Post Season Schedule Set for Sprinters, Belmont Baseball, Tennis Teams

Three Belmont High School teams will be playing in the post season as Baseball and the Boys and Girls Tennis teams along with two exceptional sprinters on the track team received their tournament draws yesterday, May 27, from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Freshman Julia Cella is the favorite in the 200 meters – having run a season leading 26.07 – and a top contender in the 100 meters in the Div. 3 East track and field meeting taking place on Saturday, May 31 at Pembroke High School. She will also be anchoring the 4×100 meter relay ranked fourth in D3.  Joining her will be fellow freshman Rachel Berets in the 100 meter hurdles, the top 9th grader in the event. Junior Kayla Magno is a top eight threat in the 400 meters hurdles. Joining his teammates is junior Max Jones who has broken 23 seconds in the 200 meters and is rated 4th coming into the meet. Fellow junior Ari Silverfine dipped under 2 minutes in the 800 meters for a top 10 ranking this year.

Belmont High Baseball – which came out of the weekend’s Brendan Grant Tournament with a win and a loss – with a record of 11-9 has been seeded 9th in the Div. 2 North sections and will meet number 8 Beverly High School under the lights at Endicott College in Beverly on Friday, May 30 at 7 p.m. A win will see the Marauders head over to Gloucester on Saturday, May 31 to take on number 1 seed Gloucester High School.

The 8-8 Boys’ Tennis will be traveling to Topsfield to challenge the number 5 seed Masconomet Regional High School on Thursday, May 29 at 5:30 p.m. while Girls’ Tennis, with a record of 11-5 and co-champions of the Middlesex League’s Liberty Division, will host Tewksbury High School on Thursday, May 29 at 3:30 p.m. A Marauders victory will likely see a match between league co-champion Reading High School.

In Classic Match, Belmont High Rugby Falls Short in State Championship

The Belmont Way.

It’s playing the game of rugby in which players are “willing to make that ultimate effort, to play for your teammates,” said Greg Bruce, the head coach of the Belmont High School Rugby Club on a humid and warm Saturday, May 24 at Fort Deven minutes before the start of the Div. 1 state championship finals.

“There’s nothing left to say, boys. Total commitment, no excuses. Give everything you’ve got for something greater than you,” Bruce told his starting 15 in the pre-game huddle before another titanic clash with their familiar rival from Bishop Hendricken High School of Warwick, RI in a rematch of last year’s final in which Belmont defeated the Hawks, 17-5.

“Ready to do it?” he asked in his usual measured, almost serene manner.

“Yes, sir,” was the response.

And they were ready.

For more than 90 minutes, the two evenly-matched sides battled to utter exhaustion in a battle of wills and strength that bordered on an ancient epic struggle where the brute determination within the scrum was matched by wild, poetic downfield runs.

With the repeated challenge, “Come on, boys!” echoing from the sidelines, Belmont would overcame a two-try deficit and scored three times in the beginning of the final half.

Yet a pair of Belmont forays deep into Hendricken’s end in the final five minutes could not break the try (goal) line resulting in a 21-19 defeat which was praised by observers and fans of both teams as one of the great contests played by teams from New England in recent history.

“You gave it your all. We were down, we had (penalties), the odds against us, goal-line stances and you fought all the way back. Someone had to win. There was no shame in your effort,” said Bruce after the game to the team.

“Boys, you don’t get any better by playing the weak teams. That was a tough side and your all much better players for playing that game,” said assistant coach Derek Tommy.

“To see the level of play since we started the program eight years ago is impressive, not just with us but throughout the region,” Bruce told the Belmontonian after the game.

Belmont faced an uphill battle for nearly the entire match as only 90 seconds into the game, Hendricken revealed a mismatch down the left wing as a Hawk player reached the corner and sprinted more than 50 meters on a solo run for the first try of the day.

“That’s not exactly how we hoped to come out of the gates,” said Bruce.

