Maddie Mantegani, Josh Jones Capture Awards in January
Jan 27, 2018 06:00AM
● By Kenneth Hamwey
Josh Jones proudly holds the Most Valuable Player trophy awarded to him at Bellingham High’s annual banquet
Two Bellingham students were honored recently. Maddie Mantegani (pictured left), an outside hitter and a captain on Bellingham High’s volleyball team, was nominated and selected as the MaxPreps Athlete of the Month for January. Varsity tackle Josh Jones won the MVP Award and also the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The award, according to MaxPreps’ website, is for bravery, dedication, perseverance, and personal sacrifice and for being a positive influence in one’s community. The national organization filmed a video of Mantegani, and the award was presented on Jan. 12 at the high school. A junior, Mantegani also competes in basketball and softball.
“At first, I wasn’t convinced that it was actually happening, but when I finally realized it was, I felt a great sense of accomplishment,” Maddie said. “I’m excited and also honored to be receiving such an award. It represents a testament to my effort and activities.”
A member of National Honor Society (4.0 GPA), Mantegani is a two-time Tri Valley League all-star in volleyball and team MVP in volleyball and was twice chosen as a scholar-athlete in volleyball. She played a key role in helping the Blackhawks’ volleyball team qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Interested in studying either physical therapy or athletic training, Mantegani is mulling collegiate venues that include Providence College, Boston College, Boston University and the University of Rhode Island.
The 16-year-old Mantegani volunteers as a math tutor for underclassmen, has also helped as a youth basketball coach and has worked at volleyball and basketball camps and clinics.
Bellingham’s Athletic Director, Michael Connor, had high praise for Mantegani. “She’s a leader on and off the court,” he said. “We are looking for more Maddie Manteganis who take a year-round approach to competition and physical conditioning. She continues to develop her skills to take her game to the next level and to model successful behaviors.”
BHS Football Awards Banquet HeldThe Bellingham High football team’s annual banquet was held on Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Coachmen’s Lodge. Booster Club President Donna Jones introduced head coach Dan Haddad, who first thanked the boosters for their efforts. He also cited the contributions of the athletic department, his coaching staff, the cheerleaders, and their coach, Tracey Elliott.
Haddad also lauded his players and Jackie Picard (a football mom) for the work they did in helping to prepare 450 sandwiches and driving to Providence to distribute the food at a homeless shelter. “It’s rewarding to see young men who know how good they have it to participate in such a worthwhile endeavor,” Haddad said.
Awards at the varsity, jayvee and freshman levels were handed out with Haddad and his assistant coaches serving as presenters.
Varsity tackle Josh Jones (pictured above) won both the MVP Award and the Defensive Player of the Year Award. Additionally, running back Chris Domercant took home the Offensive Player of the Year Award, and Jacob Bassett was named the Offensive Lineman of the Year.
Other varsity awards went to Jake Prophet (Offensive Back/Receiver), Jim Kilduff (Linebacker/Back), Christian Kelley (Most Improved), Dan Gavin (Unsung Hero), David Defrancesco (Blackhawk Award), and Matt Hill (Coaches Award).
The Jayvee awards went to Brandon Murphy (MVP), Mikey Adams (Offensive Player of the Year), Joey Rinaldi (Defensive Player of the Year), Vinnie Decaria (Lineman of the Year), Johnny Hill (Most Improved), and Andrew Keeler (Coaches Award).
Grabbing freshman honors were Brady Feola (MVP), Anthony Galindo (Offensive Player of the Year), Adams (Back/Receiver of the Year), Gavin Elder (Defensive Back of the Year), Andrew Cochrane (Defensive Player of the Year), Nate Ireland (Most Improved), Mark Imparato (Lineman of the Year), and Donovan Ward (Coaches Award).
Haddad also announced captains for the 2018 season. All seniors, they include Jake Bassett (tackle), Zach Gabriel (center), Jim Kilduff (quarterback) and Dan Gavin (guard).
Coyle & Cassidy Tops BHS in Hutchinson TourneyThe Bellingham boys basketball team trailed Coyle & Cassidy, 29-28, at halftime, but the Blackhawks couldn’t match the Warriors in the third quarter, where they were outscored by a 17-9 margin that propelled the Taunton school to the championship in the 11th annual Barry Hutchinson Memorial Christmas Tournament. The final score was 64-51.
Brent Crayton and Michael Reissfelder led BHS with 11 points each while Coyle & Cassidy was led by Jayden Brown with 14. The Warriors’ other four starters all finished in double figures. Kelvin Kariuki and Chuma Oyigbo had 12 apiece, and Demitri Barbosa and Brian Taylor finished with 10 points each. Crayton and Reissfelder were chosen as tourney all-stars along with Oyigbo. Kariuki was selected as the tourney’s MVP.
The contest was tied at 34 midway through the third stanza after a Crayton steal and layup, but the Warriors went on a seven-point run on baskets by Barbosa and Oyigbo and a three-pointer by Brown. That offensive burst gave Coyle & Cassidy a 41-34 advantage and enabled the Warriors to maintain the lead the rest of the way.
“They had a two-minute stretch in the third quarter that cost us,” said Bellingham coach TJ Chiappone, “but our kids battled hard. Going forward, I like our effort and our composure and the kids are still improving.”
