Welcome Home: Belmont Harriers Open New Course With A Double Victory [VIDEO]

Photo: A Belmont High harrier on their home course for the first time

After three years wandering the Middlesex League to run as visitors on opponent’s courses, Belmont High Cross Country teams finally has a place they can call their own.

And what a place to hold a meet: a new course on the a gently rolling terrain of Rock Meadow Conservation Area off Mill Street. Using existing portions of the Western Greenway, the 2.9 miles multi loop course transverse the 70-acre of high grass meadow, tree-lined trails as well as the wooden boardwalk over the deep emergent marsh. Being a loop race course, fans can stand at one location and watch the progress of the runners during the competition.

Rock Meadow replaces the former trek around Clay Pit Pond and the fields surrounding the former high school which was abandoned with the construction of the new Middle and High School project.

“The coaches [Melissa Tkacs and William Brotchie] went through a long list and Rock Meadow is such a beautiful place,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont Schools Athletic Director, noting the land had been used by other cross country programs – Belmont Hill and Harvard intermural – in recent years. “We decided to ask the town … and we were fortunate enough to have access for three home meets.”

With a course that embraces nature in protected greenspace that highlights the changing seasons as the autumn foliage starts to take hold, Belmont’s Rock Meadow home is one of the most esthetically appealing in the Middlesex League if not eastern Massachusetts.

At the first meet of the season on Tuesday, Sept. 29, Belmont’s runners secured 15-45 victories – taking the first five places – in the boys’ and girls’ races against Stoneham. Sophomore Jared Rife (16 minutes, 44 seconds) and senior Stella Lesnik (time to come) crossed the finish line first, giving them the inaugural course and Belmont High records for the new home.

Belmont will race on their home course twice more this season; hosting Lexington on Tuesday, Sept. 27 and Reading on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The meets start at 4 p.m.

Boys’ Soccer Remains Unbeaten As Girls’ Go 2-0 For The Week


It was rock’em sock’em soccer at Harris Field on Thursday night, Sept. 142 as Belmont High Boys’ Soccer literally battled it out with Melrose, coming away with a 1-0 victory to keep its record unblemished at 3-0-0.

Senior Jon Brabo scored on a header from a corner by junior Theo Kargere five minutes into the game to give all the Marauders’ needed this night that saw more penalty cards – one for Belmont, two to Melrose – than goals as the chippiness factor increased as the hour got late.

That was in mark contrast to the goal fest ore n the grass in Stoneham on Tuesday, Sept. 11 where the Marauders needed a Barbo hat trick to keep the Spartans at bay, 5-2.

Against Melrose, senior goalkeeper Finbar Rhodes garnered his second shutout of the campaign as he had little to do as Belmont kept the Red Raiders on the back foot for most of the evening event. When Melrose turned to a more physical style, Belmont was able to counter with a more skills-based approach

“I was just telling the guys, sometimes other teams will try to suck you into their style of play, and then you’re trying to work your way out of that. The guys showed a lot of composure; they are really disciplined on their own. They’re saying all the things that I would say anyway, prior to me saying it to them, so they know what’s going on,” said Belmont Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane.

Belmont will see a big step up in competition as the Marauders host undefeated Lexington – ranked 5th in the Boston Globe Top 20 – on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Harris Field at 7:30 p.m.

Girls’ Soccer take two

After being shutout and shutdown in the season opener to Wilmington, Belmont High Girls’ Soccer are beginning to righting the ship with a pair of solid victories this past week.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, junior forward Kiki Christofori – who is better known for her two-point baskets – struck for a second-half brace as the Marauders defeated Melrose, 2-0. Christofori first strike was from nearly 20 meters from goal into the top of the goal with a second powered past the goalie.

Earlier in the week, Belmont got a late scare from a tough and talented Stoneham High team – a 13 win sectional semifinalist last year – to sneak out of Harris Field with a 5-3 win. Sabrina Salls scored a brace including the final goal – a blast from more than 15 meters out – to give Belmont some breathing space after the Spartans scored twice in a seven-minute stretch late in the match to cut Belmont’s lead to 4-3.

