Senior Noah Aarons takes the ball from a Marshfield player
Senior Captain Francesco Valagussa
The Arlington High School team poses for a picture.
By Ellie Crowley
After completing a strong season by winning the North finals, the Arlington High School boys varsity soccer team was defeated by Nauset in the Division II State Finals. During the game played on November 18th at Marshfield High School, the team lost 3-0 against the champions of the South.
The boys started the game off strong but were quickly met with a challenge when Nauset scored at 16:40 in the first half. In the opening of the second half, senior defender Nick Karalis left the field with a leg injury, and moments later Nauset scored, making it 2-0 at the opening of the second half. Junior Declan Dolan also came off the field injured, forcing coach Lance Yodzio to switch up his normal line. Senior captain Francesco Valagussa said, “Already starting the game without Will [Clifford, who was out with a broken collarbone] was very difficult, but then having Declan and Nick fall to injuries was where the game spiraled out of control.” With 21:40 left in the second half, Nauset scored again and the game ended 3-0 with a Nauset victory. Senior goalie Henry Fox-Jurkowitz reflected on the defeat, saying, “In the end, Nauset got some lucky goals but they were a really good team and were probably the toughest one we faced all season. The outcome of the final game was disappointing but we were definitely happy as a team to have gotten there.”
The team had a successful run, originally entering the Division II North tournament with a 12-3-3 record and seeded fourth, finishing as champions of the North. Reflecting on his experience leading the team, Valagussa said, “Being able to be part of this historic team, let alone lead it, was a wonderful experience. I am not too hurt about the final loss because in the end we were able to make history and it was a better year than I could have ever asked for.”
Fox-Jurkowitz feels similarly, saying, “We didn’t give up on our season and it clearly paid off in the end. I’m proud […] because this team really deserved it.”
Dr. Stanley Vieira recently became the athletic director at Arlington High School. I sat down with him to ask a few questions and welcome him into our community. Here is what he had to say:
Q: What made you interested in applying to work at Arlington High?
A: The biggest reason why this position interested me is because of my love with working with athletes at the high school level. My first job was working at a high school as a track coach, and I just felt like I made a real big impact at that point in my life, and I miss working with high school students. I saw the job opening and I thought, I would love to apply and see if this works out. And it did!
Q: Where did you last work prior to AHS?
A: I was working at Providence College. I was an athletic director for different colleges over the years, but I was working with off campus students at Providence College, and I really missed athletics. I missed working with student athletes, and coaches, and teams, and scheduling. I missed all of that stuff.
Q: What are some of your favorite aspects of the AHS community so far?
A: Number one is student athletes. I love how close everyone is and how they support each other. Number two: parents. They are super supportive, and they are really good communicators. Just the other day we were trying to get the scoreboard going for one of our JV football games and one of the parents just said, “I’ll do it!”. And I think that’s common. All of the parents are so willing to help out. And then beyond athletes and their parents is the external community. Local businesses, how supportive they are, and the relationship we have with ACMI is phenomenal. So it’s hard to pick just one thing but those are a few that really stick out.
Q: Did you play sports growing up? If so, which ones?
A: I played hockey, basketball, lots of things. But in high school and college I ran track. So that was kind of my number one, but I truly love all sports. I can’t say I love one more than the other. I think they’re all great. But for me personally I ran track and I just loved it. I started it to stay in shape, and then I kind of fell in love with it. I really did.
Q: Are there any specific changes you hope to make to the athletics department here?
A: One of the things that sticks out to me is the lack of branding that the program has. I want to put more banners out, I want to get the “A” out more. The other thing is that I’ve got to figure out what our logo really is. It seems like we’ve had a lot of different A’s over the years, it seems like that is an important part of our history, and the question is how do we brand that? Because it’s in certain places, but it’s not everywhere. Like when you go out to your field, other than the older scoreboard and midfield, there’s no A’s anywhere. It’s kind of disappointing to me. So branding is big, to make sure that we are getting our name out there so that people have a lot of spirit. And then the last piece is making sure that our students are really getting out there in the community as far as community service. I mean, you all have 40 hours to do, but I think we could do so much more with the community. And then giving students the opportunity to grow as leaders, doing development. For me it’s about developing from the moment you get here as a ninth grader to the moment you leave as a senior.
Q: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your role here so far?
