SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 27, 2013

A YEAR TO CELEBRATE Titles came in bunches in 2013 across the North Shore sporting landscape

(Continued)

Swampscott hockey wins first ever North title and a trip to TD Garden for the state final: With just 6.2 seconds left in regulation, junior winger Nunzio Morretti netted the game-winning goal to give Swamspcott a 3-2 victory over Bedford and the program’s first Division 3 North title. Down 2-1, the Big Blue rallied to score two goals in the final 2:13. Senior Chris Carmen evened things up before Moretti’s go-ahead goal late in the third period.

Swampscott went on to score a huge win in the state semifinals over Medway, with freshman Noah Maercklein winning it in overtime, and made it all the way to the Division 3 state championship at TD Garden for the first time ever, falling to Westfield, 4-1.

The bigger victory, however, was about putting Swampscott hockey on the map. Prior to 2012-13 season the Swampscott High hockey team had gone 44 years without winning a playoff game before crushing St. Joseph’s Prep in the first round. The Big Blue then stunned arch rival (and heavily favored) Marblehead, 4-1, in the Division 3 North semifinals before beating Bedford, then Medway, to earn themselves a date in the state final.

Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan finishes fourth in her inaugural Boston Marathon: Flanagan dreamed of winning the Boston Marathon since she was a little girl growing up in Marblehead. Though the 31-year-old didn’t quite get the fairy tale ending she was hoping for, Flanagan crossed the finished line on Boylston Street in fourth place in the Women’s Elite race with a time of 2:27:08 in the 117th Boston Marathon.

Running just her fourth career marathon, Flanagan maintained a steady pace throughout and stayed with the large pack of female leaders behind then front-runner Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal and eventual winner Rita Jeptoo of Kenya.

Most of us remember the tragic events that transpired hours after Flanagan crossed the finish line as two bombs exploded near the end of the 26.2 mile course. Flanagan later Tweeted that she was all right, posting, “My family and I are safe. Thank you for your concerns. Devastating.”

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