It soon became apparent that Hendrickson would use their considerable bulk and strength advantages to punish the inside of Belmont’s forwards. Time and again, Hendricken players would drive into the heart of Belmont’s front line rather than push to the outside wings where Belmont had the edge with speed. Belmont was hurting its own cause with dropped passes and penalties allowing Hendricken to dictate how the game was played.

Just short in the second half 

On three separate occasions in the half, a Hendricken player broke through the Belmont defense to sprint towards goal only to be met by junior wing Luke Perrotta who made a trio of sensational solo tackles.

“He saved us in the first half,” said Bruce, noting the day before, Perrotta had asked him to stay behind after practice to work on open-field tackling.

“And to see him transfer the skill [during the game] that right now the hairs on my neck are standing up because I am so proud of him,” said Bruce.

Hendrickson’s second try came after a dubious play as a Hawk hit a prone senior open side flanker Dom Owens-Moore with a forearm that caused the ball to be taken deep in Belmont’s end that was pushed beyond the goal line.

Belmont began pushing forward into the Hawks end with senior Barrett Lyons carrying several Hendricken backs for nearly 30 meters on a memorable run down the opponent’s gut and captain Nick Pearson driving down the exposed wing.

Down 14 -0 at the half, Bruce quietly urged his team to ignore the score and take control of the game.

“It came down to the team’s mental focus, their ability to adjust and rally around one another,” said Bruce.

“They had a look across the 15 of them that they would not let this game be over.”

Bruce praised two long-time players, Darren Chan and Paul Campbell who, as halfbacks, are like the “quarterbacks” of the team, as they withstood the constant Hawk pressure in moving the balls around the pitch.

Winning the possession game from a tiring Hendricken squad allowed Belmont to push into the Hawks territory. Eleven minutes into the half, Belmont drove the ball over the try line for the first points with Campbell securing the conversion to make the score 14-7. A yellow card penalty to a strong Hendricken player allowed Belmont to secure the momentum which allowed Campbell to sneak across for a second trying in seven minutes to reduce the lead to 14-12.

But due to the try being made near the sideline, the conversion kick was at a very acute angle which Campbell barely missed.

Garnering a second wind, Hendricken quickly drove down the field for their only try of the second half to up their lead to 21-12.

With Belmont’s third try coming within the final 10 minutes to once again reduce the advantage to two, 21-19, it appeared that team would not have a chance to get close to scoring as they were left to defend their try line after another Hendricken drive. But stellar defense forced a turnover and Belmont drove down the pitch highlighted by a 40 meter dash from Pearson.

Yet that final try never came as Belmont was pushed out-of-bounds in the “red” zone and Owens-Moore was held up inside five meters of the try-line in the final five minutes. As the final whistle sounded, the two teams had little energy to celebrate or suffer defeat, leaving everything on the pitch.

“We were there. We had the chances but unfortunately we just couldn’t get over the try line. You really have to credit Bishop Hendricken, they are a hell of a team. We have lost three times in two years, each time to them,” Bruce said.

When asked who stood out in the game, Bruce said, “who didn’t?”

“These kids gave everything they had. The big thing we talked about to them as coaches (himself, Tommy, Jesse Borle and Adam Zilcoski) of coming to this game was a total commitment with no regrets. And I know right now they have no regrets. These kids committed themselves completely, to give very thing they had.”

“You saw them coming off the field, completely gutted, tanks empty. What else can you ask for from a bunch of 16, 17, 18 year olds? I’m really proud of them.”


Belmont Rugby’s Championship Game Starts at 2:30 PM Saturday

After defeating Boston College High on Tuesday, May 20, to advance for the second straight year to the Division 1 Mass. Youth Rugby Organization state championship game, the Belmont High School Rugby Club just needed to know two things as they prepared to meet Warwick, RI’s Bishop Hendricken High School in the finals.

Where and when.

And now the team knows.

