Friday, September 28, 2012

Homecoming Week: Not So Fun Field Day

By Colin Sullivan
            What ever happened to Field Day? I mean four years ago Field Day was fun. There was good food served outside including hamburgers, pizza, and soda - there was music, and mostly everyone would participate in it as the upperclassmen would try their best to destroy the underclassmen. But that was four years ago, a time when Homecoming Week was somewhat fun and people actually cared about their school spirit. Today, however, Field Day is not fun and the fierce rivalry that once existed between the upperclassmen and underclassmen is gone.
            On Thursday, you may have noticed during lunch that there were some garbage cans on the football field, a football, and a few Frisbees with about a dozen students playing with them. This is what field day has come to. A poor attempt to increase school pride and allow students to have fun. The only real benefit of Field Day now is that students get an extended lunch.
            Junior Silas Wyper did not even know that there was a field day on Thursday. “I didn’t even go because I didn’t even know there was one today.” Despite not even participating in field day, junior Brad McCarthy said, “I loved it. I was ecstatic about it.”

            The reason why Field Day is no longer fun is because of the restrictions the school has placed upon it. The rivalry that once existed between upperclassmen and underclassmen caused a lot of controversy and the school did not like the hazing that was taking place. I wonder how much time the powers that be spent planning for Field Day this year and I also wonder why the good food and music are gone.
            Hopefully in the next few years, Field Day will be revived and actually become fun again. For now, however, the only real benefit to Field Day was the extended lunch.

Caption #1: Most students retreated to the bleachers and did not even bother to go onto the football field and participate
Caption #2: The few students who did participate held a somewhat exciting game of badminton

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Boys Cross Country recently won first for Darien High School

By Holly Gordon

The Boys Cross Country team won first at a recent meet in Wilton last Tuesday (9/25). After the Girls Cross Country team defeated Wilton for the first time in 15 years, the Boys team was quick to join them. Although the Boys team has defeated Wilton several times in the past, Wilton has many strong runners and still remains a challenge for Darien Cross Country.

Darien boys ran in both the junior varsity and varsity race, each a different mileage and with different runners. Typically, the majority of lowerclassmen will race in the junior varsity while the rest run in the varsity race. For this Wilton meet, the junior varsity race lasted 1.54 miles while varsity ran 3.15 miles, a significantly longer race. Compared to other courses, this Wilton course was relatively flat and easier to manage than many others.

For varsity, 7 out of the first 10 boys to finish were Darien. First place finisher was Wilton with a time of 17 minutes and 5 seconds. However, quickly to follow were a pack of 6 Darien boys, all finishing in 17 minutes and 40 seconds. Other teams participating in the meet include St. Josephs and Westhill.
“It was a solid meet. Everyone did a great job” senior Cameron Wong said.

Congratulations to the Darien Boys Cross Country for a successful race! Cheer on the team in their next meet on Tuesday (10/2) at 4:00pm at Greenwich Point competing against Greenwich, Staples, New Canaan and Brien McMahon. Don’t know how to get there? Click the link below for directions to the meet!

JV Girls Volleyball Team Trumps Fairfield Ludlowe

Juliette Dixon

On Friday, September 21, the Darien High School Girls Volleyball team swarms the court in their black and blue uniforms. Sophomore Jenna Ganser dives for the ball during warm ups in order to keep the play alive. 

"Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" by Coldplay fills the courts as the Ludlow team practices their serves. Darien watches in anticipation as they size up their competition.

Darien huddles around the assistant coach as they get pumped up for their first game. "Together!" they yell and then the game begins.  

Junior Nichole Schmitt starts the game off with a promising serve that holds true throughout the game. Schmitt also shows off her skills in spiking to ball to make the score 6-8 Darien.

Sophomore Claire Naughton was also on a serving streak with more than 4 perfect serves in a row. Darien won the first game 25 to 19 giving Ludlow a run for their money.

The girls were able to start the second game off positively with a 6-0 lead. Darien's girls communicated on the courts and were able to keep in tune with their fellow players. After each point-whether they won or lost it- the girls would huddle into a quick embrace where they would exchange encouraging words to keep their fellow teammates motivated.

Darien beat Fairfield Ludlow 25 to 10 in a crushing defeat. Come and watch the JV team play St. Joseph on Monday the 24th at 5:30 in the main gym. 

