TMHS Fall Sports Awards Celebrates Hard Work of Student Athletes
Jan 06, 2020 09:14PM
By Casey Stevenson
TMHS Fall Sports Awards (Casey Stevenson photo)
During the fall season, the student athletes of Tewksbury Memorial High School train, work, and fight to bring glory to the community through football, cross country, soccer, swim and dive, volleyball, golf, field hockey, and cheer.
The fall season of the 2019-2020 school year brought many challenges for these athletes to overcome, with varying levels of success for each team, but all had the same unwavering spirit that Tewksbury is known for.
On Dec. 9, the coaches, administration, athletes, and parents came together to celebrate the accomplishments and efforts of each team and highlight a few outstanding athletes at the Fall Sports Awards Night.
The night began with an opening speech from TMHS’ Athletic Director Ron Drouin, recapping the past season, and sharing some of the notable accomplishments the “passionate, successful athletic town” of Tewksbury has achieved through its fall athletic program this year.
Some of the achievements Drouin highlighted were; out of 300 athletic contests the fall teams competed in combined in the fall season alone, the varsity teams had a 60 percent win rate, 3 coaches earned the MVC Coach of the Year Award for their various sports, Tewksbury had 9 of 10 teams qualify for state championships, as well as several other recognitions and achievements earned by specific teams.
Drouin thanked those who provide relentless support for the athletic program, such as Principal Kristen Vogel, the school committee, the janitorial staff, the athletic trainer, coaches, parents, and especially the players, and emphasized that he was “proud of the efforts made by our fall athletes”.
The cross country coaches were the first to give awards. Coach Peter Fortunato, coach of the boys’ cross country team, gave his Coach’s Award to Senior Captain Will Andella, remarking that he created a great atmosphere on the team. His MVP, senior Gustavo Tizotti, had only run in Cross Country for that one season, but was 2nd Team All Conference.
The girls’ cross country Coach, Francis Cusick, reflected on the nature of the team, remarking that the seniors (Captains Meghan Ostertag and Shannon Crowley, Casey Stevenson, Sarah Polimeno, and Tammy Varnum) created a great atmosphere on the team. The team earned a spot as the 5th best team in the league, and despite the fact that the team this year was young, Coach Cusick expressed how much potential the team has going forward and how proud he was of his athletes. Two Coach’s Awards were given out, to Maci Chapman and Meghan Ostertag. Cusick described Chapman as positive and true to herself despite being new to the team, and he described Ostertag as an athlete he has great respect for, and who truly understands the ups and downs that come with distance running and cross country.
Coach Allie Luppi of the volleyball team expressed that the team had finished the season 13-4, making the season successful, and her team had worked hard and were a joy to work with.
Luppi’s MVP Award went to Captain Allison Wild, their go-to hitter who had been on the varsity volleyball team for all four years of high school, and made MVC All-Conference this year, ensuring that Wild had a great season.
Luppi’s Coach’s Award went to Senior Elizabeth Taggart, who, despite only being on varsity for one year, was a huge support and was a player who teammates admired.
Chris Burns remained optimistic when recapping the Boys’ Soccer season, remarking that even though “it wasn’t a great season record-wise, they grew as a team”, and expressed that he saw “bright spots for the future”. Burns’ Coach’s Award went to Shawn Manson, a senior who went from a JV player Junior year to a player who now plays every minute of every game, thanks to his hard work and improvement. Burns’ MVPs, Patrick D. and Zach Lalonde, held the team up, scoring 20 of the team’s combined 28 goals scored. Patrick made All-Conference and has lots of skill, and Lalonde was regarded as the team’s best athlete, scoring 10 of the 28 goals scored by Tewksbury this season, and will be missed when he graduates this spring.
James Sullivan, coach of the golf team, remarked that, because of the kids in the program, the golf team is headed in the right direction, as they were Co-champions with Chelmsford this year.
He also took his time onstage to thank outside sources, such as Wamesit Lanes, for helping the team condition and practice during the off-season. Sullivan’s Coach’s Award went to Campbell Pierce, a two-year varsity athlete who was a tremendous leader and a hard worker. Sullivan’s MVP Award recipient, Junior co-captain Anthony Pecci, was the number one player on the team, with only tying once and never losing, and was a stand-out this year.
