The Varsity Girls Lacrosse team is seeing a challenging practice regimen pay off, starting their season with a win away and three at home, followed by a loss to Pope John Paul II, for a 4-1 record. They played Monomoy Regional High School at Monomoy on March 30 and won 17-8, and Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School at home on April 1, for a final score of 17-7. They defeated Cape Cod Academy with 21 points to CCA’s 6, and won in overtime against Sturgis West Charter School thanks to a game-winning shot by junior Nina Wilson, for a final score of 7-6, taking their first loss against PJPII by 4-19.
Facing Monomoy, an individual team for the first time this year after playing previously as a joint team with Cape Cod Tech, the Whalers were unsure what to expect but played strongly. Junior Captain Katherine Pittman scored the first goal of the season, which she followed with five more goals but was penalized for a dangerous shot around half time and had to sit out for the rest of the game. Wilson was the second leading scorer, with four goals. The Whalers were in the lead for the entire game, and let in only two goals during the entire second half, with freshman Emma Chambers starting as varsity goalie.
The first home game of the season, against Dennis-Yarmouth, saw a similar pattern of a strong start and a stronger finish; only one of Dennis-Yarmouth’s seven goals was scored in the second half. Pittman was again the leading scorer, with seven goals.
The girls then faced a younger team when they played CCA on April 10, in which they won 21-6, with no single player scoring more than three goals. The game against Sturgis West was the first close score; the Lady Whalers maintained a tight lead throughout the game until the score was tied, then headed into a sudden-death overtime. On three separate occasions, goals were scored in overtime by Nantucket but weren’t counted; Wilson ultimately scored the winning goal.
After losing a substantial amount of starters to the Spanish Club trip, a depleted but nonetheless strong team faced PJPII, but unfortunately came away with a 4-19 loss.
Head Coach Rafael Osona spoke to the experience of coaching at the varsity level for the first time following his years as a Junior Varsity coach for girls soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, saying, “a lot of the faces I get to coach are faces from a lot of the other JV sports I was coaching, like basketball, so it’s really cool to see the girls progress from that level to this level.”
Osona also recognized the exceptional level of enthusiasm on the team this year. “I would say the excitement level for this team is probably the highest I’ve had as a coach; I see a lot of optimism and really good energy, which I think in general NHS has, but this year is something special for sure,” said Osona.
Senior Captain KD Tornovish echoed the sentiment, saying that, “this is the strongest group of girls I’ve played with all throughout high school considering all our individual talents all put together. We have really strong speed, offense, defense, and shooting skills throughout the team. Our diverse skill sets help us to work very well together in that sense.”
“I hope to see us continue to come together and work as a team the way we have been doing,” said Pittman. “I also hope we make playoffs and become league champs for the first time, but beyond that have fun and support each other throughout the season.”
Looking forward, Osona commends the team’s speed and athleticism, as well as its intelligence, but notes becoming ambidextrous as an area of improvement to focus on. As a major goal for the season, Osona simply states that he wants, “to see the team reach our potential.
The two island rivals, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, participated in the 38th annual Island Cup football game on Saturday, November 26. The outcome of the match up is one that won’t be soon forgotten on this island.
After a strong season (10-3), the Nantucket Whalers Football team enjoyed a stunning victory against the MV Vineyarders, with a final score of 42-0. The win marked the end of the Vineyard’s 14-year long streak and brought the coveted Island Cup back to Nantucket. Following the victory, the football team and their trophy returned home - and both were welcomed with a parade through town and up Main Street, where they were greeted by screaming fans, proud parents, and enthusiastic Whalers supporters.
The Island Cup game began at 1:00 pm, at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s home field. About 400 Whalers fans travelled with the Varsity football team for the game, all in support of Whaler Pride. Prior to the commencement of the game, and while the team prepared mentally and physically, fans had time to visit the towns of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Comically, several students and some Whaler fans were left behind in Edgartown, but eventually found their way back to the high school in time for the big game.
