Cards still may have a enough to make another splash

Courtesy photo The Bishop Guertin boys swim team and coach Christine Rousseau, far left, celebrate their Division I title last February. The Cards begin the defense of their title this weekend.

They finally swam to the top of the Division I mountain last February.

Now the question is, can the Bishop Guertin High School boys swim team stay there?

“The boys are focused and getting ready for a great season,” Cardinals coach Christine Rousseau said as Guertin gets set to defend its Division I state title. “Their expectations are high.”

And why shouldn’t they be? Yes, three-time Telegraph Swimmer of the Year Mark Zoda is now performing for Bentley University, but the Cards have other key swimmers back, led by senior Matt Lashua, who was a state champ a year ago in the 200 intermediate medley, and fellow senior John Puksta, who won the 100 free. And there are others who provided the Cards with the points they needed to win.

The pool competition begins this weekend with several locals involved in meets on Friday and Saturday at the Nashua Boys & Girls Club pool. It should be an interesting season on both boys and girls fronts, especially in Division I. Former Guertin coach Brendan McLaughlin has taken over the Alvirne program, with his brother Sean moving over to assist Rousseau at Guertin. The new Broncos coach inherits a two-time defending state girls dive champion in Skyler Bomba, not a bad inheritance.

“I’m looking forward to coaching this group,” McLaughlin said. “They have lots of potential.”

The Nashua South girls and North boys are looking to take the next step. The Panthers have several back from a team that finished fourth in last year’s state meet, which was won with ease by Exeter. “We’re hopeful to continue this streak,” Panthers co-coach Jenelle Dolan said.

The North boys also have a strong foundation after finishing seventh a year ago.

“We have a good amount of freshmen this year, which gives us hope to stay competitive for some years to come,” Titans coach Jon Massey said.

Merrimack has two key senior swimmers back for its boys and girls teams – Evan Whaley and Lauren Brennan. Brennan is the reigning Division I 500 free champion while Whaley was fifth in the 200 free.

“Both are year-round club swimmers and are returning with the hopes of getting on the blocks again in the top six of their events in the Division I championship meet in February,” Tomahawks coach Audra Saunders said.

In Division II boys and girls, the strongest team appears to be the Souhegan girls, who have several returnees from a team that finished fifth in last year’s Division II state meet. Milford also has several back and are hoping to make an impact in February as well. Good numbers are giving Hollis Brookline the hope of improving on a 10th spot last year (girls) and cracking the top 10 in boys.

Here’s a local look:

BOYS

DIVISION I

ALVIRNE

COACH: Brendan McLaughlin (first year).

LAST SEASON: Ninth in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Evan Beals, so.; Anthony Beauleu, jr.; Murray Reynolds, so.; Colby Roberts, jr.; Aaron Talty, sr.; Shea Williams, jr.; Jack Zou, sr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Wade Dalton, fr.; Elliott Drincqbier-Hand, fr.; Akash Gundagathi, fr.; Parker Hilton, fr.; Loukas Speros, so.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “This is a really young talented group,” McLaughlin said. “The sky is the limit as these are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. Excited to see how this team will do.”

BISHOP GUERTIN

COACH: Christine Rousseau (third year)

LAST SEASON: Won Division I title

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Aidan Daudier, sr.; Matt Lashua, sr.; John Puksta, sr.; Matt Rantala, sr., Connor Donoghue, jr.; Jack Januario, so.; Mat Crane, so.; Ivan Dodor, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: None.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “They know if they work hard and stick together as a team their goals can be achieved,” Rousseau said.

MERRIMACK

COACH: Audra Sanders (ninth year)

LAST SEASON: Finished 10th in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Evan Whaley, sr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: n/a.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “With half our team being new, we are working on building that team camaraderie.”

NASHUA NORTH

COACH: Jon Massey (seventh year)

LAST SEASON: Seventh in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Murray Mahoney, sr.; Hunter Chenard, sr.; Mario Rodriguez, jr.; Cameron Lee, jr.; Anthony Milani, jr.; Joseph Pappas, jr.; Nicholas Roscoe, jr.; Trevor Ryan, so.; James Bolton, sr. (diver).

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Matthew Klein, fr.; Benjamin Klein, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’ve had a young team for a couple of years now,” Massey said. “This year I’m excited to see our youth mature and our upperclassmen develop into strong swimmers in hopes of making a big impact.”

NASHUA SOUTH

COACHES: Jenelle Dolan, Aimee Gelineau, Sam Goy (diving)

LAST SEASON: Finished 11th in state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Ben Telerski, sr.; Jason Lam, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: n/a.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’re very excited for this season, and are sure to accomplish great things,” Dolan said.

DIVISION II

HOLLIS BROOKLINE

COACHES: Bob Ouellette (20th year) and Elissa McCormick (fifth year).

LAST SEASON: Finished 20th in Division II state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Alex Meagher, sr.; Ethan Mercier, sr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Jonahthan Chau.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’re excited about the number of new athletes who’ll provide us with the much-needed depth we’ve lacked,” Ouellette said.

