“We have some strong younger players, senior and captain Max Vasiloff said.
According to Vasiloff, these underclassmen have helped change the team’s outlook.
“We are now starting to view every game as winnable, he said.
The hockey program, in which everyone is on the varsity team due to a lack of players, hopes the players of 2011 will propel the team to next year’s playoffs.
Though the hockey team has not had the most impressive reputation in the past, they have significantly improved their record with the addition of strong underclassmen players and have built a stronger fan base.
The team’s record has had a positive affect on the team, but more importantly, the style of play, making the players more confident according to Vasiloff.
A new batch of freshmen, combined with strong sophomore and junior players, has given the team hope for the future.
Many of these younger athletes have been thrust into key roles, and as a result, have improved rapidly.
Freshman Peter Block and sophomore Danny Fitzpatrick add a great dynamic to the team.
Junior Ty McGarry, who transferred to South from Andover High School, has preformed at a high level all season. He will be an integral part of the hockey team’s future.
“His [McGarry's] addition has made a big difference, senior and captain Gabe Feldstein said. “He adds another big body and brings loads of experience to the team.
Junior Danny Ramin, the leading scorer for the Lions with 14 goals, is also slated to return to the team next season.
Feldstein’s graduation will be a major loss for the Lions, but Feldstein expects sophomore Charles Egan to fill in nicely next season.
Egan has shown great potential in practices and continues to improve during games. With the 2010 hockey campaign coming to a close, the Lions are poised to make an impact next season.]]>
Many students are participating in NAA’s Senior League, which kicked off with tryouts earlier this week.
This and other intramural sports provide these students with a pressure-free athletic environment.
NAA is a forum for the athletes that enjoy basketball regardless of their talent level.
The leagues are, however, competitive among friends, and all teams have experience and talent.
Senior League accommodates the schedules of the majority of basketball-loving students, as games take place on Sunday afternoons at Charles E. Brown Middle School.
NAA requires no time commitments over the school week because there are no practices.
Over the winter, students display the emotional devotion to NAA as if it were a Varsity sport.
NAA offers an alternative to those athletes who feel as though they would not play enough on either of the school’s basketball teams.
Senior and Varsity golfer Jeremy Rubera, who played basketball his sophomore and junior years at the school, reverted to playing NAA as a way to get more playing time.
“I knew if I played for the Lions’ squad, I really wouldn’t be getting much playing time, he said.
With NAA, I don’t have to completely lose basketball, and I can do it to simply feel like I’m staying in shape.
Many seniors are excited for the upcoming season, especially senior Josh Penzias.
Penzias recently tried out for the Varsity team, but due to the great competition involved in the try-out process, he was unable to make the Lions’ squad.Â
Fortunately, Penzias can still play basketball throughout the winter in the NAA Senior League.
“NAA is definitely competitive yet relaxed at the same time. You can have a great game, lose, and not be sore because a few of the kids on the other team are your friends. There is less pressure to perform, he said of his favorite aspects of the league.
The Senior League also provides Varsity athletes an opportunity to play competitively in a sport that they do not take as seriously.
Senior Chris Lewis is among those people. Lewis is a standout player on both the football and baseball teams, but loves basketball.
The NAA Senior League allows him to keep that love in his life.
Lewis, known by his peers as was one of the best players on the Freshman Basketball team three years ago, did not continue playing in order to focus on his other sports.
“It serves as a break for me because I compete in two varsity sports, he said. “I am still able to play with my friends in good league. I need the break but I still want to play basketball.
NAA provides athletes with more than just a place to play around on the basketball court.
It offers bonding time and valuable memories with friends.
The Lions lost Dual County League (DCL) All-Star Samantha Tye, as well as other cogs of their success, but they hoped to continue playing strong defense, despite losing last year’s group of seniors.
“It was like playing with a whole new team [without Tye] and we almost had to rebuild everything, junior Celia Kaufer said.
This year’s squad depended on strong play from unproven freshmen and sophomores, as well as strong leadership from the upperclassmen.