Boys JV soccer beats Fairfield Warde

John Eng
Darien High School Boys JV Soccer beat Fairfield Warde 2-0 on the Thursday, September 20th at Cherry Lawn in Darien, CT.
“We had to overcome several obstacles” said sophomore Jonas Von Schmitt. The refs made some questionable calls, ignoring some fouls and hand balls for Warde while still managing to call them on DHS.
One ref was particularly questionable with a pair of darkened sunglasses on a cloudy day, and stopping the game to speak with the other ref concerning an obvious call she was unable to see.
This was made worse by the lack of sportsmanship and flat out aggression on Warde’s part. Warde repeatedly fouled DHS and the tension was evident every second of the game.
Perhaps a contributing factor in this was the former employment of the Warde coach, who used to coach the DHS freshman team, many of whom now play JV.
“We were happy to beat him” Von Schmitt said with a smile.
One can only imagine how good this win must have felt, hopefully there will be many more ahead for boys JV soccer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Our First Step to Glory...

Darien Boys Basketball beats Greenwich
By Ryan Filippone

On Wednesday, September 19, 12 Darien High School Boys Basketball played its second fall league game, but our first with the new players junior Matt Staubi and junior Chima Azuonwu.  We were playing Greenwich at the Stamford YMCA. 

In the beginning Chima starts it off with a dunk on someone making the kids in the crowd laugh.  We worked hard on defense with the help of Matt, Junior Bobby Fitzpatrick, Junior George Phillips, and Senior captain Liam Naughton coming up with steals and Chima as the anchor, blocking shots with the help of George.  We had a good fast break game getting up the court and getting back on defense in time to stop some Greenwich’s fast breaks.  With the help of our two point guards Bobby and Matt we shared the ball well, leading to easy buckets.  Matt, Liam and George shot the ball well along with Chima dominating down low.  Senior captain Kyle Green and senior captain Drew Martzolf also had solid games grabbing rebounds and making shots when needed.

It was a solid game showing what we can do and that we are no door mat.  We won 63-48.  Liam Naughton “we played really well as a team and it felt great to crush a competitive greenwich team”.  Our next game is at the Stamford YMCA Wednesday, September 26, 2012 versus Stamford Academy.

Senior Captain Liam Naughton passing the ball to a teammate

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Darien Varsity Girls Soccer Achieves a Victory at Brien McMahon

By Viara Radoulova
On Saturday, September 22nd, Darien Varsity Girls Soccer played away against Brien McMahon at 12pm. The first point was scored by Junior Kelly Karczewski.  The game started off with that point for Darien High School, and remained just 1-0 through the end of the half. In the second half of the game, Junior Dillon Schoen, number 25, scored the second goal at 12:57pm for Darien. Schoen shined again by kicking another goal for the team, putting the team up 3-0. Unfortunately, Schoen was out for the rest of the game with n injury. Schoen received a respectful applause from the Darien fans who sat on the bleachers, cheering on and supporting the team. Most of the game was played in front of Brien McMahon’s gate, Darien dominating. The final score was 3-0, as Darien received a victory for the day. “I felt that the whole team came together and made the effort to win and I am proud,” said sophomore Kendra Fitzpatrick. Come to the next Darien Varsity Girls Soccer game to see Darien and Westhill compete for success on Monday, September 24th at the DHS Turf #2 at 4pm! 

Above, Darien comes close to scoring a goal.  

Here, Schoen is about to score a goal once again for Darien

Wave Football Drowns Fairfield Warde 44-21

by Kat McKay

On Saturday (9/22), the Boys Varsity Football team opened up its home season with a dominant performance over Fairfield Warde, landing the team its second straight victory.

The game was single-sided almost the entire time and featured lots of Wave offense. Warde struggled to record first downs against Darien’s defense, with most of its points coming very late in the game.

Darien’s first score was a 28-yard field goal by junior kicker Daly Hebert. Junior Nick Lombardo followed up with a one-yard TD run, advancing the Darien lead to 10-0.

Senior quarterback and co-captain Henry Baldwin had a phenomenal game, throwing touchdown passes to sophomore Griffin Ross (28 yards), Lombardo (59, 62 yards), and senior Jackson Whiting (68 yards).

Senior Christian Bognar also scored a touchdown for the Wave on a 2.5 yard carry.

Game highlights included a third quarter Warde onside kick, recovered by junior Matt Coley.

The score at the half was 30-7, and would have been higher had a 49 yard touchdown pass from Baldwin to Lombardo not been reversed on a holding penalty.

The game ended with an interception by senior Chris Hamernick.

Wave Football is off to a very promising start, as per usual. The next football game is Homecoming, and will be next Saturday (9/29) at DHS.

