CONWAY – Kennett High was well-represented last Wednesday when Cannon Mountain played host to the 2014 Alpine Meet of Champions. Ten Eagles — five boys and five girls qualified for the championships.
The Meet of Champions brought together the top 10 finishers in slalom and giant slalom from the recently completed four division State Meets for a day of top notch ski racing hosted by the Franconia Ski Club.
Racers skied two runs of GS in the moprning followed by a pair of slalom runs in the afternoon.
Kennett had five boys — Danny Nash, Lucas Tinkham, Adam Wright, Tyler Eldridge and Jake Remick — and five girls — Maya Bernier, Brooke Lemerise, Emma Niiler, Maddie Glavin and Maggie Rockett — entered in the Meet of Champions, an accomplishment that Coach Laurel Zengilowski was proud to see.
"They skied great in the State Meet and earned this," she said.
In the girls GS, Niiler landed on the podium in third place with a two-run combined timed of 1:15.91.
The race was won by Portsmouth's Anika Hamilton in 1:15.04 while Lin-Wood's Pearce Bourassa finished second in 1:15.40.
Other KHS girls were Glavin, fourth, 1:17.11; Rockett, sixth, 1:17.50; Lemerise, 24th, 1:21.42; and Bernier, who was fourth after the first run, but did not finish her second.
In the boys GS, Aiden Wheeler, of Bedford, took top honors, winning the race in a two-run combined time of 1:11.98. he posted the fastest two runs in 35.84 and 36.14. Wheeler was joined on the podium by Bailey Clermont, of Lin-Wood, second, 1:12.91; and Suni Choi, of Bishop Brady, third, 1:13.73.
Skiing for Kennett in race were Remick, sixth, 1:14.09; Tinkham, 12th, 1:15.75; Wright, 22nd, 1:18.06, Eldridge, 27th, 1:18.53; and Nash, 42nd, 1:28.56.
In the girls slalom race, Bernier was second overall in 1:20.33. The race was won by Bishop Brady's Elisabetta Caldesi in 1:19.60 while third went to Emma Moore, of Hillsboro, in 1:23.74.
Other KHS girls were Glavin, 11th, 1:26.88; Rockett, 15th, 1:27.89; Niiler, 27th, 1:33.56; and Lemerise, 41st, 1:41.96.
In the boys slalom, Remick led the Eagles, finishing second in 1:14.48 (he had the fastest second run in 36.98. The race was won by Wheeler, who made it a true daily-double after taking the morning GS, in 1:14.06. Bishop Brady's Brendan Bryck joined them on the podium in third in 1:16.82.
Other Kennett finishers were Tinkham, sixth, 1:17.85; Wright, seventh, 1:18.06; Eldridge, 20th, 1:22.83; and Nash, who was in the top 10 after the first run, but did not finish his second.
The KHS boys successfully defended their alpine crowns three weeks ago, winning by a large margin. They capped off an undefeated season by winning the Division II Boys Alpine Championships at Waterville Valley. The Eagles thoroughly dominated the morning GS portion of the two events to bring home the title by 30 points over rival Hanover. Nash won both the GS and slalom races to garner individual honors. It's the fourth year in a row the Eagles have lifted the crown.
Kennett placed five skiers in the top nine and six in the top 11 in the two runs of giant slalom. Nash, who won the GS last year, successfully defended his crown with two outstanding runs. Teammate Tinkham joined him on the podium in second followed by Wright, fourth; Eldridge, eighth; Remick, ninth; and Danny Macdonald, 11th.
Nash won the slalom while Wright was fifth; Remick, ninth; and Kieffer Bradley, was Kennett's fourth skier and scorer, crossing the line in 13th.
The Kennett girls dominated the Division II Girls' Alpine Championships Monday, three weeks later than originally planned, at Crotched Mountain in Bennington.
Talented freshman Bernier actually won both the slalom and giant slalom to cap off a dominating day on the slopes by the Eagles.
Kennett won the morning GS by placing four skiers in the top 6.
Bernier, who posted the second fastest time in the first run (41.77), came from behind with the fastest second run (41.61) to win the race in a combined time of 1:23.38. Other Kennett finishers were Glavin, fourth, 1:25.33; Niiler, 1:25.54; Rockett, sixth, 1:26.01; Lemerise, 13th, 1:29.69; and Nora Miller, 20th, 1:32.46.