“I think it was more of a rebuilding year for us since we lost a lot of seniors, and we had a lot of spaces to fill which didn’t really give us a chance to capitalize on all our talent, junior Jesse Eysenbach said.
The team’s hopes of matching last year’s formidable record were dashed early after a season-ending injury to senior and co-captain Ariel Kirshenbaum. Her torn ACL, suffered in the preseason, kicked off the 2009 campaign on a sour note.
“It was a big mental loss to lose our captain so early in the season, but she was still a great motivator coming to all of our games, Kaufer said.
Despite this year’s struggles, the program hopes the underclassmen’s experience this season will help propel the Girls’ Soccer team back to tournament contention.
Already this year three freshmen, Lauren Astrachan, Jules Costa, and Tori Swartz, started many games. These three players gained a great deal of experience by playing with the older and more experienced players both in practice and in games.
“The younger players progressed very well throughout the season, Senior and co-captain Karina Berenbaum said. “They immediately saw the responsibilities that they needed to take on to be a beneficial part of the team.
Injuries not only plagued underclassmen, but upperclassmen as well. Sophomores Emma Friedman and Abby Rice both missed a significant part of the season, but hope to rebound and become future assets to the team.
Girls’ Soccer entrusts next season’s success to an already strong junior class. Players Eysenbach, Kaufer, Hannah Nussbaum, and Martha Schnee look to take over the reins and lead the squad to the tournament next year.
“Next year, our group of seniors is going to be really strong. We all have our own qualities in which we can lead the team regardless of who is captain, Nussbaum said. “We look to be a much bigger force because of how closely-knit we are since a lot of us having been playing together since we were little, which definitely adds to the team dynamic of the game.
The coaches were influential in the development of the team’s younger players. Coach Doug McCarthy has been a long time resident of the Weeks Field sidelines and uses his knowledge of the game to mold his younger players into solid soccer players.
“The coaches do a very good job in making the underclassmen feel comfortable and part of the team. I know they will continue to build confidence in them as they grow throughout the years, Berenbaum said.
Although the 2009 season did not have the outcome the Girls’ Soccer program has grown accustomed to, the team hopes this season will give the younger players experience playing at the varsity level.
Berenbaum has faith that her team will continue to progress. “We have some extremely talented players on the team and I think that it can only go up from here, she said.]]>
The Lions’ runners are looking to improve on an outstanding 2008 campaign, during which they sat atop the state rankings for a large portion of the season and won the Dual County League (DCL) championship.
This particular season has not been as dominant previous ones, but the Lions are succeeding nonetheless. The playoffs are around the corner and the team has two more meets against Westford and Tyngsborough.
They hope to bolster their 4-3 record and gain momentum going into the DCL championships.
“Our record in the regular season was not that good, but we have a serious shot at [going deep] into the postseason, senior and captain Yuji Wakimoto said.
The team is currently running on all cylinders, despite the rough opening weeks.
“The team overall has had a rocky start competing but is looking very fast from the new kids to the seniors and leaders of the team, senior and captain Kyle Olsen said. “When its all said and done I wouldn’t been surprised to see another repeat of South DCL Champions.
Trying to outperform last season’s team, whose majority of top runners graduated last spring, is a tough feat. This year, the Boys’ Cross Country team is comprised of athletes from all grades.
The 2009 schedule began with meets against the most potent schools in the DCL. Losses to Acton-Boxborough, Lincoln-Sudbury, and Concord Carlisle provided the Lions with a taste of top-tier competition.
An injury to Wakimoto was a significant blow to the team, but he expects to be at full health come playoffs.
As DCL championships approach, the boys have stepped up their game and are in top running shape. The DCL competition is extremely fierce, and the team will take any advantage they can.
If the Lions want to repeat as conference champions, they must battle through the likes of Lincoln-Sudbury, Acton-Boxboro, Concord-Carlisle, and Westford Academy.
The DCL scoring format, which totals the places of all runners on a team, adds pressure to an already intense atmosphere.
“If you screw up, the whole team screws up, Wakimoto said.