The rematch of last year’s championship game, which Belmont won, 17-5, will be held at Fort Devens State Park on the “Antietam Field” Saturday, May 24 with the kickoff set for 2:30 p.m.

Admission is free so come and support the boys as they defend their title.

Fort Devens is about 25 miles from Belmont. The good news is that the location is off Route 2 so the trip is quite easy to make. Get on Route 2 westbound until Exit 37B which becomes Jackson Road. Stay on Jackson until you reach the intersection of Antietam Street. Take a left and the field is in front of you.

Belmont High Baseball Makes Playoffs Behind Shea’s Arm, Bat

Belmont High School Baseball’s Brendan Shea is best known for this pitching – he is heading to UMass-Lowell to join Head Coach Ken Harring’s River Hawks – but on Tuesday, May 20, the southpaw showed he can wield a bat in a game against Salem (NH) High School.

The senior sent a 0-1 pitch over the fence for a three-run home run to put Belmont High into the Division 2 North Sectional playoffs with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Blue Devils at Brendan Grant Field.

Shea once again showed his prowess on the mound as he struck out 10 batters and gave up one bloop hit over five innings while giving up four unearned runs. Kevin Arria relieved Shea with two scoreless innings to earn the save and end a three-game losing streak where Belmont left 34 players on base over that stretch. 

Making the post-season for the 12th season in a row turned out to be tougher than Belmont Head Coach Jim Brown had anticipated.

“Finally. It was a battle making [the playoffs] this time,” said Brown. “We finally got timely hitting today.”

The big blow came in the bottom of the fifth when Shea cranked the dinger out of the park bringing in outfielder Matt Rocha (hit by a pitch) and shortstop Cole Bartels (double) to give Belmont a 5-4 lead.

Belmont played small ball in the first when Rocha reached first on a single, stole second and came in on freshman catcher Cal Christofori’s single. 

Belmont will next play on Friday, May 22, at 4 p.m. at Grant Field against Reading High during the annual Brendan Grant Tournament.

Belmont In Rugby State Championships With Grinding Win Over BC High

It started fast but in the end, the Belmont High School Club Rugby team used a lot of grit and grind to wear down a tough Boston College High squad to win its Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization semifinal match, 24-17, before an enthusiastic crowd at Harris field on Tuesday, May 20.

“We came out flat and I think some of the guys may have been looking ahead since we beat them earlier this year,” said Belmont’s Head Coach Greg Bruce.

Belmont will defend its Division 1 Massachusetts State title against arch-rivals Bishop Hendricken High School of Warwick, RI on Saturday, May 24 at Fort Devens after the Hawks defeated Needham High in the other semifinal on Monday.

Last year, Belmont defeated the Hawks, 17-5, to win the 2013 championship. 

Belmont will be looking to revenge their sole 2014 regular season loss when they were defeated by Bishop Hendricken, 33-14, in April. They Hawks has been the only team to defeat Belmont in the past two regular seasons.

Junior flyhalf Paul Campbell tallied two tries and two conversions to lead Belmont to a 24-12 half time lead over the Eagles whom Belmont defeated easily three weeks earlier, 31-5.

But it was the determination of Belmont’s men up front, the first and second row and the loose forwards – Bruce pointed to senior Pat O’Connor as a standout Tuesday – that battled for the entire 35 minutes in the second half, allowing a single BC try despite playing a great deal of the time in their own end.

“BC High made some serious adjustments and they came out like they were playing for something,” said Bruce.

Bruce praised senior first-year player Dominique Owens-Moore – who delivered a monstrous tackle on a BC High player who had just received a clearing kick – “was all over the field” as well as other “first-timers” such as fellow senior Andrew Mosca “who are consistent and work hard and they do everything you ask of them.”

As for Saturday’s title matchup, Bruce said he and the coaching staff will debrief the team Wednesday “on what we did not do well and what we were successful with” along with a couple of training sessions.

“I have confidence the guys will show up on Saturday and play a much better Belmont-style of rugby,” said Bruce.

