Shawsheen Tech’s Leah Casey gets ready for the 200-meter medley relay

Shawsheen Tech’s Leah Casey gets ready as she was the first of the 200-meter medley relay during the Rams home meet held on Friday. (photo by Joe Brownphotos.com).

BILLERICA – It was a mixed bag of results for the Shawsheen Tech Swim team in their opening week of the season, as the Rams picked up a big win in their season opener, winning in comfortable fashion over CAC rival Greater Lawrence in the season opener at home last Wednesday by a score of 83-65, before coming back to suffer a tough 90-79 loss to Nashoba Tech/Innovation Academy/Lowell Catholic on Friday, once again at Shawsheen.

The Rams saw some outstanding individual efforts in both meets, particularly in the win over Greater Lawrence where they had several swimmers pick up victories in multiple events on the day.

The Rams started the day with a nice win in the mixed 200-yard medley relay, where the foursome of junior Anthony Bastianelli, senior Kevin Stevens of Wilmington, senior Aidan Singh and sophomore Jared Krueger of Tewksbury won in a time of 2:08.99.

The winning ways continued for Singh and Krueger in the mixed 200-yard individual medley, where Singh took first place in a time of 2:27.11 and Krueger was second in 2:45.86. Krueger also took a first place finish in the mixed 100-yard freestyle in a time of 1:06.99, while Singh was first in the mixed 500-yard freestyle in a time of 5:50.46. Junior Leah Casey of Tewksbury was third in the mixed 500-yard freestyle.

Eliot Hong had a big day for the Rams with a pair of wins, the first one coming in the mixed 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:31.90, where he was followed by senior captain Kasey McFadden of Tewksbury. Hong also got a win in the mixed 100-yard butterfly in a time of 1:13.06.

Senior Tyler Kopacz of Tewksbury picked up a win for the Rams in the mixed 50-yard freestyle in a time of 27.80, while Bastianelli was second in the same event in a time of 27.96. Bastianelli was also second in the mixed 100-yard freestyle in a time of 1:08.24.

Shawsheen coach Rick Menard was encouraged by the win, while stressing that there is still more work to be done as the season progresses.

“We still aren't where we were for lots of our veterans but by mid-season we should be back on target for some solid swims leading into post season,” Menard said. “In a lot of the races we were pushing ourselves or racing the clock which is kind of tough this early in the year. Greater Lawrence looks like they took a solid hit to their base missing last season, while we were fortunate enough to at least train and have a few virtual meets. That kept us a bit ahead of the curve with most of the voke schools.”

In the 90-79 loss to Nashoba/Innovation/Lowell Catholic, the Rams got a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, led by Hong, junior Daniel Penney, junior Nathan Barnes and Singh, winning in a time of 1:52.04. The Rams also took second in the event behind the efforts of freshman Harrison Kinsella, Stevens, Bastianelli and Kopacz in a time of 1:58.65.

Kinsella also picked up a win in the mixed 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:36.02, while Singh was first in the mixed 50-yard freestyle in a time of 25.39 as well as the mixed 100-yard backstroke in 1:11.88. Hong took a first place finish in the mixed 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:22.71, while Stevens was third in the event in 1:23.05.

Freshman Logan Dupont meanwhile had a fine day, with a third place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, and a second place finish in the mixed 100-yard butterfly.

“We went up against a tri-team that had a deep collection of talent that we just couldn't get past. Our lack of depth and inexperience at this point of the season really hurt us,” Menard said. “We were missing a few students due to illness but our mental mistakes were our own worst enemy today.

“We kept the meet a whole lot closer than we should have. It was due to efforts of freshman Logan Dupont and Harrison Kinsella along with veteran Leah Casey to support our usual stalwarts to keep the score tight.

Hopefully we get it straightened out on a quick turn around before we head to Greater Lowell.”

As Menard indicated the Rams were back in action this Wednesday with a road meet against Greater Lowell, with the results of the meet unavailable as of the Town Crier’s press time. The Rams will then be back in the pool on January 7 when they travel to Mystic Valley.

