In addition, the Hamilton-Wenham girls placed 11th at the Nike Northeast meet in New York in late November against the top teams from eight states.
“A year ago we went all the way to the nationals in Portland (Ore.),” said Sawyer, who has been coaching cross country at H-W for 34 years. “I knew we had a good team back with the Emily’s setting the tone. Our seniors were led by Sarah Duffy, Claire Pacione and Carrie Goodrich. Unfortunately, Meg Blatchford had a leg injury that kept her out most of the season, but freshman Meghan Stone came along fast. We began to peak right before the state meets.”
FIELD HOCKEY COACH OF THE YEAR
Most first-year head coaches spend their inaugural season with a new team just trying to find their footing. But Masconomet field hockey skipper Leah Gunner was on firm ground from Day 1 with the Chieftains. They went 15-0-3 in the regular season and won a pair of games in the Division 1 North tournament before falling to eventual state champion Acton-Boxborough.
A former Melrose High field hockey star, Gunner went on to graduate from Providence College with a degree in English and Business Studies. The now 26-year-old, a seventh grade English teacher in Melrose, was a Middlesex League all-star as well as the USA futures team member before deciding to play Rugby at Providence.
Gunner was an assistant coach on the Masconomet field hockey team in 2010 before being promoted to junior varsity coach in 2011. When the varsity head coaching position opened up last offseason, Gunner jumped at the chance to be a Division 1 high school field hockey coach. The Chieftains have been winning ever since, going undefeated in the regular season to win the Cape Ann League championship.
FOOTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR