Athletics News

Ify Ofulue Dominates at ISLs and New Englands

ifyUndefeated and breaking records, Amanda “Ify” Ofulue (I) wrapped up an amazing track and field season by winning the New England Championships (NEPSTA D1) in both shot put (41’ 10’’) and discus (129’ 10’’). In both events, she broke Milton school records and she set a facility record (Loomis Chaffee) in discus. Ify was also an ISL Champion in shot put, setting an ISL Championship record and an ISL Champion in discus. She topped it all off with second place in javelin, scoring a total of 28 of Milton’s total 72 points, which placed the girls third overall in ISLs.

“In my opinion, she will be remembered as the greatest female throw athlete in Milton Academy’s history and in the ISL,” says Coach Steve Darling. “I don’t foresee her records being broken for a very long time, maybe ever. An athlete like Ify only comes around once in a lifetime. I’m just glad I was here to witness it.”

Ify, a boarder from Nigeria, says she really committed to the sport when she came to Milton her sophomore year. This season, she switched her throw technique from the glide method to the rotational method with the encouragement of Coach Darling. “Coach thought I had reached my maximum potential using the glide method and that I would throw more consistently farther if I tried rotational. At first, it was weird to learn, but then I started getting really good results.”

Ify is one of three captains along with Cianna O’Flaherty (I) and Lily Wright (I). “She’s been a great captain,” says Coach Darling. “She’s always the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Having Ify on the team is similar to having another assistant coach at practice due to her maturity and her experience competing. Ify is very easy to coach, but what I enjoy most is that she is comfortable sharing with me her own thoughts and opinions regarding her technique and therefore we both learn from each other.”

Ify will be attending Brown University this fall and will compete on Brown’s track and field team.

Boys’ Basketball Advances to Semifinals

basketballThe boys’ varsity basketball team finished their impressive regular season (19-5) with a 65-50 win over rivals Noble and Greenough in front of packed bleachers in the ACC last Friday night. Seeded 5th in the NEPSAC Class A quarterfinals, the team traveled to Suffield Academy in Connecticut yesterday to pull off an exciting 62-54 win. The boys now advanced to the semifinals where they will play Phillips Exeter at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Exeter.

This year’s team had a deep bench and according to team co-captain Dan Schlakman (I), “Whether it was 10 points or 2 points or a pass or an assist, everyone contributed. No one cared about their personal stats, which was refreshing. We knew we could be a good team, and we went out excited to win every game.”

Rhett Carter (I), the other co-captain, agrees. “Between us, it’s not competitive. We support each other and want the best for each other.” Rhett will play at Claremont McKenna College next year and Dan will play at Amherst College.

Head coach Lamar Reddicks says he’s seen many “unselfish” Milton teams, “but this is one of the most unselfish teams I’ve coached. No one cares about their playing time; they are just in it for the good of team.”

Mert Bayturk Dominates on the Mat

Mert Bayturk ‘19 won an astounding three heavyweight wrestling championships over the past three weekends—the Northern New England Championship, the ISL Championships and the New England Championship. After competing in the 220-pound weight class the past few years, Mert found his groove this year by competing against other heavyweights (285-pound weight class). This weekend, he heads off to the Prep Nationals at Lehigh University, where he will compete against other heavyweights from private schools from across the country.

Mert started wrestling the summer before his freshman year at Yaşar Doğu Spor Salonu, a wrestling club in Ankara, Turkey, where he spends the summers with his family. He says what he loves about the sport is that it’s “like a chess game, involving strength and technique.” Before his junior year, he sought outside opportunities to wrestle, establishing a connection with the well-known wrestling club, the Dungeon Training Center in Hanover, Massachusetts.

Mert said he focused on gaining weight by increasing what he ate and lifting weights to move up to the higher weight class. “My mentality about wrestling shifted. I have a lot more willpower and desire to push myself. I’m really happy competing at this level.”

As Mert says, he was pretty much an unknown in his weight class before these tournaments.

mert-bayturk-20190109_40Assistant coach Bill Hamel agrees. “The seeding committee had a challenging time placing Mert in the brackets.” Bill says. “The challenge arose from the fact that Mert had apparently come out of nowhere, a true underdog. Last year Mert wrestled a few matches for us at 220 pounds, but not much more than that.”

