Boston High School: Keene (N.H.)

Barrett eyeing another strong U.S. Junior Amateur

July, 15, 2012
7/15/12
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STRATHAM, N.H. -– Keene, N.H., resident Chelso Barrett came within one match-play victory of winning the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. This week he'll give it another try.

Barrett, who will be a senior at Keene High School in the fall, is among the 156-player field in this year's U.S. Junior Amateur, which begins Monday at The Golf Club of New England in Stratham, N.H.

“I like [the course],” Barrett said following Sunday's practice round. “It has a lot of New England characteristics design-wise. It favors somebody who plays the percentage shots. It's not a course you can get overly aggressive on.”

Jordan Spieth, the low amateur at last month's U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, beat Barrett 6 and 5 in last year's championship match at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash. Spieth, who also won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009, is not in this year's field. Spieth and Tiger Woods are the only players who have won the U.S. Junior Amateur more than once. Woods won the event in 1991, 1992 and 1993.

“There's pressure, but it's a good kind of pressure – not a nervous pressure,” Barrett said. “I don't feel like I have to perform for anybody.”

Barrett, who has committed to play golf at Texas Christian University, is one of seven New England residents who will participate in this week's tournament, which features golfers who have yet to turn 18. The others are Brian Butler (West Hartford, Conn.), Jake Shuman (Needham, Mass), David Thompson (Shrewsbury, Mass.), Connor Greenleaf (Windham, N.H.), James Park (Deerfield, Mass.) and Danny Guise (Greenwich, Conn.).

“Making the cut is the first thing,” Greenleaf said. “The top 64 would be great. From then on the more matches I win the better. I'll try to make it as far as I can.”

The tournament will include two days of stroke play, after which the field will be trimmed to the low 64 scores plus ties. A round of match play will be held Wednesday, followed by two rounds of match play on Thursday and Friday. Saturday's championship match is scheduled for 36 holes.

This is the first time the USGA has held a championship in New Hampshire. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Greenleaf's threesome on Monday will include Beau Hossler, who made a name for himself by turning in a strong performance at last month's U.S. Open. Hossler was four shots behind the leader after 54 holes, but tied for 29th after shooting 76 in the final round.

Hossler was the medalist in last year's U.S. Junior Amateur.

“That'll be fun,” Greenleaf said. “Who didn't see him play in the U.S. Open?”

Jim Liu is the only past champion in the field. Liu became the youngest champion in the tournament's history when the prevailed in the 2010 event at age 14.

“Right now it's all about getting to match play,” Greenleaf said.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
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Show of hands: Who's surprised by Spaulding High's success this season on the gridiron?

New HampshireAsk that question in Rochester and, truthfully, throughout New Hampshire. You'll find the team's head football coach is among many with an arm stretched high to the sky.

"Kind of. I didn't think we'd win three in a row," head coach Dennis Fontaine said shortly before his Red Raiders added a fourth straight win to their resume Oct. 21. "For the kids to grasp the new systems on offense and defense, they picked it up quick. They're executing what we showed them."

Those new systems on both sides of scrimmage are the result of Fontaine's appointment to the head coaching post this fall. Spaulding's once-proud program is under new leadership for the second time in as many seasons.

Fontaine is the fifth head coach since 1998, the first season after legendary Hugo Bolin retired with a 198-127-3 career record and five state titles.

The post-Bolin era hasn't been pretty.

Spaulding went 28-107 from 1998-2010, a span that included time in Divisions I and II. The program celebrated just one playoff season in those 13 campaigns. Jim Keays, known for his championship success at Somersworth High years ago, led the '06 Red Raiders to the Division II semifinals.

Considering the coaching turnover and run of football futility, there was nothing in the preseason that indicated Spaulding (4-4 overall, 3-3 Div. II) would compete for the playoffs.

There weren't any signs in September, either.

The Red Raiders went 0-4, including three consecutive setbacks to perennial contenders in league play. They suffered three shutout losses. They were outscored, 125-8.

Then came the turning point. Rather than fight the formula for winning -- from yet another head coach -- the players bought into it.

“They're realizing it's not just a bunch of hot air. They're taking it and applying it on the field,” said Fontaine, previously a longtime assistant for recently retired Rod Wotton, who owns New England's record for career wins (342), and led Maine's Marshwood High and Dover's St. Thomas Aquinas High to a combined 21 state titles.

Spaulding rattled off four straight wins from Sept. 30 to Oct. 21.

The Red Raiders stunned Keene High, 25-17. They whacked Manchester West High, 47-14. They slammed Merrimack High, 39-0, for the program's first shutout win since the '06 season.

Handling Hudson's Alvirne High with ease, 39-13, Spaulding celebrated its first four-game win streak since 1999, when Dave Keller was at the helm.

Fontaine said the turnaround has been a team effort.

There are, however, standouts in the group. The Scott brothers, Tyrone and Trey, are running the football with purpose. Linemen Dillon Couture and Ben Lafond are providing push up front.

