Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2014 Season Girls Swim Captains Announced

by Sarah Cattano

After a successful season, the Girls Swim and Dive team announced their captains for the fall 2014 season this week. Juniors Mackenzie Coughlin, Maggie Haddad, Maddie Burke and Courtney Ferreira will be leading the team to another victorious season next fall. The girls had an extremely successful season, only losing one dual meet against Greenwich and taking home the Triple Crown (a first-place win in FCIAC’s, States, and State Opens) for the second consecutive season. Mackenzie Coughlin spoke to the Blue Wave Sports Blog saying, “I’m so proud of how hard everyone worked this season and could not be happier with our accomplishments. I am looking forward to keeping our positive work ethic in and out of the pool that this year’s team truly embraced. Despite losing 13 seniors, we will continue to keep our heads held high and race for what we love this season.” Coughlin, Haddad, Burke and Ferreira will surely be great leaders to the team next year. Congratulations to the girls on a great season once again!

The girls at the beginning of the season on their annual Cape May trip.

Nicolai Ostberg Profile

by Caroline McKay

Last year the Boys Swim Team placed 3rd at States with a solid showing at State Opens. Junior Nicolai Ostberg was a key member in his team’s success. Placing 5th in the 100 butterfly at States, Ostberg was one of the four swimmers from the Boys Swim Team to qualify for State Opens individually.

Ostberg’s main events are the 100 butterfly and the 200 freestyle, as well as the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay. “Of the four, the 100 butterfly is my best event,” Ostberg said.

This season, Ostberg hopes to be all-FCAIC and all-State in the 100 butterfly and qualify for State Opens once again. “As a team, we’re hoping to challenge Greenwich at FCAICs and try to win States,” Ostberg said. Best of luck to the Boys Swim Team this upcoming season!

Ostberg racing at a swim meet last season

Girls Indoor Track Team Member Maddie Schneider Working to Have Another Fantastic Season

by Caroline McKay

Track is a favorite sport for many, but for junior Maddie Schneider it is a passion. Schneider excels in a variety of events; her range of skills is rare and quite admirable. Last year, the Girls Indoor Track Team triple crowned, making it Darien’s first time ever winning the state open title. Schneider was a member of the 4x200 meter relay team, with senior Dillon Schoen, senior Catherine Lacy, and junior Anna Sulger, that placed first in New England’s and even competed at Nationals, which Schneider calls “an amazing experience.”

Schneider admits she’s “done a bit of everything, ranging from shot put to the mile”, but mostly for fun. Her main events include pole vault, hurdles, triple jump, and sprinting.

“My favorite event would definitely have to be pole vault. It’s the event I have been able to see the biggest result from the effort put in and I’ve been able to participate in some really cool camps and meets,” Schneider said. Last summer Schneider competed in a beach vault at Seaside Heights in New Jersey.

Schneider is excited to run with the same all-star relay team as last year. She hopes to run and place in New England’s again with the hope of continuing on to Nationals. Schneider’s other goals include jumping 12 feet in the pole vault so she can compete in that event at Nationals as well. From Neirad, all the best to you and the entire track team this upcoming season!

Schneider (left) at the starting line before a race last year.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

XXII Olympic Winter Games

By Ashley Mailhot

This February, the XXII Olympic Winter Games are being held in Sochi, Russia. Unfortunately, half of the games played in this competition are forgotten about. Most people only watch the skiing, skating, ice hockey, and bobsleighing events.

For example, most people have never heard of the luge, which is one of the fastest and most dangerous Olympic sports. It consists of one or two people on a very small sled; they lay face up and feet-first. By applying pressure to the sled, the lugers are able to turn it in any direction. During the Olympics, the sleds can reach up to 87 mph!

Another not-so-typical sport that is held at the Winter Olympics is called the curling event. Curling consists of players sliding stones across a sheet of ice towards a circular target marked on the ice. There are two teams of four players; they take turns sliding the stones toward the target. The objective of the game is for each team to try and get all of its stones as closest to the center of the target as possible. The team with the stones closest to the target wins.

For the upcoming Winter Olympics, make sure to watch these exciting events!

