Ten Moments To Savor
By Bob Holmes, Globe Staff
Do you like surprises? Then youve got to love the spring season. When an 11th seed (Oliver Ames) enters the baseball tournament with six losses and proceeds to win the Division 2 state title, you know its spring. Take a group of seniors, most of whom have graduated, stick them on a field, and anything can happen. Thats what makes the spring season so unpredictable ... and fun. Spring was the swan song for some of the states great athletes, like Tim Wells, Amy Caldwell, Ben Sherry, and Stephanie Mayne. For all those reasons and more, the spring season can produce the sweetest memories. Following are 10 highlights that stood out among the countless stories.
Click here to view highlights from some of these memorable moments, including clips of the Framingham girls' lacrosse team, the Duxbury boys' lacrosse team, and the Natick volleyball team in action.
1. Minutemen? Make that sub-Minutemen
They may be Lexington Minutemen but when Meikle Paschal ran a 48.29 to win the state 400 title and Darius Walker a 10.79 in the 100, the school nickname seemed a little out-of-touch. Lexington won both the indoor and outdoor titles this year and Walker was both the indoor and outdoor Runner of the Year. The outdoor title was the easier of the two with the field events jump-starting an early lead. We really put our best into the early events, Lexington co-coach Kate Waller said. We didnt have to sweat it out late, so that was fun. Fun was also had by state champion Bryan Longo, who began the year as a soccer All-Scholastic and ended it with a state title in the 800.
2. ... and down the road at Lincoln-Sudbury
Lexington wasnt the only school that won track titles in both the winter and spring. The Lincoln-Sudbury girls earned that honor as well, sharing the indoor title with New Bedford, while winning the spring title outright earlier this month. Were estatic to repeat, said L-S coach Mel Gonsalves, who presides over both seasons. Dana Jamieson (400) and Molly Binder (800) won individual state titles and the 4 x 400 relay team also earned gold. Jamieson anchored the last leg of the relay team and also earned a second-place finish in the long jump. The Warriors also won the Division 1 title a week earlier, adding to an already impressive resume for Lincoln-Sudbury athletes this year.
3. Notre Dame headed in right direction
When a Notre Dame of Hingham golfer innocently took a wrong turn at the state championship and was disqualified, the Cougars turned to what had been a team strength all season, their depth. The result: a sixth straight girls state championship. Senior Jacqueline McMenimon led the way, shooting an 82, then nervously awaiting the outcome after her teammates misstep. Everyone on this team pushes each other to do better and everyone works really hard, that even without one of our girls, someone else would be ready to step up, said McMenimon. That someone was junior Jen Geary whose 88 was a major factor in the victory. Coach Dave Gianferante called the day, a lesson learned. He could have added, and a title earned.
4. Close, closer ... Natick steps into winners circle
Natick was always playing volleyball indoors when others had already moved to the beach variety. But the end was never quite what the Redmen had in mind. Two years ago Natick lost to Millis in the state semifinals and last year it was St. Johns Prep in the final. But this spring, no one stopped the Redmen. Led by Tim Lee and Shaun Sibley, Natick beat Newton North in the state final. This is awesome just to finally get back here after another year is just awesome. It was a lot of fun, said Sibley, who finished with 19 kills in the win over their Bay State rivals. Player of the Year Lee was his usual generous self, finishing with 31 assists in the final. Setting up my hitters to get a good hit is definitely my priority at all times.
5. 73 plus 4 equals one great season
With 73 straight wins over MIAA opponents and four straight state championships, the Duxbury boys lacrosse team is clearly a local dynasty. But No. 4 wasnt a walk in the park. The Green Dragons had to go to overtime to beat top-seeded Xaverian, 10-9, a school that had won 22 straight heading into the state final. In overtime, senior Bobby Barry scored the game-winner on a nice feed from Derek Sweet. They worked hard not to be the one to not win it, said coach Chris Sweet. Son of a gun, if they didnt get it done. And for the record, the Duxbury girls kept pace. Duxbury beat Winchester to win the Division 2 state title.
6. Scanlon pitches in for Lincoln-Sudbury
Kevin Scanlons left arm has earned a well-deserved rest. That arm was responsible for the state championship trophy that now rests in the case at Lincoln-Sudbury. In the state title win over Algonquin, Scanlon threw 129 pitches, the last a laser down the middle for his eighth strikeout of the night. The exclamation point, said L-S coach Kirk Fredericks after. Hes the best pitcher in the state. His final numbers for the year were nothing short of incredible, a 12-0 record that included four tournament wins. The Maine-bound senior admitted after, he was a little tired. Carrying a team on your shoulders will do that.
7. Its where you finish that matters
Ok, we admit it. That preseason Top 20 didnt include the most dominant team in the state, the one that finished 26-2 with a Division 1 state title. But Taunton coach Dave Lewry knows, its not where you start, its where you finish. The Tigers beat Gardner, 6-0, to win the state title, the teams first since 2003. And as usual, the story began and ended with junior All-Scholastic pitcher Erin Wade. Wade started the game by striking out the side in the first and finished with 17 strikeouts. The curveball, the drop, the change, the rise, everything was working, Lewry said of Wade after. As for the team, theyre No. 1.
8. Who put the win in Winchester?
The tennis teams, of course. The spring the Sachems of Winchester won not one, but two state titles. The girls earned their trophy in a 4-1 win over defending Division 2 state champion Notre Dame of Worcester. In that match, Winchester ended Notre Dames 84-match win streak which included the last three state titles. The boys title came 24 hours later in a 5-0 win over Springfield Cathedral. They just love to play, said boys coach Erik Hamilton. The hardest thing is trying to get them home after practice. Practices are usually scheduled for an hour and a half, but they always go at least a half hour longer because no one wants to leave.
9. 50 is nifty for Framingham girls
Who says turning 50 is traumatic? The Framingham girls lacrosse team turned in a brilliant, and nail-biting, performance in the state lacrosse title game, beating host Longmeadow, 8-7. The win was the Flyers 50th in a row. I cant believe it, it all happened so fast. Its hard to believe that its over, said Flyers senior and Globe Player of the Year Kristin Igoe, who scored twice in the win. Early on it didnt seem a title was in the cards. Longmeadow held a 3-0 lead before Framingham stormed back. With Igoe leading the offense, Denise Beliveau the defense, and coach Stacey Freda patrolling the sidelines, turning 50 wasnt so bad.
10. Nice round numbers to end a great spring
Spring milestones can be the best, just ask coaches like Norwells Jay Swartz and Cardinal Spellmans Peter Ambrose. Swartz won his 400th career match during the boys tennis tournament, a season that ended with a Division 2 South title and a season record of 20-1. Ambrose won his 600th baseball game this spring in his 47th year of coaching. And more than milestones, its the end of the line for a group of seniors who will be missed. Athletes like Burlingtons Dan Walsh, Harwichs James Hamilton, Medfords Arantxa King, Framinghams Denise Beliveau, and Newton Norths Jessica Barton will all be missed.