Sold In Belmont: A Tiny House, a Place to the Manor Born and Mad Prices at McLean

Photo: A “tiny house” on Westlund.

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9 Westlund Rd., Ranch (1950). Sold: $615,000.

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73 Dartmouth St. Multifamily (1900). Sold: $730,000.

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69-71 Carleton Rd., Multifamily (1927). Sold: $899,000.

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137 Claflin St. Center-entry Colonial (1934). Sold: $805,000.

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93-95 Bartlett Ave. Multifamily (1928). Sold: $708,000.

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204-206 Waverley St. #3, Condominium (1906). Sold: $399,900.

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52 Summit Rd. #7, Townhouse condominium (2005). Sold: $1,300,000.

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22 Wellesley Rd. Brick Manor House with a turret (1929). Sold: $3,092,500.

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20 South Cottage Rd. #102, A unit within a renovated Georgian Colonial brick building (2015/1893). Sold: $1,495,000.

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20 South Cottage Rd. #101, A unit within a renovated Georgian Colonial brick building (2015/1893). Sold: $1,450,000.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven-plus days in the “Town of Homes”:

9 Westlund Rd., Ranch (1950). Sold: $615,000. Listed at $629,000. Living area: 864 sq.-ft. 4 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 91 days.

73 Dartmouth St. Multifamily (1900). Sold: $730,000. Listed at $725,000. Living area: 2,016 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 71 days.

69-71 Carleton Rd., Multifamily (1927). Sold: $899,000. Listed at $915,000. Living area: 2,640 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. On the market: 107 days.

137 Claflin St. Center-entry Colonial (1934). Sold: $805,000. Listed at $778,000. Living area: 1,686 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

93-95 Bartlett Ave. Multifamily (1928). Sold: $708,000. Listed at $719,000. Living area: 2,200 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 127 days

204-206 Waverley St. #3, Condominium (1906). Sold: $399,900. Listed at $399,900. Living area: 1,044 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 79 days.  

52 Summit Rd. #7, Townhouse condominium (2005). Sold: $1,300,000. Listed at $1,450,000. Living area: 3,240 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 1 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 113 days.

22 Wellesley Rd. Brick Manor House with turret (1929). Sold: $3,092,500. Listed at $3,200,000. Living area: 4,905 sq.-ft. 11 rooms, 5 bedrooms, r.5 baths. On the market: 57 days.

20 South Cottage Rd. #102, A unit within a renovated Georgian Colonial brick building (2015/1893). Sold: $1,495,000. Listed at $1,495,000. Living area: 2,825 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 481 days.

 20 South Cottage Rd. #101, A unit within a renovated Georgian Colonial brick building (2015/1893). Sold: $1,450,000. Listed at $1,450,000. Living area: 2,680 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 525 days.

It was once known as Upham Memorial Hall, the building at McLean Hospital that served for 80 years as the upscale home for a select number of wealthy residents who were stark, raving mad. And a half century ago, Upham was the involuntary home of the great blues and pop performer Ray Charles, who beat a heroin possession charge by agreeing to a judge’s order to spend some time in the care of the hospital for “observation and tests.”

As for this week, the building enters its second life as the upscale home for a select number of wealthy residents who are willing to pay stark, raving mad prices to live next to other rich folks. (It’s so exclusive, developer Northland Development won’t distribute photos of the interior. “If you have to ask …”) Maybe it’s just me, but when I spend $1.5 million, I want something more private than a 2,600 sq.-ft. “apartment” that shares a floor with other “tenants.” How annoying it must be being interrupted while watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians” by some burdensome neighbor knocking on the door asking if they can borrow some Grey Poupon for their Poulet aigu de Tarragon. Oh, dear!

(I like this English version of the Grey Poupon commercial with the great English actors Paul Eddington and Ian Richardson.)

Top billing in terms of “wow” factor goes to the brick manor house on Wellesley Road, which was the long-time home of the Palandjian family, bought in 1969 by the father Petros and now owned by a trust for the kids. Although the exterior and elegant European/English landscape is more impressive than the relatively standard interior (What? No cathedral ceiling? Hrumph!)

