Part three of a seven part series on the top local female athletes of the past decade from Wilmington and Tewksbury on the Shawsheen Tech spring teams.
BILLERICA – It has been quite a run for the girls spring sports teams at Shawsheen Tech over the past decade. Each girls team in the spring season in fact, has had a remarkable run of success over the past ten years.
Leading the way among the four teams (Softball, Lacrosse, Track and Co-Ed Tennis) would have to be the Softball and Girls Lacrosse teams, but the other teams are not far behind.
Overall, the girls teams at Shawsheen have won five state vocational titles and ten Commonwealth Athletic Conference CAC titles over the past ten years, with each of the teams having contributed to the totals in some way. The Rams Softball team leads all spring squads with four league titles during the decade, while the Lacrosse team has won three league titles, but has also captured three state vocational titles. Meanwhile the Co-Ed Tennis team has won three league titles and the Girls Track team has won two state vocational crowns.
The combined overall won-loss record of all of the girls’ spring teams over the past decade was 367-221-9.
Through all of these championships, tournament berths and other fine accomplishments for these teams through the years, there have obviously many fines athletes who have led the way, and many of those have come from Tewksbury and Wilmington. All selections for the All-Decade teams below have been made solely by this reporter after covering each of these teams for the past ten years. As with any All-Star team, there were some tough omissions, and of course, we limited our selections to Wilmington and Tewksbury residents, meaning that many talented athletes from Billerica, Burlington and Bedford were not considered. With that being said, I feel like each athlete represented here is very well deserving of their selection.
It was a decade of great success for the Shawsheen Tech Softball team, with the Rams qualifying for the MIAA State Tournament seven out of the ten years of the decade, while winning four CAC titles. Most of the Rams success came in the first half of the decade, when they captured four league championships in a row from 2010-2013 under the direction of head coach Maureen Buckley. That streak was actually part of seven titles in a row for the Rams, who also took the CAC crown from 2007-2009.
Shawsheen’s best regular season came in 2013 when the Rams went a perfect 20-0 before losing in the first round of the state vocational tournament and the quarterfinals of the MIAA Division 3 Tournament to finish 21-2 overall.
Buckley coached the Rams through the 2015 season, going 89-39 overall, including a 4-5 mark in the state tournament. Long time Shawsheen assistant Scott Ialuna took over as head coach in 2016, and has gone 37-37 over the past four seasons, including consecutive tournament berths in 2017 and 2018. For the decade, the Rams had an overall record of 126-76.
Here are our selections — we decided to take four outfielders and not take a first baseman, as we felt strongly that the four girls deserved to be selected.
P: Sara Elwell (Tewksbury) - Her senior season is the only season that qualifies, but what a season it was, as she earned CAC MVP and First Team Lowell Sun All-Star honors. In that 2010 season she posted a 17-5 record with a 2.60 ERA, five shutouts, 90 strikeouts and only 19 walks, while also tossing a no-hitter. And just for good measure, she also batted .351 with a .458 OBP.
P: Emily Hamilton (Tewksbury) - A two-time CAC Player of the Year, the 2013 graduate went 10-2 in her junior year with a 2.98 ERA, while also batting .415 with 14 doubles and 11 RBI. As a senior she again went 10-2, while batting .292 with 10 RBI.
P: Meghan Walsh (Tewksbury) - Walsh combined with Hamilton to form a tremendous 1-2 punch in the pitcher’s circle, especially during her senior season of 2013, when the duo combined for an undefeated regular season, earning herself CAC All-Star honors.
C: Jamie Ray (Tewksbury) - Ray put up some remarkable numbers throughout her career, batting .523 with three home runs and 40 RBI as a sophomore. She was even better in her senior season of 2015, batting .574 with five home runs and 19 RBI earning her CAC Player of the Year honors. The four-time CAC All-Star was also a two-time Lowell Sun First team selection.
2B: Danielle Cacciola (Tewksbury) - A three-time CAC All-Star, Cacciola was also voted to the Lowell Sun Second Team as a junior and Honorable Mention as a senior in 2014. She also stepped up in the post season for the Rams, going 2-for-2 and scoring both of her team’s runs in a tough 3-2 loss to Tyngsboro in the D3N Tournament.
3B: Emily Knoops (Tewksbury) - A three-time CAC All-Star, Knoops was also voted to the Lowell Sun Second team as just a sophomore in 2012. Knoops was a stabilizing force in the middle of the Rams lineup for three years, helping to lead them to a pair of CAC title.
SS: Arianna Medeiros (Tewksbury) - A CAC All-Star in 2012 and 2013, Medeiros was also a Lowell Sun Honorable Mention selection in 2012. Medeiros was part of four straight CAC titles, and was also a member of the Rams All-Decade Girls Basketball team. She went on to play both softball and soccer at Dean College.
