Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tennis Tryouts Kick off the New Season

By Elizabeth Moore
Monday, March 18, 2013 the Girls Varsity tennis tryouts started at the DHS tennis courts and will continue on throughout the week until the coach can make a decision about who will make the team based off of their skill, effort, and attitude.
Each day the girls will play a match to 7 while being evaluated from the side. If the coach likes what he sees, and thinks that she is a good addition to the team, he will ask her to come back the following day to reevaluate and see how she does the following day against a new opponent. There is a lot of pressure on the girls, since there are limited spots due to the desire to be on the team, but each girl will try her best and hopefully have a good time while playing tennis.
Although this is a stressful time for the girls trying out, it is a great experience to meet new people that could potentially make up the future Varsity Tennis Team. Moreover, the girls who don’t wish to try out for Varsity will be trying out for Junior Varsity next Monday. Both teams will be very excited to start the season off, and if you are trying out for the team-good luck!

Baseball tryouts-New faces to shine

By Ahmed Mustafa
Even though it’s still cold outside, spring is slowly coming, and that means Darien high School is ready for another exciting year of baseball! On March 21, and 22, tryouts finally arrived and this season 12 seniors made the varsity team, including neirads very own, Matt Brown. Varsity pitcher Senior Matt Morr wasn’t surprised by the results he saw.
“I wasn’t very shocked; everyone had a great tryout and everyone that deserved to make it, made it. I’m pumped for this season we have 12 seniors on the team, and everybody seems ready  to get going. There aren’t extremely high expectations, but I believe we’re going to surprise a lot of people”:-Morr Said
Even though this team seems to be talented, expectations are indeed low, considering that only 2 players from last year on varsity will be returning this year, Seniors Mackenzie Glavin, and Andrew Maley.  If everyone plays up to their capability and stay healthy, look for the DHS baseball team to improve from last year’s 8-12 record, and make a run at States and FCIACS.

It’s Spring?: Spring sports taking a frigid hit.

 By Lauren Pryor

The Darien High School spring sports teams started up in the third week of March to frigid temperatures. DHS athletes have been feeling low 30 to high 20 degree windy-rainy and even snowy weather throughout the past week.

Little relief has been given to bundled-up DHS athletes. Senior captain Brittany Osborn says the softball team is dealing well with the adversity, “The weather has been tough but we have absolutely been practicing. The girls have done an amazing job by sucking it up and focusing on practice.” With a busy schedule ahead Osborn says the team doesn’t have time to focus on the weather.

Senior Nick Howe says the weather had created some difficulty during tennis tryouts, “It was tough conditions and it was hard to judge players' ability in the cold and the wind”. Nonetheless, the team had to get prepared for their first match against Greenwich.

The baseball team, lacrosse teams, golf and track teams have also been battling the brutal weather for the past week. All teams, demanding excellence from this season, see the weather as an annoyance but nothing standing in their way of hopes for the season. Thankfully, the forecast is looking up, with temperatures in the high 40s and 50s for next week.

Profile: Catherine Lacy

by Barbara Bell

As the spring sports season begins, it’s important to honor the athletes that made the winter season so spectacular. Darien Girl’s Track, who won the Triple Crown, wouldn’t be the same without their star in field events.  Junior Catherine Lacy finished up a remarkable season at New Balance Nationals on March 9th at the Armory in New York City. She and teammates Anna Sulger, Dillon Schoen, and Maddie Schneider ran as part of the 4X200 relay team with a time of 1.44.33 seconds.

But that relay is hardly the only highlight of Catherine’s season. Aside from being a sprinter, Catherine is a jumper, and she’s not just a jumper, but she’s both a high jumper and a long jumper. Her long jumping skills won her first place at New Englands, where she soared an amazing 18-7.5, even topping her previous record of 18-4.5, which she set at FCIACS on January 31st. Lacy also jumped 5 feet in the high jump in that same meet.
This season, Catherine has decimated the competition, whether it be on the track or in the air. And thankfully, people have noticed. She was nominated as Dave Ruden’s “Overtime Athlete of the Week” and was elected as a captain for next year.

Make sure to check out Catherine all season in Outdoor Track. Darien’s first meet is April 3rd.

The Top 5 Most Momentum Swinging Plays in Sports

By Matt Brown
March welcomes a time for all sports fans to watch a multitude of basketball games won and lost by, essentially, the team with the most momentum in that given moment in time. That let me to thinking about the most momentum swinging plays in the sports world. Here is my top five.

5. The First Goal (Soccer and Hockey)
This is pretty self-explanatory. Scoring one goal, whether it be in soccer or hockey, gives everybody the confidence that they can score another one. And it makes the other team feel just a little bit more mortal than they did when it was 0-0.
4. The Solo Home Run (Baseball)
When a team is down in a Baseball game, Nothing says “I put the team on my back” like cranking a solo shot to left center to bring in run all on your lonesome. This will get the dugout clapping a little bit, and maybe all of the bats in the dugout heated up a little bit.
3. The Poster Dunk (NBA)
While in the regular season many argue that NBA players barely look at the scoreboard, posterizing dunks are momentum swingers. For those not familiar with the term posterization: It is the act of dunking over somebody so that when somebody goes to make a poster of the dunker, the victim defender is also featured on said poster. And any look at an NBA bench while a posterization takes place will tell anybody that it changes the momentum of the game.
2. The Penalty (Football, Soccer, Hockey)
This is sort of a no brainer. In Soccer and Hockey, literally because of penalties the other team has to play with one less player than you have to. Nothing swings momentum like having one more player than the other team. In Football, nothing kills momentum and gives to the other team like moving backward 15 yards over hitting the Quarterback in the face accidently.
1. The 3 Pointer (NCAA)
I recognize that this is very debatable but I will forever stand by it. College three bombs drastically change the momentum of a game with one swish of a basket. This is true in the NCAA tournament, but more so at regular season games. When a home team nails a three, the place explodes, and for that moment, its like the team on the floor just won the National Championship itself. When an away team hits a three, silence floats over the crowd like they are at a Broadway play. Nothing changes the mood, and momentum, in sports like the three pointer in college. Don’t believe me? Just watch.

