Teams for this season’s City League championships have been announced. Semifinals for girls' volleyball and boys’ and girls’ soccer will kick off Monday afternoon while each sport's finals will be played on Wednesday.
Top seed Latin Academy (12-0) will look to defend its title as last years City League champion when they face off against an English (9-2) team that was second in the City League South Division.
On the other side, No. 2 O’Bryant (12-0) will also take an undefeated record against No. 4 Madison Park (9-3), which lost two of its last three regular season matches.
Both games are at Burke High School, starting with Latin Academy against English at 3 p.m. and finishing with O'Bryant against Madison Park at 5 p.m.
Top seed Dorchester (12-0-1) will play a Burke team that’s coming off an impressive 8-1 victory over Boston International to gain a playoff berth.
Burke however will have its hands full with Dorchester; a team that failed to lose this year and tied against Madison Park, 1-1. Madison Park (11-0-2), second ranked and last year's defending champions, will play third seeded East Boston (9-2-2) to decide what this year's championship matchup will be.
Both games start at 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Dorchester and Burke will play at English High School, while Madison Park and East Boston will play at White Stadium.
Top seed Latin Academy (10-0-2) will play fourth ranked O’Bryant (9-1-2) starting 3:30 p.m. at Madison Park’s lower field.
Parallel to this action, second ranked New Mission (10-1-2) will square off against East Boston (11-2) 3:30 p.m. at Madison Park’s upper field.
East Boston is last year's defending champions so expect some great matchups when these teams all clash Monday afternoon.
With the 2013 MIAA playoff pairings announced Sunday afternoon, here’s a quick look at which BPS teams made the postseason and also a look at some non-qualifier city games to look forward to in the coming weeks.
In the Division 6 North quarterfinals bracket the No.1 seed O’Bryant (7-0) will face off with No. 8 seed West Roxbury (3-4) at Madison Park with date and time TBA. Latin Academy (6-1), the No. 4 seed, will matchup with Dorchester (5-2), the No. 5 seed and that game will be held at White Stadium with date and time TBA.
Wrapping up BPS participants in the 2013 MIAA playoff picture is the undefeated Brighton Bengals (7-0), who will be the No. 3 seed in the Division 5 North quarterfinals as they go up against Manchester-Essex (4-3) Friday at White Stadium at 7.
Following the quarterfinal and semifinal playoff matches, all six state Super Bowls will be played at Gillette Stadium Dec. 7.
Here’s a running list of a slew of BPS teams in both Division 5 and 6 that will suit up for non-playoff games. All date and time info is TBA
Division 6 North: Boston English (3-4) at Lynn Tech (3-3), Charlestown (1-6 ) at Matignon (2-5 ), Burke (1-6) at New Mission (1-5), and South Boston (0-7) is at St. Joseph’s Prep (1-6).
Division 5 North : Greater Lawrence at East Boston and Greater Lowell (0-7) at Madison Park (4-3).
America SCORES Boston celebrated 15 years of youth development in style Thursday night when they welcomed honored guests Jay Heaps and Brad Feldman to the Cyclorama in the South End. Feldman is a New England Revolution broadcaster, while Heaps is currently the Revolution’s head coach.
“For me, I think tonight's event is just amazing,” Heaps said. “This core group that make up SCORES is really strong. And to see these young kids here tonight, this is what it’s all about and the reason we got involved.”
SCORES is an afterschool program for Boston’s youth that combines soccer, poetry and service-learning to inspire kids to lead healthy lives.
Thursday’s celebration featured a light scrimmage for the kids, a SCORES video presentation and a live auction.
The night kicked off with the SCORES kids participating in a soccer skills clinic assisted by their counselors. Parents and adults were able to enjoy food and drink sponsored by 12 ethnic restaurants.
“I’m really excited to be a part of this,” SCORES board chairman David Chang said. “We’ve been planning tonight for eight months. We also have a ton of volunteers that helped make this happen.”
Feldman, attributed the event's success to the efforts of the SCORES team.
“I want a big round of applause to recognize all their work,” he said. “They’ve all helped this incredible program. Fifteen years now it’s been around, and look at the growth.”
After the skills clinic, Heaps taught the kids a drill he uses with his Revolution players to work on their headers.
“I wish the rest of my players could be up here with me,” he said. “But I’ve sent them home and to bed because we’ve got a big game Saturday.”
The celebration then concluded with a live auction that showcased Patriots' tickets, vacation packages and dinners.
But even though the night’s atmosphere was light and celebratory, the positive influence that SCORES continues to bring inner city youth remained the topic of conversation.
