By Denebola Sports Staff
Compiled by Noah Whiting and Cameron Dubin
Managing Editors of Sports
Newton South Female Coach of the Year: Molly Widrick
By Bennett Walkes
After being appointed the girls’ varsity lacrosse coach in 2015, Molly Widrick lead the team to an 11-7 record in the competitive DCL League. This past year, the team qualified for the state tournament for only the second time in school history.
Her experience as a coach at the freshman and junior varsity levels in the three years prior and her familiarity with many of the returning players allowed for a smooth transition between coaches. Her knowledge of the game and her efforts to improve team chemistry helped the team throughout the season. The Widrick program is set for another successful season with a strong core of players.
She also served as the assistant coach for the varsity field hockey team has been making strides over the past three seasons.
Steve McChesney is the coach for girls cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. This year, McChesney celebrated winning his 1,000 dual meet as a head coach at Newton South with a cross country dual meet victory this past season, a truly incredible achievement. His team has placed either first or second in the state 19 times in his career.
This year, he took many of his athletes through Divisional meet, State meet, and some elite runners to New England Championships and even National Championships. He led his girls to become Dual County League champions in outdoor track and cross country. He then went on to guide his cross country team to a fourth place finish at the All-State Championship.
McChesney is described by his athletes as extremely knowledgeable when it comes to running and is praised for his ability to push athletes just hard enough for them to reach their goals, without overworking themselves.
Newton South’s Female Team of the Year: Girls’ Cross Country
By Hannah Fraser
Newton South girls’ cross country team had an incredible season this past fall, displaying hard work and talent from both the runners and the coaching staff.
The team won the Dual County League meet despite many injuries and illnesses that occurred throughout the season. They later finished in fourth place overall in the Divisional meet and fourth place in the All State meet.
With over f50 girls on the team, the Lions exhibited a widespread depth of talent ranging from new freshmen to experienced seniors. Senior Captains Clare Martin and Katherine Collins finished first and second in the Dual County race with new runners, freshman Addie Marple and sophomore Nikta Mozhgani, finishing close behind, revealing great potential for the team in upcoming seasons.
In addition, Collins and junior Caroline Barry finished in the top 15 in the All-state race, earning them both the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Title.
South’s boys gymnastics continues to be one the school’s best performing-– and least recognized-– athletic teams.
The combined squad of gymnasts from Newton South and Newton North won the MIAA state championship in February for the second year in a row.
The team had big shoes to fill, as Jonathan Wang, who was crucial to the 2015 state championship and has since graduated, decided not to compete for South’s team. But, led by strong performances by current senior Ido Tamir and current sophomore Sam Arber, the team maintained their status as a perennial powerhouse.
Arber also won the state individual all-around competition, a rare and special feat, especially for a freshmen.
With the winter season just beginning, the team looks to extend their state championship victory streak to three.
Senior Sasha Hoban has dominated Newton South sports since his freshman year as a four-year varsity athlete on both the football and basketball teams. Hoban even contributed to the volleyball team in 2014 when they won the state championships. As a football captain and starting tight end, Hoban has led the Lions through the 2016 season. He was also named to the MIAA Preseason All State Team by ESPN. On the court, Hoban led the varsity basketball team to clinch their playoff berth. His efforts show not only on the field, but in the classroom. Sasha’s excellence in school and on the field have awarded him offers from the colleges such as Dartmouth College, Yale University, Princeton University, Boston College, as well as others. Ultimately, Hoban decided to commit to Yale University in December.
For the second year in a row, senior Clare Martin has been selected as Denebola’s Female Athlete of the Year. Despite an injury only allowing her to race twice this past cross-country season, Martin’s indoor and outdoor track accomplishments are unparalleled.
Throughout January, Martin proved that she was one of the best runners in the state across 1000 meters. Despite the demanding race, Martin went undefeated through her first three meets, and finished in impressive time to earn second place at the Division 1 meet. The very next meet, Martin ran a lifetime personal best to earn herself third place at the All-State meet. She also followed that up with an incredible fourth place finish at the New England meet. Her season was capped off as the first leg of South’s distance medley relay, which earned All-American status by placing fifth at New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Martin continued her momentum into the outdoor season. She came in as the defending All-State 800m champion, and was working to win again. With wins in the event at the DCL Championship meet and the Division 1 meet, Martin seemed ready to accomplish back-to-back victories in the event. Unfortunately, she came just shy of this goal, however impressively finished in second place. Still, with little recovery, Martin toed the line again to help her teammates win the All-State 4×800 meter relay crown. She followed up this meet with an incredible performance in the 800 meter at the New England meet, winning in what was a personal best. But Martin’s season did not end there. At New Balance Outdoor Nationals, she ran incredibly to place seventh, just one spot shy of All-American. She also finished in second place in the mile in the Emerging Elite division. Martin’s final meet of the season, the USATF Youth Outdoor Championships, was her best yet. She won the 800 m, 2,000 m steeplechase and the 1,500 m at the meet, with superb times.
Unfortunately, Martin’s cross-country seasons did not go as well as her two track seasons, as injuries kept her from competing for most of the season. In the two races that she did compete in, she still got first, including the win at the DCL Championship meet, which helped her team win in commanding fashion.
The Princeton-bound senior has proved that she is not only the best runner here at South, but easily one of the best in the state. She is also a great leader and role-model for those around her, and never stops working hard in the classroom and on the track.
After graduating two DCL all-stars and star players in seniors Alex Kiritsy and Daniel Sellers, no one expected the boys soccer team to surpass its achievements from last year. It has been six years since the boys team had a winning record, the requirement to qualify for the state tournament. This year the boys came together to beat top state ranked team Acton-Boxboro and tied other top teams in Concord-Carlisle and Lincoln-Sudbury. Despite slipping in the second half of the season, the boys held on for a 6-6-6 record to clinch tournament berth with a tie at Newton North in the annual cross town rivalry.
The boys’ 6-6-6 record earned them the 13th seed, pitting them against the fourth seed, Braintree (14-3-3). The Lions were clear underdogs in the match up but fought hard for 80 minutes. Braintree was deadly from the set piece and the Lions held off chance and chance until Braintree finally capitalized on a free kick following a defensive miscommunication. The boys almost scored late in the second half, but ultimately were unable to capitalize and fell 1-0 in the first round of the tournament. Braintree would go on to decimate Needham in the South Sectional final, 6-1.
For the boys’ soccer team, 2016 was surely a year to remember. Going into the season with low expectations, the boys were blessed by the addition of senior club soccer player Marcus Williams and Noah Gans. Senior keeper Dan Epstein had a breakout season to anchor a rock solid defense while senior forward Edi Peri lead the attack with countless goals this season. Huge underdogs, the boys’ soccer team made it a year to remember by qualifying for the tournament for the first time since 2010.
Led by Coach Stephanie Pavao, the girls’ field hockey team has been gaining increasing momentum in recent years. The Lions enjoyed a core group of upperclassmen in their 2016 campaign that helped make for an impressive season.
South played very well in the competitive Dual County League, home to powerhouses such as Lincoln-Sudbury and Acton-Boxborough.
After a winless 2014 campaign, the Lions improved from 3-14-1 in 2015 to 4-11-5 in 2016.
The team is looking to continue the resurgence of the program next season.