A: I think the biggest challenge was probably coming here so late. When I got here it was already preseason, so I had to figure things out quick. So that was probably the biggest challenge, just being thrown in very quick and trying to get everything figured out. And I still have so much, as you can see my desk is a little messy, I’m trying to figure out paperwork and everything else, but I’m slowly pecking away at it. Step by step, everyday I learn a little bit more and I figure it out.
Q: Do you have any tips for students who are trying to balance sports and schoolwork?
A: I would say the biggest skill you can learn as a student athlete is time management. When I was in high school, my coach made me get a planner to plan out when I was practicing, studying, even eating. If you don’t manage your time well as a student, it gets away from you quick. It’s like putting off your homework and saying oh, I’ll do it tomorrow. And then all of the sudden it’s the day before the big test and you’re like oh no, I’ve got to study! At varsity or sub-varsity levels you’re travelling a lot. When other students are at the library or at home eating, our students are on a bus, travelling back and forth. So it’s just managing your time and making sure that you understand, I have certain things I have to do. If you don’t understand that, it gets away from you quick. That’s probably the best advice I can give.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: The only thing I would like to say is that I am super excited about this opportunity. I love being here, I love the student athletes, the administration, the parents, everyone has been so welcoming, so great. So I’m really excited. I would finish with that.
The 2018 Spring Arlington Girls Softball Season has commenced, and the team kickstarted the new season with an impressive record. The varsity team, ranked 37th in the state of Massachusetts and captained by seniors Abi Ewen and Ellie Demaree, holds a 9-1 record and 6-1 league record.
Girls Varsity Softball consists of sixteen Arlington High student-athletes, began practicing on March 19th with coaches Matt and Dan O’Loughlin; they will continue to play until the end of their season in early June. The team practices six times a week excluding game days. Senior Holly Russell is excited for this year’s “good start” that will “continue to improve and get better” as the season progresses. The softball program also held a successful car wash on April 14th to earn funds for the team.
Each year, several Arlington players are awarded league all-star awards. Players Holly Russell, Abi Ewen, Emily Benoit, Ellie Demaree, and Katie O’Brien have received recognition in the past, and are likely contenders to earn the title for another spring season. The Varsity team has maintained an impressive 0.364 batting average, a 0.927 fielding average, and has stolen 44 bases. Meanwhile, the Junior Varsity and Freshman teams have also displayed notable starts to their seasons. Many eighth graders have been offered positions on the freshman team, bringing in a younger generation to the high school program. Freshman Coach Bob Bartholomew has introduced them the high school softball experience.
As senior Holly Russell reflects on her years playing softball with AHS, she is “shocked that it will be over soon.” However, as her last sports season ever as a tri-varsity athlete comes to a close, she enjoys her senior season on the softball team. The girls softball team continues to fight for each victory as their season progresses and the school year comes to a close.
This spring, an all-girls ultimate frisbee team was established at Arlington High School for the first time. Previously, girls could join the co-ed ultimate team; however this year there was enough interest to form an all-girls team.
Senior Clara Stewart was a captain of the co-ed team her sophomore and junior year, but has since decided to dedicate her time to forming the new all-girls program. Stewart says she spent a couple of years thinking about establishing an all girls program, but there was never a great push for it. However, this year Stewart explained that the “timing seemed right [and] there seemed to be enough interest.” With 18 girls on the roster, Arlington High was able to establish an all girls ultimate frisbee team
Junior Lilah Vieweg is new to ultimate frisbee, but is excited to get involved with the sport. Vieweg initially joined because she knew “everyone else would be a beginner, so [she] wasn’t too worried.” Other members agreed that they felt welcome to join, regardless of their experience level. According to Stewart, ultimate frisbee has a “great sense of community, where everyone is focused on helping each other succeed.” It is clear that this sense of community has made its way to the AHS girls team.
Since ultimate frisbee is not recognized as an MIAA sport, the team will operate as a club. For this reason, they will not receive school funding; however, they will be able to design their own jerseys and choose their team name. Stewart explains that the “team will be going through parks and rec to get field time.” Players will be responsible to pay for field time, jerseys, transportation, and any other costs that come with playing. Stewart shares that this can make it “hard to recruit since it can get expensive.” The team will be equipped with a few different volunteer coaches. Geoa Geer, who works at an ultimate frisbee organization known as BUDA, and who is an ultimate world champion is one of the volunteer coaches. A few neighboring towns, such as Lexington and Newton, have girls programs already established. The Arlington High girls team will compete against these other teams in friendly scrimmages.