Coach Matt Capstick helps his team overcome this pressure through his highly acclaimed motivational speeches. From these speeches, runners transform their pregame jitters into adrenaline.
“We want to bring that pressure to our side, Wakimoto said.
The team looks to work on running as a pack during meets. This strategy ensures that the slower runners will keep up with the faster runners, and then the team’s score would be better.
Although this year’s squad is not as potent on paper, Wakimoto describes the team as having the most dramatic “margin of improvement within one season out of his four years on the Boys’ Cross Country team.
Wakimoto aspires to have the entire team compete at All-States. In order for this to happen, the team has to rank within the top five at sectionals.
“If we stick to our smart race plan, he said. “Then our tough workouts [all season] are going to show.]]>
He has been on Varsity for four years, and of those four years he has started for three.
Walker contributes to the team on both sides of the ball as he plays center on the offensive line and defensive tackle on the defensive line.
He received Dual League County (DCL) All-Star honors last season.
Walker claims that the team has endured a change in mentality, and he attributes that change to the coaches.
“There are a lot of new coaches, and they are all knowledgeable and really care about the team, he said.
The new turf fields have also contributed to the Lions’ success this season, according to Walker.
“It feels a lot better when you look up in the stands and realize that you are playing for your school pride, Walker said.
Senior Isaac Freedman is another standout player on the Lions’ team. He has been a starter for three years and a two-year two-way starter.
His teammates and coaches hold him in high regard as he was honored as the best player on both the offensive and defensive lines last season. In addition to receiving honors within the team, Freedman was also recognized as one of the best players in the DCL.
This year, Freedman is playing left guard, defensive end, and middle linebacker.
Senior Willie Allen had an outstanding campaign last year as the team’s leading receiver and former quarterback Derek Russell’s favorite target.
This year he has followed up with another strong showing.
So far, he has caught three touchdown passes and is one of the top scorers in Division I A.
Junior Jarrett Atkinson is the sole non-senior captain on the team.
Though young, he knows what must be done to get the team in shape to produce quality results. He may still have much to learn, but his strong leadership skills will carry the team when the Class of 2010 departs.
The four captains are working hard to lead the team through a strong season.
Not only have they developed their playing skills throughout their years on the team, but they have also learned leadership values.
The Lions have endured many struggles over past years, but this has forced the current captains to push through and help the team reach its potential.
The football team looks toward success and hopes to build off increased student support this year, a result of strong leadership and the opening of the turf fields.]]>
The Boys’ Cross Country team in particular had a very strong season last year. Ranked as the best Cross Country team in the state for a large portion of the season, they finished strong when they won the DCL Championship.
They also took third place at the Division 1 Championships and seventh place at the All-State meet. If the Lions hope to repeat as DCL champions, they will need the leadership of captains Yuji Wakimoto and Kyle Olson.
Remarkably, Wakimoto started running Cross Country when he arrived at South, making the Varsity team as a freshman. A key contributor to the team over the past three years, Wakimoto looks to lead the team once again this season. Unfortunately, a stress fracture has been hampering him for about five months.
“While I wasn’t running, my coach still helped me out with how I should cross-train or how I could stay in shape. That encouraged me and motivated me to keep dreaming and training for a comeback, Wakimoto said.
Although slowed down by his injury, he still thinks that the Lions will have success this season and in the future, thanks to the depth that the team possesses.
“We have a couple solid sophomores who work hard and have big potential, but this year’s freshman class is huge with lots of guys that have talent and work ethic. In four years, Cross Country might be faster than ever, Wakimoto said.
He plans to run in college and feels optimistic about the recruiting process. “I have already talked to some coaches, and it’s great since they’re all nice people.
Senior Kyle Olson has also been running Cross Country at South since his freshman year. After competing on the middle school circuit as part of the Oak Hill Cross Country team, Olson gained confidence. He made the Varsity team as a sophomore and has not looked back since. Working very hard at his craft, Olson spent eight weeks running between four and seven and a half miles almost every day.