Belmont Rugby To Host State Semi-Final on Tuesday, May 20

After a stellar 7-1 regular season, the Belmont High School Club Rugby team begins the defense of its Massachusetts Youth Rugby Organization’s Division 1 state championship title as it plays host to Boston College High School in one of the two semi-final matches to determine the participants in this year’s championship game on Saturday, May 24 at Fort Devens State Park.

The Belmont XV will take the pitch at Harris Field off of Concord Avenue at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20. On a bitter, rain-swept night late last month, Belmont’s ruggers defeated the Eagles, 31-5.

Admission to the semi’s is free so come see some of the best High School rugby in the nation.

A Day of Fours Leaves Belmont Baseball Knocking on Playoff’s Door

A four run, two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth inning combined with a four-hit, one run complete game by sophomore pitcher Cole Bartels as hosts Belmont High School Baseball defeated Arlington High, 4-1, at Brendan Grant Field on Monday, May 12, extending the Marauders’ winning streak to four games.

Now perched at 9-5, the team needs to win just one of its final six regular season games to make the Div. 2 North Sectional playoffs for the second year in a row.

After falling behind, 1-0, Belmont finally got to SpyPonder’s pitcher Dan Shaw in the bottom of the fourth as senior Brendan Shea reached first on a fielders choice after hitting into what appeared to be a possible double play. But the Arlington shortstop bobbled the throw to first allowing Shea to reach the bag.

Freshman catcher Cal Christafori singled a 2-1 offering down the third baseline bringing up sophomore Trevor Kelly who promptly singled himself to bring in Shea to tie the score. Sitting on a 1-0 count, second base Chris Kelly laced a double in the left/center gap to score Christafori and Kelly to see Belmont take a 3-1 lead. Following Kelly’s example, Nick Call launched his own 1-0 double to bring the other Kelly in for the 4-1 lead which stood up through seven innings. 

But the story Monday was Bartels who pitched a gem, striking out 11 SpyPonders (including the side in the third) giving up a single run on a walk and a single on the second.

The next two games for the Marauders will be at Woburn Wednesday and a match Thursday at Lexington, with the hope that the team can be in the playoffs before prom.

Down Early, Belmont Girls’ Lacrosse Now in Playoff Hunt

After getting off to a slow start with four loses and a tie, it appeared a run for the place in the Div. 2 North sectional playoffs was out of sight for the 2014 Belmont High Girls’ Lacrosse team.

But in the past two weeks, the team has won four straight including a 17-11 win over Wakefield on Friday, May 2, to get right back into the playoff hunt at 4-4-1.

The turnaround is credited to a large dose of practicing the basics, said Head Coach Aimee Doherty.

“We were having trouble catching and passing agh the beginning, So when we got a hang of that and our midfield transition down, that’s when it started getting together,” Doherty said.

In addition, the defense is playing better with better communication that closes gaps in front of sophomore goaltender Anastasia MacEwen.

Leading the way of the Marauders over the past four games are MacEwen, junior three-sport standout Sophia Eschenbach-Smith (who had eight verses Wakefield and 12 in the past two matches), junior Lizzie Frick and freshman Kayla Kaloostran who had a hat-trick against Wakefield.

And a playoff spot in the future?

“It’s possible,” said Doherty.

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Belmont Club Rugby Enters Final Game with Home Win Over BC High

Last Wednesday, April 30, on a night full of wind (15 mph coming off the Atlantic), rain and cold – while the official temperature was 43, it felt like 34 degrees – the Belmont High School Rugby Club team dominated a strong Boston College High School squad to win its final home game of the year going away, 31-5, giving up a try in the final seconds.

“BC High came in one of the top teams in the league,” noted Head Coach Greg Bruce after the game.

“The team has been coming together for the past few weeks and it’s watching an engine being tuned up, they are getting better and better,” said Bruce.

Senior Nick Pearson scored twice while junior Paul Campbell and seniors JD Niles and Barrett Lyons each crossed the goal line for a try.

