Ferullo said the hardest thing is going up against other cities and towns that have middle school or elementary school programs, where girls learn the skills at an early age. Because Peabody doesn’t introduce the sport until the high school level, the players have to learn the game quickly.
Alimonti is also predicting a good year for the soccer team. He is one of three captains along with Ben Britton and Connor Bombaci. He also plays center field for the Tanners’ baseball team, last year moving between the varsity and JVs.
“We’re all good friends and have been having captains’ practices twice a week,” said Alimonti. “We stress conditioning and have had around 40 kids. We’re small, but very fast. I think that speed will help us win games.
“I definitely want to play soccer in college and major in communications. I’d like to work as a sports analyst when I graduate.”
When the spring track season ended and Catarina Rocha was named the Moynihan Lumber North Shore Female Athlete of the Year for the second straight year, it appeared the next accolades would come from her college performances at Providence College.
But that was not the case; instead, it came as a complete surprise when the talented Peabody resident was notified she had been named Senior Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year by the National High School Coaches Federation.
“They sent an email around the first of July, but I didn’t check my school mail,” said Joe Rocha, Catarina’s father and her coach. “Two days later the trophy was delivered to the school. It is a unique trophy, a really impressive one. To be recognized by the national coaches is a great honor and completely unexpected.”
Rocha attracted a lot of attention nationally at the Foot Locker Eastern Regional last fall when she won the qualifier for the nationals in San Diego, becoming the first Massachusetts resident to ever win the event. She followed that up with a great race in California where she put on a late burst to pass three of the front runners and finished second.