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By Logan Cooke, HU sports correspondent
Did you know that there are 17 winter sports teams at Harwood? Well, if you didn't then you really are going to learn something. I have always felt that middle school and junior varsity sports are overlooked. Unfortunately, there are not enough people to cover these sports, but I feel that it was about time that every team got some time in the spotlight. So I present to you the Harwood Winter Sports Full Tour, a look into every team at Harwood this winter including MS and JV. I have broken each sport down into individual teams. And remember, please remember, to keep your hands and feet in the car at all times.
Boys' Harwood hockey has an extremely talented squad as always. They boast speed as well as power, and they are a strong competitor in D. II. They are coached by veteran coach Dave Morse, a coach that has led Harwood to multiple championships and has completely revolutionized Harwood hockey. He has a vast knowledge of hockey, and a captain of the hockey team agrees. "Dave Morse is an amazing coach. He knows the game better than anyone I know. For the past three years I've had Dave as a coach, and in that time span, I have learned more about the game of hockey than I thought I would ever learn from anyone else."
Now let's give credit to the full squad (grade in parenthesis): Sam Costello (11), Alex Thomas (9), Kevin Laflamme (10), Matt Baitz (9), Adam Thompson (10), Kenny Bourneuf (11), Luke Sisler (11), Joe DuCharme (9), Damien Gile (10), Cameron Rivers (10), Jacob Grout (12), Noah Goss-Woliner (9), Anshe Lotspeich (9), Rory VanTuinen (10), Trey Kiendl (11), Nate Vasseur (11) Cameron Wollensak (11), Chris Martin (12), Taylor Morse (9), Jeff Evans-Mongeon (9), Austin Coles (10), Manager Mark Rexford, Coach Dave Morse, and Assistant Coaches Howard Deal and Shaun Morse.
Girls Girl's hockey is one of the newer sports at Harwood and is probably one of the least known winter sports at Harwood. Nonetheless, the ladies take their hockey seriously. Coached by Mike Martini, the girls have some serious game, and watching their games shows it. The team is led by offensive stars Hannah Martini and Ashley Sweet and by defensive standout Suzanne Woodard. Although their record (2-5 at the time of this article) may be a bit deceiving, this team is a strong group of hockey players with some serious potential. "The potential of this team is more then we could have ever wanted; our record isn't anything to us this early in the season," says junior Kelsey LaCroix. "We will pick it up and show some real talent."
Their roster: Suzanne Woodard (11), Caroline Gilbert (10), Rachel Bower (10), Ally Bataille (11), Morgan Lamson (9), Randi Lowe (11), Kathryn Barnes (11), Kelsey LaCroix (11), Hanna Martini (11), Megan Taylor (12), Megan Townsend (12), Brittany Ferris (11), Carly Taylor (9), Molly Brown (12), Sarah Moore (10), Celia Cadwell (11), Ashley Sweet (11) and Samantha Rexford (12).
7th Grade Boys (Middle School) Middle school sports are not exactly like their high school equivalents, and this was ever so obvious when I sat in on the seventh-grade boys basketball practice. Coach Larry Litchfield was stressing fundamentals, something that can be overshadowed in high school sports. The squad worked on basic plays -- plays that were run with surprising smoothness. The reason I decided to sit in on a practice instead of a game is simple: Middle School sports are about learning the game and this happens in practice, not games. Coach Litchfield did a very good job at helping his players learn the game, and it helps that the team has a lot of natural talent. I have a hunch that when these boys hit the varsity level they will be very polished and will excel.
Who? Peter Tempesta, Sean Cook, Alexander Beard, Timothy Darr, Jacob Quirion, Gerrit Lane, Cody Westover, Nicholas Mayo, Joah DeCasas, Riley Gonnet and Tristan Devine.
Middle School Girls As odd as it may seem, there is only one team (technically) for middle school girls' basketball. This is due to lopsided numbers in one grade over the other. But, anyway, this group of girls is another group that is stressing the fundamentals. They work on a wide range of skills from ball handling to shooting to more complex aspects of the game. The group's coach, Tabitha Pratt, is a veteran of the game and is passing on some very good skills to these girls, and they too will succeed at the varsity level.
Their Roster: Jocelyn Noyes, Kellie Mead, Megan Meany, Kylie Williams, Mariah Breer, Simone Washington, Hannah Ferenc, Logan Volpe, Caitlyn Bandy, Kassandra Bickford, Sabrina Burbank, Tracy Guion, Tiffany LaDieu, Kaitlyn Wimble, Alyson Van Schiack and Sarah Noyes
8th Grade Boys The last of our middle school basketball teams is the eighth-grade boys' team. They are coached by a Russell Beilke, a very skilled coach and a man that has been around the game of hoops for a long time. The team is working on fundamentals, but they are also working on a little bit more complicated stuff in order to prepare them for their future lives in HS sports. The team shows some great skills and is probably the most energetic group of kids in this whole tour, which is saying something.