Here’s a bit of trivia: Peter Palandjian is the last Belmont resident to play on the ATP Tour, ranking 280th in singles in 1989, reaching the quarterfinals in Johannesburg and Telford. 

As for the house hidden on a back road on the Hill, its value has taken off. Appraised by the town at $651,000 just 20 years ago, it was assessed at $1.9 million in 2015. That’s a nice little $1 million bubble “profit” for the family homestead. Well, it does have a sauna in the basement, and the master bath has a fireplace, just like those in medieval castles. 

My favorite house is the itsy-bitsy ranch on Westlund, a stone throw away from the Winn Brook. At less than 900 square feet, it’s smaller than most condominiums on the market. It almost qualifies for a “Tiny House,” which run from 100 to 400 square feet. While the exterior needs work, the interior is rather nice. The wood floors and walls are in great shape, the kitchen is a good size, and you get a living room/dining room that supplies all you need. 

The only issue facing this great starter house is who bought it. Hopefully, it is a growing family who can gain some equity from the purchase. But the marketing pitch had an ominous final sentence:  “Ideal for first-time buyers who can move right in and expand the house later or developers.”

With the town’s Planning Board still months away from formulating new bylaws on bulk and height limits for new construction, this little gem could be lost to an oversized faux Colonial with no style or soul.

Being Green Assists Belmont With Energy Savings at High and Middle schools

Photo: Chenery Middle School.

Most residents know a significant amount of educational energy is produced by teachers, staff, and students at Belmont High and Chenery Middle schools. 

What citizens may not realize is that the schools are also the greatest user of conventional energy in Belmont, consuming 50 percent of all power used in town buildings. 

Any opportunity to reduce or conserve power there could go a long way to reducing the town’s carbon footprint and save taxpayers money, according to Gerald Boyle, Belmont’s director of facilities. 

Thanks to a “green” energy grant that accompanied being designated by the state as a Green Community, Belmont’s heaviest users of energy will soon be retrofitted and installed with energy control systems with the aim of containing costs at both facilities by using electricity more efficiently. 

The $151,000 grant will pay for the bulk of the $174,000 price tag – after energy credits, the town’s contribution is $11,000 – to install the systems, said Boyle before the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Dec. 28, at Town Hall. 

“We look at the best use of our money, and we view this as collecting from low-hanging fruit,” said Boyle.

The new computerized systems will allow for greater control of the schools’ environments – cooling and heating could be operated and scheduled from the Facilities Department’s office in the Homer Building. It can also produce reports and data highlighting how specific systems components such as pumps, fans, and motors, are working and if repairs are needed, said Boyle.

According to Boyle and David Kale, town administrator, the payback will be immediate. Boyle predicts annual savings of approximately $17,000 at each school with total repayment within four and a half years.

Selectman Mark Paolillo questioned if placing the system in the High School was worth the cost as the building could be renovated beginning in the next five years. (Editor’s note: Last week the Massachusetts School Building Authority selected Belmont High in the final review round before it decides on which projects it will fund in late January 2016.)

Boyle said the systems can be incorporated into a newly-renovated building “so it will not be ripped out” when the renovation takes place.

The grant was part of the package Belmont received after being named one of the state’s Green Communities last December, which encourages energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and promote the town’s clean energy goals.

Belmont will also be eligible to apply for future grants – up to $250,000 each year –to fund local renewable power and energy saving projects.

Belmont became eligible to become a “green community” after meeting five criteria including:

  • committing to renewable energy-friendly zoning,
  • expedited permitting,
  • programs to reduce energy use by 20 percent within five years,
  • the purchase of fuel-efficient municipal vehicles, and
  • Creating an energy efficiency requirement – known as the “stretch” code – for new commercial/industrial construction, as well as residential construction of more than 3,000 sq.-ft. The Belmont Town Meeting adopted this code in May 2011.

