Somerville Girls’ Basketball Takes Third Over O’Bryant in Eleventh Annual Highlander Hoopfest

(written, shot, edited and narrated for Somerville Patch)

Led by sophomore forward Melissa Baptista‘s double-double and junior guard Indira Evora‘s game-high 12 points, the Highlanders beat the O’Bryant Tigers in the consolation round of the 11th Annual Highlander Hoopfest, 53-37, Wednesday at the SHS Field House. Needham defeated Fontbonne Academy later that night, 44-43, winning the tournament.

Melissa McGovern sank a layup on the opening possession of the game, giving the Highlanders the only lead they’d need. The Tigers’ strong interior presence frequently put them on the foul line, but they could only chip at the Highlanders’ lead, never tying or actually taking the lead.

“This tournament is always a learning experience for the kids, because the teams out here, most of them are from the suburbs,” said Tiger coach Gertrude Fisher. “They’re a different breed of team.”

Tiger free throws also usually keyed long scoring runs by the Highlanders. When the Tigers cut the lead to 7-4 in the first, the Highlanders scored the next six, highlighted by Baptista grabbing her own rebound following a miss and putting it in for the 11-4 lead.

Two second-quarter Tiger free throws cut the Highlander lead to 16-13, but the Highlanders scored the next five, highlighted by a perfect three-pointer from junior Chyenne Miles.

And when a third-quarter Tiger free throw made it 25-21 Highlanders, the Highlanders put the game away for good. Junior Esther Joseph knocked down a three-pointer, senior Marie Koutsoubaris hit a layup, then Evora grabbed an offensive rebound and drained it to put the Highlanders up 34-22.

Continue reading Somerville Girls’ Basketball Takes Third Over O’Bryant in Eleventh Annual Highlander Hoopfest

Somerville Track & Field Grabs Four Medals at Boston Holiday Challenge

(written, shot and edited for Somerville Patch)

Somerville junior Andre Rolim ran the fastest 600 Meter Run in both Massachusetts and New England Tuesday at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston. The run capped a four-medal performance by the Somerville Highlanders at the Boston Holiday Challenge, the first major track meet of their winter season.

Though Rolim has often won the 600 Meter by simply staying with the leaders for the first two laps, then exploding in the final 100 meters, this time he set a blistering pace almost immediately.

“Usually I follow the rabbit, and in the end I pass him,” Rolim said. “But I just kept my pace [this time], and I finished.”

Rolim pulled ahead of the pack just halfway through his first of three laps, widening the gap between himself and the next runner to nearly half a lap by the end of the race. He finished in 1:21.67, beating second-place Mike Fitzpatrick of Revere by nearly four seconds.

“If I followed them, I wouldn’t have gotten the fast time that I got,” Rolim said.

Continue reading Somerville Track & Field Grabs Four Medals at Boston Holiday Challenge

Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Indoor Track & Field

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the 2011-12 Somerville High winter season underway, Somerville Patch will be previewing all seven of the Highlander teams. Unsure how the Highlanders did last year? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Boys’ Indoor Track & Field

2010 record: 4-0 in Greater Boston League; GBL Championship

The Highlander boys’ track and field team had about as successful a 2010-11 season as one could hope for – going undefeated and winning the Greater Boston League, then winning two state championships in individual events.

“We had a large group of kids – seniors – that last year was their fourth indoor season,” says coach Dave Dickerson, adding: “You could tell them, ‘Here’s the plan today,’ put it up on the wall, and the kids that are the captains, the leaders, can go and just get started doing that.”

With many of last season’s top runners graduated, Dickerson says this season will likely be a “take a breath” year.

“My hope is that by the end of the year, a lot of these guys are going to get the bug for track and really want to be doing it,” Dickerson says.

