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Athletics News

Excellence On and Off the Field: Student-Athletes Honored

The Athletics Department celebrated Milton’s athletes virtually during the annual M-Club Gala on Wednesday. Class I students were presented awards for their outstanding performance in athletics.

Caroline Guden, an outstanding athlete in field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse received the Priscilla Bailey Award. The award recognizes an athlete who “has been a most valuable asset to Milton Academy athletics and community, and who demonstrates exceptional individual skills and teamwork as well as sportsmanship.” Guden’s field hockey coach described her as “always giving 100 percent. She empowered her teammates. They could count on her to create a spark and make things happen.”

Football standout Kalel Mullings received the Robert Saltonstall Medal. Over Milton’s history, the Saltonstall has indicated “a distinguished record in all-around physical activity, with emphasis on leadership by example, conscientious training, good body mechanics, and observance of the code of the true sportsman.” In addition to his feats on the football field, Mullings excelled on the basketball court as a defender, and on the track and field team, where he was an impact member on medal-winning relay teams and running the 200M. His football coach said he was the most “kind, considerate, sincere, and friendly player who made it a point to know every player on the roster and made younger players feel important and valued.” 

Will Livingston, who was on the ski team and played football and lacrosse, received the Alfred Elliott Award. This award honors an athlete whose “extraordinary self-sacrifice and unselfish devotion to the best interests of his teams; a boy who, regardless of skill, with inspiring example—either in practice or in competition—has given most unsparingly of himself for the good of all.” Livingston’s ski coach said he “demonstrated extraordinary self-sacrifice and unselfish devotion to his peers, coaches, and team. He represented Milton Academy as a model athlete on and off campus.”

Kate Dudley, who played field hockey, ice hockey and softball, won the Dorothy J Sullivan Award. This award signifies “good sportsmanship, leadership, dedication and commitment to athletics at Milton,” as well as being an “inspiration and model for others.” During her Milton ice hockey career, Dudley, described by her hockey coach as “arguably the most impactful player this season” earned a spot on the All-ISL team, was named to the Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic team and earned an Honorable Mention for the All-New England Team (NEPSAC Large School).

The ISL Awards for Excellence went to Zoe Katz and Shane O’Sullivan. This annual award recognizes student athletes for exhibiting the ISL ideals of integrity, sportsmanship, fair play, and good citizenship, while participating as multi-sport athletes during their Independent School League career.

Coach Jamie LaRochelle received the Marijke D. Alsbach Coaching Award for outstanding coaching as well as dedication to a program and to student athletes. It’s given annually to a coach who models the ideals of the coaching profession, leads by example, demonstrates knowledge and technical skills, as well as commitment to the physical and social well-being of the athletes.

Milton Football Players Recognized as Outstanding Scholar-Athletes

Milton seniors Kalel Mullings and Mitchell Gonser were both recognized as outstanding scholar-athletes by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. 

The award honors senior football players who have excelled on the football field, in the classroom and within the school and community. The 45th-annual banquet, which was scheduled for May 17, was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The recipients will receive a plaque and a commemorative program at a later date. 

“As football players, Mitch and Kalel enjoyed tremendous careers at Milton,” said Kevin MacDonald, head coach of varsity football.  “Both were named all-scholastic and all-state. Additionally, Kalel was a consensus first-team all-American. They were also outstanding leaders, consummate student-athletes, and beloved members of our team both in the estimation of their coaches and their peers.”  

Both will continue to play football this fall—Mullings at the University of Michigan and Gonser at Harvard University. 

Boys’ Varsity Squash Season Off to Great Start

boys_squashThe boys’ varsity squash team opened their season with a big win (7–0) against Phillips Exeter, setting the stage for a strong undefeated (6–0) winter season so far. “It was so exciting to start off with a bang with such a resounding victory,” says co-captain Andrew Willwerth ’20.

The top eight players on Milton are four seniors and four juniors, which brings some solid depth and leadership to the team.

