to do it.

“I want to have a perfect season,” Naughton said. “I want to win eight games or however many I start and I want to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game. Those are my goals for this year so hopefully they come through.”

His confidence and hard work has won the confidence of his coach, too.

“He knows he has a job to do and that’s to lead our team to, with [much] luck, the first DCL title in awhile,” Rene Gauthier said.

Patrick described the day he accepted the verbal commitment to Virginia Tech as the best day of his life. That, plus the goals he has laid for himself, has left Michael Naughton a very proud father.

“I give him all the credit in the world. He’s a hard working young man and I think he has a goal in front of him and he sees what he wants but he knows how hard it is and he knows how hard he has to work to get it.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three games to watch for baseball

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 22, 2013 04:39 PM

Latin Academy at South Boston, 3:30 pm, Tuesday

It will be interesting to see how Latin Academy responds to their 10-3 loss against Westwood after winning their first four games with ease.

Latin Academy’s defense is noted as the strongest part of their young team so South Boston coach Victor Pereira will hope that the speed of his players will match the skill.

English at Latin Academy, 3:30 pm, Wednesday

English was thought of as one of the best programs coming into the season and so far they have not disappointed. In their last two games, they’re offense has scored a combined 25 runs.

However, North division opponent Latin Academy should prove to be a good test for English in the early part of this season.

East Boston at Boston International, 3:30 pm, Thursday

Here’s a stat: Boston International hasn’t failed to score double-digit runs once this season.

It’s going to be a hard game for an East Boston team that has yet to score more than 7 runs and whose only win has come against O’Bryant.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Rescheduled baseball and softball games

Posted by Justin Rice April 22, 2013 10:26 AM

The following baseball and softball games have been rescheduled:

-West Roxbury vs. Boston International varsity softball was rescheduled from April 12 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Hemenway field.

-Snowden and New Mission varsity baseball was rescheduled from April 1 to 3:30 p.m. at Ross Field on Thursday.

-Brighton vs Boston English varsity baseball was rescheduled from April 12 to next Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Rogers Park. The JV teams will play at 3:30 p.m. next Monday at McKinney Field.

-Madison Park vs. West Roxbury was moved from April 12 to May 13 at Jefferson Field. Both JV and varsity games start at 3 p.m.

Three games to watch in softball this week

Posted by Justin Rice April 22, 2013 10:21 AM

Snowden at Dorchester, 3:30 p.m. Monday

In their first game after spring break, both Snowden and Dorchester will try to not only try to shake off the rust on Monday afternoon but also try to get back to business as usual after last week’s Boston Marathon bombing.

Dorchester is 1-1 with a win against Madison Park and a one-run loss to New Mission. Snowden beat Fenway before ending its game against Madison Park in a 13-13 tie.

Fenway at Madison Park, 4 p.m. Wednesday

Madison Park is still searching for its first win of the season and a game against 0-3 Fenway could be just what the Cardinals need to get going.

Madison Park’s last outing was a 26-14 loss to Burke and they have also lost to Dorchester. Fenway has given up more than 20 runs twice in losses to Snowden, Burke and O’Bryant this year.

O’Bryant at New Mission, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Testing itself against the gold standard in the Boston City League, Latin Academy, on April 8, New Mission’s revamped softball squad fell 11-1. Now the Titans will be looking to get back on track against another city league softball power, O’Bryant, on Wednesday.

But O’Bryant is also coming off a 6-2 loss against Latin Academy and will be trying to end a two-game slide against the Titans on Wednesday.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Marathon through BSA's Cappellano's eyes

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 16, 2013 02:54 PM

Joseph Cappellano was just a couple hundred yards from the finish line of the Boston Marathon when he was told he couldn’t go any further by police and marathon officials.

“It was just utter confusion,” said the Boston Scholar Athlete senior zone facilitator. “You’re pretty exhausted at that point and when a bunch of cops just kind of jump out and stop you, it’s literally total confusion about how they could possibly stop somebody that’s been running 26 miles.”

Cappellano had been training for the marathon for five months to raise money for his public school students from around the city.

He stood on Commonwealth Avenue, waiting in the growing crowd of marathon runners trying to make sense of what was happening as marathon and police officials tried to get the crowd to remain calm and patient.

Not exactly the easiest thing for hundreds of dehydrated runners being backed up after they had been running miles without hesitation for hours.

“A lot of people were struggling because at the finish line there’s medical tents, there’s water, there’s blankets and things so people were basically stopped without anything,” Cappellano said.

Many of the runners also didn’t run with their cell phones so they couldn’t reach their families. Cappellano’s father, who waited anxiously at the finish line, was one of those relatives.

“As we were running, we heard a couple loud booms but we were on Commonwealth [Avenue] right before you take the right on to Boylston [Street] so we couldn’t really see anything until we saw the smoke above the buildings,” he said.

That’s when the zone facilitator began to see police officials sprint towards the incident with their only concern being the safety of civilians, just like Cappellano had ran for the well being of his students.

“The race day, that’s kind of like the celebration. That’s the fun part so it’s not necessarily what your completely doing it for, it’s about the organization you’re running for,” Cappellano said. “It’s my students who I’m raising money for and the program that I love, work in and that I believe in.”

Some of Cappellano’s O’Bryant students volunteered at the race, handing out water at mile 23 in support of their zone facilitator. Some even ran with him for a mile.

“I said, ‘guys you should probably get back with your group,’ and they turned around a couple miles before the [finish]. Thank God,” Cappellano said.

Liz Collins, a project manager for people and culture at Suffolk Construction Company, which funds the BSA, was also running on Monday. She was about a mile from the finish when she was diverted off the course.

“The thing that made me so scared was that was his time, that was when Joe was supposed to cross the finish line,” Collins said. “That’s what was so crazy.”

As the crowd at Commonwealth Avenue continued to back up, Cappellano and the rest of the runners were walked to the marathon buses at Berkley Street to get their phones and contact their relatives.

“[My father] saw tons of police and civilians running in to help others and I think it’s just a tribute to the spirit of the day,” Cappellano said. “The city and the state come out to support these runners and support these causes and it’s not about you , it’s not about one person, it’s really just a selfless, selfless day and I think that showed true in the wake of tragedy.”

Cappellano’s father and friends were all unharmed by the explosions at the finish line. Just like all of the runners, the BSA will still receive all of the money that he raised through the race.

The runner estimated that by the end of the month deadline for marathon fundraising, he would have individually raised $6,000 for the BSA. Currently the program has raised $23,295.

“It’s fantastic that the charities will still be able to collect the money that’s been worked hard for these past five months,” Cappellano said.

While it wasn’t his first Boston Marathon, Cappellano planned on this race being his last. But despite what happened yesterday, he has a feeling he won’t be able to be kept away from his goal – crossing the finish line.

“We’re not going to let fear stop us from this great tradition and this great wonderful day that will be such a big part of Boston’s history,” Cappellano said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

North End softball tournament postponed

Posted by Justin Rice April 16, 2013 01:07 PM

Because of the Boston Marathon bombing, Tuesday's four-team softball tournament in the North End has been postponed and rescheduled for Thursday at Woburn's Liberty Park.

Boston Latin Academy will play Winthrop at 10 a.m. and O'Bryant (Boston) will play Woburn at noon.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Marathoners raising money for BPS causes are safe but shaken

Posted by Justin Rice April 16, 2013 12:34 PM

Running the Boston Marathon separately Monday morning, Elizabeth Collins and Angeli Kadade were stopped about a mile away from the finish line’s carnage.

Collins, a Boston resident who was raising money for the Boston Scholar Athletes program for the second straight year, was able to navigate the chaos and make her way to family relatively easily, But Kadade, who was in town from New York City to run for the Dream Big! foundation, was totally lost in the aftermath.

“I’m not familiar with Boston at all," said Kadade. "I was asking other people where the Westin is. I was in panic mode to get there."

Kadade didn’t meet up with family at the hotel until after 8:30 p.m. -- and after strangers let her wash up at their room in the Sheraton.

“I think after running 26 miles you're already so drained, then it was pure adrenaline," she said. "We were upset we weren’t able to finish, then we were cold and our body heat dropped. Then once we found out what happened, everyone considered family and friends were like, ‘Get me out of here.' ''

Initially, Collins was just as disappointed as Kadade that she wasn’t able to finish. After getting news of the bombing that killed three and injured scores, Collins was just as panicked (and freezing) as Kadade.

But being a Bostonian made meeting up with family much easier for Collins.

“My family came to find me and I went to Mass Ave. to walk down the river to Beacon Hill to get away,” Collins said. “It was like a total free-for-all.”

While the experiences of these two strangers are on the opposite ends of a spectrum in one sense, it no doubt was a shared experience for two women running for causes that benefit Boston Public School students by promoting physical activity.

The Boston Scholar Athletes program and Dream Big! were two of several nonprofits entirely or partially dedicated to BPS students that raised money through the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and John Hancock's Marathon Non-Profit Program.

Several other charities that benefited BPS students that were contacted Tuesday morning reported that their runners were unharmed. They include MetroLacrosse, Playworks, Tenacity, and America SCORES Boston.

Together, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program are expected to raise $18 million this year.

So far, BSA has raised $23,295 and counting, while Dream Big! surpassed its $80,000 goal Monday and Tenacity netted more than $100,000. The Special Olympics has raised $31,658 and Healthworks raised $40,000. MetroLacrosse has raised $19,298, with more to come, America SCORES Boston logged $26,248 and counting, while Playworks has raised $80,000.

“It's a hard day for everyone," said Playworks executive director Max Fripp via email,
"but at the core, I wonder if the values we teach 15,000 Boston elementary school students through daily recess and play might lead to shifts in how people feel about themselves and the communities where we live and work.”

Fripp noted that his organization recently completed a two-year random control trial with Mathematica with two important findings: 1. Playworks schools have less bullying and aggressive behavior; 2. Their students feel more safe and connected.

Other local nonprofits that benefit some BPS students such as AccessSports America canceled events scheduled for Tuesday evening because of the bombing.

Both BSA and the Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester were prepared to help students at their Spring Break camps process the traumatic situation.

“In general, I am asking staff to avoid having conversations in front of the children about the events that unfolded yesterday and not to have the lobby television on news stations that will constantly loop the footage,” said Sportsmen’s executive director Toni Wiley in an email to members. “However, children are likely to bring this up in conversation, so we should be as prepared as possible to handle it."

