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Riv’s time to compete and contend in GNAC may be coming

Here’s a few local and regional tids and bits as we begin the First Day of School in Nashua and wonder why the heck kids have to go back to class before Labor Day:

First, Rivier University student athletes arrived on campus last Wednesday, and were certainly greeted by an incredible gift – the new $4.5 million Rivier Athletic Pavilion, home of Joanne Merrill Field, plus a rennovated softball field, locker rooms, equipment rooms galore. It’s the biggest athletic facility facelift/creation since the Holman Stadium rennovation and building of Stellos Stadium some 16-17 years ago.

Now we wait to see the potential that can come from its creation, over the next few years. That’s when it will be time for the school to get a bang for its buck. The Raiders field basically struggling teams in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in every sport except men’s and women’s volleyball and men’s lacrosse.

Rivier prides itself on getting the student-athlete recruits who will represent the school well and thrive academically. But with such an investment into athletics, and a jewel for the city to be proud of as well, the Raiders should be now somewhat armed to get those few athletes that can make a difference with many of their outdoor teams. Granted, Riv’s strict academic and aid requirements have made getting some recruits a challenge; but now, with this great gift from the administration, it will be up to the coaches in their recruiting and the student athletes in their commitment and play to repay the favor, and put Rivier more on the GNAC map athletically if at all possible. Make the Rivier Athletic Pavilion (that name may eventually change) a destination for sports fans in Nashua.

—- Here’s good news: Bishop Guertin’s Claire Reynolds is obviously back to full strength and over the back woes that plagued her last winter and caused her to miss the entire Cardinals tennis season last spring.

Her summer team, the New Hampshire Yellow Jackets, after winning the state title,captured the 18U Advanced Junior Team Tennis New England Sectionals at Amherst (Mass.) College recently and will advance to the Nationals in San Antonio, Tex. In November. All Reynolds did was go 4-0 in girls and mixed doubles in the sectional.

Reynolds teamed with Linda Kong and also with Jens Georgs, son of Yellow Jackets coach Jurgen Georgs. How integral was the Guertin senior, who competed in Nationals last summer in California? Neither of her teams lost a set. That’s incredible. We’ll follow what she and the Yellow Jackets do in Texas in November.

—-What to make of the Patrick Chung case? There certainly will be a flood of media at the arraingment in Belnap County Superior Court in Laconia on Wednesday, as everyone is looking for some clarity on just what the heck happened for the police to discover cocaine at Chung’s house. Were they really there, as was reported, for an alarm call? Were the drugs just sitting out there for anyone to see? Was Chung home at the time? So many unanswered questions.

It’s fairly likely, though, that he will play for the Patriots this season and then the legal process in the spring will determine his football future, unless there’s some radical development. Make no mistake, the Patriots love Chung, they extended his contract when they really didn’t need to, and Belichick a couple of years ago called him one of the best players in the league. Perhaps Wednesday may provide an answer or two, but doubt it.

—- The rules restricting the intensity/frequency of high school football practices were certainly noticeable this preseason, including the restrictions on scrimmages (not for the first week) and full practice double sessions (none allowed the first week, the second session can only be a walk through or classroom work), etc.

But because school districts around the state all have different school opening schedules, some teams are able to practice more than others. For example, Nashua teachers had to report this past Friday,allowing for just one day of doubles for North and South. Guertin actually had school most of last week. Some schools/teams had a few extra days for multiple practice sessions, etc. Just something to keep an eye on.

—- OK, who really watches preseason football? Plenty if you go by the ratings for Thursday night’s Patriots preseason game vs. Carolina at Gillette Stadium. Amazingly for a home game that meant nothing, in the combined Boston-Manchester markets, the game drew the team’s highest Game 3 preseason ratings since 2005. Incredible.

— Saturday night’s retirement announcement by the Colts’ Andrew Luck certainly was a surprise, but given the injuries he’s gone through over the last couple of years, it was understandable, unless you were one of the moronic Colt fans who booed him the other night.

But did a retirement of a player on another team ever have more Patriot entanglements? First, the obvious, it’s just another case of a potential AFC contender weakened, strengthening on paper the Patriots’ conference championship hopes. Second, Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels certainly looks like he made the right call in bolting from the Colts job after he initially accepted it following the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles two years ago. And third, now a player the Patriots drafted and tried to somewhat develop, Jacoby Brissett, is front and center once again after staring 15 games for Indy two years ago. If you’ve forgotten, Brissett was dealt to Indy for receiver Phillip Dorsett – just after the Patriots let him go the distance in the final preseason game that year, throwing for 341 yards and four TDs. It likely was one of the best preseason performances by a QB in team history, but just shows you if you play a lot in that fourth exhibition game, you were likely being showcased and will end up elsewhere. Keep that in mind this Thursday night when the Patriots wrap up the summer by hosting the Giants at Gillette.

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or@Telegraph _TomK.