Safety Nate Zriny “is playing fantastic defense,” Fontaine said. “He'll play anything for us. He'll play nose tackle if we ask him to.”

Fontaine's gridders have two regular-season games remaining, though they close their league slate Oct. 28 at Hugo Bolin Field against Plaistow's Timberlane Regional.

A win for the Red Raiders earns them the No. 3 playoff seed.

Surely, Fontaine is excited by his squad's stunning second half to the season. Right?

“Yes and no. I've been there before from prior coaching. You can't get too excited in front of the kids,” he said. “We just do our normal practice, work on what we need to do on offense and defense.”

Spoken like one very focused head football coach.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
8:39
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The Little Green cross country machine didn't take long to hit high gear.

New HampshireBoth the boys' and girls' teams for Manchester Central High, fresh off last year's NHIAA championship campaigns, served notice in the season-opening race Oct. 11 that they're still the squads to beat.

Dylan Lafond led the boys and Elizabeth Conway paced the girls as Central swept the Manchester City Championship at Derryfield Park.

“This race was the first step (in the championship season),” Lafond told the New Hampshire Union Leader after posting the lone sub-17-minute time of 16 minutes, 55.6 seconds. “Our goal is to win states, and if we make New Englands, even better.”

Central's boys secured the top three finishes on the 3.1-mile course. Sean Brown and Matt Becker finished second and third, respectively, with times of 17:06.5 and 17:11.2.

Those times helped the Little Green record 26 team points. Manchester Memorial High's Adam Vargas (17:18.1) finished fourth. The Crusaders placed second with 40 points, followed by Manchester West High (70) and Trinity High (74).

Central's girls were equally dominant. Elizabeth Conway had a lot to do with it.

Conway crossed the finish line in 18:54.7. Teammate Laurel Gagnon (20:03.8) finished second – exactly 1:09.1 after Conway. Megan Brockett clinched third with a time of 20:48.5.

Kaitlin George-Blay led the Crusaders. Her time of 21:09 was good for fourth place.

Gang Green scored 20 team points to distance itself from Memorial (56), Trinity (68) and West (102).

“It was scorching on those hills,” Conway told the Union Leader. “Our team is looking pretty strong, though we do have a couple of girls fighting injuries.”

The division championships take place Oct. 29. Central certainly seems posed to, yet again, dominate Division I.

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Barrett, Khang capture N.E. Junior PGA titles

July, 5, 2011
7/05/11
11:15
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Chelso Barrett of Keene, NH and Megan Khang of Rockland, MA won the 2011 New England Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Heritage F.S.E. The two-day competition was held last Wednesday and Thursday at Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown, Mass.

By winning the boys’ and girls’ divisions respectively, Barrett and Khang qualified for the 36th Junior PGA Championship on Aug. 2-5 at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Barrett, 16, posted a final-round 69 for a two-day total of 142 and an 8-stroke victory over Chris Gentle of Lowell. Khang, 13, had a final-round 75 for a two-day total of 145 and an 11-stroke victory over Vinh-Hoa Ngo of Newton.

The Junior PGA Championship is open to one boy and one girl champion from each of the 41 PGA Sections, winners of the nine PGA Junior Series events and a few other national junior tournaments conducted throughout the year and special invitees who have yet not reached their 19th birthdays and who have not started college.

The Junior PGA Championship has traditionally been a stepping-stone for many of today’s PGA and LPGA Tour professionals as well as current collegiate stars. Past Junior PGA Championship competitors who have gone on to successful professional careers include: Stewart Cink, In-Bee Park, Jim Furyk, Trevor Immelman, Cristie Kerr, Anthony Kim, Dottie Pepper, Justin Leonard, Michelle McGann, Phil Mickelson, Sean O’Hair, Grace Park, Scott Verplank, David Toms, Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods.

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
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Although it’s the spring sports season, basketball made headlines last week when St. Johnsbury Academy hired former St. Michael’s College coach Tom O’Shea as its boys' basketball coach.

VermontO’Shea replaces Bill Fitzgerald, who resigned at the end of the 2010-11 season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to work up there,” O’Shea told the Burlington Free Press. “I think coaching is coaching. It’s a different level, but it’s still trying to get the most out of the kids and develop their skills. I’m looking forward to it.”

O’Shea was St. Michael’s head coach for 13 seasons before he resigned following the 2009-10 season. He is the program’s leader in career victories (176) and steered the Purple Knights to a school-record 27 victories during the 2000-01 season. St. Michael’s made two appearances in the NCAA Division Ii tournament during O’Shea’s tenure.

O’Shea’s 2000-01 St. Michael’s team won the Northeast-10 Conference regular-season and tournament championships, and reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

Although St. Johnsbury Academy is a private boarding school, it also serves as the high school for local residents. The school’s boys basketball program competes in Division I.

This will be the first time O’Shea has coached at the high school level since he was South Burlington’s junior varsity coach while he was playing at the University of Vermont. He graduated from Vermont in 1987.