“To be able to bring the kids, sponsors and the public together in one night, it’s awesome,” SCORES Program Director Dwayne Simmons said. “I think the parents got a lot out of it too. Tonight just reflects positively on what we’re trying to do, and what we’ve been doing at SCORES.”
Boston City League teams will resume play this afternoon after Tuesday’s bus strike led to the postponement of 10 games around the city.
“It’s a relief,” said athletic director Ken Still. “I’m relieved especially for the kids, but also as far scheduling goes. Teams got an extra day of practice yesterday, too, so that was a positive.”
Though the bus drivers went back to work this morning, it was at first unclear whether city sports could resume. But the athletic department worked hard to make sure the process went smoothly.
“We reschedule games on a consistent level,” Still said. “We’re absolutely fine. In fact, most of the games have already been rescheduled.”
Around the league, coaches were happy to get back to the season.
“I’m excited,” said Charlestown volleyball coach Tony Gearcy. “It’s just really good for the kids.”
His Charlestown team is facing English today, and Gearcy was at first unsure whether they'd be able to make the trip to Jamaica Plain.
But all is well again in the City League. With his retirement date edging closer, Still made sure to get everything back to normal.
“The last day I work is the 21st,” he said. “But I’m using some vacation time to my advantage.”
Dorchester played its first game at its new home field Friday night, but it was Latin Academy that danced off the Roberts Field turf victorious.
Behind a balanced offensive attack and a swarming defense, the Dragons spoiled Dorchester’s home opener, 24-10. Spearheaded by dynamic senior quarterback Kyle Dance’s three touchdowns (2 passing, one rushing), Latin Academy improved to 3-0.
“It feels good [getting the win], especially the way they beat us last year, which kept us from going to the Super Bowl,” said Dance, Latin Academy's three-year starter under center. ‘”They were a good team, we came out hard, they came out physical, but I think in the end we did a good job."
Even though Dorchester scored the first ever points on Robert’s field, Latin Academy took the lead in the second quarter and never relinquished it.
The first two points were provided by Dorchester middle linebacker Leon Sealy, who sacked Dance in the end zone on third down with just over six minutes to play in the first.
“It means a lot, a lot of people didn’t get a chance to play out here ... but it means something to me,” Sealy said of scoring the program's first-ever points on their home field. “Coach sent me on the blitz through the A gap and I just got to the quarterback. That’s about it.''
With 3:45 to play in the first half, Dorchester spit up their first of four fumbles in the game on a pitch inside the 5-yard line. The ball bounced into the end zone before being pounced on by Latin Academy senior defensive lineman Johnson Kellen for the team’s first points of the game. The Dragons, who started the game with an errant snap and an ugly safety, never looked back offensively once their defense gave them a kick start.
“We have talented kids, and when our quarterback has enough time, good things happen for us,” said Latin Academy coach Rocco Zizza, who has watched Dance flourish in both the run game and the passing game this season. “The thing is, so long as the line can give him some time, we have guys who can catch the ball. And the better we run the ball, the easier it is for us to pass the ball.”
Dance, who finished the game with 64 rushing yards and 81 passing yards to go along with his three touchdowns, echoed his coaches winning strategy.
“Me being able to run the ball helps keep the defense off balance, so it works out good to our advantage,” he said.
Dorchester showcased six different rushers out the backfield, but had much less success than they are used to. Senior Hakim Harris, who scored the Bear’s only touchdown on a 66-yard rush, finished with a team-high 79 yards on 9 carries.
And although it was Dorchester’s homecoming party, coach Zizza felt his team did what they could to open the field with dignity.
“We played as hard as we can and that’s the ultimate form of respect for both Dorchester High and coach Moran,” he said.
The local youth sports development organization Sports in Society held a luncheon Thursday afternoon at The Northeastern University Faculty Club on Columbus Avenue.
The event was called: “Building a Positive Culture in Sport-Based Youth Development Organizations” and it focused on the organizational aspect of using sports for positive youth development throughout the city.
The panelists included Squashbusters program director Becky Nyce, City Year national manager of Alumni and Career Services Amanda Smidt, director of business development at Edgework Consulting Tracey Britton, and executive director of Playworks Massachusetts Max Fripp. It was also moderated by Sport in Society’s program manager, Ricardhy Grandoit.
Following lunch and panelist introductions, the event commenced with a seemingly simple question that in retrospect absolutely summed up the meaning of that particular Thursday afternoon: what does a positive culture look like?