They are Ben Nussbaum, Jarrid Quirrion, Austin Conti, Max Bielke, Rob Danaher, Amos Gaylord, Cassidy Cote, Jono Gross, Garrett Blake and Taylor Douglass.
JVB Boys Our next stop on the winter sports tour is the JVB boys' squad. They are coached by Garret Folsom, a newcomer to the high school basketball scene. Folsom brings a different coaching style that is refreshing from your standard coach. His squad of 15 brings some strong defensive skills to the court and boasts a speedy team of kids that are able to use their agility to wear down their opponents. I plan to see many of these kids on the varsity squad next year.
Here they are: Nathan Culver (9), Dylan Thompson (9), Connor Brown (9), Nick Montgomery (10), Caleb Nelson (9), Tyler Martin (9), Charles LaDieu (9), Tyler Miles (9), Sebastian Marshall (9), Zak Bossier (9), Patrick Meany (9), Owen Spence (10), Chris Nealy (9), Chris Mehuron (9) and Josh Noyes (9).
JV Boys As we move on through the tour, we stop at the JV boys' team. The JV team is what I like to refer as the shadow of the varsity. They travel with the varsity, they play the same schools and most of the players will be on varsity next year. They are coached by longtime veteran coach Tom Young, who is very good at putting the "finishing touches" on players to prepare them for varsity, as well as teaching unique skills no one else offers. The team this year boasts some great all-around talent including rebounders like Tyler Hoare and sharpshooting guards like Michael Riccardi and Lucas Bates.
The roster: Mike Riccardi (10), Ameen Batah (9), Lucas Bates (10), Joe Meade (9), Sheldon Baker (9), Ian Mason (10), Will Hofmann (10), Zak Williams (9), Nick Siner (9), Tyler Hoare (9) and Tom Fuller (9).
JV Girls While watching these girls play, their shooting ability really surprised me. They are one of the better shooting teams in their division and are able to move the ball around and find open space. They utilize the talents of offensive standouts Jamie Tempesta and Sophia Lisaius. They are coached by Tammy Thompson, one of the better lady ball coaches around. She is able to be friends with her players while still showing them some valuable skills they will use when moving on to the varsity level.
They are: Sydnie Rutledge (9), Jamie Tempesta (9), Chelsea Delphia (9), Megan Raymond (9), Meagen Audet (9), Ashlyn Raymond (9), Christine Milne (9), Luiza Usmanova (9), Elmira Ilysova (9), Hannah Lovely (9) and Sophia Lisaius (9).
Varsity Boys Welcome to varsity, specifically varsity boys. This is a team of very talented players who work together very well and boast a strong offensive attack led by seniors Greg Mehuron and Liam Smith. They also have some solid rebounders in Eric Mackey and Thomas Jacobs-Moore. They are coached by longtimer Ray Drake and assisted by Mike Woods. Drake is able to write plays that will exploit the weaknesses of his opponents while utilizing the core strengths of his team. He is able to bring his players to a new level of play and is a very interactive coach. He is a very vocal coach, able to communicate new plays on the fly in order to adapt to different game situations.
Who? Greg Mehuron (12), Josh Fisher (12), Steve Griffith (12), Joe Yalicki (11), Steve LaRock (11), Toby Morehouse (10), Dylan Peterson (11), Neil Richardson (12), Thomas Jacobs-Moore (10), Michael Pavlovich (11), Stephen Wilson (12), Eric Mackey (11), Liam Smith (12), Paul Weston (12) and Connor Duke (12).
Varsity Girls As we continue the tour, we are happy to stop at the varsity girls. The girls boast a very talented lineup this year under first-time varsity basketball coach Taggert Haslam. They have offensive weapons like Elena Bilodeau and Katie Raymond. But the most improved part of the team this year is their defense. They are able to stop runs and rebound and steal passes much better compared to teams of yesteryear. This defensive threat is led by Kelly Foster and Amanda Haslam.
The roster: Kaitlyn Pitrowski (12), Morgan Nealy (11), Katie Raymond (12), Paige Cleary (10), Kelsey Remick (10), Kim Martin (11), Kelley Foster (12), Elena Bilodeau (11), Katy Bickford (11), Kayla Dillon (10), Chelsea Alexander (10) and Amanda Haslam (10).