Ally Landry wound up the night with three points: a goal – an unassisted strike with five minutes left in the first half to give Belmont a 2-1 margin after 40 minutes – and two assists. Marina Karalis scored the game-winner with 15 minutes remaining in the match while Jenna Thomas opened the scoring and closed it with a goal and an assist.

Long-time Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham said while the two late Stoneham goals were a result of not clearing the ball quickly or efficiently, Belmont score three of their goals off of set plays, either corners or free kicks.

The Marauders travel to Lexington on Wednesday before celebrating Soccer Night in Belmont on Saturday against a familiar foe, 3rd ranked Winchester.

Sports: Allard Lead Belmont Girls’ To Late Win At Stoneham, Now 2-0

Photo: A happy Belmont team swarm Carey Allard after the junior scored the winning goal at Stoneham.

Give Carey Allard an inch … well, you know the rest.

Belmont wins.

The junior all-star forward used a moment of indecision by Stoneham defender Mari Avola who had dogged her successfully for 74 minutes, charging by her using track sprinter speed to break alone against Stoneham’s keeper. The Division 1 commit quickly slipped the ball into the left side of the netting to give Belmont a 1-0 win on a warm, humid Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, keeping the Marauders’ perfect after its first two games.

On Thursday, Sept. 8, Belmont opened the season with a 5-1 win at Melrose with Allard scoring Belmont’s first four goals of the season.

For Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham, the team’s performance at Stoneham was “just good enough for us to win.”

“Something always happens on this field,” said Graham of the grass surface that is noticeably narrow.

“I’ve been 22-0, and I can only win 1-0 here. I don’t know what it is,” he said.

“Thank goodness we have Allard. She’s a difference maker,” he said.

But for much of the match, Allard could not shake her shadow Avola who played Belmont’s main scoring threat tight and physical including a yellow card Avola picked up with 10 minutes remaining in the game. While Belmont did have its chances – junior Emily Duffy breakaway in the second half was parried away as well as a post being hit – the team did not dominate the game as it did against Melrose.

Stoneham’s pressure put Belmont’s midfield and defense on the back heel for portions of the match especially in the second half, as Stoneham hit the crossbar and narrowly missed the post on a header midway through the half. The one shot the Spartans had within the box was stopped by senior goalkeeper Georgia Parsons who recorded her first clean sheet this season.

With both sides having chances in the final minutes, it was likely the first goal by either team would be the winner. After a threat by Stoneham was kicked downfield by sophomore forward Ella Gagnon, it was time for Allard to make her mark on the game.

“Ella played a great ball, and I saw that [Avola] was getting in front of me, so I just went with her and then cut her off,” said Allard, who lost her voice after the game.

Allard said her scoring prowess is due to her “teammates playing me great passes. I’m just the one who finishes them for goals.”

Allard will need to be at her best as Belmont meet ranked Wilmington at home on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

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Sports: Field Hockey Romp Again, Volleyball Takes First Win Over Stoneham

Photo: Volleyball in action.

Field Hockey: Stoneham 2, Belmont 7

With a young defense still making progress as a unified squad, Belmont High School Field Hockey has found a unique approach to winning games while the ‘D’ gets up to speed.

Score goals. Lots of them.

On Friday, Sept. 11, Belmont (2-0-0) defeated host Stoneham, 7-2, scoring a combined 13 goals in its first two games while letting up just the pair. 

“I’m happy with how the offense is scoring,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessie Smith.

“It’s always nice to be scoring seven goals a game. Although we played on a grass field which makes the game a bit more messy, the goals were all quite nice,” Smith said, as junior midfield standout AnnMarie Hebalow scored the hat trick with two unassisted goals and a penalty stroke, a brace coming in the first half.

“She took quick, hard shots today that were very effective,” said Smith.

Senior center forward Kerri Lynch scored her fifth goal of the season with the assist from Serena Nally who got on the goal scoring column with an assist from Hebalow. Newcomer Bridget Gardiner finished the five-goal first half with an assist from Kate McCarthy

Nally got her second goal in the second half with a Habelow assist, as she finished the game with five points.

“Defensively I’m hoping we can step it up a bit,” said Smith. “We need to work on checking our speed, recovering, and moving the ball to the offensive end when we gain control of the ball.

Volleyball: Stoneham 0, Belmont 3

Travel is always enlightening and for Belmont’s Volleyball team, it is also beneficial as the Marauders (1-1) defeated Stoneham on Friday, Sept. 11, 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-9).
The team was led by senior captain Faye Reagan, who contributed many key service runs – she was 22 for 23 serving with 8 aces in the game – particularly when the squad was down 18-21 in the second set and she went on a 7-point run.  
Fiona Martin also played a great game offensively, contributing three aces and leading the team in kills with four. 
“[Martin] was consistent, confident and aggressive the entire match.  Sophomore Julia Logan also had a great night at the service line, serving 7 for 7 with 5 aces,” said head coach Jen Couture.

Couture said that in the match the Marauders lost to defending league champions Melrose, 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-8) on Wednesday, Sept. 9, senior captain Katelyn Messer led the front row with 3 kills and 4 blocks. 

“She has the power to intimidate opponents by her presence in the front row.  Her blocks and powerful kills energize the team,” said Couture. 

Sports: Belmont Stumbles to Stoneham, 28-14, in Football Opener

Photo: Belmont senior Robbie Aiello hauling in a Cal Christofori pass for the touchdown vs. Stoneham. 

“Damn,” said Head Coach Yann Kumin as his Belmont High School Football team shook hands with their Stoneham counterparts after the visiting Spartans (1-0) handed the Marauders an opening game defeat, 28-14, at Belmont’s Harris Field under the Friday Night Lights, Sept. 11.

“We coulc beat that team,” Kumin told Belmont Athletic Director Jim Davis as he walked to huddle with his staff and players.

With a year of Kumin’s active and professional coaching under their belts and working off a solid pre-season – including handling a Waltham team in a scrimmage six days earlier – many viewed the game under the lights with a motivated crowd in the stands cheering them on against Stoneham as the right platform to show the improved and updated version 2.0 of the Marauders during the game.

Yet Belmont offense could not sustain drives, and the Marauder defense appeared overmatched by the bigger and talented Stoneham linemen that allowed the Spartan’s Evan Taylor to collect 222 yards rushing and three TDs – most right up the middle of the line – while keeping possession for long stretches. 

“They have a big senior offensive front and we knew that going in. They established the inside run against our defense and it took us until the second half for us to stop them,” said Kumin. 


While Stoneham’s running game behind Taylor was active, the Marauders’ backs Ben Jones and Mekhai Johnson along with big senior tight end Justin Wagner never got started as the offense could only manage a handful of first downs and only one sustained drive. 

“We ran them early and just weren’t able to get the run game going that way we wanted to,” said Kumin. 

Belmont’s most efficient offensive weapon was the arm of junior Quarterback Cal Christofori, who pitched a pair of long passes – 74 and 47 yards – that hit their marks leading to Belmont’s touchdowns. 


After a quick four downs in which Belmont turned over the ball on downs to start the game, the Spartans kept it simple, head down field behind its big line taking six minutes to travel 43 yards where Spartan QB Brandon Cann scored from the two-yard line with 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter. 

Belmont would tie it up at 7 when Christofori hit senior Robbie Aiello with a perfectly thrown pass to allow the senior wide receiver to walk into the end zone at the 2:22 mark.


Stoneham responded quickly, going 69 yards in nine plays to take a 14-7 lead with 9 minutes remaining in the second quarter behind Chase’s first of three consecutive TDs.

Belmont would make its first first down on the subsequent drive but would stall on its 45-yard line.

The Spartans would then take nearly the entire five and a half minutes left in the half to move 76 yards on the ground and air as Chase took a sweep 23 yards before catching a 34 yard pass to get into Belmont’s red zone. Stoneham kept it on the ground to score with 38 seconds remaining to take a 21-7 lead into the half. 

After Belmont’s defense halted Stoneham for the first time in the game – but only after the Spartans’  held the ball for 8 minutes in the quarter – Christofori came out winging the ball, hitting senior Joe Shaughnessy for 10 and 9 yards as senior Trey Butler (the lacrosse standout playing his first high school football game) got the Marauders a first and 10 on the 34 yard line.