“I’m going to give you three ways we measure culture at Playworks, and it’s not rocket science.” Fripp said. “One is high fives. Another is (the saying) good job, nice try, and the last is the game: rocks, paper scissors.”
Although at first these seemingly unlikely tools of cultural measurement sound somewhat elementary, Fripp explained his goals and practice, and how through his experience in the past it's worked across the board with both kids and adults.
“My call to action is that I think we have a unique moment of time here in Boston,” Fripp continued. “We can really work to redefine success, and redefine culture.”
But for Playworks Mass., who in the last five years has expanded from 14 to 30 Boston schools, their culture is facilitated and brought to life through the positive interactions between people, young and old alike.
And sometimes a positive interaction can be measured simply by a friendly high-five.
“If you can build a culture of kids and adults high fiving each other, it really fundamentally shifts things,” he said. “We live in a world that’s so hyper competitive that kids don’t hear ‘good job’ a lot. We also hear that the kids are saying good job, nice try it in the classroom now when others get an answer wrong.”
Britton also later expanded on the almost subconscious slapping hands gesture. She said, “If you walk into schools and see high-fives, you know culture is happening.”
The discussion then continued to focus on the efforts of each represented organization and their shared practices in creating that positive unified cultural front that’ll benefits both kids and adults.
“Squashbusters has actually spent an incredible amount of time looking at our culture,” Nyce said. “We know that it is the core thing that holds everything else together. So we’ve gone on building it with little bits and pieces at a time.”
Squashbusters, which was located nearby on Columbus Avenue, is a sport based after-school enrichment program that’s dedicated to improving the lives of Boston youth. Nyce then described how their own way of doing things works cohesively with the kids.
“We, for example, have a program choreography,” she said.
“Like someone knows what a dance looks like, we know all the movements during the day. We know where we want students to go and how. So they have a strong choreography of what it (the day) looks like. ”
City Year’s Smidt then furthermore emphasized the importance structure has on the children she’s worked with as well.
“In all of my youth work I learned that my favorite quote is: structure will set you free,” she said. “By setting kids up to know what to expect, you’re going to be doing them really well.“
This importance of establishing a sense of a welcoming environment to both parents and kids was an idea that bounced around the room endlessly as the panelists brainstormed various successes and best practices.
But they didn’t forget to leave out the parent’s roles in this process.
“The mindset is parents are equally participants as well,” Britton said. “In this, there needs to be room for creativity and room for cultural competency.”
For Squashbusters, Edgeworks, City Year and Playworks it seems like there’s no limit to just how far these organizations can go with their progressive ideologies.
By providing city youth with positivity and a welcoming environment, and for that matter culture, these organizations are taking steps to improving the lives of others.
“I commend the leaders in this room,” Sport in Society executive director Dan Lebowitz said. “It’s you that will change the lives of kids throughout the city. So for that, I thank you.”
The following is third in a series about former BPS athletes currently playing their sport in college.
Caroline Kiritsy and Rachel Wolsfelt have a relationship much like the rest of their teammates do on their Division 1 Duke rowing squad. They’re supportive of each other, they attend team dinners, and every fall they participate in a rigorous ropes course solely for a preseason team bonding experience.
But Kiritsy and Wolsfelt share a different, special kind of bond: they’re both alumnus of Boston Latin, where they each discovered their mutual love for rowing, facilitated through the Boston public school atmosphere.
"If you look at Duke’s roster, they recruit nationally,” Latin’s Athletics Director John McDonough said. “No other school has two kids on that team, and here this little public school has two of them."
At Latin, Kiritsy and Wolsfelt were both part of a heavyweight eight that placed third at regionals in 2009, which qualified them for Youth Nationals in Ohio. This was Kiritsy’s junior year, and Wolsfelt’s freshman year. It was on the water that a friendship blossomed between the two.
“Caroline was my coxswain for both my ninth and tenth grade years,” Wolsfelt said. “She was the one that got me interested in Duke, and I actually stayed with her on my official visit. Now that we’re both at Duke, we’re still great friends and teammates.”
The coxswain is typically seated at the stern of the boat, and is responsible for steering and the coordination of both power and rhythm of the other rowers.
Kiritsy, an upcoming senior captain of the Duke squad, started rowing at Latin in 2005 during her eighth grade year. As one of three kids in her family, Kiritsy was encouraged to participate in sports starting at a young age. But her smaller stature initially discouraged her.
“When I joined the team, I was the smallest person out there. So I was naturally put at the coxswain position,” Kiritsy said in a recent interview.