DHS Muggle Quidditch prepares for its Spring Season

By Will Steinthal

           In these upcoming weeks, you may start noticing a group of Harry Potter enthusiasts participating in a strange game in the courtyard. Well don’t worry, it’s just the DHS Muggle Quidditch team playing a scrimmage or honing their skills through drills.
             After Mr. Sean Otterspoor’s departure last year, Ms. Lindsay Launer has taken over as the teacher advisor. However, the club is primarily run by the two captains, junior Lila Seeman and senior Caroline Golino.
            Muggle Quidditch is slightly different than the Quidditch you read/watch in Harry Potter. For starters, all of the players are Muggles (people without magical powers), so the game must be altered to adjust for this.
In Muggle Quidditch, there are four different positions. Chasers must pass around a Quaffle (similar in size to a volleyball), and attempt to throw it through one of three golden hoops on the opponent’s end. Beaters wield bludgers (dodgeballs), which they use to hit other chasers. A chaser hit by a bludger must take a lap around the field before returning to play. Keepers stand in front of the hoops and guard them, similar to a goalie. Lastly, the seeker must catch the snitch (another player in a gold leotard), and grab his/her flag. The seekers are also limited in ways they can manhandle the snitch, but the rest of the players have no limits, and the game is full-contact.
            We’re not the only team playing Quidditch, many schools near Darien play Quidditch, and there are even some tournaments our team wants to attend.
            “If Briarcliff hosts the World Cup again we’ll go, but we hope to play some of the surrounding schools in games” Golino commented.
Each team has seven players, three chasers, two beaters, a keeper, and a snitch, but the DHS team has had to cut back due to a lack of players.
            “Everyone should join” Seeman said, “it’s a great group of students and can be really fun if we get a full game.

Wave Lax Beats Salisbury

Sam Meyjes

The Darien Boys Lacrosse team beat Salisbury prep school 6-2 in an unofficial 5-quarter scrimmage on Wednesday.
The team, still working out kinks that formed with the loss of its top two midfielders, Senior Captain Brendan Hathaway, out with a broken ankle suffered in the hockey season, and Junior Kyle Cornell, whose hand was broken in a practice earlier in the season. However, the entire team came out firing against the Salisbury Knights, and won 6-2 in the first 2 quarters, while both teams were still playing their starters. Senior Captain Sean Foley, a midfielder, scored first with a ricochet off the goalies back, followed quickly by goals from junior Harry Gillespie, senior captain Kevin Seiler, and a quite stylish hat-trick from junior Peter Lindley.
Strong rides by the offense complimented a very strong defensive showing by juniors Kyle Gifford and Christian Cochran, and senior Drew Martzolf, as well as the defensive midfielders, junior Brad McCarthy and senior captains CJ Raia and Peter Gesualdi. Junior Phil Huffard was strong in goal, allowing only two goals.
Sophomore Andrew Puglese was a crucial part of the win, winning the vast majority of face offs, and midfielders Harry Gillespie, Sean Foley, and Owen Koorbusch were all over the field, rounding out a well-executed first half.
After two quarters, veteran coach Jeff Brameier began to filter in second-liners. These players also showed strong performances against the Salisbury starters. Though the score of the game is only counted in the first two quarters, when each team primarily plays its starters, the last three quarters were also dominated by Darien, as players all the way across the roster contributed. Freshmen Mark Evanchick, Hudson Hamill, Colin Minicus, and Jack Kniffin all got a considerable amount of playing time, which they excelled in, beating the Knights in both the offensive and defensive zones. This bears good news not only for this season, but for many seasons to come.
Overall, the showing by the team was impressive. Though only a scrimmage, the team showed intensity, and a drive to win, good coordination and teamwork, and in the end, beat a very talented Salisbury team. The team is looking forward to a good season, and hopefully a successful post-season.

Athlete Spotlight: Arthur Cassidy

Sophomore Arthur Cassidy has been running since he started cross country his freshman year. In the fall of freshman year Arthur decided to try cross country. I thought I would be good at it and I didn’t play a fall sport. Also, my mom ran in college.”

"I find it rewarding to get good exercise and compete at the same time" Cassidy said.

Earlier in the year Arthur ran for the DHS Boys Cross country team. Arthur placed 5th for the team in the Class L states and Darien took first for the whole competition.

This winter Arthur decided to take a short break from track during the indoor track season, but he stayed in shape by skiing. Now Arthur is excited for a successful outdoor track season. This year Arthur is planning on running the 1 mile and 2 mile races. Arthur’s goal is to run his mile in 4:45. His personal record right now is 4:56.

Make sure to check back on the sports blog to read about Arthur and the rest of the Boys Outdoor Track team this season. The team’s next home competition is on April 4th against Harding and Staples at 4:00.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Athlete Profile: Brendan Donohue

By Zachary Basu

The spring sports season at Darien High School often brings with it stories upon stories of lacrosse players, both girls and boys alike, performing to recruitment-worthy levels. Hordes of college coaches are the norm at varsity games, but what some student spectators may not realize is that lacrosse is not the only path to the world of NCAA sports. Brendan Donohue, a junior member of the varsity baseball team, is one such athlete that hopes to continue playing the game he loves at the next level.