As part of the application process, an energy audit by Marlborough-based Guardian Energy of all town buildings to review the lighting, water use, and windows was completed to create an energy reduction plan. Town conducted a detailed analysis of municipal buildings and the costs associated with meeting the Green Communities goals. 

Funded by a regional cap-and-trade program, more than $30 million have been paid out to cities and towns since 2010. 

Sports: Kerans Tops 1,000 Point Mark in Belmont’s 61-58 Win Over New Bedford

Photo: Matt Kerans.

If there was a shot Matt Kerans would make to reach 1,000 points in his Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball career, it should be from beyond the arc.

The senior co-captain and pre-season Middlesex League All-Star reached the milestone off a trademark fall-away, three pointer in the Marauders’ 61-58 victory over New Bedford on the second and final day of the 2015 BABC Holiday Classic held at Cathedral High School on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

See the shot by going to the Middlesex Magic Twitter page.

The four-year starter scored a game-high 28 points in the win, raising Belmont’s record to 5-2 as the team prepares to meet league powerhouse Woburn High on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at the Wenner.

Kerans joins just a handful of Marauders’ on the 1,000 point club: Steven Pollard (’86), Mike Costello (’96), Mark Mulvey (’93), Timmie Barrows (’07), Larry Norman (’88), Asa Palmer (’93) and Kerans’ former teammate Adam Kleckner (’15).

Icy Roads, Hazardous Conditions Greet Commuters Tuesday Morning, Afternoon

Photo: Yuck.

Ice-covered roads along with a wintry mix of snow and sleet will greet commuters Tuesday morning and later in the afternoon, Dec. 29, as the first blast of winter, hits Belmont and Eastern Massachusetts, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service in Taunton.

The service issued a winter weather advisory at 10:15 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28 that will last until 1 p.m. Tuesday, resulting in hazardous travel conditions as a mix of snow and sleet coats streets and highways before dawn with a layer of an icy slush on untreated roadways.

While conditions will improve in the early afternoon as temperatures rise, streets will once again become slippery in the afternoon as a cold front comes through the Boston area, warns the service.

The snow will fall around midnight and continue to 4 a.m., turning to snow and sleet with the accumulation of around an inch possible. 
Rain, snow, and sleet will end before 7 a.m., then turning to rain and sleet between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., then rain after 10 a.m. High near 36. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible. 
Rain showers are likely before 9 p.m., then a chance of freezing drizzle between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. 

Lone Tree Hill’s Pine Allée Receives $150K Gift from Record Memorial Fund

Photo: The Pine Allée in Belmont’s Lone Tree Hill.

You have probably admired them without knowing it had a name.

Walking between a line of trees or shrubs along each side of a lane, an allée is a landscape feature first formally used in French gardens and estates to emphasize the “coming to,” or arrival to a specific point of interest.

The best-known example in these parts is the Grand Allée on the Crane Estate at Castle Hill in Ipswich. Finished a century ago this year, the half-mile-long, 100-foot-wide stretch of turf, bordered by two rows of trees, is a spectacular example of that effect. 

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But you don’t have to take a trip to the North Shore to see one around Belmont, there’s one already here.

The Pine Allée, running adjacent to upper Concord Avenue near the Belmont Hill Club on the Lone Tree Hill Conservation Land, is one of the signature landscape features of the newest open space in Belmont.  

But like so much open land in Belmont, there is always a need for funds to maintain this historical landmark.

Earlier this month, Belmont Board of Selectmen accepted a $150,000 gift from the Judith K Record Memorial Conservation Fund to begin the much-needed work on the allée. 

Kit Dreier, chair of the Record Fund, told the board the fund’s trustees were pleased that the funds will be used to hire an arbor care firm to undertake and oversee the recommended work, much of it to be performed during the winter when the ground is frozen so not to damage the landscape.

“We hope that the measures to protect the Allée’s health and to assure its long-term safety will extend its life well into the future,” said Dreier. 