The Whalers started off strong, winning the coin toss and getting the kick-off. The team shut down the Vineyard squad and many of their offensive plays from the start, scoring the first Whaler touchdown at the end of the first quarter and tacking on an additional point with a kick. Junior Alex Small scored several touchdowns and ran well throughout the game. Other upperclassmen, including Jack Holdgate, Cory Ryder, JT Gamberoni, and Travis Demby, also played tremendously well and were recognized for their outstanding performance by many fans on both sides.
NHS head football coach Brian Ryder said that the team exceeded his and all of the coaches’ expectations and that “they worked very hard for a long time.”
“We had two weeks to specifically prepare for the Vineyard game, but the reality is they have been preparing for that game and all the games since the end of last season and throughout the winter months,” said Ryder. “A lot of them were lifting weights and, in the summer months, most of them were running and getting in shape for this. It showed on the field - [the team’s] conditioning definitely showed to be superior to the Vineyard.”
Junior linebacker, Owen West, added that the team spent the “two weeks practicing and preparing specifically for the schemes that the Vineyard ran, offensively and defensively.”
Despite the loss of many seniors this year, Coach Ryder maintains a positive outlook for the future. “I think we have a great nucleus of players coming back next year,” he said. “I think that the majority of our starters will be returning, so I think we will have a very strong year next year as well. I have very high hopes...to start one year at a time, for next year and the future of the program.”
West acknowledges the loss of his senior teammates, but believe that his team with still hold strong.“I am very excited for next year because I feel like we are going to be the same team, if not better,” he said. “We are losing four key seniors, but we are retaining a lot of juniors.”
Overall, the Nantucket Whalers football team proved to be an amazing group of players that each contributed to a tremendous season and a memorable Island Cup game. “I am very happy for the community, the school, and the football program, and I really hope that other players and or ex players who were on the fence that did not play this year realize the special group of kids and young men that we have playing the sport right now,” said Ryder. “I hope that they decide to come out for football next year because the sky's the limit next year, and the more these kids get to play, the better we’ll be. We are going to raise the bar next year and hopefully, not only win the Vineyard game, but get to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium eventually."
The 2016 Lady Whalers soccer team recently received the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Sportsmanship Award for their league. Even though the team was practically brand new in terms of players and coaches, the girls always maintained a good attitude. The MIAA Sportsmanship Award is voted for by other teams in each league as to who they felt was the team with the best attitude on and off the field. Although girls soccer weathered some losses, they still kept their temper with other teams and always showed respect even when it was not returned. They also kept their humility when it came to their wins. When playing teams of weaker skill, the girls did not brag and always congratulated them no matter the score.
Captain Emily Ballinger, a four year varsity member and long time player with the majority of the girls on the team, said she was not shocked at her team's accomplishment. “Through all the years we have been playing, we have all formed a special bond that helps us work together on the field and keeps us connected… Some athletes on other teams often get overly involved and begin to get confrontational but I have never noticed our girls purposely going after another player.”
Ballinger had a large impact to the success of the team but sadly will be graduating this year. Luckily, many young freshman players like Rosha Kelly, Haleigh Johnson, and Luly Day are bringing a new style to the field.
Kelly, a newer varsity Whaler, was also unsurprised at the reception of the award. “Everyone on the team has good energy and are always friendly. I think the team all loves good competition, but never lack good sportsmanship,” said the freshman. Kelly and many other freshmen have been greatly influenced by not only the captains, but also by the numerous upperclassmen, who have shown excellent examples of respect and sportsmanship, causing the soccer program to flourish and develop into the organization that earned the sportsmanship award.
One of the most impactful things girls soccer does is create a ‘soccer sister’ system between upperclassmen and lower classmen. On special games, the team would get bags for their ‘sister’ to get them pumped up for the game, but that is not it’s only purpose. These upperclassmen sisters are there to help make the younger girls feel more comfortable and show them how to act as a whaler. Malcolm has been on the team since freshman year, always giving it her all with a good attitude, stating, “I want to make sure the younger kids on the team understand the responsibilities our team has and it’s legacy. I’m proud to be a Whaler and even on the coldest, rainiest days and toughest games, it’s important they see that pride and all the hardwork transcend to that.”