This week, Mert is busy preparing for this final tournament of the season. “Mert has the fifth seed going into the national tournament this weekend, with the sixth and seventh seeds being wrestlers that Mert has already beat this season,” says head coach Mike Martini. “We are very proud of his accomplishments thus far, but by no means is this over. The biggest obstacle is yet to come and we are looking forward to it.”

Mert is headed to New York University next year where he plans to wrestle.

Prep Teams Face Off in Holiday Hockey Tournaments

hockeyEvery holiday season, the best teams in prep school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.

The annual Flood-Marr Holiday Hockey Tournament is named for Dick “Lefty” Marr and his college roommate, longtime friend and rival hockey coach Dick Flood. Lefty Marr was a member of the Milton faculty from 1957 until 1980. Now in its 54th year, the three-day competition for boys’ teams includes Milton, Nobles, Hotchkiss, Andover, Westminster, Deerfield, Kimball Union and Salisbury.

On the same weekend, the top girls’ talent takes to the ice at Milton and Nobles to compete in the 38th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will face off against Nobles, Lawrence, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, Middlesex, Westminster and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 14, through Sunday, December 16.

View the Harrington Tournament schedule and results.

View the Flood-Marr Tournament schedule and results.

Girls’ Cross Country Team Is On Course

girls-cross-countryThe girls’ cross country team is having a solid run this season. Starting off with a win against Lawrence Academy, the 28-member team are about even with their wins vs. losses. Ellie Mraz (III) is a standout this season, undefeated in all her races. Ellie says the highlight of her day is practicing after school with both the girls’ and boys’ teams.

“There is a great group of new freshman on both teams and it is amazing to see everyone get stronger as the weeks go by,” says Ellie. “The girls’ captains are doing a great job and bring so much fun and energy to the team. My personal goals for this year are to break the Milton XC girls course record of 19:36, to place in the top five in the ISL Championships, and to place in the top 12 in the New England Championships. I used to get extremely nervous before races, but this year I have made it my goal to stay calm and to just enjoy the sport. Running is challenging physically and also mentally.”

Coach Scott Huntoon has coached the girls’ team since 2002 and says this year’s team is a young team, so he is looking forward to the next couple of years to see what they can do.  On Mondays, he heads out with the girls for their long runs. Tuesdays and Thursdays are sprint or interval workout days and Wednesday and Friday days are lighter days for recovery. There are two more Saturday home meets in Cunningham Park before the ISLs and New England’s: October 20 at 1:20 p.m. and October 27 at 4:30 p.m. Swing by and cheer them on!

Milton Football Players Recognized as Outstanding Scholar-Athletes

greg_jjMilton seniors JJ Bussgang and Greg Livingston will be honored as top scholar-athletes at the 43rd  awards dinner of the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame on May 3. The Scholar-Athlete award is one of the most prestigious in high school football. They were nominated for the award by Coach Kevin MacDonald.

“I was excited when I heard the news. Both academics and athletics are really important to me and I’m proud to be recognized for both of them,” says Greg, who will be attending Middlebury College this fall.  He will play wide receiver on the football team. JJ, an offensive lineman, will be playing at another NESCAC school, Bowdoin College, where he hopes to study biology or biochemistry.

JJ says playing on Milton’s football team was “meaningful and fun. As a varsity player, especially senior year, you really get to know the coaches. You are working with them to make the team better rather than just being coached by them.”

Boys’ Basketball: A Historic Season

by Andrew D’Ambrosio ‘19, Sports Section Editor, The Milton Measure

Milton Boys’ Varsity Basketball shined in its NEPSAC playoff run, advancing all the way to the championship game where they ultimately fell in a nail biter to Choate Rosemary Hall. The Mustangs battled ferociously in all three of their postseason games. Coach Lamar Reddicks said, “we had great contributions from all our guys.”

In their first playoff contest against Phillips Exeter, Milton was able to pull away late, winning by a score of 76-62. Although the game was close at times, Milton kept their composure and always maintained the lead. Cormac Ryan (I) lead the charge for Milton on his senior night. He scored double digits along with playing stellar defense. In the closing minutes of the game, Dan Schlakman (II) rattled the rim with a monstrous slam. The crowd erupted after the play and the Stangs never looked back.