Olson attributes a lot of his development, and the overall development of the team, to South’s great coaches. “I honestly think that without the coaches, I, personally, and the team, as a whole, would not be where we currently are. The coaches have really helped me get motivated and mature both physically and mentally during my years in the program.
Olson also participates on the Indoor Track and Field team, and although he has had some great moments in his Cross Country career, his most memorable moment occurred on the indoor track.
“The best moment of my entire running career probably came during indoor track last year when I was part of the 4 x 800 m relay that won the DCL Championship. It was the most exciting thing I have ever been a part of.
Olson said that he is unsure as to his future concerning the sport. “At this moment in time, I don’t see myself running in college just due to the issue of time. I have been told, ‘Ëœif you want to run seriously, then it consumes your life,’ he said.
But Olson claims there is a possibility that someday he could suit up for his collegiate team.
“By the end of spring. I may completely change my mind, he said.
This year’s Cross Country team is focused and highly motivated. Led by excellent coaches and accomplished captains, the Lions look poised to pounce on the DCL Championship.]]>
Joe Torre’s life in baseball didn’t begin with the Yankees and surely has not ended with them. But, that Bronx pinstripe world was dead center, and is dead center for many fans still.
The one thing that hits you while reading Yankee Years by Joe is the fact that Torre, arguably one of the greatest coaches the Yankee’s have ever had, was the fourth choice for the managerial position of the storied New York Yankees.
The Yankees had been going through some tough times, especially for their standards.
They had not been producing championships and as a result, The Boss, George Steinbrenner, was moving pieces around constantly as evident by the 21 managerial changes during his first 23 at the helm.
But this run of form changed when Torre was hired.
For the next 12 years the Yankees would restore the brilliance affiliated with their name, and they would be referred to as a “dynasty.
During that 12-year span, the Yankees made 12 straight playoff appearances, won six American League pennants, and won four World Series championships.
This “as told to book chronicles the journey of those 12 seasons for Torre and reveals a great deal about the players who were involved in the historic run and those players’ relationships with Torre.
It’s written in a brisk but not chatty style, and while providing any number of close up details keeps a distance somewhere between a knowledgable fan and a veteran sportswriter with a grumpy cigar-smoking managing editor staring over his shoulder.
The Yankee Years opens by describing Torre’s first several years during which the team was very successful. He claims this, in part, because it was a very ‘Ëœspecial’ group of guys who were unselfish and played baseball the right way.
The team these magic years was made up of both veterans such as Tino Martinez and Scott Brosious, and talented younger guys who were just starting out in the American League, namely Derek Jeter.
Jeter. All Bostonians have some really bad, or sharply negative feelings toward Jeter, considering the fact that he is the leader and face of the franchise that Red Sox Nation all love to hate, and has turned more than a few games in their favor all by himself.
But, one has to say that after reading the book, they would gain a newfound respect for Jeter. A superb ballplayer, he was the leader of the team at a very young age, and Torre was surprised by the fact that when things weren’t going their way, the veterans would look towards Jeter to get something moving.
The teams of these years were made up of Jeter, Jorge Posada, Martinez, Brosious (among others), and they played a great brand of baseball.
They all played unselfishly and the ‘Ëœstar players’ of the team, such as Bernie Williams, did not, we learn, care about their own statistics.
Torre claimed that the team “desperately needed to win, not just post high individual stats.
As a result of this camaraderie and unselfishness, the Yankees, with this special batch of players, went on to win World Series championships in four years between 1996 and 2000, including three in a row from 1998 to 2000.
The problem for the Yankees occurred after their loss in what had become the Yankees’ “Fall Classic to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
What happened? Father time, for one thing, the changing climate of baseball in general for another.
A good chunk of the players who had made up the great Yankee teams of the past, Torre observes, began to age and they ended up retiring, being pushed out, or moving on to other teams.
In the next couple of years, the Yankees did not live up to The Boss’ impossible expectations and Steinbrenner proceeded to purge and splurge, splurge on big name free agents such as Jason Giambi, Randy Johnson, and of course, the quarter billion dollar man, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod).