“We asked them to focus on protecting the ball and really playing an aggressive style of defense and they put BC High under a lot of pressure,” said Bruce.

“It’s their team. The coaches facilitate what they are looking for and the past few years they have been asking more and more and more.

The defending Div. 1 state champions will travel to Davners on Wednesday, May 7, to take on perennial powerhouse St. John’s Prep who the Marauders defeated last year. The game is at 4 p.m.

Belmont High Rugby Club vs. Boston College High at Belmont's Harris Field on April 30, 2014.

Belmont High Rugby Club vs. Boston College High at Belmont’s Harris Field on April 30, 2014.

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Fast Times For Belmont’s BAA Marathoners

Your neighbors are a quick lot!

Belmont runners produced some outstanding results at Monday’s 118th Boston Athletic Association Marathon, the historic annual 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston’s Copley Square to celebrate Patriots’ Day, April 21.

Of the 42 who finished the race, 40 percent, 17, ran under four hours, a great accomplishment for any runner.

And just like the men’s race, where American Meb Keflezighi won the race by 11 seconds, it was a close contest for the first Belmont resident across the line as Roger Donaghy finished nine seconds ahead of fellow BAA member Ryan McCalmon, 2 hours, 36 minutes and 17 seconds vs 2:36:26, placing 213th while Ryan finished 217th.

Rachel Reardon was the female Belmont runner, finishing in 3:25:15, or 7,490th overall, ahead of 25,000 fellow runners, and 1,225th among all women.

But it was in the veteran’s categories that Belmont runners made their mark. Fifty-six-year-old Wolfgang Ketterle finished third in the 55-59 age group in 2:44:06, less than three minutes from the winning time. He placed 528th overall.

Hammond Road’s Robert Cipriano ran a possible personal best in the marathon in 2 hour, 40 minutes and 48 seconds to finish 4th in the 50-54 age group, placing 364th.

Here are all the results from the race:

  1. Scott Abrams, 3:37:45
  2. Anne Antonellis, 4:40:28
  3. Cara Brickley, 4:31:55
  4. John Carey, 3:13:14
  5. Sarkis Chekijian, 3:42:11
  6. Robert Cipriano, 2:40:47
  7. Kelly Coates, 6:14:43
  8. Charlie Conroy, 3:05:03
  9. Virginia Cox, 3:53:19
  10. David DeMarco, 4:06:28
  11. Roger Donaghy, 2:36:17
  12. Paul Feloney, 4:22:19
  13. Paul Firth, 4:38:32
  14. Jonathan Haines, 3:59:19
  15. Bill Hees, 5:22:45
  16. Christopher Heuisler, 3:32:29
  17. Richard Horgan, 5:27:31
  18. James Kelleher, 4:58:31
  19. Wolfgang Ketterle, 2:44:06
  20. Peter Lamb, 4:45:28
  21. Russell Leino, 3:06:15
  22. Mark Lewis, 6:35:29
  23. David MacDonald, 5:03:49
  24. Eric Marro, 4:54:57
  25. Leslie Mauriello, 4:43:14
  26. Ryan McCalmon, 2:36:25
  27. Carolyn Mehaffey, 3:58:36
  28. Karyn Miller-Medzon, 4:26:36
  29. Joseph Mullaney, 4:53:48
  30. Stephen Najarian, 5:34:58
  31. Carrie Palmer, 5:08:19
  32. Oswald Paredes, 5:24:42
  33. John Pilkington-Sperry, 4:40:10
  34. Becca Pizzi, 3:40:15
  35. Rachel Reardon, 3:25:15
  36. Kristen Ruane, 5:27:20
  37. Alissa Schreiner, 3:56:39
  38. Andrew Schreiner, 3:59:03
  39. Emily Seaver, 4:41:41
  40. Hannah Swartz, 5:00:05
  41. Kimberly Usseglio, 4:27:45
  42. James Winter, 5:15:02