Kadade wasn’t so sure about sliver linings as she prepared to return to New York Tuesday.

“I'm not sure there is a silver lining except that my family is safe,” she said via email. “But there are many families that are not, and that are in hospitals. I keep thinking about my race and where I slowed down. If I was two minutes faster, my story could have been different.

“Running for charity and hearing, ‘Dream big, Angeli,’ throughout the race is why charity runners run. The medal is mine and I didn't get that yesterday but yes, I'm still helping hundreds of girls in the Boston area. And nobody can take that away.”

Collins was back at her desk at Suffolk Construction’s Roxbury headquarters Tuesday morning.

“I just couldn’t watch the TV any longer,” she said in a telephone interview. “I needed to be around people. I’m still a little sore but a little better than last year, which is good.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Lara is first Bostonian to win BAA Invitational race at Boston Marathon finishline

Posted by Justin Rice April 14, 2013 12:30 PM

Lara607.jpg

John Lara of the Hernandez School in Roxbury became the first Bostonian to win an event in the Boston Athletic Association’s scholastic invitational races at the Boston Marathon finish line on Sunday morning. He blew away the field with a time of 2 minutes 54.7 seconds. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

Hoisting a silver trophy above his head on the podium at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Sunday morning, John Lara had the crowd eating out of his palm.

After Lara became the first Bostonian to win an event in the Boston Athletic Association’s scholastic invitational races, the public address announcer joked that the eighth grader at the Hernandez School in Roxbury might even take his job one day.

But during the post-race press conference, Lara — who blew away the middle school 1000-meter boys' field with a time of 2 minutes 54.7 seconds — could barely string two words together as he doubled over breathlessly.

“It was a pretty long race … when you do your first loop … I practiced hard to work my stamina up and to do better this year,” was all he could muster when asked how finishing second last year helped him win this year.

His teammate, Jovan Talavera (3:05.1) finished second and could say even less: “I go to the same school as [Lara].”

Their cross country coach, Michael Baugh, explained that they aren’t tight lipped. He said they just left everything on the course.

“John took it out,” Baugh said. “He’s very much the class of the field and he runs all out, it doesn’t matter if he’s last or first, he’s done that since fourth grade. So when he’s [doubled over] like that it’s just because he has nothing left. And the kid who came in second he’s the same way. He’s my kid too. He does the same thing. They are both competitors.”

The race — which loops around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line — began with high school mile events in 2009. The middle school races were added in 2010.

The race features two athletes from each city or town along the Boston Marathon course.

Lara finally got his breath back when he came down from the podium. Especially when he was informed that he was the first Bostonian to win at the event. (To date, no student from Boston has won the high school events).

“Oh really,” he said. “[I feel] honored actually, to win it for my city, I’m honored. I gotta represent Boston, I’m from here.”

Latin Academy eight grader Catherine Van Even finished the girls’ middle school race in eighth place with a time of 3:45.7.

“In the second lap I got tired as we kept going,” Van Even said. “I think I started too fast. I think it will help me push harder and try harder in other races.”

Sarah Kiamie of Boston Latin finished with a time of 3:52.2 for a 12th place finish.

“It went a lot faster than I thought it would,” Kiamie said. “I haven’t been feeling really well lately. I didn’t do as well as I hoped I would. It was a great experience and I wish I could do it again but I’m in eighth grade. Maybe next year I can do the mile.”
Boston Latin sophomore Alannah O’Brien did the mile for the first time this year. She finished 11th with a time of 6:04.7.

“It was really fun because there’s a lots of people cheering and it was just a great atmosphere,” she said.

For the second straight year Boston Latin senior Michael ward ran the high school invitational mile. Last year he finished in fourth and this year he was disappointed with his eighth-place finish and time of 4:45.

“It’s a really awesome event,” he said. “I took it out pretty hard and then didn’t really hold it very well. I fell back a lot. I wasn’t really happy with how I ran it but it’s a great event. You can’t complain; it’s awesome.”

Ward, who qualified for indoor and outdoor states meets the last three years for the 1000 meters and mile, said he still had a bit of a hangover from running the 1000 meters at the indoor national meet last month.

“Last year I got fourth [here] and it really helped a lot,” he said. “I beat a lot of guys I hadn’t beaten before. This was kind of a switch. I ended up in the back and I wasn’t really happy about it. My season only started a few weeks ago. I haven’t really gotten back much so I think if I keep up the work I’m doing by the end of the season I’ll be in good shape.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Murphy wins its first boys' middle school basketball city championship

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 12, 2013 07:26 PM

MSboys607.jpg

After helping the Murphy school win its first middle school city championship on Friday, Jordan Galloway was named MVP. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

Murphy weathered a second-half storm by Curley Friday afternoon to win the school’s first boys' middle school basketball city championship with a 42-39 victory.

“That’s how they played all year,” coach David Rennie. “We’re not the biggest team, but their compete level is off the charts, we have some good skilled guards, and our big men played great today. But we won as a team.”

One of those skilled guards was eighth grader Jordan Galloway, who showed he could close games even at his young age.

After Curley came back from a 16-point deficit thanks to 14 second-half points by Dominic Jones, Galloway was fouled intentionally and sent to the line with just a 3-point cushion. He hit three out of four free throws without hesitation, sealing the win for Murphy as he ended his middle school career.

“We did it as a team, we did it together," said Galloway. "We played well the last three games and made it here and we took it home."

Jones led the way for Curley, scoring 18 points overall. He and Alex Delarosa had all but two baskets for Curley in the second half.

“It hurts now, but I am so proud in every possible way," said Curley coach Draylin Beaudrault. "We are a complete team and we’re proud of everyone who tried their best. They love each other and they play for each other.”

Galloway led Murphy scorers with 18 points and got help from backcourt mate Dajour Dunkley, who had 12.

“I just wanted to win,” Galloway said. “I just wanted to help my team win and it was just in my head the whole game.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Undefeated Edwards brings home girls' basketball middle school championship

Posted by Justin Rice April 12, 2013 05:53 PM

MSgirls607.jpg

Edwards School guard Alexis Jordan rises for a jump shot against the Curley School in the Boston Middle School Basketball championship game on Friday. The Edwards school won the championship by completing an undefeated season. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

The Edwards Middle School girls’ basketball team overcame a poor opening half Friday afternoon at the Shelburne Community Center to cap an undefeated season with a city championship.

“It feels good -- hard work pays off,” said seventh grade forward Asya Sullivan, who was named MVP after a 29-22 victory over the Curley School.

But after falling behind, 12-9, at the break, Edwards didn’t seem to be on the way to a 12-0 season.

Sullivan, who tied for a team-high 9 points (along with eighth grade guard Aneytra Williams), said the girls remained positive at halftime and had to “just play our defense how we play in practice.”

Much of that defense was provided by sixth-grade guard Dasiah Thorton (12 steals and 7 rebounds).

“We just played hard and played defense,” said Edwards coach Laurence Ollivierre. “That’s our theme: scholarship, teamwork, intensity, and confidence. That’s what we’re all about. We believe in working hard. ”

Curley (8-4) was led by eighth-grade guard Iriani Casimil, who scored most of her game-high 15 points on baseball passes heaved in transition despite injuring her groin in the semifinals Thursday.

“I knew eventually they would run out of gas, so I just wanted to keep playing our game,” Ollivierre said of Curley’s transition game. “I made a few adjustments [at halftime] and told them to stay with [Casimil].”

Curley coach Geju Brown said his team was hurt by foul trouble down the stretch. He also noted that after knocking off the No. 1 seed on his side of the bracket (the Edison School) in Thursday’s semifinals, beating another undefeated team was going to be a tall order.

“They came a long way,” he said. “You can’t run up against the No. 1 seed twice. We were hoping to get some luck and have someone else beat them on the other side of the bracket. I’m really proud of them. They played their hearts out.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Middle school and high school runners set for BAA invitationals

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 12, 2013 04:54 PM

While the elite runners and professionals are looking forward to Marathon Monday, middle school and high school track athletes have Sunday’s Boston Athletic Association Scholastic Invitational Mile.

“It’s an honor,” said O’Bryant track coach Jose Ortega. “It’s an opportunity to run on the biggest stage of cross-country or marathons in the world.”

While the high school students will run a 1-mile race, the middle school race will be just 1 kilometer.

Both races, which loop around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line, will feature student-athletes from all around the state.

Catherine Van Even of Latin Academy will participate after winning the mile in this winter’s indoor city championship.

“It will be exiting because I’ve never done something like that before,” the eighth grader said.

According to Latin Academy coach Brian Luessler, excitement as well as anxiety are common feelings for an eighth grader running in a race of this magnitude.

“She asked me if I was going to be there and I said, ‘If I go, I won’t be able to get anywhere close to you, I’ll be so far in the back,' '' said Luessler. "They're going to let a parent in with you, there'll be youth stands set up."

It should also excite the students that a professional race will be held right after the youth races. Nick Willis, a silver medalist in the 1,500 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, highlights the men's field, and 2010 World Indoor Championships 1,500-meter gold medalist Kalkidan Gezahegne leads the women.

John Lara and Jovan Talavera of the Rafael Hernandez K-8 school will run in the middle school race for the second straight year. Lara came in second last year. And just like last year, coach Michael Baugh, who also coaches track for English, will be there to support him.

“It’s just fun to watch because they do it from middle school all the way [to] the pros,” Baugh said. “It’s really, really fun to watch.”

The first middle school race begins at 9:30 am.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Rescheduled Friday games

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 12, 2013 03:19 PM


All of Friday’s baseball and softball games, and tennis matches have been postponed because of poor weather.

The Fenway vs. Burke baseball game has already been rescheduled to May 7 at 3:30 p.m.

There have also been time changes for the North End Tour for softball April 16 and 18.

April 16 will feature Winthrop vs. Latin Academy at Langone Field at 10 a.m. and Woburn vs. O’Bryant at the same field at noon.

Latin Academy and O’Bryant will play at the same time and place April 18, with their opponents TBA.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Runners from near and far raise money for BPS students at Boston Marathon

Posted by Justin Rice April 12, 2013 02:38 PM

Ever since running her first 26-miler, the 2008 New York City Marathon, for a local charity called Team for Kids, Angeli Kakade has run for nonprofits in the Chicago, Berlin, and London races' charitable programs.

