Junior high jumper Nicole Kestenberg, who ranked third in the State Invitational tournament last season, is not affected by the team’s lack of South student support.
“The Track team is actually really supportive – it’s enough [for me],” Kestenberg said.
She is not disappointed that fans are not showing up, but does think it would be nice if the sport got more publicity. “Some sports, events, and people need more fans and support from students, but I personally don’t feel that [it is] necessary for high jump,” Kestenberg said. “I guess I wish more people knew what [high jumping] was.”
Kestenberg expects the team to do well this season because the team, which was successful last season, graduated two seniors yet still has six returning jumpers.
“A lot has changed since last year for the entire team – we have a new coach so it’s really hard to say [how good we’ll be],” she said. “We do pretty well.”
Experience in high jumping is crucial to a winning team. According to Kestenberg, the high jumpers practice longer than most of the Track and Field events, and they spend most of the time bonding and perfecting their technique.
One of the encouraging aspects of the team is the support the jumpers give to each other. “During indoor, all the girls of every team were really supportive to one another. We’d all clap after individual jumps even if they missed,” Kestenberg said. This support has helped the team prosper even though it does not have a lot of fans from the student body.]]>
Even though she started playing volleyball as a sophomore, Leipzig was called up to the Varsity team during her first season. She had an immediate impact and never turned back.
In her three years on the team, she recorded 136 kills, 72 block stops, and 131 block assists. In her junior and senior years, Leipzig led the team in blocking, a demonstration of her value to the team.
Even though Leipzig is not an overwhelmingly tall athlete, she compensates with her mind. Her volleyball “IQ is one of the factors that make her an exceptionally good athlete.
“She will beat you with her brilliance. She’s not some sort of volleyball specimen physically, she is a good volleyball player, but she is great because of what she does with her skills, Elwell said. “Her mind is the most powerful thing she has. Her brain makes her extremely valuable, no matter how short, or tall, or quick, or fast.
During a match against the cross-town rival Newton North Tigers, Leipzig had possibly her best performance on the volleyball court.
Although she had numerous friends on the opposing team, she did not fold under the pressure. According to Elwell, Leipzig remained composed in tense situations throughout her career.
Part of her mental strength was her analysis of the ball in play. Leipzig showed exceptional mental power when analyzing the ball’s motion and velocity. “She has really good timing. In volleyball, you have to look for the kids with great timing, Elwell said.
Leipzig was also a leader, even though she was not a volleyball captain. “Ally never needed a title, she was who she was, and she was going to lead by example, Elwell said.
Leipzig’s personality matches her game mentality, as she is very helpful and easy to work with, making her a favorite among teammates.
“Ally is very reliable. She adapts really well to every situation and she is so easy to work with. She knows the game and she is so willing to share her knowledge with her peers, senior Vanessa Gailius said.
Leipzig was a productive volleyball player because of her mentality, which Elwell described as “intense and “relentlessly positive.
Leipzig maintained the same focus and dedication in the winter and spring that she had in the fall each year. In lacrosse, for example, her coaches and teammates considered her a tremendous competitor.
“She doesn’t let the score affect her play. Even if we are down by a significant number of goals, and there was no chance for a comeback, she would still be giving it her all. She is a grounded young woman, Girls’ Lacrosse Coach Katie Neal said. “Her ability to maintain composure despite pressure, physical exhaustion, weather conditions, or the score [were her most valuable assets].
Leipzig also showed great versatility throughout her lacrosse career. “She was able to play any position on the field, so I moved her around often depending on where we needed help, Neal said. This advantage helped South in tough situations when certain player-on-player matchups weren’t working out for the team.
Her mentality and versatility resulted in her getting the 110 Percent Award and the team Most Valuable Player award, in addition to being named a Dual County League All-Star each season this year.
In basketball, Leipzig also displayed her versatility. “She could stop any player: a point guard, a center. She was just one of those players, one of those special, unique players, Coach Sam Doner said.
Leipzig consistently displayed commitment to the basketball court and to the team. “[Commitment] is a stat that nobody ever puts on paper, which is a shame. She’s a true team player, the ultimate player, Doner said. “Everyone always talks about how many points you have or how many rebounds or steals, but they don’t understand that the game is not about the points or rebounds or steals. The game is about everything else and [she does] everything else.