Malcolm also believes she wouldn’t have had such a great experience if it wasn’t for her fellow seniors: Ballinger, Grace Bartlett, Victoria Wilson, and Blake Lazarus, commenting that she believes these girls brought her to where she is now and they always make her comfortable on and off the field.
So why did the Lady Whalers Soccer team get the MIAA Sportsmanship Award? They got it because they are a team who works together and makes sure everyone is having a good time. They know what it is like to lose and win and the pressures that come along with it. These ladies know how to kick some serious gluteus maximus with respect and a good attitude. Way to go Lady Whaler’s Soccer and we can’t wait to see some more of that competitive friendliness on the field!
Whalers Hockey opened the season with an exciting home win against the Cape Cod Tech Crusaders. The Whalers got off to a bad start, down three goals the first quarter. The game was initially not going their way, but they found their stride and picked up their heads, and started to fight back.
Eighth grader James Culkins replaced Joey Osley in goal. The team was led by senior captains Simon Johnson, Ethan Fey and Natty Davidson, who paved the way for James Lester to score the first goal of the season, tucking it into the back of the net, causing the Nantucket crowd to jump up and cheer.
Later on, the boys found themselves closing down the gap between them and their opponent with successive goals in the second period. Senior captain Ethan Fey scored to make it 3-2 to the Crusaders and just seconds later, Junior Keith Johnson scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 3-3.
The Whalers didn’t stop working there, as they opened up the gates by scoring a total of seven goals and conceding four. Eighth grader Ben Jenkinson, made his unbelievable debut for the team, scoring four goals and assisting another. “A smart player,” was Johnson’s input on Jenkinson after his performance, saying he knows where to be and what to do when he has the puck in possession.
“The first period didn’t go as planned and we knew we were better than them,” said captain Davidson about the way they turned the first game around. After a poor start to the game, this prediction was quickly fulfilled when they netted 5 unanswered goals, ending in a final 7-4 win, sending the Crusaders home with their first defeat.
“I know none of the returning players were worried going down by three. We knew we dug ourselves in a deep hole and we had to work to get out of it and that’s what we did,” said Johnson.
“We don’t really have anything to lose this year because we didn’t lose many players last year and I think we’ll have a successful season. Hopefully we will make it far in the playoffs and not have a disappointing loss like we did last year,” junior Carter Snell shared about his thoughts on this year’s future success.
The season continues with another home game against Blue Hills this wednesday. With Blue Hills coming up to face our 1-0-0 Whalers, Davidson said, “last year’s game was really rough,” recalling that Blue Hills had 5 misconducts and were a “physical team.”
Remembering the home game last year that had the Whalers down 7-2 but resulted in an 8-7 comeback after the third period, Johnson added that “when we met at their rink things were different, we got a solid lead that they didn’t like so they started hitting kids.” Neither players excluded the fact that the team is very excited to play the tough game that is soon to come.
It is looking good for our Whalers with young talent as well as experienced Senior Captains who hope to end their final season as one to be remembered.
The Winter sports teams at Nantucket High School have reason to be optimistic about the upcoming winter season. Teams include varsity and junior varsity boys basketball, varsity and JV girls basketball, varsity boys and girls swimming (including a coed dive team), and varsity hockey. As island life slows down in the winter, sports teams appear to be gaining popularity among students. Some teams this winter recieved so many sign ups they were forced to make cuts.
The varsity boys basketball team, led by junior captains Maxx Cunningham, Kalik Liburd, and Bodie Sargent, is set to have a very successful season. Last winter they ended the season 12-2 in their league and 13-8 overall. Working with a team largely run by underclassmen last year, this year is predicted to be even better. Given the increased level of sign ups this year, Varsity Coach Willis Ferreira was forced to cut some players. However, Ferreira was challenged by one student’s parent after they were cut. Since Ferreira had only decided to cut two boys it was unfair to let one stay and not the other; therefore, the two boys remained on the team but will not be guaranteed playing time. Coaches often make cuts because they may not need certain players, especially in a game like basketball when only five people are playing at once; it’s very challenging to sub in so often. Basketball coaches alongside Ferreira include Michael Day, Jon Barone, and former NHS Basketball star Josh Butler.