The latest charity to benefit from Kakade’s generosity and endurance will be Boston-based Dream Big! in Monday’s 117th Boston Marathon.

Angeli Kakade275.png

“I tend to focus on health- or youth-related [charities],” the New York City resident said during a telephone interview when asked why she chose Dream Big!, which was founded in 2010 to help low-income and homeless girls participate in sports.

"Dream Big! is a new organization. I liked the fact that they were new. I think anything new tends to have lower overhead and tends to just be more ambitious. Not that older charities don’t have that same passion, but when you are just starting a charity, you are doing new things. I wanted to be part of something growing, not something that existed, and I thought that was pretty cool.”

Dream Big! is one of several nonprofits either entirely or partially dedicated to Boston Public School students that are raising money through the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and John Hancock's Marathon Non-Profit Program.

Some of the other nonprofits that are helping BPS students improve their physical fitness are: High School Marathon, MetroLacrosse, the Ron Burton Training Village, Girls on the Run Boston, GoKids Boston, Healthworks Community Fitness, the Special Olympics Massachusetts, Camp Shriver at UMass-Boston, Playworks, Tenacity, America SCORES Boston, and the Boston Scholar Athletes program.

Together, the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program and the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program — which provide guaranteed entries into the race for runners fund-raising for designated charities — are expected to raise $18 million this year.

Kakade, who is one of 15 runners raising money for Dream Big!, said her goal is to raise $4,000. She is currently at $3,500, according to the Dream Big! website.

Overall, Kakade has raised nearly $30,000 combined for Team for Kids (New York City Marathon), Rock for Reading (Chicago Marathon), The Succeed Foundation (London Marathon), the Heart Foundation (Berlin Marathon), and now Dream Big! in Boston.

She plans to run the Tokyo Marathon next February but hasn’t picked a charity to run for yet.

Running for local charities, she said, is her way of being a “mini citizen” of her host city for the day.

“If I’m running through their city and their streets," she said, "it makes me feel a more connected.”

And she said the folks at Dream Big! have pushed her toward her goal of finishing the Boston Marathon under 4 hours, 10 minutes on Monday.

“Dream Big! sent us an email every week telling us what they were doing and just keeping us up to date on things,” Kakade said. “That makes me feel good. Things like that makes me feel like ‘That’s what my extra mile is for this week, that is why I’m getting up to run 18 miles in the middle of a snowstorm.”


To donate money to the Dream Big! team running the Boston Marathon, click here.


To see the list of charities included in the Boston Marathon Official Charity Program, click here.

To see the list of charities included in the John Hancock Marathon Non-Profit Program, click here.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


South Boston track team heats up in cold weather

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 11, 2013 09:54 PM

SB_track607.jpeg

Queyshawn Owens won his first race after not participating in track for over a year to focus on his grades (Billy Owens/ Boston Globe)



When coach Jim de Mello talks about memorable moments from his last outdoor track season, seeing sophomore Queyshawn Owens win the 1 mile on his first ever attempt will surely be a hot topic.

“He really didn’t know what to expect. He has been training in distance a little bit but it was his first mile so I told him stay in the pack and stay within reach and see what you have in the last lap,” said de Mello, the South Boston coach of 25 years. “He beat everybody out in the last half lap and he hung on to his form.”

South Boston fared very well overall in its dual meet against East Boston on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon. It won nine events to beat English by a score of 70-17 in the boys' events and 55-8 in the girls' events.

“Our team’s performance in the spring is very good because the kids are very exited about the new season,” de Mello said.

Owens, who took a hiatus from the track his freshman year to focus on academics after starting track in eighth grade, was also a member of the first-place 4 x 100 meter relay team in addition to coming in first in the mile.

“My heart was pumping and I felt a little nervous but after I started running I was good,” Owens said.

The sophomore, who also plays basketball, added that while he didn’t participate in any sports during his freshman year, he knew that one day he would return to track.

“I was keeping up my grades so I just didn’t do anything. I just hadn’t did it in a while and I missed it, so I came back,” Owens said.

The young athlete fought through adversity and now is back in the sport he loves.

Another South Boston runner who knows about adversity is Merika Thompson. She encountered some of it in the 400 meters.

After the first 200 meters, Thompson saw that another runner had cut into her lane, and she expended air and energy by shouting at her to move.

“Once she heard me, she looked back and she moved and after that I was able to run as hard as I could with the little breath that I had left, all the way to the finish line,” Thompson said.

Thompson beat everyone in the pack besides Latin Academy’s Ashley Lewis, who won the race by more than seven seconds.

“When I got to the last 100 I was just able to give it everything until the finish so I was really happy,” Thompson said.

Her coach noted that Thompson is often very nervous when going into competitions because of the high goals she sets for herself.

“She was determined. Somebody was in her way and she knew it so she said, ‘Well, I’m going to go around her and just do the best I can with it,' ” de Mello said. “That just tells you she’s mentally tough and she’s not going to quit easily.”

The mental toughness of the team showed on a day when sunshine was rare and leg cramps were common.

“If the weather’s cold like this, we still go out and train, so the kids are kind of used to that kind of weather and it’s a challenge for them,” de Mello said. “I got three layers on and I’m cold so it’s a difficult situation for the young athletes and I take great pride in getting them prepared for this kind of weather.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

BAA Invitational Mile runners list

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 11, 2013 02:56 PM

The following middle school and high school students will be participating in the Boston Athletic Association Invitational Mile at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. The races, which loops around Boylston and Newbury Streets before finishing on the Boston Marathon’s finish line, features middle and high school students from every city and town along the Boston Marathon course:

Middle school female runners

Hopkinton: Molly Hawkins
Hopkinton: Taylor Velazquez
Ashland: Alison Flaherty
Ashland: Sydney Jablonowski
Framingham: Saisha Small-Brown
Framingham: Leche Small-Brown
Natick: Mila Barrera
Natick: Madison Howland
Wellesley: Emily Meara
Wellesley: Jasmine Tiamfook
Newton: Shannon Laughlin
Newton: Clare Martin
Brookline: Isabel Cole
Brookline: Gabrielle Vandendries
Boston: Sarah Kiamie
Boston: Catherine Van Even

Middle school male runners

Hopkinton: Jeremy Hazzard
Hopkinton: Cael MacEachern
Ashland: Maxwell Freeman
Ashland: Marcus Illingworth
Framingham: David Covarrubias
Framingham: Justin Su
Natick: James McQuillen
Natick: Owen Chase
Wellesley: Ben Matejka
Wellesley: Jamie Mazzola
Newton: Gal Fudim
Newton: Yuval Levy
Brookline: Alec Grant
Brookline: Sam Pollak
Boston: John Lara
Boston: Jovan Talavera

High school female runners:

Hopkinton: Melissa Lodge
Hopkinton: Mary-Paule Monks
Ashland: Genevieve Heaps
Ashland: Carly Muscaro
Framingham: Anna Gowan
Framingham: Halie Olson
Natick: Sarah Lagan
Natick: Erin Murphy
Wellesley: Tessa Broholm
Wellesley: Eileen Monagle
Newton: Emily Caggiano
Newton: Maeve Greeley
Brookline: Hannah Friedman-Bell
Brookline: Naomi Gordon
Boston: Aislinn Donovan
Boston: Alannah O’Brien

High school male runners

Hopkinton: Tim Bolick
Hopkinton: Corey Branch
Ashland: Colin Mahoney
Ashland: Ryan Milewski
Framingham: Brian Gilligan
Framingham: Matt Gramigna
Natick: Jack O’Connor
Natick: Steven Gustus
Wellesley: Joseph Mears
Wellesley: Danny Palladino
Newton: Allen Shiu
Newton: Gabe Montague
Brookline: Aaron Klein
Brookline: Jesse Fajnzylber
Boston: Bernard Xhullima
Boston: Michael Ward

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Boston City League all-stars to be honored at Celtics' playoff game

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 11, 2013 02:19 PM

The winners of the Boston City League All-Star game are headed back to the TD Garden to be honored at half court of a Celtics' game.

However, this time it’s not a regular season game but the second Celtics home game of the playoffs.

The All-Stars were supposed to be honored at the April 7 Celtics-Wizards game but weren't as a result of a miscommunication due to staff turnover within the Celtics organization.

“We will definitely make it work this time,” Boston Scholar Athletes executive director Rebekah Splaine said. “We understand that things happen and that’s fine and I think the most important thing moving forward is just so that we can rectify it and bring the kids back and support them and honor them.”

Since then, Matt Meyersohn, Celtics director of community relation, has been working close with the BSA to bring the All-Stars back.

“It does show that they honor their word and they are committed to making sure that our young people get honored and get acknowledged for their hard work and effort,” said Brighton coach Hugh Coleman, who coached the South All-Stars to a victory.

The second home game of the Celtics playoff run will be Game 4 of their first-round series. The way the standings are currently, it would potentially be a Celtics-Knicks first-round matchup.

The city All-Stars will be honored either in pregame or halftime of that game.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Suffolk Construction and BSA employees ready to run Boston Marathon

Posted by Justin Rice April 11, 2013 01:07 PM

ShanellMosley_607.png

Shanell Mosley trained for her first even Boston Marathon this winter to raise money for the Boston Scholar Athletes program. (Photo courtesy of Shanell Mosley)

Even if Dorchester High’s athletic teams didn’t do as amazing as they have so far this year, Shanell Mosley would still have had plenty of motivation to run her first ever marathon during Monday’s 117th Boston Marathon.

“I think whether we were good or not I think my biggest incentive to run is my students,” Mosley, who is the Zone facilitator at Dorchester Academy, said of the Bears' football team going undefeated before losing in the Super Bowl and the boys' basketball team making the city tournament for the first time in decades. “They face daily challenges whether it’s in school or home or in the community. They are often told they can’t do stuff.

"My biggest thing is to run this race for them and prove to them that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it and really work hard. My kids are like ‘Are you really running 26.2 miles for us?’ We even have a countdown [board] in the school.”

Mosley is running and raising money for the Boston Scholar Athletes team that for the second straight year was granted bibs to run the marathon through John Hancock's Marathon Non-Profit Program.