Milton carried much of this momentum into the semi-final game, defeating Belmont Hill by a score of 75-49. The game was never particularly close. The Mustang defense, lead by Thomas Urquhart (I), recovered many steals throughout the game. On the offensive side of the ball, Rhett Carter (II) and Cam Shockley (I) led the charge.

In the highly anticipated championship game, Milton lost to Choate by a score of 59-56. In the first half, Ryan sizzled, scoring a whopping 20 points. He was virtually unstoppable in the half. Whether it was a deep three or driving layup, all of his shots seemed to be falling. Milton bigs played a huge role in stopping Choate’s penetration to the basket. However, as the game progressed into the final minutes of the second half, momentum began to swing. Choate guards caught fire from beyond the arc, eventually catapulting them to the lead. After a misplay on Milton’s part, Choate was able to capture a 3-point victory.

From the exuberant fans to the remarkable competition, the NEPSAC playoff was a fantastic way to close out the winter season. Coach Reddicks was thrilled with his team’s participation, saying, “I couldn’t be any prouder of this group of guys. They battled each and every day and every play. I’ve been lucky with the group of guys I’ve been able to coach!”

(This article was originally published in the March 6 issue of The Milton Measure)

Premier Prep Teams Face Off During Holiday Break

hockeyEvery holiday season, the best teams in prep school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.

The annual Flood-Marr Holiday Hockey Tournament is named for Dick “Lefty” Marr and his college roommate, longtime friend and rival hockey coach Dick Flood. Lefty Marr was a member of the Milton faculty from 1957 until 1980. Now in its 53rd year, the three-day competition for boys’ teams includes Milton, Nobles, Hotchkiss, Andover, Westminster, Deerfield, Kimball Union and Salisbury.

On the same weekend, the top girls’ talent takes to the ice at Milton and Nobles to compete in the 37th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will face off against Nobles, Lawrence, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, BB&N, Westminster and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 15, through Sunday, December 17.

Flood-Marr Schedule and Results

Harrington Invitational Schedule and Results

Two Milton Seniors Named Scholar-Athletes by National Football Foundation

nsfMike Silva (I) and Allan Rappleyea (I) were recently named scholar-athletes by the Eastern Massachusetts chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. They are among the 33 award recipients who were selected from over 200 schools and were honored at the 42nd annual scholar-athlete banquet in May. Both Mike and Allan will play football next year—Mike as a running back for Harvard University and Allan as an offensive tackle for Wake Forest University.

Sailing Team Caps Off Terrific Season With Third Place Finishes at Two National Events

FullSizeRenderAn epic sailing season ended on a high note when Milton placed third in the ISSA Baker Team Race Championship held in Norfolk, Virginia, this past weekend. The national race consisted of the top 12 teams from around the country. Milton qualified for the race after placing second at the New England team racing championship held at Bowdoin College.

The team also had great success in fleet racing—placing third in the New England championships and then placing third in the national ISSA Mallory Doublehanded Championship. The No. 1-ranked team also won the Massachusetts State High School Championship. These accomplishments capped off an undefeated regular season where the team went 20-0, losing only four races the entire season and winning every meet.

“Going undefeated was my proudest moments,” says Eli Burnes (I), one of the co-captains of the team. “We had to be very focused all season because every race counted.”

Fellow co-captain Ginny Alex (I) said their biggest meet win was against St. George’s School. “We have a deep and strong team, so when we went to St. George’s, we could send our girl sailors to compete in the NESSA Women’s Championship (Herreshoff Regatta), which was held at the same time.”

This past weekend’s appearance at the Baker race was the first time for Milton Academy since 2007. The weather was not ideal with low wind and intermittent storms. “We were disappointed that wind wasn’t better, but we have strong skills so that it didn’t hold us back too much,” says Ginny. “We all went in really wanting to win, but coming out of it we were still happy with our third-place finish. We’ve grown so much as a team. During our freshman year, our goal was make it to New England’s by the time we were seniors, and now as seniors, we made it to team racing nationals once and to fleet racing nationals twice.”

Coach Patrick Broome agrees. “If you had told me four years ago, when they were freshman, that they would be third in the country for fleet racing and team racing as seniors, I might not have believed you. As this season progressed, we were sort of waiting with bated breath, trying to stay even-keeled and not get too far ahead of ourselves. We learned some lessons from last year, and applied that to our training this year.”

