High School Roundup: Seasons underway for Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant senior co-captain Tiffany Marrotte clears the zone during the Orioles’ field hockey game against Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant field hockey team hosted Bishop Brady on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/21/2020 12:42:27 PM

COVID-19 cut the winter high school sports season short, canceled the spring season and caused a summer full of uncertainty about what was going to happen this fall. The NHIAA, the state’s high school sports governing body, provided a set of guidelines for fall sports and left the decision to participate in the hands of the individual districts.

Schools participating in interscholastic competition will play against regional cohorts not necessarily bound by division or similar school size, and will look forward to postseason tournaments in new formats yet to be determined by the NHIAA.

Competition finally started last week, and it looks a little different than it has in previous fall seasons.

At Mascenic, Bradley Miller took over the athletic director position midsummer. Starting a new job in these unprecedented times is hard enough, let alone juggling it with teaching Spanish at the high school, too, but the unique challenges presented by the pandemic do put everyone on a level playing field.

“Going through this COVID, there’s not a single thing that has a definitive answer that you can get out right away,” Miller said last week, while finalizing the Vikings’ schedule. “It’s like being new every day.”

The school board had to approve each sport individually based on safety presentations from their coaches; they approved cross-country and golf quickly, and a few weeks later, approved soccer, volleyball and field hockey.

Mascenic is expected to compete mostly against Keene, Monadnock and Conant to form a regional cohort.

The Mascenic boys’ soccer team, last year’s Division III runners-up, will be coached by Jeremy Taylor, who takes over for DIII coach of the year Andy Helliesen.

Wilton-Lyndeborough has a pair of new coaches for the Warriors’ boys’ and girls’ soccer teams; as Dan Nelson took over the boys’ program and WLC art teacher Emily Hall stepped up to coach the girls. Both teams start their seasons against Conant Wednesday.

Conant approved all their sports as well, with new boys’ soccer head coach Tom Harvey the only major change at the varsity level.

ConVal’s school reopening plan was exemplary and was used as a framework by other districts, but the essence of the plan — creating regional cohorts to keep student groups separate in case of a COVID-19 outbreak — made athletics extremely difficult to pull off under those guidelines.

At this time, ConVal’s high school sports teams are cleared to participate in skill and conditioning drills only, with no interscholastic competi tion planned.

That means the defending back-to-back champion boys’ soccer team is unlikely to take the field the season, and will likely cede their state champ mantle without a chance to defend it.

Head coach Josh Smith said his returning boys were ready to step into their new leading roles this fall and defend that state title. At the very least, he said, the team will build chemistry and relationships during their practice periods.

“It has provided the opportunity for us to start planning for next fall, so that if we are able to play, we will have had almost a full year of preparation and growth with the same group of guys,” Smith said.

FIELD HOCKEY

Bishop Brady 7, Conant 2

The Orioles started their season Friday afternoon hosting a strong Bishop Brady team. Conant played a terrific first half with a handful of scoring chances, and junior goalkeeper Tessa Spingola kept the Green Giant scoreless until the final minute of the half, when Brady took advantage of a pair of penalties to seniors Elizabeth Gonyea and Abby Wheeler to tally twice in quick succession.

“The score doesn’t really reflect how well my goalkeeper Tessa Spingola played,” said Conant head coach Jackie Brown after the game.

Conant scored twice in the second half, once off a corner passed in by freshman Graecen Kirby to Gonyea, who assisted junior Teagan Kirby and then another on a second Gonyea-to-Teagan Kirby connection.

Brown said junior center back Emily Muilenberg played a great game.

Conant (0-1) is at Keene Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

GOLF

The fall season officially kicked off on Wednesday when the Conant and Mascenic golf teams faced Keene at the Shattuck in Jaffrey.

Mascenic’s Ryan Goodrich was the medalist on the day with a career-best 42 over the nine holes as the Vikings took first place with a team score of 219.

Joseph Lisio was next for Mascenic with a 45, followed by Bryce Traffie (60) and Casey Brox (72).