OF: Victoria Basler (Tewksbury) - A two-time CAC All-Star, and a Lowell Sun Second team selection in her senior season of 2017, Basler batted .340 as a junior with 12 stolen bases. She followed that up with a senior season where she was in the top two of every offensive category for the Rams while serving as one of the team’s captains.
OF: Stephanie Champoux (Tewksbury) - Her greatest ability was her defense, as she covered a lot of ground in center field. Rarely was a fly ball ever out of her range. Which is not to say that the 2013 CAC All-Star could not hit, as she drove in the game winning run in an 8-7 thriller over Bishop Fenwick that season to keep the Rams undefeated record intact at 19-0. She also had a three-run double in the Rams first round tournament win over Boston Latin.
OF: Kennedy Harper (Wilmington) - Harper was a Lowell Sun First Team All-Star in her senior season of 2014, when she batted .435 with seven doubles, 25 runs scored, a .532 OBP and 11 stolen bases. The two-time CAC All-Star is also a member of the Rams All-Decade Girls Hockey team.
OF: Becca Smith (Tewksbury) - Smith was a Lowell Sun First team All-Star in her senior season of 2019, when she batted .469, with four triples 22 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and 16 RBI. A three-year starter for the Rams, the two-time CAC All-Star ended her career with a .440 batting average, with 88 career hits and 66 runs scored.
DH: Katie Welch (Wilmington) - A team captain in her senior year of 2017, when she led the Rams to a 12-7 record, their first winning record since 2013. Welch was a CAC All-Star and a Lowell Sun Honorable Mention selection that season. A four- year starter, Welch also starred for the Rams Volleyball team.
Like their male counterparts, the Shawsheen Girls Lacrosse team has shown great success over the past decade. After starting the decade as an independent team, the Rams have dominated the CAC since its inception in 2016, winning the first three league titles in a from 2016-2018, before narrowly missing out on the title and finishing second in 2019.
Along with their three league titles, the Rams have also taken home three Massachusetts State Vocational finals, taking home the title the last three years after advancing to the vocational final back in 2016.
The Rams started the decade by posting a 5-10-1 record under the direction of Herb Post, who had taken over for Liz Richards, who guided the team through their first five years of existence from 2005-2009.
Former Shawsheen three sport star Maggie Joyce took over for Post in 2011 and led the Rams to three consecutive MIAA Division II state tournament berths before stepping down after 2013 season to focus on her graduate degree. After one year away, Joyce would return for one more season in 2015 and lead the Rams to a 7-9-1 record, giving her an overall record of 34-24-6 for her career.
During Joyce's one year absence, the Rams were led by two other former players, as Eileen Warford and Charlotte Ardini were co-head coaches, leading the Rams to a 7-8-1 record.
The year 2016 brought a new league and a new coach, as another former Shawsheen star, Alex O'Reilly took over the helm of the Rams. It also brought the Rams the first league title in program history, as well as a trip to the vocational championship game. Since that season, O'Reilly has led the Rams to two more league titles and three vocational championships, as well as a state tournament victory over Lowell Catholic, and a 55-28 record.
Overall, the Rams were 101-70-8 for the decade.
ALL DECADE TEAM
Attacks and Midfielders
Kelsey Farraher (Tewksbury) - A three-year starter for the Rams, the 2013 graduate scored 54 goals as a junior midfielder for the Rams. As a senior when she was asked to play more of a defensive midfield to help the team, she still scored 31 goals, while winning team MVP honors, and being named a Lowell Sun First team All-Star.
Michelle Farraher (Tewksbury) - A two-time CAC All-Star, Farraher was also selected to the Lowell Sun Second team in 2015 and Honorable Mention in 2014. During her junior season of 2015, she stepped up in the post season, scoring four goals in a state tournament loss to Ipswich.
Catherine McKenna (Wilmington) - McKenna scored over 150 goals for the Rams in her career, including 49 as just a sophomore and 64 as a junior in 2017. A four-year member of the Rams varsity squad, McKenna scored two goals in the Rams vocational championship game win over Old Colony in 2017.
Rachel McLaren (Wilmington) - McLaren was a two-time CAC All-Star and a Lowell Sun Second team All-Star in her senior season of 2014. She also had a great season in her junior year, including scoring six goals in a big win over Haverhill in the team' season finale that year.
A three sport star for the Rams, she is also a member of the Girls Hockey All-Decade team.
Annie Riddle (Wilmington) - A Lowell Sun Second team All-Star in her senior season of 2017, and a two-time CAC All-Star, Riddle seemed to have a flair for the dramatic. Among many big moments, 2017, she scored a goal literally as the buzzer sounded to give the Rams a 12-11 win over Mystic Valley, part of a six goal performance on the day.
Alesha Talbot (Tewksbury) - A high scoring attack for the Rams, Talbot was part of three CAC titles and two vocational titles. She scored five goals in the Rams 2018 vocational title win over Old Colony, capping off a senior season where she scored over 50 goals.
