Sports Spotlight: BHS Cross-Country Team Wins 2nd Straight Division 6 Title
Nov 29, 2018 06:00AM
● By Pamela Johnson
Cross-Country roster includes (L-R) Aiden Campellone, Brandon Gillcrist, Dan Kurczy, Ethan Carr, Cameron Hasselbaum, Brandon Williams, Coach Peter Lacasse, Michael Reissfelder, Benjamin Youkilis, William Desrosiers Missing: Philip Jones
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor
The Bellingham High boys cross-country team won its second consecutive Division 6 championship on Nov. 10, when it finished first at the Wrentham Developmental Center. The Blackhawks had 49 points and breezed to victory over Cohasset-Hull, which had 86 points. Ipswich was third with 128 points.
BHS placed five runners in the top 24—Brandon Williams finished second, Ethan Carr was seventh, Cam Hasselbaum was 10th, Brandon Gillcrist was 17th and Dan Kurczy was 24th. The Blackhawks not only won the Division 6 meet for the second year in a row, but they also captured the Tri Valley League regular-season crown for the last two years.
“We had five seniors on the team and this group has been special since their freshman year,” coach Peter Lacasse said. “They’re all good friends, they work hard and they teach the younger kids the right way to approach competition. They’re role models, they’re talented and they all run well; and they’re excellent, well-rounded student-athletes who compete in other sports (basketball and baseball).”
Lacasse noted that the presence of other BHS coaches, namely TJ Chiappone, Steve Mantegani and Rich Blue, was appreciated. “It’s always nice to see fellow coaches come to a meet and see our student-athletes compete,” Lacasse noted.
Before winning the divisional meet, the Blackhawks competed in the TVL meet and finished second to Dover-Sherborn, 41-68, on Oct. 24 at McCarthy Park in Medfield. Carr led BHS by finishing ninth. Other runners who placed were Gillcrist (13th), Williams (14th), Hasselbaum (16th) and Michael Reissfelder (17th).
BHS Boys Five Eyes Playoff Return
The Bellingham High boys basketball team, which advanced to the second round of tournament play last year, has two goals for the 2018-19 season, which gets under way for the Blackhawks on Dec. 11 at home against Nipmuc Regional.
“We want to compete for the Tri Valley League Small Division title and qualify for the playoffs again,” said coach TJ Chiappone, who begins his eighth year at the helm. “We’ve got a good mix of seniors with experience and we’ve got young players who’ve got skills; and, for the first time in a while, we have some size.”
Five seniors who will play key roles include forwards Michael Reissfelder, Jacob Bassett and Ethan Carr and guards Corey Chiappone and Philip Jones. Reissfelder led BHS last year in scoring and rebounding (14-point average and 8 rebounds a game). Chiappone led in assists (4 per game) and Jones was tops in steals, averaging 2 a game.
“Michael is a good three-point shooter and a solid positional rebounder,” Chiappone said. “Corey is our point guard. His offensive skills, ball-handling ability and court awareness are solid. Philip will be at the off-guard position and he’s our best defensive player. He’ll guard our opponents’ top offensive players. He’s also capable on offense and can handle the ball. Jake will play power forward and center. He’s a dependable role player who can rebound and play defense. Ethan is a 6-4 forward who plays defense and can rebound at both ends.”
Two juniors who will be contributing are forward-center Jack Buckley (6-5) and guard-forward Justin Crayton (6-2). “Jack had a good off-season,” Chiappone said. “A rim protector, he’s a good inside presence on offense and defense. Justin is a fine outside shooter and we’ll be counting on his offense. We also will expect contributions from first-year varsity players like Mitch Olson (6-5 senior) and sophomores Tate Pike and Tyler Warren.”
Last year, the Blackhawks went 11-9, then split a pair of games in the tourney. BHS downed Greater Lowell in its opener and later bowed to Whitinsville-Christian.
BHS Six Banking on Experience
The Bellingham High ice hockey team’s goal this year is to post some victories, and the players are hoping that will be the case when they open their season in Concord against Minuteman Regional on Dec. 8. Last year’s squad went 0-18-2.
“We were a very young team last year,” coach Joe Robidoux said. “Now, we’ve matured and the players know what’s required and they know what kind of compete level is needed.”
The Blackhawks lost only two seniors to graduation and have only two seniors returning — captains Kyle McCann at forward and Kyle Robitaille on defense. “They’re good leaders, are high-character individuals and have a solid locker-room presence,” said Robidoux. “McCann has good hands and very good touch around the net while Robitaille can rush the puck and carry it. He also has a hard shot.”
Four juniors will play key roles. They include forwards Shane Hamel, Matt Pelletier and Jace Rudolph and defenseman Jake Schultz. “They’re hard workers who are very coachable,” Robidoux said. “We’re looking for increased production from them.”
Four sophomores who played as freshmen and will get increased ice time are forwards Jake Houston and Brad Swain, defenseman Brennan McCann and goalie Cameron Lahue of Blackstone-Millville. “We’re hoping to see improvement from this group,” Robidoux said. “Lahue again will start in goal. He’s technically sound and we’re hoping he builds on the experience he got last year.”