Photo credits: MSG Varsity

True Three Season Trackies

By Annabel Schneider

The year is finally in full swing and as fall sports pick up, Blue Wave sports continue to excel. Two of these teams are the boys and girls Cross Country teams. As the season continues we are sure to hear more about these teams, but there is a subset of the team that many Darien High School students don’t know about. 

For a Darien “trackie” there are three seasons: cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field. Indoor track and outdoor track are basically the same; however, cross country does not include the field sports or sprints that the winter and spring seasons do. As a result there is a portion of the cross country team that participates in fall track or “F track.” Technically these athletes are members of the cross country team, but they have their own practices and do not attend as many of the cross country meets.

Sophomore Maddie Schneider said, “I chose to do F track over regular cross country because I wanted to train my body specifically for my events in track. Also, I had heard about the great camaraderie among the students in F track.”

This year the “F track” team has 3 girls and 8 boys, keeping practices relatively intimate.
Junior Tyler Hatfield said, “F track is like a family. Each one of us is different in some special way and it is these differences that make us a whole. It is hard work but as we break out of our lethargic shell we find the inner truth.”

Caption: Three of the F track runners participating in one of the Ccross Country meets: (From Left) sophomore Carter Ashcraft, junior Tyler Hatfield, and junior Camden Smith.

JV Girls Volleyball Team Trumps Fairfield Ludlow

By Juliette Dixon

On Friday, September 21 Darien High School Girls Volleyball team swarms the court in their black and blue uniforms. Jenna Ganser '15 dives for the ball during their warm ups in order to keep the play alive. 

"Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" by Coldplay fills the courts as the Ludlow team practices their serves. Darien watches in anticipation as they size up their competition.

Darien huddles around the assistant coach as they get pumped up for their first game. "Together!" they yell and then the game begins.  

Freshman Nichole Schmitt starts the game off with a promising serve that holds true throughout the game. Schmitt also shows off her skills in spiking to ball to make the score 8-6 Darien.

Sophomore Claire Naughton was also on a serving streak with more than 4 perfect serves in a row. Darien won the first game 25 to 19, giving Ludlowe a run for their money.

The girls were able to start the second game off positively with a 6-0 lead. Darien communicated well on the court and the girls were able to keep in tune with their fellow players. After each point-whether they won or lost it- the girls would huddle into a quick embrace where they would exchange encouraging words to keep their fellow teammates motivated.

Darien beat Fairfield Ludlow 25 to 10 in the second set: a 2-0 win and crushing defeat.

Come and watch the JV team play their next game against St. Joseph on Monday the 24th at 5:30 in the main gym.

Above: The Blue Wave prepares for the game to start 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wave Football Begins with a Bang

By Jenn O’Neill

On Friday, September 14th, Blue Wave Football had their opening game against Fairfield Ludlowe and won 41-7. The team started off strong in the first quarter scoring 28 points, one of which was a kick return touchdown. Junior Nick Lombardo was responsible for three of those touchdowns and Junior Jay Harrison was responsible credited with one.

The most exciting part of the game was during the final quarter after Ludlowe had scored its first 7 points of the game. Darien High School’s response was a 91-yard kick return touchdown run by Senior Ian Vander Horn. Senior and player Kyle Blummer said, “Last year we graduated a lot of our starters and had to start from scratch. This year we have a lot more experience and leadership and it should be a great season.” Be sure to catch the next game against Fairfield Warde at the DHS Turf at 1:30pm on Saturday (9/22).

Above: photo credits to Mark Maybell

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wilton XC Invitational: Girls’ JV Runners Get Chance to Shine at Allen Meadows

By Barbara Bell

Darien Girls Cross Country had its second meet of the week Saturday morning (9/15) at Allen Meadows in Wilton, CT. After a tough race last Tuesday (9/11) in Ridgefield, one of the hilliest courses that the team has ever run, the relatively flat terrain was a relief for all.

The meet was a great opportunity for the JV runners to place and improve their times without feeling any of the pressure of an official meet. (Invitational meets don’t affect a team’s record). Senior Kat McKay said she enjoys this race especially because “it’s a fun atmosphere, and people cheer for me even though I’m slow.”

Varsity runners took the weekend off, but came along to cheer on their teammates. In the freshman race, 1.50 miles, Nicole Caputo placed first for Darien with a time of 11:11. Kaleigh Conway followed closely behind at 11:22.

Senior Claire Walker finished first for Darien on the JV course, running 2.5 miles in 17:34. Walker, who is a Varsity alternate, placed 4th overall, out of 171 other competitors. Juniors Grace Evanich and Alex Ford also ran well, 17:57 and 18:26 respectively.