In the afternoon slalom, Kennett placed four skiers in the top nine to take team honors with Bernier once again garnering individual honors. Bernier had the second fastest first run (41.18), but flew in the second run (40.96) for a combined run of 1:22.14, winning by over three seconds. Lemerise was fourth for the Eagles in 1:27.25. She was followed by Glavin, fifth, 1:29.78; Niiler, ninth, 1:31.25; India Drummond, 20th, 1:42.48; Elizabeth Robert, 24th, 1:48.38.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 07:33
CONWAY — Kennett High Senior Gracie Ryan officially closed the book on the winter track and field season when she competed in the prestigious New England Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on March 1. Competing against the best high school indoor track and field athletes from across New England, she finished tied for 14th in the high jump.
"They set the opening jump height at 5'1", which is an inch over Gracie's personal best and school record height (5')," Bernie Livingston, Eagles' head coach, said. "She ended up no heighting along with 12 other girls to finish in a tie for 14th. Only 13 out of 26 girls made the opening height.
Ellen DiPietro, a senior from Marshfield, Mass., won the meet clearing 5'9". The winning height in 2013 was 5'5" while the all-time best in the New England Championship meet is 5'10" set in 1994. The best indoor jump in New England is 5'11" accomplished in 1995. The national high school record is 6'3" set in 1984 by Lisa Bernhagen, of Wood River High in Hailey, Idaho.
"Gracie took two jumps at the opening height and came very close," Livingston said. "She enjoyed herself and really wanted to compete against the very best."
It was a proud day for Livingston, who not only got to see Ryan compete, but his granddaughter (Abigail Livingston) ran the first leg on the winning 4X800 meter relay team. Livingston, a senior at Barrington High in Rhode Island, and her teammates won the race by 10 seconds in 9:09.59.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 07:26
by Charlie Tryder
FRYEBURG — Five Fryeburg Academy athletes traveled to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston March 1 to compete against the best high school indoor track and field athletes from New England.
The 4×800 team TJ Rose, Eric Hannes, Tyler O'Keefe and Jared Schrader set yet another school record. The Raiders had a goal of running a sub 8:30 entering the meet. They accomplished what they set out to do by running a 8:28.72 to finish 16th overall out of 30 schools.
The relay was won by Ridgefield High School in Conn., in 7:56.12
Coach Kevin McDonald pointed out how impressive their accomplishment was.
"They came home with the fastest time for a Maine team and they broke their own school record."
All the runners ran strong legs, but McDonald commented on Hannes' effort. "When he took the baton, we were in eighth place. When he handed it off to Jared, we were in second place."
After running a strong anchor to secure a second-place finish, Schrader moved on to the 1,000 meters. He ran a 2:44.12 to finish 21st overall to set a school record for the event. Everest Crawford, of Gloucester, Mass. topped the field of 26 competitors in a time of 2:26.11.
Forest Stearns ran a 1:28.38 in the 600 meters to finish 23rd out of 32 runners. Joe Luongo, of St. John's Prep in Mass., won the race in 1:20.67.
Stearns typically runs the 200 and 400, but adjusted to the 600 meters required for the New England meet. Like Schrader, Stearns set a school record in an event that is not run in main high school meets, so the record will stand until other Raiders qualify for New England's and beat their times.
McDonald's spoke for assistant Bobby Collins, himself, and the entire Fryeburg community at the conclusion of the meet.
"Coach Collins and I are proud of the performances of these young men both on and off the track. Fryeburg Academy was well represented at the New England's this year."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 07:21
CONWAY — The Kennett High Unified basketball team came from behind in the fourth quarter to win its first ever playoff game before a large, vocal home crowd at the Nest on Thursday. The Eagles outscored Hinsdale 10-4 over the final five minutes to book their place in the Unified Division I quarterfinals with a thrilling 37-32 victory.
Kennett, the No. 4 seeds, will host an Elite 8 playoff contest this Tuesday (4 p.m.) against No. 12 Profile-Linwood. The Patriots upset No. 5 ranked Merrimack Valley 28-26 on Thursday.
In just its second year of existence, the Kennett High Unified basketball team has made the post-season both winters. The Eagles are now 6-1 this year.
Suiting up for the Eagles were Michael Davis, Charles Hill, Nokomis Lucy, Brandon Porter, Jacob Potochniak, Hunter Sampson, Gillian Wilcox, deGrasse Schrader, Dominic Lentini, Meghan Hayman, Luke Tinkham, Rachel Yalenezian and Kaitlyn Jones.
The team is coached voluntarily by Courtney Turchan.
Playing for the Pacers were Elise Atkins, Collenn Bedow, Katelynn Comanli, Jocelynn Marshal, Sam Calderwood and Kobe Boudreau.
The teams were introduced by Jon Judge, the voice of the Nest, and one by one each player when their name was called stepped forward and waved to the crowd. Smiles followed along with plenty of applause.