Continue reading Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Indoor Track & Field

Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Swimming

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the 2011-12 Somerville High winter season about to begin, Somerville Patch will be previewing all seven of the Highlander teams. Unsure how the Highlanders did last year? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Co-ed Swimming

2010 record: 7-5 overall; 2-4 in Greater Boston League

In swimming, sometimes all you need are bodies in the water. Highlander swimming coach Mike Williams says last season’s team succeeded because the core group of seniors – especially Caio Azevedo and Roberto Douardo – were always willing to swim extra races, no matter how tired they were.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of depth [last year],” Williams said. “We had a lot of seniors that were willing to do stuff like that: get in there and score those extra points for the team, make sure that every swim was contested.”

With few swimmers this season mechanically strong enough to compete in multiple strokes, Williams says depth is definitely a worry.

“We may actually be at a point where we don’t have enough experienced swimmers to compete in all the events,” Williams says.

Williams adds that the Highlanders should still be strong in the individual medley races.

Continue reading Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Swimming

Twenty-Seven Highlanders named Greater Boston League All-Stars

The Somerville Highlanders had 27 GBL All-Stars for the Fall 2011 season.

(written for Somerville Patch)

Somerville Patch congratulates the Somerville Highlander athletics program for its 27 Greater Boston League All-Stars. Leading the way: the GBL-champion and MIAA Sportsmanship Award-winning boys’ soccer team, with four players named first-team All-Stars and three named second-team.

Sophomore Thayrone Miranda and junior Matheus Reis – both whom the Eastern Mass Soccer Coaches Association also named All-Stars – earned first-team status, as did senior Edgardo Perez Vasques for the second time. Junior Andre Rolim joined the trio on the first team.

Sophomore Francisco Neto and seniors Charlemers “Junior” Pierre-Louis and Richard Rodriguez earned second-team honors.

To become an All-Star, a player must be nominated by a GBL coach, though not necessarily his or her own. All of the coaches then discuss and debate the merits of the various nominations.

Somerville athletic director Nicole Viele says whichever team wins the GBL in a particularly sport typically sets the maximum number of All-Stars in that sport, which is usually around four. After that, there’s a trickle-down effect to the other teams.

“I think the GBL in general tries really hard,” says Viele. “I think we try to limit who our all-stars are and try to have an overall representation of the league.”

Continue reading Twenty-Seven Highlanders named Greater Boston League All-Stars

Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Ice Hockey

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the 2011-12 Somerville High winter season about to begin, Somerville Patch will be previewing all seven of the Highlander teams. Unsure how the Highlanders did last year? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Boys’ Ice Hockey

2010 record: 11-8-1 overall; 4-2-0 in Greater Boston League

The Highlanders came up a game short of a Greater Boston League championship last season, then lost to Triton in the first round of the playoffs. With 19 players returning this season, boys’ ice hockey coach Chuck Allen is looking for even more.

“The kids buy into what we’re trying to do,” says Allen, who’s coaching his third season with the Highlanders.

Allen says his system encourages not just good hockey, but also good academic habits and behavior, including wearing shirts and ties on game days.

“Coaching hockey is the easy part of coaching,” Allen says. “Trying to do enough academically, how they’re acting in school, that’s the hard stuff.”

“Games are fun. Practice is work.”

Continue reading Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Ice Hockey

Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Basketball

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the 2011-12 Somerville High winter season about to begin, Somerville Patch will be previewing all seven of the Highlander teams. Unsure how the Highlanders did last year? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Boys’ Basketball

2010-11 record: 16-4 overall; 6-2 in Greater Boston League

The Highlanders put together a terrific 2010-11 regular season, earning them a preliminary-round bye in the MIAA playoffs.

“We had excellent guard play last year,” says boys’ baksetball coach Mark Antonelli. “I expect to hopefully have the same this year.”

The Highlanders lost their first playoff game to the Westford Academy Grey Ghosts, a loss Antonelli attributes to basic problems like turnovers and weak-side rebounding.