Equipped with excellent coaching and motivated players, the newly established Arlington High School all-girls ultimate frisbee team seems to be a great position for their first season.
On Thursday, March 15th Arlington High School hosted the student teacher basketball game. The game was the second of its kind, with the first game being in November. Teacher James Barry says that following the first game “there was a lot of interest among students and faculty to do it again.” Director of the Foreign Exchange program, Mary Villano, had the idea for the game, and all proceeds are donated to an Arlington family in need. This particular game earned the students a victory, but despite losing, Barry says that “it was a lot of fun.” Be sure to catch the next game for some student teacher rivalry and the chance to support your community!
The Arlington High varsity boys soccer team had a successful season. They were number one in the Middlesex league, and made it to state semi finals until they were knocked out by Concord Carlisle on November 13th at Manning Field in Lynn, MA. The boys battled until the end, only falling to the last penalty kick, in a shoot out 5-4. This is the farthest the boys soccer team has ever gone into tournament, and was their first time winning the Middlesex league title.
Going into the season, the boys did not expect such success and victory. Many of the players had not experienced the varsity level before. However, the “strong chemistry” between the boys brings them all together and prevents cliques, mentioned a few of the athletes when questioned about the integrity of their team dynamic.
The boys attribute the team’s success to their coach, Lance Yadzio. He did a great job “listening to the players and bringing the input from the captain’s into games” said Cleary. Yadzio brings up any concerns with the whole team, keeping the players unified, which helps with the overall team dynamic.
When bench players hop on the field, they all give 110% of their effort and energy. Cleary points out that “their spot is on the line”, so they must give it all they’ve got to prove themselves to their captains and coach, as the three captains additionally help their coach with the starting lineup.
While sophomore Perry Sofis-Scheft is off the field, he takes his time to scan the game so he can bring what the team is lacking when he gets put in the game. He picks up where the starters left off.
Over the summer, many of the upcoming underclassmen attended captains practices, allowing them to gain a lot of skill and ball control. Senior captains Max McKersie, Lloyd Cleary, and Adrien Black kept these gatherings focused. Manager Jeff Pacheco observes that “players such as Noah Aarons and Lucas Plotkin have earned their time by proving their dedication on and off the field”.
Cleary notes that “by being number one in the state, the team has come into some games too cocky” costing them a win. “You must take things one step at a time”, advises Pacheco. “Be there for the grind” Perry says. “Never give up” Pacheco adds.
The Arlington High School gymnastics team is often overlooked by students and teachers alike. Because their meets are rarely announced or their triumphs published, many students are totally unaware of the team’s existence.
When asked about this lack of knowledge about the gymnastics team, junior team captain Emily Smith-Kaufman replies, “I think maybe because there aren’t a lot of people who do gymnastics and because the team is really small, people don’t pay as much attention to it.”
“We are a lot better than people think we are,” says Smith-Kaufman. “ Last year, I wish people had come because we broke the school record, and we have done a lot that people don’t recognize.”
Says sophomore team member Karenna Ng, “I think what we do is pretty cool. I wish more people at AHS knew about us, because we work just as hard as the other teams.”
Sophomore team member Katja Ampe explains, “It’s an American tradition to watch football. It’s not a tradition to watch gymnastics. I think generally more people attend the other sporting events, but also, that’s mainly because people don’t know that we have a gymnastics team.” Unlike other sporting events at AHS, gymnastics meets are free.
“I really like the sport, because it’s physically hard, but it’s also mentally hard,” comments Ampe. “I mean, some sports are nice, but they aren’t as scary. In gymnastics, you have a four-inch wide piece of wood, four feet in the air. That is scary, and half of it is knowing that you can do it.”
Unlike other sporting events, gymnastic meets are free.
On Sunday, February 12, the Arlington varsity boys’ hockey team took on Hingham at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena in a game to honor Catherine Malatesta.
The game started out fast. Cully Curran, assisted by Drew Malatesta and Kevin Ouellette, scored the first goal during the first period.
Throughout the rest of the first period, through the second, and into the beginning of third, the score remained the same. Both teams were playing hard and the game was close.
Then John Piggot, with an outstanding pass from Michael Curran, scored the second goal for Arlington. The fans cheered and the stadium came alive again.