Suffolk Construction employee Kim Norris is also running for the BSA team for the first time this year while Liz Collins and Joseph Cappellano are both returning to the team for the second year.

The senior Zone facilitator at the O’Bryant school, Cappellano said last year was his first-ever marathon and the 80-degree conditions slowed him down. He finished in 4 hours and 40 minutes.

“The heat definitely took a lot out of me last year,” he said. “This year I’m hoping to take an hour off that. I definitely trained different last year. I ran more days of the week and I did a lot more long runs and I felt more broken down by the end.

“This year I did more biking and I’m a hockey player so I did a lot more skating and less running. And I actually feel like I’m in a lot better shape now. I only did two or three of the longer runs leading up to it but I still hit all the marks that I needed to.”

Cappellano said so far he’s raised almost $4,500 of his $6,000 goal. He has until mid-May to raise the money before he has to pay it out of his pocket, which is why he is holding a post-marathon fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 24 at Lincoln restaurant in South Boston.

“It’s going to celebrate actually doing the marathon as opposed to celebrating that you’re about to do the marathon,” he said. “It’s free to enter. We’ll have a 50/50 raffle and other raffle prizes.”

As for Mosley’s fundraising goal, she said she’s about 95 percent of the way there. She also said the team on the whole has already eclipsed their $20,000 goal earlier this week.

She said the money will help pay for the BSA’s Summer Fit program, which provides students with strength and conditioning opportunities during summer vacation at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Dorchester. They also have a similar program for Spring Break next week.

The 25-year-old helped raise her portion of the funds by challenging each homeroom in her school to raise at least $26. She promised to treat the winners to a breakfast buffet.

“Incidentally my homeroom won, the BSA Bear Zone,” she said. “They get the breakfast buffet this Friday because they raised $70. The runner up raised $48.”

Mosley, who hopes to finish the marathon in five hours, said she expects to see many of those same students at the BSA-sponsored water station on Monday, which will be located at Mile 23 at Corey Road and Beacon Street in Brookline.

“Honestly I’m looking forward to Mile 23,” she said. “That’s where my students are going to be and I hear that’s one of the most difficult parts of the course; you’re almost done but not quite. That will be such a powerful moment for me because that’s the group of people I’m doing this for. This is major for them.

“I feel like once I see them I’ll be able to finish strong. There is even talk of some of my kids trying to jump in and run with me at the end.”

To donate to the BSA's Boston Marathon team click here.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Marathon legends pay visit to BPS students

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 10, 2013 06:29 PM

Wesley607.jpg

Defending Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir awards Latin Academy freshman Imani Pressley the trophy for helping her team win the "Friendship Sprint" at the Scholars & Stars Boston Marathon event at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center on Wednesday. (Stan Litchman / For the Boston Globe)

Wesley Korir is used to moving at a fast pace, whether it was when he won his first marathon in Chicago or when he won the Boston Marathon in 2012.

On Wednesday afternoon, he was forced to move at a fast pace again -- but not because he was in the middle of a race. He was racing the clock to make sure he was on time to the John Hancock Scholars & Stars Boston Marathon event at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

Korir was the main speaker for the 400 Boston public school track athletes at the event, but was in jeopardy of being absent as a result of a delayed flight (it was a day and a half late). His plane landed around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, allowing for him to impart some running wisdom on the student-athletes.

“I’ve never seen somebody run looking backwards. If you [see] somebody run looking backwards, he’s not a good runner,” Korir said. “As a runner, I’ve never seen somebody run looking down. If you [see] somebody running while looking down, he’s not a good runner. For you to become a good runner, you need to focus and run for the prize ahead of you.”

The attentive students listened on as Korir told his story of how he went from a child running five miles barefoot to class in Kenya, to a senator in the same country and a marathon champion.

“Him just coming here and then trying to make it on time just to see us, that’s a really great gift from him,” said O’Bryant senior Patrick Powell, who was a member of O’Bryant’s 1600-meter sprint medley team that won first place in the event’s first ever "Friendship Sprint" medley relay.

Winning in front of the elite athletes made the entire experience worthwhile for Powell.

Korir was joined by other marathon greats Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of the Boston Marathon, and Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon.

“To link with Scholars and Stars, I love this idea,” Rodgers said. “It’s kind of like what running is permanently all about. It’s really about friendship and the friends you make in school and in sports.”

Meyer, who often volunteers as a high school track coach in his offseason, also took the duties of leading a stretching and core strengthening workout for all of the students at the event.

“There’s a lot of talent in these kids, not just in running but in life,” Meyer said. “You never know when something’s going to click with a kid and they’re good kids, they’re fun.”

Meyer was joined in leading the stretches with another member of the O’Bryant relay team, sophomore Brian Donna who hopes to run in the Olympics some day.

“You’re learning from the masters, they’ve been through everything you’ve been through,” Donna said. “You got to lead by example, there’s leaders and followers.”

By that mentality, the student’s couldn’t have had better athletes to listen to.

“You have the opportunity to change this country the way you want,” Korir said. “So take the opportunity, keep it in your hand and run with it and become who you want to become.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

O'Bryant boys, Latin Academy girls win first ever 'Friendship Sprint'

Posted by Justin Rice April 10, 2013 06:13 PM


OB_relay607.jpg

O'Bryant's Patrick Powell, right, ran the first leg of the "Friendship Sprint" medley relay race during the Scholars & Stars Boston Marathon event at the Reggie Lewis Center on Wednesday. O'Bryant won the race with a time of 3 minutes 57.1 seconds. (Stan Litchman / For the Boston Globe)

Shortly before defending Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya took the lectern at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center on Wednesday afternoon, the O’Bryant boys and the Latin Academy girls won the first ever “Friendship Sprint” medley relay race in the third-annual Scholars & Stars Boston Marathon event.

The races also came after the last American men’s winner at Boston, Greg Meyer, and four-time Boston champ, Bill Rodgers, led the 12 Boston public school track teams through drills.

Fernando Cabada, who finished seventh at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, also attended the event, which was sponsored by John Hancock Financial and the Boston Scholar Athletes program.

“It’s really great to be around people who have achieved the success that I hope to achieve when I get older, just as I continue doing the sport,” Latin Academy freshman Ashley Lewis said after helping the Dragons win the girls’ race with a time of 4 minutes 35.8 seconds.

“It’s just an honor to be here today.”

Three other freshman (Imani Pressley, Britney Firmin and Leigha Mills) also ran for Latin Academy’s winning relay on Wednesday.

“The sprint medley was really fun,” Presley said. “It was like an adrenalin rush; I don’t think I’ve ever run that fast.”

Latin Academy coach Brian Leussler said Firmin gave them an edge in the race.

“I thought the team with the strongest 800 meters was going to win this race because they have half the race, and I knew Britney, our lead leg who did the 800, was super strong at the 600 and 1000 indoor and she’s really good at the 400 and 800 outdoor,” he said. “The combination of them is just fantastic. All of them have gone to the state meet before … and they are all in ninth grade, which is amazing.

“I’m lucky to have them.”

O’Bryant (Patrick Powell, Mehki Williams, Brian Donna and Duncan Malone) won the boys’ race in 3:57.1.

“Hopefully this will be the relay for the state relays that’s coming up soon and I just wanted to see how well they run and what we need to do to polish it off,” O’Bryant coach Jose Ortega said. “Hopefully this will be a competitive team.

“I know they can run, it’s just a matter of where we need to be. We have to tweak a little, especially that 200 exchange. That’s going to happen at the state level and if we’re not ahead or separated from the rest of the pack that is where we will get in trouble.”

Powell, who ran the first leg of the relay on Wednesday, also said he was honored to be in the presence of such great marathoners.

“It means a lot because all of these people have done great in track and field and I’ve always looked up to them for all the work and perseverance they’ve done to get to that height,” he said, “and I want to get to that same height too.”

Globe Correspondent Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed to this report.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Paris Thomas named April Scholar Athlete of the Month

Posted by Justin Rice April 10, 2013 12:48 PM

Paris Thomas607.jpg

Madison Park junior cheerleader and softball player Paris Thomas was named April's Scholar Athlete of the Month.(Courtesy photo)

It’s not common for a high school student to list one of their peers as their role model and it’s even more uncommon for a high school student to list two of their peers as a role models.

But when Madison Park BSA Zone Facilitator Breanna Akama nominated Paris Thomas for the April Scholar-Athlete of the Month award, she asked the junior cheerleader and softball player who her favorite athlete was.

Thomas’s answer: Madison Park junior twins Krystal and Amber Edwards.

“Krystal and Amber are very inspirational, they play three different sports and they keep their grades up and are honor roll,” Thomas said after being named April’s Scholar Athlete of the Month earlier this week. “They encourage me to stay up that late [to finish my homework].”

Thomas — who improved her GPA from a 1.27 as a freshman to a 3.22 as a sophomore (where it currently hovers) — was also inspired when Krystal Edwards became the first ever Scholar Athlete of the Month from Madison Park this past February.

“If she can do it, if she’s my biggest role model, than I can do it,” Thomas said. “It meant a lot because it made me feel like I reached my goals, which was playing a sport and maintaining my grades to be good. For the first time to actually be awarded for something good, it felt good being awarded for something good.”

The twins also encouraged Thomas to come out for softball this season for the first time ever.

Akama said Thomas has also made her biggest improvements in the classroom over the past few months. Since November, she has logged 121.7 hours in the Zone.

“She is a student that has consistently been in the Zone almost every day since the beginning of the year,” Akama said. “She, despite some personal challenges going on at home, has really turned things around, especially the last few months.

“She’s a leader. She’s very outspoken but in a good way, not a bad way. She’s assertive. The students really look to her but also I was looking at her transition and her improvement from freshman year to last year. It’s been a marked improvement. And this year, her first season playing softball, she’s pitching so well.”

Akama, who is a first-year Zone facilitator, said winning the Scholar Athlete of the Month is empowering for any student.

“It makes them feel like what they are doing isn’t going unnoticed, the hard work they are putting in isn’t for nothing,” she said. “What they are doing is noteworthy and should be acknowledged.”

Thomas also excels at math and her goal is to attend a four-year university before going to medical school.

She wants to be a pediatrician.