Along with Ginny and Eli, graduating team members include Henry Burnes, Peter Barron and Christina Sakellaris. They are passing the torch to other team members such as Charlie Hibben (II), Hunter Zonnenberg (III) and Julia O’Connor (III).

Milton’s Ski Teams Win NEPSACs Championships

milton-skiing

Photo by Brian Mullaney

By David Shaw ’20

In a performance for the ages, both the boys’ and girls’ varsity ski teams emerged victorious in the Class B NEPSAC Alpine Skiing Championship held in mid-February on Okemo Mountain in Vermont. The last time a Milton team won NEPSACs was 2002, when both teams swept the championships.

The teams competed in the Slalom and Giant Slalom (GS) events. Team scores for each event are the sum of the three best skiers’ places from each team, and final team scores are the sum of team scores for Slalom and GS. The team with the lowest overall score wins. The girls’ varsity team finished with an impressive 18 points in both Slalom and GS and a total of 36 points overall, outpacing the Taft School, who placed second with 51 points. Last year, the Milton girls’ team also scored a total of 36 points, but still finished in second behind Taft, making this year’s first place triumph especially sweet.

The last time the Milton boys’ team finished in the Top 5 was in 2009, earning 4th place. This year, led by Matt Ryan (IV) and Beck Kendig (IV), the boys finished with 28 points in Slalom and 30 points in GS this year. Their team total of 58 points is a huge improvement from last year’s total score of 189 points. Chris Matthews (I), captain of the boys’ team, said, “I think a change in mindset definitely lent itself to our performance at NEPSACs.”

Girls’ team captain Emily Bell (I) praised the depth on both the boys’ and girls’ teams that was crucial to the victory. “The talent runs really far down our roster,” she said.

All five of the skiers scoring points on the girls’ team finished in the top 15, including Lydia Hill (I), Katarina Stephan (III), Sophie Kylander (II) and Shayla Kelley (III). Lydia finished in first for Slalom and second for GS, Katarina finished in second in Slalom and fifth in GS, Sophie finished in 15th for Slalom, and Shayla finished in 11th for GS. The boys’ team accomplished a similar feat, with all four of their scorers finishing in the top 20. Matt finished in second for both Slalom and GS, Beck finished 8th in both Slalom and GS, Ben Pratt (III) finished 18th in Slalom, and Chuck Leonetti (III) finished 20th in GS.

Milton also benefited from young talent, as three out of the four Milton skiers who placed in the Top 10 in both Slalom and Giant Slalom were underclassmen: Katarina, Matt and Beck. “The influx of young skiing talent Milton has this year had a huge impact,” said Chris.

Both Emily and Chris said that the spirit of the boys’ and girls’ teams and their support for each other helped the teams perform. “We’re a really tight team and that was something that manifested itself this season,” said Chris.

Everyone “watches each other’s races and we all root for each other, so it’s a really nice support system. Winning both was so exciting, and we all got to celebrate together,” said Emily.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Milton Measure.

Sports Talk With Journalist Bob Ryan

bob_ryan-webWell-known sports journalist Bob Ryan made the case that sports play an important role in people’s lives whether they are athletes or fans. Along with other “leisure pursuits” such as books, movies and the arts, Mr. Ryan said sports “fill a gap.” He spoke to students this morning at the Athletic Assembly.

“Some people say sports are just entertainment,” said Mr. Ryan. “But sports are unscripted, which is what makes them different from just entertainment. When you go to a concert, you don’t want to be surprised; you want to hear the music you expect. With sports, there is a good chance for surprises.”

Mr. Ryan recounted the final minutes of the Super Bowl XLIX in 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks were about to score in the final seconds to win the game. Every Patriot fan dejectedly thought it was over. But Malcolm Butler, a rookie player no one heard of, made a game-saving interception and the Patriots won the game.

“All these alternate emotions you feel, that’s what unique to sports. You don’t get that button pushed that way with other forms of entertainment. There is something inherently interesting about competition—winning and losing. There is something unifying about it.”

Mr. Ryan also spoke about the enormous popularity of sports talk radio, now the number-one format of radio in the United States. The problem, he said, is that in order to make sports fresh and interesting every day, “We have to create controversy. And now sports are framed around ‘Who can we blame for the loss?’ It shouldn’t be that way. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But now we parse every single game and indentify blame and guilt. And I’m part of the problem, too.”

