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Denebola » Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Basketball milestones passed in never-before-seen way http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/basketball-milestones-passed-in-never-before-seen-way/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2011/03/23/basketball-milestones-passed-in-never-before-seen-way/#comments Wed, 23 Mar 2011 04:40:22 +0000 Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=5599 The Newton South Girls’ Varsity Basketball team has witnessed history with an “H” as seniors Sophie Bikofsky and Kendall Burton each reached the 1,000 point career milestone in the same season, and also in the same game. In that one night, the number of South girls to have reached that milestone doubled, from two to four.

“It is a tremendous achievement as a high school athlete,” Athletic Director Scott Perrin said. “It’s just remarkable and speaks volumes to the commitment that those two and their other teammates put into the sport of basketball.”

Since they are the only teammates to have ever reached this highly recognized achievement, they are not the only ones to be excited. “Well the whole team was yelling and screaming for them,” junior Chloe Jackson-Unger said. “After it set in we realized how big of an accomplishment it was for both of them and you could just tell how proud the coach and parents were of them.”

They achieved it within a minute of each other, with both assists coming from senior Chloe Rothman. “Without Chloe, I don’t think either would have made it to their 1,000th point,” Head Coach Sam Doner said. “To be honest, I think Chloe really dictates the whole game and I don’t really see players like her being very unselfish.”

The event marked the first time in South history that two teammates have reached the 1,000 point mark in a season, let alone a game. “It’s very important to the South basketball program, as it’s finally being recognized and respected out there in this state,” Doner said.

These achievements are only a small part of the success the players, and the team as a whole, have had the last two years. Their accomplishment is much more than an important statistic; it is a symbol of Bikofsky’s and Burton’s work ethic. “It represents how hard they worked and how much our team had accomplished,” junior Ana Horowitz said.

Having so much success on the court does not only affect the team that currently surrounds them, but the teams that are yet to come. “It’s big because it motivates the youth program. They look up to these girls and realize that they want to be a part of it now,” Doner said.

The hard work that needs to be put into being successful as an individual and as a team have always been connected, but Bikofsky’s and Burton’s dedication has greatly impacted the team as a whole. This year, the hard work that these two have put has made not only themselves better, but also the team around them because it motivated the rest of the team.

Playing at a high level with consistency shows the impressive work ethic these two have possessed over the four seasons here at South.

“They tried to work harder then everybody else; they were the first to come to practice and the last girls to leave the court. They have certainly exceeded my expectations in a lot of different ways,” Doner said. “They were a lot more mentally tough then I thought they would be and proved me wrong on a lot of different occasions.”

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Sophomores step up to the plate http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/sophomores-step-up-to-the-plate/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/06/10/sophomores-step-up-to-the-plate/#comments Thu, 10 Jun 2010 06:04:27 +0000 Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4593 There is something very unusual about the Boy’s Varsity Baseball team. It doesn’t happen very often that two underclassmen play for a team on any Varsity level, but Newton South can argue on the contrary. Sophomores Reed May and John Jennings are both on the Boy’s Varsity Baseball team this year.

Reed May, who has been on the team since his freshman year, remembers how it was in the beginning. “At first, being on the team as a freshman was really awkward and sometimes I would feel a little bit intimidated by the older players, but after the first practice, it was fine because it didn’t matter how old people were, we were just there to play baseball, May said.

Now, both sophomores, the two players have been more than ready to take the next step up and play competitively with the Varsity team.

“Only being a sophomore, I can look up to the older [players] and learn from them. It’s an overall great experience, Jennings said. The two players, even though on a team full of older kids, have benefited greatly from each other’s presence. “Having another underclassman on the team [resulted in] a whole new comfort level, May said.

Another thing that the two underclassmen benefit from is their long friendship from playing together over the years. “Having Reed is a luxury because we are good friends on and off the field, Jennings said.

On the darker side of things, being a younger player on the team leads some to question their abilities. “In my opinion, my hard work and years of experience have made me good enough [to play with older kids]. My best skills would be my fielding along with my arm strength and contact at the plate, May said. May led the team in games played (20), lack of strikeouts (four), hit by pitches (four), sacrifices (five), and assists (49). May was also in the top three team leaders in triples (one).

Jennings is more of a hitting specialist. “My best skill would be hitting. This is what really makes me a good baseball player. During the offseason I try to hit at least three times a week, Jennings said. This season, he led the team in games played (20), singles (20), and fielding percentage (a perfect 1.000).

He also was in the top three team leaders in hits (second on the team), doubles (second on the team), homeruns (he was one of two players with a homerun), total bases (second on the team), strikeouts (second least on the team), defensive putouts (second on the team), batting average (second on the team), on base percentage (second on the team), slugging percentage (second on the team), and was the only player to play 15 or more games without making an error.