The great camaraderie that had once been a staple of the past Yankee teams, a chief motivator, was out the window.
Now it was evident that Steinbrenner would spare no expense in his vain attempt to assemble a “dream team,which was going to be made up of a handful of the richest and highest profile names in baseball.
The problem was obvious. These teams appeared to care more about their personal statistics rather than the success of the team.
Jeter noticed this right away, and stated in public that the new players had stopped doing the right things.
For example and the surest sign, when a runner was on second with one out, the player would swing for the fences in an attempt to pad his stats. The ‘Ëœright’ thing to do in that situation of course was to hit the ball behind the runner so that the runner could advance to third base, putting the team in a scoring position.
One of these players clearly interested in his own success was the infamous Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez wasn’t all bad news.
He came to fame in the baseball world after some solid seasons in Seattle with the Mariners and a couple outstanding tenures with the Rangers, including an MVP campaign in which he led the league in home runs, runs scored, and slugging percentage.
The Yankees had high hopes for arguably the league’s best slugger, but in the end, Torre was badly disappointed in A-Rod, no less than Yankee fans and Steinbrenner.
In his memoire Torre refers to A-Rod as Mr. April. This was shorthand for the criticism that A-Rod would hit bombs out of Yankee Stadium early on in the season, but when it came time for the postseason, Rodriguez would shrink back down to becoming an average player because of the pressures of New York and home park fans.
Yankee Years also describes the experiences that Roger Clemens endured when he was traded to the Bronx Bombers from the Toronto Blue Jays. (After the Red Sox, of course.)
Many of the Yankees feared that the addition of Clemens would not be a smooth transition. Clemens had a bad reputation among most of the players in the league, and the Yankees feared that he might not be the best teammate.
Yet the case proved just the opposite, at least in terms of Clemens’ intentions.
Torre documents multiple occasions where Clemens showed a softer side. One of these occasions occurred when Torre walked in on Clemens talking to his wife on the telephone. Clemens was sobbing uncontrollably and exclaimed, “I just want to be a good teammate.
Torre’s memoir not only discusses Yankees’ baseball throughout the season, but also explores off-the-field incidents that occurred during Torre’s tenure as manager ‘€including the whole steroids ordeal, as it related to his team.
Steroids is not exactly today’s news.
The performance-enhancing drug had been in baseball from the 70s through the early 90s, but they became prevalent in the league and went public during the mid-90s.
The steroid craze was especially evident during the 1999 season in which both Sammy Sosa (Cubs) and Mark McGwire (Cardinals) topped the previous home run record, which stood at 61. Sosa and McGwire went on to slug 66 and 71 homeruns, respectively.
It got to a point where as pitcher and player representative Rick Helling stated, “What really bothered me was there were plenty of good guys, good people, who were feeling the pressure to cheat because it had become so prevalent.
The Yankees were, in this respect, like many other teams during this time.
The Yankees, unfortunately, had multiple players who were allegedly connected with steroids, and connected in a big, aggressive, very critical newspaper town.
Glenallen Hill, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte got the headlines, but others were hinted. Congressional hearings didn’t help sell tickets either.
As expected, or anticipated, Torre’s book explores Clemens’ situation in depth. The big hurler had a close relationship with a man by the name of Brian McNamee who was one of the main sources of drugs, and chief information purveyor for the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball.
Some believed that the reason Clemens struggled during his first year with the Yankees was because McNamee did not come to New York with Clemens, due to the fact that he was under a player’s contact with the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Maybe yes, maybe no. But, the next year, when Clemens paid the freight for McNamee to come to the Yankees as his “personal trainer, what do you know? Clemens had a much improved season and returned to the successful “form he had while a member of the Blue Jays.
Opposing players and managers have always given Torre credit for the calm way he carried himself, on and off the field. Readers naturally will scan Torre’s memoirs for his porcupine encounters with The Boss.
Interestingly and despite the fact that Steinbrenner’s horrendously negative reputation didn’t exactly improve with age, Joe Torre was for the most part able to exert considerable control over the team and the decisions made.
