Boston High School: Brendan Sullivan

New England Roundup: Maine

June, 17, 2011
Kennebunk High School junior Abbey Leonardi not only set a goal to repeat as 3,200-meter champion at last Saturday’s New England Track and Field championships, she was intent on breaking the meet record.

MaineWhen the field started too slowly, Leonardi went to the front and stayed there, finishing in 10 minutes, 19.03 seconds to beat the old record by more than six seconds.

“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to lead from the start,” Leonardi said. “At the 200 I felt the pace was slow. I was trying to run between 5:08 and 5:12 for the first mile.’

Leonardi had competed against many of the runners in the field and hoped they would push her a little more.

“I definitely had the record in the back of my head,” she said. “Last year I was only a second off.”

Next up for Leonardi is the New Balance Outdoor Nationals this weekend in Greensboro, N.C. Last year she placed fourth in the 3,200 in 10:26.

After that, Leonardi plans to take a short break before building a base for the cross country season.

At 5-foot-1 and 100 pounds, Leonardi doesn’t appear to be a lion on the track or cross country trails. But she emerged as the premier female high school distance runner in New England shortly after winning the N.E. cross country title her freshman year. She’s repeated since then in New England while dominating fellow runners in Maine.

Leonardi said by the end of either the track or cross country season, she’s ready for a change but at the same time admits longer distances are her forte. To that end, she and her father Jack are taking a conservative approach to her training.

“The most important thing in my mind is not to try to go too crazy this year, from getting too aggressive, too early in her career,” Jack said. “Nothing has been more important than that.”

Jack Leonardi oversees his daughter’s training in a very general sense, even less so since she become older and more knowledgeable.

“I oversee what goes on,” Jack said. “But her coaches are pretty much her coaches. She pretty much plans out her life. She knows what she needs to do.”

Leonardi placed second in the in Footlocker Northeast Cross Country Regionals last season to Ainsley Cuffe of Cornwall-on Hudson, N.Y. Cuffe went on to win the Footlocker Nationals last fall while Leonardi placed 16th.

She’’ll have Cuffe to contend again with this fall and would need to make a vast improvement to catch her.

“I think she’s pretty far ahead,” Leonardi said. “That would be a 20 or 25 second improvement.”

(Read full post)

Plymouth North downs D-Y, clinches ACL share

May, 12, 2011
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. -- Alex Rozak came in to close the deal in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, on just two days rest -- and at that, six-plus innings of extended relief -- and immediately ran into trouble. But with two men on, the junior righty caught the Dennis-Yarmouth batter looking on a third strike, opening a joyous emptying of the dugout and a pat on the back from his head coach.

With Rozak's save and a strong 6-2/3 innings from lefty Jake Stearns, the Eagles clinched at least a share of the Atlantic Coast League title once again by holding off upstart host Dennis-Yarmouth, 4-3, at Wilson Field.

North (13-1, 9-1) can clinch the ACL outright at home Monday against Sandwich, while D-Y fell to 8-5 and 5-4 in the league.

"I never should have pitched him [today], but you know, that's for the league title," Eagles head coach Dwayne Follette said of Rozak, who struck out eight batters in 6-2/3 innings of relief in a 14-5 win over Marshfield Monday. "That's a good win."

Pinch-runner Ryan Moskos came on for Dave Murphy in the top of the sixth inning, and scored from first base with two outs to plate the winning run for the Eagles. Doug Maccaferri flied out deep to right field, sending the speedy soccer star from first on a tag-up. Moskos slid head-first into third, but the throw from the rightfielder was overthrown, sending him home standing up.

Matt Walsh tried to give the Eagles an insurance run in the seventh, blasting one to the left field wall for a stand-up double before getting tagged out at home to end the inning. Stearns fanned the first two batters of the final stanza swinging, but walked the next one, prompting Follette to call in Rozak on short rest for the save.

Stearns finished the day striking out eight, allowing five hits and walking two, to pick up the win.

"I knew once we got that run, we get ahead and we've got Alex and our ace," Walsh said. "Big chance for us to get the ACL right there, so I knew my double would help us get it done."

The Eagles plated three runs in the top of the first, the first run coming when Zach Zaniboni raced home after Walsh's grounder wasn't fielded safely. Walsh and Mike Cahill then came home on a John Myette single to make it 3-0.

But the Dolphins responded two innings later to knot it at three. Brendan Sullivan reached on an error by the second baseman, allowing his brother Cody to reach home safely for the 3-3 score.

After the rally, D-Y managed just two hits over the final four innings.

"They're the best team in Division 2, and we've played them two games in a row toe-to-toe," D-Y head coach Paul Funk said. "I think we just made more mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes that we've got to clean up on. But I'll tell you, we gutted it out. The pitcher we had going [Justin Thomson], he gutted it out for us."