Girls Varsity Basketball has yet to solidify captains for the 2016-17 season. Senior Jazzmin Butler is one captain but the other one or two are undecided thus far. Despite losing a large number of players with the class of 2016 graduating, the varsity girls still have some very key players as well as many new ones: Butler as well as junior Jadelen Harold, and sophomore Moneak Phillips being essential players in the past years. Coach Lori Moran is in charge of the varsity girls in the winter season. Moran, who also coached varsity field hockey in the fall, has many of the same girls playing basketball with her this winter. Moran is assisted by Aileen Fredericks, Rafael Osona, and Bill Steadman for the girls Varsity and JV Basketball. With an overall record of 15-4 in the 2015-16 season, the girls have high hopes to do just as well, if not better this year.
Senior Kristy Ringer is excited for the season: “It feels really weird playing without the girls from last year but we still have a lot of people who were playing varsity a lot, so it’s looking to be a really fun time.”
Senior captains of the girls varsity swim team are Lauren Bresette, KD Tornovish, and Isabelle Roberts; the boys are led by senior captains Tyler Wheeler, Jacob Aloisi, and Elias Loughery. The swim team has been gaining significant popularity over the last three years. Many first time and former swimmers have been joining the re-energized program in order to experience the sport again, keep fit over the winter, or to strengthen areas of injury (something swimming is very helpful for). Boys and girls swim and dive teams had an exceptional season last year, winning every meet overall as well as winning the Bay Colony Conference Championships. The team, while being one varsity squad, is split up into two practices with newer and injured swimmers as well as the dive team being in the earlier practice and more experienced swimmers in the later practice.
Senior Isabelle Roberts has accepted an offer from Assumption college to swim for their division II Varsity team. “I’m super excited to swim in a completely new environment than I’m used to, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like just swimming with a girls team.”
The Ice Hockey team this year also received a flux of new players. Senior captains Natty Davidson and Ethan Fey have been strong players for the team throughout the years and provide a strong foundation along with the other seniors who act as season veterans to the game. After starting goalie Peter Bopp graduated, and backup goalie Aaron Gould moved away, the team had to search for a new goalie to train for this season. Sophomore Joey Osley began practicing as goalie in the fall prior to the winter season and was able to step up and fill the void. While Osley hasn’t played for the high school team before he’s been playing hockey consistently since he was a child and is very familiar to the sport.
Osley has little fear jumping back into hockey after a few years off: “I haven’t been playing as consistently for the past three years or so but I’ve stayed fit with lacrosse and just working out so I think jumping back in I’ll be able to keep up with the other guys,” he said.
Apart from having trouble with a goalie before the season began, the hockey team has been consistently strong. The vast majority of the boys have been playing since they were young children, creating a strong foundation for them to focus more on skills and strength. With a previous record of 14-3-2 they’re also looking to keep improving while still maintaining their current status.
The 2016-17 winter season has a very promising lineup, and all the teams hope for the community to come and support them this year.
Phil Taylor put his extensive experience to work in his first season as the Nantucket Lady Whalers varsity soccer coach and, while the team ended the season 7-9-3, they are well-positioned to continue building and strengthening their skills for next year.
Taylor hails from Liverpool, England and began his soccer career at a young age. His start in a youth academy led him to join a professional club in Liverpool. Unfortunately, at the age of 17, he faced injury and illness and was out of the game for six to eight months. In the next stage of his career, he joined a semi-professional club as a goalkeeper. Afterwards, he went on to college and played for one of the lower professional club leagues. Interestingly, the process of earning a position on the field for a professional team in England is quite different than it is in the U.S., explained Taylor. In England, top players generally join a professional team by the time they are 18 - while in this country, players typically play at the university level as a segway into professional play. If you do not make it into the professional sporting world by the time you are 21 in England, he said, then the chances of reaching that level are very rare.
After his departure from England, Taylor arrived on Nantucket with interest in the men’s soccer league. He refereed and coached several teams in his first years here. He also coached boys and girls as part of the island’s youth soccer program and worked privately with individual players. His consistent involvement in the Nantucket soccer community ultimately led him to his role as coach for the Nantucket Lady Whalers squad this fall.