MILFORD

COACH: Nancy McManus (eighth year)

LAST SEASON: Finished 17th in Division II state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Griffin Carpenter, jr.; Jack Carson, jr.; Ben Mailloux, jr.; Cam Mitchell, jr.; Samuel Bailey (Wilton-Lyndeborough).

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: N/A

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’re a deeper team in the past, with more year-round and experienced swimmers,” McManus said.

SOUHEGAN

COACHES: Dan Thibodeau, Jocelyn Biedrzycki (first years)

LAST SEASON: Did not compete in Division II state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Jaye Griffin, jr.; Ian Lewis, sr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Miles Lim, fr.; Ethan Lim, so.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “It’s definitely a rebuilding year for the boys team, as we graduated five last year,” Thibodeau said. “We’re excited to grow our new swimmers and strengthen our returning ones.”

GIRLS

DIVISION I

ALVIRNE

COACH: Brendan McLaughlin (first year)

LAST SEASON: Ninth in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Allyson Cahill, sr.; Maddison De La Cruz, sr.; Skyler Bomba (diver), sr.; Jillian Nagle, jr.; Zaira O’Leary, so.; Hayli Ruteir, sr.; Katerina Szwec, jr.; Emillenne Tarrant, sr.; Brittney Whiting (diver), jr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Bianca Freitas, fr.; Emily Avila, sr.; Nellie Brooks, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “This year we have a great mix of veterans and newcomers,” McLaughlin said. “We should do very well.”

BISHOP GUERTIN

COACH: Christine Rousseau (third year)

LAST SEASON: Eighth in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Michaela DosSantos, jr.; Grace Wang, jr.; Olivia Shusta, so..

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Wilma Johansson, jr.; Mia Januario, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “The freshman class, exchange students are going to make a big splash with our experienced swimmers,” Rousseau said. “Their expectations are to finish close to the top at the states.”

MERRIMACK

COACH: Audra Saunders (ninth year)

LAST SEASON: Finished 10th in Division I.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Lauren Brennan, sr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Muriel Lubeiczyk, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Lubeiczyk has made a strong presence in her first season,” Saunders said. “We look forward to see how her swimming contributes to our competition season.”

NASHUA NORTH

COACH: Steph Konstantinidis

LAST SEASON: Finished 15th in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Julia Hoprich, sr.; Mia Cruz, sr.; Maggie Pare, sr.; Katie Roscoe, jr.; Katerina Juris, jr.; Jaiden Ackerman, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Ana Haight, fr.; Aurora Holland, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We believe hard work now yields better results later,” Konstantinidis said. “Our swimmers are successful both in and out of the water.”

NASHUA SOUTH

COACHES: Jenelle Dolan, Aimee Gelineau (first year), Sam Goy (diving).

LAST SEASON: Fourth in Division I state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Lucina Yi, sr.; Hannah Swabowicz, sr.; Evelyn Lee, sr.; Haleigh Swabowicz, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Sue Mai White fr. and Faith Tian, fr. (both divers).

COACH’S COMMENTS: “After completing a winning season last year, we’re hopeful with our returning swimmers to continue this streak,” Dolan said.

DIVISION II

HOLLIS BROOKLINE

COACHES: Elissa McCormick (fifth year) and Bob Ouellette (20th).

LAST SEASON: Finished 10th at Division II state meet

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Maya Ruvido, sr.; Mary Martin, jr.; Katie Hinchliffe, sr.; Hannah Wilton, sr.; Maya Caplan, sr.; Lily Jackson, jr.; Victoria Bruzik, jr.; Victorie Ressarday, jr.; Elise Dinbergs, jr.; Tasha White, jr.; Paisley Broadhurst, jr.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Lillian Pistor, fr; Cheyanne Rizzatono, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We’re pleased to have such a strong group of returning swimmers,” Ouellette said.

MILFORD

COACH: Nancy McManus (eighth year)

LAST SEASON: Finished 11th in the Division II state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Calista Chappell, jr.; Elaine Danas, jr.; Erica Faucher, so.; Kat Raiano, jr.; Allie DeGraffenried, sr.; Maddy Smith (Wilton-Lyndeborough)

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: n/a.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “I anticipate that we’ll have a larger state meet team than we’ve had in the past,” McManus said, “and a stronger than usual performance during the entire season.”

SOUHEGAN

COACHES: Dan Thibodeau, Jocelyn Biedrzycki (first years).

LAST SEASON: Fifth in Division II state meet.

RETURNING SWIMMERS: Nora Breckinridge, sr.; Izzy Buxton, sr.; Bella Geskos, sr.; Allison Lipkin, sr.; Vivien Merryfield, sr.; Cecelia Turner, sr.; Amanda Jordan, jr.; Alexa Leary, jr.; Kelly Mahoney, so.

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Cari Mastergeorge, fr.

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We think the girls team will be strong for the state championships this year,” Thibodeau said.

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