Some of the upperclassmen on the baseball team have also taken notice of their hard work. “They both work diligently on and off the field, senior Sam Hyun said. “Newton South is very lucky to have two players of their caliber on and off the field. The value of having young players playing at such high quality will be priceless to future Newton South teams along the road. “Reed’s defense at third base was invaluable. He made spectacular play after spectacular play. He was our most consistent fielder all season long and he saved my mistakes on more than one occasion, Hyun said. “Johnny hit over .400 and has a very strong chance at being a DCL All-Star. He has maturity at the plate, and in some cases, has more maturity than any other starter for any other team I have played for.

Even though May and Jennings were very talented, it hasn’t always been easy for upperclassmen to have the younger kids around.

“I find it humbling, being a senior on the team and [having] two sophomores on the team. Hyun said. However, now he enjoys having them around. “I can relate to them because we all started as sophomores on Newton South’s team. What is even more impressive is the fact that these two are starting on a tournament bound team, Hyun said.

When asked how they see the next two years playing out in terms of their baseball career at South, both sophomores remain optimistic and humble. “I anticipate that for the next two years at South, just like this one, we will make the tournament. I know that there are some seriously talented underclassmen that will be able to step up and make the adjustment to playing on Varsity, May said. “I see the next few years at South as a time to get better and to make it to the tournament. Jennings said.

These two sophomores show tremendous talent, and with that talent, they could do tremendous things when they step up to bat for South.

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Rugby earning recognition as South sport http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/rugby-earning-recognition-as-south-sport/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/rugby-earning-recognition-as-south-sport/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 06:07:39 +0000 Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4393 One would think that rugby is a sport unique to foreign countries, especially in high school. This spring, however, South has embraced the game, as it continues its fight to be recognized as an official Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association sport.

A sport both distinctive in style of play and in its application at South, rugby is finally making its way into the conversation alongside the more mainstream South sports.

“This game is special because it is a world wide sport. Australia, Ireland, Canada, Argentina, and now the U.S [all play it], it is a global sport that includes everyone and all body types: strong, weak, fast and slow, sophomore and Girls’ captain Paris Caldwell said. “Plus the game is different from every other sport, it’s nice to try something new.

The 2010 campaign served as the sport’s inaugural season at South, and, according to Coach Matt Condon, the teams are just “getting [their] feet wet with the sport.

Like that of the Track and Ski teams, the Boys’ and Girls’ Rugby teams practice as a unit, but compete individually. Unlike the track and ski, however, rugby is a sport that requires contact.

The co-ed practices generate some healthy competition among the members of the two genders, making for an intense, but productive, atmosphere.

“Practicing with mixed gender, in [my] opinion, pushes the girls a bit more to show that yeah, we can do just as good, and sometimes even better, [than the boys], Paris Caldwell, a captain of the Girls’ squad, said.

Although the teams practice together, they do compete individually. In this sense, the boys and girls are their own entities, just like any single-gender sport at South.

“It doesn’t feel any different [than any other South sport]. The guys do their thing while we do ours, sophomore and Girls’ captain Aley Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter that they’re sometimes better at drills than us, it only matters that we are getting practice in and love what we do.

Rugby, arguably one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, requires rigorous practices. “Practices are pretty intense. We start off with a run then we do some passing drills and go over some plays but it is a little tough because we don’t have the numbers to fill the field, junior and Boys’ captain Pat Geary said. “After we go over the plays we do a bunch of hitting drills.

Aside from mouth guards, rugby players do not wear any protection in a sport more dangerous than football. Therefore, only the toughest athletes can withstand the physical onslaught of a game.

Preparation starts with conditioning, as it is one of the most important parts of the game. “Unlike football, the play never stops, so there is no time to rest. Once you sub out, you are out for the game, so you need to be in great physical condition to be able to stay in for as long as possible, Geary said.

The demand, rigorousness, and overall physicality of rugby have been the catalyst of a close-knit group. “Not only is this the first rugby team ever at South, we are [also] all one big family and love each other, Lewis said. “We take all our anger out on the field, but off [the field], we make friends with our opponents. That’s just the way rugby is and I love it.

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South ready to defend title http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/south-ready-to-defend-title/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/south-ready-to-defend-title/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 04:31:50 +0000 Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4254 The Girls’ Tennis team had a stellar 2009 campaign in which they won the Dual County League (DCL) title. This season, the team, led by seniors and captains Mika Braginsky and Katherine Man, along with Head Coach Robert Jampol, is poised to defend its title.

Even though its top players from last season graduated, the team is still confident it can overcome the obstacles and win a second consecutive DCL title. “We hope to make the state tournament this year, which will be a great achievement given the loss of four of the seven starters to graduation, Jampol said.

Last year, the team included Lauren Hollender at first singles and the team of Jilli Schwartz and Dana Holt at first doubles, all three of whom were recognized by the Boston Globe and were named All-Scholastic tennis players.

“Having lost extremely talented seniors this year, the team is working hard to pull together and rebuild. Many younger players, however, have shown much promising talent. We hope to simply play our best during the upcoming season, Man said. “We understand it will be a difficult season, but will give it our all to play to our full potential.