Evanich has had a great season so far, and her race Saturday was no exception. “It was a tough race, but once I finished, I felt really accomplished,” she said. Ford added, “having nice weather always makes a difference.”

Assistant Varsity Coach Raquel Welsh echoed those feelings. “It was a great day to race and we had some stand-out performances from both the freshman and JV runners. We’re looking forward to next race!”

Come watch BWXC in their next meet at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday September 18th at Fairfield Ludlowe.

Above: Seniors Kat McKay, Kate Bushell, Ali Aparicio, Fay Rizzuto, and Darya von Schmidt pre-race

Friday, September 14, 2012

Darien Girls Cross Country Hits The Ground Running Title 2: DHS Girls Cross Country Team Starts Off Season at a 2-1 Record

by Kyra Conciatori

Tuesday, (9/11/12) the Darien High School Girls Cross Country team had its first meet of the season. The meet featured Ridgefield (the host), Darien, Stamford, and Fairfield Warde. Darien had a solid start to the season, heading into the next meet with a 2-1 record. Darien beat Warde 14-35, and Stamford 14-45, but fell short against the host, who beat them 22-38. One of the highlights of the meet was sophomore Anne Johnston's race. The 3.1 mile course was challenging-- full of grass, gravel, and uphill terrain. But these circumstances failed to hold Johnston  back, who from start to finish led the race and broke the course record of 20:16 with a time of 19:21. (The second place runner finished just over 30 seconds later, with a time of 19:52). Senior captain and talented track-star Grace Loh was noticeably absent from the race due to an injury. She plans to run in the next meet. This Saturday, the JV team will compete in a race in Wilton. "This course will be a lot more manageable, and I think we will all do better than we did in the last race" senior Holly Gordon said.

Pictured above:  Johnston and a runner from Warde battle for the lead at the start of
the race.
photo credit: Cameron Wong

Can the Darien Boys Cross Country repeat last year’s phenomenon?

By Cameron Wong

Last year, the Darien Boys Cross Country (Boys XC) team did something that few other teams can also say: it finished the year undefeated with a perfect 17-0 record. After beating both powerhouses, Danbury and Staples, in the same meet, this team earned a deserving spot as Overtime Team of the Week. This has been the first time in many years that the Blue Waves have beaten the Hatter. After losing four strong varsity senior members from last year, this team has a lot of depth to make up. However, this year’s team looks to make a statement again at its first meet. With the burden of living up to last year’s team, the Boys XC competed in its first meet of the season on September 11, 2012 at Ridgefield School, against Ridgefield, Warde, and Stamford. The Blue Wave did not fall short from expectation. They won this triple header Darien 19 - Ridgefield 42, Darien 18 - Warde 44, and Darien 15 - Stamford 50. The way the scoring works in Cross Country is that the team with the lower total rank wins. “We had an extraordinary performance for the first meet. Ridgefield is definitely a tough opponent in our league, but we finished with the win. It’s nice to start off the season on the right foot [no pun intended]” senior captain Sean Lee said. Darien has shown in this meet that they can still be strong even without their four captains from last year. Sophomore Alex Ostberg placed first in the race yesterday with a 16:40.3 for 3.1 miles. This equates to a 5:22 pace per mile. Ostberg was shortly followed by junior captain Marshall Huffman who finished in third, junior Colten Appleby, fifth, junior captain Peter Kreuch, sixth, junior captain Brian Davey, seventh, and junior Ben Olsen who finished in ninth place. Coach Tyson Kaczmarek who has been leading this historic team for 10 strong seasons is very hopeful for this season. He looks at this meet as one that will set a tone for future meets to come for this season. “This was a good start for us. There were a lot of positives with today's race. Ridgefield is a good team and they have a tough course to run on. I think we did very well considering everything” Coach Kaczmerek said. It is no doubt that he is more than capable of leading this team to another successful season. When asked what he planned to do to ensure a great season, he answered “We have to keep training hard and get better every day. I think if we do this we can have a very successful season.” This team has a great season to look forward to as it tries to live up to last year’s outstanding performance. Come to Taft Field at Fairfield Ludlowe on Tuesday, September 18th to cheer on the Boys Cross Country team.

Pictured Above: Sophomore Alex Ostberg seeks to attain the lead from Ridgefield as he completes the race with an impressive first place finish.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blue Wave JV Field Hockey Prevails

By Marielle Ravosa

The Blue Wave Girls JV Field Hockey Team tied Greenwich Academy 2-2 at Greenwich Academy’s stadium turf this past Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. (9/5).
The game went very well despite the hot temperature and the girls played aggressively. Sophomore Lee Thalhamer scored one goal in the first half, followed by a goal from sophomore Anabel Brown. Sophomores Morgan Spar and Pheobe Luongo both had an excellent game in goal and stopped many challenging shots. Overall, it was a game that the JV field hockey team is sure to look back on and be proud of!