Caption: The USA plays in a curling event in a previous Winter Olympic game.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wave Puck Crashes on Trinity in Fall League Action

by Mike Cassidy

On Wednesday November 20, The Darien High School Boys hockey team took on Trinity Catholic in a fall league game. The game was played at Terry Connors Ice Rink in Stamford and was also the fall league semi-finals. Both teams had a lot on the line as they both knew the winner would get to play next Monday in the championship. While fall league is not actually part of the season, winning games is still a shared goal for every player on every team in the tournament. Despite both teams having made it to the same point, the balance of skill was very uneven. The Darien High School Boys hockey team thrashed Trinity Catholic, winning by a score of 6-2. Goals came early for Darien as they could quickly taste victory. Early goals came from junior Craig Miller (who later scored another) and senior Connor Davis. Junior Jack Pardue also played a great game as he found Miller twice, leaving the game with two assists. Darien also played great defense, and senior goalie Michael Colon and junior goalie Luke Kostrzewski both playing great games in net to cap it all off. “We worked well as a team and we are looking forward to a successful season,” junior Jack Pardue said when asked about the game. Come support Darien as they play in the Fall League Championship tonight versus the New Canaan Rams, at Terry Connors Rink. 

JV Football Team Caps Off Undefeated Season With Win vs. NC

On Saturday, November 23rd, the Darien Boys Junior Varsity football team took on the New Canaan Boys Junior Varsity football team at Darien’s Football Stadium. Kick off was at 10:00am and it was the last game of Darien’s JV season.

Going into this game, the Darien JV football team had an undefeated season. Some of the opposing teams they beat included Wilton, Harding, and North Haven. Not only was this game important for Wave to keep their undefeated season, but also because of the rivalry.

Both teams came out strong in the first quarter and both defenses were holding off the opposing offense. But Darien junior Peter Archey scored and was able to break the Rams' defense and score the first touchdown of the game. The Blue Wave went for the two-point conversion to get further ahead of the Rams and sophomore Bobby Trifone scored.  New Canaan came back strong, and scored later in the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, Darien led 8-6.

The second and third quarter were both scoreless. Junior Peter Grant said "both teams' defenses were solid" holding off any scoring opportunities, "meanwhile the offense for both teams just could not put it in". 

In the fourth quarter, Darien came out stronger than New Canaan. Archey scored again, getting Darien a score of 14.  Darien held off New Canaan until the final buzzer sounded. The final score was 14-6 in favor of Darien.
Go support the Varsity Football team when they face their rivals, the New Canaan Varsity Football team. The game is at 10:30am this Thursday at Dunning Stadium at New Canaan High School.

Come check out the Varsity Football team at the Turkey Bowl this Thursday!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

2014 Boys Cross Country Captains Named

by Caroline McKay

The Darien Boys Cross Country team excelled this season, placing fourth in the New England Championships, the best Darien High School has ever done. Junior runner Alex Ostberg came in second place, and broke a course record while doing so. To continue the success of the program, the boys will continue their dedication under the leadership of the 2014 captains: juniors Alex Ostberg, Brendan Triano, Arthur Cassidy, and sophomore Army Noonan.

“The captains next year are a dedicated group of guys that are passionate about our program. I only expect great things to come from them as leaders,” senior captain Brian Davey said of handing over the torch. The 2014 captains expressed similar feelings of excitement for the upcoming season and for the sport itself.

“Cross country is awesome because of the friends you make. You get to know someone pretty well when you spend hours every week just running side by side. Every group of captains inspires a different character in the team, and I think we have a lot of potential to be a strong team,” Cassidy said.

“We have a lot of fun on this team,” Triano added. “There is never a boring moment when I’m with this group of guys. This team takes running, something most people do not consider to be fun, and turns it into a very entertaining experience.”

“The hype for next season is already incredible,” Noonan said. “We have plenty of young guys putting in solid hours of training and everyone is working hard to contribute to the team. I love to see the enthusiasm and I’m confident that we will be in good shape for next season.” 

On his favorite thing about cross country, Noonan said, “Cross country is great because of the effect it has on friendship and teamwork. By working hard in practice every day and encouraging others to be the best they can be, the team forms stronger bonds of friendship with each practice.”

Ostberg, Darien’s star runner, said, “Cross country is a favorite of mine because it challenges the body and mind in its most extreme ways. It takes a lot of perseverance and dedication to be a cross country athlete. This year we were able to get by on talent, however, next year it’s going to take a lot of guys to step up to remain at the competitive level. We simply cannot rely on talent- hard work will be the only option.” Surely the 2014 Boys Cross Country team will be a success under these four dedicated and enthusiastic captains.

Future captains Arthur Cassidy (2nd from left) and Brendan Triano (4th from left) running in a race earlier this season.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wrestling Preview

by Brad Magnusson

The Wrestling Team is looking forward to a great season starting on December 2. The team returns a good nucleus of upperclassmen led by Senior Captain Colten Appleby and Seniors David Ziga, Tyler Hill and juniors Jonas Von Schmidt and Will Crane. The squad looks to avenge themselves after a disappointing end to last year’s season. Appleby said, “Our main goal is to go .500 for the year, but also we want for every wrestler to get better to put them into a better position to win.”