Donohue, a Hawaiian-born Texas native, began playing baseball at the age of six, as it essentially was and still is an obligatory spring activity for most young Texans. Upon moving to Darien in 7th grade, it was easy to see that his experiences down South gave him a clear-cut advantage against competitors. Donohue continued to play throughout middle school and high school, and last season become one of the few sophomores to make and eventually start on varsity. After taking over at second base for senior captain Mike Stovall midway through the 2012 season, Donohue finally realized that his goal of playing college ball was not such a pipe dream. That being said, however, he also realized that he still had a lot to work on.

Inspired by a not-so-unachievable dream, Donohue’s work ethic during the 2012-2013 offseason was unparalleled. In addition to playing in various wood-bat leagues, Donohue worked with coaches and a personal trainer to ensure that his success and improvement could be maximized. There isn’t much doubt that his hard work paid off, as Donohue is now one of the few bright spots on a chronically struggling Blue Wave baseball team.

Neirad wishes Donohue all the best as he continues to strive toward achieving his ultimate dreaming of playing college baseball.

Pictured: Donohue playing second base for DHS' Varsity baseball team.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sweet 16 Predictions

By Stephen Barston

Madness: the one word to describe what’s happened so far in the NCAA Tournament. The lower seeds have dominated thus far, with underdogs like #12 Oregon, #13 LaSalle, and #15 FGCU finding their way into the Sweet 16. But what I’m loving most right now is that there is still more madness to come. Here are my predictions and players to watch in the Sweet 16 matchups:

#3 Marquette vs. #2 Miami (3/28)- The Golden Eagles find themselves as one of the last 16 remaining teams after two close wins during the past week, sneaking out victories over Davidson and Butler by a combined 3 points. Vander Blue has carried the rest of his team, but turnovers have seriously hurt Marquette thus far. I see Miami’s athleticism and versatility posing a real mismatch for the Golden Eagles. Look out for Kenny Kadji to dominate the less mobile Marquette big men, while Shane Larkin continues his hot streak.
Verdict: Miami

#1 Indiana vs. #4 Syracuse (3/28)- Both of these teams won close games in the round of 32, but one squad definitely impressed me more. While Syracuse let their double-digit lead slowly wither with missed free throws and ugly turnovers, Indiana showed confidence and found a way to sneak by Temple. Look for this Hoosier poise to shine through again on Thursday when the two teams go head-to-head, and while Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller might not put up huge numbers, stingy defense and depth will help Indiana pull out the victory.
Verdict: Indiana

#6 Arizona vs. #2 Ohio State (3/28)- Arizona has shot the lights out so far in the tournament, knocking down 56 out of 100 of their shots and hitting 18 three pointers in two games. Iowa State’s ability to hit the three allowed them to stick around in their game against the Buckeyes. Look for the Wildcats to make the most of their size advantage down low, but to find shots on the perimeter when they need to. If Arizona can take Deshaun Thomas out of his groove and control the Buckeyes’ supporting cast, they will move on to the Elite Eight in exciting fashion.
Verdict: Arizona

#9 Wichita State vs. #13 LaSalle (3/28)- LaSalle is at an extreme disadvantage in terms of height in this game, as well as having to deal with impressive three point shooting from the Shockers. Ramon Galloway has led the way so far for the Explorers, knocking down shot after shot. It will be difficult for him to continue such a torrid shooting streak and for LaSalle as a whole to stop the physicality and (as of late) perimeter shooting of Wichita State, who even outmuscled a strong Gonzaga team including Wooden Award finalist Kelly Olynyk, a high-caliber big man that LaSalle unfortunately lacks. THIS will undoubtedly pose a problem for the Explorers and gives Wichita State an edge.
Verdict: Wichita State

#1 Louisville vs. #12 Oregon (3/29)- Louisville’s Peyton Siva and Russ Smith are pesky guards—there is no way around that. Louisville flaunts the second-highest forced turnover percentage in the nation, and with Oregon turning the ball over so much recently (18 turnovers in each of their first two games), the Ducks’ guards should be wary. Not undermining the way Oregon has been playing in the first two rounds, especially for a 12 seed, but the way Louisville is playing, with such confidence and poise, I don’t see the Cardinals falling any time soon.
Verdict: Louisville

#2 Duke vs. #3 Michigan State (3/29)- The depth of these two teams is incredible. Both squads are led by a combination of experienced veterans and sensational youngsters (like Gary Harris for MSU and Rasheed Sulaimon for Duke), but I see the poise and versatility of Duke’s big men, like the strong, sharp-shooting forward Ryan Kelly, leading the Blue Devils to a close win over the Spartans—it might just be the closest game of the week overall, and the matchup that I would most suggest to watch, because it’s going to be a tight one throughout.
Verdict: Duke

#1 Kansas vs. #4 Michigan (3/29)- Trey Burke is one of the best players in the nation right now, and seems to be a truly great NBA talent. His versatility and ability to drive and dish will be difficult to contain for the Jayhawks, and although Jeff Withey (an intimidating interior force for Kansas who can block and contest shots with ease) will hold down the post, Mitch McGary and his never-ending hustle on both ends of the ball for the Wolverines will be the X-factor in this game. Look for McGary to dominate the game on both offense and defense and continue to impress college basketball fans everywhere as Michigan advances again.
Verdict: Michigan