The losses of these key players will create a void for the team must fill to have a shot at making a bid for the state championship.

“This year will probably be pretty challenging, Mika Braginsky said. “That said, last year no one expected that we would do very well, and we ended up winning the League Championship, so you never know what could happen.

One problem the team faces this year is the lack of having a dominant first singles player. “We were a pretty strong team last year but this year our weakness is singles because we lost Lauren Hollender who was usually guarenteed to win every match last year at first singles, sophomore Marisa Shocket said.

The team also needs to deal with teams that had achieved great success over the past few seasons, including Lincoln-Sudbury, Acton-Boxborough, and Westford.

“This year we [will] face three of the best teams in the state in our own league: Westford, Acton-Boxboro, and Lincoln-Sudbury, Jampol said.
Last year, the team had beaten all three teams in the regular season but had lost their most important game in the playoffs against Lincoln-Sudbury. This left an uneasy feeling that went on troughout the whole offseason and made them work even harder then they already were.

“We compete hard because we want to succeed. We have also had solid leadership from the captains, and Mika and Kat will be no different. Jampol said. “We take pride in our winning tradition. Though 2010 is a rebuilding year, we will work hard from start to finish.

According to the coach, his team attributes most of its success to hard work and dedication to the sport on and off the court.

While losing graduates proves to be an annual occurrence, the Girls’ Tennis team will sincerely miss the experience and production from the leaders of last year’s championship squad. South will continue to compete at a high level and defend its title as it relies on new players to develop into stars.

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A family of winners http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/a-family-of-winners/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/a-family-of-winners/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:49:23 +0000 Mike Berman http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3873 Even with the comings and goings of all the freshmen and seniors, the Girls’ Track team annually ranks among the top teams in the state.

“Trophies and other things are a byproduct, Coach Steve McChesney said. “I told my team that coaches and kids can talk about lofty goals and championships but that is not the same thing as doing. I work to make our team more about what we learn from each other in practice.

However, last year was different. The runners from the Class of 2009 are considered the best class of athletes in the history of South. It was even one of the greatest single classes in the entire state over the past 20 years.

“In my 28 years as a head coach in two strong track and field states, the 2009 graduating class was the strongest single class that I have been around. McChesney said. “That class alone has maybe won as many All American honors as the rest of the entire state combined during their time at South.

Last year, the Girls’ Track team placed second at All-States, which was still an accomplishment even with such high quality runners.

“We obviously want to continue our reign as Dual County League champions, maybe even Division I or all-state champions, but we’ll take it one meet at a time, senior and captain Cora Visnick said. “We want to qualify as many kids to States as possible.

One of the program’s greatest accomplishments, besides the victories, is the team’s close-knit and family-like atmosphere.

“My favorite part is having somewhere to go after school every day and being around a great group of friends, sophomore Hannah Friedman said.

Even kids that are not ranked in the nation, or even the state, have somewhere to go every day. “We have kids that never score a varsity point on our team over four years who are valued for their effort and dedication.

“In fact, the kids that remain dedicated, even though they do not get the rewards of our top kids, are valued by the team and the coaches. McChesney said.

Being so fortunate as to having good runners years in and years out, the team still does not take all their success for granted. If the Girl’s Track team turns to complacency, it would be harder to accomplish its players’ goal because there are plenty of teams in the Dual County League standing in their way of reaching such a high goal, with Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough frequently place in the top ten at States.

Being in a division with so many powerful programs actually causes South to work harder.

“Our two [track] programs have been at the top in the state year after year, and have also produced so many national-caliber kids, McChesney said. “Our rivalry has been written about many times on the national level as our [track] teams combined have won more state championships and have produced more All Americans by far than the rest of the state.

Even though they are so successful, they must continue their success without a track because of the rebuilding that has been occurring over the past years now.

In the last four years alone, there has only been one home because the former track was unusable. The team hopes it can be done sometime in April, but here is a possibility that it will not be finished until May or June.

“I think it could definitely impact performance in a positive way. Having our own fans on our home court would really get the adrenaline pumping, Visnick said.

Even without the adrenaline of having a home meet environment, the success of the Girls’ Track team has accomplished the unimaginable for many teams across the state because of their high standard while producing a warm and family-like feeling.

Seniors Ezra Banks and Katie Sandson ran at Nike Indoor Nationals on March 13 in the Sprint Medley Relay, where they became All Americans.

The relay, which consists of two 200 meter legs, a 400 meter leg, and an 800 meter one, finished in fourth place.

Banks and Sandson, who both ran the 200 meter legs, teamed up with junior Kathy O’Keefe and senior Melanie Fineman.

O’Keefe ran the 800 leg, and Fineman ran the 400 leg. Both members of the team are already All Americans and national champions.

These four athletes will be running outdoor track this season, and hope to lead the team to success.

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