Look for the Wave to make a splash on the mats this season.

Colten Appleby pinning his man last season

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bobsledding: A Forgotten Olympic Sport

by Michael Cassidy

With the Winter Olympics approaching, people will have the fortune of watching sports that are televised so infrequently that many people only get to watch them once every four years. Despite some of them being very exciting, people forget about the exhilarating thrill that is received from watching such events, and the sport is merely forgotten during the grueling breaks in between Winter Olympics. Then, once again, the Winter Olympics come back and in the months leading up to the games, people are reminded of how entertaining these sports are.

One of these events capable of sparking interest in many people but is then forgotten during the years that come in between each Olympics is bobsledding. Zipping down the steep-sloped-track at a speed around 90 miles per hour, bobsledders are required to have tremendous control over the cart, which contains no steering wheel and faces turns more difficult than most cars have faced. Turning the sled requires help from all four competitors (if it is a four person competition), since it can weigh over one thousand pounds (the sled is limited to 1,388 in most competitions). “Bobsledding is really cool because bobsleds go fast and are dangerous” senior Andrew Morgan said as he expressed his interest in the sport, and did not fail to recognize the courage the competitors have.  

The narrow tracks that bobsledders race on are made of pure ice. The twisting nature of the track has, in the past, resulted in sleds turtling, causing serious injuries and deaths. The sport is very dangerous. In fact the three sports of its nature (bobsledding, the luge, and the skeleton) are considered by many the most dangerous sports in the world. One death that occurred was an American competitor James Morgan. His accident occurred at a track that was used for the Olympics. His accident showed the world that even tracks used for the Olympics can be dangerous enough to cause fatal accidents that lead to death. 

Bobsledders are required to make a completely still sled pick up speed, and then as it is picking up speed they have to jump inside it. The bobsledders then are required to have complete control over a sled that is going down a mile long path of ice. If you have ever driven over ice in your car, then you most likely know the treachery of skidding on ice. Now imagine having that feeling for a mile straight, wrapping around tight bends and staying on a narrow path. The thrill that the competitors feel cannot match the fear that would be bestowed upon someone who was attempting to try the sport for the first time.   

It is a thrill to say the least, and in a little over two months the best bobsledders in the world will be hitting the track to fulfill their lifelong dream. The competitions consist of separate races for both males and females and separate races for the two- and four- person races. The countries that have been the most successful overall (adding up all the medals from every event) are Germany with 40 total medal, Switzerland with 30, and the United States with 20.

Bobsledding is a sport that actually does have a history. At the first Winter Olympics bobsledding made an appearance. The first Winter Olympics took place in France in 1924. The sport has also been an event in every Winter Olympics following that one, but also in drawing a fan base that has been increasing with each Winter Olympics. Through all the Olympics the sport has developed, the sleds have begun to move faster, and the participants have become more skilled. A variety of tracks have popped up all around the world, and all in all the sport is growing. While the game did make an appearance at the first Winter Olympics (as stated earlier), bobsledding is a much different sport than it was back then. As its popularity grows, so does the skill the sport is performed at. The sport is an evolving sport that could possibly one day be televised on a much more frequent basis than it is these days.

For the up and coming Winter Olympics, Team USA looks to be very strong in each of the categories. After a great performance in Vancouver 2010, Team USA looks to only improve prior performances. To many, the United States bobsled team preforming better than they ever have before appears to be very possible. The American goal is to win each event, and according to Sochi 2014 is a place where this can be done. “The goal for the men and women to sweep the podium in Sochi is becoming a reality,” the website says.

A country is limited to (but not promised) three qualifying teams for each bobsledding event in the Winter Olympics. USA has already clinched a spot for these Sochi 2014, but has until January 19, 2014 to clinch all the spots that is possible for a country. Being a strong bobsledding country this is a very possible milestone for Team USA to reach in this upcoming Olympics. Not every country gets a representative team in each event; in fact it is very possible that a country won’t get a bobsled team in any of the events. Countries aren’t promised a spot in bobsledding because in men’s bobsledding there are only 30 spots (for both the two-person and four-person), and in the women’s bobsledding there are even less spots, as both the two-person and four-person race only has 20 teams! This makes the qualifications even more competitive because while there is “room” for technically 60 countries for the male events and 40 different countries for women events many of the countries that are more dominate in bobsledding are sending in multiple teams. The United States is not the only country looking to qualify more than one team in each event. Countries like Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada and many other countries have more than one team for each event that they are hoping will qualify for Sochi 2014. This brings a whole other level of competition because not only is winning a gold medal a mile stone, but even making it to the Olympics in this sport is an achievement that very few teams ever get to reach.