#3 Florida vs. #15 Florida Gulf Coast (3/29)- This is the matchup you’re probably looking forward to the most. “Dunk City” continues its magical run as they travel to Cowboys Stadium to take on the Gators. The alley-oop-loving FGCU Eagles may have met their match in terms of athleticism, and may even be at a size disadvantage, but how can anyone who has a heart pick the Gators here? Even if the Gators pound the interior with Patric Young and Will Yeguete, the Eagles will play with the same looseness that they have in the past couple of games and will continue to feed off of Head Coach Andy Enfield’s coaching style. They will excite us all and they will shock the world yet again.
Verdict: Florida Gulf Coast

Photo Caption: FGCU may have come into the tournament as an unknown, but all college basketball fans know about the Eagles and their high-flying, energetic style of play now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Athlete Profile: Lacrosse Star, Mariah Matheis

By Kyra Hammer

Lacrosse is one of the many popular sports at Darien High School. As you may all know, girls lacrosse is starting up again and experienced player, sophomore Mariah Matheis, amongst many others, couldn’t be more eager to get back on the field. Matheis’ talents were noticed early on by many colleges and she recently accepted an offer from Georgetown University. So the BWSB asked Matheis some questions about the game and how she first got started.

Blue Wave Sports Blog: When did you start playing lacrosse?

Mariah Matheis: I started playing in 2nd grade. I played house lacrosse and went to clinics at the Academy of Sports.

BWSB: Why do you like it?

Matheis: I just really love the speed of the game and how it’s a team sport. I also love high-scoring sports because it makes the games so much more exciting!

BWSB: What position do you play?

Matheis: I played midfield up until 8th grade, and then I switched to attack.

BWSB: What teams have you been on?

Matheis: From 3rd grade to 6th grade I played on house teams, and I loved playing with so many different people and being on different teams. Throughout middle school I was on the A travel teams, and for my freshman year I was on JV and got brought up to Varsity for post season. Over the summer, I play for the Connecticut Chargers which is so much fun because I get to play on a team with all of my friends from Darien as well as friends from other towns.

BWSB: How much training do you do?

Matheis: In the winter, I train with the lacrosse team at Body Tuning, and I also go to Bluestreak to work on speed and footwork. I also love going over to the high school to shoot around or do some wall ball.

BWSB: Is there anything negative about lacrosse?

Matheis: I wouldn’t say there is anything negative about lacrosse, but there are definitely challenges you have to face with everything in life. Personally, a challenge that I have had to face is my size. Luckily, lacrosse is a sport where if you are quick enough and have strong stick skills, size doesn’t matter.

BWSB: Traveling?

Matheis: Yes, there is definitely a lot of traveling! Over the summer I have tournaments all over New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, and last summer we had a tournament in Virginia. I have also gone to many camps that require long hours in a car or plane rides. During the recruiting process I think I traveled more in 3 months than I have in the past 3 years. Between camps and visits it really is a lot of traveling but it is truly worth it and I have valued every second of it. It’s crazy but I couldn’t picture it any other way!

BWSB: Why did you decide on Georgetown?

Matheis: After spending a ton of time between visiting different schools and getting to know coaches and players, I felt a really strong connection with all aspects of Georgetown. I really love the team, the coaches, and the spirit of the school. It was really important to me to find a place where I could get a great education on top of playing great lacrosse, and I think Georgetown fits that mold perfectly. Also, it’s located right in DC and has a great town basically right on campus, and I love being in places where there is a lot going on with a lot of different things to do. I am extremely excited and comfortable with my decision.

BWSB: What was the process like?

Matheis: The recruiting process was so much fun and very exciting. It was an honor to meet so many different coaches and players, and to visit all of the schools and see what they are all about. By visiting different schools, it gave me a much clearer understanding of what I wanted in a school and what was important to me. I also loved meeting new people at all of the recruiting camps and clinics; it was such a cool way to make friends from other parts of the country. Having a coach like Lisa Lindley who is so connected with college coaches and easy to communicate with made the process much less stressful than it could have been – she was extremely helpful throughout the whole process.

BWSB: Does this decision put any extra pressure on you?

Matheis: I wouldn’t say that my commitment puts any extra pressure on me, but it absolutely motivates me to keep working hard to maintain good grades and to keep improving as a lacrosse player. I am really looking forward to my next few years of high school and am going to continue to keep pushing myself both in the classroom and on the field so that when I get to Georgetown, I am fully prepared academically and athletically.

Check out the athletics page on the DHS website for the dates of all the lacrosse games to come.

Photo Caption: Matheis, far left, cheers with her teammates
Photo Credit: Stamford Advocate 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Madness Bracketology

By Graham Helgans 

Let the madness begin! It’s time to get your pencil (not a pen) out to start marking away at your brackets, a sheet that will be edited and looked at more than any term paper ever created. With March Madness impending, Bracketologists, as they are called, are treated like royalty making bold predictions that may, but probably will not, win you your friendly, or not so friendly, competition. This task can be very stressful; upsets are bound to happen, but they aren’t random as one may think. It’s tempting to go out on a limb and have #1 Gonzaga lose to #16 Southern University in the first round, however, never in the history of the NCAA tournament has a #1 seed lost to a #16 seed.  Here are some tips for this year’s bracket that will hopefully give you a better chance of cutting down the nets at the end of it all.

