Monday, June 17, 2013

Sporting Events to Look For This Summer

By Stephen Barston           

Although the Darien High School sports seasons may be over, there are plenty of sports events taking place this summer that demand attention. Here are a select few that seem to be the most intriguing of all.

1.     Stanley Cup Finals- Even though this is technically already underway, the intensity of the Stanley Cup is too great to ignore. It seems like every game goes to overtime and the action always comes down to the wire. The Bruins and Blackhawks will inevitably send this series to six or seven games, and that right there is impossible to not appreciate.

2.     Confederations Cup- To get the whole lowdown of the Confederations Cup, check out my other article. To put it succinctly, eight of soccer’s best nations come together in Brazil exactly one year before the World Cup and battle it out. You will be amazed to see the skill that some of these players have; just ask Brazilian superstar Neymar.

3.     MLB All-Star Game- Arguably the best all-star game out of the four major sports leagues, this showdown brings together the best players in The Bigs for one great matchup to determine playoff home-field advantage. The National League has ended its streak of 13 straight seasons without a victory and has won the past three years. To see if this trend continues, tune in on July 16th, or head on over to nearby Citi Field (home of the Mets) to check it out.

4.     MLS All-Star Game- A game that doesn’t get as much credit as it should, the MLS All-Star Game has been increasingly entertaining over the past couple of years, and this summer, as the MLS superstars take on perennial Italian powerhouse AS Roma, we can finally see if the oft-discussed strides that the league has supposedly taken are true.

5.     2013 Open Championship- The oldest of the four major championships in professional golf takes place in Scotland this summer at Muirfield Gold Links. After a poor performance at the US Open, everyone will be watching to see if Tiger Woods can finally win his 15th major and begin to track down Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18.

      Caption: The MLS All-Star Game is one of many exciting sporting events to watch for this summer

The Confederations Cup: Counting Down One Year to Brazil 2014

By Stephen Barston

          Although the prominence of domestic soccer has begun to improve within the United States during the last decade or so, the American view of soccer has always been one of indifference. However, such strides have been made (both to the United States national team and to the overall state of international soccer) that the sport should no longer be ignored in this nation. One more reason to watch and appreciate this great game: the Confederations Cup.
            The Confederations Cup is an officially sanctioned tournament held by FIFA every four years, taking place the year before the World Cup in the host country. This year’s tournament takes place in Brazil, and the quality of play is incredible. Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Nigeria, Japan, Tahiti, Spain, and Italy are representing their prospective regions during this year’s action.

            International soccer has made significant steps in recent years, and competition has become so enticing that it is almost disappointing that Americans still fail to see the entertainment in such a sport. Neymar’s goal against Japan on Saturday, in the first action in the Confederations Cup, simply displays the level of competition that has become the norm for world soccer. As we continue to witness such incredible play, we also can count down until the real show begins: World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Wondering whether or not there will be the same excitement as the World Cup four years ago in South Africa is not even necessary; undoubtedly, there will be. We will see another last-minute finish like Landon Donovan’s heroics against Algeria, we will see impressive goals like Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s against Uruguay, and we will see the all-around skill and technique that comes with the sport being played at such a level, just in different circumstances. As we watch the Confederations Cup, as we admire the skill of Brazil, as we revel in the glory that is the Spanish style of play, and as we surely pull for the inevitable underdogs, Tahiti, we can only imagine the exhilaration that is certain to come next summer in Brazil for the World Cup. This excitement is what soccer is all about, and while I only came to see this recently, and I would never consider myself to have true soccer knowledge, many more Americans need to come to this realization, especially as their home team begins to improve every moment as we speak. Soccer may have a bad reputation in the United States, but for those that appreciate the game, it is truly something special.

Caption: American soccer, led by Landon Donovan, has taken great strides in recent years

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blue Wave Girls Track and Field Names Next Year’s Captains

By Emily Caccam

The Blue Wave Girls Track and Field team named its captains for the 2014 school year at their banquet on Sunday (6/9). Seniors Ali McGarey, Grace Loh, Sophie Long, Taylor McDonald, and Lizzie Heaney will be succeeded by Leah Hotchkiss, Catherine Lacey, Alex Ford, Taylor McDonald (again), and Cassidy Stauffer.

“I’m really excited about the captains for next year,” senior Sarah Colon, a Cross Country Captain, said. “They’re going to do great.”

This season, the Girls Track and Field team came in second at the State Championship and sent four girls to State Opens.

“We hope for another successful year,” Ford said. “We are losing a lot of people, but we have a good freshman class that will be sophomores next year.”

Neirad wishes the captains the best of luck next year.

Pictured: Lacey, one of  next year's captains, in action

Blue Wave Boys Tennis Names Next Year’s Captains

By Emily Caccam

The Blue Wave Boys Tennis team named its captains for the 2014 school year at their banquet on Thursday (6/6).  Seniors Nick Howe, Dom Hansford, Ryo Usami will be succeeded by current juniors Tyler Hatfield, James Teschner, and Brad D’Alelio.

“There was a lot of young talent and we created a lot of team chemistry,” Howe said. “I hope that chemistry resonates and the captains keep it up next year.”

Neirad wishes the captains the best of luck next year.

Pictured: James Teschner is one of the captains for next year.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jonathan Gill is Back in the Game

Gill Picks up the Squash Racket after a Six Month Break
by Katrina Vassell 
Senior Jonathan Gill makes a return after a six month break from

squash.  After playing the sport for years, he took time off to renew
his interest and passion for the sport. Senior Jonathan Gill began
playing squash when he was six years old, inspired by his father’s
past success as a squash player. Four years after he first picked up
the racket, Gill began competing in tournaments across the nation. His
passion for the sport also led him to share his skills with others as
a squash camp counselor and coach. The highlight of Gill’s career so
far was during his junior year when he represented the US against
Canada in Ontario. Gill and his team beat the Canadian team 3-2 in the
under 17 division. While the highlight of his squash career was only
last year, Gill was successful as a sophomore and made the quarter
finals and won three of the Junior Champ Tournaments, finishing second
place in the nation. Besides his national and international games,
Gill has fond memories of playing squash at nearby colleges such as
Princeton. “My best memory was reaching the semifinals of a big
tournament at Princeton two years ago when I beat the number one kid
in the US,” said Gill.  Although Gill says the highlight of his career
occurred during his junior year, his record shows promise for a strong
future in squash at Columbia University this fall.

Caption: Gill is still on break from the courts, but plans to make a
quick return