The Salem News
---- — GIRLS TRACK COACH OF THE YEAR
The Tigers steadily improved as the year went on, posting a 5-3 record and finishing on a high note by winning the Cape Ann League Open. What made his fourth season coaching spring track so special for Marty Binette was the maximum effort everyone put forth all the time, following the example set by captains Sarah and Tina Keiran.
“These girls all worked hard from March until June,” said Binette. “There were no moments when I didn’t feel they were giving their best effort. The leadership of our seniors is what really made this group special. We had a great mix of some very talented, hard working seniors and a couple of underclassmen with loads of talent.
“What was great about winning the CAL Open was that all our seniors performed very well, and every senior placed in an event which really speaks to the quality of this group and their ability to step up in big meets. They really worked hard in practice as the season was ending, and our underclassmen thrived from watching them. We will miss this senior group, but we do have some coming back, who have had a chance to see what it takes to win big meets.”
BOYS TRACK COACH OF THE YEAR
The Magicians had a perfect 7-0 season and won the NEC South. For veteran coach Brian Crowley, who has been at the helm for 13 seasons, it was special to watch his squad come off a disappointing 2-5 indoor season and totally turn things around.
“We weren’t quite sure what to expect in the spring,” said Crowley, who also coached the core group indoors. “The boys worked hard and made this a true team effort with 35 athletes scoring points for us. We’ve had a great run the last four spring seasons with three undefeated championships (27-1 record).
“At the beginning of the season we thought it would be a rebuilding year because we had to rely on some young talent. In the Swampscott meet over April vacation we were short on personnel and held Josh Beloff out of the 4x100 relay so he could run an additional individual event to give us a chance to score more points. He won the 100, 200, long jump, and triple jump with a great performance.”
Crowley believed his team needed more than a terrific individual effort by one of the captains. Going into the meet he knew it would take a total team effort, and the seconds and third-places would be critical. The two teams split evenly on firsts, but Marblehead took 31 out of 56 seconds and thirds to pull out the win which Crowley points to as setting the tone for the rest of the season. That type of effort from everybody helped make this a memorable season.
BASEBALL COACH OF THE YEAR
T.J. Baril took over the baseball program at Masconomet looking to keep the Chieftains’ rich diamond tradition going. It didn’t take him long to add to it.
In his first season at the helm of the Tri-Town power, Baril led Masconomet to its fifth sectional championship, as the Chieftains won the Division 2 North tournament before falling in the state semi-finals.
A graduate of Bishop Fenwick and St. Anselm College, Baril won 90 games in seven seasons at Swampscott before moving to Masconomet this season. He led the Chieftains to a 19-6 mark, passing the century mark for his career as a head coach in the process.
Under the watchful eye of Baril and assistants Mike Linehan and Bryan Duplissie, Masco implemented an aggressive offense that helped them rattle off a 13-game winning streak, handing then-unbeaten North Reading its first loss in the process. They also helped Speros Varinos earn Cape Ann League MVP honors.
“A lot of the credit has to go to the players and the seniors,” said Baril. “Those guys welcomed us, they bought into what we wanted to do and they helped us learn about the team. We became like a family.”
A teacher in the Amesbury school system, Baril lives in Danvers with his wife and daughter.
SOFTBALL COACH OF THE YEAR
Tara Petrocelli described her team this season as hardworking and always willing to learn. With a 19-2 record overall, the Falcons went undefeated in the Northeastern Conference — picking up the NEC crown and Player of the Year honors (Kendall Meehan) — while Petrocelli was named Coach of the Year. Danvers even earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 2 North tournament.
During the course of the 21-game season, Danvers had 10 shutout performances and led the league in fewest runs allowed. Petrocelli also picked up her 150th win as the Falcons head coach earlier this season with a 3-0 victory over Winthrop.
“She totally deserves it,” senior captain Chrissy Gikas said of Petrocelli. “She works so hard for us in everything that she does. Tara’s the best coach I’ve ever had.”
The success that Danvers has had over the past nine years is in direct correlation to Petrocelli and the hours she spends working with her team to develop chemistry. She has a knack for teaching the fundamentals of the game.
All of her teams during her tenure have been playoff caliber-type teams. She’s the type of coach that wants her players to succeed just as much as they do and has the utmost confidence in their ability.
GIRLS LACROSSE COACH OF THE YEAR
Annie Pugh started her tenure at Marblehead by placing the bar high for the girls lacrosse program. Somehow, Pugh has successfully raised that bar each year.