Coach Jason Smith of the swim and dive Team, began his speech by remarking on how amazing and supporting the parents are. The Swim and Dive program is a unique one, as it is co-op with Methuen, combining into the Red Rangers. The Red Rangers have only been a team for 5 years, and Smith has high hopes for the future, as based on how well the season has been for the team. With determined and hardworking athletes, the team had a record of 7-3, and scored its first win over Haverhill in the team’s history.
Smith’s Coach’s Award, Senior Callie Legvold, qualified for sectionals, was 12th best in the state, made MVC 2nd Team All Conference, and had a tremendous impact on the team, and was credited with being one of the reasons why the Red Rangers received the Sportsmanship Award.
The girls’ soccer coach, Samantha Tavantis, called the season a successful one, with a record of 6-6-6, and they even made it to the first round of the state championship tournaments.
Tavantis had two Coach’s Awards to give, one to junior Captain Lexi Polimeno, who worked hard on and off the field, and to senior Captain Sophie Eskenas, who was starting defender for 2 years and was a role model to those around her. Tavantis’ MVP Award went to Senior Captain and goalie Julia Cafferty, who made 215 saves this season.
Jason Russel, captain of the Field Hockey team, said that the season had been a hard fought one, with 7 wins and 11 losses. He also expressed that the senior group was small, but amazing, helpful, and flexible.
Julia Garland received the first Coach’s Award, being described as a flexible player as well as a huge support and presence to her teammates.
Morgan Woodman received the second Coach’s Award, who was a big help over the past four years, and who younger players looked up to.
The third and final Coach’s Award went to Captain Victoria Schille, who had been a captain for 2 years, and does so much for the team.
The MVP award went to Captain Ryan Quinn, who scored 18 goals, and demonstrated that she was a wonderful and strong person, as well as a team player
Coach Paige Wynn, of the cheer team, said that this year’s squad is one of the most talented cheer teams Tewksbury has ever had. Wynn gave out many awards at the Fall Sports Banquet, ranging from memorial awards to Coach’s awards.
The All-Conference Award went to Senior Kristina Johnson, who was described as the player who gave the greatest contribution to the team. One Coach’s Award to Abby O’Keefe, who was a friend to all, was a hardworking athlete who helped others and had a positive attitude. Sophomore Amery Sullivan received a Coach’s Award, and was illustrated as the backbone of the team, humble, and kind.
Senior Captain Kate Lowry, who was reliable and serious but also brought humor to the team, received the Stacey Stott Award and the MVP Award. Kate Rose worked hard, even on the worst days, which earned her the Colleen Creegan Award. The Jocelyn Gannon Memorial Award went to a dependable team player, who has spirit on and off the mat, Kaitlyn Staskywicz.
Last, but certainly not least, Coach Brian Alyward (who received Coach of the Year) took the stage for a heartfelt, emotional 12 minute speech about how much heart and dedication the football team had, even in its lowest moments in the season, and how hardworking the team was, until the very end.
Aylward also elaborated on how much it means to him and the team that they play for and represent a town like Tewksbury, where the spirit and support runs deep, and it shows in the stands of every football game. The team has earned 31 wins over the past three years, and couldn’t be more proud of the football program.
Alyward gave out three Coach’s Awards. The first went to Senior Robby Kimtis, who Alyward illustrated as an outstanding leader, a representation of what TMHS football stands for, and he also earned the Lineman of the Year Award. Coach Alyward’s second award went to Tyler Keough, who never backed down and was another epitome of Tewksbury Football. Alyward’s third and final Coach’s Award went to his son, Shane Alyward, who was painted as a great leader all year round, had great character, and, even though he didn’t have the season he expected, Shane still stayed positive and even was the MVP of the MVC Small Schools Division.
The night finished by recognizing athletes who made the MVC All- Conference Teams and other outside awards. Based on the athletes who were recognized, as well as the spirit of all those who weren’t but still put their heart out on the field for their teams, it’s safe to say that Tewksbury Memorial High School had no shortage of amazing, respectable athletes with bright futures ahead, who will hopefully bring the same integrity and hard work into the winter and spring sports seasons.