And although he is a huge college sports fan, he said that college athletics has “grown so big, into a multibillion-dollar operation that it’s become a sausage factory and it is out of control.”

Mr. Ryan is a retired columnist for the Boston Globe’s sports section, where his work still appears semi-regularly. He has been writing for the Globe since 1968, covering all of Boston’s sports teams. Ryan is also a regular panelist on ESPN’s Sunday morning roundtable, “The Sports Reporters.”

Milton Faces Off Against Premier Prep Teams

hockey-faceoffEvery holiday season, the best teams in prep school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.

The annual Flood-Marr Holiday Hockey Tournament is named for Dick “Lefty” Marr and his college roommate, longtime friend and rival hockey coach Dick Flood. Lefty Marr, who just passed away on November 11, was a member of the Milton faculty from 1957 until 1980, during which time he headed Forbes House and coached the boys’ hockey team. After leaving Milton, Lefty went on to head Aspen Country Day School in Colorado; he then taught and coached at Tabor Academy for 19 years. This year’s tournament, the 52nd annual, will include a tribute to Lefty and a moment of silence in his honor, preceding the puck drop on Saturday morning. This three-day competition for boys’ teams includes Nobles, Hotchkiss, Andover, Westminster, Deerfield, Kimball Union, Salisbury and Milton.

On the same weekend, the top girls’ talent takes to the ice at Milton and Nobles to compete in the 36th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will battle Nobles, Lawrence, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, BB&N, Westminster and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 16, through Sunday, December 18.

View Flood-Marr Tournament schedule and results.

View Harrington Invitational schedule and results.

Milton Student-Athletes on Soccer’s World Stage

soccer_playersTwo members of Milton’s boys’ varsity soccer team represented their respective home countries in the Caribbean Finals of the CONCACAF U17 World Cup Qualifying held in September in Trinidad. Brandon Jones ’18 played center back on the U17 Bermuda national team, and Jeremy Verley ’19 played midfield for the U17 Jamaica national team. Coincidentally, the two teams faced off in the first round of the tournament and Jamaica won the game.

“The tournament was the closest I’ve felt to playing on a professional soccer team,” says Brandon. “The whole process of training and playing games in front of a huge crowd was really exhilarating.”

Jeremy’s team, which he captained, made it to the semifinals after a draw with Haiti and a win against Trinidad. They lost to Cuba in the semifinals, but they beat Curaçao in the third place game, earning them a spot in the final rounds next spring.

“I love that soccer is a team sport; it takes more than one individual to win,” says Jeremy. “Soccer brings together all kinds of people from different backgrounds. On my team, we were from different parts of Jamaica, and we ended up having such great chemistry on the field.”

CONCACAF is the soccer federation for North America, Central America and the Caribbean that governs all international competitions. The CONCACAF final rounds that Jeremy is competing in are the final qualifying stage for the World Cup at the U17 level. U17 is the youngest age group with a World Cup competition, making it the highest-level youth competition in which players can compete. Chris Kane, Milton boys’ varsity soccer coach, says it’s “pretty incredible that we had two players in the tournament, and it’s amazing that Jeremy may have a chance to captain a team to the full World Cup next summer.”

Matt Tabor (II) Throws Perfect Game Against Lawrence

by Julia Lebovitz ‘17

matt_taborAn exciting season is underway for the boys’ varsity baseball team, with many close games. The most exciting accomplishment of the season occurred on April 30 against Lawrence Academy when Matt Tabor (II) pitched a perfect game, one of the most challenging and impressive achievements in sports. A perfect game is defined as a game in which no runner reaches first base.

“Pitching a perfect game is a once in a lifetime experience,” says Sam Murray (II).

In fact, Matt is the first pitcher Mr. Petherick has coached who threw a perfect game. Matt said that he did not have high expectations going into the game because Lawrence was undefeated. Instead, he “was focused on being the best I could be and going out to get a ‘W’.”

Matt says it was not until the fourth inning when he realized the possibility of pitching a perfect game. However, he stayed focused on winning the game, rather than fixating on throwing a perfect game.

“It was honestly such a surreal experience, and I couldn’t have done it without the support and play of the guys behind me. Isaac Fossas (II) and Gavin Baker Greene (I) made huge plays that saved the perfect game,” says Matt.

