by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Greetings Sports Fans!
Last spring, while watching an outdoor track meet at Oxford High School, we jokingly said that they were going to rename their track after Oxford High school senior Emily Dawidczyk. The idea didn’t seem too far fetched then and as “The Sweet Assassin” finishes up her indoor season and will soon be back out on the outdoor track, we are ready to put the sign up.
When we ran into Oxford school committee chairman Daniel Coonan this weekend, he told me that we should rename this column after Emily. I don’t think he was kidding.
We have said it before and we will say it again: it has been a long time since an athlete of this stature has come through these parts and it will probably be an even longer time before another Emily Dawidczyk comes through that door.
This past weekend, Dawidczyk finally lost a race, if you can believe that. She finished second in the New England Track meet at the Reggie Lewis arena in Boston, but still had her best time ever at 8.18. She also came in fourth in the long jump with a jump of 17’ 11”. These finishes come against the very best athletes in New England in track and field. It’s an incredible honor indeed for the Oxford senior.
Dawidczyk, who will enter Sacred Heart University in the fall to play D1 soccer, has been invited to the Nationals this year and will be attending and when she returns she will be on the track at Oxford High School getting ready for one more season of outdoor track. This will be your chance, people, to see a legend in action in her final days at Oxford.
High School boys hoop final records and stats:
Bartlett:With their tough loss to St. Bernard’s (D2 champs) last Thursday night, the Bartlett Indians finished with a very respectable 14-8 record.
Indians Coach Tony Paranto can’t be too unhappy with that mark, despite losing a couple of games they probably should have won. Still, the future looks bright for the Indians with juniors Evan Anderson and Alex Givins-Perry (17.7) both returning, along with sophomore Jacob Mailloux (13.4) and eighth-grader Anthony Grzembski, who will most likely be running the show at point guard the next four years.
They will, however, lose a couple of real gamers in senior co-captains Akeem Belnavis (18.0) and sharpshooter Matt Huberdault (13.4). The pair both had some big games this year and played hard right down to the final seconds of their district playoff loss to St. Bernard’s and they certainly will be missed.
Oxford: You have to give Sean Halloran and the Oxford Pirates a lot of credit. Despite a lack of size, they finished 14-8, won their first Clark Tournament game in ten years, and upon changing their style of play, were an exciting team all season.
We often talk about replacing players who are leaving. Well, let me make this simple for you. The Pirates will not be able to easily replace senior co-captain Donny Freeland (12.9). His defensive intensity and hustle was among the best in Central Mass and everybody knows it. He often had to cover guys much bigger than him and it was never deterrence.
The Pirates will also lose senior co-captains Mike James (13.2) and Tyler Barrie (12.6), who along with Freeland, were the nucleus of the team and not only were great on the court, but showed tremendous leadership off the court.
On the bright side, leading scorer Liam Pickett (14.5) and freshman Jarod Buckley, who played some key minutes this year, will both be back next season for Halloran.
Shepherd Hill: Before the season started, things didn’t look like that great for the Shepherd Hill Rams. They lost most of their key players from the 2012 team and were in rebuilding mode. Someone apparently forgot to tell Duane Corriveau and his team that, as they put together an impressive 13-8 season despite losing their last two post-season games.
The highlight of their season was handing the Quaboag Cougars one of their rare loses this year in an unforgettable effort that opened eyes and landed the Rams immediate respect.
The Rams will lose a couple of key players in Tyler Martin (10.5) and Justin Terlizzi (10.1) but the future looks very bright with freshman Michael “Posey” Rapoza (11.8) emerging as a scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker who looks primed for a leadership role at a young age.
View top five stars of the week:
1. Emily Dawidczyk, Oxford indoor track: “The Sweet Assassin” finished in second place at the New England track meet in the 55- meter hurdles and fourth place in the long jump.
2. Tina Gauvin, Shepherd Hill girls’ basketball: Gauvin was massive in the Lady Rams’ dismantling of Doherty in the first round of the D1 district playoffs, scoring a career high 21 points with four steals.
3. JoJo L’Heureux, Shepherd Hill girl’s basketball: JoJo dropped 18 points and had five steals against Doherty in a superb effort.
4. Akeem Belnavis, Bartlett boys’ basketball: Akeem Belnavis scored 27 points in his final game, finishing his excellent career with the Bartlett Indians.
5. Donny Freeland, Oxford boys’ basketball: Donny Freeland finished his brilliant career as a Pirate with 16 points in Oxford’s district 72-60 loss to Gardner.
Crossfit HammerMill:Just a reminder that the new Cross Fit gym, located at 10 Peter Street in Webster, will hold its grand opening on March 9.