Continue reading Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Basketball

Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Girls’ Ice Hockey

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

With the 2011-12 Somerville High winter season about to begin, Somerville Patch will be previewing all seven of the Highlander teams. Unsure how the Highlanders did last year? Want to know who might impact the upcoming season? Just want to know when the first game is? Read on and find out.

Girls’ Ice Hockey

2010 record: 12-6-2 overall; 2-4-0 in GBL

Somerville girls who want to play ice hockey have since 2007 played on a co-op team with girls from Cambridge Rindge & Latin. Though they’re called the Falcons and wear Cambridge’s black uniforms, coach Kevin Mitrano says integration hasn’t been an issue for his Highlander players.

“It’s been pretty seamless,” Mitrano says. “The girls, they know they’re here to play hockey. There are really no problems.”

Somerville-Cambridge qualified for last year’s postseason, but they lost in the opening round to Westford. With a 2011-12 squad composed entirely of returning players, Mitrano says his team will try to make it deeper into the playoffs despite a small roster.

“We’re going to have two solid lines,” Mitrano says. “And because I knew that we weren’t going to get a lot of new players, we did some off-ice training before our on-ice practice.”

“It shows on the ice that they have the stamina to play the whole game with only the few players that we have.”

Continue reading Somerville High Winter 2011-12 Preview: Girls’ Ice Hockey

Somerville Head Trainer Michelle Kelly Keeps the Highlanders Healthy

Michelle Kelly is in her fifth full season as Somerville High School's only athletic trainer.

(written and photographed for Somerville Patch)

To win a championship, you need talented athletes. You need good coaches and well-run practices. You need luck.

You also need to stay healthy, and when a Somerville Highlander gets hurt, his or her first stop is always the trainer’s office, where Michelle Kelly is in her fifth year as Somerville’s one and only athletic trainer.

“Athletic training, to me it’s a puzzle,” Kelly says. “There are so many aspects of what can be wrong. It’s not always clear-cut something is injured.”

Kelly, 36, has been an athletic trainer since 1998. She discovered athletic training as an undergraduate at UMass-Boston.

“I played basketball my whole life,” Kelly says. “I liked science and medicine, so the athletic trainer that was at UMass told me about the profession.”

Kelly graduated UMass-Boston with a B.S. in athletic training, then earned her board certification from the National Athletic Trainers Association. She also has a Massachusetts Allied Health Professionals license.

For Kelly, diagnosing an injury is only half the fun.

“Educating the students, and trying to get them to understand how their body works, and answering their questions,” Kelly says. “We have a good time in here. The kids like to come hang out. It’s a safe haven for a lot of people.”

The trainer’s office is on full display as a gathering place one Friday afternoon. When Kelly leaves to call a parent, several students – both injured and healthy – come in and chat with Kelly’s patients. They discuss upcoming sports seasons, the differences between boys and girls – common conversations among teenagers, no matter the setting.

“Michelle makes the environment non-stressful,” says Johnson Thomas, senior captain for the boys’ basketball team.

Continue reading Somerville Head Trainer Michelle Kelly Keeps the Highlanders Healthy

Somerville High 2011 Fall Wrap-Up: Golf, Girls’ Soccer, Cross-Country

The Somerville Highlanders' cross-country, girls' soccer and golf teams went a combined 6-28-1 in 2011.

(written for Somerville Patch)

Final notes and quotes from the less-covered Somerville Highlander teams.

Golf

Final record: 1-9 overall; 1-7 in Greater Boston League

Despite just one win this season – one more than last year – golf coach Jay Hart said he got a better-than-expected performance from a “fairly inexperienced team.”

“We really only had a couple of kids returning from last year,” Hart said. “Some of the young kids stepped up.”

One such younger player was freshman Justin Carey, who led the Highlanders with five individual victories.

“He’s a great little player,” Hart said. “See, his dad plays, so there’s the difference.”

Continue reading Somerville High 2011 Fall Wrap-Up: Golf, Girls’ Soccer, Cross-Country