Sam Hitt (I) says that Matt had “many great outings this year and has been vital to the team’s winning record.” Sam also described Matt as one of the best pitchers in the ISL. Matt’s ability to throw 85 miles per hour pitches has helped the team in countless ways so far this season. According to Matt, who committed to play Division 1 baseball at Elon, the rest of the baseball team’s season looks very promising. The game against Lawrence will definitely be remembered as a career highlight for not only Matt, but also the entire baseball team.

A version of this article was originally published in the Milton Measure.

Boys’ Hockey Advances to New England Championships

boys-hockeyMilton’s boys’ hockey team beat #2 seeded Kimball Union Academy 3-1 on Saturday in the Elite Eight semi-finals to advance to the New England Prep Hockey Championship game against The Gunnery Highlanders on Sunday, March 6, at St. Anselm College. To advance to the semi-finals, the team beat Phillips Exeter 5-2 in the Elite Eight New England Quarterfinal Playoff game.

The boys’ hockey team capped off a remarkable season (19-5-2). Ranked in the top five of New England Prep Hockey all year, the team had an exciting home win against Noble and Greenough in their last game of the regular season (8-5). This win earned them a shared ISL championship title with Thayer Academy.

“The team is a really close group of guys, both on and off the ice,” says team captain Andrew Dumaresque (I). “Our depth of play is something we didn’t have last year. We have a lot of players who can score. And we have great goaltending by Ethan Domokos (II).”

girls-hockeyThe girls’ team lost their game quarterfinal game against Williston-North Hampton (1-3), but it was their first playoff appearance in 15 years reflecting the continued growth of the girls’ hockey program. The team skated a solid season (16-11-0). The girls had some big wins over top 10 teams and received a top 10 ranking a few weeks ago in the HNIB Prep Divison I Poll.

Coach Ryan Stone says there was “great leadership” from Kelli Quinn (I), Anna DiGravio (I), Anne Malloy (I) and Maria DiMartinis (II) as well as “an influx of talented young players, including five freshmen who all played significant roles.”

 

A Holiday Treat, Milton Skates Against Premier Prep Teams

15-12_girls-hockeyEvery holiday season, the best teams in prep school hockey descend upon the rinks of Milton and Nobles for a chance to claim the coveted championship titles of the Flood-Marr Tournament and the Harrington Invitational Tournament.

Now in its 51st year, the Flood-Marr Tournament is a three-day competition for boys’ teams, which this year includes Nobles, Hotchkiss, Andover, Westminster, Deerfield, Kimball Union, Salisbury and Milton.

On the same weekend, the top girls’ talent takes to the ice at Milton and Nobles to compete in the 35th Annual Harrington Invitational. Milton will face off against Nobles, Lawrence, Pomfret, St. Mark’s, BB&N, Westminster and Williston-Northampton.

The tournaments run from Friday, December 18, through Sunday, December 20.

View Flood-Marr Tournament schedule.

View Harrington Invitational schedule.

 

15-12_boys-hockey

Boys’ Soccer Finishes 22-0, Wins NEPSAC Championship

15-11_champions

The Milton Academy varsity boys’ soccer team capped a historic season with a thrilling 2-0 win over Northfield Mount-Hermon in the Class A New England finals. The spectacular championship contest pitted two teams of immense quality and admirable styles. Following a strong start that saw Milton gain the better of the initial possession, NMH slowly gained more and more of the ball through its tremendous work rate and excellent ball movement. Both teams probed the margins of the field looking for openings, but few were to be found as both backlines stood tall.

The half ended with the score tied 0-0, “which was a fair score line given the balanced play in the half,” noted Head Coach Chris Kane.

Milton was able to come out of the half with great energy and looked primed to take the lead when Jerry Ozor drew a penalty in the fifty-second minute. However, NMH keeper Will Desautels made an amazing save to keep the game level. Milton stayed on the front foot and was able to break through five minutes later after a nice build up led to Luca Levee (I), scoring a beautiful half-volley off a feed from Jerry Ozor (I).

NMH dug in and continued to press forward looking for the equalizer. Keeper Jeremy Cowham (I) and the Milton backline stood strong, in spite of the impressive onslaught of pressure from the Hoggers. In the end, the Mustangs were fortunate to seal the win with a goal in the ninetieth minute from Amos Shapiro-Thompson (III).