Sports: Belmont Boys’ Hoops Bumped from Undefeated on Last Second Drive at Arlington

Photo: Belmont’s junior Dylan Ferdinand making a layup vs. Arlington.

It was not the way Belmont High Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard wanted his team to prep before facing a pair of strong basketball squads in the Boston Amateur Basketball Club’s annual Holiday Classic in Boston over the holiday break. 

An inspired game by host Arlington High School minus the solid games Belmont had been playing in the first four games of the season added up to a loss for the Marauders, knocking them from the undefeated.

Tied at 58 after a  layup with 12 seconds remaining, Belmont’s defense could not contain Arlington’s junior guard Colin McNamara (a game high 17 points) who drove through the Marauders defense to score the winning bucket with 1.2 seconds left and give Arlington (4-1) the 60-58 win over Belmont (4-1) on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

Pritchard didn’t mince words disecting the defeat.

“We played lousy defense, we didn’t box out. You lose by two points, you think it comes down to this and that. But flat out, right down to the last play of the game when [McNamara] beat us off the dribble. That play happened over and over again,” said Pritchard.

“I’m sure all our guys are disappointed but this game isn’t that complicated. You keep the guys in front of you, you box out, you limit them to one shot and that did not happen,” he said.

A close affair for the entire game, both teams came out guns ‘a blazing, scoring 18 points in the first quarter with seven Marauders getting on the scoring column led by senior shooting guard Cole Bartels (10 points) with a three and a two 

The Marauders kept up the pressure in the paint in the second quarter as senior Luke Peterson (9 points) dropped in a pair of hoops as well as a free throw to contribute five of Belmont’s 12 points, giving the visitors a 30-27 lead at the half.

After the break, Arlington found its D and worked hard fronting Belmont’s players, limiting the Marauders to mostly outside shots. Senior point guard Matt Kerans (16 points) and Bartels each hit open threes but Belmont could only muster two other baskets while Danny Slebodnick led the SpyPonders with 7 points which tallied 16 points to Belmont’s 10 in the third, and falling behind the hosts ssssaasaby three, 43-40.

“They played better defence than us. It didn’t have anything to do with home or away,” said Pritchard.

The fourth stanza saw Belmont hanging around one to three points from the Arlington lead, cutting it to a single point, 54-53 with three minutes to play on a Justin Wagner layup.

After swapping a basket and a free throw (Belmont missed a third, 6 of 18, of their chances from the charity strip), a good defensive stance gave the Marauders the ball wth 26 seconds left. A drive by Kerans opened the court for junior sixth man Dylan Ferdinand (6 points) to hit a layup with 12 second remaining to tie the game.

Yet the basket wasn’t enough to secure a chance at overtime.

Belmont will spend the winter recess going against some heavy hitters in the Holiday Classic being held at Cathedral High School in Boston’s South End. Thirteen boys’ basketball teams, including three from out of state, will take part in the tournament.

Belmont opens the tourney vs. Everett at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 28 then taking on New Bedford at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29.

This Week: Winter Break Movie Tuesday, New Year’s Mixer at the Beech

Photo: Minnons on Tuesday.

On the government side of this week:

  • The Belmont Board of Selectmen will be meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 28 in Town Hall to renew the Belmont Media Center’s agreement and review its annual report, the presentation of an RFP for the town’s Verizon contract and the appointment of a new member of the Planning Board.

Music & Movement with Rubi, a movement and music program recommended for ages 3 to 5 (but 2-year-olds are welcome) will be held in the Flett Room on Monday, Dec. 28.  There will be two sessions: 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

• Pre-School Story Time at the Benton Library, Belmont’s independent and volunteer-run library, at 10:30 a.m on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Stories and crafts for children age 3 to 5. Parents or caregivers must attend. Siblings may attend with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is located at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.

• Back from visiting relatives and wondering what you can do with those kids out on the holiday recess? How about taking in a Winter Break Movie at the Belmont Public Library? Beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, the library will be screening “MINIONS” in the Assembly Room. The movie is rated PG and has a running time of 1 hour 31 minutes. Snacks will be provided!