O’Shea will also serve as the school’s assistant director of admissions.

“We are excited to have someone with Tom’s experience joining our coaching staff,” St. Johnsbury Academy assistant headmaster Beth Choiniere said. “His years at St. Michael’s College show that he knows what it takes to build successful programs.”

TIGHT AT THE TOP
There appears to be no clear favorite in Division I baseball, where every team has suffered at least one loss.

Rutland is unbeaten against in-state competition (8-0), but dropped a 13-4 decision to Amherst (Mass.) last weekend. Rutland has outscored in-state competition 93-26, and scored at least 11 runs in six of its eight games.

Essex (5-1), Colchester (4-1), Rice (4-1), BFA-St. Albans (4-1) and Mount Anthony (7-2) are among the other contenders. Essex will play at Colchester on Thursday.

NFF HONORS RICE PLAYERS
Rice Memorial wide receiver Billy Weaver and Rice quarterback Christian McCormick were each recognized at the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual banquet last weekend at Castleton State College

Weaver, a junior, received the Most Courageous Athlete Award. He has overcome Crohn’s Disease to play three years of football for the Green Knights.

McCormick, a senior, received the Pride of Vermont Award, which goes to the most outstanding high school football player in the state.

BRATTLEBORO LOOKS UNBEATABLE
No softball team is off to a stronger start than Brattleboro, which improved its Division I record to 7-0 by beating Mount Anthony 15-0 on Monday.

Brattleboro has scored 96 runs and allowed seven. The Colonels have shut out four teams, and have scored at least 10 runs in six of their seven games. The team’s only scare came during a 2-1 victory over Stevens of Claremont, N.H. Brattleboro has also beaten Keene, N.H., 10-3.

DELAY OF GAMES
More than 40 high school athletic events were postponed because of unplayable field conditions Tuesday, and wet fields and bad weather has been the theme for Vermont’s high school athletes, coaches and athletic directors this spring.

Many Division II boys and girls lacrosse teams have yet to play their first game.

The Vermont Principals’ Association normally requires schools to play seven-inning doubleheaders, but is allowing five-inning games for doubleheaders this spring.

Teams are also required to complete at least 60 percent of their regular-season games to participate in their sport’s postseason tournament, but the VPA has discussed the possibility of waiving that rule this year.

ODDBALL OCCURANCE
Mount Mansfield’s Sam Spencer pitched 10 1/3 innings against BFA-St. Albans last Friday, but didn’t get the win. BFA-St. Albans starter Andrew Delaricheliere also pitched 10 1/3 innings, but failed to collect the win as well.

BFA-St. Albans won the contest when Nick Swim scored on Ruben Gilbert’s squeeze bunt in the 11th inning. Colin Howrigan threw four pitches in the top of the 11th to earn the victory.

Delaricheliere allowed four hits and struck out five. Spencer limited BFA-St. Albans to three hits and finished with six strikeouts.

PERFECT PERFORMANCE
Damian Smith tossed a five-inning perfect game to lead Blue Mountain to a 16-0 triumph over Chelsea on April 21.

Smith, who threw 60 pitches, struck out 12 of the 15 batters he faced. He also collected three hits in the victory.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
5:53
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MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Manchester High School West's Valentine's Day victory made basketball coach Nick Moutsioulis wish his wallet could support a team trip to the Magic Kingdom.

"If I could pay for every one of the girls to go, I'd do it in a heartbeat," said Moutsioulis, his reference to Disney World and the visit made by the Super Bowl MVP after winning the biggest of games.

New HampshireYou see, West entered its Feb. 14 girls' hoop contest lugging a 77-game losing streak that dated to the 2007-08 season opener. But after three consecutive winless campaigns, and another 14 straight losses this winter, the Blue Knights stopped the frustration-filled skid with a 38-33 Division II road win at Pelham High.

"I'm still processing it. I don't even know how to react to a win," said 5-foot 8-inch forward Emily Colon, one of three seniors on West's varsity team that features just eight active players.

West's low participation in athletics isn't limited to girls' hoop. The loss of Bedford student-athletes to the opening of Bedford High in 2007 has affected most sports programs at the school.

The exodus that eventually shrunk West's population from 2,000-plus students to roughly 1,100, took place over several years. But West's ability to compete in most sports quickly declined.

Colon and classmate Brooke Brown were freshman call-ups to the varsity in 2007-08, West's first winless campaign. Routinely losing was a foreign feeling to these stars of the streak-snapping win; as ninth-graders they led their freshman team to a 12-4 record.

"We tried not to think about the negative," said Brown, a 5-foot-11 center, noting the team became the punchline to jokes that spread throughout the school.

Over time, however, staying positive proved tough. One winless season grew into two, which reached three last winter.

But worse than the lopsided losses -- and jokes generated by them -- was the sinking feeling caused by looking into the stands during home games.

(Read full post)

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