According to Doner, Leipzig’s best game was the first playoff game of her junior year, in which she single-handedly stopped the Needham Rockets’ Christine Ganser, who is slated to attend Holy Cross next year. For all of her efforts, Leipzig received the Girl’s Basketball 110 Percent Award during her senior year.
Leipzig was recently recognized by the school as well. At the Senior Awards ceremony, Leipzig was awarded the Betty Sabetti award. This annual award commemorates the second best female athlete in the entire senior class.
Leipzig will continue her legacy at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, a NCAA Division-III school, where she will play either basketball or lacrosse.]]>
The Lions clinched a tournament berth with a win over Tyngsboro High School on May 10, marking the first time that Newton South has earned a tournament spot since the 2005 season.
“I feel great because we haven’t been able to make states the past couple years, senior Tevin Osbourne said. “We have a lot of confidence, heart, fate, and determination.
In addition to securing a spot in the playoffs, the Lions recently won the Strike-Out Colon Cancer Tournament, which took place over Mother’s Day weekend.
In order to achieve this feat, the team defeated both Revere High School and Malden High School, despite unseasonably cold weather and high winds.
The Lions have participated in their fair share of close games, especially against the top teams in the league.
“We have had a pattern so far this season: the first game we blew out a team, then we came from behind [to win], then [we] won a close one, senior Sam Hyun said. “That pattern has continued so far through the entire season.
So far this season, South came up short against Lincoln-Sudbury in its first meeting, and was blown out by Acton-Boxborough.
Even though the Lions have a winning percentage over .500, the team is still upset about its losses.
“In our first loss against [Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School (L-S)] we had a few mental lapses in the field, and didn’t have a good offensive approach against one of the best pitchers in the state, Hyun said. “The other day against Arlington it was the same story but we couldn’t capitalize when we had numerous chances offensively.
This year’s Lions haveÂ the advantage of fielding experienced players who have made their presence known among the best in the state.
The speed and power offensively, combined with range and a strong arm, makes senior Willie Allen an invaluable asset in the middle of the order and in center field.
Despite being in his first year in the Baseball program, senior Taylor Briner has been the catalyst on offense, reaching base safely consistently throughout the season.
There have been times, however, when the offense has resorted to impatient hitting at the plate, a tendency that has hurt the team in the win column.
“The team has sometimes gotten away from our team philosophy of making the [opposing] pitcher work, Head Coach Ron Jordan said. “In the last few games we have started to swing at pitches out of the strike zone, and we are working to fix that in practice.
When push comes to shove, however, the Baseball team has proven it can grind out a victory. Its resiliency has led to three victories on the last at-bat of the game. This, and clutch pitching and defense, have been the difference-makers this season.
Even though offense has been mainly responsible for coming from behind and winning several games, Jordan agrees with the principle, “defense is the best offense.
“Defense and pitching will win you more games than anything else, so we spend the majority of practice time working on this part of our game, he said.]]>
According to Head Coach Patrick McFarland, losing in the opening round of the tournament cannot be the only consideration when evaluating the success of a team with a 12-4 record a year ago.
“You gauge your success by comparing what you do and what you are capable of, McFarland said. “You can win and fail, and you can lose and be a success. South hopes the latter proves true for this year’s squad, after a bitter and abrupt ending to the 2009 campaign.
With a heartbreaking score of 3-2, St. John’s Preparatory School ended South’s season in the final set of the last match last May.
Losses by South’s top doubles team and second best singles player served as critical victories for the Eagles of St. John’s Prep.
During the final match of 2009, the Tennis team received major contributions from the doubles tandem of graduates Jon Ostrowsky and Nate Simon. The absence of the two players’ clutch performances and experience opens up new voids for the Tennis squad.
All three captains for the 2010 season possess playoff experience. In fact, senior Mark Garrity ousted St. John’s Prep’s third best singles player during the match. Junior Tyler Epstein was narrowly defeated by Prep’s top singles player, splitting the first two sets, and then losing the final by a score of 7-6.
Aside from the unfortunate exit from the tournament, the Tennis team can say that some of its players gained invaluable experience.
“[Tournament experience] can teach the other players how to better face [difficult] situations, and it has boosted our confidence for the future, senior Alan Shkolnikov said.
While the loss resonates within the minds of returning players, McFarland has wiped the slate clean in preparation for this year.
“We miss [last year's seniors], but we’re starting over; it’s a brand new season, McFarland said. “Every year is a new thing.
The Concord-Carlisle (C-C) Patriots, the most formidable opponent in on the Tennis team’s schedule, cannot say the same.
