The Peabody High boys and girls track programs have plenty to be proud about.
In the latest track and field high school rankings, the Tanners are in the top 20 nationwide in three events. Nick Christensen is No. 1 in Massachusetts and 10th nationally in the mile (4:12.56) while Catarina Rocha is the best miler in the state and 15th nationally.
Rocha, who qualified for Nationals but did not go, set her personal best this year at the All-State meet in 4:50.38. Christensen also qualified for Nationals, but a leg injured suffered late in the season prevented him from competing (although he did help Peabody's relay team out there).
The Tanners' sprint medley relay team of Austin Brewster, Bobby Losanno, Nick Ingham and Christensen is also fastest in Massachusetts and 19th in the country (3:35.68).
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It didn't take long for Peabody's Katelyn Driscoll to reach a significant milestone. The Connecticut College senior midfielder in women's lacrosse scored three goals and had an assist in the opening day loss to fourth-ranked Bowdoin.
In the first half of the 11-6 loss, Driscoll picked up her 100th career point and now has 78 goals and 25 assists (103 points). The tri-captain also plays soccer and women's hockey for the Camels.
The Camels also dropped their next game, 12-7, to Tufts. Driscoll collected six draws, caused four turnovers and picked up three ground balls.
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The North Shore Soccer Arena at the Topsfield Fairgrounds hosted over 100 players and coaches from 22 colleges and universities at the Premier College Combine recently. It was the first time North Shore United and the NSSA had ever hosted the event, which provides the opportunity for high school boys and girls to play soccer before many college coaches.
Showcases are held across the country, and the Topsfield location proved to be very handy for the coaches from Northeastern, MIT, Merrimack, UMass Lowell, UMass Amherst, Curry, Newbury, Endicott and others. Players were put on teams and played in a 9-vs.-9 format on the 80-by-40-yard playing surface, which has no boards.
Ed Bernstein of Premier College Combines said the arena provided an excellent facility for the event, because it helped showcase the players' talents. He also said they would be back next year.
"We are proud to host," said NSSA director Steven Gloria. "We've had soccer players from all over come up to compete, including some from Pennsylvania, New York and Canada to go along with our talent from local communities."
Franciosa, who is president and founder of North Shore United, said they plan to run this event every year because it was very successful. Franciosa coached the professional soccer team Ekenas FC in Finland last winter and led them to a very successful season, with only one loss.
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Four football programs across the state will be presented grants from the Silvio Cella Family Foundation at the Massachusetts High School Football coaches Association clinic at Gillette Stadium today. In the two years that the foundation has existed to honor the late Revere High football coach and athletic director, close to $25,000 has been awarded to support high school football programs.
This year Jeremiah Burke, Lawrence, Millis, and Ware high schools will each receive $3,000, and a special donation will be made to Revere because that city was near and dear to Silvio Cella's heart. The program actually expanded from benefiting three schools in the state to four this year.
The grants are given to help improve playing conditions, increase safety and participation as well as build teamwork, pride and confidence. The goal is to help players both on and off the field as they prepare for the future.
"Being part of a football team takes dedication, sacrifice and hard work," said Mike Cella, a Peabody resident and president of the foundation in his dad's honor. "Being part of a football team builds character and prepares these young athletes for a life ahead."
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The North Shore/Essex Aggie indoor track team was very young this past season, but also very talented in winning its second straight Commonwealth Athletic Conference championship. The best part for head coach Rick Gardella is that everybody will be back next winter.
"We had a very successful season and our numbers doubled," said Gardella. "We lost a lot of talented girls to graduation, so our girls were very young but still won the CAC championship."
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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.