But the drive died and Stoneham took over at its 27 yard line with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the quarter, driving the field before scoring its fourth and Chase’s third with eight minutes left in the fourth to up the lead to 28-7.

Christofori hit senior wide receiver Grant Gilbert for nearly 50 yards to the Belmont 18 yard line. Johnson took the ball to the one and Christofori hit a diving Shaughnessy to finish the scoring with 6:18 remaining in the game. 


“We have to go back to work on the grass field and fix our offense in order to take on Medford next week. But I’ll tell you, we’re a good team. There were moments of great responsiveness by this football team, some explosive offensive moments that we were able to move the ball well through the air and protect our quarterback. There we all positives for me.” 

“I see a really bright future. I’m not excitied to loss 28-14 but there are a ton of positives that I can take out of this game,” said Kumin. 

Freshmen Lead Belmont Softball to Home Opener Win Over Stoneham

Photo: Belmont pitcher Christine MacLeod against Stoneham. 

Powered by the pitching and hitting from the team’s two freshmen, Belmont High School Softball cruised to a home opening win, defeating Stoneham High School, 13-1, in a shortened five-inning game on Monday, April 13. 

“This is a great group of girls who can pitch and play defense,” said Bob Magarian, the rookie head coach whose team record is above .500 at 2-1. 

“That’s from the old school, but you also need to score runs so you have to get the offense clicking which we did today,” he said.

Freshman starting pitcher Christine MacLeod threw her second consecutive one-run game – the first was an 18-1 beat down of hosts Watertown High School April 7 – giving up a pair of singles and two doubles while putting up five strikeouts. 

Up by a single run going into the bottom of the 4th, the Marauders scored seven times with two outs as junior third base Lia Muckjian and junior catcher and co-captain Meghan Ferraro stroking RBI  singles during the rally.

Belmont wrapped up the game in the fifth with 9th grade left fielder Kate Lester bombing a triple – one of two extra base hits for the Marauders – to score senior first base and co-captain Lauren Noonan with the first of five runs in the inning resulting in the game being called early due to the mercy rule. 

“I wasn’t really thinking. I just swung the bat and ran,” Lester said about her hit, which goes along with her double against Watertown.

“She got the big hit, hasn’t made any mistakes out in the field in three games and we like her a lot,” Magarian said of Lester. 

Boys’ Basketball Starts Fast, Races By Stoneham, 82-47

Simply put, this edition of Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball was too quick, too big, too skilled and too good for Stoneham High on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at the Wenner Field House, downing the visitors, 82-47.

Just how dominate was the Marauders? In the first four minutes of the game, the starting five outscored the Spartans, 15-0 (the squad was ahead 13-0 two minutes in) and Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard had five subs on the sidelines ready to give his starters an early Christmas-Eve Eve rest.

While Stoneham did cut the lead to 7 (15-8) with a minute left, a pair of threes from junior forward Cole Bartels upped the lead to 21-10 at the end of the half.

Then the starters came back in and senior point guard Ben Lazenby knocked down the next 7 points (a drive through the lane, a break away and a deep three) as the defense clamped down on Stoneham led by big man senior center Adam Kleckner who either harassed or rebounded everything that came his way.

A drive by Kleckner and a rare four point play (hitting the three while being fouled) from junior guard Matt Kerans saw led grow to 38-15. In came the subs and soon the lead expanded to 29 (48-19) thanks to a pair from Bartels just before the half and a game high of 32 (58-26) midway through the third.

“Yeah, we were good out there,” said Pritchard, noting that Stoneham is not a walkover as it defeated a strong Winchester team last week.

When asked what did the team gain in a blow out, Pritchard said “[o]ur goal is to get better with each game and what I saw tonight is that [the team] played unselfishly and every game you do that, you benefit.”

Pritchard was able to clear the bench for an extended period allowing reserve senior forward Pablo Reimers and sophomore Bryan Goodwin to hit towering threes and injured senior captain Tom Martin the chance to bang in his first basket of the year to the cheers of the crowd.

