Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Junior Class Gives Hope for Boys Basketball

By Matt Pik
It was another tough year for the Darien Boys Basketball team, as its season came to an early end with a loss to Fairfield Ludlowe in the regular season finale on Wednesday, February 22. The game, which the Blue Wave lost 34-49, marked the end of a season in which the team tallied a final record of 2-18, and just 1-17 in FCIAC play.
                However, while some critics and skeptics bash the team’s play, there are many who believe that the potential for a turnaround is there. It starts with the strong junior class, who will gain one more year of experience on the path to the 2012-2013 season. Juniors Liam Naughton and Kyle Green will lead the group next year, as well as strong players like Brian Wiegand, Drew Martzolf, and a cast of talented sophomores. “Although we struggled, the team can play much better and improve for next season. It starts with the players we have now, I know they’re talented enough,” senior captain Geoff Leeker said.
                Under the direction of Coach Marian, the team hopes to leave its past struggles behind. Without a doubt, the number of returning players, specifically juniors, should give optimism to the DHS student body that the basketball team will bounce back in a big time way.

Photo caption: Juniors Liam Naughton (right) and Kyle Green (bottom left) are key parts of a possible turnaround

Boys JV Basketball Wrap Up

by Sam Meyjes
The Junior Varsity Boys Basketball team’s season has come to an end. And the end of the season brings mixed feelings about how the season turned out. The team went 1-17, a record which isn’t one much to be proud of. But there are optimists on the team. Sophomore JV star Colin Sullivan was one who had bright outlook for the future of the team.
“I am very confident that the team will continue to improve and have great success in years to come.”
The team is looking forward to that, especially because of the necessity to find players to get ready for the varsity level.
“Making States is a goal of ours with rising varsity players, because that’s something that hasn’t been done in years here at DHS,” said sophomore George Phillips, a varsity Basketball player, looking at the players coming out of the JV program.
The goal of the Junior Varsity program is to develop players into top tier competitors in the next level. Right now, the team is in the improvement stage of building a competitive team.  In the 2010-2011 season, the JV team lost every game they played. This year, the team was able to score one win. Slow and steady improvement is the key. As the quality of players continues to improve through the youth program, the quality of both the JV and Varsity teams will improve. The Varsity team is going through the same sort of improvement. Through the past three seasons, the Varsity team has consecutively added an extra win and one less loss to its records, this season scoring three wins total. It is expected that the JV team will be able to steadily improve its record as the years go by.
“We’re just going to continue to get better and better,” said Sullivan.
Many of the JV stars will be moved up to the Varsity team next year, but new players straight out of youth basketball will take their places. And with these new players will come a new season and possibly a new age in Darien Basketball.

9/10 House Basketball Post Season Week 2

by Reed Barthold
There are only four teams left in the Winners’ bracket after last night’s set of games. The four teams that came up top were certainly not the projected top four. Ranking the bottom eight teams is superfluous, because as of right now, they are all equally ranked by the official House bracket. In my humble opinion, here are the rankings of the top four teams heading into the final games:
1.      Pacers
The Pacers players have really proved their skill in the post season. They were the biggest sleeper team in the 9/10 division. Their schedule was far from easy and it showed with their 0-3 start. As the season progressed, the Pacers really started to wake up and shock the league. If the Pacers are able to control their energy and momentum, they have a sure spot in the Championship game on Sunday.
2.      Nets
The Nets are the second most deserving team in the Winners’ bracket. All season they have perfectly executed the full-court press and have shut down over 60% of the teams they have played. With a thirteen game schedule, that’s a pretty good percentage. The Nets play the Pacers tonight (2/29) which should be an extremely close game. Winner of that game plays the winner of the two teams below:
3.      Celtics
The Celtics have a pretty ugly season record of 4-9 (only two more wins than the once-atrocious Bucks). While they beat the Cavaliers last night by one point, their victories certainly aren’t due to luck (well, maybe a little) but in their ability to play consistently until the final buzzer. The Celtics do have trouble maintaining a lead throughout the game, which makes for a fun game to watch.
4.      Bucks
Third time’s the charm. The Bucks lined up against the Wizards for the third time this season last night and finally grasped a win. The Bucks’ key player (Brian Davey) returned last night for his first game back from track season. Last night Davey showcased his athleticism, scoring around 15 points and swiping multiple steals. The Celtics play the Bucks tonight. Both teams, in my opinion, are pretty evenly matched which will result in a very close game.

