2017-2018 in Review 12 Holliston Teams Qualified for Tournament Competition

Ken Hamwey, Staff Sports Writer
The 2017-18 school year at Holliston had its share of tourney teams and individual honors. Panther fans, however, obviously would like to see a banner or two for a state or sectional title.  Those possibilities no doubt will be in the mix going forward.
Issue Date: 
July, 2018
Article Body: 

Holliston High’s athletic teams didn’t produce a state championship for the 2017-18 school year but the Panthers still experienced success on a variety of fronts.
Twelve squads qualified for tournament play, some of them securing berths after lengthy droughts. Two wrestlers won sectional titles, one basketball player reached the 1,000-point plateau, and two track stars excelled in post-season meets.
Five seemed to be the bookend numbers for the 12 tourney teams — five squads qualified in the fall, two in the winter and five more during the spring season. The fall qualifiers were football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, field hockey and golf, which earned a playoff slot for the first time in four years.
The football program, which has won two Super Bowls in the last five years, experienced a very different ending to its season, bowing to Scituate in the playoffs, then competing for the first time since the playoff format started five years ago against a non-playoff team. Holliston bowed to Milford in that contest.
“For the last five years, our football team has won two Super Bowls and was the Sectional finalist in two other years,’’ said athletic director Matt Baker. “The fall season lately has been our best. We usually have a healthy number of teams in the tourney and that sets the tone for the rest of the year. Boys’ and girls’ soccer and field hockey all won opening-round games, then lost in the next round. It was nice to see the golf team qualify.’’
Only two teams qualified for tourney play in the winter — the girls’ basketball team returned to the playoffs and so did the boys ice hockey squad. The girls lost to Hopkinton in the first round and the boys bowed to Dartmouth in its opening-round. “Both girls’ basketball and boys’ ice hockey had previously missed out on the tourney for two straight years,’’ Baker noted.
The winter campaign, nevertheless, did feature some impressive individual efforts. In wrestling, sophomores Spencer Fetrow and Brian Garry won Sectional titles and advanced to the state tourney. Fetrow won in the 195-pound class and Garry triumphed at 120 pounds. In girls’ basketball, senior Grace Dzindolet became the first girl and the seventh player overall to score 1,000 points.
“Grace scored 1,011 points, joining Kristen Wolters, Kara Wolters, Stacy Auerr and Kylie Lorenzen as females with 1,000-plus points,’’ Baker noted.
Five teams kept the spring season active by earning tournament berths. They included baseball, softball, boys’ and girls’ lacrosse and girls tennis.
“Joe Santos did a great job with the baseball team,’’ Baker emphasized. “Their tourney berth was the first in the last 11 years and only the second in the past 21 seasons. Jen Picardo had more success with her softball team, getting into the playoffs for the third consecutive time and Emma Decker’s girls lacrosse team qualified for the tourney for the first time since 2009. There was a lot of excitement surrounding our spring teams. Overall, the 12 tourney programs showed we’re improving and it was great to see our seniors finish their careers in playoff situations.’’
The 39-year-old Baker, who’s been the A.D. at Holliston for three years, was delighted with the individual honors two girls achieve in outdoor track. Junior Becca Stevens won the Division 3 state championship in the high jump (5 feet, 4 inches) and sophomore Bella Bergloff earned runner-up honors in the discus (128 feet, 6 inches) at the All-State Meet. “Both girls qualified for national competition in North Carolina,’’ Baker added. “And, Caroline Ward, who excelled in the long jump and triple jump, was a scholarship recipient. She’ll be going to UMass-Amherst.’’
On another front, Baker was pleased with the athletic participation rates, which he says have risen by almost five percent. On average, of the enrolled 800 students in grades 9-12, about 320 of them are student-athletes.
Elsewhere, there were some changes to facilities, the co-op teams provided opportunities, and one coaching vacancy was filled for the 2018-19 year.
“A new wood floor was installed in the gym, replacing the old rubber surface,’’ Baker said. “That was great, a much-needed upgrade. And, our ice hockey team started playing at Loring Arena in Framingham. As for co-op teams, we had 25 students competing in swimming, six in girls’ ice hockey and three in gymnastics. Those three programs gave kids an opportunity they would not have experience if we did not enter into co-op arrangements.’’
Swimmers are in a co-op with Medway, ice hockey is a co-op team with Medway, Ashland and Millis, and the gymnastics team is a co-op with Medway and Millis.
Dan Keefe, who guided the girls’ basketball team into tourney play after a brief absence, resigned to devote more time to his work in the Natick Recreation office. A familiar face will replace Keefe. “Kurt Lorenzen, who coached the jayvee and freshman girls, is a veteran of the girls’ hoop program and he now will direct the varsity,’’ Baker said.