As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is on its way, bobsledders are beginning to prepare for the event, and for the dream they always wanted to achieve. For bobsledders, the Winter Olympics is what got a lot of them interested in the sport. In this Olympics, Sochi is setting a record as they will be having the bobsledders race on the biggest track in the world. The track was just recently finished, and was tested and used for the first time in March of 2012 for the Russian Championships. As a country, the track has gotten Russia pretty excited. In fact, Russia promises that the bobsled track will have an amazing atmosphere, according to “The Global Times”.  Bobsledding, as stated earlier, is a growing sport and having an amazing atmosphere along with a growing population can create a great prospective for the sport, and result with many more people becoming intrigued with it.

As the teams talented enough to qualify for the Olympic take the track in Sochi, Russia during the month of February, they will be attempting to reach a goal that they have always strived for. Although the competitors might not have been bobsledding as long as the hockey players have been playing hockey, or the skiers/snowboarders have been skiing/snowboarding, their dedication has been equal. The courage it takes to pick up a sport like bobsledding and the talent it takes to reach the level that the Olympians are performing at is unexplainable. As the Olympians take the track in 2014, tune in, watch their talents, and think about the courage it takes to get into a sled and go straight down the ice. Take a moment to recognize the unsung talent, abilities, and courage that the Olympic bobsledders have. Catch the televised races and cheer on team USA as they go for the gold!     

Team USA celebrates after a successful run

House Basketball Preview: Preseason All-Star Lineup (11th and 12th Grade)

Much like the first snow of winter, the first weekend of House Basketball is something that everyone looks forward to. From buzzer-beaters to single-elimination playoffs to Wilt Chamberlain-esque individual performances, there’s nothing like watching history be made at the MMS Old Gym on a Sunday morning. Now that perennial MVPs like Jack Sherwood and Jackson Whiting have left the league, people wonder who will become the next players to go down as legends in the House Ball history books. Here’s a prediction as to who will have the most consistently outstanding performances in the 2013-14 House season:

Point Guard Austin Crane
The Fairfield Prep sub-6-footer made his return to the House league last year and didn’t disappoint. Aside from his athletic ability (he’s a recruited varsity baseball player), Crane’s a great player because of his off-the-charts basketball IQ. His vision is unparalleled and when he’s not lighting it up on the scoreboard, Crane is making his teammates better.

Shooting Guard George Reed
The official Blue Wave Sports Blog MVP from last season, George Reed dominated the 9th and 10th grade league last season. It’s hard to place exactly what position Reed plays, as he has the size/strength to bang down low with forwards as well as the ball-handling and shooting ability to have success as a guard. Reed’s a complete player, and don’t be surprised to see him earning a few MVP votes as the season winds down.

Small Forward – Charlie Travers
It’s always difficult to judge how a player will adapt to the style of House Ball after spending years playing for the High School team, but for someone as skilled as Charlie Travers, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Travers’ game is much more refined than that of the average House baller, and he’ll use his linebacker-size to bully kids up and down the court.

Power Forward – Kevin Pendo
Pendo is another tweener who can effectively play any of the five positions. A Carmelo Anthony-prototype, Pendo will score on you, whether it’s via him shooting right over you with his long arms or going right through you with force that’s incredibly hard to slow. Especially if Pendo is reunited with his older brother Matt, a 6-foot-5-or-so center, watch out. This kid’s a winner.

Center – Max/Alex Skolds
Some House Basketball savants have been declaring that the Skolds are overrated, and that they’ll be non-factors this season because everyone’s caught up to them in size and skill. But who can forget the time Alex had a breakaway dunk over Trevor McGovern as a sophomore? Or who can forget the time the twins combined to score 32 of their team’s 36 points? Until someone can have a season to erase the Skolds’ spots in House Basketball history, they’ll go down as two of the all-time greats.

Girls Varsity Soccer: New Season, New Captains

By Kiki Martin

The Darien Girls Soccer Team’s season ended on November 5th when they lost to Simsbury 2-0 in the first round of the state tournament. Despite this loss, overall the team had a successful season.  Although the season is over the team still had one more very important piece of business to take care of. The varsity team voted for next year’s captains and on November 17, 2013, at the team’s banquet, the new captains were announced. Next year’s captains will be juniors Daphne Budd and Erin Karczewski and senior Kendra Fitzpatrick.

