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Here’s a few O’Notes as we get ready for first spring flings

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Mar 17, 2024

Here are a few O’Tids and O’Bits (thank goodness for the apostrophe on the latter) to munch on as an appetizer before your corned beef dinner on this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend:

Can you believe that Monday will be the first day of local high school spring sports practices? Doesn’t it seem like yesterday when the spring titles were decided, with Hollis Brookline baseball and volleyball pulling off that same-day repeat, and then Bishop Guertin boys lacrosse winning it all on a sun-splashed Sunday at Exeter?

But on Monday, they’ll all be either in a gym or outside. There’s no snow to worry about (at least as of this pre-weekend writing), so that scene at Stellos Stadium with lacrosse or softball/baseball practices with snow in the background won’t be around this year. What can we look forward to? Nashua South had a young baseball team that gave Bedford a tough battle in the prelims, so they could be a team to watch. Bishop Guertin has had plenty of pitching the last couple of years, can that take them beyond the first round and quarterfinals this year? Will South boys tennis take the next step with some of the talent its had in the past couple of years?

We all start to get a look beginning Monday. But dress warm, temps may not make it to 50.

—– What a run by Nashua North boys basketball, right? And it was a group that you could really, really like. The best thing about the Titans that won 13 straight was that it was super obvious that they liked each other a lot. They talked about “family” etc. And from all indications, we saw a senior guard named Jaden Pena grow up before our eyes, as he talked about “life lessons” that the Titan coaching staff tried to instill. Head man Steve Lane is one of the state’s best coaches in anything, hands down. Don’t be surprised, despite losing their 30-point man (in the finals) Pena that this team is back at Lundholm next season.

—- It was a fabulous season locally in Division I boys basketball, with three teams in the quarterfinals, and of course a team in the semis/finals. And that showed as eight players received some type of All-State honors, be it First Team, Second Team, Honorable Mention, or All-Defensive Team.

But for the seven other teams, there were just a dozen players honored in total. That includes Girls Division I, and boys and girls Divisions II, III and IV. A few schools were completely blanked. The only two local quarterfinal teams besides the North, South, and Alvirne boys were the Alvirne and Wilton-Lyndeborough girls. It was definitely a light winter outside of Nashua-Hudson.

—- It was a lousy end to the week with the controversial and abrupt dismssal of longtime vollyball coach Craig Kolek at Rivier. But the week started off just the opposite, as it was great to see that Raider Lyric Grumblatt, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Player of the Year in women’s hoop and recipient of just about every other honor under the sun, will return to the Raiders next season as a grad student with that extra year of eligibility. Grumblatt is a terrific player, and if former BG standout Hannah Muchemore bounces back from a second torn ACL, the Raiders could be something special. It would be nice to see a Riv hoop team make the GNAC finals. Can they be the ones? We’ll see.

“I want to give a huge thanks to my team, coaching staff, and the whole Rivier Athletics community for helping me get to this point,” Grumblatt told Rivier SID Nick Perenick, “and I’m even more thankful that I have the uniqu opportunity to do it one more time next season and leave with what I came here for.”

And that would be the first women’s hoop title in Rivier history. Is it November yet?

—– Farewell Mac Jones. What an incredible fall from grace in two years for a player who in 2021 when he was a rookie who restored the former pass to a New England Patriots offense that Cam Newton took away. Jones simply lost confidence in both himself and certainly in the offense he was told to run, and the coaching staff and locker room lost confidence in him. And that’s amazing, given how much the room loved him when he was a rookie. He was doomed once Bill Belichick found out Jones was asking his college coaches what they thought of the offense he was running post-Josh McDaniels. Ooopsie.

—- In the early first couple of days of free agency and the days leading up to it, you saw a hint of the difference between the Patriots post-Belichick: They put an emphasis on retaining their own players. The Patriots signed tight end Hunter Henry, receiver Kendrick Bourne, linebacker Josh Uche, and most important, lineman Michael Onwenu, plus transition tagged safety Kyle Dugger (right to match). Be it good or bad, that never would have happened under Belichick & Co.

Tom King can be reached at tking@nashuatelegraph.com, or on X (formerly Twitter) @Telegraph _TomK.


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