The Year in Sports 2018

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Dan Curran celebrates after pinning Isaac Gladey of Concord to win the state title for wrestling at the 170-lb. weight class Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team beat Hopkinton 36-30 to win the Division III state championship on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Maddie Labrie Photo by Cyndi Babin—

  • Kevin Rines and Bob Caswell Courtesy photo—

  • Taylor Banish Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Dan Curran Staff photo by Ben Conant—Ben Conant Photography

  • ConVal and Mascenic competed at the New England Cross-Country Championships at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Saturday. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Rachel Hurley Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Conant's Elizabeth Gonyea Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Published: 12/31/2018 12:50:44 PM

FEBRUARY

Stella Davis and Bette Imhoff of Dublin School hit an incredible simultaneous milestone as both reach 1,000 career basketball points in the same game.

“To see two seniors that have been playing together for three years, to have them both do it is something that doesn’t happen frequently, if ever, in my recollection,” said first-year Dublin head coach Joe Dicruttalo.

With the school record for wins already in hand, ConVal wrestler Dan Curran goes out in style for his senior year, winning the Division II title at 170 lbs. with ease and then working his way through the Meet of Champions to another victory. Curran became the first ConVal wrestler in years to make the New England Championship.

“It feels great,” Curran said.

MARCH

The Conant girls’ basketball team wasn’t supposed to go back to the Division III championship in 2018. With only one senior, the Orioles were predicted to have a down year. But that was far from the case. Conant exceeded all expectations, vanquished Monadnock, who knocked them out in the 2017 finals, and then beat Hopkinton for another state title — the seventh in program history. Head coach Brian Troy earned DIII Coach of the Year honors in the bargain.

“We really set a common goal from day one, and I can’t believe they achieved it,” Troy said. “You never think it’s going to get done, and then it gets done and accomplished. I’m just so proud, words can’t say enough.”

The Mascenic cheer team will take their performance at the winter spirit state finals any day of the week.

“We performed the routine that we know that we can hit,” said junior Lainey Somero. “We tried our best and let the chips fall where they lie. I felt that we were flawless.”

But after it went to the judges, it was Trinity hoisting the hardware with the Vikings in second place.

May

Only the elite softball pitchers can reach the 500 career strikeout milestone, and Mascenic’s Maddie Labrie did it as a junior, striking out 16 Winnisquam batters in a 1-0 no-hitter to do it.

“That 500th strikeout wouldn’t have meant the same to me if we hadn’t won our game,” Labrie said.

She’d go on to win Division III Pitcher of the Year honors.

Mascenic’s squad of DJ Turner, Logan Thibault, Landen Vaillancourt and Dakota Somero won the 4x800 relay at the Division III championships, with Turner running the anchor leg as the lone senior. “It was the best feeling ever,” Turner said.

Conant had a big day as well, with Taylor Banish winning the pole vault and Abby Drew taking first in both the long jump and the 100M dash.

You look good, you feel good, you play good. So taught longtime Mascenic baseball coach Bob Caswell, who was instrumental in many young men’s lives as coach and later as a local hitting instructor. Caswell died in May but his former players haven’t forgotten his legacy.

“He taught me more about being a man than he did about baseball,” said Eric Thibault, who played for Caswell from 1988 to 1991, playing in two state finals, “and I learned a lot about baseball.”

June 

ConVal’s girls’ 4x800 relay team of Lila White, Clare Veverka, Maddy Garland and Rachel Hurley did well just to qualify for the New England Championships. Not only did they make it, they continued their year-long improvement by setting the school record in the event.

“It’s really exciting,” said Garland “[The 4x800 team] really took off toward the end of the season when we all decided to commit to it.”

It was Garland’s final high school race but her first on her new track, as she’s now a member of the UNH track and field team.

July

Taylor Banish of Conant and Dan Curran of ConVal are named the Ledger-Transcript‘s Female and Male Athletes of the Year.

August 

After years without a team or at the sub-varsity level, ConVal golf returns to NHIAA competition in August, sporting a large team, some of whom got their start in the recently created middle school program.

September

It was a win three years in the making. The Conant field hockey team was winless since 2015, but finally got in the win column by beating ConVal 3-1 in an early-season matchup.

“We definitely worked really hard last year, but it didn’t quite come together,” said senior Katie Marsh. “This year, it’s really coming together.”

Conant head coach Jackie Brown would win DIII Coach of the Year.

November

Longtime soccer power ConVal finally won its first-ever boys’ soccer championship, beating Coe-Brown 3-2 on goals by Taylor Burgess, Colby Knight and Finn Wegmueller.

“The kids really embraced it and really wanted it,” said ConVal head coach Josh Smith, who’d later be named Division II Coach of the Year. “They gave everything they had every single day.”

The ConVal unified soccer team went back-to-back, winning their second straight championship by beating Exeter, who’d handed them their only loss of the regular season.

“I get the satisfaction of just seeing the excitement and joy when they win a game like this,” said ConVal coach Dick Ellingwood.

The Mascenic boys’ cross-country team edged out Campbell for a team championship at the divisional meet, running in hurricane conditions for their second straight title.

“Obviously we wanted to take care of business so we could come back and win,” said Mascenic head coach Mike Smith. “Once you’ve won, you don’t want to do anything else.”

Meanwhile, the ConVal girls came in second in Division II. Stars Rachel Hurley and Clare Veverka, along with Mascenic’s Landen Vaillancourt, would continue on to have big days at the New England Championship.

 


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