First off, over the last 22 years a  #12 seed has upended a #5 seed at least once. This year’s #5 and #12 seeds are…

#5 and #12 seeds

#5 Oklahoma State -- #12 Oregon: UPSET ALERT Oregon is one of the grittiest teams in the NCAA tournament and have a good chance of beating Oklahoma State. If Oregon avoids their average of 15 turnovers of a game, they have a great chance of beating Oklahoma State
#5 Wisconsin -- #12 Ole Miss: Wisconsin doesn’t have one dominant player so they rely on a collective effort from the team. This hasn’t been a problem as they have beaten #1 Indiana and #4 Michigan already this year. On the contrary, Ole Miss relies heavily on the 3pt shooting ability of Marshall Henderson. If he doesn’t perform this team is bound to lose.

#5 VCU -- #12 Akron: VCU is an interesting team as they have experience in the tournament. The one difference, in years past they were a high seed Cinderella team. Shaka Smart, one of the most entertaining coaches in college basketball, leads the squad. Akron is a good team with height. With two players above 6 ft 7 they dominate in rebounds and blocked shots.

#5 UNLV -- #12 California: Freshman Anthony Bennett leads this UNLV team and has a potential chance of being a #1 draft pick for the NBA in the future. While this team has struggled for consistency, if they come out firing, they can beat anyone. California doesn’t make many 3s and aren’t known for forcing turnovers but they are a well-rounded team and have a decent chance of derailing UNLV’s championship hopes.

3s, 3s 3s
The 3 pointer can be one of the most crucial parts of a basketball game. Lethal sharpshooters from long range can get hot and decimate other teams. In the past, Cinderella teams that make long runs such as VCU and Davidson can really shoot the ball from beyond the arc. Here are some teams that are deadly from three land…

Michigan: Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Nik Stauskas, all are amazing 3 pt shooters that help Michigan be one of the best three point teams in the nation.

Creighton: Known for shooting the three, they have shot 41% from behind the arc in their past 3 games.

Indiana: While they have one of the best big men in the country in Cody Zeller, they shoot 42% in away games.

Players to watch in the tournament
-Shane Larkin: One of the most exciting players to watch in college basketball, Larkin lead his Miami Hurricanes team to be ACC Regular Season champs and to win the ACC Tournament Champions. Miami with Larkin has a great chance to make the Final Four and even win it all.

-Victor Oladipo: A junior guard out of Indiana, Oladipo, along with his counterpart Cody Zeller , has taken over the Big Ten and now the Hoosiers are a #1 seed in the tournament.

-Trey Burke: An amazing shooter, Burke has been debated as one of the best players in the country. Leading Michigan, they were one of the best teams in the Big Ten behind Indiana. Look for Burke to shoot early and often, looking to win his team a championship.

Hopefully this information will help you complete the perfect bracket. Good luck and have a fun-filled March Madness.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bennett, Hall, and Thacher Named Next Year’s Hockey Captains

By Emily Caccam

Juniors Ellie Bennett, Shannon Hall, and Sage Thacher have been named captains of the 2013-2014 Blue Wave Girls Ice Hockey team.

The girls hockey team this year won the FCIAC Championship, beating rival and nine-time title-holder New Canaan 4-3. The win against the Rams, which beat the Wave in the regular season, was a first for all girls on the team. “Ever year it’s a goal to beat New Canaan, but now that we have beaten them, I never want to stop beating them,” Hall said. “Now that we’re confident enough in ourselves I want to continue to prove ourselves to every team who thinks they can beat us.”

This team-wide confidence that showed at the FCIAC finals has been growing over the years. “Looking forward during my freshman year, I would have never expected to have the realistic goal to win both States and FCIACs,” Thacher said. “Our team has come so far over the years that I have spent at DHS and it is amazing seeing us progress as a whole…Now I am completely confident in my team and I know we have it in us to win both FCIACs and States.”

Both Hall and Thacher attribute much of the team’s success to the power of this year’s underclassmen, which include sophomore Amanda Sload and freshman Georgia Cassidy, one of the top scorers. “I want the underclassman and the rest of the team to know how proud I am of every single one of them…the freshman especially stepped up and filled the places of some great players who graduated the year before,” Thacher said. “It is hard to go from playing recreationally to playing on a team where every single game matters and I really appreciate the effort they put forth…They played their hearts out this year and left everything they had on the ice every single game. The underclassman’s ability to step up and help lead the team to many victories was extremely inspirational and great to see.” Hall agreed, adding, “We wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for their help.”

This confidence is also the force that continues to fuel the team’s dreams for high goals despite the loss in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Championship against Ridgefield.

“Next year we hope to continue to win games and play with as much passion as we did this past season,” Hall said. “Hopefully we’ll make it back to the FCIAC finals and take home another championship!”

And the girls realize what they need to do to get there.

“There are some fundamentals which need be improved such as our breakout and finishing the plays which we work so hard to make,” Thacher said. “Also a big goal is to score a lot more goals than we did this year.” With these improvements, Thacher hopes the team will go all the way in the State Championship and win.

Bennett, Hall, and Thacher will be replacing senior Lily Christensen as she goes off to Miami University of Ohio this fall. “Next year we’re going to have to adjust to losing Lily because even though she was one player she’s really what kept us all going so we’ll have to work on keeping our spirits high and getting pumped before games,” Hall said. “Lily was the leader of the team and it was obvious how much she cared about the sport and the team,” Thacher added.

Neirad wishes Bennett, Hall, Thacher, and the rest of the 2013-2014 Girls Hockey Team all the best in the next season!