“It feels amazing to know that I have that,” she said of the award, “because I plan to go to college.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

New Mission baseball speeds past Burke for program's 1st win

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 9, 2013 08:44 PM

Mission607.jpg

New Mission freshman Gabriel Sanchez slides into home during the Titans first win in program history, a 15-4 victory against Burke on Tuesday afternoon. (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe)

Fast legs proved to be just what New Mission needed to get its first win in program history on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon.

The Titans didn’t look back after a five-run second inning that included eight stolen bases. New Mission stole 27 bases in the 15-4 win over Burke.

“We always work on baserunning in practice and the kids have done a nice job with that and we didn’t know going in but as we took a look at what was going on, we capitalized on that,” coach Jason Luisi said. “The opposing pitcher wasn’t really holding them on as much so all the kids had the green light, just be smart about it.”

Freshman Chaquille Pena accounted for three of those five stolen bases in the second inning. He stole second, third, and home to give New Mission a 2-1 lead.

Junior outfielder Marvi Fransisco then reached on an error and stole second and third before first baseman Jose Maria brought him home on a single to center. Maria then stole second and third before he came home on an error.

It was the theme of the afternoon game; Titans getting on base and stealing their way to the plate. The bottom of the order also propelled the big second inning.

“We’re just trying to work hard and trying to be ready for the game every day,” outfielder Andy Gonzalez said. “I’m a junior here so I know more about the game, we have mostly freshman here so I tell them be ready for the game, always have their mindset ready for each play and every pitch.”

New Mission scored two more runs in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, and six in the fifth before the game was called in the sixth.

After they scored one run in the first, Burke got three runners home in the third inning against junior Ewing Diaz, who pitched the complete game.

“Ewing pitched very well today," Luisi said. "He threw strikes, that’s all we were looking for. We knew as long as we threw strikes, didn’t put extra runners on, we should be OK. We’re a good defensive team so we should be all right.”

Despite the score, Burke coach Paul Duhaime was proud of his team’s attitude.

“One thing I like about this team is that there’s no give up,” Duhaime said. “There’s no head down, there’s no situations like that. I’m blessed to have five solid seniors with solid leadership and that’s all I can ask for as a teacher, as a coach.”

For New Mission, it was a game that the players will be sure to remember for the rest of their life - the first win for the new program.

“It’s been great. The kids have been really practicing hard, playing hard in games, keeping up a great attitude so it’s been nice actually,” Luisi said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

South Boston's Cunningham returns to lineup

Posted by Justin Rice April 9, 2013 02:02 PM

Cunningham607_2.jpg

After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury while hitting a home run last season, Sydney Cunningham is back in the South Boston lineup this spring (Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe).

The loudest crack when hitting a home run is usually that of the bat. The most delightful play in softball also should be just that: delightful.

Not painful.

That wasn’t the case for Sydney Cunningham in the fourth game of the season last spring.

“It was against Brighton High, I hit a home run and my [left] shoulder had rotated back,” the South Boston senior recalled after the Knights' opening day loss to Latin Academy last week. “My rotator cuff got bruised so I couldn’t play. It still clicks now.

“I heard the crack of my rotator cuff grinding together and it was just horrendous, I was on the verge of crying.”

Cunningham, who spent all of last season rehabbing her shoulder and was unable to bring herself to attend South Boston’s game on the days she didn’t have physical therapy, couldn’t even watch the Knights' 24-12 loss to Brighton in the preliminary round of the Division 3 North state tournament last spring.

Now she couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in the lineup.

“It felt so good,” she said after the 16-0 loss to Latin Academy. “Being able to put the uniform back on is an amazing feeling. It’s my senior year, it’s my last year. I’m going to go all out for the chance and hopefully play when I enter college.”

First, Cunningham, who carries a 3.6 GPA, will enlist in the Air Force for two years, she said.

For now though, the righthander is learning how to play shortstop. Despite the fact that she was the team’s starting first baseman in her freshman and sophomore years and for the first four games of last year, Cunningham and her coach, Mary Linehan, felt she would feel more comfortable at short this year.

But the transition is an adjustment.

“It’s just because I was feeling pressure [at first base] and I have a really good throwing arm so it would be a lot more easier for me to play [short],” she said. “It’s crazy, I’m learning how to maneuver from first to shortstop. I was trained on first, so it’s more difficult being trained on a different position.

"There’s more pressure on first than there is on shortstop, but I feel a lot more free.”

Linehan said she’s hoping freshman Americle Ogarro will fill the void at first base.

“She’s a great first baseman but I’m hoping she will do well at shortstop,” Linehan said of Cunningham. “She has a strong arm. Hopefully we can train somebody else at first. We’ll see what happens. We’re a young team.”

Overall, Linehan is just happy to have Cunningham back in the lineup.

“She’s a very strong player in our lineup and I’m very excited to have her back this year,” Linehan said. “I hope she can keep her shoulder good so she stays the entire year. It’s very exciting. I coached her since she was a freshman. Last year we really missed her. The whole team missed her. It’s too bad too because we went to the playoffs last year.”

Linehan said more than her fielding and hitting ability, the team missed Cunningham’s leadership.

“Definitely her leadership and how she helps the freshman,” she said. “She’s always encouraging the freshmen: ‘You can do it, you can do it.’

“She’s a good kid.”

Cunningham’s goal is to make it back to the state tournament, which she played in as a freshman.

“It was a good feeling to be in states my freshman year on a varsity team,” Cunningham said. “It would take our heart and soul to get into states [this year]. It would mean everything to go to states my senior year.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Boston Marathon elite runners to help train Boston public school track teams

Posted by Justin Rice April 9, 2013 09:56 AM

tlumacki_boston-marathon-finish_sportsB-001.jpg

Defending Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya will headline this years Scholars & Stars event at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center on Wednesday. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)

Defending Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir of Kenya will headline a track clinic for Boston public high school track teams on Wednesday afternoon at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Roxbury.

Sponsored by John Hancock Financial and the Boston Scholar Athletes program, the third annual Scholars and Stars event will start at 2:30 p.m. and include a series of stretching and technical drills for the students who represent 14 Boston public schools.

This year's event will also include a "Friendship Sprint" relay race with both male and female heats.

Korir, who also won the Los Angeles marathon in 2009, won the Boston Marathon with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes 40 seconds last year.

Greg Meyer, the last American men’s winner at Boston, will also be on hand once again to work with the students.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction CEO and Chairman John Fish, who co-founded the Boston Scholar Athlete Program, are slated to speak along with John Hancock Financial Executive Vice President Jim Gallagher.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Lacrosse comes to Latin

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 8, 2013 11:58 AM

Latin_lax607.jpg

Genevieve Dougherty, left, and Hannah O'Brien at a Latin practice at Joe Moakley Park. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

When practice winded down at Joe Moakley Park, excitement grew among the Boston Latin students as they realized it was time to pick their jerseys.

However, these students weren't picking up basketball, baseball, soccer, or softballl jerseys. These students were getting their first opportunity to grasp lacrosse jerseys – another first for the city's first high school lacrosse team.

“Some of the older kids on this team, they’ve been playing club lacrosse for a long time,” said Mike Devlin, the new coach of the boys’ team. “Now that they can actually put that jersey on for their school, it means so much.”

Until now, if a student at Latin wanted to play lacrosse they had to sign up for a city club team such as the Boston Bulldogs, whom Devlin founded.

However, once a parent found out that his daughters wouldn’t be able to play lacrosse while representing their high school, a process began that would set the foundation for the new Latin spring sport.

“If we were in Baltimore or Virginia, every single one of those public schools has a lacrosse team. It’s sort of a hot bed,” said Peter Dougherty, who volunteers at Friends of Boston Latin Lacrosse. “It should be the same in Massachusetts and there’s ways to do that but there needs to be a determination both in the parent level and political level and a will to make that happen.”

Dougherty started the campaign eight months ago by meeting with five other parents of Latin students, three from West Roxbury and two from his home of Charlestown. Those meetings would be the first incarnation of the Friends of Boston Latin Lacrosse.

After the group of parents met with the Latin athletic director, John McDonough, they found out they would need $35,000 to cover the equipment, joining the Dual-County League, transportation and the coach’s salary for a boys and girls team.

Many might have given up after hearing that number. Not this group of parents.

A huge chunk of the fundraising came from the First Stick grant from US Lacrosse, the national governing body of youth lacrosse.

“US Lacrosse would love to start programs in all the public schools in Boston. They just need sponsors within those schools to work with,” Dougherty said.

The grant covered $10,000 worth of equipment, enough to provide equipment for both teams for two seasons.

“It was sort of like Miracle on 34th street where they deliver all of Santa’s mail to the judge,” Dougherty said. “[In] this case, they delivered all of the equipment to John McDonough’s office.”

Friends of Boston Latin Lacrosse raised the rest of the money through multiple forms of private fundraising such as bake sales, a softball tournament, and even a comedy show by the hypnotist Tony Z. Dougherty also noted the donations from Boston Latin’s strong alumni as being an essential part of fundraising.

Now Dougherty is able to take a breath and watch as his daughter puts on the Latin lacrosse jersey with pride.

“When I play for my town, it’s all a bunch of kids I’ve grown up with so there’s that connection but with school it’s like you’re holding the Boston Latin School on your back. You’re representing the Wolfpack so you have improved determination as team and individual to do better,” sophomore Genevieve Dougherty said.

The woman in charge of keeping that determination consistent for the girls’ squad is coach Tegan Leonard Avellino, who knows firsthand what it’s like to be on a team that is launching a program. Leonard Avellino played goalie for Syracuse’s first lacrosse team in the 1998 season.

“When I go watch Syracuse I can look down in the bleachers and say, ‘I helped build that program,” Leonard Avellino said. “I have to instill that in them. This sense of pride for a team that didn’t exist last year.”

While Devlin has a cast of players from club teams that have experience with lacrosse, Leonard Avellino has had to spend the first couple practices teaching her girls the basics of the game.

Despite that, she is still finding improvement within the first-year team, even in their first game against Lincoln-Sudbury.

She noted a great game by Lauren Coughlin, who in just her first game in the net had a 57 percent save percentage. The girls ultimately ended up losing 9-5 while the boys lost 9-7.

“The boys played a pretty good game today for not having many practices,” Devlin said. “We took away a lot of things we need to work on before the next game.”

Both teams will be considered just junior varsity for this season and possibly next season as well. As a result, seniors will be allowed to play for the squads because there are no varsity teams yet. The coaches said this might even add the motivation their players need throughout the season.

