Cardinal Spellman athletic director Michael Gerrish might not be having the greatest year, as he recently underwent foot surgery and also broke his ribs, yet he was all smiles as he reminisced about the achievements of his sports teams.
Cardinal Spellman Tuesday received the Globe’s Nason Division 3 Award for an outstanding 2011-12 athletic year, finishing with an overall record of 161-71-1, edging Bishop Feehan, which had won the title for 14 straight years.
The award was one of nine the Globe handed out in the 40th year of its Scholastic Awards. The awards rank schools based on their win-loss percentage for regular-season play. Complete results are on Boston.com/schools.
“It was a tremendous year all around,” said Gerrish, whose school had a 69.31 winning percentage, as he rested his injured foot on his desk. “It was the kind of success where every team did well. So much of it was the experience and leadership that came from the senior class and coaching staff.”
The fall season was an impressive one for Cardinals sports teams, which won five Catholic Central titles and had a combined record of 79-15-1.
Cardinal Spellman’s boys’ soccer, football, and boys’ cross-country teams all had undefeated records until coming up short of state titles. The soccer team went 18-0 before it lost to Georgetown in penalty kicks in the Division 3 EMass final. It was Spellman’s sixth straight Catholic Central title in boys’ soccer. The football team lost to Mashpee at Gillette Stadium in the Division 4 Super Bowl.
The girls’ soccer and volleyball squads both went undefeated in league play, clinching two more Catholic Central titles for the school, which won total of 10 league titles throughout the year.
“We had a tremendous senior class last year,” Gerrish said. “Obviously the kids we have this year are a great supporting cast, but last year’s senior class was very talented. Not only were they gifted as athletes, they were outstanding as leaders and just the kind of kids that you love to coach.”
With a veteran coaching staff and a dedicated group of athletes it was no surprise that Cardinal Spellman’s success carried over to the winter and spring as well. The winning became contagious.
Along with the boys’ cross-country team’s undefeated season in the fall, Cardinal Spellman’s three track teams (winter, boys’, and girls’) all went unbeaten and also won Catholic Central championships. What’s more impressive about the feat is that there isn’t even a track at the school for the teams to practice on.
Most of the time the teams use a makeshift track, or use ones at different neighboring schools when available.
“Since we don’t have a track we kind of run around the parking lot, but [Gerrish] has made sure we had everything else we need,” said Anne Bernazzani, indoor track, spring track, and girls’ cross-country coach.
Boys’ basketball coach Mike Perry attributes the school’s accomplishments to the positive attitude of the students, and football coach Ron St. George credits their willingness to prepare.
One aspect that is universal at Cardinal Spellman is pride. And now the school has another reason to be proud.
Other schools around Massachusetts also had some outstanding athletic success:
Dalton Division 1 – Franklin had an impressive year, finishing with an overall record of 195-68-16. In the fall, the Panthers were led by the girls’ volleyball team (18-1) and field hockey squad (17-3). Franklin also had significant achievement on the basketball court, as the girls and boys teams went a combined 39-8.
Ames Division 2 – North Andover (70.53 winning percentage) won its fourth title in a tight race, barely sneaking past Hingham, which was at 70 percent. The boys’ basketball team went 16-4, contributing to an overall 80-30-11 fall record. The Knights won 99 overall games in the winter, including 21 victories by the state champion wrestling team.
Dalton Division 3 – It was a change of places in this division as last year’s runner-up, Hopkinton, bumped Tri-Valley League rival Medfield out of the top spot with its 207-82-10 overall record. The Hillers football team finished 10-1 but missed the playoffs, and the basketball teams combined for a 29-11 record.
Ames Division 4 – East Bridgewater’s girls’ soccer team (16-1-1) started the season on an eight-game winning streak to help the Vikings (66.32 percent) win this title. Norwell was second with 61.37 percent, Lynnfield third with 61.25.
Nason Division 1 – Brighton was led by its soccer teams, which went a combined 31-5-1. The boys’ basketball team had the best record for the Bengals, finishing 16-3. Madison Park finished second.
Nason Division 2 – St. John’s Prep secured its 16th consecutive title, winning a total of 170 games last year. The Eagles’ wrestling team led the way with its incredible 36-2 record.
Singelais Division – Notre Dame (Hingham) continues to be led by its dominant golf team, which had another undefeated season en route to its 11th consecutive state title.
Markham Division – Shawsheen won its sixth title with a winning percentage of 73.88. The Rams girls’ basketball team went 20-4, and the wrestling team finished 16-3.