“A lot of students have stepped up as leaders this year, more than ever in my four years on the team,” says co-captain Zac Ibrahim ‘20. “I don’t mean just the captains, but all the kids. There is an interest and passion from everyone to get better.

The captains said they are focused on success in the ISL and at nationals, where the team has just been seeded in the first division. In past years, they’ve been seeded in the second or third.

Zac enjoys the close matches, such as when they competed against Phillips Andover and won 5–2. “It’s more exciting when you know it could go either way,” he says.

The toughest match will be Belmont Hill, a team that has long dominated the ISL, but Zac and Andrew believe that Milton is playing at that high level. Last year, Milton lost to Belmont Hill to come in second in the ISLs.

“I think we can do it,” says Zac. “Everyone will have to be on their A game. It will come down to how prepared we are.”

 

Boys’ Varsity Hockey Wins the 2020 Tabor New Year’s Tournament

hockeyOver the first weekend of 2020, boys’ varsity hockey took to the ice against strong opponents in Tabor Academy’s New Year’s Tournament. On the first day, they beat St. George’s 4–2 and then Winchendon 6–3, setting them up for the championship game against Pomfret.

In an exciting game, senior forward Tyler Crist shot Milton’s two goals against Pomfret—one shorthanded to start the scoring and one on the power play to make it 2–0. Pomfret scored with 1:20 to go in the third period but Milton held on for the win (2–1). Milton also saw some stellar goaltending by junior Chris Demers, who turned back 26 of 27 shots that he faced.

 Milton is now 6–5–1 for the season. This is their second Tabor Tournament Championship in the last three years. 

Boys’ Varsity Soccer: ISL Champs

Boys’ varsity soccer had an exciting and standout season. The team was undefeated in the ISLs (12-0-3) clinching the ISL championship title in the game against Noble and Greenough, another undefeated ISL team that came into the match with a one-point advantage in the standings. 

“Winning that game was the most incredible experience of my time here,” says David Walley ’20. “In those last five minutes of the game, we were tied and I felt it was going to be like other years, with us coming in second, every time.” But in the last minute of the game, Aidan Farwell ’21 scored the winning goal and the home crowd was exuberant.

The beginning of the season (overall record 13-2-3) started off a bit sluggish for the team.

We had high expectations at the beginning of the year,” says Noah Jackson ’20. “We thought winning would just come to us. But a couple of early losses opened our eyes. We had a team meeting about expectations versus reality. We changed our approach to focusing one game at a time and then went on to be undefeated in the next 15 games or so.”

Head Coach Chris Kane said boys’ varsity soccer has consistently been a strong program over the years, “but this group very much had to prove something for themselves on their own terms.”

“They significantly improved from the start of the season to the end of the season,” says Coach Kane. “They knew they were talented, but thought early on that talent would be enough. So we worked on how talent is not the primary ingredient. We worked on how to embody values and qualities we thought we needed to develop. We talked about complete and consistent efforts. And being focused and consistent on whatever we were doing whether it was a weight room workout, a two-hour field training or a game. They used their hunger to do the work to improve.”

The team was seeded fifth for postseason play in the NEPSAC Boys’ Soccer Championship Class A and traveled to Connecticut for the first round where they beat the Taft School 3-1. In the semifinals, they traveled to Northfield Mount Hermon where they won 2-0. The final game was back in Connecticut against Worcester Academy. The game was tied 1-1 after regulation play so the winner was based on penalty kicks, with Worcester Academy coming out on top.

“We played the toughest games we could possibly play, all on the road, and just met the challenge of each of those moments,” says Coach Kane. “At each step, they played better and with more belief. To be close and not to win is tough, but it wasn’t like they felt like they did not rise to the moment, they stepped up and played incredibly well. They did it with class. They did it with toughness. They responded with a lot of resilience, and togetherness and support from one another, which was great.”