Come cheer on the team at its next game this Wednesday, September 12th at 5:30 p.m. at New Canaan.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What Your Favorite Player Owes You

by Matt Brown, Neirad Sports Editor 

In the world of professional sports, which has been enhanced and forever changed by our modern age of social media, a handcuffing question has been raised by many: is it a professional athlete’s obligation to his or her fans to be a role model?
Answers to the question are diverse, and perhaps the most interesting of answers come from athletes themselves. In an ad campaign, former NBA All Star Charles Barkley (pictured above) stared into a camera and said, “I am not paid to be a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court.”
But professional athletes are often not just simply role models to kids. To many they are gods, immortals sitting upon a Mount Olympus comprised of their salaries, so great that anything but extraordinary is disappointing. The world of sports is filled with comparisons. Endless towers of statistics are used to measure and analyze every facet of every player’s game, all dwindling down to the decision of who is the best. Second best means nothing to any fan or history book. The fear of being second best and desire to be the best will forever spawn a particular group of people: cheaters.
Baseball is a game particularly ruled by statistics and comparisons; however, it is also particularly plagued by Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s). Recently, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for banned substance use. Pitcher Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics was dealt the same punishment for a similar offense. Both players, although at different times, were once New York Yankees. In 2009 the Yankees current 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids when he was a member of the Texas Rangers. Former All Star Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte admitted to using Human Growth Hormone (HGH), and when his fellow All Star Yankee hurler Roger Clemens told Congress he never used PED’s, the Feds launched a perjury investigation. Famous sluggers Sammie Sosa of the Cubs and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants both were accused of using steroids in their hunts for jacking homers.
When you look at each case, they are all unique. Roger Clemens, although never proven guilty, seemed to have used the drugs simply to gain and maintain a competitive edge, or simply to cheat. His friend Andy Pettitte, claims he was introduced to the drug by Clemens when he was hurt, and the chance to heal twice as fast and return to the mound perhaps clogged Pettitte’s judgment skills.
Alex Rodriguez is an enigma in many ways, but juvenilely simple in others. While the rest of the world looked at his potential  $275 million dollar contracts as a Powerball winning, he looked at it as putting 275 million bricks of expectations on his back, expectations that he didn’t believe he could reach without PED’s.
Cabrera and Colon, both saw their careers quickly declining and turned to the banned substances as a way of sustaining their place as relevant in the baseball world. The drugs could not save Colon, but rejuvenated Cabrera to an astounding .342 batting average only to be cut off by his suspension.
To say that illegal or banned substance use is just rampant in baseball is na├»ve. The exponential growth of player size in the NFL is far too rapid to consider it simply evolution. And NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum (along with golfer Tiger Woods) traveling to Germany to receive “platelet rich plasma therapy” could raise an eyebrow or two because two seconds of Googling proved that they skipped over domestic clinics that offer the therapy in New York City, Kansas City, and Florida.
               In every sport, fans expect to see a level of excellence. If something has been done before, we do not want to see it twice, we want to see it topped. We do not want to see players aging and declining, we want to see them maintaining and improving. The pressure on players is not to be good, but to be better than anyone has ever been. Pressure mounts as dollar signs next to player names mount as well, which perhaps explains the link between the New York Yankees, who boast the highest payroll in sports, and the teams laundry list of alleged steroid users.
               Most recently, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped Lance Armstrong of his Tour De France victories. His seven victories, all of which came consecutively, after surviving testicular cancer. In his sport of road cycling, performance enhancing drugs are almost as common as the bikes the athletes ride on. Armstrong simply gave sports fans what they desperately desire: persistence, heart, hard work, and triumph on a level that they had never seen. The man used his platform as an athlete to raise millions of dollars for cancer research through his Livestrong campaign, deeming him in my book, doping and all, a darn good person.
               I propose, that perhaps on just special occasions, that instead of assassinating the character of the next alleged cheaters, that you put society as a whole into question. For in a world where we constantly raise the bar on what we expect our professional athletes should be able to do, is it not hypocritical to despise the athletes that utilized ways to raise the bar of what they physically could do? Maybe your favorite player owes it to you not to cheat, but maybe they owe it to you to push themselves as far as any human can go. At the very least, the next time a cheater falls to the depths of the Hall of Shame, remember, they did it for you.