Belmont Girls’ Basketball ‘Niks’ Stoneham with Smothering ‘D’ in Win

Photo: Belmont’s sophomore guard Irini Nikolaidis drives to the basket in the Marauders’ 55-42 victory over Stoneham, Dec. 23, 2014. 

If one player on the Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball team epitomizes the style of defensive intensity that is becoming the team’s identity, it is an off-the-bench, in-your-face 10th grader.

“I just love playing defense,” said sophomore guard Irini Nikolaidis after being a spark-plug in the Marauders’ 55-42 victory over Stoneham at the Wenner Field House on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

The second-year varsity player is fast becoming a game-day headache to opposition point guards who challenge the Marauders. With a doggedness and athletic Esprit on the court, Nikolaidis faces up to opponents with long arms threatening to poke the ball or deflect a pass as she uses her quickness to stay in front of them.

“I tell the girls on the bench if they want to know how to play defense, they should watch [Nikolaidis],” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart, as the Marauders now stands at 2-1 with a match away with Reading High School on Friday, Jan. 2 next on the schedule.

Belmont took control of the game early as the team’s big front line of senior center Linda Herlihy, junior Sarah Stewart and senior Elena Bragg dominated the boards and transitioned nicely on offense as Stewart (6 points) and Herlihy (a double-double with 10 points and numerous rebounds) benefited from assists from freshman point guard Carly Christofori (6 points) who attacked the Spartan defense from inside and from the wings.

Up 16-11 after the first, Belmont spread the scoring around in the second with Nikolaidis hitting four of her 9 points, freshman Jenny Call (3 points) hitting a three for consecutive games and junior Samari Winklaar – who sang a wonderful rendition of the “National Anthem” before the game – buried a jumper for her 2 points to give Belmont a 32-21 lead at the half.

The Marauders’ team defensive pressure forced Stoneham to take outside shots and not able to utilize its best player, senior center Olivia Gaughan, who was held to 12 points.

The Marauders quickly upped its advantage to 17 points (38-21) in the first three minutes of the third quarter, led by forward Bragg who scored from inside, on the outside and via a great pass from fellow senior Sophia Eschenbach-Smith (2 points) to score six of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter, building Belmont’s lead to 45-28 at the end of the eight minutes.

The two-digit advantage allowed Hart to play the entire bench with scrappy junior guard Meghan Ferraro (1 point) scoring for the second of three games while the third freshman on the team, Gretta Propp (3 points), got on the scoring sheet with a basket and a made free throw.

As for Nikolaidis, the game comes down to going all out so not wanting to let down her teammates.

“I say to myself, ‘I have to get that ball,'” she said.

Boys’ Ice Hockey Solid in Shutout Victory Over Stoneham for First Win

Sophomore goalie Cal Christofori backstopped a shutout Saturday afternoon, Dec. 20, as the Belmont High School Ice Hockey squad kept the lid on Stoneham’s forwards for a 2-0 victory at the “Skip.”

The win put the Marauders at .500 coming after a tough 3-2 home loss to Melrose High School in the season opener.

“It was easy for me since my [defense] played so well,” said Christofori.

The defense, led by top pair Adam Cronin and Trey Butler, took charge in clearing the front of the slot.

“Most of the shots I saw coming which is important and there was a lot that were blocked. Everyone did a great job,” Christofori.

While the game was a mostly even affair with equal numbers of scoring chances for each side, Belmont capitalized on their opportunities. With five minutes to go in the first, senior captain Brian Garrett pounced on the puck a Stoneham player whiffed clearing from a face-off to the left of Stoneham goalie Peter Barry and sent a snap shot by Barry’s stick hand blocker.

Belmont scored on the power play only two minutes into the second period when Garrett’s line mate, big senior center Joe Paolillo rocketed a shot by Barry to double the lead.

After the goal, the game got a bit chippy as penalties began piling up and emotions got the best of some players.

In the midst of that, Chistofori stayed calm, coming up with many routine saves along with a few tough ones including coming across and out of his crease to take a one-timer from the stick of Stoneham’s Mike Halpin in the final 90 seconds of the second period.

While Stoneham took the game to Belmont in the final 15 minutes seeking the equalizer, Belmont’s collective defense plan only allowed the Spartans a few clear cut chances in the period.