Pictured: From left, Shannon Hall, Lily Christensen, and Ellie Bennett holding their plaque from their FCIAC Championship win against New Canaan (photo credits to Darien Athletic Foundation)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Girls Tennis Profile: Jenna Murray

By Cammie Lattimer

The Darien High School Varsity Girls Tennis tryouts began yesterday with Coach Davin GeBauer. The team had a strong season last year under senior Abby Becker, and this year’s captains are hoping for an even better record this spring. Senior captains Jenna Murray and Sarah Alptekin are looking forward to getting the season started.
Murray is the number 1 singles player, and has been on Varsity since her freshman year. “I am really excited  for this upcoming season because I will be playing a bunch of my friends from other schools who I play throughout the year in practice and in tournaments and it’s always fun and good competition to play them during the high school season. Also since this is my senior year, I’m hoping to have it be our team’s best season ever, and to have a better personal record than last year” said Murray. 

She is a year-round tennis player at Intensity Club in Norwalk and is recruited to play at Kenyon College next spring. She has played tennis competitively since she was 12 years old, and is excited to continue the sport for the next 4 years. 

The Girls Tennis Team’s first scrimmage is on April 1st against Weston, with their hardest match against Greenwich on April 3rd. Good luck to Murray and the girls this season!

Photo caption: Captain Jenna Murray looks forward to promising senior season

That Time of Year Again

Happy Monday basketball fans, because this Monday is no ordinary Monday. Yesterday was Selection Sunday, so the brackets are there to be filled in. The action starts (sort of) tomorrow with the play in games. The real action starts on Thursday. Arguably the best day in sports of the year, it holds the round of 64, the round that upsets call home and where Cinderella stories are born. This is also the time of year where people are coordinating with their friend groups and making their bracket groups. But, as promised in the March Neirad Online, this year Neirad and the Blue Wave Sports Blog are offering you the opportunity to enter a competition against the entire school, the chance to really crown a king, or queen. Reasons not to do it: 1. You hate basketball…… Really? 2. You are too lazy……… Really?? 3. You have a terminal illness…… Go out on top bro… Reasons to do it: 1. Its only one extra bracket, you will probably regret not making two anyway. 2. It’s free, no money to buy in at all 3. THERE IS A PRIZE Here is the link to the action, if you don’t have an ESPN account it only takes a second to make one and it is free… beyond that just follow the steps ESPN provides. The group name is Neirad Contest. Title your post as your first and last name, posts with any other title format will be ineligible for the prize.

Team Norway Seizes Victory in Charity Basketball Tournament

By Edward Pankowski
               In a charity basketball game organized by the Youth Asset Team, Team Norway, lead by junior George Phillips, was able to emerge victorious from a competition that included teams from every grade and skill level. The Thursday night game had greater than expected participation from students, seventy of whom attended the game as either players, spectators or officials.
               In the weeks leading up to the event, organizers like Isabelle Perticone and Nicholas Howe advertised the game, encouraging students to form teams with their friends and compete for a free lunch of their choosing, delivered by Darien’s own Student Resource Officer, Mr. James Palmieri. Teams were encouraged to be unique, and they showed it on Thursday night, bringing customized jerseys and team names like “Air Congo” and “ The Precipitators.”

               Nonetheless, all the teams agreed on one thing: they were destined for victory. One player with the “Mad Yatters,” junior Brian Alter, said, “We are going all the way. I want it all.” Another team, “Air Congo,” were also enthusiastic about their chances. “ We’ve got it locked up,” the team said in a pre-game interview.

                Early on, the teams that had athletic talent, including some students who played for the school basketball team, dominated the competition. Teams like “The Kids,” lead by senior Lexi Perticone, and “JCP,” lead by junior Peter Nelson, demonstrated remarkable skill on the court, assisted by the experience that the team members possessed.

               Ultimately, however, the evening’s bracket narrowed, and the championship game came down to the Pladdy Daddies and Team Norway. In an intense competition, in which both sides showed hard work and determination, Team Norway was ultimately able to carry the game and the tournament. In a post-game interview, Team Norway said the victory was the result of a “team effort,” and the victory was “awesome.” When asked about future plans, the team said, “We’re going to have a free lunch!”

               Organizer Nick Howe said the event was a “huge success, where everyone had a good time,” and said that he hoped to improve the tournament for a competition next year. “This year was an experiment,” he said. “Next year, we hope to publicize the tournament more, and hopefully get more teams to participate.” The event raised approximately one hundred dollars for charity, and if this year’s competition was any indication, next year should be an even greater success for the Youth Asset Team.

Photo Caption: The Pladdy Daddies (left) and Team Norway (right) prepare for the championship game in Thursday’s tournament.

Blue Wave Softball is Back and Ready for a Strong Season

By Sarah Cattano

After the loss of five solid seniors, Varsity Softball is ready to work hard to achieve its goals for the season. After the Varsity Softball team lost five key seniors last year, current senior and captain Emma Hamilton is looking optimistic about their upcoming season: “We have a lot of great players returning this season- our pitcher, sophomore Erika Osherow and likely second baseman, junior Julia Domiziano is a power hitter. We also have sophomores Kelly Vodola and Avery Maley, who have speed that is very useful on the bases." Hamilton continued: "Although the team lost five seniors last year, the team still expects to be competitive and expects to win FCIACs and go far into the state tournament. Offensively, our base-running is going to be faster and much more aggressive than it has been in the past. We hope to beat old rivals Westhill, St. Joe's and New Canaan.” As far as the seniors go, Emma believes that they will have a solid final season together. “The seniors this year are: Emma Hamilton, Ali Aparicio, Brittany Osborn, and Emily Moscatello. Emily, Ali, and I have been playing together since we were very young and it's been a great experience. Brittany joined in high school but we all hope to continue to improve and build on the successes of the past few seasons.” Good luck to the girls this season! Photo Caption: The team after their FCIAC win last season!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