“But I really found my niche because I knew I was completely contributing. I absolutely loved the rowing program at Latin. Coach Gillian Curran is an incredibly strong and influential woman. She definitely got me inspired,” Kiritsy recalled.
Like Kiritsy, Wolsfelt also began rowing in eighth grade under Curran. Aside from rowing at Latin, Wolsfelt also participated in volleyball and track. Now entering her sophomore season at Duke, Wolsfelt emphasizes how much rowing at Latin helped define her as a collegiate student athlete.
“Rowing at BLS really helped me with my work ethic, but not just athletically; it helped in school too,” Wolsfelt said.
“I learned how to manage my time between the two. And during my senior year, I met Joe Cappellano who’s a facilitator for the Zone program. He really helped me with the college process, and emailing different coaches and stuff.”
The Boston Scholar Athletes academics Zone is active in all 19 BPS high schools, where they strive to provide assistance and a quiet place to study for all student athletes.
Academically, Kiritsy and Wolsfelt both excel.
Kiritsy is majoring in mechanical engineering, where she’s currently interning in Georgetown, Texas for the summer. McDonough describes her as a “brilliant kid and a superstar.”
Wolsfelt is enrolled Duke’s prestigious pre–med program, where she aspires to major in evolutionary anthropology. She’s currently spending her summer at home in Boston, where she’s taking summer classes at Boston University.
Through each of their successes both on the water and in the classroom, both Kiritsy and Wolsfelt stress the importance of their individual dedication to their studies during their time at Latin.
Kiritsy was adamant in expressing the importance of academics in her journey to Duke.
She noted, "I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to study here. During high school, it was very important for me to study at a good university.”
Wolsfelt notes how BPS sports has helped mold her into to the person she is today.
“I’d encourage all BPS students to participate in a sport," Wolsfelt said. "I think sports help keep a healthy mind and a healthy soul. I also met all my closest friends because while playing, and established relationships with people across all ages.”
Globe Correspondent Justin A. Rice contributed to this report.
Whether it was a legendary mayor of 20 years or a movie star holding a memorable teddy bear, hundreds came out to support the Boston Scholar Athletes program in its second annual fundraising gala Tuesday night at the Agganis Arena.
“After Mayor [Thomas Menino] and after [Suffolk Construction CEO and Chairman] John [Fish], it doesn’t make sense for me to speak much more anyway," “Ted” star Mark Wahlberg said to the crowd at center court. "I just want to thank you guys for inspiring me and instilling that Boston pride in me. I want to thank everybody who’s been a supporter of the BSA for such a long time.”
Wahlberg is currently pursuing his high school diploma from Snowden International through online classes. However, the Boston native – who will turn 42-years-old this June – didn’t have the resources in high school that BPS schools have now.
This is in large part a credit to the BSA, which raised more than $1.7 million to help city athletic teams and student-athletes on Tuesday night. The program, created by Menino and Fish, has provided uniforms for more than 157 teams and skill clinics, all-star games and banquets for 13 sports.
However, according to BSA Executive Director Rebekah Splaine, the real improvement is being shown in the classroom.
“We really know it’s about achieving in the classroom so these young people, they all also get tutored by local college students, they receive free SAT training and their SAT test scores have risen by close to 200 points,” Splaine said during the event. “They’re also graduating from high school at a 20 percent higher rate than other students in their school.”
Madison Park senior Amber Edwards exemplifies those results. The scholar-athlete, who currently holds a 3.9 GPA, was at a loss for words when trying to tell the audience how the BSA has affected her life.
“I’m like speechless right now, I don’t know what to say. It’s just so amazing," she said. "I definitely want to say that with the BSA on my side, I have a full scholarship. I’m going to the [Community College of Rhode Island]."
Witnessing the large crowd of positively effected students, like Edwards, ecstatically sporting the BSA colors, left a wheel-chair bound Menino a proud man.
“Kids are fighting to get in, to improve their education standards." Menino said. "That’s something different in Boston that we haven’t had in the past because of the excitement this program brings, the opportunity it brings for these young people and the future it brings for them also."
Fish, who addressed the crowd on multiple occasions, also took the opportunity to commend the community on staying connected even through the tragic marathon bombings the city endured.
“We are a community that helps each other and gives back to those who need it most even during the most difficult times and that spirit of compassion and positive energy permeates through this arena tonight,” Fish said.
It was clear that through all the festivities, the main goal of the night was spreading awareness of how hard the scholar-athletes have worked and how much they’ve academically improved as a result of the BSA.
“Many of us have had the opportunity to fulfill our dreams,” Fish said. “Let us give these future leaders their opportunities to win on the fields, to win in the classroom and to win in life because every individual is entitled to their dream.”
Zolan Kanno-Youngs covers Boston Public school athletics. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @KannoYoungs.
Cory McCarthy said at the start of the season that if his team didn’t win the state tournament, he would resign as the head coach for New Mission. After a 69-65 loss on the road to Melrose in the Division 2 North quarterfinals, the coach will finally have to face that decision.
“That’s something I have to think about because I was assuming we’d have all of our guys,” McCarthy said referring to injured players Isshiah Coleman, Fred Rivers and Chima Ebele. “That’s something I have to consider because it’s in New Mission, it’s not like any other city school. My opinion is just you got to win every year. That’s just it.”
This will not be one of those years. Melrose ended the hopes of a potential rematch between New Mission and Brighton behind a huge game from senior forward Samual Jean-Gilles.
After leaving the game early in the first quarter with a wrist injury, Jean-Gilles hit back-to-back baskets upon returning later in the period to spark what would be a 26-0 run for Melrose. New Mission ended the run with 1:53 left in the second quarter on a basket by senior center Sam Freeman.
“We couldn’t hit a damn thing and we didn’t take bad shots; we missed lay-ups, we missed free throws, we were 0-14 in that stretch,” McCarthy said.
Despite the taped wrist, Jean-Gilles propelled his team to a 30-13 lead at the half. The senior ended the game with a team-high 21 points.
“Because of the foul trouble in [Jean-Gilles'] last game, I didn’t think he was that good,” McCarthy said. “He’s actually a pretty good player. I’d never seen him shoot the ball in all the games I seen but he shot the ball well.”
However, McCarthy’s resilient Titans would not go away that easily. With the adjustments of inserting sophomore guard Juwan Gooding and senior guard Brian Jones into the starting line up, New Mission was able to rally in the third period.
The Titans went on a 12-2 run in the opening minutes of the quarter – all of New Mission’s points scored by Gooding and Jones.
“Stop giving [Gooding] easy looks,” Melrose coach Mike Kasprzak said to his team during a timeout after the run. “That’s his shot from the top of the key.”
Melrose wouldn’t have to worry about the sophomore guard after he fouled out with 5:46 left in the fourth, just as New Mission cut the lead to single digits again, 52-43.
“That team has so much character,” Kasprzak said. “They have so much heart.”
McCarthy focused on that heart and character when reflecting on his graduating seniors.
“I’m happy with those guys, they’re all going to college,” McCarthy said naming the seven seniors in Coleman, Ebele, Jones, Nathaniel Anderson, Zachary Badohu, Tayon Watson, and Percio Gomez. “I’d take a career choice over winning a basketball game any day. I’m more disappointed then I am hurt.”
What does it mean to be a champion?
I first experienced what it meant to be a champion 25 years ago by playing for Burke in the the Boston Public Schools basketball championships. A title meant your team was the best in the city. When I was younger, the girls of English High reigned supreme. Tonya Cardoza and Michelle Pelezer, along with many other great players on English, made it hard for others to win. Ernie Green was truly one of the most respected coaches in BPS girls' basketball. Most of his players went on to Division 1 or 2 college basketball. Going to college on a scholarship was the ultimate. However, walking through the neighborhood with your City Champion jacket seemed even sweeter.
I can recall in 1988 beating West Roxbury, 62-47, in the city semifinals. We came ready to win although the game started off close. Coach Lee Nieves would tell us every practice that, “we could win the city championship if we worked hard.” Although Nieves felt this way, the team needed to believe it. During the semifinals my teammates, Linda Parker (off guard) and Tarsha Baker (point guard) internalized these words. Parker, with her great defense, made a few steals during the game and helped me contribute 22 points in the win. However Baker, with her electrifying 3-point shot, hit a couple of three’s that got the crowd excited and on their feet. Not to minimize West Roxbury’s tenacious defense, but in the beginning of the 4th quarter it fell to those long practices and suicides that I hated to run.
We already knew who we would face in the finals if we won -- English High School and coach Erie Green. That game went to the wire. I got into foul trouble early and spent most of the time on the bench. I contributed 16 points and 18 rebounds but it was definitely a team effort that day. With just 12 seconds left, Marie Washington got fouled on the way to the basket. Her two free throws won the game and we beat English and made history with a 58-56 win.
Wow! We won! I couldn’t believe it. All our hard work paid off, but we learned together what it meant to be a champion and together we wore our jackets as a proud TEAM.
Brandy Cruthird can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Boston Public Schools Sports BlogMore »
- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.