BOYS HOOP

It is still very early obviously, but as early season wins go, they don’t get much bigger than the Shawsheen Tech Boys Basketball team’s 58-45 win over Lowell Catholic last Friday night in their home opener at the Mark Donovan Gymnasium.

During last season’s COVID abbreviated campaign the Rams and Crusaders tied for the best record in the CAC Large regular season before meeting for a league championship game that was won by Lowell Catholic to give the league crown. But in Friday’s rematch, it was Shawsheen who was in control, riding the enthusiasm of a packed gym to a key early season win who improved to 2-1 on the season with the win, but more importantly, improved to 2-0 in the CAC Large.

While the Lowell Catholic team the Rams faced on Friday night was not exactly the same team they faced back in April, it hardly mattered to the Rams and coach Joe Gore, who know that the Crusaders will still be one of the tope teams in the CAC this season and one of the biggest threats to the Rams quest for a league title.

“This was a good win for us,” Gore said. “To get two league wins early on is great and it shows how hard our guys are working. We are still trying to find our identity as a team, but it is because of their hard work that they have been able to get off to this kind of start.”

The Rams were led by 14 points off the bench by senior forward Cameron Pontes, who had a team high 14 points on the night to go along with an incredible 20 rebounds. Speaking of hard working players, Gore could not have happier for Pontes after the effort he has been showing in the early season.

“Cameron has been a two year JV player for us. I am just so happy for him and his performance,” Gore said. “He came off the bench and just willed us to victory. He is a receiver and cornerback for us with the football team and he is one of our tougher kids and he brings the same thing to basketball.

“His twenty rebounds were key for us. He was just non-stop. He took it personal and went out and had a great game. Those are the things we work on every day in practice, so it is really exciting to see where he has come in just a few weeks.”

Junior guard and captain Mavrick Bourdeau also had a fine night for the Rams with 13 points, while also playing great defense against the Crusaders.

“Mavrick is one of the better two way players in the league,” Gore said. “He is consistently averaging double figures on offense and he usually guards the best player from the other team. He leads be example every second he is on the court.”

In their previous game, last Tuesday night, the Rams had suffered an 82-54 road loss to non-league rival Chelmsford despite a game high 23 points from senior guard and captain Jeremy Perez of Tewksbury, as well as 17 points from freshman Franck Moron.

“That was a tough non-league game for us,” Gore said. “It was kind of a humbling experience. I don’t think we played our best, and Chelmsford is the type of team we are hoping to be. So, it was great to see the way we bounced back on Friday.”

On Tuesday night, the Rams were back at home where they overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat Minuteman by a score of 65-62. Pontes once again had a big game with 19 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Bourdeau had 13 points and 12 rebounds and senior captain Jeff Kelly had 15 points.

The Rams will be back in action on Thursday night when they hit the road for another challenging non-league game, this time against North Reading, before returning home to take on Arlington Catholic next Tuesday night.

WRESTLING

The Shawsheen Tech Wrestling team had a big day at the Wilmington Sons of Italy Tournament this past weekend, earning a fourth place finish in the 21 team field. But even prior to their impressive showing at the Sons of Italy, it had already been a successful week for the Rams, who last Wednesday night had swept a tri-meet against Essex Tech/Masco and Lynn Tech, defeating Essex Tech Masco by a score of 45-27 and Lynn Tech by a score of 66-0.

The Rams had several multiple winners on the day, starting at 106 pounds, where freshman Dante Graziano of Tewksbury won a pair of matches, including a big win over Essex by pin in a time of 3:36 in his first ever varsity match to get the Rams off to a good start on the day.

“That was a great way for us to start the day,” Shawsheen coach Doug Pratt said. “He was very nervous going into the match, but he did a great job and he was so happy to get the win. In some ways that was a match where we were kind of expecting to lose but instead Dante got us a win by pin.”

At 113 pounds, Brayton Carbone was not able to pick up the win, but he battled a very tough opponent before finally losing by a 7-6 decision. The loss by decision was nearly as good as a win for the Rams.