• Musician David Polansky returns to the Beech Street Center for its annual New Year’s Mixer on Tuesday, Dec. 29, beginning at 3 p.m. One of the most popular musicians to entertain at the Center, David Polansky will regale us with seasonal and holiday music, including original tunes.

• Celebrate New Year’s Eve a few hours early with a Family Dance Party on Thursday, Dec. 31 with Jeff Jam who plays upbeat kids’ classics for little ones from newborns to six-year-olds and their families. The show starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

Sports: Belmont Girls’ Hoops Remains Undefeated Behind Winklaar’s Big Night

Photo: Belmont High co-captain Samari Winklaar.

In the last game of 2015, Belmont High senior co-captain Samari Winklaar went off like a New Year’s firework, scoring 15 points in the first half (half of the team’s total) on her way to a career-high 19 points as she spurred on her teammates to a 48-31 victory over hosts Arlington High School Spy on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

“I was waiting for my teammates to pass me the ball and taking them down early,” said the two-year starter.


The win ups the Marauders’ record to 4-0 has they head off into the winter recess. Waiting for them on the other side of the holidays will be a clash with undefeated and two-time Middlesex League Liberty Division Woburn High School.

“It will be a battle,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart. “After a long layoff; that’s not great to face a great team. The main thing is to make sure that we’re tough mentally on offense because they’ll be tough on us defensively.”

Hart and her traveling army – she is currently carrying 18 players on the bench – came into Arlington High’s gym riding a three-game winning streak facing a team who lost its best player, Grace Carter, to a knee injury.

Belmont came out employing a swarming defense reminiscent of last year’s defense that made it difficult for Arlington to set up their offense.

Belmont jumped to a 9-3 lead on a drive by sophomore point guard Carly Chrisofori (9 points), two baskets (a runner and jumper off an offensive rebound) by Winklaar and a three point bomb by sophomore Jenny Call (6 points) before Winklaar ended the quarter wih a pair of buckets to see the lead streached to 13-3.

Winklaar took command of the offense in the second quarter, scoring on drives to the hoop and from jumpers, including a three in the second when she scored nine of the team’s 17 points, putting the game out of reach at half time at 30-10.

The second half saw Hart go down the bench, bringing in freshman Megan Tan (4 points) to defend the Arlington point guards and fellow frosh Jess Giorgio who, at 6’1″, did an effective job forcing the SpyPonders to alter their shot selection while chipping in with a basket from in close.

Sophomore Alexa Sabatino took over for Christofori and handled quarterbacking the squad while knocking down 3 points.

“We have a lot of girls who can really run and attack the defense,” said Hart.

“It’s a real strength that we have the kind of depth we do. If someone is having trouble shooting or in foul trouble, we have someone at every position. We have an answer to something, and that is really helpful,” she said.

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Cushing Village Developer Misses Deadline for [Put Number Here] Time

Photo: The municipal parking lot at Cushing Village is .. still there. 

Belmont just received another lump of coal from the developer who promised 30 months ago that he would build a project that “will revitalize Cushing Square and will become a source of pride for all of Belmont.”

On Dec. 3, after repeatedly missing deadlines for five months to purchase the municipal parking lot in Cushing Square, a “contrite” Chris Starr came before the Planning Board to apologize to town officials for two-and-a-half years of delays and false starts in building the 164,000 sq.-ft. the multi-use development known as Cushing Village. 

Starr told the board – which oversees the troubled project for the town – that he pledged to meet “three agreed to ‘milestones’ with the town” to begin the initial construction phase of the $63 million project consisting of 115 residential units, 38,300 sq.-ft. of retail and 225 parking space with 50 reserved for town use. 

“So we are really committed to making a change in Cushing Square and getting Cushing Village done,” said Starr.

The first milestone was to purchase the deed for the lot at Trapelo and Williston roads adjacent to the Cushing Square Starbucks at a cost of $850,000 by Friday, Dec. 11.