“Half of our team is graduating and they will be missed. Each one of them was a big part of the soccer program. As for next season, we will have a very young team and many positions will be up for grabs because of the graduating seniors, but that won’t stop us from creating big things and making another huge print in the FCIAC,” junior Kendra Fitzpatrick said.

“It’sa bitter-sweet feeling because so many personalities and skill will be greatly missed next year. However, it leaves room for new players to step up as leaders and hopefully bring our team to success,” sophomore Erin Karczweski said.

On behalf of Neirad we wish the team the best of luck next season!

Caption: BWS 2013 seniors passing the torch at the banquet

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let's All Revel in Cristiano Ronaldo's Glory

by Stephen Barston
Since today's soccer action was perhaps the most competitive out of the remaining World Cup Qualifiers, it's probably safe to say we all envisioned some heroics. However, today Cristiano Ronaldo gave us something more, something that merits an infinite amount of respect from soccer fans all over the world. His single-handed defeat of Sweden even outshone the impressive French comeback against Ukraine after being down two goals. All in all, it was another display of why Ronaldo deserves the Ballon d'Or.

Inspired performances from Cristiano Ronaldo as of late have been rumored to be sparked by the lack of respect he received from FIFA president Sepp Blatter in a controversial interview and may even be personal testimonies for his candidacy for the award recognizing the world's best player, the aforementioned Ballon d'Or.

Entering the match against Sweden, with Portugal holding a 1-0 lead after the first leg of the home and home series, Ronaldo was (based on this recent form) expected to produce for what has been a lackluster supporting cast. He did more than that.

Trailing 2-1 after two brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic goals, it all seemed bleak for Portugal, but as can be seen in the GIF below, their captain continued to bomb down the wings past the aggressive Swedish defense and found himself on the receiving end of probing balls from midfielders Miguel Veloso and Joao Moutinho.

Ronaldo capitalized on almost all of these opportunities, and out of four shots on target, he scored three of them, finishing with a hat-trick, sending his country to the World Cup this summer in Brazil, and establishing his position as frontrunner for the Ballon d'Or, especially when his main competitor, Argentinian international Lionel Messi, remains injured.

How the Portuguese will fare come May remains a question, but if disappointing performances from the squad continue, it could end sooner than manager Paulo Bento and all involved would like. As we all saw today, having Ronaldo can't hurt their chances.

Ronaldo celebrates after one of his goals in the
match earlier today (Credit: The Daily Mail)

#BeardStrong Wins Annual DHS Dodgeball Tournament

By Edward Pankowski
                  At 6:26pm on Monday, November 18, the annual DHS dodgeball tournament began, with 28 teams and 172 players attending.
                  As any veteran of the tournament will know, the event is as much about the theatre as the sport. This year was no different, as teams arrived in face wraps, helmets, tutus, glowing masks, festive uniforms, camouflage, and short shorts.
                  Logistical issues, or who went where, were quickly resolved by Community Council Vice President Rohit Datta, although a lack of volunteers seemed to be a problem, as made evident by the fact that this reporter was approached to be a timer during an early game.
                  Although this year’s tournament lacked the diversity found in previous tournaments, such dodgeball pro’s as Mr. Coppock and Ms. Churles made appearances as part of a math-themed team.
                  Post 53 also made an appearance, serving as the health care professionals of the evening. Though it may have come as a disappointment to some, no players were severely injured during the evening, although several audience members may have wished for umbrellas or, perhaps more useful, faceguards.
                  While a wide variety of skills were on display that night, a strong combination of teamwork and throwing strength proved to be the most decisive factor. “Wet Wave” spokesman and DHS Senior Timmy Scolaro said, “What it came down to was: we had a gameplan. We came in wanting to win, and we did.” Scolaro also commented on his outfit, which included jean shorts, saying, “Skin to win.”
                  “Charlie Stout” and “The South” were the first teams to go into sudden death, with two players remaining on each side. Ultimately, a ferocious performance by “The South” won them a spot in the final four.
                  In the championship game, “Sunday League” faced off against “#BeardStrong” in an intense fight where everyone had arms like cannons and were able to dodge like Chrysler. Unfortunately, however, the final game came down to four players on “#BeardStrong” defeating the one remaining “Sunday League” player.

                  After the game, “#BeardStrong” said, “We feel great, amazing. After this, we’re gonna throw down and celebrate.” When asked what made them the champions, they said, “We had teamwork, and chemistry. Even though we were the smallest team, we had the biggest hearts.”

One of the tournament's intense matches, being officiated by Coach DeMaio