---- — Thursday’s best
While a lot of attention will be focused on the start of the Greater Lawrence Boys Christmas Tournament on Thursday, featuring a terrific opener between Andover and North Andover, there are two other events worth noting that day.
In boys basketball, St. John’s Prep will visit Haverhill featuring several players from North Andover, including point guard Max Burt (son of sports editor Bill Burt) and Drex Costello while, in wrestling, Lawrence will be at Greater Lawrence in what is always a spirited duel meet. Always spicing up the matchup is that Lawrence head coach Rob Niceforo teaches at Greater Lawrence.
Sweep for Owls
Timberlane’s wrestling team not only bested North Andover Saturday night in its varsity meet, but they also swept the other meets. The Owls won the middle school meet 46-33 and the JV meet 42-21.
50th was superb
Quite a bit was made, and rightfully so, of the final of 40 seasons coaching boys soccer for North Andover’s Bill Tarbox, who led the Knights to a Division 2 North title. But even Tarbox takes a back seat to Needham boys soccer coach Don Brock. In his 50th year of coaching, Brock led Needham to a 21-1-3 campaign and the Division 1 title. The final win of the season was the 662nd of his career.
First and last
One of the most memorable moments of the fall season took place in the Division 1 state swimming meet in the newly created boys-only events. Billerica’s C.J. Khoshabjian, in the 100 breaststroke finished both first and last. Since he was the only qualifier, he was the only swimmer in the event.
Until this year, boys swam in the same events as the girls at the state meet.
Coach and runner
Acton-Boxboro field hockey coach Mae Shoemaker has established quite a program. In 14 years, her teams have gone 141-20-20 and this year’s squad was 21-1-1 and captured its third Division 1 state title in six years. Maybe more impressive about Shoemaker is that she’s run in the Boston Marathon for 24 straight years.
92 and counting
Speaking of field hockey, it’s tough not to applaud the Watertown field hockey program. It’s been a powerhouse for more than 20 years and it was as strong as ever this year, going 23-0 and winning its fourth straight Division 2 state title. The Raiders have a 92-game unbeaten streak, meaning that this year’s seniors never lost a game.
Two members of the Bradford Huskies cross country team earned All-American status after finishing in the top 25 at the Junior Olympic nationals in Albuquerque Dec. 8.
Finishing as All-Americans were 8-year-olds Benjamin Craven and Julia Valaskatgis, who finished 20th and 19th respectively with 2K times of 8:12 and 8:23.
Seven other Huskies competed and all finished in the top half of their races. They were 8-year-olds Connor Flynn and Brynne LeCours, 9-year-old Peter Crapsey and 10-year-olds Meaghan Woolbert, Amy Seavey and Ryan Basile and 11-year-old Connor Alessi.
Wrestling mat inflation
The Pentucket wrestling team wants to thank wrestling boosters and members of the Pentucket Athletic Association for purchasing a new wrestling mat, and well it should. What cost about $4,000 just five years ago now costs $8,000.
Don’t wait so long!
The Louisiana Tech football team, buoyed by its 9-3 record and the highest point average per game (51.5) in the country, got invited to the Independence Bowl. Unfortunately, hoping for a better offer, it waited too long to respond and was replaced by another team and was then shut out completely.