SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 26, 2014

Graves brings her A-game to UNH lacrosse

Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Becca Graves and her UNH lacrosse team will play their final home game today against Albany, and a win would go a long way towards making sure the Wildcats make the America East playoffs.

“We have a very good chance,” said the former Bishop Fenwick star. “That’s our goal. We lost to Vermont but beat UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County), and they beat Vermont to create a three way tie. It comes down to points and then I think it’s goals allowed. A win in the conference game with Albany would definitely help us.”

Graves is a junior biology major with a minor in wildlife conservation and animal behavior. Next month she is going to New Zealand on a scholarship program to take part in a summer semester and fulfill her wildlife requirements. After graduation next year she would like to go to Africa to work as a field guide at an animal preserve.

“I have never been out of the country so I’m very excited about spending five weeks in New Zealand, even though it will be winter there,” said Graves. “We’re going to work with people on conservation projects, and when I get back I’ll still have the last chunk of summer to get in shape for fall ball.”

Graves is on the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll and has made the Dean’s List every lacrosse season. A high honors recipient, Graves was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society this week and learned she is a semi-finalist for the Life Sciences Marble Scholarship Program.

“Everything is awesome, especially academically,” said Graves. “Lacrosse has been tough at times, but I have never been someone to quit. I’ll come back next year ready to fight for my position, and I know I have something to contribute.”

The team is 7-8 with seven starters and 14 letter winners back from last season. Graves plays attack and has five goals and an assist. She missed part of fall ball because of tendonitis that required a cortisone shot.

“I do what I can with my playing time and go out and work as hard as I can at every practice,” she said. “We didn’t have a lot of openings this season with so many returning. I’m really hoping we can get hot before playoffs.”

The America East championship will be held at the beginning of May at the highest seed.

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A year ago Beverly’s Rich Tabbut thought it would be his last Boston Marathon, but after the tragic events he decided to return one more time and cross the finish line. He was a member of the Franklin Park Coalition that raised money to improve, beautify, and attract more people to the spacious urban park area.

“This marathon was a wonderful event,” said Tabbut. “I was in the third wave that left at 11:15, and I couldn’t believe the crowd that kept getting bigger and bigger as we approached Boston well after the top group crossed the finish line. Everyone was so supportive and gave us high fives. There were bands and bagpipes. It was warm and I did get a little dehydrated, but I ran in the last four miles with family and friends cheering me on.

“I thought of the victims of last year’s marathon, and there were a lot of tears shed, especially as I made the turn toward Boylston Street. I saw Governor (Duval) Patrick standing all alone at the finish line and shook his hand. I’ve been running for 40 years, and I never saw such emotion and celebration. People stopped to help each other all alone the route. It shows that we are stronger than ever, and we’re not going to bow to terrorism.”

Tabbut said even though his legs were killing him it was an day he will never forget. The 24 runners in the Franklin Park Coalition raised over $80,000. Other North Shore runners for FPC include Mike Toomey (Marblehead), Sharie Hewson (Beverly), Julie Arrison (Salem), and Jason Carraro (Danvers).

“The week before Boston I ran a 10 mile charity run for the two firefighters that were killed (Ed Walsh and Mike Kennedy),” said Tabbut. I will still keep running, but my Boston Marathon days are over. It’s such a demanding course, but I am so glad I decided to return this year (Tabbut was stopped a half mile from the finish line a year ago when the bombing occurred)”

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Nicole Woods has been named one of 10 student-athletes from Massachusetts to be interviewed for the Hood Scholarship. They will be held early next month and three will be chosen to receive the scholarship. Woods, a Beverly High standout in field hockey and ice hockey is going to Louisville on a field hockey scholarship. She is grateful to all the people who voted for her.

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdeplacido@aol.com.