“Not only do we have to try to do well enough to establish a standing team and possibly set it up so that other schools will have a team, but we’re also creating an example and creating a work ethic and culture of the team that will follow our footsteps,” Genevieve said.

That’s exactly what Genevieve’s father had in mind after getting lacrosse started at the Latin school; setting a trend for other city schools to follow.

“I was really hoping that Boston Latin could be the seed program or the proof of concept for how you can get lacrosse started in public schools in Boston,” Dougherty said.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three games to watch in softball this week

Posted by Justin Rice April 8, 2013 11:02 AM

Latin Academy at New Mission, 3:30 p.m. Monday

While Latin Academy is no doubt the gold standard for girls softball in the city league, New Mission is on the rise this season and could pull off the upset.

The Titans, who are coached by boys’ basketball coach Cory McCarthy, inherited athletes from Boston Community Leadership Academy this year. And it has not paid off more than in softball, where 12 of the teams 18 players are from BCLA.

Dorchester at West Roxbury, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday

Coached by football coach Rich Moran, Dorchester sits atop the South division with Latin Academy in the city league after starting the season with a 24-13 win against Madison Park.

They will look to continue their success against a young West Roxbury team on Wednesday.

Snowden at South Boston, 3:30 p.m. Thursday

Snowden has got its bats going early this year with a 16-4 season-opening victory against Fenway.

South Boston is looking for its first win of the season behind senior infielder Sydney Cunningham, who returned to the lineup last week after suffering a season-ending injury in the fourth game of the season last year.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

City all-stars cut short at Celtics game

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 8, 2013 01:12 AM

Celts607.jpg

The winners of the Boston city league All-star game were treated to a trip to Sunday night's Celtics game. Due to a miscommunication, however, they were not honored at half court during halftime like they were supposed to be. (Zolan Kanno-Youngs/For the Boston Globe)

All-stars of the Boston city league stood inside the TD Garden at the Celtics Wizards game ready to be honored at halftime for their efforts throughout the season.

Instead of an honor from a crowd of thousands, they got an apology from one Celtics community relations worker.

“This opportunity tonight represented more than just coming to see a Celtics game,” Brighton boys’ coach of the year Hugh Coleman said. “The students really had their hearts set on being on that floor and being honored in front of this crowd.”

Those students were the winners of the boys’ and girls’ city league all star game. After the win, the players were promised to be honored at halftime of the Celtics game in addition to their free tickets. BSA director Chris Rooks confirmed that this was the award for the winners.

However, as the clock trickled down in the second quarter, no one came to get the city league players. Instead they had to watch student-athletes from different schools around the state get the recognition that they were promised.

“Hugh bringing the [boys’ Division 2 state] championship home to the city, that would have brought a lot of acknowledgement that the city is doing something good and here are these young great all stars from the city and that wasn’t acknowledged today. A lot of suburbs were out there but Boston itself was not represented out there. It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate,” girls’ coach of the year Emily Coleman said.

While the Latin Academy coach said the group did appreciate the free trip to the Garden, it wasn’t the same as looking upon the crowd from on top of the Celtics logo.

“They left us out and we should have been honored as well as everyone else today. We put our hard work into it and we just got let down,” English senior Braxton Gulleymabry said.

After halftime, Celtics director of community relations Matt Meyersohn met with the players and coaches to express apologies from the Celtics. He later gave this statement on the mistake.

“There’s been a miscommunication with some staff turnover and we didn’t know what had been promised until it had been too late and we’re going to make it right for every one of the kids and give them the recognition they deserve as city all stars and bring them out and get them recognized and show how proud we are of them as student athletes,” Meyersohn said.

No date has been confirmed about when that game will be. There are only two more regular season Celtics home games before the NBA playoffs begin.

Rooks also confirmed that the BSA is currently working with the Celtics to get the all stars back to the Garden. He also continued to show the BSA’s support for the student’s effort on the court and in the classroom throughout the year.

“We’re very proud of the efforts of our all-stars to win an opportunity to go to the Celtics game,” Rooks said.

The all-stars were allowed to shoot around and take pictures on the Celtics court after the game but the general consensus among the group was that it didn’t make up for the lack of a halftime honor. Some players even passed on the opportunity.

“No one’s going to be here! It doesn’t matter,” Latin Academy senior guard Ayjah Willis said. “We put so much work in our season to make it as all-stars and then we played so hard in the all star-game for a treat like this, to be honored in front of all these people and then it’s just a letdown.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Three games to watch for baseball

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 7, 2013 05:43 PM


Latin Academy at West Roxbury, Monday, 3 pm

While it is early in the season, any game between North division teams is a big one.
While both of these teams have fewer returning players than they wanted, both coaches noted their defenses as being a strength for their team.

Latin Academy is still transitioning JV players to their varsity squad and West Roxbury’s coach Clifton Wilson said before the season that he won’t be afraid to play underclassmen so it should be a game to improve both teams as they go further in to the season.

Boston International at Brighton at Rogers Park, Tuesday, 3:30 pm

Expect a lot of runs.

Boston International has shown that they can use their bats based off of last season and even their most recent thrashings of Madison Park and New Mission (17-3).

Brighton also noted that they would be relying on their batting power before the season so if you like offense, this is your game.

New Mission at Charlestown at Ryan Field, Thursday, 3:30 pm

Two rebuilding-yet-promising programs go head-to-head in this one.

New Mission, being a first year team, continues to take baby steps in making their mark in the city league.

For Charlestown, they’ve only returned three starters, so their goals aren’t that far from New Mission’s when they say they’re just looking to improve from last season.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Boston Latin blanks Latin Academy in softball season opener

Posted by Justin Rice April 5, 2013 06:41 PM

BLS_softball607.jpg

Boston Latin senior Kim Miller made solid contact with this pitch during the Wolfpack's 4-0 season-opening victory against Latin Academy on Friday afternoon. (Pavel Dzemianok / For the Boston Globe)

Boston Latin got off to a fast start in its softball season-opening shutout against Latin Academy on Friday afternoon at Daisy Field in Jamaica Plain.

The Wolfpack scored two quick runs after their first four batters of the game got on base before they added a run in the third and another in the fifth to close out the 4-0 victory.

“We’ve been waiting for this day since the end of last season so we were excited from the start, which really helped our game today," said senior left fielder Mallory O’Brien, who hit 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored. “You have the set the tone right from the start and we did that today.”

Junior pitcher Caitlyn Berry got the win by striking out seven hitters walking none. Her defense committed only one error behind her.

“I know they are a great team,” Berry said. “It’s difficult playing against them because I know them and I don’t want to hurt any of them.”

Tim Holland, who is in his 12th season coaching the Wolfpack, said Latin Academy (1-2) has only beaten them once during his tenure.

“It was great, we got two in the first,” Holland said. “But then Latin Academy played fantastic. Any time we threatened they made a bunch of plays; in the outfield, at second, the throw at third. We had to chip away at it but we were fortunately very, very tough.

In the fourth inning sophomore second baseman Julieanne Coleman knocked down a hard hit short hop before throwing senior Mary Demora out at first. That defensive effort was only topped in the third inning when junior left fielder Colby Cahill threw out junior Bridget Walsh at third.

“I couldn’t catch the ball so I just grabbed it [off the hop] and I knew I had the arm to make it so I just threw it right to [Eliza Laden-Mauro] like I always do,” said Cahill, who also caught two deep fly balls. “I thought we did a really good in the outfield but we could use a little bit more effort. We have to get those bats swinging. We have to work on that.”

O’Brien was impressed with Latin Academy’s defensive effort.

“Their D is better than any years we’ve seen it so good for them,” she said.

And even though they scored four runs, Latin School also said they need to improve their offense.

“Their pitcher did a fantastic job against us,” Holland said of senior Sydney McGrath, who struck out one and walked three but retired the side after three hitters in both the second and sixth innings. “We see pitching like that in the DCL, every team has a good pitcher and they hit up and down the lineup so we need to get a lot of runs.

“We can’t miss any opportunity.”

Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza said the loss will only make his team better.

“We love playing up like this, I wish we played them 20 times a year because you usually tend to play to the level of your competition,” Zizza said. “They are in a great league, they play a great schedule. We wish we were them in certain ways. We would love to play that type of schedule where it forces us to get better.

“We have some great athletes and we just need to play some high quality competition to get better. … Games like this will make us better. We don’t schedule wins. A lot of coaches try to schedule wins. We try to schedule the toughest games possible in order to make us better.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

BPS teacher to run Sahara Desert ultramarathon

Posted by Justin Rice April 4, 2013 03:32 PM

Liz Byron, a special education teacher at the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston,
arrived in Morocco this week for the Marathon de Sables, otherwise known as "the toughest footrace on the planet."

The sixth-grade teacher is running the six-day, 155-mile self-supporting ultramarathon through the Sahara Desert to raise $50,000 for classroom laptops for her school.

Check out a blog post about Byron on Boston.com's The Buzz blog by clicking here.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Revs walk the runway to benefit America SCORES Boston

Posted by Justin Rice April 4, 2013 03:27 PM

AJ Soares607.jpg

A.J. Soares was one of several New England Revolution players who walked the catwalk at BOND on Wednesday night to help raise money for American SCORES Boston. (Photo courtesy of Mike Diskin)

New England Revolution players, wives, and girlfriends modeled looks from Ted Baker London’s spring/summer line to raise money for America SCORES Boston on Wednesday night at BOND at The Langham Hotel in downtown Boston.

America SCORES Boston partners with elementary and middle schools in Boston public schools to provide team-based programs that integrates soccer, poetry and service-learning.

To watch a video of the fashion show click here.

Revolution players Darrius Barnes, Andy Dorman, Lee Nguyen, Saer Sene, Clyde Simms, and A.J. Soares, joined by team wives and members of the Rev Girls promotions team on the runway.

The event was emceed by WHDH-TV Anchor Sarah French.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

BCYF holds 12th annual All-Girls Sports Festival

Posted by Justin Rice April 4, 2013 02:59 PM

Boston Centers for Youth and Family’s 12th annual All-Girls Sports Festival will be held April 16-19 at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center.

The festivities will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day for girls ages 11-15.