Conant’s Hayden Ketola was second overall with a 44 to lead Conant to second place. Behind him for Conant under new head coach Garrett Chamberlain was Jordan Ketola (54), Jacob DiPasquale (63), Francesca Ketola (65), Grant Ketola (67) and Draven Seppala (72).

Conant and Mascenic are both back in action Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Bretwood in Keene.

Cross-country

Mascenic swung back into action with an intra-squad relay competition before hosting Keene and Bishop Brady on Friday.

The Vikings’ annual Hill Billy Relays saw Mascenic’s runners don flannel shirts and cutoffs and race around hay bales, with corn cob batons and pumpkin prizes for the winners.

Race Results

1 The DREWSKYes (Skye Lambert, Drew Traffie) 39:38

2 The Clampetts (Emma Schaumloffel, Jethro Somero) 42:20

3 Amazing Foam Spoons (Florrie Schaumloffel, Connor Traffie) 43:20

4 Payton Place (Maya Callahan, Payton Vaillancourt) 43:38

5 White Ninjas (Amelia Smith, Ryan O’Shea) 43:41

6 HarlyQuinn (Sydney Bane, Quinn Aldrich) 43:46

7 Itty Bitty Diddys (Gracie German, Charlotte Crawford, Landen Vaillancourt) 44:28

8 Domination (Victoria Smith, Dom Cicchetti) 45:03

“While things were different and a bit more low key by running this race intrasquad, it was great to be back at it and it felt good to be back to real racing,” said head coach Mike Smith. “For this first week of practice, things felt a little off, a bit too subdued, almost like the season wasn’t real. With the first ‘race’ in the bag, I’m now looking forward to the rest of the season and getting back to ‘normal.’”

Normal returned Friday against Keene and Brady, where the Blackbirds took first in the boys’ and girls’ team competition with Mascenic in second in both.

Senior Landen Vaillancourt led the Vikings with a second-place (16:20) finish behind Keene’s Torin Kindopp (16:14) in the boys’ race. Also finishing for the Mascenic boys was Connor Traffie (fifth, 17:37), Josh Movsessian (eighth, 18:35), Drew Traffie (10th, 18:43), Jethro Somero (11th, 18:53), Ryan O’Shea (13th, 19:03), Dom Cichetti (16th, 20:24), Payton Vaillancourt (21:25) and Jimmy Crawford (35:39).

Mascenic is at Conant Saturday at 9 a.m.

The Orioles started their season with a dual meet at home against Monadnock on Saturday. Conant is back racing at the high school course again, as their previously adopted course at Cathedral of the Pines didn’t allow enough space for social distancing. The high school course is tough and the times reflected that Saturday; Monadnock took first in both the boys’ and girls’ races.

For the Conant boys, Ethan Vitello led the way with a second-place finish (17:52), followed by co-captain Matt Bernier (third, 18:23), co-captain Ethan Weinhold (fourth, 18:38), John Mormand0 (eighth, 19:40), Austin Poikenen (ninth, 19:52), Eamon Gregory (13th, 22:32), Austen Richard (14th, 23:40), Trent O’Neill (15th, 23:47), Joey Cooper (17th, 25:58) and John Ciglar (18th, 25:42).

Monadnock grabbed the top three spots in the girls’ race; Amarah Lapinsky (fourth, 22:55) was the top finisher for Conant, followed by co-captain Alleigh Lapinsky (fifth, 24:02), Neve Mormando (sixth, 25:27), Laurel Bennett (seventh, 28:20), Ellie Cassidy (eighth, 28:25) and Zoley Pothier (12th, 30:58).

Co-captain Eva Shirey is currently sidelined following an offseason back surgery but said she is shaking off the dust and hoping to return before seasons’ end to bolster the Oriole team.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Hillsboro-Deering 5, Conant 3

Junior Kendall Chamberlain connected twice for the Conant girls against Hillsboro-Deering Saturday, and junior Jennah Harvey added another, but the Orioles lost their season opener 5-3.

The Oriole girls were scheduled to play at Hillsboro Monday afternoon after press time and then at Wilton-Lyndeborough Wednesday at 4 p.m.


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