Boys basketball looks to improve off of a disappointing 6-12 season last year with enhanced energy, strong defense, and a returning nucleus of both upperclassmen and younger players. “A lot of people weren’t invested in being part of the team last year,” says captain Devin Sawtelle, “but this year our attitude is very good and the underclassmen are ready to step up.” With a favorable schedule this year, Sawtelle says a double-digit win season and trip to the state semi-finals are tough but realistic goals for the team. Look out for early season rivalry matchups against evenly-matched squads like Coe Brown and St. Thomas in early January. The team opens play at home versus Timberlane on Thursday, December 16th at 6:30 pm.
With the departure of first-team all state forward Sara Messler (‘16), girls basketball is counting on their core of experienced players to lead the team to another winning season (9-8 last year). “I think the team this year has a very different dynamic than it did last year,” says senior Mady Chambers. With a lack of height compared to last season, the team will aim to use its athleticism and chemistry to play a fast-paced style. “The majority of the team are seniors that have been playing together for a long time,” notes Chambers, “we can read each other well which allows for more scoring opportunities.” Oyster River will look to avenge last season’s playoff loss to Portsmouth on Tuesday, December 20th, but first they will open with Kingswood at home on Tuesday at 6:30, and then travel to Timberlane of Friday.
With a dozen returning players from last year’s varsity squad, the depth of this season’s boys hockey team will be a key asset in their quest for another playoff run. With an 11-9 record last year, the team defeated rival Spaulding in a preliminary matchup before losing to top-seeded Bow in the quarterfinals. “We can definitely win some more games this year,” says captain Michael Donovan, “we can send anyone out there and expect a positive outcome. We are not depending on any one or two players.” With last year’s top scorer Tyler Harvey moving on to play at a prep school, the team will look for its nine upperclassmen forwards to play a large role in keeping a strong offensive presence. Boys hockey faces Spaulding in their home opener on Saturday December 17th at 3:00. Be sure to check mor.news for more coverage following the game.
After a merge with Portsmouth and a number of freshmen joining, girls hockey has an improved player turnout this season, which they will look to benefit from after a tough 5-13 season last year. Captain Suzie McDonough feels like the additional players will help the team gain an advantage: “I think the growth in numbers is a huge improvement from last season because we had the skill level to compete with other teams, but our numbers were low so we got tired really quickly,” McDonough says. Girls hockey will also benefit from adding two goaltenders to the roster, compared to last year when the team was forced to play a goalie with no experience at the position as they had no other options. “I think as a team we are really just looking forward to redeem ourselves from last year,” says McDonough. The team will have a tough test right off the bat, as they face powerhouse defending champion Hanover in their home opener on Tuesday.
Oyster River swimming took home both the boys and girls Division II titles last season. Both teams have lost key members from last season’s 200 and 400 medley relay and free relay units, and will look for underclassmen to fill these roles. Senior boys swimmer Alex Szymanski says, “where other teams have one athlete that will win an event, we have three that will be top six, so this and our relay strength makes us formidable.” Both teams have taken home the championship for three straight years, meaning this year’s seniors are looking to complete a four year ‘sweep’. “Obviously the seniors especially want to win but we want to try and bring as many kids as we can to states and we want to see people making best times,” says Szymanski. “The high school season is super fun and everyone always has a good time, so us being successful is just the icing on the cake.” Both teams are in action during the next meet on Friday the 16th at UNH.
Both the boys and girls indoor track teams finished second in the Division II state championship meet last season. On the boys’ side, although 1500m and 3000m state champion Patrick O’Brien returns for his senior year, the team will have to fill the spots for other key contributors who were seniors last year, like Neville Caulfield, Evan Gordon and Hunter Rief. O’Brien notes that he expects himself to run a number of events, including a possibility of some shorter distance events that he might not be used to. “We’re going to try to take the championship,” says O’Brien, “I’d imagine we’d also need some strong relay performances [to do so], which I think we’re very capable of.” On the girls’ side, the team returns a number of strong runners in all distances, but will need to replace two of the best runners in school history: Dominique Twombly (‘16) and Maegan Doody (‘16). They will look to defend their first place finishes in both the 4×200 and the 4×400. The track team will have their first meet on Saturday, December 17th at UNH.
Written by Zach Leichtman