Despite the, ah force of Steinbrenner’s personality, Torre did not back down from Steinbrenner’s less than wise commands or his intrusive strategic attempts. Torre by his own account took a strong leadership role, less and less supported, of course, when Yankees failed to continue their winning ways.
Also, in the early years of his Yankee tenure, Torre brought a laid back style to coaching where trust was a major factor.
This outlook and the actions that followed went over very well with the players’€especially the veterans. They had already been in the League for a good period of time and did not need someone to repeatedly identify their every misstep.
Today, although George Steinbrenner is no longer in power and Torre no longer at the helm, the Yankees’ philosophy of winning has changed little.
Yankee top management continues to ship in the top players from the free agent classes, no matter what those players’ past reputations might portend.
The Yankees have had a string of bad games, a disappointing last couple of years, and as all know have not won a World Series championship since 2000.
This October drought included’€to the awkward delirium of the New York Times and sheer ecstasy of Red Sox Nation’€ a complete collapse in 2004 where the Red Sox overcame an impossible three-to-zero series deficit to snatch victory after victory from the Bronx Bombers and after re-writing baseball history, coast to World Series Never-Neverland. Good Bye, Curse…
Overall, Yankee Years was, as they say, an enjoyable read. It seems as though every time one sits down with the book they end up being unable to put it down.
Verducci does a lively job in spicing up the literature and vividly re-telling Torre’s rich stories. A die-hard Red Sox fan after reading may’€hard to believe’€ feel as though they had become a part of those Yankee teams who became almost a dynasty.
The stories humanized the machine Torre managed, individualizing the players. Despite the stereotypes, Yankee Years may change a reader’s attitude.
For example, David Cone becomes likeable. Cone, we learn, brings humor to the clubhouse while still maintaining his position as one of the key leaders on the team.
But not all straw is turned to gold. Even more respect is lost for Roger Clemens. The book reinforces the belief that he took steroids, and portrays him as an outcast from the rest of his teammates.
And Captian Steinbrenner remains an un-socialized tyrant, a rich bully. So what? Yankee Years is Joe Torre, and Joe Torre is worth knowing.
Liz Hathaway competes in the 100 back, 100 fly, 200 medley relay, and usually one of the free relays. She has improved a lot over her career, and she credits that improvement to “being around such positive attitude and support. She has been on the swim team since her freshman year, and that first season was very special to her. She was a member of the 200 medley relay that broke a school record. She says that her favorite memories include “bus rides over to the away meets, the fog over the pool, or any of our team dinners.
“IHOP will always hold a special place in the teams heart she said.
Hathaway is very happy with the new coach and thinks that he will lead them to victories in the future, but she also said that the old coach helped her career. “She helped me a little bit with my stroke, and she put together a lifting program for the team.
Hathaway has high hopes for the season and thinks that the Lady Lions will win more meets this year than they did last year. Hathaway plans to keep swimming after high school.
Naomi Ebstein has been working hard with fellow teammates to prepare for the upcoming season, “People have been swimming and doing a lifting program in order to stay in shape.
In addition to these lifting sessions, the captains have stepped it up and held three captains practices a week to do some dry lands and get everyone into shape.
Ebstein also has good things to say about the new coach: “We have a new coach who we are all really excited about. It has only been four days of practice, but he really seems to know what he is doing and we are improving our technique.
The new coach has brought excitement which they hope leads to victories, and improvement: “Most of our improvement just comes from the excitement of having a new coach and the excitement of having more than six girl swimmers.
Ebstein competes in the 100 yard butterfly, 100 yard breaststroke, 200 yard medley relay, and either the 200 yard freestyle relay or 400 yard freestyle relay, but she also fills holes on the team when they are in need.
“We would like to send some relays and individuals to the sectional and state meets, Ebstein said. “We also hope to win some meets and see some improvement from people. My freshman year, and again two years ago, we broke two of the school records so it would be really cool if we could break another record this year.]]>