Varsity After seeing these ladies perform at a school assembly, my body hurt just thinking about trying to perform some of the moves they were doing. Harwood's Gymnastics team has some serious talent, including Annie Johnson and Frankie Bennett. The team has a very large roster offering many different talents at every event. They are coached by Anissa Touchette and assisted by Annette Litchfield.
The roster: Kylie Aronson (12), Heather Cutler (12), Annie Johnson (12), Melinda Lavery (12), Jessica Smith (12), Frankie Bennett (11), Lindsay Johnson (11), Courtney Nelson (11), Harley Pecor (11), Shannon Aronson (10), Liza Commo (10), Ashley Fay (10), Dana Litchfield (9), Kara Lynch (9), Maryah Magee (9), Bethany Preedom (9), Brianna Shepard (9) and Caitlin Touchette (9).
Middle School The middle school gymnastics team is a small group of girls who are very skilled at the art of gymnastics. They have a very athletic core and will a make great addition to the varsity squad in a couple of years. They are coached by Annette Litchfield.
The roster: Bryn Ballard, Cecelia Daigle, Kristyn Dash, Courtney Hallstrom, Shannon McDonnell, Cari Severson, Noa Shems and Erin Viens.
Varsity The wrestling team is a group of super athletic athletes, something not usually attributed to wrestling. This group of kids probably conditions harder then any other team at Harwood; just thinking about it gets me out of breath. The team has to be fit because they face some serious competition and they always give their competition a run for their money. They are coached by Brian Wagner and assisted by Brian Reed.
The roster: Cody Balch (11), Zeb Benoit (10), Florian Fisher (11), Tanner Griffith (12), Ben Harmon (10), Jacob Kernan (9), Josh Kernan (11), Finlay Miller (11),Troy Mullins (9) and Seth Naikus (9).
Middle School The middle school wrestling team consists of four kids that are devoted to learning all they can about the sport. They also train very hard, like the varsity. They are coached by Jay Lavanaway and Kenneth Griffith.
Roster: Milagro Kirpan (8), Kyle Streeter (7), Javier Suarez (7) and Alex Sowa [U32] (7).
Varsity Nordic The Nordic team is coached by John Kerrigan, a coach who I don't think needs any introduction. The Nordic team is always a competitor for the title at the end of the season and they have some real speed demons on their team. The team practices on one of Harwood's best resources, the backcountry trails behind the school. They have high hopes again this season and hope to have another great season.
Roster: Simon Butler (10), Ben Checkoff (11), Colton Crowley (11), Doug Daigle (11), Ben Horn (11), Brandon Kennedy (11), Caleb Kernan (11), James Kuzio (9), Patrick Markley (10), Zach Pfister (11), Zach Munro (11), Tim Shepard (10), Neal Smeltzer (12), Analina Aitken (11), Kelsey Bush (10), Kaitlin Fitzgerald (9), Kacey Kerrigan (12), Anne Mendes (12), Jillian Mendes (10), Chelsea Robinson (10) and Jules Vergura (10).
Middle School Nordic The MS Nordic team is a collaborative team of athletes, grades five through eight, throughout The Valley and Waterbury. They practice on the Harwood trail system as well under the guidance of Coach Tom Strasser. This is probably the biggest groups of kids on any team this winter and they all love the sports and enjoy skiing in general.
Roster: Geordy Aitken, Naomi Cormier, Lainey Curtis, Matthew Cutler, Max Eilers, Paige Gaylord, Reuben Kernan, Nathaniel Kuzio, Marika Mayberry, Nicholas Mayo, Kelly Myrto, Olivia Nishi, Jack O'Shea, Megan O'Shea, Molly O'Shea, Brianna Regen, Sam Robinson, William Robinson, Joshua Seckler, Devlin Shea, Javier Suarez and Charlotte Thompson.
Varsity Alpine Our last stop on the tour will take us to the slopes with the Varsity Alpine ski team. This team practices at Sugarbush. They compete in the fastest sport at Harwood -- they fly down the mountain at high speeds maneuvering the tricky courses set out for them. The athletes on the team enjoy the beauty of The Valley while getting topnotch coaching from veteran coach Steve Skilton.
Who? Eric Bidlack (12), Aaron Chesler (11), Scott Graham (9), Travis Hannon(12), Chad Koenig (12), Derek Lowe (9), Tanner Skilton (10), Abigail Brown (10), Caroline Dillon (10), Ariel Goodman (10), Lucy Gubernick (10), Lee Gubernick (9), Jessica Normandeau (10), Caitlin Shea (11), Anna Skilton (12) and Faye Wexler (9).
(Thanks to Amberley Mortensen for providing the rosters and also thanks to all of the coaches for their cooperation and help.)