The Patriots are looking to for a third consecutive championship, having won back-to-back Division-I State titles in 2008 and 2009. During the run, C-C has a combined record of 36-0.
The Lions struggled against C-C last season, losing both times the schools met, with scores of 5-0 and 4-1.
According to McFarland, however, C-C will be more vulnerable this year than in recent seasons.
The South Tennis team’s dual-threat of both depth and talent lead Garrity to believe that the Lions are capable of snapping the Patriots’ undefeated streak.
“I think we can beat anyone in our league, he said.
“We have a very deep team with loads of ability and enthusiasm.
Atop the depth charts sit the team’s three captains, who hope to benefit from last season’s experiences.
Epstein now ranks among the top 15 players in the state, and with another year under his belt, Garrity looks to improve a 12-2 record last season.
Junior Aaron Belowich leads South’s top doubles tandem this year, and should be a threat to opponents throughout the season.
The younger, less experienced players will not only benefit from the tangible success of their captains, but will also profit from being subject to model, high-level tennis players.
“The captains are role models and leaders for the younger players, and they bring energy and commitment, both on and off the court, Shkolnikov said. “[Younger players] can learn a lot by watching the older guys in match play and in practices, and can take a lot out of this experience.
The captains are very much aware of their impact on their teammates, and aim to convey the reasons for their continuing success.
“[Garrity, Belowich, and I] are trying our best to be leaders on and off the court for the team this year, Epstein said.
To account for the departed players from last year’s Boys’ Tennis team, many players have been promoted from the Junior Varsity level, with sophomore Jonah Schwartz as the frontrunner of his class.
In addition to Schwartz, Shkolnikov, and junior Curtis Robbins will be relied upon to fill the voids of the graduates.
South will benefit greatly from the contributions of Adam Kalowski, who is returning from an injury that sidelined him after just a couple matches, but is expected to be a threat to opposing teams.
The Boys’ Tennis team has entered into the season expecting to serve up a good fight, and has worked throughout the offseason to improve.
“We feel that our hard work in the preseason is going to make a difference in the matches, Epstein said.
South swept a preseason match against Newton North, and hopes that the winning ways become a year-long trend.
The Boys’ Tennis team will face Wayland High School today in its first regular season match of the 2010 campaign.
Only time will reveal, however, whether this year’s Tennis squad has the talent and skill to beat the likes of C-C.]]>
With just six outs left from qualifying for last year’s state tournament, the team blew a four-run lead. “The entire program and I were very disappointed, Baseball coach Ronald Jordan said.
The team is poised to make a serious fight for the state championship. With five pitchers on the staff having varsity experience, and a lineup almost completely composed of returning players, the 2010 squad is the most talented in recent years. According to Jordan, the depth positions his team as the strongest he has coached in his tenure. “This team will have fierce competition for playing time up and down the lineup, he said.
The team’s experience offers more benefits than just talent. “I think that playing with a number of returning players is a huge advantage for our team, senior Sam Forman said. “Instead of taking the first few weeks to familiarize ourselves with each other, we can start improving right away from where we were last year.
Senior Scott Lueders and junior Alex Foner want to emphasize that it takes a belief in their coach, as well as talent, to win.
“If kids aren’t following [coach Ron Jordan's methods], I’ll say something to them and make sure that they buy into it, because that’s the only way we can be successful, Foner said. “There’s no other way to make the tournament or win games.
Mental preparation, focus, and toughness have been a major problem in the past, but the veterans on the team know that these impediments will not lead to success.
“We just sort of complained but this year we’re leaving that all in the past and we’re going to go out there and do our thing, control what we can control, and work hard, Lueders said. “Now we’re ready to actually do something.
The Lions don’t have very many problems besides the mental aspect of the game. Depth in the lineup, with sluggers Forman, Lueders, and senior Tevin Osbourne, coupled with a pitching staff headed by senior Sam Hyun’s strong arm, are the foundation of the Baseball team’s success.
“We’re getting a great top of the lineup with Tevin Osbourne back this year, which is huge because he can hit and run with the best of them, Lueders said. “We had a few players do well, like Willie Allen at the plate, Sam Forman pitching, and Alex Foner stepping up at second base, but we need the other six starters to put it together this year.
Allen, Forman, and Lueders were all Dual County League (DCL) All-Stars last season and should provide a boost to the team.
According to Jordan, Allen was ranked among the top hitters in the DCL and Lueders was considered one of the top defensive catchers a year ago.