When asked about this season and his hopes for the future, Taylor reflected on the past 12 months and said that one of his goals is to create easy transitions between each season. He believes that a steady transition and consistent dynamic will be comforting for the players as well as for him - a necessity for success, he claimed.
“I’ve had a good amount of time to evaluate where the program is,” he said. “I’d like to create a system where there’s a more sustainable flow of players, rather than it being a big shock when so many players leave. I’d rather have a more seamless transition. That would be the ultimate goal - and obviously, making playoffs and not just competing in playoffs but trying to win overall.”
Taylor is proud of the way the young team played, noting that Whalers lost several very strong players last year. Looking ahead to next year, he is confident that this year’s team, which was made up of three eighth graders, 14 freshman, four sophomores and eight juniors, will be a tough team to beat next year. “The future is bright,” he noted optimistically.
“We are thrilled with the turnout and the success we have seen with the NHS Cross Country Club,” said NHS Athletic Director Chris Maury. “Whenever we look at adding a new sport, our hope is to involve new members of the student population in our interscholastic athletic program.”
Currently, cross country is only a club sport, but the team hopes it will become a varsity offering within the next year or two. There is a total of 21 new faces on the team with the majority being boys.
“We have the numbers on the boys side for it to be a varsity team next year, we just need more girls because as of right now we only have five”, said the head coach, Gary Allen. Nonetheless, the team was still able to take part in competitions against several Cape teams such as Sturgis East, Sturgis West, River View, Cape Cod Academy, and Saint John Paul II. Co-coach Phil Allen contributed tremendously to getting the cross country program in place at NHS.
Even though it is not a varsity team, the runners practice daily, took part in team dinners, and compete - just like all the other teams at NHS.
“Coaches Gary and Phil Allen have done a terrific job in getting this sport off the ground and making sure that all participants had a rewarding experience,” said Maury. The team also allowed students from Cyrus Peirce Middle School, The Nantucket New School and The Nantucket Lighthouse School to join the team but only those in eighth grade or above were able to travel and compete in the meets.
Aside from cross country being a rewarding sport in general, running is a great way to get and stay fit and is, of course, an ideal way to be ready for the winter sports season.
“Cross Country is a great sport that can be for anyone,” said junior Moneak Phillip. “It helped me get ready for basketball as well. I also really enjoyed it and I made many new friends.”
The club competed once a week, with most of the meets off island. The final meet was the Cape and Islands championships, where the Whalers competed against all the teams they had had met previously, plus two others, Monomoy and Riverside. Unfortunately, the team was not able to place because it is not an official varsity or junior varsity team.
“Even though we couldn’t place, I think it was great to be able to run against those other teams and see other runners,” said Allen. “Even the other team’s coaches expressed their eagerness for us to become a varsity team.”
Running is different from most sports as it feels very much an individual sport and because of that, it is competitive in a different way than other sports.
“Personally I prefer it because I’m not really into the competitive nature of a lot of the other sports,” said sophomore Sawyer Phillips. “In cross country you’re still a team, but really you’re racing against yourself.”
The team enjoyed training runs in different parts of the island and over varied terrain - from the beach in Miacomet to the trails through Deadhorse Valley. Overall, it was a great and very successful year for the Nantucket High School Cross Country Club, which will hopefully become a varsity sport next fall.
Ramo Partida & Carter Snell
The Nantucket Whalers boys’ varsity soccer team ended its regular season undefeated in league play and moved into the playoffs with a league record of (16-0-1) and overall record of (16-1-1). As in recent years, the team had many heavily one sided games, with the exception of a tie with Sturgis East and a loss to Martha’s Vineyard - and as MV is in a different league, that game did not affect Whalers’ finishing record.
