Dietrick on point at Princeton
Steve and Martha Dietrick of Wellesley always enjoyed being on the road with their children, Blake and Tucker. College campuses were must-see stops.
Visiting Princeton University in New Jersey for the first time was fortuitous. "I remember it vividly," said Blake. "I had a Princeton T-shirt. My parents took a picture of me in the fountain next to the Woodrow Wilson building. From that day on, Princeton was my dream school." She was 9.
So it’s fair to say that Dietrick, who graduated from Wellesley High this spring, is living the dream. She’s a freshman at Princeton, and could wind up starting at point guard for its women’s basketball team. The all-time leading scorer at Wellesley, male or female, with 1,440 points, Dietrick will only say "I expect to see the court. They don’t promise you a position. Everything’s up in the air right now."
That’s the approach sixth-year coach Courtney Banghart is taking too. "I told Blake I just want her to be a freshman and figure things out," said Banghart, a Dartmouth graduate from Amherst, N.H. "How much she plays is up to her."
Dietrick was a three-sport athlete at Wellesley High. A Globe All-Scholastic on the court and in lacrosse, Dietrick was lined up to play one of them at Princeton.
After seeing Dietrick play basketball at the Princeton summer camp following her junior year, Banghart called Chris Sailer, the Tigers’ lacrosse coach. "I told her, ‘We want her,"’ said Banghart. "I only had to see Blake play for a couple of minutes."
Wearing the number 11, like she did in high school, Dietrick is primarily playing the point in practice this fall. "But coach likes my flexibility," Dietrick said, so she is also working out at shooting guard.
Overall, she said, "it’s going really well. It’s very different from high school, but not in a bad way. Everything is to the minute. The level of competition is ridiculously higher."
The team’s style of play suits Dietrick just fine.
"We’re trying to increase our tempo even more," she said.
Princeton was 50-7 the last two seasons, winning back-to-back Ivy League titles.
"Coach is fully invested in the team," said Dietrick. "I like the way she teaches. To her, there are no stupid questions. The first couple of days of practice I had some questions. But I figured it out. I like to think I’m a quick learner."
That goes for the classroom too. "It’s definitely challenging, but Wellesley prepares you well for college."
Dietrick has three roommates. One is a fellow athlete, on the water polo team, "so it’s great to have someone that understands," she said.
Princeton taps off its season at home Nov. 11 against St. Joseph’s. When the Tigers travel to Harvard on Dec. 11, Martha Dietrick hopes to get a lot of friends and family for a
Princeton rooting section to offset the home crowd.
Dietrick spent the summer working at basketball camps in Weston, at Regis College and the Meadowbrook School. She also worked on her game at Babson College, and with players such as Mary Louise Dixon, a former Wellesley teammate who plays at Stonehill College.
The family enjoyed a three-week summer vacation to Europe. "I loved it. It was my first time, I can’t wait to go back," said Dietrick. "We went to Germany, France, and England." Did she get any hoops in? "Occasionally," she said, which translates to whenever she found a basket.
Gontijo shows scoring touch
Hudson’s Nick Gontijo is making quite an impression in his first season on the men’s soccer team at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
The freshman forward netted three goals and an assist last week to propel the Corsairs (7-3-1) to two victories, including the tying and winning tallies in a double overtime win over Roger Williams. For his efforts, he was named Rookie of the Week in the Little East Conference.
Gontijo "has been a huge part of our success for the entire season," said the team’s coach, Henry Almeida. "He is very skilled and very unselfish and puts his team first, which is a great attitude. His performance against Roger Williams was probably the best individual performance we’ve had all season. As a freshman, we’re looking forward to having him as a member of our team for three and a half more years."
Nick Rodis left quite a legacy in his 17-year tenure (1967-1984) as the director of athletics at Brandeis University, including the introduction of seven women’s sports and the only two national championships in school history (men’s soccer, 1976; men’s cross-country, 1983), and 27 trips to the NCAA tournament. He died in Newton on Oct. 7 at age 87.
"Nick Rodis was an old-school guy who was devoted to Brandeis," said Bill Shipman, the Waltham university’s head fencing coach since 1980. "He worked hard to promote winning teams. He worked here during some turbulent times, financially and politically, but he was able to steer two of the most successful programs in school history in the baseball and cross-country teams of the 1970s and ’80s."
Rodis was a two-sport All-American (football, baseball) at Harvard, and was the first American to serve as vice president of the International University Sports Federation.
Here and there
Jonas Jackson, a 1997 graduate of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High, has officially been named head football coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Hired on an interim basis in June after the sudden resignation of Denny Creehan, the 32-year-old Jackson has guided the Bobcats to a 6-0 start and a No. 21 ranking in Division 2. After starting his collegiate playing career at Dean in Franklin, Jackson was a two-way lineman at Eastern Michigan ... Wellesley High grad Ben Bloom will be working the sideline at Gillette Stadium this afternoon as a first-year assistant with the Dallas Cowboys. A three-year letter winner at Tufts, the 29-year-old has worked his way up the ladder, first as a graduate assistant at his alma mater for three seasons while working on a master’s degree, then as an assistant line coach at Harvard (2008), and two years with the Cleveland Browns under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Bloom clearly made a good impression: After being named to the same job in Dallas, Ryan brought him along to help with linebackers, among other duties. "Ben would be successful in any business because he has that rare combination of intellect, personality and work ethic," says Harvard coach Tim Murphy.
Lenny Megliola can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff writer Craig Larson also contributed this story.