 

Impressive Season for Varsity Football

19-10_footballEach week, their opponents get tougher, but the varsity football team continues to dominate on the field with an undefeated season (6-0). Last Saturday, it was 48-25 victory against Belmont Hill,  a team that also came into the game undefeated. The home game in front of a Parents’ Weekend crowd showed the deep depth of Milton, led by team captains Kalel Mullings ‘20 and Jake Willcox ‘20.

An exciting win (20-14) in overtime against Governor’s Academy the previous weekend saw wide receiver and defense back Mitchell Gosner ‘20 blocking a field goal to tie up the game and then scoring the winning touchdown, catching a stellar throw from quarterback Jake.

Before that game, Head Coach Kevin MacDonald anticipated that it would be a challenging game. “We are a pretty well-rounded team. Usually a high school team will have at least one glaring weakness. But, we are playing other teams that are also well-rounded and loaded with talent.”

Before the Governor’s game, Milton’s biggest win came against St. Sebastian’s (34-21), always a solid team and tough competitor. There are two more regular games of the season, including the Milton-Nobles game. Coach Mac said one of the team’s goals is to make the NEPSAC (New England Preparatory School Athletic Council) championship game.

Coach Mac said the team has great leadership in the two captains, Jake and Kalel, who was just selected to play in the All American Bowl game. Many of the seniors will go on to play college football, but for now they are focused on continuing their exciting winning season.

Kalel Mullings ’20 Selected for All-American Game

kalel_coachMilton’s varsity football linebacker and running back, Kalel Mullings (I), has been selected for the 2020 All-American Bowl, joining an elite group of athletes who have played in the all-star game. Surrounded by his coaches, teammates, family and friends, Kalel was presented with an honorary game jersey, commemorating his selection, during a ceremony in the FCC on Tuesday.

Kalel began his varsity football career as a 13-year-old freshman, playing against 18- and 19-year-olds in one of the top leagues in New England. He will attend and play at the University of Michigan next year.

“One would surmise that all this attention and notoriety would affect Kalel,” said Coach Kevin MacDonald. “However, he has never changed. He has continued to be the same kind, affable, humble and outgoing young man he has always been. Yes, Kalel is an outstanding football player with a bright future, but he is an even better young man who has left an indelible mark on our school.”

Past All-American Bowl participants include NFL players Reggie Bush, Tim Tebow, Joe Thomas, Andrew Luck, Odell Beckham Jr. and Trevor Lawrence. The honor recognizes top high school football players as they pursue their goals on the field, and provides opportunities for competition, learning and personal development that benefit student-athletes both on and off the field.

Kalel is the only Massachusetts athlete selected to play in the 2020 All-American Bowl, which takes place on Saturday, January 4, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. It will air live on NBC.

Boston City Council Member Matt O’Malley, who represents Kalel’s West Roxbury neighborhood, presented him with a Certificate of Recognition from Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and a resolution for the City Council to acknowledge his achievements.

Field Hockey Season Off to Great Start

The varsity field hockey team is impressing fans early in the fall season with definitive wins (4-1) against strong teams. In one of its first games, against Phillips Exeter, the team scored in the first 30 seconds, dominating the entire game to win 5-1, which “set the tone for the season” according to co-captain Caroline Guden ’20. 

Caroline, who plays midfield, and co-captain Charlotte Jordan ’20, who plays forward, say they are trying to lead the team by example, focusing on “instilling confidence in ourselves, knowing we are a good team and we can win.”

The Exeter win was followed by Milton’s first ISL win against Lawrence Academy and then a win against Thayer Academy this past Tuesday.

“We have a lot of depth, where in the past that was something we lacked,” says Caroline. “At the end of the Thayer game, we had all our starters off the field and we were still dominating.”

The day after the Thayer win, the team played Deerfield Academy on tired legs and faced its first loss (2-3). “It was a close game. They are a well-coached team and we didn’t have enough energy. The game exposed some of our weaknesses and what we need to work on,” says Caroline.

Charlotte says in a way the “loss was good for us because in our next game we will push ourselves harder.” The team travels on Saturday to face off against Middlesex.

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.”

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