The Eagles took the first lead of the afternoon, just 12 seconds into the contest when Hill knocked down a long jump shot much to the delight of the Kennett faithful.
Fans had plenty to cheer about four minutes later when Lucy came off the bench with her trademark wide smile and wave to the crowd. "She's the real heart of the team," one parent said.
Hinsdale knotted the game at 2-2 with 3:20 to play in the first period on a basket by Marshal in the lane. Twenty seconds later Hill buried a three-pointer that drew nothing but net to restore Kennett's lead at 5-2.
The Pacers scored the final four points of the period on two high arching baskets by Calderwood, who had quite a night for his team, finishing with a game-high 22 points.
Hinsdale led 6-5 after the opening eight minutes, but Hill scored the first four points of the second quarter to put the hosts in front 9-6. The teams essentially traded baskets for the rest of the quarter with Potochniak getting the hot hand for the Eagles with 10 points over the final six minutes.
Kennett led 21-16 at the intermission.
Hinsdale outscored the Eagles 6-2 (two Calderwood baskets and a bucket by Comanli) in the third quarter to trail by a point, 23-22 heading into the fourth period.
Calderwood made one of his patented rain-making jump shots to put the Pacers in front 24-23 with just over seven minutes to play.
Hill scored the next four points on a banked shot and a layup to give the Eagles back the advantage with 6:18 remaining but Calderwood made another jumper and Boudreau made a layup to put the Pacers on top with 5:23 to play.
Potochniak gave his team the lead for good with 5:05 left when he banked in a shot off the glass. Less than a minute later he took a pass from Lucy and scored again to build the lead to three points. Lucy assisted on three of Kennett's final five baskets and — of course she threw in her wave and glorious small along the way.
The final horn sounded and there really were no losers on this day, just one team, Kennett, will play at least one more game. Both teams received a standing ovation, shook hands and then enjoyed pizza like long lost friends.
Potochniak finished the game with 20 points while Hill added 17 to lead Kennett's offensive attack.
Calderwood led Hinsdale with 22 points while Boudreau added four; Marshal, four; and Comanli, two.
There are 32 schools (up from 21 last year) across the Granite State participating in unified basketball this winter, with Kennett playing in essentially a northern cluster of teams along with Berlin, Laconia, Plymouth, Winnisquam and Interlakes-Moultonborough.
"The vision of the joint NHIAA/Special Olympics sports project is to allow high school students with and without intellectual disabilities the opportunity to represent their high school by participating on a unified sports team providing the students with a quality experience of sports training and competition," is how the NHIAA describes unified basketball.
It's essentially basketball played under the same rules as the high school varsity and junior varsity boys' and girls' basketball programs. A team must have at least three unified student athletes who are mentally or physical disabled, and two unified student partners who do not have disabilities on the floor at all times.
Each school can have up to 21 individuals with no more than 15 of them being players in uniform, and no more than seven being unified partners. The remainder of the roster can include one head coach, three assistant coaches and two managers, the principal and athletic director.
The Unified semifinals are scheduled for Thursday at the home of the higher seeds with the championship game to be played Saturday at 5 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University.
The quarterfinal matchups are No. 1 Keene vs. No. 8 Spaulding; No. 2 Nashua South vs. No. 7 Dover; No. 6 Oyster River vs. No. 14 Stevens; No. 4 Kennett vs. No. 12 Profile-Linwood.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 March 2014 05:00
CONWAY — The Kennett-High ice hockey team came oh-so close to keeping one of the longest streaks in Granite State sports alive on Saturday. When third seeded Belmont-Gilford scored the game-winner 4:23 into overtime of the Division III quarterfinals it ended the sixth seeded Eagles run of consecutive trips to the Frozen Four that dated back to 2006.
"That's why playoff hockey is so good," Michael Lane, Eagles' head coach coach, said. "It can be both exhilarating and heartbreaking. Fortunately, we've been on the exhilarating end more often than not, but I couldn't be prouder of this team. ...Anyone can be gracious and sportsmanlike when you're winning, but you really see what you're made of in tough losses like this and our kids kept their heads high, congratulated and wished Belmont-Gilford good luck — I couldn't be prouder."
The Bulldogs had beaten the Eagles twice during the regular season, winning 6-2 in Laconia on Dec. 12 and 5-2 in Conway on Jan. 29. Yet, it was KHS as an underdog who ousted B-G in the quarterfinals last year so the skaters from Conway welcomed a return engagement and it was nearly déjà-vu in terms of the outcome.
The Eagles actually were leading 2-1 with just over 90 seconds to play in regulation time in as exciting a hockey game you could ask for. Down 2-1 with 1:35 remaining the Bulldogs netted the equalizer.