Desperate to somehow come back, Hingham pulled their goalie in favor of putting an extra player on the ice. This sealed the deal for Arlington, when Kevin Ouellette scored on an empty net, assisted by Cully Curran and Michael Curran.
At the end of the game, Drew Malatesta was named Player of the Game, chosen for his assist of Cully Curran in the first period.
Arlington finished the game with a 3-0 lead, making their record 10-0-1.
On Wednesday, January 11th, the Arlington High boys’ varsity hockey team played on their biggest stage yet: Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, which had been transformed into Frozen Fenway, a massive outdoor ice rink, for the two weeks of January 3-16th.
Arlington High was selected to play against Burlington High at Frozen Fenway; they were the first public high schools that were not from Boston to be chosen.
Other teams that played from Massachusetts include the Boston Bruins, Boston University, and Boston College.
The game was meant to be for entertainment, not competition, therefore, the outcome would not affect either team’s record. This did nothing to take away the Arlington High boys’ desire to win.
Though the pressure to win wasn’t there, it was different and daunting to be under big lights and more on display than normal. Not only did they want to win for themselves, but also wanted to win to prove they could perform in a higher level stadium, not just in local indoor rinks like Arlington’s Ed Burns Arena.
Everything in a rink is controlled, the temperature and the quality of the ice, especially. One would expect the conditions at Fenway to be less than exemplary, but the ice was smooth and well-kept, despite the high 50s temperatures.
The only thing that was really affected was the depth perception of the players, which was thrown off slightly by the bright lights of the park.
At a local rink, the spectators are usually just parents and fans from the school, such as classmates and maybe people from the opposing team’s town.
At Fenway, there is a huge crowd, people from both towns and some people who just come to watch a game at Fenway. There is no home team; it’s neutral ground for both teams.
This was a change of pace, but it was also amazing for them to play at Fenway – a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Frozen Fenway experience would not have been complete without some behind the scenes perks for the team, which they got. The team dressed in the clubhouse and went into the visitors’ batting cage. They also viewed all the old and new framed photos.
The team came out of this with not only an incredible experience, but also with a 6-3 win.
Senior Michael Curran had one goal. Sophomores Dara Conneely, Cameron Ryan, and Joel Hanley all had one, and freshman Brendan Jones, who provided all the information for this article, scored two goals.
AHS teachers take on an obstacle course dressed as sumo wresters (top left). Cheerleaders perform stunts (top right). Students compete in a game of tug-of-war (bottom right). The AHS hip-hop dance club performs (bottom). Photographer: Maya Pockrose
By: Maya Pockrose
On the last day of spirit week, between F and G blocks on Friday, September 30th, the AHS pep rally took place.
The AHS Pep Band played as students filed into the Red Gym and sat in their respective grade’s seating area. First on the agenda was determining which grade was loudest. It was, of course, the seniors.
Next, the AHS cheerleaders performed, per pep rally tradition. Following them, a newer installment, the AHS hip hop dancers, did a few numbers. Both groups did well and seemed to have practiced a good deal in preparation. One student said, “I liked seeing the hip hop dancers because that was different from last year.” Another “liked seeing some students’ hidden talents.”
During the rally, a school-wide wave went around the gym a few times. Then,the students competed in a relay race. During all the the events, the pep band played energetic tunes.
The t-shirt cannon was brought out as well, and just a few students from each grade were lucky enough to catch them as they soared into the bleachers.
Tug-of-war, a favorite event, followed. First, the teams from the four grades faced off in pairs, and then the winning team, the Juniors, went up against some tough competition: the teachers. It was a close match, but ultimately, the Juniors took home the win.
Then another crowd favorite took place. Paul McKnight, Justin Bourassa, and Graham Dimmock faced off in a fairly simple obstacle course, with one twist. They had to complete the course while wearing inflatable sumo wrestler suits, making for quite the spectacle. A student said that “seeing my teachers in fat suits was… odd,” while another found the event “funny and entertaining.” Ultimately, Mr. McKnight took the win, to the resounding approval of the audience.
As the rally came to a close, the announcements of the day’s upcoming athletic events were made, and finished with a pep-inducing round of “Let’s get fired up!”, each grade taking a word of the phrase.
As students poured out of the Red Gym at all exits and headed for their last class of the day, the pep band played. The pep rally seemed successful, and was considered a fun ending to Spirit Week. One student thought the “activities were cool in a way that got everyone working together,” and the rally “showed a lot of school spirit.” Mission accomplished.