The BHS Hockey Boosters will sponsor a Christmas Tournament on Dec. 26 and 27. The Blackhawks will play Tri County Vocational at 8 pm in the featured game on Dec. 26, and Littleton will play Stoughton earlier at 6 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be at 6:30 and 8:30 pm on Dec. 27.
Solid Nucleus to Lead BHS Trackmen
Seven can be a lucky number, and coach Peter Lacasse is hoping his nucleus of seven trackmen will not only place high but also enable Bellingham High to finish above .500 in Tri Valley League meets.
The Blackhawks will be counting on seniors Cam Picard (55, 300, high jump and relay), Mic Flynn (55, high jump, relay) and Dylan Labonte (shot put); junior Brandon Murphy (600, 1000, mile and relay); sophomore Anthony Galindo (55, 300, relay); and freshmen Dan Kurczy (1000, mile, two-mile) and Will Desrosiers (mile, two-mile).
“They’re passionate about the events they run,” Lacasse said. “They’re all competitive and coachable and are quality leaders. We should be an above .500 team in the TVL Small Division. Dover-Sherborn and Norton will be strong in the Small, and Medfield and Hopkinton likely will be the top contenders in the Large Division.”
The boys will open their season on Dec. 8 against Medway at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
BHS Girls Track Eyes ImprovementThe Bellingham High girls track team, which was winless last year, is aiming to be more competitive this season and hopes to have some individuals qualify for the Division 5 Meet.
The girls, who open the season against Medway on Dec. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Center, will be led by seniors Hannah Levy (55, 300, high jump), Jordan Houston (mile, 1000, relay), and Katie Reed (mile, 600, 1000); and sophomores Danielle Villa (1000, mile, relay) and Haylee Morrison (55, relay).
“The girls are enthusiastic, work very hard and have a huge desire to succeed,” Lacasse said.
BHS Girls Quintet Eager for Victories
Megan Puopolo starts her second year as Bellingham High’s girls basketball coach hoping that the 2018-19 season will be kinder than her rookie season at the Blackhawks’ helm. Last year the girls were winless.
“We lost several close games last season, but we’re hoping to win those encounters this time around,” said Puopolo. “We’re a young team based on our early sign-ups. We’ve got two seniors, two juniors and one sophomore; and the rest of the 15 girls are either eighth-graders or freshmen.”
Seniors Sharon Imparato and Maddie Mantegani are the captains, and Puopolo likes their lead-by-example style. “They’re both hard workers and good students,” she said. “Shannon is a rebounding forward who’s tough. Maddie can play guard or forward. We’ll rely on her for defense, but she has the potential to be a big contributor on offense.”
Three other key players are junior Sydney Connor (guard-forward) and freshmen Riley Chiappone (point guard) and Charlotte McGregor (off-guard). “Sydney is an all-around talent who has instinctive ability,” Puopolo said. “Riley is a left-handed guard who can distribute the ball and attack the hoop. Charlotte shoots well, causes turnovers and gives 150 percent. She’s an awesome athlete.”
The Blackhawks will open their season in Dedham against Ursuline Academy on Dec. 10.
BHS Volleyball Team Bows in Tourney
Coach Steve Mantegani’s Bellingham High volleyball team was eliminated in tourney play, bowing to Millis, 28-26, 25-15, and 25-23.
“We played some of our best volleyball of the season,” said Mantegani. “We just needed a couple of breaks to go our way. I liked the way we competed and finished the season. I’m proud that we took another step forward by winning eight games this season, which was two more than last year; and we qualified for the playoffs for the second year in a row by going to Fontbonne Academy (Dedham) on the last day of the season and beating them.”
Five seniors who will be missed include captain Maddie Mantegani, Madi Vadenais, Alexa Abely, Ally Hall, and Lauren Masse. BHS will, however, have 11 varsity players returning.
Wrestling Team Has Some Key Returnees
The Bellingham High wrestling team, which opens its season on Dec. 8 in a quad meet at Tri County Vocational, has some key returnees that include Tom Ulsh, David Roy, Josh Sandelin, Jack Demerit, Rocco Santos and Nyarra DaSiliva.
Coach Tom Forbes will bank on those athletes “to help support and guide a lot of new prospects this year.” Forbes says that the middle school program is growing and is funneling some promising matmen like Tanner Hall, Matt Ulsh, Kainen Milot, and Paul Grieco.
BHS Eleven Ends Losing Streak
The Bellingham High football team snapped a seven-game losing streak by defeating Cape Cod Tech, 28-6, in a non-playoff game, then lost to Sharon, 40-26. BHS entered its Thanksgiving Day game against rival Norton with a 2-8 overall record and a variety of injuries.
“We’re using freshmen and sophomores, and some seniors are playing through injuries,” coach Dan Haddad said. “We’re trying to get healthy for our Thanksgiving Day game.”