“It was an entertaining and thrilling contest between two teams with a great deal of mutual respect and it was a great showcase of quality NEPSAC soccer as well as excellent sportsmanship,” said Coach Kane. “Both teams should be proud of their great work in this game and throughout the entire fall.”

The win caps off an amazing and historic season for the Mustangs. Over the course of the season the team remained undefeated and untied, despite a rigorous 22-game ISL and out-of-league schedule. To add to this feat, the Mustangs have not allowed a score since September, shutting out their opponents in the last 18 contests. This is the first time that a team has gone 22-0 in the 67 years of ISL play. The Mustangs are incredibly proud to earn both the Gunmere Cup (ISL Champion) as well as the Stewart Cup (New England Class A Champion), and even more proud to have been awarded the Blood Trophy, the league sportsmanship award. Certainly a season to remember!

Varsity Football Upends Nobles to Earn Bowl Bid

Milton’s varsity football team capped off the storied Milton-Nobles rivalry weekend with a 24–13 win, finishing the season with a record of 6–2. That success earned the team the number two spot in the Independent School League and a NEPSAC Bowl bid. Solid defense and an excellent ground game were key components in the Mustangs’ victory over the Bulldogs.

The bowl game invitation was also enabled by a come-from-behind victory over perennial powerhouse Governor’s a week earlier. Trailing 14–13, with time running out, Milton drove the ball down the field to earn the 20–14 victory.

The Mustangs will travel to Avon Old Farms on Saturday, November 21, to face Brunswick in a NEPSAC Bowl game at 1 p.m. The winner will be crowned New England Prep Champions.

football01Photo courtesy of Evan Scales (II)

Boys’ Soccer, ISL Champs, Celebrate 15–0 Season, Move On To Semifinals

milton-soccerThe boys’ varsity soccer team has had a perfect season. They are undefeated and earned the Independent School League Championship title. Their accomplishments are historic: They are the second team in ISL history to finish with a 15-0 record. Most important to Coach Chris Kane, however, is that this week the league bestowed on his team the ISL sportsmanship award. The New England championship playoffs are this week. The Mustangs are ranked number two in the nation for prep high schools. They beat Belmont Hill 4-0 in a quarterfinals round yesterday and move on to the semifinals this weekend.

The best way to understand why this team is so good is to go down to the field and watch. Their play is fluid and focused, the ball passing quickly between Milton’s players, rarely leaving their possession. As fast as their game appears, they are actually taking their time and keeping it simple, wearing their opponents out. Players on the field talk to each other, constantly, and teammates on the deep, talented bench encourage and support. A goal is cause for quick celebration, but then it’s back to focus, attention and steady play.

“The players know that consistency and focus are key elements to success, and they know not to take anything for granted,” says Coach Kane. “This year, the team’s talent, attention and investment have been phenomenal. It’s easy to lose focus over a long, 19-game season, through a 90-minute game, through six days together every week. They’ve done an incredible job of keeping that focus high, that intensity high, and that competitiveness high. They also bring that focus and attention to other areas, on and off campus.”

Five seniors are four-year varsity team members. These include team captains Adam Bramson (I), Shay Quintin (I) and Luis Viceira (I). They say this year’s team is the result of four years of hard work, discipline and maturity, under the strong leadership of Coach Kane.

boys_soccer_team“Our biggest challenge this year was not repeating last year, when we went into some games underprepared,” says Adam. “We lost title games against teams we should have beaten. This year, we knew how good we were and it was about not letting up in games. We had no slip-ups.”

“We have so many seniors that play a big role on the team,” says Luis. “They push each other and the younger players to play their best. And with a continuing core of players each year, it’s all resulted in great team chemistry.”

The captains name a win against the defending Class A Champions, Berkshire, this season as a turning point. Last year, Milton lost to the team 4–0. This season’s 3–1 win was an invigorating boost that reinforced what they were capable of. “We felt on top of the world,” says Adam.

In many games this season, Milton was dominant from the first few seconds until the final whistle. Coach Kane made sure to take advantage of all the team’s talent.

“Out of respect for our opponents, we take our starters out if we have a big lead,” he says. “We get the younger, less experienced guys out there when situations allow, and it’s great for their development. We had 15 straight shutouts to end the year with our bench playing significant minutes, in many, if not all of those games. I’m most proud of the fact that the season was truly a team effort. Every single player on the team contributed to those results.”

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