Sarah Constantino (Tewksbury) - A captain in her senior season of 2018, Constantino twice was honored with the team's Coaches Award, for her tremendous leadership abilities. She was pretty good on the field as well, spending two years as a lock down defender for the Rams before moving up to midfield midway through her senior season when the team was shorthanded due to injury.
Jackie Farraher (Tewksbury) - A three-year starter for the Rams, she was the leader of the Rams defensive core, particularly during her senior year of 2015 when she never seemed to leave the field while helping to lead the Rams to an improbable tournament berth.
Nicole Kopacz (Tewksbury) - A defensive stalwart for the Rams, who took on all opposing attackers fearlessly. Could also get the job done offensively, scoring the game tying goal with 2:17 left in the Rams 2016 MIAA state tournament win over Lowell Catholic. After also starring for the Rams Swimming and Soccer teams, she went on to have a great lacrosse career at Fitchburg State.
Julia Ryan (Wilmington) - Ryan started her career off with a bang, winning CAC MVP as just a freshman, and she never looked back. She took her sophomore year off to focus on hockey, but returned as a junior and picked up right where she left off, being named to the CAC All-Star team two more times. Ryan also stepped up in the post season, making 15 saves in the MIAA Tournament win over Lowell Catholic in her freshman year, and ten saves in the Rams state vocational championship win in over Essex Tech in her senior year of 2019.
The Shawsheen Girls Spring Track team was successful throughout this past decade under the direction of Jay Tildsley, Tim Broadrick and Jeff McGrath, posting an overall record of 65-29-1 during the past ten years.
While not quite as dominant as the boys team over the last half of the decade, the girls have won two state vocational titles over the past four seasons, winning the championship in 2016 and 2018. The wrapped up the decade by going 10-1 in 2019 but narrowly missing out on the CAC title.
The Rams were 19-9 under Tildsley from 2010-2012, before going 4-5 under Broadrick in 2013, and then going 42-15 under McGrath, including those two vocational titles, including going 18-3 over the past two seasons.
Rachel Blanchard (Wilmington) – A multi-talented athlete who regularly put up points in four different events for the Rams, Blanchard was a Lowell Sun Second Team All-Star selection in the 200-meters in 2011 where she holds the Shawsheen record in a time of 26.93. She also had several meets where she finished first in the 100, triple jump and discus as well.
Jackie Broderick (Wilmington) - Broderick holds the Shawsheen record in the 800 meters in a time of 2:35.8, which she set at the 2017 CAC League Meet. At that same meet, she was also part of the winning 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams, and would later help lead the Rams to the state vocational title.
Kristen Carroll (Tewksbury) – Carroll not only holds the school’s all time record in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:12.3, but she also excelled in several other events for the Rams, including the long jump and the triple jump where she consistently put up points, particularly during her senior year of 2012, where she helped lead the Rams to an 8-3 record.
Molly Harrington (Tewksbury) – Athletes don’t come much more multi-talented than Harrington. Also a member of the Rams All-Decade Swim team, Harrington excelled in as many as four track events for the Rams, including being part of the school record holding 4x400 relay team. She also put up points in the shot put, the individual 400 and the triple jump. In 2016, she took second in the shot put at the CAC League Meet.
Iavana Wisky (Tewksbury) – Wisky, along with Broderick, was part of a dominant 4x800 relay team for the Rams, and is part of the group that holds the all-time record in the event in a time of 11:09.6. She also earned a first place finish in the individual 800 at the CAC League Meet in her senior season of 2019 in a time of 2:37.87.
When looking at the Shawsheen spring sports programs over the past decade, the Rams co-ed Tennis team might not be the first team that jumps out at you as having a winning tradition, especially considering the long history of success with all of the other spring sports, from track, to baseball and softball to lacrosse.
But in reality, the Tennis team had a very good decade for themselves. There were a few hiccups along the way, with a two year stretch in 2015 and 2016 where they were a combined 6-18, but overall, the Rams performed very well, winning three CAC titles along the way and posting an overall record of 75-46.
The Rams were led for most of the decade by J.P. Borriello, who coached the team from 2010 to 2018 and won league titles in 2012 and 2013, and led the Rams to a second place finish in 2010. The 2012 squad went 11-1 on the season, setting a school record for wins in a season which stood until 2019, when Jay Tildsley took over as head coach and led the Rams to a 13-2 record and the team’s third league title of the decade.
Overall, Borriello finished the decade with a record of 62-44, while Tildsley was of course 13-2.
Some of the results for the Tennis team are harder to track than many of the other teams, so we don’t have many individual stats, but listed below are some of the best players for the program over the past ten years, many of whom earned CAC All-Star honors for their efforts.
Michelle Chen Wilmington (2019)
Samantha Fusco Wilmington (2019)
Cassidy Phillips Tewksbury (2019)
Taylor Simas Tewksbury (2013)
Jenna Spinosa Tewksbury (2013)