A look back at the year in sports
WLC Softball vs. Profile
Division IV Finals
Played at Plymouth State University
jaffrey, conant track meet, mascenic, WLC
ConVal girls volleyball vs. Raymond
Played at South Meadow School
Division III Golf State Tournament at Newport Golf Club in Newport, NH
Mascenic and Conant
rindge, FPU mens basketball v Assumption. Northeast 10 quarterfinals
It’s always amazing to look back.
At the end of every year, I spend some time going over the big stories in the local sports world and it astonishes me how much has happened in just 12 short months.
From championship runs and individual accomplishments to coaching changes and debuts, the stories that made up 2012 are ones that make you want to tell them over and over.
While I may not hit upon every little detail of the last 12 months, here is a look at what transpired in a seasonal breakdown.
Winter (January to March)
After being picked to finish 15th out of 16 teams in the Northeast-10, the Franklin Pierce University men’s basketball team shocked just about everybody by earning a share of the conference’s regular season title and the first-ever No. 1 seed in the conference. The Ravens went on to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II East Regional and the top seed, improving by 15 wins over the year before. Then junior Eric Jean-Guillaume was named NE-10 Player of the Year and David Chadbourne was selected as the conference’s coach of the year.
Greg Leonard, who had spent 18 years with the ConVal football program and the previous six as head coach, resigned from his post in February and opened up a nation wide search for his successor and one that ended with the hiring of Ryan McCartney, the son of former University of Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr.
The Conant boys basketball team looked destined to win its sixth state championship in seven years, but a loss in the semifinals derailed the Orioles quest to get back atop the Division III mountain.
With the FPU women’s team still making a run to the Division II tournament, it was announced that former player and then assistant coach Jennifer Leedham would take over the reigns of the program.
And then ConVal junior DJ Colburn was a perfect 3-0 with three pins on his way to a Division II title in the 113-pound weight class.
The Wilton-Lyndeborough softball team had a season to remember. With senior Sam Broderick’s status for the season uncertain with a partially torn ACL in her left knee, there were a lot of question marks surrounding just how good the team would be. But with the help of a brace, Broderick not only made it through the season, but she dominated the entire way. She was a perfect 18-0 on the mound as she led WLC to an undefeated Division IV championship. Broderick ended her career with a walk off single in the last of the ninth inning to defeat Profile 1-0 and was named D-IV Player of the Year. WLC coach Dennis Claire was also named the division’s coach of the year.
Conant’s Katie Tonyai had an unforgettable day during the Division III Championships in May. She won the 100-meter and 200-meter sprinting events and also finished second in the 400 as she made it all the way to New Englands.
In back-to-back days the hopes and dreams of coaches and players were shattered for two programs. The ConVal softball team was one strike away from advancing to the D-II title game before losing by one in the last of the seventh and the next day, the Conant baseball team saw its sixth inning lead erased in a semifinal loss.
WLC’s Tony Graziano pitched his first career no-hitter in the season opener and later took a perfect game into the seventh inning, while ConVal softball pitcher Courtney Fisher also tossed a no-hitter.
Former Franklin Pierce star Johannah Leedham realized her dream of representing her country in the Olympic games. In August, Leedham not only started for the Great Britain national team, but did so in her home country as the 2012 Summer Games were held in London. Leedham was unable to give her home fans a win in four games, but sure did make her family and country proud.
In an unfortunate decision, Conant running coach Lance Flamino resigned from coaching the school’s cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track and field programs. Flamino was one of the good young coaches in the state and has truly been missed.
The Pryor brothers of Jaffrey, Vinny and Michael, both traveled to Omaha this summer to compete in the United States Olympic swimming trials. While neither made it on to the Olympic team, just getting there is a monumental accomplishment.
It was quite an autumn for the Ojala family. In the course of one week, Jocelyn, a senior, and Roman, a freshman, dominated the golf landscape. In late September, Jocelyn captured the state girls individual title and the following weekend, Roman won the Division III boys individual championship, while both played on Mascenic’s team that finished runner-up in D-III.
Prior to the start of the fall season, the decision was made to eliminate the girls soccer program at Mascenic, ending the sport after five seasons.
In just its fifth year of existence, the ConVal girls volleyball program finally picked up its first-ever win in September, one of two on the season.
The Mascenic girls basketball program had not won a game since the 2006-07 season, but in the fourth game of this season, the Vikings snapped a 94-game losing streak with a seven-point win over Hillsboro-Deering.
On Dec. 4, Conant freshman Madison Springfield made her high school debut and did not disappoint with 28 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Campbell. Springfield also helped the Orioles to the annual holiday tournament title and earned MVP honors.
After just one year of practicing, the ConVal girls hockey team played in its varsity debut on Dec. 8.
And lets just hope 2013 brings a similar run of good fortune.