The festival will include workshops focused on promoting good health and avoiding risky behavior. Workshops include Healthy Relationships, Power of Mind &
Spirit, Personal Care, Nutrition – Weight Management, Dating Violence & Substance
Abuse Prevention, Self-Expression, Cyber Safety, and Music Nutrition.

“This festival of sports and enrichment activities provides girls and young women of Boston with a wonderful forum to exercise their minds, bodies and spirits,” BCYF Director or Recreation, Sports and Fitness Ryan FitzGerald wrote in a brochure for the event.

“There are lifelong benefits to participating in sports and fitness programs. We wish all of the participants well and hope they continue to engage in lifestyle choices that promote their health and personal development.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


Baseball preview capsules: Central Division

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff April 4, 2013 07:00 AM

CENTRAL DIVISION

Boston International

Coach: Christian Irizarry (Ninth year)

Strengths: After reaching the semifinals of the state tournament last year, this team not only has post-season experience but also leadership with all of its returning players.

Concerns: While Irizarry thinks they will do well, one of the few areas Boston International lost depth in is its pitching staff. Irizarry said it would be a learning experience for them.

Outlook: Irizarry’s No. 1 goal for the team is that they have fun and continue to improve with most of his players returning next year.

However, after losing in the state tournament semifinal last year to Northeast Regional, the players have added a new goal for their season; win both the city and state tournament.

“That’s a goal they have put on, they’re hoping they can win the [city tournament] but we’re just going to work hard and have fun. That’s the main thing,” Irizarry said.

Returning starters: Freshman pitcher Pedro Peguero, sophomore pitcher Manuel Urena, sophomore infielder/outfielder Nelfry Velez, sophomore shortstop Frank Rosario, sophomore infielder Derlin Tejeda, freshman outfielder Alfredo Frias, freshman first baseman Randy Gonzales, freshman pitcher Christopher Reynoso, senior infielder Junior Perdomo.

O'Bryant

Coach: Theodore Curley (first year)

Last year: 4-12

Strengths: The team is returning two of their best pitchers so there will be some experience on the mound.

Concern: Depth will be a hard thing to manage for O’Bryant without a JV team. Curley expressed concern about the future of his program with a limited amount of underclassmen making the roster.

O’Bryant will also be trying out a new catcher, junior Jose Vasquez. He will need some games to build chemistry with his pitchers.

Outlook: Despite the lethargic record from last year, the enthusiasm on O’Bryant could not be any better. Curley said that energy among his players would never be a worry for this squad.

“I think we have shot of going over .500. I think that would be a reasonable expectation,” Curley said.

The coach added that this expectation could be met if the team improves on defense. This was one of the biggest problems for the squad last year.

Returning starters: Senior captain pitcher Brandon Ruiz, senior second baseman/outfielder Johnny Mejia, junior third baseman/pitcher/catcher Jose Vasquez, sophomore pitcher/shortstop/outfielder Fernando Burgos, sophomore first baseman Antonio Ortiz.

South Boston

Coach: Victor Pereira (sixth year)

Last year: 4-12

Strengths: Other teams will have to watch out for South Boston’s speed with the team getting multiple speedy athletes from the basketball team and football team.

Concern: The last few seasons, South Boston has graduated double-digit seniors so the team will be lacking in experience.

Outlook: With a lot of new players, Pereira is expecting a slow start to the season as a result of many players needing to make the big jump from JV to varsity.

The coach said it was too early to talk about qualifying for any postseason play but that getting better than the day before is always a goal.

Returning starters: Senior center fielder Aviel Collazosuentes, sophomore third baseman Kenneil Toney.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Latin Academy tennis beats Cambridge, 5-0, behind Kenney

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 3, 2013 09:50 PM

Kenney_607_1.jpg

Latin Academy's No. 1 singles player, Mark Anthony Kenney, hits a volley during the Dragon's season-opening victory against Cambridge on Wednesday afternoon. Kenney is filling it at the No. 1 slot for the injured Jimmy Ye.(Billy Owens / For the Boston Globe).

Most teams would be at a disadvantage in their opening match if their No. 1 singles player were out with a wrist injury.

Most teams are not Latin Academy.

Filling in for senior captain Jimmy Ye, senior Mark Anthony Kenney propelled Latin Academy to a 5-0 win Wednesday over Cambridge.

“He’s going to do well. He’s going to win fairly easily,” Ye said before the match started.

Ye was right. Anthony dominated junior Mehmet Ozvar, 6-2, 6-0, on a cold and windy afternoon.

“I just tried make as many balls as possible," said Kenney. "It’s a pretty bad day to play tennis; it’s cold, it’s windy. So, basically I just tried to make a lot of balls, make the right move, and it worked well."

Kenney transferred last year to BCLA after playing for Catholic Memorial. Even though BCLA allows students to play sports at Latin Academy, Kenney sat out last season for personal reasons.

However, the senior is back playing his beloved sport, and Latin Academy has his sights set high.

“[The competition] definitely helped me get better. The team’s definitely stronger. I think we can compete for the state championship this year. It’s going to be fun,” Ye said.

Ye and Kenney have played tennis together since they were in Charlestown’s youth leagues, so they know what each other brings to the table. Latin Academy coach Andy Crane said once Ye gets back from injury, they will still be competing for the No. 1 singles spot.

“They’ve played two challenge matches and each has won one of them, so we’ll just see how it goes going further. It’s going to be real competitive, no question about it,” Crane said.

Too bad the match against Cambridge did not match the teammates' competitive level.

Senior Ricardo Bailey beat senior Callum Nelson, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 singles, and junior Gar Paul beat junior Jeremy Sternbach, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 3 singles. Latin Academy's No. 1 doubles team of junior Ming Lao and junior Saiful Mahmoud prevailed, 7-5, 6-2, and the No. 2 doubles team of freshman Troy Fredericks and Shahidad Mahmoud won in a tiebreaker, 10-6.

“We know we have a strong team and we’ve got a lot of seniors and if everybody’s healthy we’ve got a chance to win a lot of matches," said Crane. "The key matches will be the tough ones against Brookline, BC High, St. John’s Prep, and Andover. Those will be real tests for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Sportsmen's Tennis Center gets another USTA grant to train junior players

Posted by Justin Rice April 3, 2013 04:18 PM

For the fourth time in five years, the Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester was awarded a Multicultural Excellence Program Grant from the United States Tennis Association.

The $7,500 USTA grant will help fund the advancement of high-performing junior players, such as Latin Academy junior Di'Andrea Galloway.

Galloway, who has played No. 1 singles for the Dragons since seventh grade, is ranked No. 47 in New England among 18-year-old girls.

"We are among only 10 tennis centers nationwide which were selected for this prestigious grant," Sportsmen's executive director, Toni Wiley, said in a statement. "It is not only the financial assistance that we appreciate, but also the recognition by the USTA for the great work Sportsmen's is doing to develop youth who not only excel on the tennis court, but in school and life as well."

Sportsmen's is the only New England organization to be awarded the USTA grant.

The funding is based on the number of players with sectional and national rankings in a specific program.

Wiley said the funding will be used for a series of clinics geared toward junior players as well as semi-private lessons for advanced players.

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

Rescheduled opening day baseball games

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 3, 2013 12:34 PM

Due to rain and lightning on opening day, the Snowden at New Mission game has been rescheduled to April 12 at 3:30 p.m. The game will be picked up in the bottom of the third inning with Snowden leading 6-5.

O’Bryant’s opening day game at Weston has also been rescheduled to April 5 at 4 p.m. due to rain.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Baseball preview capsules: South Division

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff April 3, 2013 07:00 AM

SOUTH DIVISION

Burke

Coach: Paul Duhaime (15th season)

Last year: 2-16

Strengths: Duhaime highlighted the attitude of his players as a huge strength for his team but also hopes that his team will be able to throw consistent strikes.

Concern: Duhaime noted early offensive struggles as being a possible problem for his squad. However, the squad is being awarded a batting machine by the BSA so they will be able to get their reps in throughout the season.

Outlook: The coach of 15 years tends to focus on the improving character of his players rather than just wins, however, a goal right off the bat for Burke will be to reach .500.

“For us, it would be great because last year we just had two wins and the year before that with just maybe two wins and we did go one year in 2008 with no wins but that’s behind us,” Duhaime said. “We’re ready to go.”

Returning starters: Senior captain Terel Andrews, senior catcher Elvin Perez, sophomore outfielder Humhrey Ajike, senior first baseman Jamari Young, sophomore infielder Brandon Newton, sophomore infielder Brandon Newell.

Charlestown

Coach: Mayron Ramirez (first year)

Last year: 6-11

Strengths: This young Charlestown team should benefit from their familiarity with each other. Ramirez is very high on both the chemistry and work ethic of the squad.

Concern: There are very few juniors and seniors within this group of Townies, which directly affects the depth on their pitching rotation. The Charlestown pitchers are currently very inexperienced.

Outlook: Ramirez will be counting on his returning catcher to lead the way for his infield defense which Charlestown will need with the lack of experience in his pitching and outfield.

“With a young team, we are going to have our lumps but we’re looking to at least surpass the six wins we had last year so we’re looking for around 8 to 10 wins. That’s what we’re shooting for,” Ramirez said.

The coach went on to add that the city tournament is the initial goal for his team but he will also be keeping an eye out for the state tournament.

Returning starters: Sophomore catcher Miguel Arias, junior third baseman Alberto Melo, sophomore second baseman Rodney Soto.

Dorchester

Coach: William (Rusty) Young (third year)

Last year: 7-9

Strengths: Coming off a season where Young had to kick off some his best players due to commitment issues, leadership was something the third year coach noted as a strength for his season. This mainly has to do with senior captain Jose Amaro, who is coming off a broken leg from this past football season.

Concern: With this young Dorchester team getting a new turf field, they will be without their home field for this season so they will have to get used to practicing on another diamond.

Many of Dorchester’s players also haven’t played any baseball past little league so there is a sharp learning curve on the team.

Outlook: Young noted that the goal for Dorchester is always to be one game above .500 so that the squad can qualify for the state tournament.

The team wasn’t able to do it last year after they dropped games due to core players getting kicked off the team. However, with athletes from different sports teams mixed in, Young is exited about his player’s willingness to learn.

“With a young group, they’re willing to learn, they’re excited and they’re committed; they show up and that’s really all you can ask for as a coach,” Young said.

