For the first time in two years, spring sports teams at ORHS are gearing up for a long-awaited season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 spring sports season was cancelled entirely. Here’s a look into the eight spring sports teams, all of which will be competing this season.
Despite the NHIAA’s cancellation of spring sports in 2020, many players on the Oyster River boys baseball team competed in an independent league last summer. This team had a lot of success in developing the players and making sure the boys improved over the year they lost. Going into this season, the team will rely on a deep pitching staff, led by Endicott College commit Foch Lovejoy (‘21), Andy Carlson (‘22) and Ellis Tonkin (‘21).
“We have a pretty deep pitching staff, good defense, and we have a lot of solid contact hitters up and down the lineup,” said Tonkin. One hole that the Bobcats hope to fill is the lack of a power bat. “We could use a big bat in our lineup somewhere. Other than that we just have to be consistent,” he added.
During the 2019 season, the Bobcats finished 10-6 and lost to Coe Brown in the first round of playoffs. This season, with the open tournament format (everybody makes playoffs), the Bobcats will focus more on playing good baseball heading into playoffs rather than results. “If we can feel good about ourselves going in [to the playoffs] and then try to win some games, that’s certainly our goal,” said Tonkin. The Bobcats open up the season at home on April 14th, where they’ll take on Portsmouth Christian Academy at home at 4:30pm.
Since the beginning of March, the ORHS softball team has been focused on getting back up to speed after losing last season. During their preseason, the team has been focused on “getting everyone up to the same level by getting everybody used to throwing and fielding again,” said Hailey Davis (‘21). This season, the Bobcats will rely heavily on their offense. “We have a lot of power hitters. Brianna McInnis (‘22) is a big hitter, Morgan Veno (‘22) and Gracie Gagne (‘22) as well.”
The team finished with a strong 12-5 record in 2019, before losing in the quarterfinals. This season, the team hopes to regain a positive team atmosphere, which they hope will help lead them to success. When asked what the team hopes to accomplish this year, Davis said: “the chemistry is going to be super important, and also just having fun while we’re playing.”
Similar to the baseball team, the softball team will also open up their season at home on April 14th at 4:30pm against Portsmouth Christian Academy.
Going into the 2021 season, the ORHS boys lacrosse team is looking to continue to build the program and win their first playoff game in eight years. Over the past month, the team has been meeting a few times a week to sharpen their skills.
“The main goal of the lacrosse off-season is always stick work. Guys have to keep sticks in their hands [in the offseason] in order to be successful in the regular season,” said Zachary Serrano (‘22). The team will be led by forward 100-point scorer and St. Anselm College commit Hayden Marshall (‘21), Rivier University commit Ethan Todd (‘21), as well as defenseman Amani Harvey (‘22). The team has many underclassmen who are hoping to make an impact this season, however due to last season being taken away, the team lacks experience.
“We are a very young team with a ton of raw talent and athleticism but we lack experience in high intensity games,” said Serrano. The boys will open up their season at Spaulding High School on April 13th at 4:00pm.
Due to last year’s season being cancelled, this season will be the debut of the new Oyster River-Newmarket cooperative lacrosse team. During the last few weeks, the team had preseason workouts to shake off the rust and get to know each other better. “We mostly looked at preseason as a way to kinda hang loose and have some fun and focus on our team chemistry for the coming season, while also getting in our stick work,” said Ari Alcocer (‘21). The team will be led by Callie Vincent (‘21), Tess Peuschel (‘22) and Waverly Oake-Libow (‘23).
Despite not having played in two years, Alcocer feels that their chemistry is already one of their biggest team strengths. “We really are just a group of people playing lacrosse right now and trying to develop and grow together. I think our biggest strength is our team chemistry and knowing we just want to make the best of the season but still trying our hardest,” she said. The team opens up their season at home on April 13th against Spaulding High School at 4:30pm.
Track and Field
Not only was the 2020 outdoor track season affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the 2020 indoor nationals and 2021 indoor track season as well. However this spring, the track and field team will compete in meets. Since there were no events this winter, mostly due to facilities being closed, the ORHS track and field team still participated in workouts and training during the offseason to prepare for the spring. “The main goal of the preseason has been to build a substantial base of training to allow us to be ready on the track. We will be racing some very competitive opponents so we want to ensure that we would be well prepared for when the racing season comes along,” said Andy O’Brien (‘21), who is committed to Cornell University. Aside from O’Brien, University of Rhode Island commit Owen Fleischer (‘21), who broke the 600m school record during an individual competition, will also look to have a successful season.
For the girls, Jennifer Nadig (‘21) and Ella Stasko (‘21) will look to have a successful season. “We definitely have individuals who are really strong and fast athletes. As a team I’d say our biggest strength is that we have a lot of girls who do more than one event,” said Stasko. This season, the team has really high expectations. “On the girls side, our goal this year is to win states. That’s something that’s fully within our reach,” said Stasko. The boys have a similar goal. “Every athlete on the team is hoping to go out on the oval and set a personal best in every event. We are also looking to compete as a team in the state championship,” said O’Brien. The team’s first meet is on April 16th at Portsmouth High School at 4:30pm.
Despite graduating their entire top 6, the ORHS girls tennis team has a strong young core and is excited to compete this year. Led by captains Vivian Keegan (‘21) and Sadie McKenna (‘21), the girls are motivated to have a successful season. “The whole team is super motivated. At practices, everyone shows up ready and prepared for a good practice. Everyone stays focused and on top of things,” said Keegan.
In 2019, the team finished with a strong 11-3 record, before losing to Bow in the semifinal round. This year, they’re hoping to win as many matches as possible and make it back to the playoffs. A key to their success will be team chemistry. “Since we lost last season, there are a lot of players on the team that don’t know each other, so as a captain one of the most important things is making sure that our team is connected, so that everybody feels supported and comfortable on the team,” said Keegan. The team’s first match is on April 15th against Dover at the Woodridge Tennis Courts, at 4:00pm.
Following an 8-6 season in 2019, the boys tennis team is preparing for the season with a lot of new faces. This season, the team will be led by John Henry (‘23) and Ben Montgomery (‘22). For the last month, the team has practiced twice a week at the Tennis Coop in Madbury to prepare for the season. “The main goal of the preseason was to get ready for the regular season and to get back into the swing of things. A lot of people haven’t been playing tennis at all so it was a good opportunity to shake off the rust,” said Montgomery. As the regular season starts to get underway, the Bobcats will try and improve their performance in doubles matches. “Our team is very solid when it comes to singles matches, but for doubles we have a lot to work on. This could mean either finding who plays well together or developing better strategies,” said Montgomerry. The team will open up their season at Winnacunnet High School on April 12th at 4:00pm.
The unified volleyball team is looking forward to having fun playing volleyball with each other this season. Member of the team Matthew Demarest (‘21) said that the team’s goals this year are to “have fun and be active.” The team has had a few practices already, where they’ve started getting to know each other. “We do a lot of team bonding, some get-to-know-you type stuff. We have a large team so that’s important. We’re all really close and supportive of each other,” said Demarest. The team opens up their season on April 21st at Spaulding High School at 4:00pm.