This gives the team the number one seeding in the Division 4 South Sectional Playoffs, which means it will host its first playoff game on the island. Co-captains Andrew Dawson and Simon Johnson were both asked about the success they predict as the team enters the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. “We have a really well-rounded team this year, and I think that’s going to give us a big advantage in the playoffs because all of our players are so versatile and really any of us can play anywhere,” said Johnson. “It’s going to be tough, but I have confidence that we’ll make it far this year.” Dawson concurred: “As a fourth year player, I would say both myself and the team have a good understanding of our potential and what we can achieve in the postseason. With a strong regular season, we are right where we want to be in the number one seed. Last year we were a really individual-based team and relied on certain players to score goals for us in tight situations, whereas this year we are more of a well rounded team. We have scorers, we have midfielders, and we have defenders, and everyone works together. We don’t have a necessarily ‘easy’ road in the playoffs this year, but we hope to match the success we found last year.” The two seniors hope to finish off their last season as a Whaler with pride.
Last year, the Whalers made it to the Division 4 South Sectional Finals but lost to the strong Archbishop Williams 3-1. This year the team has already faced their rival, defeating them 3-0 in a friendly preseason matchup. Archbishop Williams finished the season with a record of 6-1-3 and will continue to be a strong opponent for the Whalers should they face off in the postseason.
The Nantucket team has a well-rounded team and a strong roster of young players with good speed and ball handling skills. However, the leading scorers of the team, Mario Reyes (25) and Simon Johnson (23) have been a huge asset in the team’s winning streak along with Andrew Dawson, who leads in assists (20).
Coaches Rich Brannigan and Peter Mehlert have been looking ahead to the State Championship since the first day of pre-season practice, hoping to be able to win the title for the first time. They have implemented a very strategic focus to the practice schedule, working the players hard with ball handling skills and a disciplined approach. Also, continually experimenting with the lineup has made for a solid 11 starting players. Players, like junior Carter Snell (who was moved from defense to center midfield), and junior Cory Partida and sophomore Emmet Clarke (both now playing in the back four) have made a big difference to the team’s play.
The team put these new skills into action in the quarterfinal game Wednesday the 9th when they came back from a 3-1 score in the first half. After managing to tie it up in the second half, they won within the first minute of overtime with a goal by Reyes.
Girl’s soccer has had an amazing 2014 season, with a conference record of 10-1-2, and an overall season record of 12-3-2. Coach Jorge Rojas attributes their success to the team’s positive attitudes. “This season it has been very fun to coach the team” said Rojas. “It’s nice to watch the girls play more freely and with a smile on their face.”
Rojas had minor critiques on the team’s performance, but stressed the need of a goalkeeper to train and depend on for future seasons. Despite the issues regarding goalies for the varsity team, the Whalers still saw success in this year’s Vineyard game, earning a crushing victory of 4-0 over the island rivals. To prepare differently to face the Vineyard during homecoming this year, Rojas put less pressure on the girls, trusting that they would perform to the best of their abilities.
Veteran players mentioned the importance of a strong team dynamic, which has led to close friendships on and off the field. “I just wanted to make sure everyone had fun and felt comfortable this year, especially the freshmen” said captain Olivia Slade. “We do a lot of team dinners, team breakfasts, always commenting on people’s instagrams, snapchatting, and just joking around.”
Slade’s thoughts were supported by captain Claire Mackay, who went on to say, “I think we’re coming really well together as a team, and compared to last season we’ve grown a lot.”
Looking forward to playoffs, the Lady Whalers aimed to have at least two or three games this year, as the team record has only been two games in playoff season. Unfortunately the team fell to Hull in the first round of playoffs. The Whalers played a head-to-head, nail-biting game. At the end of regular play, the score was 1-1. The two teams faced off for two rounds of sudden death overtime play, with neither team able to get a shot behind the other teams goalies. This led to a shoot-off, in which five Nantucket and five Pirate players faced off. Each team was able to get 3 shots off, with Nora MacLellan, MacKay and Kate Daniels all making shots. This tie led to another round of shots, this one being a sudden death style shoot-off. Unfortunately, a Hull player was able to get a shot in the net and the Whalers were not. This meant a victory for Hull, and the end of the season for the Whalers.
With the end of this season means the loss of the two seniors on the team, Slade and Mia Silverio. Despite this loss, there will be 13 seniors on the team next year to make up for the deficit.