Um, how about moving that first deadline by a week, to Dec. 18, advised Starr’s attorney Mark Donahue. 

“We have frankly lost time as we … were communicating with the lenders,” said Donahue, speaking of lead banker Wells Fargo. Despite a lot of misgivings, the board and Board of Selectmen Chair Sami Baghdady felt that Starr and his team had a plan that could be met.

Present at the meeting was Tony Papantonis, president and founder of Needham-based Nauset Construction, who said the lot would be “secured” and fenced in during Christmas week with heavy machinery marshaled on the space. In fact, prep work would begin that week, said Papantonis.

But for residents who live in the nearby neighborhood, the scene is anything but busy. Twenty days after Starr made his “solid” promise to the Planning Board, the lot remains open for parking, there is no fencing at the site, and the only activity is people leaving Starbucks with a hot mocha in a red cup. 

Once again, Chris Starr failed to make a “milestone” for the troubled project.

“The bottom line here is that the deadline was missed,” confirmed David Kale, town administrator on Wednesday, Dec. 23.

One neighbor, who has been following the Cushing Village saga for many years, said he has been reviewing land registry activity in Belmont and has not seen any evidence that Starr or Wells Fargo has begun the process of securing the deed for the lot.

What next? Kale said the Planning Board can request an agenda item concerning Cushing Village is included at its next meeting, “but that would be up to the board to do so.” 

An email was sent to Elizabeth Allison, the current chair of the Planning Board, concerning such a request. 

But it appears that a solution may come to pass before the Planning Board’s next meeting. It seems the missed deadline has less to do with a major failure on the developer’s part but rather what has cursed the project from the time Starr first initiated plans in 2008; simple incompetence. 

According to sources within government circles, the lack of a signature on an important set of papers at a time when officers of the bank and development company are decamping for an extended holiday recess was the culprit. 

The result is an inexcusable delay of several weeks, up until the first week in January, before the team can come together to sign off of the payment to Belmont for the municipal lot.

Three more lost weeks is but a drop in the bucket when the developer said in July 2013 the first building (on the parking lot) would welcome residents and retailers by the late fall/early winter … of 2014. 

Sports: Frosh Quartet Crush Record as Belmont Boys’ Swimming Begins Season

Photo: New Belmont record holders in the freshman 4×400: Sam Thompson, Damien Autissier, Luke Moore-Frederick and Ricky Ye.

In only their second competition as members of Belmont High School Boys Swim Team, a quartet of freshmen has already left its mark on the program.

Sam Thompson, Damien Autissier, Luke Moore-Frederick and Ricky Ye set a new 4×400-yard freestyle relay record of 3 minutes, 56 seconds in the team’s Dec. 18 meet at Lexington High School, chopping nine seconds off the old record (set 20 years ago in 1995) while breaking the four-minute barrier.

“Although they’re only underclassman, the team has high hopes and big expectations for its newest swimmers in the weeks ahead,” said Belmont High Boys’ Swim Head Coach Bobby Reardon, pointing to the many new and talented athletes who have joined the program this season.

In the first two meets of the year against Needham (69-103) and Lexington (73-92), the Marauders’ young swimmers were a bit over their heads against more experienced competition.

Already a few swimmers have placed themselves as those athletes who will be swimming well into the post season. Thompson qualified for states in the 200 (1:56.0) and 500 (5:18.09) yard frees winning both events against Lexington and Needham as fellow 9th grader Autissier finished second in the 500 (5:44.1) against Lexington. 

Another Marauder touching first was Antony Bulat (1:12.11) in the 100 breaststroke with Ye in second (1:12.93) less than a second behind vs. Needham. 

Owen Luo took second in the 50 yards free (24.65) and Luc Durand also picked up a second in the 100 butterfly (1:02: ) against the Rockets while Will Findlay took second in the 100 free going under a minute (55.05 vs. Needham) and then lowered his seasonal best to 54:81 against Lexington.

Taking a break from competition for the holidays, the squad is back in action Jan. 5 against Haverhill High School.

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