By Steev Riccardo
WORCESTER – Hello from courtside at the Clark Tournament!
When it comes to high school sports, it really is hard to beat the Clark Tournament, which is now in its 74th year! The gym is always packed, the crowd is always fired up, and the high school basketball is at a premium level and that was the case in the opening game of this year’s tournament, featuring the Oxford Pirates and the Maynard Tigers, which, justly so, went down to the wire (52-51 Oxford).
Personally, what I love about Clark is the way the media is treated. We get our own table at courtside, we get live stats, we get access to the players and the coaches, and most of all we get to watch this incredible event unfold and ultimately crown a couple of winners.
Stella Worters:Shepherd Hill junior track star Stella Worters caught everyone’s attention last year as a sophomore as she became one of Central Mass’s top long distance runners. This year, as a junior, she is on her way to being one of the top runners in the state and has also added a new event to her impressive repertoire.
This past weekend Worters came in second in the 1000 meters in the Division 2 state championships at the Reggie Lewis arena in Boston. This second place finish was hot on the heels of victory in the 1000 meters in the Central Mass championships in Fitchburg a week earlier, in which she broke the Central Mass record.
“That was a really great race. I felt awesome. I had no idea that I was going that fast,” said Worters, who beat her personal record by 10 seconds.
It was only a year ago, when she was more focused on the mile run, that she came in fourth in the state in outdoor track and went to New England’s where she came in at a very respectable eighth place. By the way, she also holds the mile-run school record at Shepherd Hill, putting her in elite company.
If that is not enough, she is also part of Shepherd Hill’s outstanding 4X800 relay team, along with Lucy Harmon, Emily Thibaud, and Haley Chamberlain, which has qualified for the state meet.
This outstanding career that Worters is building started rather inauspiciously. One of her friends talked her into joining the cross-country team as a freshman, something she had no plans on doing, and her friend quit a week later, but she stuck with it and now she “is glad she did.”
She ended up going to the state meet in cross country as a freshman and has since been the anchor of that excellent squad. “I love cross country, especially because we are a really close team with a great coach (Nicole Fossas),” said Worters.
This led her to join both the indoor and outdoor track teams, where she has been getting better and better ever since. She says that she did not have a very good sophomore indoor season because she was “burned out by the end” but she excelled during the outdoor season in the mile run.
“If you had told me two years ago that I would be this good, I would have laughed and said that you were joking,” said Worters on her recent success.
She gives a lot of credit to her coaches. “I Love my coaches (Nicole) Fossas, (Len)Harmon, and (Katie)Wilson; they are all great.”
“Stella has an amazing work ethic. She does the workouts every day and she usually finishes with a smile on her face,” said Wilson.
“She is a great student athlete.”
Fossas, who is in her first year as Shepherd Hill’s indoor track coach, but has coached two years of outdoor track and four years of cross country said, “Stella has what I would call that perfect storm of talent, work ethic, personality, and she is a student of the sport. She works on every aspect of the sport but she is also completely team-first.
“There is a lot of pressure on her because she is good and she is getting better all the time, but she handles that pressure really well,” said Fossas. “You get a lot of kids who have the talent but don’t have the work ethic or they have the work ethic but they don’t have the talent or they have both, but they are selfish.”
Only a junior, Worters has made amazing strides and from the looks of it, she’s only just begun.
Emily Dawidczyk: Oxford’sEmily Dawidczyk won both the 55-meter dash and the long jump in the Division 4 State meet also at Reggie Lewis arena in Boston last Friday. “The Sweet Assassin” also came in second in the 55-meter hurdles. Perhaps the biggest news of all is that she also helped her team come in a surprise fourth place overall.
This coming weekend Dawidczyk will be back at it at the Statewide meet at Reggie Lewis arena.
The Indian Classic: Bartlett assistant baseball coach Greg Bellevance gave us a nice scoop on an a really cool event that will be happening in Webster on April 16.
There will be a four-team baseball tournament, which will include Blackstone Valley Tech, Blackstone-Millville Regional, Weston High School, along with host Bartlett High School.
The tournament will have two preliminary games at 1p.m. one at Bartlett and the other at the Upper Athletic Field, a consolation game at 4:00 p.m. at the Upper Athletic, and a championship game under the lights at 7:00 p.m. at the Upper Athletic Field.
This is exciting news in the sense that Bartlett head coach Jonathan Way and his staff are serious about getting the Bartlett baseball program back on the map in a huge way and this is tournament will only refuel the resurgence.