Darien students compete at Rowing World Championship

While many Darien High School students were on vacation and some enjoying a week off from practice four of DHS’s rowers traveled to Boston for the World Indoor Rowing Championship. This indoor regatta known as Charles River All Star Has-Beens, C.R.A.S.H. B’s, was held in Boston University’s ice hockey arena last Sunday (2/19). Junior Kylie Maier, senior Lizzy Steinborn, and sophomores Kendra Shutts and Juliet Ruhe, all participated in the indoor regatta representing Connecticut Boat Club.
C.R.A.S.H.-B.s is a world known regatta that originally started by a group of 1976-1980 Olympic athletes during the 1980 Olympic boycott. Over time this regatta turned into an international rowing regatta that calls for athletes from high school teams, masters, colleges, the US National team, and other national teams.
The regatta has ergometer machines lined up for hundreds of people to watch from all over the world. Maier, Shutts, and Ruhe all participated in the junior open weight junior heat while Steinborn raced in the under 23 heat. The race involves each athlete to race as fast as they can and as hard as they can for 2,000 meters. Maier, Ruhe, and Steinborn all beat their personal records while Shutts was only a few seconds behind her own PR. All these Darien High School athletes raced against women athletes from Brazil, Mexico, Denmark, and Canada.
Darien High School students can see their fellow classmates on Connecticut Boat Club during their spring season. CBC will be traveling to California on March 31st for the San Diego Crew Classics while some also competing here on the east coast at the Greenwich Invitational.

Girls Basketball Season Comes to an End

By Ryan Barthold
            The 2011-12 season ended for the Darien Girls Basketball on Tuesday (2/28) night when the team lost to Farmington High School 42-29. The game was the first round of the state tournament, which the Blue Wave headed into with a 12-9 record. Sophomore Emily Stein led the Wave in scoring, with 10 points. All-FCIAC juniors Kate Bushell and Meg Marren scored nine points and six points, respectively. The Wave hung in with Farmington for a good part of the game, as the score was tied 21-21 halfway through the third quarter. Yet Farmington surged ahead, scoring 21 points from that point, in comparison to Darien’s eight points. Farmington will now face Pomperaug on Friday (3/2) in the second round of the tournament. The game was the last as members of Blue Wave Basketball for seniors Leslie Yuen, Amy Biggart, and Susan Biggart, all of who were captains. Head Coach Gary Peterson has now coached three seasons at DHS, compiling an overall record of 36-27. This is the second season in a row that Peterson has guided the Blue Wave to the state playoffs. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Darien Girls Hockey Falls to New Canaan in FCIAC Semis

The Darien Girls Hockey team faced off against rival New Canaan at the Darien Ice Rink Wednesday (2/22). New Canaan had won both of the prior meetings, but only 3-1 that Saturday (2/18). New Canaan, having a perfect record in FCIACs, was seeded number one and Darien four.  

Both teams started out strong in a scoreless first period. Though most of the action was concentrated in the Wave’s end, they played solid defense to shut the Rams out. Sophomore goalie Shannon Hall made six saves that period to keep the Blue Wave in it.

The second period commenced with a goal by New Canaan, but Darien rallied to tie the game at one. Sophomore Ellie Bennett scored during a power play off of a rebound from senior captain Sara Shaker’s shot, assisted by freshman Amanda Sload. However, New Canaan was quick to come back and scored four additional goals that period. Hall had six saves.