BHS advanced to the title game after downing Hopedale, 56-42, in the opening round. Crayton led the Blackhawks with 14 points, Reissfelder had 13 and John LaRose connected for 11. Josh Jones was Bellingham’s top rebounder with nine. “We trailed, 31-30, after three quarters, but we got some stops and maintained our composure,” Chiappone said.
Coyle & Cassidy advanced to the final round by defeating Wayland, 72-57, and Hopedale topped Wayland, 59-50, in the consolation game. Coyle & Cassidy previously had lost in the title game on three occasions, but its triumph over Bellingham was its first Hutchinson crown in six attempts.
The tournament, which originally was called the “Bellingham Holiday Tournament,” was renamed after coach Barry Hutchinson died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 47 in 2006, not long after guiding the Bellingham boys to a state title in 2003. That team downed Bromfield, 49-40, at the Worcester Centrum.
Hall of Fame Nomination Forms AvailableNomination forms to submit the names of candidates for Bellingham High’s Athletic Hall of Fame are available online at www.bellinghamk12.org. Go to schools, click on high school, select athletics, then click on hall of fame forms.
Nominations can be made by any fan of BHS athletics, and multiple nominations can be made. The categories for induction include player, coach, contributor and team. Nominations will be accepted from January through March.
Update on Winter Sports TeamsSince finishing as the runner-up in the Hutchinson Tourney, the Bellingham boys basketball team bowed to Ashland, 58-52, then lost to Medway (50-45) before snapping a three-game losing streak by defeating Hopkinton (69-65). The results left coach TJ Chiappone’s quintet with a 6-3 record. The loss to Medway was costly on another front--point guard Brent Crayton, the team’s senior captain, suffered a broken ankle that will require surgery.
“Losing Brent was tough; when he went down, we lost our mental focus,” Chiappone said. “Medway’s press hurt us, but we’ll work hard in practice and try to get back on track.”
BHS got back on track by downing Hopkinton in overtime. The Blackhawks rallied to tie the contest after trailing, 49-41, after three quarters. Outstanding efforts were turned in by Philip Jones (25 points, 7 assists), Michael Reissfelder (16 points, 8 rebounds) and Josh Jones (12 points, 9 rebounds).
The boys ice hockey squad hasn’t notched a victory yet but has two ties. Coach Joe Robidoux said that in spite of the team’s youth, “the squad is progressing and the attitudes are positive.” Senior captain Colin Day is the team’s top scorer; the defenseman has displayed solid leadership. Underclassmen who’ve demonstrated a strong work ethic include Bradley Swain, Jace Rudolph, Jake Shultz, Matt Pelletier and Cameron Lahue, the starting goalie from Blackstone-Millville.
The girls basketball team is still striving to win its first game. Coach Megan Puopolo points to a trio of underclassmen‚Äîjuniors Shannon Imparto and Maddie Mantegani and sophomore Liz D’Agostino‚Äîas leaders and building blocks for the future. “Shannon gives 100 percent, Maddie is a vocal leader who’s strong on offense and Liz is a good athlete whose specialty is defense,” Puopolo said. “The girls, meanwhile, remain a close-knit unit and they accept responsibility.”
The boys and girls track teams have encountered a plethora of early-season setbacks, but coach Peter Lacasse is impressed with their effort and focus.
Senior captain Justin Laferte has been scoring in the 600, the 1,000 and the 4x400 relay; junior Cam Picard has excelled in the high jump, the 55-meter run, the 300 and the 4x400 relay; and sophomore Brandon Murphy has been the Blackhawks’ key in the mile, 600 and 1,000.
Hannah Levy is the top sprinter on the girls squad, diligently working to excel in the 55, 300 and 4x200 relay. Katie Reed has been competitive in the 600, 1,000 and mile while Jordan Houston has achieved several personal bests in the middle distance events.
“Both the boys and girls have displayed a great work ethic,” Lacasse said. “We haven’t had many victories, but they don’t quit or complain. They just come to practice every day and give 100 percent.”
BHS in Four Co-op ArrangementsBellingham High now has four teams that are in co-op arrangements: boys ice hockey, wrestling, and lacrosse and girls ice hockey. The only venture where BHS is not the host school is girls ice hockey.
“The MIAA offers schools the opportunity to partner in various sports whereas as stand-alone schools they would either not be able to field a complete team or be competitive as in cases where eighth- and ninth-graders would be pressed into service on varsity teams,” BHS Athletic Director Michael Connor said. “Both situations are in play with the four co-ops.”
This winter, four boys from Blackstone-Millville joined the Blackhawks’ ice hockey squad, increasing the roster to 22. Connor noted that several surrounding schools have hockey programs with teams that number 30-35.
Two BHS sophomores (Katelyn Laughlin and Emily Champagne) have joined Dover-Sherborn (host school) and Hopkinton to form a girls ice hockey team playing out of the Hopedale rink. The three schools have combined to form a team of 20 girls. Wrestling, which came close to dissolving last year, now has 12 participants, two of whom are from Medway. Connor said that the final co-op team will be realized this spring, “when Millis will send at least six or seven players in grades 9-12 to join our developing lacrosse program.”
Connor noted that the MIAA does not approve every co-op request that it receives but is very supportive of schools and student-athletes that would not be able to compete at the high school level without such programs.
Sports Editor KEN HAMWEY, who compiles the information and writes the Sports Spotlight each month, brings over 40 years of journalism experience to our publication. Ken is always open to sports suggestions and questions, and may be contacted via email at KenHSports@aol.com.