DHS Serves Up Some Ultimate Fun

By Katrina Vassell

 This season the Darien's Ultimate Frisbee club is having pushing towards a more rigorous practice schuduel and hopes to become an official DHS team. With 30-40 players on the Spring roster, the sport is growing in popularity among the student body.  Senior captains Andy Mogenson, Burton Palmer, and Patrick Daigle aspire to lead the team to regionals this year by placing as a top team in the state. Although they used to practice three times a week, they are now beginning to practice every day and run miles for conditioning. "We're working really really hard so I think it has the potential to become a DHS sport," senior Kate Bushell said. Not only are the athletes practicing for more hours this year, but they plan on creating a more organized schedule to get ready for the six tournaments they are playing this season. If the team ranks in first or second place when compared to other teams in the state, they will qualify for regionals.
Although two of the best teams in the area or Middletown and Amity, the Frisbee team says that they are not rivals because the sport is focused on teamwork and having fun. "Our team has not been known to count wins and losses, we count fun," Bushell added. To explain Bushell's point, senior Drew Losito described a typical game in which the competing teams ended the match with a game of "Wah". After the game, the teams also serenaded each other by singing the song "Call Me Maybe". Apart from the after game rituals, the opposing teams have a positive attitude towards each other on the field. Honestly is a major element of Ultimate Frisbee because the game does not have a referee. Often times, students will call themselves out for a foul. "It's all about the spirit of the game. Since its self officiated its about being honest and even calling yourself out" Losito said. Led by captain Mr. Joey Stadel, the team hopes to have a successful and fun-filled year.

Caption: Ultimate rivals sharing a laugh

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hockey Season Review

By Cameron Van de Graaf

The Darien Boys Hockey season came to an end last night with a tough 8-0 loss to Notre Dame West Haven. The contest featured a 4 goal first period that Notre Dame captain Greg Zullo later called “the best period of our year.” The two successive periods did not go much better for Darien, as no goals were scored against an impermeable Notre Dame defense. Said Wave captain Dana Wensberg, “It’s simple, we didn’t bring it tonight and they did.” Despite such disappointment, the Wave put up a good effort, and team members can hold their heads high going into the offseason. The Blue Wave ended the season with an 18-4-2 record that included regular season losses to Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame. In regards to postseason play, the team was eliminated by Ridgefield in the semifinals of the FCIAC Championship and by Notre Dame in States. Besides the captains of the team, Dana Wensberg and Brendan Hathaway, star players included seniors Jack Knowlton and goalie Michael Collins. According to Wensberg, the team is primed for success next year with juniors Owen Koorbusch, Tommy Watters, Michael Colon, and Connor Davis, among others, ready to assume leading roles. Summing it all up, Wensberg said, “We got to the Whale, that was our goal from the beginning. This was an amazing year, and I know I speak for the rest of the seniors when I say we’ll miss everyone.” Caption: Faceoff at the recent CIAC semifinal match between Darien and Notre Dame – West Haven

Ski Teams Compete at State Finals

By Ahmed Mustafa On March 11, 2013, it was do or die for the Darien High School boys and girls ski teams at the 2013 state open race. For Darien boys, going 12-10 during the regular season, the team finished 4th place overall in the S conference and qualified for the state open. For Darien, senior Will McCoy finished 34th and Captain junior Peter Del Col finished 35th. Unfortunately for Del Col, while racing he slipped, causing him to fall behind in the race. Del Col was still happy. “My race wasn’t great, but everyone was good. It wasn’t our best but it was fun,” Del Col said. The Blue Wave girls ski team also finished 4th in the S conference for the regular season, going 10-10 in the regular season. At the state open race, out of 90 girls, senior Fay Rizzuto finished 2nd overall. The Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League (the CISL) awarded girls all-state honors to Rizzuto. Del Col was awarded CISL all-state honorable mention.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So Just How DID Girls Indoor Track and Field Get the Triple Crown?

By Holly Gordon

The many of you who know that the Girls Indoor Track and Field won FCIACs, FCIAC east, State Class L’s as well as a first-ever State Open title, are probably wondering just how they came to win ALL three.  Here is a quick play by play of the Girls Indoor Track post-season. 

FCIAC East took place on January 25th at the Wilton track. Darien won 130 points in total, tramping Warde and Wilton who both ended with 66 points. Other schools included St. Joes and New Canaan. 

Next was FCIACs, which took place on January 31st. Similarly in FCIACs, Darien won by a large number of points. Junior Dillon Scheon broke the school record (running the 600 meter in one minute, 36 seconds and 8 miliseconds) and senior Grace Loh won the 1000 meter. Darien also won the 4 by 200 meter as well as the majority of the field events, including high jump, long jump, pole vault, and shotput. 

Next, States came on February 15th. In States, Darien won 126 points, tramping Wilton’s 48 points. Darien then advanced to State Opens, which took place a couple days later on February 19th. Although State Opens was during break due to delays from storms, there were still a fair number of team members able to compete. Darien won the 4 by 200 meter and long jump. All other Darien competitors either got 2nd or 4th place in their event. 

Finally, those who qualified attended New England’s on March 3rd at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Sophomore Catherine Lacy broke the school record for long jump, winning her event. Sophomore Anna Sulgar came in 8th and broke the school record for the 300 meter previously set by Liz Merritt in 1995.

“Overall I’m really impressed with how everyone did and it was exciting to see the team do so well, “ senior Ellen Bauer said.

Congratulations to the Girls Indoor for such a successful season. We look forward to seeing their success next year!

Caption: Girls Indoor Track and Field with the Boys team after their State Opens win! 