Forward Andrew D'Amour pounced on a rebound of a shot from the point and beat goalie Josh Kondrat, who was brilliant all night, from close range.
"Josh was unbelievable," Lane said. "They out-shot us 19-6 in the third period and some of his saves were incredible. He stopped one shot where they tried to go backdoor and I still don't know how he made that save."
With B-G possessing a much deeper bench — they had six more skaters than the Eagles — it looked like they had all the momentum and the fresher legs heading into overtime, but it was Kennett who had two great chances in the opening minute of the extra session.
"I thought out kids would be gassed," Lane said, "and when we went to overtime I didn't know if we'd have much left in the tank, but they brought it. We hit the post on one chance and came really close on another opportunity."
With 10:37 left in overtime, the Bulldogs scored the game-winner. Center Caleb Drouin scored off a face-off with a quick snap shot to send B-G to the Frozen Four.
"Sudden death, it's over pretty quickly," Lane said. "It was disappointing for the kids and our fans. It was a fun game to coach in, but we would have certainly liked a different outcome. It's the first time since '06 that we haven't made it to the Frozen Four, but it was still a successful season for this group. We had a small roster (only 13 skaters) to start the season and then we dealt with injuries all winter but our kids never complained. They gave their all and left it all on the ice and as a coach that's all you can ask for."
The game was scoreless through the first period with the hosts out-shooting KHS 11-5 in an otherwise uneventful opening 15 minutes. It became playoff hockey in the second period with end-to-end action.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first with senior Brad Canavari lighting the lamp at 3:48 of the period. He took a feed from sophomore Nick Ansaldi, made a beautiful move at center ice to beat a B-G defender and then went in alone on goalie Calvin Davis and beat him stick-side.
"Brad had a great game," Lane said. "He had a great season and was everything you'd want a captain to be. He finished fourth in the division in scoring. He's going to be a tough kid to replace because he does a lot of little things that don't necessarily show up in the scorebook."
Kennett's 1-0 lead was short-lived however. Just 15 seconds after Canavari's goal, the Eagles were assessed a penalty for a trip, putting B-G on the power-play. With 9:51 left in the period, Brogan Hurst scored the equalizer.
"He scored on a wrist shot that Josh never saw," Lane said.
The Bulldogs out-shot the Eagles 11-10 in the period.
B-G nearly took the lead four minutes into the third period, but Kondrat made six saves — many from point-blank range — in a 10 second period to keep the contest level. Kondrat proved why he's considered the top goalie in the division with 41 saves in the game.
"He was pretty special for sure," Lane said, "I thought we had a lot of people play really well. Dane (Rivera) had a great game on defense and (Dan) Nusbaum and (Bryan) Baker were solid all night. We only skated three defensemen the entire game so we could move (Robert) Moody up to forward to try to create more offense."
Ansaldi sent the Kennett fans into a frenzy with 6:11 to play in regulation when he made it 2-1. With the teams skating four-on-four Canavari put a shot on target that Ansaldi deflected past Davis.
The Bulldogs were stunned and actually called a time-out with 3:44 remaining to regroup. It was a move that paid off a little over two minutes later.
"We played great," Lane said. "When you get to overtime anything can happen. I wish we could have had a better outcome for us. ...We had a great turnout from the Valley to support the team and we really appreciated it."
Members of the Kennett hockey team are Rivera, Robert Thurston, Baker, Moody, Dan Nusbaum, Kate McPherson, Ansaldi, Anthony Graziano, Josh Field, Canavari, Alex Roy, Tanner Brown, Michael Ellison, Bobby Davis and Kondrat.
"It's always a sad day when the season comes to an end," said Lane. "Even when you win, letting go of your seniors (Canavari, Rivera, Field and Ellison) is tough. They made Kennett hockey a better program.
"... This loss doesn't take away anything from what they accomplished this season, he added. "They all represented Kennett High so well. We'll miss our seniors, but we've got some good young talent coming up, the future looks bright. ...I'd like to thank my assistant coaches (Mike Deyak, Justin Frechette and Todd Frechette), they're the best and I certainly couldn't do it without them. I'd also like to thank everyone who supports Kennett hockey, there are so many people who step up for us. A month from now we'll all start up again with the annual Frechette Tire fund-raiser."
The Frozen Four is scheduled to be held at Everett Arena on Wednesday (No. 2 Souhegan versus No. 3 Belmont-Gilford at 5 p.m. and No. 1 Berlin against No. 5 John Stark-Hopkinton at 7:30 p.m.) with the finals scheduled for the Verizon Wireless Arena in Concord on Saturday, March 15 at 12:15 p.m.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 March 2014 04:54