“He lost 7-6 but he wrestled hard,” Pratt said. “We felt like this could have been a pin for them, so that was huge for him to keep it to a decision. He actually had a real good chance to win it. So, those two matches were a great way for us to start.”

Other multiple winners on the day for the Rams included Lucien Trembly at 120 pounds, freshman Sid Tildsley at 138 and 132 pounds, Benjamin Gooltz at 152 pounds, Jake Metcalf at 170, Austin Malandain at 195 and senior captain Xavier Santiago at 220.

While the wins from Santiago and even Tildsley, who is off to a brilliant start to his career, may have been expected, the wins over Essex by wrestlers like Gooltz and Metcalf, along with the win from Graziano were not necessarily expected. Those wins proved to be the difference for the Rams.

“Those guys won us the match,” Pratt said. “With the top guys, you pretty much know what each team has, but it is tough to know about a lot of the other guys. We weren’t sure what Essex had, but those guys stepped up for us and got us some big wins and that was really the difference in the match.”

Shawsheen will be back in action on Thursday when they host Lowell, Tyngsboro and Dracut in their home opener at Mark Donovan Gymnasium, before they compete in the Lowell Holiday Tournament next Monday and Tuesday.

BOYS HOCKEY

There is a long season still ahead of them, but it would be safe to say that the Shawsheen Tech Boys Hockey team is off to about as good of a start as you could hope for after two games, with a perfect 2-0 record, while outscoring their opponents by a total of 18-5 in their two games.

The Rams kicked off their season last Thursday night at home with an impressive 4-2 win over non-league rival Methuen, before following that up with a 14-3 blowout of CAC rival Minuteman on the road on Saturday.

In the win over Methuen, the Rams used a great defensive effort, limiting Methuen to just 11 shots on net, combined with a well balanced scoring attack to come away with the 4-2 win.

It looked as if the Rams had jumped on top early in this one, only to see a goal called back due to a delayed offside. So, it was Methuen who actually got on the board first, taking advantage of a 2-on-1 to take a 1-0 lead before senior forward Tyler Forristall tied things up later in the period on assists from sophomore Roland Spengler of Tewksbury and senior Aydan Churchill of Wilmington to send the teams to the locker rooms knotted at 1-1.

Methuen came back and scored 32 seconds into the second period, but Shawsheen responded with a power play goal off a draw on a goal by freshman Dylan Higson from sophomore Chase Darcey. The Rams never looked back from there and scored two more goals before the end of the second period, with sophomore forward Kyle Gray of Wilmington scoring on an assist from Higson and Kevin Ackerly of Wilmington and senior defensemen Tom Sampson scoring on assists by senior Ryan Dusablon of Tewksbury and junior Nick Calouro of Tewksbury. Behind a strong defensive effort in the third period by the Rams, Methuen would get no closer, as senior goalie Tom Dalton of Wilmington made nine saves to earn the win.

“We did exactly what we needed to do. We stuck to the game plan which is a great sign for this team. All night we kept it simple,” Shawsheen coach Chuck Baker said. “Wot pucks in deep and capitalized when we needed to. We got pucks to the net and did a great job limiting Methuen to 11 shots. We were very happy with opening night and the crowd was awesome as well. It was great to be playing in front of parents and a great student section.”

In the 14-3 win over Minuteman, the Rams dominated from start to finish, led by a hat trick by Higson, the first of the freshman’s varsity career, to go along with two assists. The Rams also got tallies from senior Zack Patterson, freshman Mike Giordano (two goals) and freshman Larry Cullity among others. It was the first varsity goal for Patterson, Giordano and Cullity.

“We controlled play and tried our best to work on things and not pick up bad habits which can happen in games like that. We did a good job just getting the job done,” Baker said. “A lot of kids played, we rolled four full lines all night. Seeing Giordano bury two, Patterson getting his first goal with us, and Larry Cullity getting his first on a penalty shot and also Higson getting his first varsity hat trick was all good stuff.”

Senior Joey McLaren of Wilmington made seven saves, while junior Aiden MacLeod made four saves to combine for the victory in net.

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