This season, Pugh’s third at the helm, was the Magicians’ best under her tutelage. Marblehead went 19-3-1 and advanced to the Division 2 North final, where it lost to state power Winchester.
Pugh implemented an uptempo style that suited her team well. With a large group of talented scorers, the Magicians were dangerous from anywhere on the field. They rolled to the Northeastern Conference title with an 8-0 record in the North and placed six seniors on the league all-star team, led by Player of the Year Meggie Collins.
“Our team this year was dedicated and driven,” said Pugh, a fifth-grade teacher in Marblehead. “Each player knew their role and came every day ready to work harder than the previous.”
Pugh thanked her father, veteran Masconomet football coach Jim Pugh, the seniors on the team, and her fifth-grade class, which became a big part of the team’s fan base.
BOYS LACROSSE COACH OF THE YEAR
John Pynchon would be the first to tell you that this was the most talented team he’s had at Beverly High in his six years as head coach. But just having talent doesn’t always translate into wins on the field.
Pynchon, who has enjoyed a lot of success within the Northeastern Conference during his tenure, helped the Panthers return to being a team capable of playing deep into the state tournament.
The Panthers went 9-1 in the NEC, sharing the conference crown with Marblehead, and 16-4 overall. It was in the state tournament where Beverly truly proved its mettle. Easy wins over Apponequet (19-3) and North Andover (14-7) set the Panthers up for a showdown at higher-seeded Wayland.
Beverly passed that test with a 9-4 victory to advance to the East Division 2 semifinals, where the run came to an end with an 8-4 loss to Hingham.
The Panthers may have come up a bit short in their bid to play for the East title at Harvard Stadium, but the season was a major success.
Senior midfielders Brendan Flaherty and Dom Abate were each named All-American, and the Panthers had six first team NEC All-Stars, and three more on the second team.
GIRLS TENNIS COACH OF THE YEAR
With one season under his belt, Beverly girls tennis coach Keith Brickhouse knew his Panthers could do something special this season.
The Panthers responded by going 12-5 overall including a pair of wins over Peabody that delivered the NEC Large title.
“We were elated to be able to take that,” Brickhouse said of the league crown. “After two years of being in the NEC Small playing teams like Marblehead, Swampscott and Danvers twice, we were playing some battle-hardened teams. So coming back into the (NEC) Large this year helped us. Peabody has always been a force to be reckoned with but this year we had the numbers.”
A total of 56 girls tried out for this year’s Beverly team and Brickhouse didn’t cut a single one. The nice mixture of young talent that will be the future of the team and older more experienced players like Meggie Manzo and Jillian Morneau, who led by example, produced.
Drills to work on things like technique were obviously necessary, but the long-term Beverly substitute teacher is a firm believer in molding his players’ mentalities as much as their physical abilities.
“I try to get them to bring everything to their match from a good attitude to good sportsmanship and I do have to say we’re one of the better teams with sportsmanship throughout the league,” said Brickhouse. “You have the drills that are important to try and teach things like being more aggressive on the court but really we just want them to bring their best when they do play.”
BOYS TENNIS COACH OF THE YEAR
St. John’s Prep
St. John’s Prep tennis coach Mark Metropolis knows he’s blessed with the revolving door of talent his team has had for the past two and a half decades.
But Metropolis also knows the success of the Eagles team depends on taking a group of players used to performing for their own success and getting them to play for each other. Metropolis’ ability to unite his boys under Eagle pride has led the team to 23 Catholic Conference titles in 24 seasons after sharing the crown with eventual state champions BC High this season.
“They all know how to hit ball when they come here. Then it’s just strategy and learning to play as a team. When kids play USTA’s they all play for themselves. It’s a different story when you bring them together on a team,” said the 54-year-old Peabody High electronics teacher.
Strength of schedule is another important factor in SJP’s success. Once again Metropolis scheduled regular season bouts with the top teams in the area like Lexington or Wellesley so come playoff time, the Eagles are ready for the do-or-die atmosphere..
This year, St. John’s Prep defeated Westford Academy to capture the Division 1 North title before falling to in the state semifinals to BC High.
“I think its pride. When the kids come into the season we’re not looking to just win the conference, we’re looking at the final results,” said Metropolis. “Our goal every year is to contend for the state title and we pretty much do every year. I’m fortunate to have very good players but we’re going up against very good teams.”