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Globe North Sports Notebook

Skaters to vie for team spots

By John Vallante
January 1, 2012
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The Colonial Figure Skating Club hosts its annual synchronized competition next weekend at Tsongas Center, but something a lot more prestigious than gold, silver, and bronze medals is at stake.

For two junior teams, it’s a chance to qualify to skate in March on a much bigger stage - in Goteborg, Sweden - representing the United States at the Junior World Challenge Cup.

Nine teams - two each from New Jersey and Michigan - and others from Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, New York, and Massachusetts (the Lexettes from Lexington) will vie for the coveted two spots. Colonial, based in West Acton, does not have a junior program.

All told, 143 teams and 2,061 skaters will descend on Tsongas Center in Lowell and perform in the 28th annual Colonial Classic. The skaters represent nine levels of skill and range in age from 7 to the upper 70s.

“It’s our biggest Colonial Classic ever and it tells me that synchronized skating is becoming more popular and more well known,’’ said KrisFarren, event chair. “To have this many teams and this many skaters perform says that the classic is well-run and the venue is outstanding. It has built a fabulous reputation for itself.’’

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which eight to 20 skaters perform a program together. It uses the same judging system as singles, pairs, and dance, and is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations, and challenging step sequences.

As with the other disciplines, all teams perform a free skate with required program elements. In addition, teams at the junior and senior levels perform a short program consisting of required elements, including blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, moves in the field, moves in isolation, no-hold step sequences, spins, and pairs’ moves.

Competition begins Friday at 6 p.m. and concludes Sunday at approximately 5 p.m. For a complete schedule and ticket information, colonialclassic.org.

Trinity linebacker collecting honors

Postseason honors continue to pour in for Trinity linebacker and senior cocaptain Walter Fallas of Everett.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Fallas has been named winner of the Joseph P. Zabilski Award by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. The award is named in memory of Zabilski, who played at Boston College and later coached at Northeastern University from 1948 to 1971. It recognizes the top Division 3 player in New England.

Previously, Fallas was chosen New England Small College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the Division 2/3 All-New England Team by the New England Football Writers. D3Proday.com also named him to its third All-America team.

Fallas led the toughest New England Small College Athletic Conference defense with 55 tackles (23 solo) in seven games, including seven for losses. He also was credited with 4.5 sacks.

River Hawks rank 7th in nation

UMass-Lowell currently ranks seventh nationally in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Division 2 standings. The rankings are based on the successes of a school’s athletic programs throughout the academic year.

The River Hawks compiled 188 points - 72 behind leader Grand Valley (Mich.) State - to lead all Northeast-10 Conference and NCAA East Region schools. Merrimack, with 105 points, was ranked 36th.

UMass was given a huge boost from its field hockey team, which advanced to the NCAA title game before losing to West Chester University. Its women’s soccer team also contributed by advancing to the NCAA East region championship game, and the men’s cross-country team added points with a 20th-place finish.

Campus corner

Brothers Eric and Evan Bunker of Topsfield shared the NESCAC rushing lead during the football season. Eric, a senior at Amherst, carried the ball 160 times for 853 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Evan, a sophomore at Trinity, lugged it 177 times for 853 yards and six TDs. Both earned All-NESCAC honors and Eric was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year. . . . Aaron Kalil of Salem, N.H., is a cocaptain of the Navy wrestling team and graces the covers of the 2011-12 media guide. Kalil is a senior and wrestles at 133 pounds. . . . Merrimack senior faceoff specialist Nick Maggio has been named a preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse magazine. Maggio won 69 percent of his draws last season and set school records for faceoff percentage, wins, and ground balls. . . . High school seniors Tim Towler of Masconomet and Boxford, Scott Corcoran of Austin Prep and Wilmington, and Tim Oteri of Andover have signed letters of intent to play their collegiate lacrosse at Merrimack. Towler is an All-American midfielder who scored 47 goals last year.

Send ideas or information to JohnPVel@aol.com.

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