The coaching staff has not settled for just raw talent, and hopes to perfect its team’s skills. Additions to daily practice regimens will keep South’s players in good physical condition.
The coaches are focused on improving throughout the season so that the team can play its best baseball going into the playoffs. The staff divided the season into quarters, and at the end of each division, the team will use a newly developed grading system to evaluate its progress.
During Jordan’s three-year tenure as head coach, the Baseball program’s pitchers have struggled with accuracy. The amount of walks that the team has surrendered has decreased each season. Last year, the team allowed 92 walks, roughly 40-percent of which came from graduated players.
“I do expect the number [of walks] to drop sharply, Jordan said. Hyun has a history for surrendering walks, but has worked hard over the offseason to refine his mechanics.
According to both Jordan and Forman, the team’s defense has been consistently good and should not be a problem.
However, there are some new players that may affect the flow of the defense. The departure of two starting outfielders leaves a void that two players inexperienced at the position must fill. To ease the transition, Jordan selected athletic players to switch their positions.
The high-powered South offense will be complimented by speed on the basepaths. Senior Chris Lewis and classmate Willie Allen are two of the most skilled baserunners. Last season, the Baseball team procured a staggering 40 steals in 45 attempts.
In 2009, injuries and other issues sidelined key players, which played as a significant detriment to the team. The Lions have learned through experience that they will be faced with adversity, and will need to overcome it in order to reach their ultimate goal.
“We need to be able to overcome anything thrown our way, Lueders said.
The consensus around South is that the Varsity Baseball team will advance to the playoffs. The question that remains is whether the squad has what it takes to hoist a State Championship banner onto the Field House wall.]]>
At the moment, the record stands at 129 wins. Turetsky currently has 94, just 35 shy of tying the record. This deficit may seem like a large gap, but Turutsky garnered 36 wins this winter.
“[Breaking the record] can be easily done, Turetsky said.
Turetsky experienced some problems during All-States, where he won one match and lost two. “I had one of those unlucky days, he said.
Despite his falter at All- States, he still qualified for Nationals, which took place on Tuesday in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Turetsky, a first time participant at All-States, worked hard to improve from his freshman season two years ago.
Regardless of his near perfect results, he is still trying to improve.
“He walked up to me last week and said he’s already started training for next year, Wrestling Coach Alan Rotatori said. “He’s not just wrestling, he’s applying cardio training, flexibility, and stuff like that [to his training regimen].
Turetsky ranked among the top wrestlers on the team in wins in 2010.
He and junior Albert Chang held the team-high 16 wins during the regular season. Turetsky, however, suffered only one loss, compared to Chang’s two.
Including tournaments, Turetsky finished at 36-9, and was one of two wrestlers to break 25 wins, with the other being Chang. Turetsky also led the team in first takedowns (31), tournament wins (12), and State Tournament wins (4).
In tournaments, Turetsky has placed first once, second twice, third once, and fourth once. During the season, he was named “Outstanding Wrestler of three meets.
Due to his stellar performance, Turetsky received recognition from the league and was named a Second Team Dual County League All-Star.
He was also named team MVP for the second year in a row, and a captain for the upcoming 2011 season. According to Rotatori, there has never been a three-peat in his 21 years during his tenure as South’s coach.
Rotatori believes that Turetsky will be able to surmount the record during his senior season.
Turetsky has many strengths that have led to his strong performances. “He works out every morning before school, and then again sometime after school. He also goes to two wrestling clubs, varsity captain and senior Tamir Zinger said.
Along with being in top physical condition, he also has a great mental outlook on hisÂ performance.
“His main strength is his work ethic; he is the hardest working kid we’ve had on the team, Rotatori said.
“[He is] almost always a guaranteed win. We can always count on him, Zinger said. “[He has] crazy Russian throws that are very high risk but if done well, are match-winning moves.
Regardless of whether Turetsky breaks the record, he will be regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the school’s history.
“I would never replace [the current singlet], Rotatori said. “If we feel that he wants to retire his singlet, then we will do it the same way, and maybe have it up right next to the other one.
“[In all of] the years that I’ve been coaching, 21 years, I’ve had one kid break 100, that’s the singlet up there. He’s definitely [one of] the top 15 best wrestlers the program has seen, he said.
Turetsky plans on continuing his wrestling career in college. According to Rotatori, he has a lot of potential and has a very bright future in wrestling.]]>