EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 2, 2013

Sports in a Minute

Dave Dyer
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — No. 500 for Costa

Congratulations to St. John’s Prep wrestling coach Manny Costa, who recorded career win No. 500 in a quad-meet on Dec. 24.

Costa and the Eagles swept the three meets with the Prep’s 84-0 victory over Peabody serving as the notable win. Making the moment particularly special for Costa was that his two sons — Hunter and Jared — were in the starting lineup.

St. John’s moved to 15-1 on the season, putting Costa at 502-129-5 in his 23rd season as head coach.

A 4-second pin

Speaking of St. John’s Prep wrestling, Haverhill’s Corey Jean-Jacques tied a national record against Saugus in the same Christmas eve quad-meet by recording a pin against Saugus in four seconds. He also had a pin against Peabody in six seconds.

500th for Heil

Peabody girls basketball coach Jane Heil won her 500th win in 32 season last week with a 45-28 win over Everett. Heil, who faced the powerhouse Haverhill teams several times in the late 1980s and early 1990s, started coaching in 1977 and would probably be pushing 600 wins but she retired in 1995 to watch her daughter Kristin play at Beverly and Trinity College before returning for the 1999-2000 season.

Smitty’s stays active

Smitty’s Barn in Danviille, N.H., will be representing New England wrestling Feb. 24 at the Liberty Nationals Duals at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Smitty’s, which is clearly developing a national reputation, will face the Michigan Select team.

NH football sked

The NHIAA, which is changing from six divisions to three on a trial basis to give more weight to the champions it would crown, released 2013 schedules just before Christmas and, except for the absence of non-league games, many of the regular-season opponents are the same as they have been.

Under the trial realignment plan, there is a 20-team Division I, made up mostly of schools that competed in Division I and Division II under the current system.

Timberlane is grouped in a five-team “conference” with Exeter, Dover, Spaulding and Winnacunnet. Teams will also play teams from one other conference — Nashua North, Nashua South, Alvirne, Bishop Guertin and Keene — next season.

Eight teams will make the playoffs, with the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship being held Nov. 9, 16 and 23.

The other Division I conferences group Pinkerton, Salem, Londonderry, Goffstown and Merrimack in one; and Concord, Bedford, Manchester West, Manchester Central and Manchester Memorial in the other.

Merrimack coach resigns

Joe Battista said he’s sure he’ll be coaching football in the fall, but it won’t be at Merrimack High School.

Battista’s five-year tenure as Merrimack’s head football coach ended the week before Christmas when he submitted his letter of resignation. The Tomahawks have a 15-40 record during the last five seasons.

Merrimack was 0-11 last season, a season that ended with a 41-14 loss to Souhegan of Amherst on Thanksgiving. Battista, a 42-year-old Manchester resident, wasn’t on the Merrimack sideline on Thanksgiving for reasons that remain unclear.

Agboola shines

Former Methuen standout Rashidat Agboola enjoyed a tremendous tournament for Boston University at the Christmas City Classic in Bethlehem, Pa. Agboola made the all-tournament team and, in the championship game, had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 6 blocks.

Waiting for Warriors

For those wanting to watch the Merrimack College hockey team play at home, there’s still nine days to go. The Warriors, who will be at Vermont Saturday don’t play at home again until hosting Boston University Jan. 11. Their last home game was Dec. 11, which resulted in a 4-2 win over Army.

Games to watch

The tournaments may be over, but there are still plenty of intriguing matchups on the high school scene this week. In hockey tonight, Salem squares off at Pinkerton in what has become a growing rivalry while in boys basketball, Greater lawrence Christmas Tournament finalist Lawrence travels to North Andover Friday for what should be a tremendous Merrimack Valley Conference matchup.