Darien Girls Ice Hockey Team Titled as Champs

By Laurel DeLuca DHS Girls Ice Hockey Team wins FCIAC Championship against New Canaan. The Girls Ice Hockey Team took the title as champions after a long hard fight in the FCIAC championship game at Terry Corners Rink in Stamford on Saturday, February 24. Coming into the championship, DHS had only two losses throughout the season. During the first period, New Canaan was in the lead, scoring two goals. Four minutes into the game, New Canaan player shot the puck into the goal for the first shot. Sophomore Allegra Molkenthin playing for Darien made an attempt in the final minutes but was blocked by New Canaan’s goalie. In the last few seconds of the first period, the Rams doubled their score making it 2-0. During the second period, Darien tied the score with two goals, making it 2-2. New Canaan managed to get back into the lead within three minutes of DHS last goal making it 3-2 with 7 minutes left in the second period. With a second left in the second period, sophomore Amanda Sload tied the game, 3-3. Starting in the third period Darien’s goalie Shannon Hall, saved a shot. The Rams made many attempts at goal but were all blocked. Darien got its first lead by freshman Georgia Cassidy scoring off her rebound. Darien managed to keep the lead for the remaing 1:25 and ended the season taking the title of FCIAC Champions of 2013. Freshman Katie Zaro stated, “I think we all played our best and all of our hard work paid off beating our rivals.”

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winter Cheerleading Wrap Up

By Jenn O’Neill

            In the blink of an eye, the winter cheer season has come to a close. This season was a little different than those in the past. There were two different squads, the white team, which was the competition team, and the blue team, which only came to basketball games. The white team consisted of 20 girls, 15 of which were on the mat at competitions.
These girls traveled to three major competitions this season: FCIACs, BEST, and States. At FCIACs the team placed in the top 10 and at BEST they placed top 5. States brought the most challenging competition the team had seen this season but they managed to hold their own and did extremely well. “Overall, I don’t think our winter season could have gone any better. The whole team pushed themselves to their full potential,” said junior Julia Westerman. “We’ve really improved in our stunting and tumbling abilities. We were able to have 7 girls throwing tumbling in the routine.”
When asked what next year had in store, Westerman said, “I’m so exicited to continue on with cheer for my senior year. I can only hope to be as good of a leader as my seniors were this year and I can’t wait to improve even further.”
This group of girls has grown immensely over the past two years in size and in skill level and it will be exciting to see how they continue next season. Congratulations on such a successful winter season, Ladies!

A Reflection on Coach Lauten’s First Season

By Marielle Ravosa
Ms. Katie Lauten, who coached the Darien YMCA's Youth Girls Basketball team for five years, commenced her very first season as the head coach of the Darien High School Girls Basketball team this winter.
Coming into the season, Ms. Lauten already knew many of her players well because she previously coached at the Darien YMCA when they were in middle school.
When the season was first beginning, Ms. Lauten told the Darien Times, "My goal is to help all of them reach their highest potential, and their response has shown that they want to make that effort and be as successful as possible. The chemistry among the team is great, so that gives us a strong jumping off point to work from.”
And the team did indeed have a great season. The girls won 16 out of 20 games, and are currently ranked 32nd the state. The girls are also ranked 2605th nationally—which was a 93 point increase from last season’s rank.
Junior Emily Stein told the Darien Times last year, “(Ms. Lauten) is serious and pushed us hard to make the program better, but also knew how to make it fun.”
Overall, the girls have had an amazing season and Ms. Lauten has improved their game. Make sure to check out the team next season!

Caption: Ms. Lauten talks to the girls during halftime in the gym.

It’s That Time of Year Again! An Ode to March

By Stephen Barston
                  With Selection Sunday drawing ever nearer, the madness of March has started to find its way into all college basketball fans’ hearts. This season has been highly regarded as the year of the upset in the NCAA, each week seemingly providing another highly-ranked team with a loss. Despite the massive amount of uncertainty heading into the tournament, it’s inevitable that tournament time is when we all pretend that we know for sure what’s going to happen. In reality, that’s impossible. How can you even begin to understand the madness?
                  The month of March can mean many things to people all across the world: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, even World Kidney Day (apparently that’s a real thing); but to sports fans, it’s a time when your team is never safe from being sent home unexpectedly, when your season could be cut short before you cut down the nets. As sports purists, we can’t hate this spontaneity. Instead, we have to embrace it. Even if it is your team that winds up falling short, appreciate how hard the other team worked. It was only five years ago when my Georgetown Hoyas were shocked by Davidson in the second round of the tournament. As upset as I was, I admired the poise of Stephen Curry as he knocked down shot after shot. There really is no time to hold a grudge. As soon as you realize that your team is done for, you begin to understand that what just happened is a rarity. The same sense of amazement and elation that the Davidson basketball team and its fans must have felt can’t be matched by any other sport, especially the NBA. The parity in these professional leagues doesn’t allow for upsets, at least not to the same extent as college basketball.
                  As we pass the birthday of the late Jimmy Valvano and the thirtieth anniversary of that legendary North Carolina State victory over Houston in the 1983 championship game, we need to recognize the lessons he taught his players each day.  He preached humility and confidence simultaneously, most notably remarking that “every day, ordinary people do extraordinary things.” We can’t hold it against the NCAA tournament that it produces too many upsets, that it can give David the strength to beat Goliath, that it may send your favorite team packing a little earlier than you expected; as trite as it may sound, there’s always next year. We must come to love these experiences, as they only come around one month of the year.

Photo Caption: Liberty University recently punched their ticket for March Madness, even though they are tied for the most losses (20) ever for a qualifying team.