Returning starters: Junior pitcher/infield Morses Moises, freshman pitcher/infield Jose Lorenzo, sophomore centerfielder/pitcher Tarmanand Jodhan, senior captain outfielder Jose Amaro.

Fenway

Coach: David Walsh (second year)

Last year: 11-7

Strengths: Walsh noted the speed of his young team as definitely being an advantage going in to the season.

Causes: There’s not going to be a lot of big doubles and triples for this Fenway squad. Power will definitely be lacking in their batting lineup.

Outlook: Even though Fenway made the state tournament for the first time in eight years, the team graduated four key players last season making Walsh call this season a rebuilding year.

“I think with the talent we have, it’s going to be a promising team. I think we’re going to have our ups and downs but with the talent we have we might be able to sneak under the radar,” Walsh said.

Returning starters: First baseman Eddie Santos, second baseman Juan Allen, third baseman Curtis Coughlin, catcher Henry Miranda, outfielder Randolph Alvarez, outfielder Jose Ramon, outfielder Julian Gonzales, senior captain catcher Henry Miranea.

New Mission

Coach: Modesto (Moe) Gomez (first year)

Strengths: With a completely fresh start, it won’t be very hard for coach Modesto Gomez to motivate his players. He described the excitement around the new program as very high and it should remain that way throughout the season.

Concerns: Gomez only has two players returning from last year’s squad so it will take the brand new team a couple games to solidify chemistry.

Outlook: The former English coach said that he needed a challenge and he sure will get one.

It can be expected that it will be a developing year for the brand new program but with the coach of last year’s city champions leading the way, New Mission should be competitive.

“It motivates me more to work harder with the kids so it’s a strength on my behalf and I like that it’s a challenge. I needed this challenge,” Gomez said.

Returning starters: Shortstop Ansel Rivera, outfielder Jomar Ventura.

Snowden

Coach: Michael O’Brien (second year)

Last year: 7-9

Strengths: O’Brien thinks that his team will excel in the fundamentals of baseball. The players that have played baseball played in South End youth baseball, where they focused on fundamentals.

Concern: Between Snowden and the Quincy Upper School, O’Brien is only expecting about 20 players to come out for the team and he thinks only seven of them will have played baseball before, so depth and experience may be a huge factor throughout the season.

Outlook: O’Brien hopes that his team will be able to compete against the more competitive teams in the state but his goal is mainly to make sure that his players continue to learn the sport of baseball.

“If you’re learning the game and you’re working together and you’re having fun, good things are going to happen,” O’Brien said.

Returning starters: Junior catcher Louis Medina.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Patriots and Globetrotters to present anti-bullying message to the youth

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 2, 2013 06:46 PM


The Patriots’ Nate Solder is teaming up with the Harlem Globetrotters in a campaign against bullying.

Solder, New England's Patriots 2011 first-round pick, and Buckets Blakes and TNT Maddox will take a trip to Eliot K-8 School on Wednesday, April 3 at 11:30 am to hold an assembly on the Globetrotters newest initiative, “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention.”

The campaign breaks down preventing bullying in to three areas; action, bravery, and compassion.

Students will also join Solder in learning a few Globetrotter moves.

Thanks to the Patriots, the Globetrotters will be donating 100 tickets to youth from Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston to see the Globetrotters live at the TD Garden on Saturday, April 6 at 1 pm and Sunday, April 7 at 1 pm.

Known as the original “Ambassadors of Goodwill,” the Globetrotters developed “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” with the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Baseball preview capsules: North Division

Posted by Zolan Kanno-Youngs April 2, 2013 02:30 PM

NORTH DIVISION

Brighton:

Coach: William Mahoney (13th year)

Last year: 9-9

Strengths: Brighton will be relying on their batting power this season because of their inexperience on the mound. Mahoney said the combined score of some games might get as high as 27 runs.

Concern: Mahoney noted pitching as Brighton’s Achilles heel.

Outlook: Even though Brighton finished with just a .500 record last season, the squad has high expectations going in to this season.

“As usual we want to get into the city tournament, that’s number 1. Number 2 we want to win it and number 3 we’d like to go really deep in to the state tournament,” Mahoney said.

The coach went on describe how priority No. 1 is his players and how far they can go in the tournament.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Michael Marte, senior pitcher Joe Marte, outfielder Jose Valenzuela, pitcher Jefferson Guerrero, junior shortstop Jesus Soto.

English

Coach: Ricardo Figueroa (first year)

Last year: 13-6

Strengths: In the words of coach Ricardo Figueroa, the defending city champions’ defense is going to be “awesome.” The first year coach is especially exited about the versatile sophomore Miguel Lorenzo, who has the ability to play any position on the field.

Concerns: Even though English will have two senior pitchers to lead the rotation, Figueroa is concerned with the team’s lack of depth forcing him to start position players on the mound.

Outlook: The former O’Bryant coach said he has much higher expectations for his English squad this year and rightfully so -- the defending city champions' experienced defense should have the Blue and Blue as one of the top contenders in the city once again.

“I don’t think it will be too much to represent the championship they won but I think they have the talent to be successful,” Figueroa said.

Successful, for this team, means competing for another a second straight championship.

“I was thinking the other day about the big picture but I think we’re going to be a top contender at the end,” Figueroa said. “Watch out.”

Returning starters: Senior pitcher Nelson Barreiro, senior shortstop Frankly Gonzales, sophomore outfielder/infielder Miguel Lorenzo.

Latin Academy

Coach: Anthony Bernazzani (third year)

Last year: 11-10

Strengths: The Dragons returned five starters from their defense last year, including the catcher and shortstop position so they should go through most games without many defensive mistakes.

Concerns: Bernazzani has spent the first few weeks of practice trying guys out for the much-needed vacant pitching positions on his roster. Latin Academy only has one returning pitcher.

Outlook: A huge factor in a successful Latin Academy season will be the transition from junior varsity to varsity for the many young players on the squad.

While coach Bernazzani will have his ace Vincent Lopriori to work with he hopes that one of last year’s JV players will be able to help the senior out.

“There’s a couple guys with some decent arms but they’re really inexperienced,” Bernazzani said. “The speed of a varsity game is so much different then the JV.”

The team also doesn’t have a lot of power in their lineup, so a lot of bunts can be expected with their speed.

“As long as everyone’s getting better on a consistent basis, that’s kind of the goal right now,” Bernazzani said.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Vincent Lopriori, senior catcher Dan O’Connell, senior shortstop Nick Hicks, junior outfielder Eddy Funes, junior infielder Mark Guerard.

Madison Park

Coach: Michael Viggiano (seventh season)

Last year: 9-9

Strengths: Both the varsity and JV players within Madison Park’s programs are very versatile. Most players can play multiple positions. Viggiano also noted his infield as being solid going into the season.

Concern: In addition to the six seniors that Viggiano graduated last season, the coach may lose three more returning starters to do scheduling conflicts with their jobs. Viggiano is currently trying to work out a schedule with their employers.

However, it is likely the coach will have to begin the season with only three varsity players from last season.

Outlook: Viggiano’s expectation is always to have a winning record for the sake of the morale of his team.

“It promotes a good spirit. When you have a losing season, the dugout gets a little bit quiet, the locker room gets quiet, the bus ride gets quiet. To have a winning season, there’s a lot more cheerfulness,” Viggiano said.

Returning starters: Garric Garcia, Jonathan Soto.

West Roxbury

Coach: Clifton Wilson (third year)

Last year: 7-10

Strength: While they’re only returning four players, Wilson just added a new catcher to his roster and is excited about the depth in that position.

He added that there are also very promising pitchers in the freshman and sophomore class.

Concern: While there is excitement around the freshman and sophomore class, Wilson is concerned that about who will emerge as the leaders of this team with a lack of upperclassmen presence.

Outlook: Wilson will hope that his team can learn a lot from this season given the talent in his incoming freshman class and the fact that he will be returning about 80 percent of his team next year.

Simultaneously, his goal in terms of his team’s record is very clear.

“My goal is very simple; win more than we lose,” Wilson said.

Returning starters: senior pitcher Chris Moreta, senior pitcher Elvin Florentino, senior captain Allejandro Lopez.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at kannoyoungs.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.

Opening day isn't total washout for O'Bryant girls' softball

Posted by Justin Rice April 1, 2013 05:08 PM

When it rained it literally poured on the Brighton girls’ softball team during its home opening loss to O’Bryant on Monday afternoon at Cassidy Playground in Cleveland Circle.

A driving rain came down as the Tigers put the finishing touches on a seven-run opening inning of their 19-1 victory that was called due to lightning.

Even though the rain stopped during the second inning, O’Bryant’s runs didn’t.

The Tigers (1-0) added another six runs in both the second and the third before lightning struck and both coaches agreed to allow the game to go into the books.

“I don’t think waiting another inning will make enough of a difference so it didn’t make sense for us to suffer and also there was lightning so it was dangerous,” Brighton coach Victoria Barbato said.

O’Bryant junior catcher Yonetta Harris, who went 2 for 3 with a double, said it wasn’t the ideal way to win.

“No it’s not but we’ll take the win,” she said moments after more lightening flashed. “We need to get home safe.”

Harris was also shocked by how well they played in the opening inning.

“The first inning, it was amazing,” she said. “I didn’t think we were going to do that well in
the beginning. I’m really proud of my team because a few girls are new.”

Most of O’Bryant’s runs came off of past balls or wild pitchers and Barbato said they are going to spend the coming days shoring up their battery.

“It was a learning day," Barbato said. "We only got two days practicing outside and only two days practicing with our varsity team..

Barbato noted that a lot of their best players from last year were from Boston Community Leadership Academy, which now plays for New Mission.

“So we’re still working out those kinks." she said. "So I’m not discouraged by it and they don’t seem discouraged by it so we’re just taking it as it is.”

Brighton’s bats settled in a bit after both of O"Bryant's scoring barrages. They got one run back in the first inning and in the second inning collected three hits but failed to bring in a run.

O’Bryant coach Bridget Ryan said her team’s bats started coming alive in the middle of last season and she was glad to see the offense continue on opening day.

“It was great, we played really well, we were patient hitting the ball and we ran the bases well, stealing, just being really knowledgeable of where they were and where the ball was,” she said. “It’s cold but at least we got the game in and it was official."

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

More »
Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.
archives