Freshman Izzy Scribano started out in goal in the third, and stopped six shots throughout the period to give the Blue Wave another shot. However, Darien couldn’t find the back of the net. The last goal of the game went to New Canaan as they made it 6-1 due to a deflection off of Darien defender. The Blue Wave had seven shots.

“We played so well against New Canaan the previous game that I think everyone was expecting a closer score. However, I don’t think the score truly reflected the way we played,” junior captain Lily Christensen said.

Come support the team in States as it takes on Guilford Saturday (2/25) at 7:45 at the Darien Ice Rink. Should they win, they will face off against New Canaan one more time. “Hopefully we win this Saturday night so we face off against New Canaan in the second round of States. Even though we have yet to beat the Rams, playing them is so much more intense and fun,” Christensen said.   

Caption: Senior captain Emily Tropsa skates hard, eyes on the puck

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Horseback Riders Profile: Annie Archibald and Nicole Williams

by Katrina Vassell

We've all driven by the stables of Darien at some point, but juniors Annie Archibald (pictured top) and Nicole Williams (seen schooling her horse over a jump) have taken an intense interest in the sport of horseback riding. Archibald began riding when she was eight years of age and her mother discovered a summertime program at the local stable. Williams, on the other hand, began riding at her Rhode Island home and currently rides with Archibald in Darien.

Although the average DHS student is under the misconception that horseback riding is not a sport, the riding requires vigorous training of the leg muscles, core strength, and endurance. "You don't just sit on the back of the horse and do nothing" Williams said. Archibald added that a rider must maintain form or she will fall off-- and it's a long fall. "Riding is so difficult because not many sports involve controlling something that has a mind of its own. Just imagine trying to control your most obnoxious best friend. It's not easy," Archibald said.

Both riders described their sport as a lifestyle which requires commitment and dedication. A typical practice begins with working on technique. "We usually work on leg yielding. It's a walk, trot, or canter which involves a lateral side movement as you accelerate in a forward and sideways motion," Archibald said.

A major aspect of the sport is charity. Serving as a nonprofit rescue center, the local stable is the location of many fundraisers. Archibald and Williams will be participating in the NCMT show this March which places funds towards the rescue of animals.

While riding for an altruistic cause is rewarding in itself, the girls also compete at opens to earn points and medals. They both plan on continuing riding in college, and Archibald aspires to own her own barn in the future.

Blue Wave Crushes Westhill

by Courtney Kyritz

Coming off of a tough game against New Canaan early this week, the Darien Boys Varsity hockey team came back for a win this past Saturday against the Westhill Vikings. The boys showed no mercy scoring eight goals letting Westhill go home with none. Now with a record of 13-4 the boys are still holding onto their ranking as number one in the FCIAC division.

Starting off in goal was senior Hunt Bartrum who displayed an impressive game with 12 saves. With a quick snapshot from the point off the draw junior Dana Wensburg puts in the first goal to get the team off to a good start.

The boys started off the second period strong offensively, just 3 minutes into the period Senior Captain Nick Bruno assisting senior George Gregory in a goal. Later on in the period Sophomore Jack Massie collects another goal for team, and with just 58 seconds remaining in the period Bruno scores twice more to put the Blue Wave ahead by four.

With a solid lead to begin the third period Nick Bruno scores yet again and sophomores Robbie Juterbock and Conner Davis score topping off the game, and ending on a good note.

Wensburg has high hopes for a strong future and said, “After a tough loss against NC [New Canaan] and a good rebound against Westhill we are looking to win out the season. We are going to take each game shift by shift but it would be a disappointment if we did not win.”

Come show your support at their up coming games this vacation week. Their next game will be Monday February 20th at 2 PM, and they will be taking on South Windsor.

Pictured: Brendan Hathaway (above)  Nick Bruno (below)